The complete Motown masters of Rita Wright, better known as 1970s chartbuster Syreeta, including 18 previously unissued.
When issued on the Gordy label in early 1968, ‘I Can’t Give Back The Love I Feel For You’ introduced the hitherto unknown Rita Wright, who had gravitated from being a member of Motown’s office staff to the recipient of a dramatic Ashford/Simpson song and an even more spellbinding Holland-Dozier production, to which she brought an impassioned delivery that made the song her own. Despite its status as a favourite among connoisseurs, the record stiffed and Syreeta (to give Rita her real name) disappeared back into the company bullpen for several years, leaving those who had enjoyed her record wondering what had happened to her.
Syreeta recorded prolifically in the years between that single and her re-launch in 1972 as the protégée of Stevie Wonder, her husband. She cut stacks of demos for other Motown acts, including the song ‘Love Child’, recorded just a few days before the Supremes’ version. She was also given several chances to record with notable producers, but nothing impressed the company’s quality control department enough for a follow-up to be released. As you will hear, these tracks were not canned due to being in any way inferior to those issued by other Motown artists.
Syreeta may well have cut other tracks during the period covered by this CD but at the time of compilation these are the only 24 tracks mixed by Motown engineers at the time of recording, with the exception of ‘Love My Lovin’ Man’ which was mixed in 2016. Her most successful post-1970 recordings have been kept in print on and off since their initial issue but “The Rita Wright Years” offers the first overview of the period leading up to her 70s success.