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MoWest was a subsidiary of Motown Records created to release material from west coast artists, which only existed from 1971 to '73, as Berry Gordy tested the Californian waters prior to Motown moving their headquarters to Los Angeles. The label spawned 10 albums and 40-plus singles and this record right here is the first and only long-awaited anthology of that brief but classic moment in musical history, with half-forgotten gems from the likes of Syreeta, Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons and The Commodores. Let's face it, if you've got two ears and a brain then you probably love Motown...the quality of absolutely everything they were putting out in their golden years was so consistently jaw-dropping that only a fool would try to deny its all-encompassing influence, and their staunch perfectionism remains inspirational today. This lovingly-picked anthology compiles 18 tracks by 10 different artists and groups from the MoWest era, as the east coast Motown soul sound picked up some sticky west coast grooves. Syreeta's offerings here are surprisingly modern-sounding laid back and minimal soul numbers backed with woozily atmospheric drums and keys and a guitar flanged within half an inch of its life Shuggie Otis-style. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons' offerings, meanwhile, offer shuffling grooves that mix soul, pop, rock'n'roll and boogie in an utterly infectious way. Honestly, there's a lot of stuff on this compilation that I'd never encountered before and every track sounds as vibrant and life-affirming as the last. The more obscure cuts, like G.C. Cameron's 'Act Like a Shotgun' or Lodi's folksy offering 'I Hope I See It In My Lifetime', really help to flesh out a real feeling of time and place that you would hope for from such a chronologically-specific compilation. This is an absolute must for anyone wanting to investigate this unique moment in musical history a little further.
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