The Complete ABC/Dunhill Singles
by Real Gone Music
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With 47 Pop hits and 52 R&B hits to their credit spanning nearly 25 years of recordings, The Four Tops are one of the greatest vocal groups in the history of pop music, hands down. But a big chunk of their hits, the ones they recorded for the ABC/Dunhill label, have been almost entirely unavailable in the CD era. This 2-CD collection from Real Gone Music answers the prayers of soul fans worldwide by presenting, for the first time ever on CD, all 33 rare single sides that the Tops recorded for the ABC/Dunhill label from 1972 through 1978. Just how rare are these tracks We’ll get into that in a sec; but first, a little history. Though The Four Tops (Renaldo “Obie” Benson, Abdul “Duke” Fakir, Lawrence Payton, and lead singer Levi Stubbs) had dominated the charts with their classic recordings for Motown in the ‘60s, when the label decided in 1972 to move to Los Angeles, the group, like many of their celebrated label-mates, felt it was time for a change. They thus signed with ABC Records’ Dunhill imprint and hooked up with producer Steve Barri (The Grass Roots) and songwriters Dennis Lambert and Brian Potter, who re-created their classic Motown sound on Top Ten hits like “Keeper of the Castle” and “Ain’t No Woman (Like the One I’ve Got).” In all, The Tops recorded 17 A-sides (including a Spanish-language version of “Keeper of the Castle”) for ABC/Dunhill during their six years on the label, notching a total of 11 Billboard Pop hits and 15 R&B hits, but those original hit singles (and their even rarer B-sides) have been almost impossible to find on CD. Why Well, in a sad tale we’ve told before on our previous Dunhill singles collections featuring The Mamas and The Papas, Steppenwolf, and The Grass Roots, legend has it that label head Jay Lasker threw out the tapes, deeming them worthless. A few singles—those identical to the album versions—have leaked out on CD, but here is the breakdown: of the 33 tracks (the seven earliest mono, the rest stereo), 27 have never been available on CD in their correct single versions, and 13 songs have never appeared on CD in any version! Like on our previous collections, the “Dunhill dream reissue team” of engineer Aaron Kannowski, liner note writer/A&R man Ed Osborne, and co-producer Gordon Anderson is at the helm for this release; Osborne’s notes (which are always a fun, informative read) feature quotes from original writers/co-producers Steve Barri and Dennis Lambert, with great photos to boot. Special notice must also be given to Aaron Kannowski, who once again went to the ends of the earth to track down sources for this collection. It’s the missing chapter in the career of one of the greatest vocal groups of all time…a very, very proud addition to our Real Gone Music roster and a Four Tops collection you’re gonna want to spin again and again!
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