MoWest / Americana.

Even though Motown means more to me than the backbeat Soul music made in Detroit in the ‘60s and I’m aware that they moved to the West coast in the early ‘70s but I didn’t know much about their subsidiary MoWest. Luckily the people at Light In The Attic made it easy to catch up with a great and well-documented compilation called “Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love – Motown’s MoWest Story 1971-1973”.

The many motivations for the move West are explained in full in the extensive liner notes of this release. MoWest was one of Berry Gordy’s instruments to make happen in LA what had flourished in Detroit before. The usual label or artist-killers – lack of promotion, attention and coordination and not always strong releases – got MoWest forgotten by most. Nevertheless there’s more than enough quality that can stand next to the best Motown has to offer. The Sisters Love and Syreeta releases are gems that have far transcended the collectors only status for instance thanks to Danny Krivit (the “Give Me You Love” edit) and Kanye West (Common’s “Black Maybe”) among others.

But there’s far more to discover. Some sweet Franki Valli tunes, some absolute masterpieces by Odyssey (not the same group as the Disco outfit on RCA by the way) and more obscure but tasty bits. The compilation is out soon on CD and 2LP.

If you like this laid back type of music that can’t decide if it’s Rock or Soul then BBE have got another fine collection of tracks coming up for you. On July 4th they’re releasing “Americana – Rock Your Soul” compiled by Zafar Chowdhry and Mark Taylor which promises more music you want to blast out of the car stereo of your convertible, rooftop down, while cruising along a breathtaking coastline. Definitely not the Belgian one.