September 4th, 2012
Artist: The Supremes
Label: Hip-O Select/Universal
Formats: CD, MP3
Release date: May 12, 2012
Fans of the Supremes who are seeking to make their collections as comprehensive as possible will be delighted by Universal’s digitally remastered two-disc reissue of their 1965 live album The Supremes at the Copa. The first disc contains the digitally remastered stereo album, with ten bonus tracks of unreleased original mono reference mixes, while the second disc contains the full performance at the Copa, available here for the first time. Certain tracks were withheld from the original release as Motown felt the recording quality was not up to their standards; but with the help of contemporary technology, engineers have been able to create brand new mixes from the numerous recordings made during the group’s run at the club.
The Supremes at the Copa is a time capsule that transports the listener back to a time when girl groups wore matching dresses and gloves. The Supremes’ perky rendition of “Put On a Happy Face” with its cutesy, Andrews Sisters-style harmonies definitely give you a “back in the good old days” feeling. But the sweetness and light-hearted nature of the performance belies the historical importance of the Supremes’ performances at the Copa, which Berry Gordy saw as the site for Motown’s breakthrough into the White mainstream. These performances opened the door for African American musicians like the Temptations and Marvin Gaye to play for the Copa’s white audiences, making the album a meaningful historical relic in addition to its being a fun, hit-after-hit listen.
Reviewed by Dorothy Berry
Review Genre(s): Rhythm & Blues, Soul, Funk