I’ve been listening to the quality sound of Martha Reeves and the Vandellas recently. Some of these tracks have to be amongst the best recordings ever made and it must have been fantastic to have been around when this stuff was released. The optimism involved in the way these records sound is almost overwhelming, as is the dignified look of fun and style of the many posed pictures available.
For me, favourite tracks are Heatwave, Quicksand, and Honey Love, in no particular order. All of these tracks were released like pop music is today and must have improved so much with time. You also get the feeling that their confidence in what they were doing was such that they didn’t need to take themselves too seriously.
Right now there is a certain sound missing from pop music that is needed to mark a point in history, there’s nothing good enough to separate ‘now’ from the previous or next several years. We’re definitely in the trough of a wave, we know that because all the old music is sounding so good.