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Album Notes and Credits
Notes & Personnel Info
|Audio Remasterer: Dave Cooley.|
|Liner Note Author: Kevin "Sipreano" Howes.|
|Motown's eclectic MoWest subsidiary was established in 1971 and shuttered within a couple years, after ten albums and over 40 singles. Its biggest hit was the Billboard Hot 100 Top Ten "What the World Needs Now Is Love/Abraham, Martin, John," a hokey and chilling medley slash audio collage credited to Detroit disc jockey Tom Clay. Clay's labelmates included names like the Commodores, Thelma Houston, Syreeta, and even Frankie Valli, but the releases were rarely successful by any commercial measure -- frequently due to a lack of promotion -- thus rendering the sublabel a blip in the Motown story. As a distinct entity, MoWest has been neglected, though the 1971 singles (via The Complete Motown Singles, Vol. 11a and 11b), Valli's Chameleon, and Syreeta's self-titled album have been reissued, while the Sisters Love's shelved With Love was unearthed in 2010. A few scattered tracks have popped up on various-artists compilations, too. Light in the Attic nonetheless seized an opportunity to give the majority of the label roster some attention and assembled this hourlong anthology with their typical loving touch. Clay is not featured, though he is discussed in the extensive liner notes. The Devastating Affair, Blinky, and, unfortunately, the Crusaders, are also missing. Even so, this is a very fair representation. The acts that clearly would not have fit on Motown proper are led by Odyssey, a multi-racial, co-ed band represented with three disparate songs from their lone album. Mixing up folk, soul, rock, and jazz, they were something of a less adventurous MoWest answer to Cadet/Concept/Chess' Rotary Connection and would have fit on a concert bill with that band, as well as America, Rare Earth, and the Rascals rather than the Jackson 5 and Temptations. Valli & the Four Seasons, who would issue a Motown album in 1975, get as much attention with three songs pulled from cult classic Chameleon, highlighted by the gorgeously drifting "You're a Song (That I Can't Sing)." G.C. Cameron, who was in the Spinners long enough to score with "It's a Shame," contributes the disc's only minor U.S. hit with the funky strutter "Act Like a Shotgun" (number 40 R&B). He later shifted to Motown for four albums, including a duets LP with Syreeta, whose irresistibly sweet "I Love Every Little Thing About You" and quietly confrontational "Black Maybe," made with ex-husband Stevie Wonder and synthesizer pioneers Malcolm Cecil and Robert Margouleff (aka T.O.N.T.O.'s Expanding Head Band), are also high points. The remaining songs are all noteworthy in some fashion, but the most thrilling one among them is the Sisters Love's "Give Me Your Love," which is hotter and more dramatic than the Curtis Mayfield original and Barbara Mason's version. ~ Andy Kellman|
|Release Date : 06/13/2011|
|Original Release Date : 2011|
|Catalog ID : LITA 064|
|Label : Light in the Attic Records|
|Number of Discs : 1|
|Studio/Live : Studio|
|Mono/Stereo : Stereo|
|SPAR Code : n/a|
|UPC : 00826853006422|
- "Mowest did boast the Commodores and Thelma Houston, plus slick, languid funk acts Odyssey and Syreeta."
- "The grooves unfurl like waking flowers luxuriating in an easy excess of sunlight."
- 4 stars out of 5 -- "[A]n excellent 16-tracker culled from Motown's LA-based imprint....[With] Syreeta's sweet, transcendental 'I Love Every Little Thing About You.'"
- 5 stars out of 5 -- "[W]ith funky guilty pleasures from Frankie Valli, Afrocentric electronica from Stevie Wonder's missus Syreeta...and -- joy of joys -- three gems from Royce Jones' wondrous folk-funk outfit Odyssey."
Customer Reviews of Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love:
Leicester Bangs Review (2011)6/26/2011
Various Artists - Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love: Motown's Mowest Story 1971-1973 (Light In The Attic) Berry Gordy Jr. launched Mowest, the L.A. based Motown subsidiary, in 1971, dedicated to West Coast artists and with an eye on replicating the chart success enjoyed by Motown. For a number of reasons, it never quite worked out, though there were some great records released, and many of them found an audience long after the label was quietly wound up in 1973. Frankie Valli's "The Night" became a dance floor anthem for the Northern Soul crowd, Odyssey's "Our Lives Are Shaped By What We Love" became a rare groove staple and not forgetting NYC cut-and-paste king Danny Krivit's notorious Sisters Love "Give Me Your Love" edit.