A Belgian release that gets high marks for creativity, uniting two obscure Motown groups on CD. The title is misleading, though, as the groups don't sing with each other; it's simply the Elgins and Monitors' only LPs, augmented with extra Monitors tracks. The sound quality isn't top-shelf, but where else are you going to find these two rare albums? Both groups had similar lineups, featuring a woman and three men. The only sore point: they omitted the Elgins' first recording, "Your Baby's Back," as the Downbeats without Sandra Mallett. Richard Street, who later became a Temptation, handles all the Monitors' leads. He had the ability to sing hard, mid-range, or soft like Smokey Robinson. The Monitors' sound was never defined, so their tracks run the gamut from upbeat stompers to beat ballads and slow jams, with Street's charismatic deliveries the only constant. They outdo the Valadiers on "Greetings This Is Uncle Sam"; both versions are good, but Street's impassioned lead and Warren Harris' tough boot camp commands are blood curdling. "Say You" is a pretty ballad, the type street corner groups sang to impress bobby soxers. "Bring Back the Love" had a spacy hand dancing beat. "Since I Lost You Girl" and "You Share the Blame" are soft and sweet, Street executes them using a light Bobbie Smith (Spinners) tenor on the former, and by mimicking Smokey on the latter. The Elgins used two leads, Sandra Mallett and one of the guys. The male leads are drenched in deep soul, with "634-5789," "When a Man Loves a Woman" and "In the Midnight Hour" performed as vigorously as the originals. Their sound changes completely when Mallett leads; she's Motown-schooled, has the inflections down pat, and is gifted with an arresting voice. The bouncy "Heaven Must Have Sent You" is a favorite of many; its beat and Mallett's vocal are addicting. Their other classic, "Darling Baby," is a seductive beauty, and like "Heaven" was written and produced by Holland-Dozier-Holland. Sandra's solo release "It's Gonna Be Hard Times" is an emotive slowie. How come record companies in the States don't put together packages like this? ~ Andrew Hamilton
Artist The Elgins
Artist The Monitors
Release Date 29.01.2013
Product type CD
The Elgins & The Monitors
Delivery date: between Tuesday, September 29 and Thursday, October 1
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