MOTOWN: UNMIXED is the companion disc to MOTOWN: REMIXED, a project that features original Motown singles filtered through the imaginations of hip-hop and electronica DJs and producers. UNMIXED features the original singles as they were released in the 1960s and '70s. In this sense, the disc is essentially a compilation of great Motown tunes, many of which will be immediately known to anyone vaguely familiar with the label's revered legacy.
In addition to some of the all-time staples of soul music, including the Temptations' "Papa Was a Rollin' Stone," Smokey Robinson & the Miracles' "The Tears of a Clown," and the irrepressibly joyous Jackson 5 songs "I Want You Back" and "ABC," there are some lesser-known gems. These include the hearty funk-soul of Rare Earth's "I Just Want to Celebrate" and the orchestral, psychedelic R&B of "Smiling Faces Sometimes" by the Undisputed Truth. The album also features contributions from Edwin Starr ("War") and Rick James ("Mary Jane"), as well as such usual suspects as Marvin Gaye (with his defining paean to sensuality "Let's Get It On"). Though many listeners are likely to own these tunes on other albums, it is impossible to knock a collection that contains as much straight-up classic R&B as MOTOWN: UNMIXED.