Arrangers: Rick James ; Stevie Wonder; Commodores.
The compilation Motown 50 Fanthology commemorates the 50th anniversary of the founding of Motown Records in 2009 with 50 familiar hits spread across two discs. None of those hits actually dates back to 1959, however, and, in fact, the core of the collection is drawn from the label's late-'60s and early-'70s heyday with acts such as the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, and Stevie Wonder. There are a handful of mid-'60s tracks by the likes of the Four Tops, the Supremes, and Martha & the Vandellas, some material from the '80s by Lionel Richie and Rick James, and even a couple of '90s tunes by Boyz II Men. The sequencing in non-chronological, which can be jarring, such as when the Gladys Knight & the Pips version of "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" is followed by James' "Super Freak." Some tracks are featured in unusual versions, such as single edits or rare stereo mixes. There are many compilations of Motown hits, of course, and this is just another one. ~ William Ruhlmann