City Slang: “Reach Out” revisited

Aug 31, 2011 at 3:04 pm

Maybe I am the only person that needs to revisit, or even to visit, Reach Out. It does, after all, feature some of the Four Tops’ biggest hits, not least the monster “Reach Out I’ll Be There”. But it’s the covers and lesser known songs that hold the most interest for me.

First of all, there are two – TWO – Monkees covers, “Last Train to Clarksville” and “I’m a Believer”. That’s actually not as unusual as it seems; at that time, Motown was desperately trying to make the transition from an R&B label to a mainstream label, something that obviously they managed to do. The two Monkees songs are fun if unspectacular.

“Standing in the Shadows of Love” is obviously a huge favorite, but songs like “Bernadette” and “I’ll Turn to Stone” are equally as good, even if they’re not as radio-friendly. A cover of the Associations’ “Cherish” is fantastic too.

Reach Out is the Four Tops’ most successful studio album, but the Greatest Hits effort that was put out one year later, plus other subsequent collections, are seen by many as better buys. Judging by the quality of the forgotten songs on here, that’s a shame