Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels: All-Time Greatest Hits

MitchRyderDetroitWheels_AllTimeGreatestHitsMitch Ryder’s chart singles, with a splash of mono

As a recent documentary on the Grande Ballroom notes, 1960s Detroit was both a hard rocking city and the home of Motown, America’s most commercially successful purveyor of R&B. Few exemplified these dual influences better than Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels. Though deeply steeped in soul music, Ryder’s biggest hits – “Jenny Take a Ride!” “Devil With a Blue Dress On” and “Sock It to Me-Baby!” – had a propulsive energy akin to Britain’s take on America’s early rock. Varese’s 16-track collection brings together all seven of the Detroit Wheels’ charting singles and four of Mitch Ryder’s solo outings. All tracks are stereo except for 5, 6, 8 and 15; the mono single of “Sock it to Me Baby” is especially welcome for its unique vocal track.

The stereo sides are crisp, but at times the extra wide soundstage is disconcerting. The opening “Jenny Take Ride” feels spread out with the handclaps panned hard-right, and lacks the punch of the mono single mixed for AM radio. On the other hand, many of these mixes provide the broad instrumental and vocal separation that plays like a revue band spread across a stage. The inclusion of Ryder’s solo singles makes this an interesting alternative to Rhino’s Rev Up set, and the stereo mixes provide an alternative to (but not a replacement for) Sundazed’s All Hits. An 8-page booklet with retro cover art and detailed liner notes by Jerry McCulley rounds out a great package. [©2016 Hyperbolium]

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