From the Marc Jacobs-Decadence Commercial- The Marvelettes- The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game





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Published on Apr 25, 2010

Danger! Irony Dead Ahead

The Marvelettes deliver one of Smokey Robinson's most complex, adult and sophisticated compositions- The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game. The title alone is worth its weight in poetic gold.

Wanda Rogers handles the lead with the assurance of the most seasoned of artists- in fact it's amazing to hear the growth from the early teen-beat hits to the more jazz-flavored material the group was now performing.

Smokey Robinson takes "Irony" and places it into the setting of a love song. If played immediately after the Marvelettes' "I'll Keep Holding On," "Hunter" could be counted as the ironic outcome of the pursuit.

Who but Smokey could use hunting terms as a metaphor for love and a romantic chase? Wanda Rogers, "The Hunter" of "I'll Keep Holding On" suddenly becomes the hunted. The object of her affection, "The Game," flips the script and now becomes "The Hunter." Smokey couldn't have made a better choice of writing the song for The Marvelettes, because Wanda Rogers had precisely the right voice for this witty but romantic tale.

Wanda's was the voice that could convey joyous teen-age love, then rage a full-on soulful / r&b edge, but then slink into a sexy purr- sometimes all within one song. Here, she conveys a rather bittersweet quality that works perfectly in the song.

A writer once examined Wanda's delivery of this song and it's interesting that he noted how Wanda will start a line and then at the tail end of a syllable, she'll drop down half a tone. Listen on the first verse when she sings the line "Every day things change / and the world puts on a new face." Notice how Wanda's voice works this effect on the words "change," "on" and "face." A wonderfully complex vocalist (as was group member, Gladys Horton) who is a fascinating study. Wanda Rogers also possesses one of the sexiest vibratos along with Ronnie Spector.

It's interesting to note that Motown was reluctant to release "Hunter." The feeling was that this was too far afield of the image and songs The Marvelettes were known for. It's the same today when an artist wants to stretch out; there may be concern for how the fans will accept the change and Motown wanted to stick to what had worked. Happily, Smokey's battles for its release were successful.

"The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game" came along when Motown was really changing the game with ever-growing creativity, more complex arrangements and stunning instrumentation. Songs like The Four Tops' "Reach Out (I'll Be There") and The Supremes' "Love Is Here (And Now You're Gone)" are often cited as milestones in Motown history, but "Hunter" rates just as high and sounds just as stunning today.

* There are now two incredible box sets on the Marvelettes- "Forever" and "Forever More" The sets cover all of the Marvelettes recordings including all their albums, singles and unreleased recordings. Hippo-Select Motown has also given the incredible extra bonus of including both mono and stereo pressings of the Marvelettes' "Pink" album (from which "The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game was taken) and "Sophisitcated Soul" album. If you're a die-hard fan or a new fan, you'll give yourself a fantastic gift by adding these sets to your collection!


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