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Though Brenda Holloway was only 17 years old when her "Every Little Bit Hurts" became a hit on Motown in 1964, she'd already been recording, as a solo artist and with other singers, for a couple of years. This CD brings together 22 such tracks, and is a real feat in the cross-licensing of rare material, bringing together as it does singles recorded for various labels (some of them quite tiny) along with a few recordings not issued at the time. In a way, the boundaries of what constitutes a Holloway recording have been stretched to make the disc as long as it is, since only about half of these are true solo efforts. There are also duets with male vocal partners and recordings by the Four J's, the Soul-Mates, the Watesians, and her sister Patrice Holloway in which Brenda participated (and was not always the lead vocalist). But even if this isn't 100 percent pure Brenda Holloway (and the demo for "Every Little Bit Hurts," according to the liner notes, is believed to feature Barbara Wilson on vocals rather than Holloway), it's a pretty interesting and lovingly assembled document of her pre-Motown origins. There's also no doubt that even at this callow teenage stage, Holloway was an outstanding singer, with a rich full tone and stirring delivery. What she needed, like so many other promising singers in the same boat, was more memorable material and better production, which Motown would supply. A good number of these tunes (even the ones penned by Brenda) are rather average, unmemorable songs in styles bridging the doo wop and soul eras, and occasionally (as on the Mary Wells-like "Constant Love" especially) derivative of early Motown itself. But some tracks here and there are more than mere showcases for Holloway's budding talents, especially the sad and lovely ballad "Echo" (co-written by the Holloway sisters). Mick Patrick's lengthy liners give what's likely to be the most expertly detailed overview of Holloway's early career that will ever be published.