GOLDMINE MAGAZINE: Elemental Music strikes big deal with Motown for an amazing run of Classic Soul reissues

The Detroit soul sound is being revived in a multi-album licensing partnership between Elemental Music and Motown, with over two dozen Hitsville U.S.A. releases coming our way.



Thee most prolific, monumental and iconic soul music catalog in recorded music history is getting a virtual ‘pat on the back’ by one of the world’s most respected and revered classic reissue record labels.  This musical collaboration is the result of a reissue partnership between two well respected and world renowned record companiesMotown and Elemental Music.  Over the next year, Elemental will be licensed to release some of the best studio albums ever seeded into the musical ethers, by the legendary Motown Records (a.k.a. Hitsville U.S.A.).  To date, 2024 has seen the christening of this partnership with four glorious releases, by Elemental, from the archives of Motown, with still over two dozen more reissues to come in the course of the following calendar year.

Elemental Musicbased in Barcelona, Spain with a U.S. branch in New York City—has become one of the world’s most renowned high-end reissue record companies, and has many collaborations and subsidiary partnerships with record labels whose focuses, collectively, lie in the genres of Soul, Jazz, Rock, and a growing presence of International music. Elemental Music president and founder, Jordi Soley, recently finalized the deal with Motown to release 29 legendary Motown titles over the period of just under one year’s time, beginning May 10, 2024 through to February 14, 2025.  It encompasses over two dozen legendary original releases that represent the early Detroit heyday of Motown.  These include releases by The Supremes, Jackson 5, Smokey Robinson, The Temptations, and other iconic names and extremely desirable titles.


In November of 2023, I produced an article which put the spotlight onto five very notable ‘reissue record labels’ which are resurrecting some very respectable and desirable classic soul titles, to new life.  Elemental Music was at the forefront of that list, with an already incredibly impressive catalog of classic soul that has already been reissued from the Motown catalog, and as well, legacy releases by Motown affiliates such as Gordy Records and Tamla.  So, on your behalf, we ask: what difference (if any) does this new Elemental Music / Motown campaign have in juxtaposition to the classic Motown and Motown-affiliated albums that the label has already released?   With this query in mind, we decided it would behoove us to turn to Kevin Keeley, Head of Promotion and Communications at Elemental Music, for all the answers:


Goldmine: What is it about the classic Motown releases that encourages Elemental Music to want to give them a place on the label’s roster?

Elemental Music: Since our founding in 2012, we’ve reissued music from various genres, including Blues, Jazz, R&B, and Folk. We actively seek out gaps within these genres to reissue titles that haven’t been reissued since their original release. Even with a legendary label like Motown, we’ve found gaps in their catalogue, with some great lesser known titles available for reissue.  Motown has transcended and evolved into much more than just a label, influencing and shaping a variety of other genres [including ones we’ve reissued]. We wanted to share this complex and fascinating story! There’s so much history to some of these ‘lesser known titles’, a lot of which are being reissued on vinyl for the first time. We wanted to contextualize the label a little bit more for contemporary listeners and try and tell the story of some of the rarer releases.  As a rule of thumb, we always try to reissue the music that we love. That’s our priority.

GM: When was it decided that Elemental would approach Motown/Universal with the idea of featuring an impressive string of 29 consecutive classic soul releases?

EM: We’ve released several Motown titles in the past, and Universal loved the end results. We approached Universal with the idea of a reissue series and they were open to it.  We approach our  reissues as collectors, so we knew we could go beyond simply releasing one or two titles and instead release an entire collection of reissues with a compelling story and narrative behind it, diving deeper than other labels typically would.  With this series, ‘we want to share the story’ of Motown and its contribution to American culture and identity, during the ‘Young America’ era/1960’s. Young, vibrant and full of soul!

GM: How did Elemental Music choose what releases would be included in this Motown campaign? Or was it a joint effort between you and Motown?

EM: At the moment, this is a collaborative project that will continue into next year. We don’t have a specific set of criteria for selecting titles for reissuing; we choose music that we like and believe deserves to be heard. Universal gave us the autonomy to decide, presenting the titles for which they had masters available. From there, Elemental Music was able to choose from the titles offered.


Jordi Soley, Founder and CEO, Elemental Music

GM: Many of the reissues that come out of the Elemental catalog are heavier weight [audiophile weight]vinyl pressings (e.g. 180g). Did you choose to produce the Motown releases at ‘standard weight’ to best mimic the original pressings?

EM: With the Motown series, we’ve purposely kept the original designs, artwork and vinyl weights to reissue an accurate version of the original LP. We’ve included additional liner notes on select releases for some historical context for each album, but other than that they’ve been left relatively untouched.  Using 140gram vinyl is more economical for the customer yet still maintains excellent sound quality and makes the series more accessible!

GM: The last of the 29 featured releases in this Motown campaign will be available in mid-February of 2025. Do you foresee continuing with a second reissue campaign with regard to the Motown catalog, to follow?

EM: We’re happy to have started this series and see it is a hallmark of the label. We hope the series will be well received by our current audience and also attract some new listeners to Elemental Music. When it comes to Motown’s catalogue, we’re really spoiled for choice with the sheer amount of musical output the label makes available to us, so the possibilities are endless!   One of Motown’s biggest names is missing from the series, I think you can guess … it’s Stevie Wonder. Stevie and his management are known for being very particular about reissues.  However, after the success of this series, we hope we’d be able to dive deeper into Motown’s catalogue!  It’s difficult to know now what the future holds in terms of reissues, but we’re open to anything that sounds good!





The Supremes — We Remember Sam Cooke 

Originally released April 12, 1965, Motown Records (cat# MT 629) 

Elemental Music reissue, May 10, 2024 (cat# 620910)

The Supremes, We Remember Sam Cooke, opens up the series and reminisces very quickly with one of the only albums by the legendary trio, which are themed, and in this instance, that focus totally on covering songs by another soul music icon, which is revealed in the album’s title. The overall sonics of the reissue are top-notch, and the most enjoyable tracks, in my sense of sonic appreciation, are the classic’s, “Chain Gang,” and “You Send Me.” However, if you revere either recording act (The Supremes or Sam Cooke, or both), this is an absolute must-have for your record collection.



The Temptations — Wish It Would Rain

Originally released 1968, Gordy Records / Motown  (cat# GS927)

Elemental Music reissue, May 10, 2024  (cat# 620907) 

The Temptations, Wish It Would Rain, is the final ‘Temptations album which contains the original ‘classic five’ line-up. It personally, also happens to be my favorite out of all of the releases by the group. I pulled out my original issue/1st U.S. pressing (in nearly near mint condition) and compared to the Elemental Music presentation. I was ecstatic to come to the conclusion that I could own a reissue as good (if not better) than the original, and save wear & tear to my prized 1st pressing. Of course, this album contains the iconic and legendary title track, “I Wish It Would Rain,” nevertheless, the entire album reissue is phenomenal!



Smokey Robinson — Smokey 

Originally released 1973, Tamla / Motown (cat# T 328L)

Elemental Music reissue, June 7, 2024   (cat# 620911) 

Smokey Robinson, Smokey, the second solo studio recording from the legendary crooner of the iconic vocal R&B ensemble, The Miracles, is highlighted early in Elemental’s Motown reissue campaign for 2024/25, and for good reason. This was truly a transitional album for Robinson. Co-produced by himself and the blacksploitation master, soul man, Willie Hutch, this is deep transitional ’70s psychedelic soul music and probably the artist’s best solo approach, ever. The Elemental reissue reproduces the original sonic fingerprint of the original immaculately from start to finish. To top it off, Robinson’s rendition of the Jackson 5’s “Never Can Say Goodbye” is astounding sounding!



Four Tops — Still Waters Run Deep 

Originally released 1970, Motown Records  (cat# MS 704)

Elemental Music reissue, June 7, 2024  (cat# 620912)

Four Tops, Still Waters Run Deep, is another transitional album with regard to the four releases featured here. This is the point in time were the Four Tops had truly made a move into the 1970’s realm of more folky undertones and deep, lush string arrangements. It contains a production style that would eventually lead to the epitome of their ’70s production-character found on 1972’s Keeper of the Castle, when they left Motown for Dunhill/ABC Records and having left long time producer, Frank Wilson. Nevertheless, this is just as monumental an album, and Elemental’s choice to re-enliven this underappreciated and underacknowledged soul masterpiece was nothing short of smart. It sounds so damn good on fresh, virgin 140 gram vinyl.


Packaging and Visual Presentation

The visual presentation of these Elemental / Motown reissues are what I call, “mirror quality.”  They have been reproduced to be a replication of the original release in almost every way, short of the updated crediting, company logos and printed barcode.  The vinyl records themselves do come housed in an audiophile-style generic inner-sleeve as opposed to any original inner-sleeve replication (something a collector should be impressed with).  As well, the side labels on each vinyl disc replicated almost ‘to-the-T’, the original period correct Motown labels (thought not always the exact labeling used on each original release, as some where originally  ‘Gordy’ and some originally ‘Tamla’) .

On the hype sticker of each release, the weight of the vinyl record is advertised (140 grams).  Normally, the weight of a vinyl record is only publicized when it exceeds an ‘industry standard weight’ and offers the consumer a heavier, for a lack of better terms, ‘audiophile’ weighted disc (e.g., 180 gram, 200 gram, etc.).  But to convey to the consumer that these special releases are as period-correct as possible, and accurate to the original releases, Elemental Music has reproduced these reissues in likeness to the weights that the original albums were manufactured at, to keep them as true to the original release as possible (and as mentioned, it’s more cost effective).   On top of that, all vinyl discs are pressed with 100% non-recycled virgin vinyl composite.  Nevertheless, the first few releases from this new Motown campaign are produced, visually and physically, bare-bones, but in a very impressive and accurate manner.



With only the first four albums—out of the label’s 29 scheduled releases—on the verge of availability at the time of this article, Goldmine will continue to update you with regard to their availability from Elemental Music, over the course of the scheduled release dates.  If the subsequent releases turn out as impressive as these four initial records have (which, we are sure they will) then collectors of classic soul and music fans in general are in for an undoubtedly sonic treat.  





Contact TONE Scott at Please put The TONE of Soul (Elemental / Motown series) in the subject line.