The unrequited master of soul sound and love songs, Marvin Gaye is re-presented to the American scene in this wonderfully provocative two-CD box set honoring Gaye's complicated attachment to his music and life. A second CD going beyond the call exudes a clever examination of working demos, alternative mixes and more. The eight songs from the original LP are reproduced here, and following them on the first disc are nine session cuts that never made it on the 1973 original.
Marvin's anthemic approaches to love and sexuality were never as clear cut as the working processes brought to light here. With additional insights from writer/co-producer Ed Townsend, the twenty-eight page liner notes includes the original Gaye LP expose along with interesting comments from biographer David Ritz and fellow writer Ben Edmonds. Along with all the speculation is also important studio session info never before released.
The original "Let's Get I On" is continued with the original closer "Keep Gettin' It On, but it is also examined further here on a demo and the alternative Part III. Similarly "Just To Keep You Satisfied" is heard here in three forms other than the original recording. Gaye's other takes on the tune are presented a cappella, and those done with the Monitors in 1968 and the Originals in 1970.
Full orchestration throughout focuses on elegant compositions and arrangements. Gaye's masterful lyricisms and cleverly non-decisive composing allows him the freedom to explore. Gaye's reinforced notions of love and purpose are actively deciphered on very personal levels within the notes, and the understanding there gained helps to understand the tortured genius that is Marvin Gaye. Marvin's continually evolving musical ethos seemingly helped make sense of his physical and worldly restraints.
Material written by Gaye, along with notable co-writers like Townsend, Anna Gordy (Gaye) and Willie Hutch make this lineup. The many musicians are interchanged throughout and include the likes of guitarist Ray Parker Jr., percussionist Jack Ashford, and keyboardist Herbie Hancock. The sessions also included numerous instrumental takes including "Song #3", "Cakes", "Running From Love", and "Mandota". Closing out the exposé is a live version of "Come Get To This" from a 1974 Oakland, California performance. The cut, originally released in 1990, is the frosting on this soulful Gaye cake. The entirety of this release is exacting the formulae and progressive growth of Marvin Gaye's music. The wonderfully toned vocals and exquisite composing resounds with a newer and enlightened level of mixing and remastering. The result conclusively deserves your attention.
Motown Records; c/o UMG Recordings Inc.; 1755 Broadway; New York, NY 10019
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