running_man | Chesterfield Twp., MI | 11/11/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is an outstanding basic collection of Marvin Gaye's recordings from the early 1960's into the late 1970's. While an overview of his complete catalog reveals a number of significant omissions, this CD will indulge a novice level of Gaye curiosity, especially at the price for a used copy here at Amazon. Do be aware that these recordings are not digitally remastered, but "Transferred directly to digital from the original masters". They sound fine, especially if you grew up in the company of a transistor radio held up to your ear and scratchy vinyl discs.The recordings are presented, for the most part, in chronological sequence of their release dates with only two slight juxtapositions. All of the tunes were Top-40 hits, three reaching the number one slot ('I Heard It Through the Grapevine', 'Let's Get It On', and 'Got To Give It Up'), and most reaching the Top-10. The Gaye agenda begins with the Holland-Dozier-Holland classic from 1963, 'How Sweet It Is'. Gaye's early recordings are in the classic mold of 1960's Motown, mixing an upbeat tempo with an optimistic attitude. Nearly every song will be readily identifiable to anyone who lived through the era. Next up is 'Ain't That Peculiar', 'Grapevine', and two Ashford & Simpson compositions, performed as duets with Tammi Terrell, 'You're All I Need To Get By' and 'Your Precious Love'. One other duet, with Diana Ross, 'My Mistake', appears later in the collection. 'Too Busy Thinking About My Baby' and 'That's the Way Love Is' lead the way to the summit of the collection.In 1971 Gaye released his seminal, groundbreaking album, 'What's Going On'. For the first time, Marvin does his own writing and production, and most significantly changes focus from romantic to brotherly love. Compact Command Performances features the 3 most influential numbers from that disc, the title track, 'Mercy Mercy Me' and 'Inner City Blues'. These three songs, while dark in disposition, provide a healthy contrast to the 'pop' mood dominating the rest of the disc. Marvin is still in a soulful groove, but the lyrics of these three numbers, as well as the subsequent 'Trouble Man', address the compelling social ills of this turbulent era, many of which we remain saddled with in some form today. These songs have not lost their social relevance, and their musical appeal is timeless as well. Despite their despondant mood, the songs manage to convey a glimmer of hope that mankind and society can rise above these challenges.The last three songs on the disc return to the pop flavor of Gaye's earlier works, but with a twist of mid-70's funk of the Curtis Mayfield variety. 'Let's Get It On', and the nearly 12 minutes of 'Got To Give It Up' elicit the requisite toe tapping, finger snapping, and an intoxicated, ridiculous grin on your face. Sandwiched between is 'I Want You', perhaps the only number which could have been omitted from the list, given it's rather indistinct melody and lyrics. You will have to wade through it to finish out your Gaye experience on the bouncy, evolving and expanding notes of 'Got To Give It Up'...I paid fifty cents for my copy. It may well be the best four bits I ever spent."
A Lot Of Marvin Gaye CDs - Still Plenty Of Missing Hits
running_man | 08/18/2007
(3 out of 5 stars)
"I'm not entirely surprised another reviewer got his copy so cheaply, and that the used price shown here is practically a give-away. I paid $2.50 for mine at a flea-market.
First of all, I truly believe that fans of this giant of the industry are fed up with seeing his material offered up in cheap packages with no background notes [absolutely none here] and minimal selections, usually from 12 to 15. AND, for the most part, always offering essentially the same selections over and over and over.
Yes, I Heard It Through The Grapevine was THE seminal 1960s hit -some say the greatest such tune ever - and yes How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You), the duets shown here with Tammi Terrell, and things like Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology), Let's Get It On, and Too Busy Thinkin' About My Baby, are all important hits from that era. But do they have to be on EVERY Marvin Gaye compilation?
If Motown really wishes to get his many fans excited, then how about putting together a volume 2 compilation which includes these tunes, easily the most difficult to find in their original format: Try It Baby (# 15 Billboard Hot 100 in June 1964 with The Temptations on backing vocal) and Baby Don't You Do It (# 27 Hot 100 in September 1964) [Note that the R&B charts had been suspended in 1964]; Pretty Little Baby (# 16 R&B/# 25 Hot 100 in July 1965); One More Heartache (# 4 R&B/# 29 Hot 100 in February 1966); Your Unchanging Love (7 R&B/# 23 Hot 100 in July 1967); Chained (# 8 R&B/# 32 Hot 100 in Seotember 1968); Keep On Lovin' Me Honey [a 11 R&B/# # 24 Hot 100 duet with Tammi in October 1968); and You [# 7 R&B and # 34 Hot 100 in February 1968).
And those are just the Top 40 Hoi 100 missing hits from the 1960s. In the meantime, if you can get a copy of this one at a relatively cheap price, go for it as the sound reproduction at least is flawless."