Welcome to Mark Barry's Review Blog - SOUNDS GOOD, LOOKS GOOD. It features in-depth reviews for Quality CD Reissues/Remasters - all with Discography Info (Amazon UK Top 10 Reviewer).
With over 1600 posts - genres covered include Rock, Pop, Soul, Funk, Jazz Fusion, Blues, Rhythm 'n' Blues, Doo Wop, Vocal Groups, 1960s and 1970s, Prog, Psych, Punk, New Wave, Reggae and more. I also extensively review Blu Rays issues for Modern and Classic Movies.
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Tuesday, 6 May 2014
“Trouble Man – 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition” by MARVIN GAYE – A Review Of The 2012/2013 2CD Reissue And Remaster By Hip-O Select
This review is part of my
"SOUNDS GOOD: Exceptional CD Remasters Soul, Funk & Jazz
Fusion" Download Book available to buy on Amazon to either your PC or Mac
(it will download the Kindle software to read the book for free to your toolbar).
Click on the link below to go my Author's Page for this and other related
"…A Little Different Time Wise…"
Trouble Man 40th Anniversary Extended Edition (2CDs) by MARVIN GAYE
As I sit here listening to Marvin instructing Trevor
Lawrence the Saxophone player on the Alternate Version of "T" Stands
For Trouble on Disc 1 (dialogue above) – I’m properly drooling. This is just
stunning stuff - and as a veteran of nearly 1400 reviews (hundreds for Soul) –
I can safely say that this gorgeous 2CD set may just well be the coolest
reissue ever put out in digital history.
While 1971’s "What's Going On" and 1973's
"Let's Get It On" are regularly acknowledged as Soul masterpieces and
name-checked by everyone who is everyone in love with music that genuinely
touches you – real fans have always had a rush to the head at the mere sight of
1972’s "Trouble Man" on vinyl. Gaye himself seemed to rate it as his
best work and on the evidence presented to us on this fabulous 2013 overhaul –
hot like an oven – doesn’t even come close to how good Marvin was at the time. So
let’s get to the Blax facts right away…
Released November 2012 in the USA (January 2013 in the UK) –
Hip-O Select B0017676-02 breaks downs as follows:
Disc 1 (73:41 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 13 are the album "Trouble Man" –
originally released December 1972 in the USA on Tamla T322L and February 1973
in the UK on Tamla Motown STML 11225. The American issue famously came in a
die-cut sleeve with a flap that had him seated beneath the flap – the UK
version came in a single laminated cover with no flap and only the seated
Tracks 14 to 22 are all PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED BONUS TRACKS
called The “T” Sessions
Disc 2 (47:37 minutes):
Tracks 1 to 19 are "Trouble Man Original Film
Score" (in MONO) which features the movie score chronologically
reconstructed for the first time since release over 40 years ago. It is
PREVIOUSLY UNRELEASED in this form.
Track 20 is a Film Band Bonus of "T" At The Cross
The three-way fold out digipak looks the business – the CDs
are the same colour as the 1973 American Tamla label while the centre pages of
the booklet picture the shot of Marvin sat in his chair from the die-cut
sleeve. Under the see-through plastic trays are snaps of tape boxes for Side 1
and 2 and each flap has lovely colour shots of the great man. Very tasty…
But the booklet is a mixture of the beautiful and the
baffling – it’s 28 pages are gorgeous – filled with Motown Archive memorabilia,
stuff from the collection of Mathieu Bitton, British and American trade adverts
from the time, full colour spreads - even Turkish and Japanese pressings of
rare singles. There are superb contributions from fans like Joni Mitchell,
Lenny Kravitz, movie legend Cameron Crowe and filmmaker George Tillman Jr.
(Soul Food, Men Of Honor and Notorious) –as well as reminiscences from the album’s
song arranger Dale Oehler (Joni used him for "The Hissing Of Summer
Lawns") and the lone guest musician Trevor Lawrence who played Saxophone
(Marvin played everything else). All this and detailed annotation on the
sessions on the last set of pages etc.All good…
But then when you get to Page 17 of the Andrew Flory liner
notes and the last sentence starts "Less than a year after its release,
Trouble…" – you turn over the page – and nothing! It’s not continued
because someone’s obviously missed a whole set of paragraphs. It’s staggering
sloppy for such a classy looking reissue.
But although that’s a goof worth pointing out – in truth
it’s a sideshow to the real deal for long-time Gaye fans and lovers of this
nugget album – the BEAUTIFUL NEW REMASTERED SOUND and STUNNING PREVIOUSLY
ANDREW SKAROW did tape Research, JOHN MORALES mixed the
bonus tracks and long-standing Universal Engineer KEVIN REEVES did the overall
remaster. The work is exceptionally good – full of muscle and power. The
booklet informs us that the 'reconstruction of the score for Disc 2 was
painstaking' and it sounds it – segments I’ve never heard finally mixed in with
what punters saw on the night. Some of it seems to fade out prematurely but I
suspect that is to do what they had to work with. Other than that – track after
track – and you’re hit with sonic clarity and warmth that is thrilling.
I’ve had the 1998 CD remaster for years and this version is
better – more detail and without being over-trebled for the sake of it. The
punch off some of the tracks is shocking – and who can resist the only single
taken off the album "Trouble Man b/w Don’t Mess With Mister
"T"" – it sounds glorious.
The Bonus Tracks on Disc 1 for me are the best – the
Unedited Vocal Version of "T" Stands For Trouble” is brill – huge
sound and sexy rhythms – with Marvin scatting over the cool rhythm and Sax.
Over 300 tiny sound cue segments were recorded for the movie
and for this reissue the usable cues have been painstakingly cobbled together
to make a cohesive whole. It’s easy to see why music-hall crud like "Pool
Hall" was left off the album but slink like "Cadillac
Interlude/Cleo's Apartment", "Crap Game…", "Outside Police
Station", "Cleaners/Cleo" and the sexy patter of
"Penthouse" are so good and moodily atmospheric that they make you
want to check out the actual movie itself (well almost). Although the Film Band
Bonus “T” At The Cross is probably the worst audio on here – it’s string
arrangement is lovely and I can hear why it was included despite the wall of
hiss that comes at you as it plays.
Apart from the presentation glitch – this is yet another
superb Hip-O Select Motown release (they did the award-winning Singles Box Sets
Volumes 1 to 12A).
As the years go by – his legend grows – and I’ll be honest –
this fabulous reissue made me shed a tear. Put the blame on Mister T people…