Uncut (magazine) - "[This volume] illustrates how, once Gaye had become the first Motown artist to be granted autonomous creative control, he changed the trajectory of black music."
Recording information: Marvin Gaye Studios, London, England; Seawest Recording Studio.
Illustrator: Ernie Barnes.
Photographer: Jim Britt.
Marvin Gaye's artistic peak -- an 11-year period that involved brilliant, pensive soul and undervalued film music, the sweetest quiet-storm slow jams and the sourest post-split ballads -- is covered on the third and final volume of box sets bundling the man's Motown and Tamla albums. It contains What's Going On (1971), Trouble Man (1972), Let's Get It On (1973), Diana & Marvin (1973), I Want You (1976), Here, My Dear (1978), and In Our Lifetime (1981), all of which peaked within the Top Ten of the Billboard soul chart. Each album appears as it was originally released. Unlike the expanded and deluxe editions issued during the '90s and 2000s, there are no bonus tracks, so the great non-album singles from the era, such as "You're the Man" (1972) and "Ego Tripping Out" (1979), are not included. The same goes for "Got to Give It Up," the studio-bonus fourth side of Live at the London Palladium. Even though it's missing some of the best material Gaye recorded during the era, it's a sharp package that retains the sonic and graphic integrity of one of the most fascinating decade-plus studio runs. As with the first two volumes, the 180-gram vinyl edition comes with a download card, while the much cheaper CD edition is in a compact box that holds each disc inside an LP replica sleeve. ~ Andy Kellman