Marvin Gaye: Trouble Man [40th Anniversary Expanded Edition] [Digipak]

Track List

>Main Theme from Trouble Man [2]
>"T" Plays It Cool
>Poor Abbey Walsh
>Break In, The (Police Shoot Big)
>Cleo's Apartment
>Trouble Man
>Theme from Trouble Man
>"T" Stands for Trouble
>Main Theme from Trouble Man
>Life Is a Gamble
>Don't Mess with Mr. "T"
>There Goes Mr. "T"
>Main Theme from Trouble Man [2] [Alternate Take with Strings] - (alternate take)
>"T" Plays It Cool [Unedited Version]
>Poor Abbey Walsh, Pt. 2 [Take 1] - (take)
>Poor Abbey Walsh, Pt. 2 [Take 2] - (take)
>Trouble Man [Extended Version]
>Theme from Trouble Man [Vocal Version]
>"T" Stands for Trouble [Unedited Vocal Version]
>"T" Stands for Trouble [Alternate Version]
>Main Theme from Trouble Man [Vocal Version]
>Trouble Man
>Pool Hall
>"T" Plays It Cool
>Cadillac Interlude/Cleo's Apartment
>Man Tied Up/Jimmy's West/Conversation with Cleo
>Crap Game [aka The Break In]/Getting Rid of Body/Talking to Angel
>Outside Police Station
>Bowling Alley Parking Lot
>Stick Up
>Closing Jimmy's
>Police Break In
>"T" Cleans Up/Police Station
>Packing Up/Jimmy Gets Worked/Saying Goodbye/"T" Breaks In/Movie Theater
>Car Ride/Looking for Pete
>Parking Garage/Elevator
>Getting Pete
>My Name Is "T"/End Credits
>"T" at the Cross

Album Reviews:

Mojo (Publisher) (6/02, p.66) - Included in Mojo's "100 Coolest Movie Soundtracks" - "...A work of infintie beauty incorporating intricate jazz, delicious funk and Trevor Lawrence's wailing sax."

Album Notes

Personnel includes: Marvin Gaye (vocals, piano, Moog); Trevor Lawrence (alto, tenor & baritone saxophones).

Originally released on Tamla (322) in December, 1972.

All tracks have been digitally remastered using 20-bit technology by Gavin Lurssen at The Mastering Lab, Los Angeles, California.

Audio Mixer: John Morales.

Liner Note Authors: Andrew Flory; George Tillman, Jr.; Joni Mitchell; Cameron Crowe.

Photographer: Jim Britt.

In 1972, things were rapidly shifting in Marvin Gaye's world. He was coming off of one of his most wide-reaching hit albums with 1971's instant classic What's Going On, and his recording contract with Motown subsidiary Tamla was renewed for a cool million dollars and total creative control, making him one of the most successful R&B artists of his day. With Motown's offices migrating west from Detroit to Los Angeles, Gaye followed suit, beginning work on Trouble Man, both the score to a blaxploitation film of the same name and the soundtrack that would be his next album. With minimal singing (Gaye sings through only the title track, adding fragmentary vocalizations minimally throughout the rest of the album), Gaye wrote, arranged, and conducted the entire soundtrack, working with both Motown players and a full orchestra over the course of its recording. It's been speculated by some that Trouble Man was a concerted effort to move away from the expectations of a carbon-copy follow-up to the almost immeasurably high standards of What's Going On, but it's best to look at the record as an entity unto itself rather than the next Marvin Gaye album in the chain. Though largely absent of his one-of-a-kind vocal presence, the arrangements are richer and more sophisticated than the majority of early blaxploitation fare, with some of the same theatricality and filmic urgency of the best Morricone or David Axelrod soundtracks. With instrumentation more ambitious than even the enormity of What's Going On, Trouble Man never stays in one place for long. "'T' Plays It Cool" paints a hustling cityscape with its solid beat and nervous synthesizer bubbles. Plaintive sax trades verses with rudimentary keyboards and Marvin's soulful wails on "Life Is a Gamble," and mournful passages of chamber strings give way to bounding funk grooves. Isaac Hayes' Shaft soundtrack would become debatably more widely remembered than the movie it scored, and Curtis Mayfield's Superfly soundtrack had a similar reception. Likewise, Trouble Man the soundtrack album outperformed Trouble Man the movie by leaps and bounds, enjoying Top 20 chart success in its day while the movie sank rapidly into obscurity. Looking at the album outside the trends of its era and inward to the art that Gaye was sculpting shows Trouble Man as a mostly wordless statement on the rapidly changing times for both young black America and Marvin's personal life. The compositions well over with equal parts tension and detached cool, moving through modes of heartbreaking struggle, searching wonder, and playful street scenes. While it's been relegated to the lesser status of Gaye's one-off blaxploitation soundtrack, it rises far above the wandering wah-wah guitars and dated bongos of its peers. Trouble Man might not be as immediate or universally relatable as Gaye's soul-searching on What's Going On or his later sensual fixations, but a deep listen will show it's very much part of the same overarching genius that touched all of his work. ~ Fred Thomas


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