Trouble Man [40th Anniversary Expanded Edition]

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
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 ...
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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Fred Thomas
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. [This expanded 40th anniversary edition includes the original LP, original film score, and also outtakes and working sketches from the recording sessions.]
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Product Details

  • Release Date: 11/19/2012
  • Label: Hip-O Select
  • UPC: 602537184040
  • Catalog Number: 1767602

Album Credits

Performance Credits
Marvin Gaye Primary Artist, Piano, Tambourine, Vocals, Hand Clapping, Finger Snapping
Victor Feldman Bongos, Wood Block
Ron Brown Bass
Wilton Felder Bass
Clare Fischer Organ, Synthesizer
Jack Hayes Piano, Vocals
Trevor Lawrence Saxophone
Larry Mizell Piano, Electric Piano
Earl Palmer Drums
Emil Richards Timpani, Guiro
Leo Shuken Piano, Vocals
Louis Shelton Guitar
Don Peake Guitar
Technical Credits
Marvin Gaye Composer, Producer, Piano Overdubs
Joni Mitchell Liner Notes
Gene Page String Arrangements
Jack Hayes Arranger
J.J. Johnson Arranger
Jerry Long Arranger
Dale Oehler Arranger, Horn Arrangements, rhythm arrangement
Kevin Reeves Mastering
Art Stewart Engineer, overdub engineer
Russ Terrana Engineer, overdub engineer
Harry Weinger Producer
Cameron Crowe Liner Notes
Vartan Art Direction
Leo Shuken Arranger
Bob Ragland Arranger, String Arrangements, Piano Arrangement
Ryan Null Photo Coordination
Michele Horie Producer
Andrew Skurow Tape Vault Research
James Carmichael Horn Arrangements
George Tillman Jr. Liner Notes
Andrew Flory Producer, Liner Notes
Cal Harris Engineer, overdub engineer
Andrew Labarrere Licensing
Sujata Murthy Publicity
Lawrence Miles Engineer, overdub engineer
William McMeekin Engineer, overdub engineer
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