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Trouble Man [40th Anniversary Expanded Edition]
     

Trouble Man [40th Anniversary Expanded Edition]

by Marvin Gaye
 

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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

Overview

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.]

Product Details

Release Date:
11/19/2012
Label:
Hip-O Select
UPC:
0602537184040
catalogNumber:
1767602

Related Subjects

Tracks

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
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   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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