Monday, 30 November 2009

The Jackson 5 - I Want You Back! Unreleased Masters - 2009 - Motown

If you saw this release and dismissed it then you're really going to regret it. Big time. This is NOT a crass cash-in on the tragic passing of the genius who was Michael Jackson, nor is it a collection of lollipop pop / soul from the early 70s. It's crammed with some superb Jackson tunes that really should not have been left off their Motown albums. I seriously recommend this on many levels. I have always loved Michael Jackson and it was always obvious that this (then) child star was going to be HUGE. These songs, crafted by the likes of Willie Hutch, Stevie Wonder, Bobby Taylor, the Corporation, Hal Davis and Johnny Bristol are brilliant, with one or two real gems that are beyond essential. How or why these songs were usurped for others is beyond my ken, but thanks to Universal Records stalwart Harry Weinger, they are under the spotlight now. The Freddie Perren-written hand clapper "That's How Love Is" is very well crafted and probably the most crossover song here - this could so easily have been a winner on the hit parade.

The Gene Page arranged, Bobby Taylor penned "Listen I'll Tell You How" from 1969 is a real Motown gem and has the same sort of flavour as Marvin Gaye's "MPG" set - think "It's A Bitter Pill To Swallow" and you're not far off the beaten track. This is superb, it really is. I really am a fan of Smokey Robinson's early '70s sets, and the flavour of the epic cover of Curtis Mayfield's "Man's Temptation"from 1970 harks to Smokey's songs such as "Just My Soul Responding" or "Virgin Man". Utterly brilliant! Another lost hit is "Love Comes In Different Flavors" - a classic sound created by the Corporation in 1970. Willie Hutch's "Love Call" hails from 1972 and the racy pace of the track allows both Jermaine and Michael to interplay perfectly. Such a rich time for music, it's a shame these times are long gone. However, the real shining star on here is the breath taking "Buttercup", a song we all know and love from the late, great Carl Anderson in 1982. Not unlike "All I Do Is Dream About You" which saw it's light of day in 1980, this song was again written by Stevie Wonder for the lads back in 1973 and has only seen the light of day now. This is an essential track and will appeal to lovers of Stevie Wonder's wonderful early 1970s output. I cannot stop playing this track, and I know that once you hear it you will want to snap up this CD. My last pick is the Johnny Bristol track "I'll Try, You Try" which is a socially conscious piece and typical of both Motown at that period and what we came to expect from Johnny's MGM output. Please do not overlook this album as it really is crammed with great material. How much more sits gathering dust in the vaults of Motown?

Barry Towler
The Vibe Scribe

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