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MARVIN PLAYS IT COOL...,
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This review is from: Trouble Man: 40th Anniversary Expanded Edition (Audio CD)
Often seen as a stop-gap between the classics WHAT'S GOIN' ON (1971) and LET'S GET IT ON (1973), Marvin Gaye's soundtrack to the "Blaxploitation" pot-boiler TROUBLE MAN (1972) has now - thanks to this anniversary make-over - been elevated to its rightful status as a key part of the artist's catalogue.
The TROUBLE MAN album is a deliciously cool and funky blend of smooth saxophone (courtesy of Trevor Lawrence); insistent, driving percussion; and haunting, jazz-flavoured piano with tinges of cutting-edge Moog synthesizer provided by Marvin Gaye himself. By and large, Gaye allows his vocal prowess to take a back seat here to let his instrumental ideas deliver the atmosphere. Intriguingly, we now get not just the original album beautifully remastered but also the complete music score from the film itself to create two quite different listening experiences. Regarding the film score, much of Gaye's work was, due to the necessity of Gaye having to meld the sounds to particular scenes, broken down into numerous short cues, some of which last around a minute or so; conversely, with the soundtrack album, Gaye constructed a virtually continuous suite to provide a more balanced and flowing programme of music for home enjoyment.
Right up until his death, Marvin Gaye claimed that TROUBLE MAN was one of the albums for which he held the most pride. Now re-packaged with a well-written and highly detailed booklet, the recording can now quite happily take its place among his major works, and in turn be listed alongside the likes of Isaac Hayes' SHAFT and Curtis Mayfield's SUPERFLY within a genre where the soundtrack music often outshone the quality of the films it was written to accompany.