Marvin Gaye’s Greatest Hits Live In ˜76 is finally available on CD and vinyl
The superlatives and accolades are too numerous for one of Motown Records’ driving forces. As he transcended R&B and Soul music for over two decades, Marvin Gaye’s songwriting abilities embraced empowering love songs like “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” while addressing urgent social matters on “What’s Going On.” His body of work was recognized in the Rhythm and Blues Hall of Fame and Songwriters’ Hall of Fame, amongst other lifetime accomplishments. In studio and on stage, Gaye’s soulfully charged voice connected to all his fans in whatever he sang and no matter where. While Gaye released a half dozen live recordings (3 of them posthumous), one was unavailable except on DVD in 2007 -until now.
Marvin Gaye: Greatest Hits Live In ˜76 (Mercury Studios), which is now available on CD and Vinyl, highlights Gaye as a naturally gifted entertainer who was gracious and knew how to wow and woo the crowd. Undoubtedly, those who were present in Amsterdam were enamored by Gaye’s magnetizing personality. The concert begins a bit sluggishly with excessive talking on song #2, “Since I Had You.” But eventually Gaye hit his full stride on “Let’s Get It On.” Then the audiences screamed for his smooth love pleas on the ‘oldies but goodies’ from the 60’s in a 10-song medley, including “Ain’t That Peculiar,” “How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)” and “I Heard It Through the Grapevine.”
Gaye wisely ties his significant message songs together: “Inner City Blues (“Make Me Wanna Holler), “Save The Children” and “What’s Going On,” so the audience can better appreciate his voice concerning critical issues that still echo in today’s political climate. For the 4-song medley celebrating the female duets, Gaye invites Florence Lyles who especially graces “Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing,” and “Heaven Must Have Sent You.”
Overall, the band’s musical intensity – especially with the percussion – works for Gaye’s effervescent stage presence. A few of the songs on the 10-song segment could have received individual attention, instead of being squished into slightly speeded up orchestral arrangements. Special kudos goes to the digital mastering from the original analog, which could have resulted in an occasional muddled mess considering the big band accompaniment. This audio collection of Gaye’s Greatest Hits from Amsterdam has been a long time waiting for fans and those who are discovering his genius musical mind. 4.5 out of 5 stars
The Urban Music Scene