Marvin Gaye - What's going on?
Considered one of the best soul albums of all time, if not one of the best albums of all time, What's going on as an album emerged as a concept after Marvin Gaye wrote the title track. Motown and Berry Gordy asked Marvin to come up with a whole album in the style.
A complete change from the upbeat popular music which he used to sing, What's going on is a collage of sentimental musings about the earth, peace and love. And don't forget the children. While it could have descended into pure schmalz it is saved by Marvin's gorgeous vocal skills, and the classic music that underpins the lyrics.
And it has its funkier moments, such as in 'Save the children','God is Love', and 'Mercy Mercy Me', later covered by Robert Palmer. A beautiful funky rhythm is backed by soaring strings as well as the splendid vocal harmonies.
All these songs and the others on the album segue into one another so that the album really does stand as a whole and to listen to any one song is to miss the whole experience.
Side 2 does not reach up to the high standards set by side one but is worthwhile nevertheless.
I'm on my third copy of this album right now. I bought a cheap copy some years ago which I was never happy with the sound quality of. I replaced this a few months ago with the current 180grm issue with the gold stamp on the front. imagine my chagrin when checking the deadwax I discovered that it was from the same stamper as my previous copy. The actual vinyl was higher quality but the sound was the same and had a quite wooly bass.
Finally I picked up an early original American copy. This, while still not of audiophile quality, is a noticeable improvement on the previous two. Even though its quite a worn pressing its my favourite copy.
All of the above are gatefold issues with lyrics and a little piece penned by Marvin himself.