Monday, 19 November 2018

Jackson 5 - Lookin' Through The Windows (1972)


  

Released May 1972

This was the album that saw child prodigy Michael Jackson's voice deepen and broaden in its range. It is a (comparatively) mature album, in that it is not completely aimed at the younger end of the teenage market. It is a pretty standard early seventies Motown album - a selection of original singles, some original album cuts, three covers and a cover of a song made famous by other Motown artists. The album has been re-released in superb seventies-style Motown stereo, which I love. The cover art shows the boys looking suitably "adult" and serious.

TRACK LISTING

1. Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing
2. Lookin' Through The Windows
3. Don't Let Your Baby Catch You
4. To Know
5. Doctor My Eyes
6. Little Bitty Pretty One
7. Ee-Ne-Me-Nee-Mi-Nee-Moe (The Choice Is Yours)
8. If I Have To Move A Mountain
9. Don't Want To See Tomorrow
10. Children Of The Light
11. I Can Only Give You Love
12. Love Song

"Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" (Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell's 1968 hit) is covered excellently, making you not wish you were listening to the more familiar one, but able to appreciate this version. "Lookin' Through The Windows" was a superb, harmonious, catchy and soulful single, deservedly a big hit. "Don't Let Your Baby Catch You", while being a bit of an "ABC" remake, also has some funky bass and wah-wah guitar on it beside that trademark bubblegum sound, hinting at the moves into more funky material that were to come over the next few years. Subtly, this was a bit of a transitional album. "To Know" is a delicious, slow tempo soul groove, with Michael's voice showing those slightly deepening tones. The bass and brass sounds are wonderful on here.

The boys' cover of Jackson Browne's "Doctor My Eyes" is a poppy but funkily rocking success. It also was a big hit single. "Little Bitty Pretty One", a fifties cover, features all the boys on shared lead vocals and is vibrant, catchy and singalong. The appallingly titled "Ee-Nee-Mee-Nee-Mi-Nee-Moe (The Choice is Yours)" is actually an enjoyable enough piece of Jackson 5 fun, but it already sounds considerably more "retro" than the rest of the album's material, harking back to 1969-1970.  "If I Have To Move A Mountain" finds Michael still in high voice mode on a syrupy ballad. I would put money that it was a track that dated from earlier sessions. "Don't Want To See Tomorrow" has a Spanish introductory vocal and some Latin rhythms before it settles into a pulsating Motown groove. It has a great funky break in the middle too. "Children Of The Light" is such an early seventies, fun track. It is funny that I listen to this every now and again, dating back to when I was thirteeen/fourteen and Michael Jackson was the same age. Now he is long gone, and I am an ageing man. I do find it beautifully nostalgic, though. "I Can Only Give You Love" is a typical Jackson 5 number, all the brothers joining in and a really hooky refrain and rhythm. Good stuff.

Overall, as Motown albums go, this is certainly not a bad one, it is superior to similar ones put out by artists such as The Supremes or The Four Tops from the same period.

B-

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