Monday, 19 November 2018

The Jackson 5




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The albums covered here are:-

ABC (1970)
Third Album (1970)
and Looking Through The Windows (1972)

Scroll down to read the reviews.

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ABC (1970)

1. The Love You Save
2. One More Chance
3. ABC
4. 2-4-6-8
5. (Come 'Round Here) I'm The One You Need
6. Don't Know Why I Love You
7. Never Had A Dream Come True
8. True Love Can Be Beautiful
9. La La (Means I Love You)
10. I'll Bet You
11. Found That Girl
12. The Young Folks     

This, of course, is basically a fun, enjoyable teenage (almost sub-teenage) album. It is excellent, invigorating, effervescent quality Motown pop, however and should be assessed positively as such. It is simply an enjoyable half hour's listen that will put you in a better mood for the day.
                 
The hit singles The Love You Save and ABC follow that bubblegum-ish formula, but they are classic infectious, singalong pop, as to is the similar One More Chance2-4-6-8 is another playground-inspired song to win over a young audience.

There is also some good soul material on here too - (Come Round Here) I'm The One You NeedNever Had A Dream Come True and True Love Can Be Beautiful. Michael could carry a soul song, even at such a young age. The cover of The DelfonicsLa La Means I Love You is convincing and I'll Bet You is a surprisingly funky, horn-driven Temptations-esque number that is delivered in a mature style beyond their energetic years. Found That Girl has Jermaine on lead vocals and also has a solid soulfulness.

The sound quality is excellent too. Quality Motown stereo.

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THIRD ALBUM (1970)

1. I'll Be There
2. Ready Or Not (Here I Come)
3. Oh How Happy
4. Bridge Over Troubled Water
5. Can I See You In The Morning
6. Goin' Back To Indiana
7. How Funky Is Your Chicken
8. Mama's Pearl
9. Reach In
10. The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage
11. Darling Dear               
                              
This album starts perfectly, with I'll Be There, possibly The Jackson 5's finest ever song. It is just the definitive Motown soul ballad. Michael's vocal is sumptuous. This album was a transitional one between the bubblegum, pre-teen pop of the first two to a group wanting to be taken seriously asa credible soul group. The DelfonicsReady Or Not (Here I Come) is covered superbly, packed full of soul. Oh How Happy has Jermaine's deep voice on lead vocals on an appealing poppy number with some gospel undertones. This has been a great start to the album, but unfortunately, it is now time for the by now seemingly obligatory cover of Simon & Garfunkel's Bridge Over Troubled Water. All Motown artists did one. Actually, they do it well, with Jermaine on lead again and some super harmonies, but there is no need for it, really.

Can I See You In The Morning has some excellent fuzz guitar and funky wah-wah too. It sounds very Temptations, psychedelic soul-esque. Michael produces one of his first great, soulful vocals. Good stuff. This is a seriously underrated track. Going Back To Indiana is a lively, poppy piece of rocking soul. It has a killer guitar solo in the middle too. How Funky Is Your Chicken gets in on the whole Stax/Rufus Thomas Funky Chicken craze. Mama's Pearl was a big hit single, and is in the ABC/I Want You Back/The Love You Save upbeat, totally irresistible vein. Listening to it even now is just such a pleasure. It is full of youthful vigour and energy.

Reach In is credible, adult-oriented Motown soul. The Love I Saw In You Was Just A Mirage is instantly recognisable as a Smokey Robinson song. Michael does it justice. Darling Dear is another acceptable soul number to end what is a most pleasurable half hour's listen. Nice Motown stereo sound too.

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LOOKIN' THROUGH THE WINDOWS (1972)

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                    

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.
                    
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-Ne-Me-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 possibly superior overall to similar ones put out by artists such as The Supremes or The Four Tops from the same period.

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