Thursday, 6 December 2018

The Jackson 5 - Third Album (1970)

How funky is your chicken....


Released September 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 Delfonics' Ready 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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