Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Baby
58 plays


Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston “It’s Me” (1964, Unreleased. From The Marvin Gaye Collection, 1990)

Kim Weston, in more ways than one, seemed to be, in a number of ways to be Mary Wells #2. But so many successive ways she didn’t meet up to expectations. Not all of them her fault however.

One beacon of brightness was her immediate paring with Marvin Gaye in the wake of the success Gaye had with Mary in the Spring of ‘64 with year old duets. Spurring the pairing along was the massive success Jerry Butler and Betty Everett had in the following months.

The problem being, the chosen lead single “What Good Am I Without You” decidedly traded in sonic patterns and arrangements that harkened back to the sound that got Gaye on the Map as ‘62 turned into ‘63. It performed surprisingly well despite its retrograde sound, moseying it’s way into the Billboard Hot 100. But, if Motown would have gone with a more modern effort, like this very revealing effort that has Kim sounding slightly ghostly with a phased vocal part slightly distorted against Gaye’s crystal clear lead, may have landed the duo a higher ranking, and a bigger launching pad for Weston to carve out her hit making career in ‘65.

Marvin Gaye - A Funky Space Reincarnation
22 plays


SUMMER of FUNK _ A Funky Space Reincarnation ~ Marvin Gaye - from “Here, my Dear" (1978)


Light years ahead
You and me gon be getting down
On a space bed
We gon get married in June
We gon be getting down on the moon
Light years, interplanetary funk
is gonna get down
Star Wars interplanetary funk
Still getting down

Music won’t have no race
Only space, Peaceful space
There is time what a trip
Step inside my little ship
I can tell by your way
That you really wanna stay
In space, funky space
Peaceful space
Terrible place

Wait till I’ve been cool
Hey baby, let’s get in the groove

Girl you look like somebody I met a long time ago
I know I haven’t met you though but
Oooh you look like I haven’t known you for a thousand years
God, just, mmm.. I don’t know what’s happening, y’know, but I
I’m really empowered but every time I be checking you out y’know, my
You give me some other reaction
But it seems to me that the reason we together here
is that we supposed to be together

Come on baby let’s go peace loving
And check out this new smoke
No this thing I got
It ain’t classified as dope
Smoke I got from Venus
Have had it all week
It’s getting old
Come on and try this new thing with me, baby
It’s too cold

Come on now, baby
Let’s take off clean
Get in this here machine
And rocket rocket rocket rocket
Hey little baby
Let’s magnetise
Magnet makes your love rise baby

Ooh sugar, let’s get some more
Why do I feel like I been with you before
Shoot me good with the create gun
Shoot the people and lots of fun
Everybody created
Time and lots of fun
Let’s move the party over to Star One

Alright everybody, we’re moving now to come in for a landing here in Pluto
Now all of you who aren’t groovay
Send you over to the Plutotarium to be Plutotized
Know that that you dig that
And the rest of the group, I know y’all gon’ have a ball
But hey, little miss birdsong! Come here
You follow me

Come on baby come on down
Razzmattazz and all that jazz
Come on baby come on down
Let’s razzmattazz and all that jazz
Let’s plug ourselves in this machine in the ground
Let’s touch each other and feel each other down
Let’s razzmattazz and all that jazz
Say, we need to say what we mean
Plug our hearts into the, the real machine
Let’s razzmattazz and all that jazz
Let’s see if we play, babe
Happiness around
Let’s touch each other
Let’s feel each other’s ass
Let’s razzmattazz, all that jazz
Let’s razzmattazz and all that jazz
Says yeah
Let’s razzmattazz and all that jazz
Says yeah
Let’s touch each other
Let’s feel each other’s ass
Let’s razzmattazz, all that jazz

Well it’s been a fantastic trip, baby
Y’all cut it out
Get another load of funky four
Funky four
Everybody get your hands together
We be right here on time
You better count down, Zac
You ready?

One, fun
Two, you
Three, me
Four, more
Five, no jive
Six, no tricks
Seven, we in heaven
Eight, everything is straight
Nine, fine
Ten, next week
We’ll do it again

Marvin Gaye - Funk Me
62 plays


SUMMER of FUNK _ Funk Me ~ Marvin Gaye - from “In Our Lifetime" (1981)

If you let me girl
I’ll be good to you
I will keep your tender body next to mine
Why don’t you let me lady be good to you
I want to take care of you darlin’
All of your life and make love to you
If you let me baby Oh
I’ll be good to you girl
Cause I love you darlin’
Your out of this World
Please make love with me
My love
Funk Me
Funk Me Funk Me
Funk Me
I need us for me to love
Mother nature taught me love
We don’t really have to freak
You just thrill me when you speak
I can see that your a Star
And I like the way you are
Funking music lights my Fire
Shakes my body sexified
Since we both have lots of love
Send some lovin’ up above
Don’t give me no added vice
See the love that’s in my eyes
All I know is how much I love you Baby
Aw baby you know that I love you girl
Darlin’ I liked to love you right now
right now forever more baby
Watching you over here dancin’ on the floor
It makes me want to love all the more baby
For when we begin
I know my love for you
will never never end
Why don’t you give me a chance
To prove my romance
I don’t know if I can go on without
Having you for my own
Oh father above
Give me this lady to love
So I can love her right now father
All of my love for you to share
Thank you baby anywhere
I want to love you right now
Funk me if you got the lovin’
Got the desire
Funk me if you got the lovin’
Got the desire

Marvin Gaye - What's Happening Brother
30 plays


Marvin Gaye - “What’s Happening Brother”

From the album What’s Going On (1971)

I wasn’t alive in 1971, when Marvin Gaye unleashed this slow-burning, contemplative album of soulful ruminations on the state of the world. From all that I’ve read about Gaye and the times he lived in, though, it seems that life was weighing heavily on his shoulders by this point. He’d had a very successful decade of hit singles with Motown, he’d seen his stock rise after releasing one monster of a song, and money - and all the material possessions it could buy him - were no longer a standing concern. But he’d reached the top of the mountain, and still felt despair; after all, Vietnam was still raging, the assassinations of King and Kennedy three years earlier had cast a pall, and the optimism that was present at the inaugural of President Kennedy just ten years prior seemed to have evaporated. No one was immune to the malaise - not even Marvin Gaye. 

Like any good writer-composer, though (and like many of his musical contemporaries), Gaye channeled his feelings and observations into his art, and produced what many consider to be his finest, deepest work: What’s Going On. The title song, with its slow, jazzy sax intro and that mellow pace, immediately telegraphed to listeners that this wasn’t going to be a rehash of the Northern Soul dance hits like Stubborn Kind of Fellow and Ain’t That Peculiar. Rather, this was going to be slower, more deliberate, more about swaying attitudes than shaking hips. And the second track, What’s Happening Brother, amplified both the album’s mood and its message. 

It’s built on an unusual chord structure, constantly descending down and sounding more mournful gospel than Top 40 pop, with a melody that’s anything but hummable. And yet, Gaye’s weary delivery of lyrics like “Can’t find no work, can’t find no job, my friend / Money is tighter than it’s ever been / Say man, I just don’t understand /What’s going on across this land” not only works, it resonates. And a song about feeling displaced and on shaky footing because of economic tumult, racial unrest, and military hostilities is sadly just as applicable in 2014 as it was in 1971. 

They didn’t have Twitter and Facebook back in the early 70s, of course, and perhaps that served to inoculate people to the heaviness all around them to a slight extent. But in place of social media, they did have messengers like Marvin Gaye, who saw what was going on around them and reported their findings in their music. And even if they didn’t necessarily like what they saw or have any ready answers for their audience, they at least had the power to soothe with their music. It’s something that continues to work well, generations later.  

Marvin Gaye - TRY IT BABY
200 plays


TRY IT BABY - (3:01)

Marvin Gaye