Looked at from one angle, this is one more not terribly necessary compilation culled from the Gaye (and indeed the Motown) catalog, getting yet more mileage from songs that have largely been easily available for years, often on several different discs. It could also be contended that the selection of this anthology of 15 1971-1981 tracks to represent Gaye's funk sensibilities is arguable, if not arbitrary. No "Let's Get It On"? No "Trouble Man"? Getting past all that, it does offer a look at a general facet of Gaye's work and specific tracks from his discography (the hits "Got to Give It Up, Pt. 2" and "Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler)" aside) that are often relatively neglected by Gaye fans and critics. In truth, Gaye's most funkified sides weren't his best, though they were sometimes his most lustful (as the wordless female sighs on "Since I Had You" prove most graphically). But he combined sweet soul with funk more effectively than most, and it sounds better combined into one lengthy (78-minute) CD than it does scattered here and there throughout his later releases. And while much of this has been easy to find on Gaye's standard album releases from the period, a number of them are off the beaten track even if they have appeared on other reissue CDs, like his ultra-groovy 1972 anti-Richard Nixon single "You're the Man, Pts. 1-2"; the far less memorable 1979 disco-mild rap single "Ego Tripping Out"; the 1971 recording "Checking Out (Double Clutch)," which first appeared on the box set The Master; and 1972's "The World Is Rated X," which first came out on 1995's Anthology, and isn't quite as intriguing as its title portends. So it's not a bad impulse buy if you're in the mood for Gaye as Mr. Funky, though conscientious completist collectors of the artist will probably prefer to collect this material via other albums and anthologies.
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AllMusic Review by Richie Unterberger