At first glance, this brief set would appear to be a nice introduction to Marvin Gaye, containing songs from several the phases of his career, from "I Heard It Through the Grapevine" to "Sexual Healing." Don't be deceived, though. While it doesn't state it anywhere on the outer packaging, these are all live selections and not the studio versions most folks will think they're getting. Gaye was a compelling performer in any medium, but live on-stage he found it difficult to translate the hushed, intimate feel of his studio recordings and he apparently felt he had to resort to grand gestures (which even included taking his clothes off) to put the songs over with audiences. None of these versions can hold a candle to its studio counterpart. There are enough Gaye collections on the market that do include the studio hits, so there's no reason to pick up this deceptive set.
Hall of Fame Review
by Steve Leggett