The Jackson 5

Joyful Jukebox Music/Boogie

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With the release of the Joyful Jukebox Music/Boogie (2004) two-fer, all ten Jackson 5 Motown long-players -- not counting seasonal or best-of offerings -- were properly remastered and issued in the digital domain. When Joyful Jukebox Music (1976) made it into stores, it bore the credit "The Jackson Five Featuring Michael Jackson." As the singing siblings had recently signed with the Epic label, and in a bid to get their wares to market before the competition, Motown gathered leftovers from the quintet's earlier platters, primarily circa the Skywriter (1973) and Get It Together (1973) era. It isn't difficult to hear why the majority of the material was initially shelved, especially the unnecessary update of Marvin Gaye's early hit "Pride and Joy." The worst offender is the pseudo-retrospective and self-aggrandizing "We're Here to Entertain You," which is less of a musical autobiography than simply syrupy and disingenuous. Similarly out of sync is "We're Gonna Change Our Style," practically parodying their evolution from the fusion of pop and soul to four-on-the-floor funk and disco. There are a few saving graces, such as the upbeat throw-down "Make Tonight All Mine" -- co-written by former Corporation member Freddie Perren -- the lovely and sincere ballad "Through Thick and Thin" and the Philly soul arrangement on "You're My Best Friend, My Love." In the most literal sense of the phrase, the second album included on the package, Boogie (1979), is an odds-and-ends anthology spanning the Jackson Five's six-year ('69-'75) stint with Motown. By the end of the '70s, the Jacksons -- as they were called at the time -- had successfully reinvented themselves thanks to Michael's streak of creativity that netted the post-Motown smashes "Enjoy Yourself" and "Shake Your Body (Down to the Ground)," not to mention his own chart-toppers "Don't Stop ('Til You Get Enough)" and "Rock with You." The selections on Boogie range from interesting remixes of seminal Jackson Five smashes "ABC," "Never Can Say Goodbye," and "Dancing Machine" to the Bobby Taylor-penned "Oh, I've Been Blessed" from the very first sessions the Jacksons cut for Motown. It is notably the same version that supplemented the play list of 2001's Diana Ross Presents the Jackson 5/ABC with bonus tracks. Hardcore and keen-eared listeners may also detect similarities between Taylor, as well as the Four Tops' exceedingly analogous readings. A final goody exclusive to this assemblage is the concluding full-length "Hum Along and Dance" that clocks in just seconds shy of a quarter-hour. A much shorter edit of the Barrett Strong/Norman Whitfield composition was used on the Jackson 5's Get It Together, while Rare Earth -- whose rendering exceeded the 17-minute mark -- as well as the Temptations had recorded it earlier.

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