Although technically credited to "The Jackson Five featuring Michael Jackson," Joyful Jukebox Music (1976) was actually issued after the quintet split from Motown, their home for five years and a total of 11 long-players. The majority of the contents had been cut several years earlier circa the sessions that yielded Skywriter (1973) and Get It Together (1973). As Tito, Jermaine, Marlon, Randy and Michael had yet to surface with any new material from their freshly-inked deal with Epic Records, Motown was understandably eager to get their platters on the air and in the racks before the competition. One primary correlation connecting tracks on this collection to those aforementioned LPs and many of the band's earlier successes is the involvement of Freddie Perren (keyboard) and Fonce Mizell (keyboards). The pair were part of the Corporation, Motown's team of producers, musicians and composers whose elite membership also consisted of Bobby Taylor, Deke Richards (guitar) and the label's co-founder Berry Gordy. While certainly releasable, enthusiasts will be able to tell why the majority of the selections had originally been delegated to the cutting-room. That certainly shouldn't suggest that the entire affair is a washout as the lovely ballad "Through Thick and Thin," and the Perren co-penned up-tempo jiver "Make Tonight All Mine" are arguably better than anything that had turned up on either Skywriter or Get It Together. When dipping into the incalculably voluminous Motown back catalog, they only come up with an interesting, though ultimately dissatisfying, if not excessive overhaul of Marvin Gaye's "Pride and Joy." Worse still are the self-serving schmaltzy "We're Here to Entertain You" and the equally unnecessary closer "We're Gonna Change Our Style." Granted, compilers may have considered it as a fitting harbinger to the next stage in the Jacksons career, however modern ears will probably dismiss it as extraneous filler. In 2004, Hip-O Select compiled both Joyful Jukebox Music and the odds and sods Boogie (1979) onto a single double-player and limited-edition package, making them available for the first time on CD.
AllMusic Review by Lindsay Planer