Marvin Gaye

Volume One: 1961-1965

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The first of three sets that compile Marvin Gaye's albums originally released on Tamla and Motown, Volume One: 1961-1965 offers the singer's initial seven full-length recordings: The Soulful Moods of Marvin Gaye (1961), That Stubborn Kinda' Fellow (1962), When I'm Alone I Cry (1964), Together (1964), Hello Broadway (1964), How Sweet It Is to Be Loved by You (1965), and A Tribute to the Great Nat King Cole (1965). During the era covered here, Gaye modeled himself after Cole, as a crooning balladeer, and conceded to label boss Berry Gordy, Jr. as a crossover R&B artist. The latter approach won out in decisive fashion, as Gaye regularly entered the Top Ten of the R&B chart during this period, with "Pride and Joy," "Try It Baby," and a pair of Wells duets among the biggest early hits found on this anthology. (Additional 1963-1964 hits "Can I Get a Witness" and "You're a Wonderful One," originally included on Greatest Hits [1964], must be sought elsewhere.) Not one of the albums here is great enough to appeal to anyone other than a serious collector, but the set is handy and attractive, made with Motown/UMe's typical high level of care. The compact disc edition, packaged in a small box with each disc in an LP-replica sleeve, was sensibly priced upon release. (The 180-gram vinyl edition was much more expensive.)

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