IS MARVIN GAYE REALLY THE VISIONARY WE MAKE HIM OUT TO BE???

SoulfulDetroit.com FORUM: Archive - Ending April 16, 2004: IS MARVIN GAYE REALLY THE VISIONARY WE MAKE HIM OUT TO BE???
Top of pageBottom of page   By zeke (152.163.253.70) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:02 pm:

Happy Early Birthday Greetings, Marvin!

As far as I can tell, the man made one album dealing with social issues, while Curtis Mayfield made dealing with social issues a recurrent theme in his music... Why then is Marvin Gaye seen as the visionary artist, while Curtis is relegated to the title of pretty good R&B artist??? In answering this question, in fact, I would that folk would refrain from telling me about that particular album as an explanation... We all know about the album... Please try to provide some other angle for the perception of Marvin as visionary soulman...

Peace!

Top of pageBottom of page   By ~medusa~ (68.79.112.225) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:08 pm:

YESSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSSS

Top of pageBottom of page   By D (198.81.26.103) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:37 pm:

YES!!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vandelron (68.198.48.201) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:45 pm:

New book out on Marvin just released.(Mercy Mercy Me is the title I believe.) Review raved and says book really digs in to what made him tick.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Rodmann (12.223.170.105) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:46 pm:

Great topic Isaiah! I'm looking forward to some in depth discussion about this also. :)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish (128.239.194.248) on Sunday, March 28, 2004 - 11:51 pm:

Zeke, I will gladly take you up on your challenge! :-)

I think Marvin Gaye is a visionary artist in that he was one of the first to really elevate his personal issues and incorporate them into his music. The man made a whole album about being pissed off at his wife, and these songs aren't just message songs, but they are enjoyable to listen to, as well, so he didn't sacrifice anything in the art of making music just to get his message across. Additionally, Marvin's writing style, I mentioned it in another thread, his ability to write so poignantly about the obsessive, torrent type of love is just great to me. His ability to eloquently write about obsession is just beyond compare. He really mined that emotion for all its worth.

Now, when comparing him to Curtis, I don't like to, it's unfair to do. Curtis Mayfield is a genius too, and I don't think too many people will disagree with me there. But I think there are some obvious reasons why Marvin is talked about more often, even though both men have about the same importance to music. One is that his life is "sexier:" Son of a ne'er do well cross-dressing Charismatic minister, searching for a father figure, finds it in Harvey Fuqua, goes over to Motown as a drummer for the miracles, gains reputation for being stubborn kind of fellow, marries the boss's sister who is 17 years his senior, they have a contentious marriage, he breaks free of the system, creates groundbreaking album against the better judgment of management, divorces first wife, finds young muse, becomes the love man of the 70s, addicted to drugs, ultimately murdered by father. I mean, there's a lot to talk about and a lot that captures the popular imagination in that story. On the other hand, Curtis was a minister's son too. He creates this doo-wop group, marries a woman, stays with her. From a popular culture standpoint, where's the story? Marvin is more of a "Flash-Bang" artist - his genius captures more attention because it is packaged in a flashy way. Curtis quietly graces us with the fruits of his genius. I mean, Marvin was this hot debonair dude with a more blatant sex appeal than Curtis' (I think Curtis had his own sex appeal too, just not as in your face as MPG or Teddy P.). So he is more of a pop idol than Curtis, even though their stature as musical geniuses is arguably equal.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie (198.81.26.103) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 12:40 am:

You go Nish!!

Vickie

Top of pageBottom of page   By Charise (198.81.26.103) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:10 am:

Nish, you've said it in a nutshell! And whoever said that Curtis Mayfield was "just a pretty good r&b artist, doesn't know much about music. I really hate it when people pit artist against each other(like who's better, etc.) every artist brings something to the table, if everyone were the same, the world would be a DULL place! That statement wasn't directed towards anyone here, I'm talking in general. Nish I felt you on your explanation and could not have said it better, NUFF SAID!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By E (68.163.61.21) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:16 am:

Yeah Nish!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By ME (216.39.190.33) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:35 am:

Good topic, but, Marvin was no great visionary. All the man did was write or sing about the world around him, as he saw it. He put out one fantastic album that dealt with the problems of the world. The majority of his output was about love and sex.

Curtis Mayfield, on the other hand, never seems to get the proper respect for being a real messager of our times. He made many albums dealing with our world and it's problems. He made no songs about sex.

The reason people like Marvin more? He made the panties wet. He had a company that was the best at image promotion.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish (128.239.194.248) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 03:05 am:

So now we are making value judgments on what subject matter generates great art, sex or politics? Presumptuous. This is my big issue with people pointing to "What's Going On" or "Superfly" to judge Marvin or Curtis because I feel like people choose those albums just because it seems more "important" or "meaty." I think Marvin's most creative moment is the Let's Get It On album, which is the ultimate tribute to love. What's Going on is great social commentary, but if you want to talk about that album in terms of being an ARTISTIC visionary, you talk about the easy grooves he envisioned, the unity of the songs, the multitracking of the three voices of Marvin, the freestyle jazz styling of "Save the Children," the mind-bogglingly poetic tale of drug addiction in "Flyin' High (in the friendly sky)." Let's also talk about Marvin's ability to write for the Originals, and how he took their harmonic scheme and basically applied it to his own harmonies with himself in his work with the 70s. Let's talk about the fact that he has his own distinctive ballad groove that runs throughout all of his self-penned songs from The Bells, to I Love You Secretly to Distant Lover. So I have to respectfully disagree with the proposition that 'political' music has more artistic merit than music about sex. Otherwise, I'd have to come to the conclusion that Smokey Robinson's "Be Kind To The Growing Mind" is artistically more worthy than "Baby Come Close." NAAAAAAAAAAH, not in the least. So the fact that the majority of Marvin's output was about love and sex doesn't diminish his status as an artistic genius.

For the record, I don't think "Let's Do It Again" and "Give Me Your Love" and "Givin' Him Something He Can Feel" are about the Vietnam War or racism, I could be wrong on this though. And this image of Curtis as this asexual messenger is not doing any justice to his complexity as an artist. I'm a Curtis fan all the way, and I certainly don't listen to that voice or those songs and think it's coming from a eunuch. He is just as capable of Teddy, Smokey, and Marvin of writing and/or singing "grown and sexy songs."

I hate it when this line of argumentation is used against Smokey Robinson when he is compared against Marvin. Because Smokey's realm of writing was basically all love, romance, and sex, people automatically want to give Marvin the edge. And it's okay if you give him that edge based on the music. But don't give me as your sole reason for thinking Marvin is a better artist than Smokey that he produced a socially conscious album. Because now you are telling me why Marvin is more socially responsible or why he's the more politically active artist. That ain't the question though. The question is whose art is better. It's subjective, I know. Just don't use the wrong test.

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle (81.130.211.124) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 03:44 am:

Spotted, Charise.

Thanks
David

Top of pageBottom of page   By mike s (195.93.34.12) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 06:36 am:

Nish got it in one.
Pleased to see there is a new book out on Marvin because I never felt the David Ritz book got to grips with the subject. In fact, it was plain depressing, revelling in Marvin's problems rather than his contribution to music and entertainment.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Isaiah (205.188.116.195) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 06:44 am:

Nish, that was thought-provoking, the way you tackled the question... It shows that this question is one which you, maybe, have considered long before it was posed... I agree with you, that Marvin Gaye was a visionary artist, for the reasons you stated, and then some...

His complex personality and familial dysfunctionality would not allow him to be anything less than a man with a vision, a thinking man's artist... I agree, also, that Let's Get It On brought freaky sensuality front and center in Soul, though Ike's Hot Buttered Soul came long before it... In that sense, ME is correct when he/she points out that the Motown Promotions Machine was integral to making it a more sensational production... I don't know that Hear, My Dear was as visionary when he produced it as it is now, because he was not really even interested in doing the album... Being pissed off at your wife is nothing visionary, is it?(smile!)

I'm not going to get into any comparisons between Marvin and Mayfield, as that was not the gist of my question... I like and respect both of these giants for different reasons, and pretty much class them both as pioneers of sound... By the same token, comparisons and contrasts can be made, and are done unconsciously all the time.. We do have our favorite artists, as well as "our own funny moods..."(smile!) I mean, I don't pick J.B. out the stash when I wanna set a romantic mood - though J.B. did do some very hot romantic ballads... Somehow, Marvin or the Whispers seem to fit that bill a little better for me...

Peace!
Isaiah

Top of pageBottom of page   By Isaiah (205.188.116.195) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:07 am:

Speaking of comparisons, didn't MG have a major problem with cats like Al Green - and especially Lou Rawls, and Teddy P.? Seems he thought the other, more baritone guys, got all the props over his sweet little tenor(smile!) This is not from me, BTW, it is from what I've read...

Peace!
Isaiah

Top of pageBottom of page   By Moe (66.219.162.219) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:38 am:

Isaiah,
Your last paragraph about respect for both artists echoes my opinion..........
What a great thread!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike (65.208.234.61) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:59 am:

I gotta give it to Isaiah, he echoed my thoughts exactly.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish (128.239.194.248) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 08:53 am:

Isaiah - it's cool, I'm a big fan of the compare and contrast of my favorite artists - it's FUN. I always love to compare the raw sensuality of Teddy P's music versus Smokey's sweeter sensuality or the Smokey tenor versus the Eddie tenor, or the Barbara Mason-Barbara Lewis type soul ladies versus the Lorraine Ellison-Linda Jones type soul ladies. But, I can get protective over my men! :-) I thought your question was great, but it's just the whole political statement as a proxy for artistic genius that I disagreed with.

Thanks everyone, glad I could represent on Brother Marvin's behalf! :-)

Top of pageBottom of page   By DyvaNaye (209.212.74.212) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 12:52 pm:

Marvin had a prophetic call on his life...the stuggle was his divided soul...to serve God or to serve man, thus losing his sanity in the process...he had a gift of discernment which was never focused upon or nurtured due to the demands of the music business...

Isaiah: I thought that 'Here My Dear' and the proceeds involved were the divorce settlement for Anna Gordy Gaye...I never got the impression that he was not interested in doing it, but that it allowed for him to express in a philosophical sense of the void and disgust he had over having to deal with the procedure called divorce, let alone the systems involved that he would have to reveal his personal endeavors and indiscretions in a public manner...note the album cover of justice being blind, but his image involved in it...
There is no question in my mind that he was quite a visionary...those who worked around him often talked about his business skills and literal sense as being astute...let alone the music he created and performed always painted a picture of the most power emotions, love, hate, betrayal and the way he and other persons he was exposed to lived through them. In conjuction to this, he was a spiritual person, and tried to combine all actions mentioned above together,to no avail.
Imagine the work that has not been released by him during his years of 'struggle'...I can imagine what got tossed by the wayside would give us a better picture of his inner sanctity...

God Bless and keep his soul...

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 01:15 pm:

Folks:
Nish & Isaiah pretty much hit the nails on the heads here regarding Marvin & Curtis.

While I do admire Marvin for his wonderful work I do have to give Curtis more props and respect from an property owner's POV. Marvin had to fight BG and the Motown Quality Control machine to get "What's Going On" released (thank you, Harry Balk, for having the guts to green light the single's debut which forced Gordy to release the album after the 45 hit the top the charts). It was after "What's Going On" and the "Trouble Man" soundtrack that Marvin was pretty much behind the driving wheel (even though Motown still owned the car). Marvin did not own his publishing sadly and it wasn't until years ago that each of his offspring set up their own publishing entities so they could be paid directly.

On the other hand, Curtis had control over his copyrights & publishing since the git-go as well as WHAT got released WHEN even when he & the Impressions were signed to ABC-Paramount (having Johnny Pate in his corner didn't hurt either). After Curtis formed Curtom with manager Eddie Thomas he had the complete freedom to release both music with a message and songs of love without having to answer to anybody. This freedom resulted in a great body of work that, like Marvin's, is still being explored today. Currently, the Mayfield estate still own the Curtom masters (Rhino is currently reissuing his work).

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Galactus (207.144.253.114) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:07 pm:

I have three favorite solo artists in the soul genre.........Curtis Mayfield, Marvin Gaye and Bobby Womack.

I give Curtis the edge on the other two for the reasons discussed here. You guys nailed it, as Kev Go said. Folks who only know Curtis for "Superfly" are really missing a lot of great music......I've had this argument with pop and rock fans and have tried to tell them "if all you know is Superfly, then you don't know enough." Many of them don't even realize that the Impressions songs they ARE familiar with were written and produced by Curtis.

The mainstream simply knows more about Motown artists and they get a lot of the credit....while Curtis' stuff gets overlooked a lot....which is very annoying.

The depth of Mayfield's music, his voice, his style of instrumentation, the beauty of his writings, his love of religion and God, his take on romance and love......It just all hits home with me on so many levels. Mayfield was, IMO, one of the few true geniuses in music in the 20th Century....and I put him up there with Ellington, Gershwin and other heavy hitters.

I love Marvin.....He was the first soul superstar I really got into. "What's Going On" will forever be a classic.....and I know Marvin was up against several obstacles Curtis wasn't, but still.....Curtis' music had more depth more often, and I just dig that type of Chicago soul slightly more than a lot of the Motown I love....but certainly none of this is a knock on Marvin or Bobby Womack....I love all these guys.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Galactus (207.144.253.114) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:13 pm:

And Nish....You are dead on straight about the disrespect the "critics" give writers of love and sex.....Writing love songs, in itself, is an art.....And anyone who thinks Smokey is less talented than, say, John Lennon, simply because he's not as political, is absolutely nuts. I absolutely hate this and what the changing face of rock music in the late 60s did......which caused the music itself and critics to take on presumptions of so-called "art"......while ignoring the romantic writings of buys like both Curtis and Smokey.

Irritating.....

Top of pageBottom of page   By RD (65.54.98.20) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 02:15 pm:

Curtis didn't create the Impressions who were formed from the Roosters from Chattanooga Tennessee. Curtis did, however, create some very uplifting, socially significant music long before Marvin Gaye began producing and writing the bulk of his material. While I like both songs, "Keep On Pushing" did more to inspire African-Americans than "What's Going On" and titles like "Moving On Up," "Move On Up" and "We People Who Are Darker Than Blue" facilitated the positive movement of Black Pride too.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Moanman (24.44.218.110) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 04:11 pm:

Nish, brilliant summation! I think you put it all in a nutshell.

As a singer, icon, musician, sensualist, and ultimately tragic figure- yes indeed Marvin Gaye is most definitely in the league of the best cats who brought change, a keen perception, and a conscience to the Black musical vernacular. In many ways this makes him revolutionary. I truly believe the visionaries in Soul music to be cats like Ray Charles, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, Sly Stone, Barry White, Stevie Wonder, Gil Scott-Heron, and most recently, Prince.

As with several of the above-mentioned gentlemen, it would seem that crisis and emotional turmoil played a large factor in the birthing of their muse. When you consider the physical disabilities of both Ray and Stevie (and Mr. Charles’ heroin addiction) it appears that Marvin also had an intense and dramatic inner life, and this undoubtedly fed into his artistry.

If he'd only released WGO, that would have been enough for me. This was his Masterpiece. With it, he single-handedly contributed his soulful cry, his plaintive holler, and ultimately a persuasive thesis on the condition of the world as he and rest of us saw it. WGO has for over thirty years given us so much to ponder, discover, wonder, marvel at and think about. It deserves a lifetime’s worth of respect. His genius was that somehow he managed to encapsulate the pace and pathology of the times in a way that remains to this very day relevant and real.

Personally, I don’t feel he was the most prolific, creative, poetic or lyrically inventive of the bunch-- (Curtis and Stevie get my vote in that arena) but he certainly wrote/composed the dopest opus that clearly roll-called the ills in this country and in the world, and he did it most magnificently.

“Here, My Dear” was brilliant on a whole other level. There, he harnessed his private personal pain, his marital anguish and made Art. It wasn’t always pretty. It was at times, harsh and bitter, but it was real.

Though, Ike, being the stickler for words that I am, I sometimes question whether Marvin was indeed a textbook “visionary,” as in a “future-thinker.” His palate dealt mostly with Realism. He did not apply the romantic idealism of an early Curtis (“People Get Ready” or “We’re a Winner”), nor was he (at least in his music) a fatalist. He didn’t promise redemption as Gil sometimes did (“The Revolution Will Not Be Televised”). He didn’t often speak of an ascension to Better Days as Stevie did (“They Won’t Go When I Go”), and he didn’t seem particularly angry (well, except at his ex-wife).

What Marvin did do was to speak /sing about things, very real and disturbing elements that were present, but weren’t always placed on the front burner. He addressed topics that were primarily the domain and subject matter of Folk music, but rarely applied in Soul music ( war, the ecology, the plight of the world’s children, the state of our inner cities, etc.). But maybe what he did best was simply and clearly focus on things as they truly were, named/sang them in an eloquent manner, and, in retrospect, little has changed in the interim. That would make America a stagnant place where social change moves in a snail-like pace. Hardly an original thought, huh?

Here, I’m not questioning Marvin’s genius— because with WGO, he accomplishment so much. He became the musical, and yes, Soulful orator of his time. The man told it as it was, with no sugar-coating, and he did so beautifully.

But had he stated in his music that “Y’all won’t hear me!” or “More wars will be waged, hatred will turn inward, disease will cripple a core part of the population, and we'll continue to pollute our planet, so batten down the hatches cause a bigger storm is a-comin’”-- then he would have *predicted* (as visionaries tend to do) the current state of our Country and the world itself more correctly.

Anyway, that's my rather long-winded take, Chief. Mercy, Mercy Me!


One.

Moan

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo (64.115.26.80) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 04:24 pm:

RD:
THANK YOU for nailing the point regarding "Keep On Pushing".

This classic was released at the height of the Civil Rights Movement and it got the point across to thousands of folks here in the USA. For this tune and the album to make it as far as it did chart wise with its political message (single hit #10 on the pop charts, the LP #4 R&B/#8 pop) is indeed an amazing testiment to the power of Curtis' message.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Juicefree20 (151.205.187.47) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 05:09 pm:

Good afternoon to all! You folks got down & deep this morning. There were just so many excellent points of view here & you guys & gals covered it all. This is one of the most excellent threads that I've read. You guys did it without any rancor & name calling. I wish that all discussions could be like this one. This has been a great read & I'm can add nothing that wasn't already said. Excellent, simply excellent!!!

Juice

Top of pageBottom of page   By Flintown (64.7.167.66) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 06:50 pm:

I love both Curtis and Marvin and to me both men contributed greatly to the world of popular music. And to try and make an issue as to who was better than the other is disturbing to me. I have read articles about Marvin and he acknowledged the influence that Curtis' Impression recordings of the sixties made on him and what came to be What's Going On...Marvin even went on to say that the Four Tops "Still Waters" album greatly influenced What's Going On. I really think that both artists studied each others work...Look at these comparisons the What's Going On album and Superfly. The message is pretty much on par on both albums..."Give Me Your Love" and "You Sure Love To Ball". I had the best of both worlds because where my mother was into Marvin, my father was into Curtis' music heavy...And that really seemed to be the patern; Women were into Marvin, where the fellas were more into Curtis. The irony to both artists, and I may be repeating something someone said in an earlier message, is that they weren't really given their just do until after they died. We need to start giving props to our legendary artists that are still alive...I can honestly say I do just that anytime I see one of my heroes I show them the upmost gratitude because they paved the way for how I make my living in broadcasting. So instead of comparing these two equally talented individuals lets complement what they did and how they set trends and gave us wonderful music.

Top of pageBottom of page   By CHARISE (198.81.26.103) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:15 pm:

Dang!! All of this is DEEP!!! WHEN Y'ALL BRING IT, YA BRING IT!!!!!!! I FEEL LIKE I'M TAKING A COLLEGE COURSE. I LOVE IT HEAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By johneflat (152.163.253.70) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 07:53 pm:

When I think about it, it often seems that MARVIN'S music was more VISCERAL, CURTIS'S music more CEREBRAL. Both great, both important and both critical to the development of the young psyches that eventually ended up at SDF!!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Isaiah (152.163.253.70) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 08:37 pm:

Nish, Galactus, Moan, KevGo, and JohnEFlat, I am so moved by the power of your thoughts on this thread, I wish I could bottle the passion...(smile!) To be a spectator to this makes you kind of hunger for more... Thank you all for your contributions!

Galactus, I didn't want this to turn into a Marvin Vs. Mayfield thread, but your passion blew like a mighty hurricane, and I was swept up in it's swirl, man(smile!) I feel ya as one who is a Mayfield and Chicago Soul devotee, so I think I soul clapped all the way through that dissertation(smile!)

And Nish, got to hand it to ya, girl... Upon re-reading your words on the Hear My Dear, I gots to give up... Anger is oft associated with blindness, but in that case I think Marvin turned it into, yes, a great creative vision... Perhaps, that is why the public was so far behind it when they first heard it(smile!)

Flint, don't worry, no one is going to tear down these great artists... They will always be great, greater, greatest to all of us, but never less than the least of those - never! Ironically, my favorite artist, and the mentor to both of these guys is Sam Cooke... Now that's the true visionary to me, because he was doing all of the things these wanted to do long before it was fashionable... They say he even invented this thing - though I wouldn't go near that while still claiming to be sane(smile!) Rest easy knowing that this aint nothing but a convo, and convo is what drew us all here in the first place... Relax and enjoy(smile!)

Peace!
Isaiah

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish (128.239.194.248) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 10:36 pm:

JohnEFlat, your words are awesome. Couple that raw visceral soul with that cerebral, transcendental soul, and it gives you a lot to think about! And the sounds behind the messages make it fun to think about them.

Isaiah, hey don't bottle it up, just print it out! :-) I must admit, it has been fun and enlightening to read through this thread. Keep bringing the good, controversial topics, I love it. It gives me something fun to do every so often.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson (209.247.222.94) on Monday, March 29, 2004 - 11:08 pm:

Everybody I knew including Marvin stood in total awe of Curtis Mayfield's accomplishments and vision. He opened up doors that many KNOWINGLY walked through.

Top of pageBottom of page   By flintown (64.7.167.66) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 12:31 pm:

Isaiah I really appreciate your words...And I too love the great Sam Cooke...did you know that Marvin added the "e" to his last name because of Sam Cooke? The only time I met Bobby Womack, back in 1994, he couldn't believe that I was aware that he recorded for Sam's SAR Record Label...Most young people aren't aware of that...And to Bob Olhsson you were an engineer at Motown, right? Tell us some stories about those historic sessions!!!!:)

Top of pageBottom of page   By ~medusa~ (68.79.93.171) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 03:12 pm:

Right Isaiah...and this is whay I'm waitng 4 my chance (again) 2 meet Aretha Franklin...although I almost did at the Levi Live Event,it was a BIG crowd that night.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Galactus (207.144.253.114) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 03:23 pm:

I'm with you on Mayfield, Isaiah....right on...Just doesn't get any better than him for me.....when his name is anywhere on the credits, I know I'm gonna love it....

I love, love, love Motown....but have always given the slightest edge to Chicago and Philly in terms of favorite styles.....But you can't go wrong with any of the three.

John is right.....both made important contributions in their own way. Well said.

Yeah, Flint....Womack's Cooke influence is very obvious.....even aside from his Cooke remakes. His phrasing and singing style emulate Cooke up to a point (much like Ron Isley). Combined with his own original style, he remains one of my favorite solo stars.

Top of pageBottom of page   By LadyMystique (216.37.228.72) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 07:56 pm:

I must answer this as I am a big fan of Marvin's work...I think he was more an artist than a visionary in the sense that he didn't hold anything back. Yes the later albums were about love and sex, but whereas WGO was about how he perceived the world at that time, LGIO (although written before meeting Jan) was about his feelings for Jan as well as I WANT YOU. He sang LGIO the way he did, according to accounts, because that was the first time he saw Jan and was quite taken with her. HERE MY DEAR was about his divorce from Anna, but towards the end of the album, he is singing about FALLING IN LOVE AGAIN. IN MY LIFETIME was an unfinished album, and MIDNIGHT LOVE was all the emotions he was going through at that time. He was a visionary for using multi-layered vocals in the way that he did.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Dinelle (67.35.238.230) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 08:21 pm:

Definitely!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Isaiah (205.188.117.14) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 08:44 pm:

Hey, Lady M, your points are well taken, and provocative(smile!) It's funny how that song, Lets Get It On defies any neat descriptions, like its a ballad, or its a dance tune... It seems to be all of these things wrapped up in one very classic and timeless song... I mean this thing has been sampled by Rap artists, and Maceo Parker did a funky soul instrumental version in the J.B.'s style, but the lyric would suggest that it's all about the bumpNgrind...

You know, I once heard Magic Johnson say that he "knew" the precise geometry of the game of basketball, as in knowing when, where, and how to get the basketball into the hands of the guy with the best shot... Listening to Marvin over the years leads me to believe that he had that same sense musically, as in hearing things the rest of us could not conceive, and delivering them to our ears, minds and souls...

PEACE!~
Isaiah

Top of pageBottom of page   By LadyMystique (216.37.228.72) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 09:29 pm:

Yeah I hear ya, Isaiah...I can relate to Marvin's songs because my mind stays in the sensuality, LOL. But, I dig your logic on Marvin's musicianship.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Walt B. (64.12.117.16) on Tuesday, March 30, 2004 - 09:52 pm:

This IS a great thread! However who says that there is only one visionary allowed per generation??? If you look back over both of these great artists discographies, they both devoted a generous amount of their material to social and sensual topics. The fact that Marvin went against the grain, against Berry Gordy's wishes and created a work of art which is still relevant today and is considered today and yesterday a high water mark in "soul music," in no way diminishes any other artists works. It may be your opinion that the public perceives Marvin as a visionary, but you don't speak for me in saying that Curtis Mayfield is just a pretty good artist.


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