Friday, November 07, 2008


Bogged town a tad in work this week I've been nevertheless tearing through David Ritz's biog of Marvin Gaye on those hushed early morning trains into town. It's a terrifically well-rounded portrait of a deeply complex, restless soul and like all good books about music I think should, leads you right back to the records with renewed perspective and desire.

I can't list many singers I love better than Marvin, but it's amazing to read that he always felt his voice was lacking in depth next to the great Motown 'shouters' like Levi Stubbs and David Ruffin, or next generation soul/funkers like Harold Melvin. According to Ritz, Gaye made a conscious effort to prove to himself and others that he too could do the gruff big churchy thing as well as the soaring lyricism, but you can already hear all that in this record, one of his earliest 'break through' tracks.

There are some pretty special backing singers on this - know who? (no Googling, You're Only Cheating Yourself)...

Marvin Gaye - 'Stubborn Kind Of Fellow' (1962)


  1. *apple for teacher*

    I know I know!! I'll keep schtum though and let somebody else answer!!

    I'll have to get a copy of that book. What does it have to say about Tammi? Cos I hear word that she allegedly wasn't well enough to record some of the songs she is supposed to be on...

  2. Yes. Valerie Simpson (of Ashford & Simpson fame) sang some of the songs (which she had also co-written) on the last Tammi/Marvin album Easy.

    Ritz asks Marvin about this and he is at first reluctant to talk about it - Motown wanted it kept secret, for obvious reasons. Apparently on some tracks, VS's imitation of Tammi is so good that years later even MG struggled to remember who was singing.

    I got a charmingly yellowing old secondhand edition of the book off of Amazon marketplace and will happily send it to you when I'm done if you like...As your prize, perhaps.

  3. PS: It looked like it could do with a good clean so I microwaved it. Kills 99.9% of all known germs.

  4. ah bless! Maybe we should start a bloggers book club!?!?

  5. If it was Valerie Simpson on the Onion Song it would help to explain why I find it one of the most irritating and cheesiest insincere tunes of all time. I absolutely hate that song. Which is really difficult for me considering how much I love my Motown and Marvin especially.

  6. I hate that bloody Onion Song too. You've just reminded me by how much.

    'Your Precious Love' is the Tammi/Marvin one for me. Big shivers up the spine stuff.

  7. This is a class tune, love Marvin Gaye but have you ever noticed that he had absolutley no rhythm.

  8. Huh? The drumming on those Miracles and Marvelettes records (MG) sounds pretty good to me...

  9. Seeing as no one else is going to say it, I will, it's Martha Reeves and The Vandellas.

    No, I didn't look it up. Do I get Brownie points?

  10. You get TFF that points frankly Lee. Sheesh. Correct answer.

    (Simon knew already of course).

  11. And didn't he do well? (strikes brucie pose)...

    walks off down the street singing 'nowhere to run', just as he has been since 10.20am yesterday...

  12. how do you lot know all this stuff - and why did no one ever tell me? they probably did but i'm never paying attention. now i want to see that bit of film of him playing darts in some bizzaro foreign boozer

  13. I've got to the bit where he's coked up, broken and bankrupt in England and Ostend....very sad(no darts), and worse because we all know how the story ends : (

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