Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell – 1968 – You’re All I Need
Review by RDTEN1
Give it to Motown management to recognize a good marketing opportunity; hence the decision to release of a second collection featuring Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Of course there was simply no questioning the heat the two generated together; Terrell’s sexy growl was perfectly suited for Gaye’s pleading voice – easily one of the best duos in popular music. Produced by Johnny Bristol, who also wrote about half of the material, 1968’s “You’re All I Need” has always struck me as being even better than the pair’s first collaboration. The four Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson tracks have traditionally attracted most of the attention – well deserved since they made for some classic mid-1960s soul that can still grab an audience decades after they were recorded. So what about Johnny Bristol’s contributions? Well, he was responsible for writing what I’ve always thought was the standout tune – theie remake of Johnny and Jackie’s criminally catchy ‘Baby Dont’cha Worry’. I dare a listener to escape the clutches of the ‘Dont’cha Worry Baby, Dont’cha Worry’ chorus. Elsewhere ‘Give In, You Just Can’t Win‘ had an over-complicated song structure, but Gaye and Terrell finally figured there way through it, while ‘When Love Comes Knocking At My Heat‘ and ‘I’ll Never Stop Loving You Baby‘ were every bit as good as the Ashford-Simpson contributions and would have made for a pair of killer singles. The other thing that made this one so special was the fact that in his role as producer Bristol managed to avoid Motown’s penchant for adding MOR filler. There simply wasn’t one bad song on the set this time out. And, the hits were certainly packed on to this one:
– 1968’s ‘Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing’ b/w ‘Little Ole Boy, Little Ole Girl’ (Tamla catalog number T-54163)
– 1968’s ‘You’re All I Need To Get By’ b/w ‘Two Can Have a Party’ (Tamla catalog number T-54169)
– 1968’s ‘Keep On Lovin’ Me Honey’ b/w ‘You Ain’t Livin’ Till You’re Lovin” (Tamla catalog number T-54173)
Peaking at # 61 pop, ironically the album didn’t sell as well as the first collaboration.
A1 Ain’t Nothing Like the Real Thing 2:12
A2 Keep on Lovin’ Me Honey 2:28
A3 You’re All I Need to Get By 2:47
A4 Baby Don’tcha Worry 2:50
A5 You Ain’t Livin’ Till You’re Lovin’ 2:45
A6 Give in, You Just Can’t Win 2:45
B1 When Love Comes Knocking at My Heart 2:27
B2 Come On and See Me 2:26
B3 I Can’t Help But Love You 2:45
B4 That’s How It Is (Since You’ve Been Gone) 2:58
B5 I’ll Never Stop Loving You Baby 2:59
B6 Memory Chest 2:52
Review by seagull59
The sound of young America, we all grew up around it (even here in Europe) and left it a long, long way behind but within these grooves, laid down during a period far removed from the innocent image these songs project, the sound of young America is immortalized.
Tamla Motown brought something unique to pop music that would be almost impossible to repeat in the 21st century. Often described as conveyor-belt production, it has been much maligned and held up against the more authentic, organically grown, rock groups, who wrote and performed their own material. Exactly why one method of production should have a greater intrinsic value than another is difficult to explain but the prevailing wisdom has always dismissed manufactured music as inferior and, somehow, not the real thing.
None of this mattered to Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell who were riding high on the success of their previous album, from which this one is indistinguishable. That tragedy was just around the corner did nothing to prevent them expressing all the optimism one would expect from a young couple on the cusp of international stardom. Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing, When Love Comes Knocking At My Door and Come On And See Me are just a few of the great songs featured here but it would be unfair to describe any of it as filler because the musicianship is of such a high calibre that even a novelty song is given the same professional treatment needed to pass the all-important Motown quality control.
Gaye and Terrell are totally believable on these duets, more so, by far, than the Gaye/Weston, Gaye/Ross or Gaye/Wells combinations and it’s impossible to overstate how crucial this is to the success of the music, they sing to each other and not alongside each other, occaisionally using each others first names. Was this suggested, is this just another part of the manufacturing process? I think it’s ridiculous to ask such questions because if you love this music then it just doesn’t matter and if you don’t, then it’s surely for different reasons than the questions imply.
The sleeve notes to the album refer to Tammi Terrell’s illness preventing the continuation of their live shows but also suggests her involvement in the project contributed to her convalescence. Unfortunately she never did recover and her death, within a couple of years, was a catalyst in the transformation of Gaye’s career. The most distressing of footnotes to the short but exciting chapter that was Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell, the sound of young America.
Don’t miss their first LP 1967 United in our back pages here.
Tammi’s 1968 “Irresistible” LP here
Marvin Gaye’s albums on FMS here