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Monday, March 16, 2015

Marvin Gaye - Trouble Man

 photo 220px-Marvintrouble_zps4e739342.jpg

There's a scene in the most recent Captain America film (at the time of this writing, the second one), where a certain character tells a recently reawakened Cap that all he needs to do to catch up on what he missed is listen to Marvin Gaye's soundtrack for the film Trouble Man. That's silly. Gaye made far better albums. Cap should go listen to What's Going On.
With that said, Trouble Man is a decent soundtrack. It is full of the bouncy beats, wah-chicka-wah guitar, Moog-noodling, and sexy sax that most 1970's blacksploitation films featured. It is really cool music, but somewhere around the album's mid-section, it all sort of washes into white noise. Something could have remedied that though--while most of Trouble Man includes only the instruments listed above, a couple of standout moments employ strings, the old soundtrack standby. The strings work so well with the guitar, keyboard, and horns, it's a shame they are only put to use on tracks seven and nine. They add shades of emotion the rest of the album just doesn't seem capable of drawing.
Marvin Gaye composed all of the music here, and it is a tribute to his skill that this soundtrack has outlived the film it was written for (it's also a tribute to how awful the film is). Marvin sings on only a few tracks, putting together a light narrative. 'T' stands for trouble, and Mister 'T' is gonna get all the people who tried to get him.
The album is incredible in bits and pieces. Few things feel as cool as driving down the street with your elbow out the window, "'T' Plays It Cool" trickling from the speakers at a reasonable volume. A 40-minute road trip backed entirely by the full-length of Trouble Man is a trickier proposition. Yep, that just happened.

1972 Tamla
1. Main Theme from Trouble Man (2) 2:30
2. 'T' Plays It Cool 4:27
3. Poor Abbey Walsh 4:13
4. The Break In (Police Shoot Big) 1:57
5. Cleo's Apartment 2:10
6. Trouble Man 3:49
7. Theme from Trouble Man 2:01
8. 'T' Stands for Trouble 4:48
9. Main Theme from Trouble Man (1) 3:52
10. Life Is a Gamble 2:32
11. Deep-in-It 1:25
12. Don't Mess with Mister 'T' 3:04
13. There Goes Mister 'T' 1:37

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