Marvin Gaye, easily one of the world's great R&B singers, provided us with a string of successful and essential albums that include the ground-breaking What's Going On, an album that opened the door for social consciousness in R&B. Of course, Gaye enjoyed an impressively rich career prior to What's Going On with a string of albums that also included a stint with Tammi Terrell.
After What's Going On, Marvin Gaye released Let's Get It On, returning to more conventional, less heavy concepts such as sex, the dominant theme running through Let's Get It On.
But between the magnificent What's Going On and the sizzle of Let's Get It On, Gaye released a stunning soundtrack to the film Trouble Man. From the opening intrigue of the instrumental beginning, "Main Theme From Trouble Man," to the album's hit single, "Trouble Man," and the other well-produced instrumentals and vocal tracks, Marvin Gaye's contribution to the world of film put him in an exclusive class with Isaac Hayes (Shaft), and Curtis Mayfield (Superfly).
The music of Trouble Man is funky, always lively, and thoroughly engaging, just as the Shaft and Superfly soundtracks are. The drum-heavy ""T" Plays It Cool" and the mournful sax and piano and orchestral fills that complete "Poor Abbey Walsh," along with the funk of "T Stands For Trouble" that hints lightly of Mayfield's "Freddie's Dead," the album is one to be remembered. More importantly, it is a strong and compelling middle ground between the previously mentioned What's Going On and Let's Get It On.
Marvin Gaye went on to record several more albums before his tragic death in 1984, including the highly successful Midnight Love (1982), which delivered "Sexual Healing." But Trouble Man would be his only foray into soundtrack music.
On November 13, Hip-O Records will release an expanded edition of Gaye's 'more than a soundtrack' Trouble Man. This is particularly good news for fans not only of the film but also of Marvin Gaye.