Salient. Victoria University Student Newspaper. Volume 37, Number 2. 13th March 1974
Let's Get it On: Marvin Gaye. Tamla Motown T329V1. Reviewed by Richard Best.
Marvin Gaye is dumb. Not stupid like Hawkwind and kids who bum up the mountain and drop over the side. No, Gaye is naive: in the nicest possible way, and if you think "nicest possible way" stinks, you're not going to like him too much.
Someone tells me that feeding on lush and cliches is very much today and indeed, Roxy Music's Bryan Ferry sleeps in jewel-studded seas and laughter after tears. But Ferry doesn't talk like that and he doesn't woo women with paroxysms of dry acridity.
But Marvin Gaye actually cats cliches and the difference is he probably talks "right on" and thinks "right on". And when the man sings "God is love" or "brother, brother" or "Live for life", you might almost have to believe it.
The word is that he has a new LP out, "Let's Get it On", with a hundred dribblings about sex being the brass tacks and some hideous blurred photos of Mr Gaye.
And really it's second-hand hack from start to finish. Yet if Jon Anderson can get stuck into Rogets' and produce boredom en masse, then how come Marvin Gaye can sing "stop beating round the bush" and turn up Ace?
I'm visably blushing now but if I say he sounds sincere—like his tongue is in his mouth and nowhere else and maybe he does go to church—will you believe it? I'm sure he means it and I'm bloody sure it sounds right.
He's completely antithetic to Lou Reed's black comedy and most of what's what right now. If you're brainy, he's gonna sound like crap—and if you're heavy, forget it.
This is the man to save us all until next week, and, for a while now, he's a piece of purity. And even if "Let's Get it On" is 27 minutes of Fuck, he makes it sound naive. A real Ace.
Broken Arrows: Rabbit Island Records IL 34907. Reviewed by Graeme Simpson.
Rabbit? Who the hell is Rabbit?
Well, he's John Bundrick, versatile session musician, and, more recently keyboards man with Free. This is his solo album: on which he gives full range to his diverse musical talents, writing the songs, producing, and playing a large assortment of instruments: piano, moog, organ, mellotron, clarinet etc.
Unfortunately, the music itself fails to live up to the impressive credentials that Rabbit presents on the cover.
On only two tracks are the vocals valid:—The first is 'Love, Life, and Peace', on which Rabbit's vocals act as an instrument, blending with the clever arrangement.
'I Don't Mind' is a delicate, sensitive ballad, building through piano, lush strings with moog augmentation, and soft laid-back bass. The lyrics are self-conscious, but the sadness and emptiness conveyed by Rabbit's wispy vocals, complement the musical treatment.
Musically three other tracks stand out. 'Broken Arrows" and "Music is the Answer" both rockers, featuring Harry Nilsson (circa Schmilsson) style vocals and arrangements.
And perhaps the most promising track, the last on Side One: 'Blues My Guitar' (featuring juicy chunky bass by Tetsu Yamauchi) with an oriental opening, moving into some full-blooded guitar. However Rabbit's weak vocals fails to compare with an instrumentally fine track.
Like 'Music is the Answer', the other tracks on the album similar in presentation to Free, this song left me wishing for the raunch and power of Free vocalist, Paul Rodgers.
Although a fine musician, as seen by his previous work, Rabbit has over-extended himself on this project. 'Broken Arrows' is merely a pleasant, if undistinguished, album.
Baron Von Tollbooth: Grace Slick and Paul Kantner. Grunt Recording. Reviewed by Pat O'Dea.
Perhaps it's just another impending winter and the after Christmas blues, but very little seems to be happening in the record world at the moment. Most putative progressive bands are cither rehashing previous efforts or have quietly sunk into miasmic torpor; while pop, with the exception of "Avenging Annie", seems to have retreated in Cliff Richard's renaissance and the usual sub-literate lyrics. In the midst of the general depression Paul Kantner and Grace Slick's third album together stands out like a clear white light.
Baron Von Tollbooth is a very ambitious album which avoids pretension by the quality of everything that has gone into it. Some very heavy names: David Crosby, Jerry Garcia, John Barbata and Chris Ethridge among various Airplane offshoots.
Rock functions best at a gut level. Previous efforts by Kantner and Slick to mingle rock and metaphysics have been spoiled by internal bickering, with the result that one often obstructed the other. This time they've learnt to work together to the extent that Slick is now singing about "seven inches of pleasure", which happily combines the personal with the cosmic.
The songs grow out of that weird borderland between fantasy and reality where all things are possible, and eventually, inevitable. You could talk of this as a science fiction record but it is far more than that. It leaves you with the impression of intelligence combined with considerable musical dexterity.
Besides everything else, the record manages to experiment, (something I thought that this particular twosome had forgotten how to do) and yet remains strong melodically. Certainly their best since "Crown of Creation".page 16