Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell

Band members                             Related acts

- Marvin Gaye (RIP 1982) -- vocals, drums 

- Tammi Terrell (RIP 1970) -- vocals 




- Marvin Gaye (solo efforts)

- Marvin Gaye and Kim Weston

- Marvin Gaye and Diana Ross

- The Marquees (Marvin Gaye)

- The Moonglows (Marvin Gaye)

- Tammy Montgomery (Tammi Terrell)

- The Rainbows (Marvin Gaye)

- Tammi Terrell (solo efforts)





Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  United

Company: Tamla

Catalog:  T 277

Year: 1967

Country/State: Washington, D.C.

Grade (cover/record): VG /VG

Comments: --

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5408

Price: $40.00


Of the numerous 'duet' albums Marvin Gaye recorded (including two other sets with Tammi Terrell), 1967's "United" was probably the most consistent and enjoyable of the group.  Terrell was clearly the female partner with whom Gaye had the most chemistry and it showed throughout about two thirds of the album; the other third falling victim to Motown's typically lame efforts to attract a MOR white audience.  At least on record the decision to put the two together was almost magical.  Terrell didn't have the world's greatest voice, but she knew how to use her talents and she was a perfect partner for Gaye adding a sassy element to his cool, controlled performances.  Co-produced by Harvey Fuqua and Johnny Bristol, the two producers had the insight to recognize that Gaye and Terrell would be best suited by an upbeat, soul-oriented sound.  As a result they managed to keep Berry Gordy's affection for over-produced slop to a minimum.  To their credit, Gaye and Terrell even managed to salvage some of the lesser material - 'You Got What It Takes' and '' were actually listenable.  Unfortunately 'Somethin' Stupid' ('c'mon why would anyone even think about covering and Frank and Nancy Sinatra song?) and 'Sad Wedding' were simply too lame for anyone to save.  So what were the highlights?  Clearly the three hit singles (including  two Ashford and Simpson numbers) that were spun off the parent LP:


- 1967's 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough' b/w 'Give a Little Love' (Tamla catalog number T-54149)

- 1967's 'Your Precious Love'  b/w 'Hold On My Darling' (Tamla catalog number T-54156)

- 1967's 'If I Could Build My World Around You'  b/w 'If This World Were Mine' (Tamla catalog number T-54161)


Almost as good were the  'Two Can Have a Party' (which was originally recorded as a Terrell solo side with Gaye subsequently adding his vocals), 'Little Ole Boy, Little Ole Girl' and 'Give Me a Little Love'.   Yeah it doesn't hit new heights in terms of creativity, but so what.  The pair's flirty relationship repeatedly came through making the album a pleasure to hear.  A largely forgotten Motown classic ...



"United" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't No Mountain High Enough   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:26

2.) You Got What It Takes   (Berry Gordy Jr. - G. Gordy - T. Carlo) - 2:45

3.) If I Could Build My World Around You   (Johnny Bristol - V. Bullock - Harvey Fuqua) - 2:19

4.) Somethin' Stupid   (C. Carson Parks) - 2:40

5.) Your Precious Love   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:59

6.) Hold Me Oh My Darling   (Harvey Fuqua) - 2:45


(side 2)
1.) Two Can Have a Party   (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol - T. Kemp) - 2:15

2.) Little Ole Boy, Little Ole Girl    (Harvey Fuqua - E. James - B. Benton) - 2:40

3.) If This World Were Mine   (Marvin Gaye) - 2:45

4.) Sad Wedding   (Johnny Bristol - R. Beavers) - 3:09

5.) Give Me a Little Love   (Johnny Bristol - Harvey Fuqua - C. Wilson) - 2:50

6.) Oh How I'd Miss You   (Hal Davis - Frank Wilson - V. Wilson) - 2:30





Genre: soul

Rating: 4 stars ****

Title:  You're All I Need

Company: Tamla

Catalog:  TS 284

Year: 1968

Country/State: Washington, D.C.

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: stereo pressing

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5443

Price: $20.00


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, 1967'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.


"You're All I Need" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:12

2.) Keep On Lovin' Me Honey   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:38

3.) You're All I Need To Get By   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:47

4.) Baby Dont'cha Worry   (Jackie Beavers - Johnny Bristol) - 2:50

5.) You Ain't Livin' Till You're Lovin'   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:45

6.) Give In, You Just Can't Win   (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol) - 2:45


(side 2)
1.) When Love Comes Knocking At My Heat   (Knight - Bullock - Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol) - 2:27

2.) Come On and See Me   (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol) - 2:36

3.) I Can't Help But Love You   (Gordy - Kemp - Marvin Gaye) - 2:45

4.) That's How It Is (Since You've Been Gone)  (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol - Bullock) - 2:58  

5.) I'll Never Stop Loving You Baby  (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol) - Verdi - Balnius) - 2:59

6.) Memory Chest  (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol) - 2:52



Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Easy

Company: Tamla

Catalog:  TS 294

Year: 1969

Country/State: Washington, D.C.

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: flap sleeve; minor edge and ring wear

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 5431

Price: $20.00


Given the success of the two previous Marvin Gaye - Tammi Terrell LPs, it wasn't a major surprise that Motown elected to release a third collaboration between the two.  Unfortunately, by the time 1969's "Easy" was recorded, Terrell was in the final stages of what would prove to be a fatal fight against a brain tumor.  With the team of Nicholas Ashford and Valerie Simpson producing most of the album (the pair also wrote most of the 12 tracks), considerable debate surrounded Terrell's role in the recording sessions.  At various times Gaye was quoted as saying that Simpson handled most of the vocals, though Simpson has steadfastly denied substituting for Terrell.  I've listened to the album dozens of times over the years and most of the female vocals sure sound like Terrell.  On the other hand, Simpson was blessed with a versatile voice and it wasn't impossible to imagine her trying to mimic Terrell's sexy delivery - 'What You Gave Me' could have been Ashford.  Critics haven't been particularly kind to the album making me a minority when I say I like the collection.  While the album may not have been as strong as the debut, there were plenty of winners.  The lead off track 'Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come By' was as good as any of the other Gaye-Terrell hits, while 'This Poor Heart of Mine', 'I'm Your Puppet' and 'What You Gave Me' were all fun.  Sure, 'California Soul' was a blatant attempt to capture the Mamas and Papas audience, 'I Can't Believe You Love Me' was a bland, overproduced mid-temp effort, and 'Onion Song' was a hideous 'uplifting' slice of social commentary.  Elsewhere, apparently running short on new material  'How You Gonna Keep It (After You Get It)' and 'More, More, More' were originally Terrell solo efforts that had Gaye's vocals overdubbed after the fact.  Like I said, I still enjoy the album !!!


A series of three singles were pulled from the LP:



- 1969's 'Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come By' b/w 'Satisfied Feeling' (Tamla catalog number T-54179)

- 1969's 'What You Gave Me' b/w 'How You Gonna Keep It (After You Get It)' (Tamla catalog number T-54187)

- 1969's 'Onion Song' b/w 'California Soul' (Tamla catalog number T-54192)


A modest commercial success, the LP only managed to hit # 184 on the pop charts.


"Easy" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Good Lovin' Ain't Easy to Come By   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:52

2.) California Soul   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:46

3.) Love Woke Me Up This Morning   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:29

4.) This Poor Heart of Mine   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:39

5.) I'm Your Puppet    (Spooner Oldham - Dan Penn) - 2:56

6.) The Onion Song   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:55


(side 2)
1.) What You Gave Me   (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:40

2.) Baby I Need Your Loving   (Brian Holland - Lamont Dozier - Eddie Holland) -  2:59

3.) I Can't Believe You Love Me   (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol) - 2:42

4.) How You Gonna Keep It (After You Get It)  (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:49

5.) More, More, More   (Harvey Fuqua - Johnny Bristol - Clyde Wilson) - 2:29

6.) Satisfied Feelin'  (Nicholas Ashford - Valerie Simpson) - 2:50


Sadly this was the final Gaye-Terrell outing.  Having been diagnosed with a brain tumor, Terrell when through a series of eight operations before dying in 1970 at the age of 24.