Marvin Gaye and Mary Wells

Band members                             Related acts

- Marvin Gaye (RIP 1982) -- vocals

- Mary Wells (RIP 1992) -- vocals




Marvin Gaye (solo efforts)

- Mary Wells (solo efforts)





Genre: soul

Rating: 3 stars ***

Title:  Together

Company: Motown

Catalog: MT 613

Country/State: US

Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+

Comments: name in black magic marker on back cover

Available: 1

Catalog ID: 403

Price: $25.00


I guess I was naive, but for some reason I thought I'd find tons of information on this album posted to the internet.   That wasn't the case.   In fact, I was dumbfounded by how little is available on 1964's William Stevenson produced "Together".   Good luck even locating a decent review of the album ...


So here's one of the funny twists to this album.  Today most folks seem to think the album was an attempt by Motown management to bolster Mary Wells solo career.  Absolutely wrong.  At the time the album was released Wells was already a major star having just scored a number one pop and soul hit with the classic 'My Guy'.  Gaye was the up and coming star the label was trying to promote.   Unfortunately, Motown's attempt to break the pair relied on a surprisingly bland collection of adult contemporary pop with very little of the classic Motown sound on display.   You almost got the impression the goal was to sell this album to white, middle class Americans ...  And as far as chemistry went - well there simply wasn't much of it.  Separately the two sounded fine - Gaye's instantly recognizable voice was in prime form on tracks like 'Deed I Do' and 'Just Squeeze Me (Don't Tease Me)' , while Wells classic pop sound was also evident.   With the exception of the single 'What's the Matter with You, Baby' combined the two just didn't have that spark - on most of the nine tracks you couldn't even tell if they liked one another all that much (simply take a close look at the cover photo).  In Wells defense, she was about to become the first major artist to break loose from the Motown empire so she clearly had outside issues to deal with.  So when all is said and done, it's a decent collection, but I've got to tell you that off all of Gaye's partners (Ross, Terrell, Tolliver, and Weston), Wells was probably the least enjoyable of them all. 


As mentioned, the album spun off a single which became a double sided hit:

- 1964's 'Once Upon a Time' b/w 'What's the Matter With You Baby' (Motown catalog number 1057) # 19 pop; # 17 pop


Propelled by the hit single and some energetic marketing, the album hit # 42 pop.

"Together" track listing:
(side 1)

1.) Once Upon a Time   (Barney Ales - Clarence Paul - Dave Hamilton - Mickey Stevenson) - 

Yeah it was a hit for the pair, but I've got to tell you 'Once Upon a Time' was a lame slice of MOR balladry with little or none of the classic Motown sound that Gaye brought to the table with his latter day partners.  Very bland cocktail jazzy.   rating: ** stars  

2.) Deed I Do   (Fred Rose - Walter Hirsch) - 

With Gaye and Wells trading versus,. 'Deed I Do' deserved credit for surrounding the pair with a more soulful sound.   Again, not a great tune, but way better than the singles.  The Andantes provided backing vocals.   rating: *** stars

3.) Until I Met You   (Donald Wolf - Freddie Greene) - 

'Until I Met You' found the pair struggling to find a middle ground between white bread pop and a more happening soul sound.   Their vocals were quite good with Gaye showing off some of his trademarked dexterity, but the song was ultimately sunk by the bland arrangement.     rating: ** stars  

4.) Together   (Buddy G. DeSylva -  Lew Brown - Ray Henderson) -

One of the catchier tracks on the album, 'Together' had a likeable, bouncy melody and actually managed to generate a bit of heat between the pair. Curiously the chorus vocals were a bit unstable and the horn solo was simply unnecessary.  rating: *** stars


(side 2)
1.) The Late Late Show   (Murray Berlin - Roy Alfred) - 

Clearly meant to be cute, 'The Late Late Show' was at best cloying, if not outright irritating.  If it was meant to show some chemistry between the two, it totally failed.   rating: ** stars

2.) After the Lights Go Down Low   (Alan White - Leroy Lovett)

Geez, I guess it was intended to be jazzy, but their cover of 'After the Lights Go Down Low' came off as a slice of cocktail jazz.   Another track where they sounded fine on their own, but paired together the results were simply bland.   Nice sax solo earns it an extra star ...   rating: *** stars

3.) Just Squeeze Me (Don't Tease Me)   (Duke Ellington - Lee Gaines)

'Just Squeeze Me (Don't Tease Me)' was another isolated example where the pairing seemed to work in spite of the pedestrian material.   It was a duet, but Gaye essentially walked away with the spotlight on this one - Wells essentially relegated to backup singer on the chorus.   rating: *** stars

4.) What's the Matter with You, Baby     (Barney Ales - Clarence Paul -  Mickey Stevenson) - 

'What's the Matter with You, Baby' was one of the few tracks to take advantage of that distinctive mid-'60s Motown sound.   Easily the best song on the album !!!   rating: **** stars

5.) You Came A Long Way From St. Louis   (Bob Russell - John Brooks) - 

Initially 'You Came A Long Way From St. Louis' didn't make much of an impact on me, but given a couple of spins and the song reveals itself as one of the performances where Gaye and Wells seem to actually enjoy themselves.  rating: *** stars