Graham Reid | | <1 min read
Presumably scheduled for the Motown 50th anniversary rather than Recent Events, this three-disc collection soaks up 32 tracks of Michael Jackson with the 5, and on the third disc 16 outings under his own name.
Aside from it being a typically cheap product in its packaging etc (no liner notes), this is a fair-enough overview but serves to remind of two things: what a precocious talent Jackson was, and how he was often obliged to sing material that was lyrically far too mature for him. Which may explain why Ben, sung to a rat, was his most popular song from this era. A kid singing Forever Came Today and so on just doesn't quite sound convincing.
Great pre-disco soul-dance and ballads for the most part however (the more rock tracks are a bit suss), although there is a very good case to be made that the Jackson 5 (which had Michael as a kind of in-house guest) really hit their peak when they left Motown, became simply The Jacksons and delivered the Destiny, Triumph and Victory albums for Sony from the close of the Seventies to the mid-Eighties.
But that, for the moment, is an unaddressed part of their career which now seems predicated on the legacy of their late brother and how much can by milked from that source.