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  Jackson Five/Jacksons

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Click below for a Jackson Five sample:

Life of the Party

Body Language

It's Too Late to Change The Time

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You know the common history of the Jackson Five -- their humble beginnings in Gary, Indiana to worldwide adoration as the last great act of the Motown assembly line.   What you may not be aware of are the serious soulful gems that they recorded well after the days of "ABC" and Saturday morning cartoon shows.  As they matured past the bubblegum confections of the Corporation, they grasped onto the emerging trends of the time - disco and funk - to assert their identity.

Once the old style records stopped hitting the pop chart, the J5 were shuffled between several different producers and writers, among them Leon Ware, Fonce Mizell, Eddie Holland and Gene Marcellino and Mel Larson.  Obscurities like "Life of the Party," "Forever Came Today" and "Get It Together" have historically been underrated despite containing some of their most energetic performances.  Thankfully, the explosive "I Am Love" is now respected as the funk blowout that it is, particularly its second half.

The skills they demonstrated in the latter Motown years came to full fruition when they moved to Epic in 1976.  After getting initial guidance from Gamble and Huff, they were granted creative control and they served up heavy hitters like "Shake Your Body" and "Lovely One."  Anyone who doubts why they were so popular should check out these grooves.  You might just discover a side of the J5 you didn't know existed.

Jackson Five/Jacksons' Deepest Grooves

Get It Together (Motown, 1973)

Dancing Machine (Motown, 1974)
In a slick marketing move, the label created a new album off of the title track, which was also on Get It Together.  One of the better J5 albums, with "Life of the Party" and "I Am Love."

Skywriter (Motown, 1974)

Moving Violation (Motown, 1975)
"Forever Came Today" is an early disco classic.  The song would seem to be an odd choice for a cover until you factor in Michael's obsession with Diana Ross.

Going Places (Epic, 1976)
Struggling to find themselves on the post-Motown debut.

Jacksons (Epic, 1977)
Beginning to hit their stride with "Show You the Way to Go" and "Enjoy Yourself."

Destiny (Epic, 1978)
Well-rounded breakthrough LP full of hits.

Triumph (Epic, 1980)
An apt title for this marvelous collection of songs.  Perhaps the best of all Jackson Five/Jackson albums, and gives Michael's Off the Wall a run for its money too.  Steeped in funk, this remains refreshing 20 years later.

Anthology (Motown, 2000)

Copyright 2001 B.Graff.  All rights reserved.

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