Thursday, May 22, 2008
TV EYE: Mercy Mercy Me
Marvin Gayes’s 1971 “What’s Going On” is arguably the finest full length soul/r&b triumph ever committed to vinyl, marking Gaye as a creative force on par with the likes of James Brown, Curtis Mayfield, Stevie Wonder or Prince, yet he seems a largely overlooked pop music figure. PBS American Masters-- Marvin Gaye:What’s Going On weighs in and provides Gaye with one hopes will be the start of a deeper probe into the man and his music. Gaye was a true walking contradiction, a smooth performer who winded up dodging gigs, an overtly sensual man with a background and philosophy steeped in religion, a multi-talented and highly creative musician given to stultifying bouts of depression. The hour long doc is a bit thin, but it does feature some decent live footage, plenty of pithy talking head stuff (Smokey Robinson, Mos Def, Michael Eric Dyson), and a truly intriguing late period interview with the man himself.