Thought I’d share a clip of an artist and a song that Walter loved. The artist is the sublime Marvin Gaye. But the song isn’t one of Gaye’s many Valentine-appropriate paeans to “erotic fantasies” (Gaye’s phrase) but rather an amazing live rendition of his iconic What’s Going On? —with a segue into his What’s Happening Brother.
This 1972 performance in Chicago was released as part of the 1973 documentary Save The Children, and is interspersed with non-performance segments. It can be found on YouTube in several edit variations.
But this clip, IMO, shows what needs to be shown. Some folks think What’s Going On is all about the studio production — the layered vocals, the echos and effects, the strings, the “everything is everything” ambient chatter — and while all these production features and more do indeed weave themselves into a tapestry of emotional innovation and power, this live rendition reveals the song, and Gaye’s gargantuan talent, in all their “naked” glory.
But the real V-Day gift for Walter is the appearance of his absolute bass hero: the great James Jamerson. Seeing him in an occasional two-shot, and hearing him so beautifully audible throughout, is a rare treat.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Walter. And may all those who mark the day find something that opens the heart ... and someone to share it with.