The Second Disc

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Make Me Wanna Holler: A Chat with Harry Weinger on “What’s Going On” (Part 2)

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The wait is over. We continue our discussion of Marvin Gaye’s classic What’s Going On, to be released as a super-deluxe edition on June 7, with reissue producer Harry Weinger. In this portion of the discussion, Weinger touches on the always-hot topic of remastering the source material, a thought on super-deluxe box sets, and future projects to honor both Gaye’s legacy and other Motown greats.

Read on after the jump!

On the many masterings of What’s Going On, and some details on the new remaster that will feature on this set:

It’s always a personal choice if someone likes one mastering over another. I know people who are fond of their original CD master from the ‘80s; I was fond of it more for the discovery than the sound. I remember finding it in the store and thinking, “Ooh, two albums on one disc!” I’d never thought about whether it sounded that good, and I’ve never compared it. But my feeling has always been that those early CDs were a little harsh.

This time, I think Kevin Reeves did a really, really good job. To me, this version has a certain alive-ness. I wouldn’t say the 2001 remaster is bad – I could never say that – but I do think this one is really, really good. I’m really happy with it.

There’s the question of should you [remaster it again], do you need to, is it just an exercise because you’re doing a new package. But we listened to the tapes and thought about what sort of converters we have now, and said, “We can beat that.” And we did, I think.

On super-deluxe box sets, of which Universal has released many in recent months:

This didn’t spring forth out of my head – “let’s do a super-deluxe box!” There has to be a reason. There’s a trend in the business where you’re either at high-end or low-end. There’s no middle anymore. Marvin Gaye, Layla – these are high-end items.

On another Marvin Gaye project fans have been clamoring for:

Without making any promises, we’ve been in the planning stages for awhile – the research has been done – for a 40th anniversary edition of Trouble Man. Next year is the 40th.

Addressing the existence of any collaboration between Marvin Gaye and Sammy Davis, Jr., during the latter’s tenure at Motown:

Marvin did some demos [for Sammy]. Some of the tracks had come out on Romantically Yours. Marvin was prone to hyperbole, so I don’t know if he spent all that money [note: Gaye claimed in a 1972 interview with Ben Fong-Torres that he spent more than $45,000 producing tapes for a project for Davis. The tapes allegedly never reached the singer]. He might have. But he never finished those. Sammy never put his vocals on those.

The dreaded question of the final entries in Motown’s Complete Singles box sets, covering 1972 and the label’s move westward to Los Angeles:

We’re doing our best. When you cross over into ’72, obtaining licenses for certain tracks is a difficult process. We’re either going to wait it out, or we’ll just stop the series where we were. Which one we’re going to do, I don’t know. At the moment, I’m really, really optimistic and hopeful that the time will come to announce 12A and 12B.

And tidbits on other Hip-o Select projects:

We’re doing a Wes Montgomery box set for Verve, his complete Verve recordings.

Teena Marie’s coming in June. The middle two albums [Lady T and Irons in the Fire (1980)], bonus tracks on each. No unreleased songs, but some unreleased versions. We’re physically expanding a 12-track compilation of rare Teena recordings on iTunes [First Class Love: Rare Tee] – the physical version will be two CDs, 8 of the 12 will be on there, and there’s more surprises.

The super-deluxe edition of What’s Going On is out June 7 from Motown/UMe.

Written by Mike Duquette

May 23, 2011 at 21:15

3 Responses

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  1. Fantastic about the Teena Marie(s)!!!!! I had a hunch when I bought “First Class Love” at iTunes that they’d go ahead and expand it physically … and that essentially I’d have to buy it twice. But, oh well. That’s just the way record companies do things nowadays. At least there’s going to be bonus material for the original albums!!!! Can’t wait for June now! =)


    May 23, 2011 at 21:26

  2. I’m happy to see that Universal plans to march forth with the Trouble Man OST.


    May 23, 2011 at 22:11

  3. Well, at least they are making an effort without promises though.


    May 23, 2011 at 22:12

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