Marvin Gaye The Final Concert

OK, they take a bit of artistic license with the title. It's not literally Marvin's last-ever-live show. The CD was recorded in Indianapolis, during his last tour. Marvin was well known for his stage fright and that, in combination with the massive amounts of cocaine that he was taking, no doubt account for most of the truly strange stage patter. But when he sings, it all falls together. He's in great vocal form - gritty, sexy and indisputably soulful. The backing band, which includes Sheila E., is huge and hot, working the classic grooves with assurance. The audience sounds predominantly female and is enraptured with every detail. Marvin seems to feed off that and it brings a remarkable freshness to classics like "I Heard It Through The Grapevine," "Let's Get It On," What's Going On," and "Sexual Healing." Paulette Williams joins him for a five-song medley of his boy/girl duet hits. The only drawback to the set is the bootleg quality sound - thin and distant. But despite the shitty sound (which admittedly becomes much less noticeable after a few minutes) and Marvin's unravelling, it's still a forceful document of one of soul's greatest ever. (Capitol)