Marvin Gaye and Grover Washington Jr – Trouble Man Times Two

By , December 11, 2014 1:03 pm


Marvin Gaye and Grover Washington, Jr.


Listen/Download – Grover Washington, Jr. – Trouble Man


Greetings all.

The end of the week is here, and so I must remond you that the Funky16Corners Radio Show returns to the airwaves of the interwebs this and every Friday night at 9PM on Viva Radio. If you can’t dig the show at airtime, you can subscribe to it as a podcast in iTunes, listen on your mobile device through the TuneIn app, or grab an MP3 here at the blog.

Also, make sure to stop by next week. The Christmas soul posts start on Monday, and the Funky16Corners Radio Show Christmas Special drops next Friday!

The tunes I bring you today are two versions (OG and cover) from one of the more interesting chapters in the career of the mighty Marvin Gaye.

We featured one of the mighty Marvin’s early classics here some weeks ago, and today we take a look at classic (though underplayed/underappreciated) mid-period ish.

When 1972 rolled around, Marvin had just layed ‘What’s Going On’ on the world.

How would he follow one of the greatest albums of all time?

Gaye took a step back, and decided to compose the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film ‘Trouble Man’.

He was in good company, alongside other soul stars, like Isaac Hayes and Curtis Mayfield, who had done stellar work on the soundtrack tip.

Gaye’s soundtrack for ‘Trouble Man’ was smooth and atmospheric, perfect for late nights.

The title track of the album was a substantial hit, making it to #4 R&B and #7 Pop in December of 1972.

‘Trouble Man’ has a slow, jazzy groove, with falsetto vocals by Gaye and instrumental backing from a mixture of Funk Brothers and West Coast players.

The following year, Grover Washington, Jr.  recorded his two-part ‘Soul Box’ project, in which he layed down extended versions of ‘Trouble Man’ and the Temptations’Masterpiece’, with a host of CTI stalwarts like Bob James, Ron Carter and Idris Muhammad.

Washington’s version of ‘Trouble Man’ isn’t much of a departure from the original, with the exception of Creed Taylor’s horn and woodwind production fleshing out the sound a bit. There’s also a very nice organ solo by Richard Tee around the five-minute mark.

What is exceptional is the fact that Washington has almost 16 minutes in which to stretch and expand upon Gaye’s theme. If you dig the CTI sound (and you know I do) that is a very groovy thing indeed.

So, turn the lights down low, pour yourself a drink, let these two play back-to-back, and slide yourself into the weekend.

I’ll see you all on Monday.


Keep the faith







Also, the brand new Funky16Corners ‘Keep Calm and Stay Funky’ stickers have arrived! The stickers are 4″ x 3″ and printed on high quality, glossy stock. They are $2.00 each, with free shipping in the US ($2.00 per order shipping outside of the US). Click here to go to the ordering page.

Also, make sure that you check out the links below to the Be The Match Foundation and POAC (click on the logos for more info).


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PS Head over to Iron Leg too.

4 Responses to “Marvin Gaye and Grover Washington Jr – Trouble Man Times Two”

  1. jb says:

    Love “Trouble Man.” Saw Donald Fagen sing it a couple of years ago with Michael McDonald and Boz Scaggs on the Dukes of September tour. Was not expecting that.

  2. Larry says:

    I wish I’d seen that! I kept missing them as they passed through this area.

  3. DJ Waterman says:

    Wow, my respect for Marvin Gaye as a technician just racked up many notches.

  4. Mark Plott says:

    Great song – two great versions!

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