Pure Michael: Motown A Cappella

by: Michael Jackson

This unusual compilation from Motown features Michael Jackson's lead vocal tracks from a number of early Jackson 5 and solo hits. Presented here a cappella without the backing tracks and generally without his brothers' harmonic contributions, it's easy to appreciate Michael's perfect pitch and impeccable timing on songs like "I Want You Back," "ABC," and "Dancing Machine." Most of these songs are from Michael's (and the Jackson 5's) early-'70s heyday and, by and large, the voice heard here is the youthful boy soprano of his early teens. While it's unlikely that this collection will receive more than a few curious spins, it does offer a revealing look at the technique and early mastery of one of pop music's great vocalists. That the music is from the pre-digital, pre-pitch-correction era makes these performances even more impressive. ~ Timothy Monger

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