The Jackson 5: Michael Jackson, Jermaine Jackson, Tito Jackson, Jackie Jackson, Marlon Jackson.
Includes liner notes Belma Johnson.
Personnel: Tito Jackson (vocals, guitar); Jackie Jackson , Jermaine Jackson, Marlon Jackson, Michael Jackson (vocals).
This low-end compilation from Motown focuses on the many covers the Jackson brothers worked up in their earlier years, presumably as a counterbalance to the Jackson 5's Corporation-dominated greatest hits issuings. The emphasis is on the band's first few albums, with only two post-1972 selections, and awkward disco-funk ones at that -- inadvertently suggesting that the band peaked early creatively and followed fads afterwards. Although it's of uneven quality, Never Can Say Goodbye is an intriguing purchase for casual Jackson fans for two reasons: Only two of the 11 tracks were huge hits, presenting an opportunity to dig deeper into the group's large catalog; and most of the tracks spotlight the other brothers' voices as much as Michael's. This is particularly evident on their slowed-down reading of "Standing in the Shadows of Love" and a carbon-copy rendition of "Oh How Happy." The selections on Never Can Say Goodbye verify that the Jackson 5 did much more than bubblegum soul -- but they also verify that bubblegum soul was what they did best in the 1969-1975 period. ~ Joseph McCombs