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4.3 out of 5 stars
The Stripped Mixes
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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
on August 4, 2009
Format: Audio CD
As a huge MJ fan, I do own this CD and enjoyed hearing these mixes. Not for the reasons we are supposed to buy the CD for, however. After all, it is not news that Michael Jackson was an extraordinary singer, and these mixes don't make his vocals shine any differently than they do on the original, fuller mixes. Rather, I enjoyed hearing these versions for how they bring out some of the nuances that are harder to hear in the original versions, as well as for the use of some alternate takes and endings.

The songs selected here are not mixed in a consistent way; that is, some have essentially no drum or rhythm tracks, others include congas and shakers, and in "Ain't No Sunshine" there is the underlying bass drum with occasional snare rim shots which seem as though they tried but could not entirely eliminate. Some songs include string arrangements, some don't. Some songs retain backup vocals, some don't.

Somewhat misleadingly, not all of the songs are simply the original well-known versions minus most of the instrumentation. Several songs contain extended, unnecessarily repeated or previously unheard fade-outs ("Who's Loving You", "ABC," "I Want You Back," and "I'll Be There" which has an oddly edited ending), while "We've Got A Good Thing Going" is a COMPLETELY different (and much less desirable) take than the original version. Also, "With A Child's Heart" contains a different intro than the original version and "Got To Be There" contains extra backing vocals that were edited out of the original.

The collection starts out very promising, though. The mix on opener "I'll Be There" demonstrates what could have been a great idea; the vocals here are among young Michael's gentlest and most touching, and the mostly acoustic arrangement fits very well in this "stripped" form. "Darling Dear" is also a standout, though perhaps as much for Michael as for what is regarded as one of the best bass lines ever, which at times takes front and center here (but that's not a bad thing--it's amazing!). At just 38 minutes, I wouldn't spend much money on this. The originals were pop-soul perfection as it is. But find it cheap, used, or free and it's worth a listen.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2009
Format: MP3 MusicVerified Purchase
Yes, the timing of this album release is in poor taste and obviously meant to maximize profit in the wake of a tragedy, but the entire entertainment industry is based on that principle. What really matters is that the music on this album is incredibly beautiful. I adore the way the accompanying music is toned down in order to allow Michael's amazingly mature vocals to take center stage.

Definitely worth the price!!
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
on July 10, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
I think this album is a great way to remember his innocent talent because when it comes down to it he had an amazing voice. This version of 'Ben' is so moving. 'I'll Be There' is my second favorite. He will be missed!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Format: Audio CD
Some will complain about the brevity (around 38 minutes), but you know what they say about too much of a good thing, plus not every Motown-era Michael song can work STRIPPED down. Ladies will love the select period photos, and everyone who gets this will be hit in the eardrums with the reworked mix for "Ben"! THIS should've been the RELEASED version! Seriously: it's still a WEIRD song, but the dramatic feel is improved by this retooling. If this release is a CASH-IN one, it may be one of those that doesn't harm his [early] legacy. Arguably, the highlights of this set could've been COMBINED with the new "I Want You Back!" set of previously-unreleased material for a disc that runs closer to eighty minutes and give the consumer more bang for their buck! Overall, if in doubt, one can always listen to the samples for this compilation and buy their favorites via MP3 download if they're the casual Michael listener; the hardcore fans will buy this for years to come without blinking. WARNING: the beginning of Michael 're-mix' collections has only just BEGUN....
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on July 9, 2009
Format: MP3 Music
Really enjoyed this album. Vocals are up front and show how talented this man was, even at a very young age. If you're a Michael Jackson fan, you'll love this album.
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Format: MP3 Music
Stunning. This is what the fans wanted -- and non-fans need to hear.

This disc transfixed me. You will hear young MJ's voice like never before.

Audio fidelity of this cd is superb. For people that search for the best mixes of Motown: the clarity + resolution of the voices and instruments outshine any other released versions of these songs. Of all of the re-releases/remasters, and remixes of these songs..even the original pressings that many swear by...I don't think they approach this disc. The Complete Motown Singles (by year) are also amazing, but those are all the original mixes. (Both are essential listening for motown-heads or whatever we call ourselves)

But these are new and special mixes. I don't cry easily, but did feel a lump in the throat. Prepare to be moved.

Going back to the store to wait for more.
PS: I'd be interested in other audiophiles/motown-enthusiasts opinion on that (help me find more/better!!)
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Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This CD is amazing. It presents the tried-and-true early Motown classics in a fresh way. It's called "The Stripped Mixes" for a reason: these are all whittled down to their basic elements, focusing around Michael's voice. All the instruments are clear and his voice is pushed right to the front of the mix.

The song selection is also incredibly thoughtful. The compilation producers didn't just pick the big hits; they chose the best of the big hits alongside lost gems, like "Ain't No Sunshine", which was actually a Top 10 hit in the UK. The best cut? That's easy: "With A Child's Heart". The stripped mix presented here makes this song almost religious in its purity and beauty!
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on June 16, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
Without owning the masters, this is as close to split tracks as you can get! If you're looking for a masterclass in arranging (and developing bass lines), this is a fantastic resource.
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on February 10, 2014
Format: Audio CDVerified Purchase
This album is now my favorite album from any of the Jacksons. This remix takes out most of the instrumentation and back-up vocals, and leaves raw the (usually young) voice of Michael Jackson. I can now actually hear the notes he sings that I assumed were covered over by instruments because his voice wasn't good enough when he was young. Wrong! He just sang so high that it blended with instruments.

I would have given it six stars if a) it were possible; and b) it included my favorites Michael Jackson song, "Smile."
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on March 28, 2013
Format: Audio CD
A wonderful friend gave me this cd and i have to say that as a huge MJ fan i truly love it. No one can touch that beautiful voice of Michael's and to have the music stripped down to hear his voice more clear is awesome. This is a must for any Michael Jackson fan.
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