Monday, June 27, 2011

A Holy Grail Of Sorts

Not very well-received back upon its release in 1964 or after its brief re-release 30 years later, Marvin Gaye's "When I'm Alone I Cry" has always been a minor obsession.

I first read it about in Rolling Stone, years ago, in a piece I think, about rare records. Back then, the 80s, this record was fetching offensive money. I had never been able to get a hold of one, and when I did finally hold one in my hands, I couldn't part with the $80 the dealer had wanted for it.

When it was finally released on CD, I riverdanced with joy, but something inside of me wanted more than just the music. Still for years, that affordable vinyl copy eluded me...until Saturday, where I snagged a mono copy...with a 5" top seam split and mild ringwear, but with a VG+ play rating...on eBay for $14.99. It only took 30 years.

As for the album itself, "When I'm Alone I Cry" is commonly flagged as a mediocre curio, but I think it is more than that. It's only the 4th record of Marvin Gaye's career, and Motown still wasn't sure if they wanted a soul singer or a crooner. I think they made the right choice, but Gaye's approach to these standards is about as perfect as it gets, even if musically, the arrangements are borderline schmaltz.

I happen to love this record, and as soon as I Paypal some money to that eBay seller, it will finally be mine.

Here's one for you to check out.



Sammy said...

i liked that...maybe not as much as "stubborn kind of fella" or "grapevine" but it has it's when you and your lady are finishing the last glass of a nice bottle of red and the two of you are in the kitchen, dancing slow in the candlelight...yeah, i could see that...

Les said...

Wow. 30 years? Wow. I hope it's everything you want it to be!

A walk in the woods said...


Great story (love the 'riverdanced with joy' line) and a cool record.... i like it... sounds closer to his days with the Moonglows than being just a few years away from "What's Goin' On" huh?

And hey, who's to say what's worth obsessing over? I think you did well. It's that chase, that hunt that counts. I've had a few grails like this -- all record collectors do. One of mine was finding Paul Simon's first solo album on vinyl -- the one from '65 or so with him and a girl by the river. It was actually during S&G time, and had him doing acoustic versions of those S&G songs.

I obsessed and obsessed over it, and found it on vinyl. Then, of cousre... they reissued it in clear perfect CD and it could be had for $12.99.

Ah, obsessions.

Leon said...

Nice cut! Interesting what a classic, even Johnny Mathis or Sam Cooke singer he could be when he wanted to (or when Motown wanted him to).

A question: since you said you got this on vinyl, how do you transfer your vinyl to digital to share here? Or is this a link to some version of the file already online? It sounds so clear and nice.

Thanks Sal.

Sal Nunziato said...


The Marvin LP was finally released on CD back in the 90s. This is where the audio comes from. I just wanted to finally own a vinyl copy. Currently, I have no way to transfer vinyl to digital.

Anonymous said...

Agreed this is very enjoyable. Thanks for posting. Would have been interesting to pair Marvin up with Nelson Riddle. Surprised Sinatra never titled an album When I'm Alone I Cry.

I was obsessed in the late 70s with finding the soundtrack to Blow Up, which was then out of print. I drove all over the Bay Area, where I lived at the time, looking for it. Finally found a copy after a year or two. It was a totally scratchy, skippy disc and the music wasn't quite as great as I remembered from the movie, although it was good (and I still like it). But as someone else said, the Chase!

Bruce H.

Robin said...

As far as I'm concerned anything Marvin is a worthy obsession. I'd heard of this but never heard anything on it. Thanks for sharing, I loved it.