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  1. #1

    Marvin & Tammi: What You Gave Me

    Maybe there is no definitive answer, but I hope someone knows -- was that Tammi Terrell singing on the duet of "What You Gave Me"? Some sources are saying that it's Valerie Simpson. It surely sounds like Tammi to me.

  2. #2
    That's Valerie as it is on most of the tracks on the "Easy" album with the exception of any Tammi recorded much earlier. There is a difference in Val's interpretation and sound. Val is also partly on "You're All I Need To Get By". There have been threads on this subject in the past.
    Last edited by mysterysinger; 09-12-2019 at 02:16 PM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by mike_sku View Post
    Maybe there is no definitive answer, but I hope someone knows -- was that Tammi Terrell singing on the duet of "What You Gave Me"? Some sources are saying that it's Valerie Simpson. It surely sounds like Tammi to me.
    There are different versions of the story. Marvin stated shortly before his death that Tammi was too ill to record for the “Easy” album and that Valerie Simpson sang all of the female parts imitating Tammi. However, he did not mention Valerie being on any Marvin & Tammi songs prior to “Easy”, despite many speculations.

    However, Valerie Simpson states that while she does sing on some spots, Tammi Terrell is still present on the album. This had been backed up by many other accounts, including Tammi’s sister Ludie.

  4. #4
    Yeah I noticed Marvin never mentioned Valerie.

    I think now that I think about it, Marvin and Valerie are BOTH telling the truth.

    Here's what I think happened:
    Marvin did solo vocal sessions and he was probably singing along to the guide vocal (possibly Valerie).
    Then Valerie would get Tammi in when she felt well enough to record and that's how they got the record done.

  5. #5
    It is really not too difficult to hear which recordings were done by Valerie Simpson. Valerie did a great imitation of Tammi Terrell. However Valerie's phrasing is very distinctive and is extremely easy to hear on every recording she did imitating Tammi. Give it a good listen and you will be able to recognize Valerie's voice

  6. #6
    I just listened to “You’re All I Need To Get By” piece by piece, and I think that it’s largely Valerie after the first verse.

    Here’s what I hear.

    0 – 42 s – Tammi

    43s – 58s - Valerie singing “There’s no looking back for us” etc., i.e. the parts that require some serious vocal stretching.

    1:18 – 1:32 – Valerie singing everything.

    1:37s – 2:06 – not sure. My guess is Valerie.

    2:08 – 2:13 – possibly Tammi

    The rest – Valerie

    The phrasing is one very useful clue.

    Another is that Tammi is naturally nasal whereas Valerie has to fake the nasality, and that sometimes shows.

  7. #7
    And I'll chip in with my usual Marvin-Tammi duets 'guest singer' for the newbies reading this thread... That's Lawrence Payton of the Tops doing the 'nah, nah, baby' part on Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
    Lawrence told the story of how he sang on the session in Nelson George's 1985 book Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound.
    Oh and by the way, What You Gave Me is one my favourite M-T singles
    Last edited by soulwally; 09-13-2019 at 11:49 AM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by soulwally View Post
    And I'll chip in with my usual Marvin-Tammi duets 'guest singer' for the newbies reading this thread... That's Lawrence Payton of the Tops doing the 'nah, nah, baby' part on Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
    Lawrence told the story of how he sang on the session in Nelson George's 1985 book Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound.
    Oh and by the way, What You Gave Me is one my favourite M-T singles
    It's easy to pick out Valerie, she gives a more nasal approach in her imitation of Tammi. Ten of the twelve tracks on Easy are Valerie, only I Can't Believe You Love Me and More, More More are Tammi, and both were recorded several years prior. Marvin Gaye blew the lid off by admitting to David Ritz that Valerie was singing in Tammi's place on their last lp, and he was not in favor of it. I think Valerie is trying to protect Tammi's legacy by saying it is Tammi on that whole lp. Or perhaps she just remembers it wrong. Most people at Motown have said that in the last year of her life Tammi Terrell was in no condition to record or perform and was mostly in a wheelchair.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by soulwally View Post
    And I'll chip in with my usual Marvin-Tammi duets 'guest singer' for the newbies reading this thread... That's Lawrence Payton of the Tops doing the 'nah, nah, baby' part on Ain't No Mountain High Enough.
    Lawrence told the story of how he sang on the session in Nelson George's 1985 book Where Did Our Love Go?: The Rise and Fall of the Motown Sound.
    Oh and by the way, What You Gave Me is one my favourite M-T singles
    NO WINTERS COLD CAN STOP ME BABY, then I hear Marvin saying NAH NAH BABY at the 1:27 mark. Wish Lawrence was there.

  10. #10
    [QUOTE=Soulmusic4life;537772]NO WINTERS COLD CAN STOP ME BABY, then I hear Marvin saying NAH NAH BABY at the 1:27 mark. Wish Lawrence was there.[/QUOTE
    Err.. like I say, he definitely is

  11. #11
    Heh the things you learn on this site.

  12. #12
    [QUOTE=soulwally;537801]
    Quote Originally Posted by Soulmusic4life View Post
    NO WINTERS COLD CAN STOP ME BABY, then I hear Marvin saying NAH NAH BABY at the 1:27 mark. Wish Lawrence was there.[/QUOTE
    Err.. like I say, he definitely is
    Why would they bring him in just for 3 words even if it was him?

  13. #13
    [QUOTE=Soulmusic4life;537817]
    Quote Originally Posted by soulwally View Post

    Why would they bring him in just for 3 words even if it was him?
    I do remember an interview with Lawrence where he said during the recording of ANMHE, Marvin said "Come in here and help me. I can't make it alone" or something like that. He never mentioned how he helped and not hearing any extra voices, I was always confused. But now at least I know what to listen for.

  14. #14
    Yes Reese that’s exactly the gist of what Lawrence said in the Nelson George book.
    And I repeat, that’s definitely his voice singing ‘nah nah baby’
    Last edited by soulwally; 09-14-2019 at 02:09 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by soulwally View Post
    Yes Reese that’s exactly the gist of what Lawrence said in the Nelson George book.
    And I repeat, that’s definitely his voice singing ‘nah nah baby’
    My guess is that Marvin flubbed a line or missed it altogether. While Lawrence Payton couldn’t imitate Marvin, he at least could punch in an ad-lib and not have anyone know the difference.

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