The Jackson 5: ABC


May 8, 1970 – The Jackson 5: ABC is released.
# allmusic 4.5/5
# Rolling Stone (see original review below)
ABC is the second studio album by The Jackson 5, issued on May 8, 1970 on Motown Records. It featured the number-one singles “ABC” and “The Love You Save”. Also present on the LP are several notable album tracks, including a cover of Funkadelic’s “I’ll Bet You”, “I Found That Girl” (the only lead song from brother Jermaine – Michael takes most of the leads on the album), and “The Young Folks”, originally recorded by the Diana Ross-led version of The Supremes. It peaked at number-four on the Billboard Pop Albums Chart, and at number-one on the Billboard Black Albums chart. It was named number ninety-eight on the VH1 All Time Album Top 100. It remains of one of their most popular efforts selling over 5.7 million copies worldwide.
This is the Jackson Five’s first fully realized album. Their own previous album consisted mainly of earlier Motown songs done over with arrangements which were generally good, but which failed to express the spirit of the Jackson Five any more than they expressed the spirit of the original versions. ABC, however, is an album wholly in the spirit of those great Jackson Five singles, two of which, the title cut and the incredible “The Love You Save,” are included. Catchy melodies, explosive rhythm backgrounds and energetic vocals are the rule here, especially on the first side, which is as strong as anyone could want.
The second side does get into some slow stuff; “La La” and “I Found That Girl” aren’t really the type of material this group should be doing, though the arrangement of the latter (unlike that of “La La,” where the Delfonics’ understated force is replaced by Michael Jackson’s wonderful screeching) has some interest insofar as it shows Motown looking back over its shoulder at the Delfonics and at Gamble-Huff cuteness in general. But it took just the right exercise of imagination to borrow Funkadelic’s “I Bet You,” the most substantial song this minor Detroit group has done and one that would be a credit to any Motown group, and the result is a superlative arrangement.
The basic limitation of the album has to do, of course, with the fact that its material is necessarily the kind that can be handled by young voices. The only really heavy cut is “Don’t Know Why I Love You,” and this is the one for which a more mature vocalist would be most desirable. But aside from that, I like the album. A good Jackson Five song is one that is not only fast, with heavily accented rhythms, but also loose and playful, with built-in irregularities and breathing spaces that Michael and the others can fill with their delightful vocal improvisations. I’m happy to report that almost all the songs on ABC fit this description. (RS 65)
~ ARNOLD BRODSKY (September 3, 1970)
1   The Love You Save (The Corporation)     3:01
2   One More Chance 2:59
3   ABC (The Corporation) 2:56
4   2-4-6-8 (Gloria Jones, Pam Sawyer) 2:55
5   (Come ‘Round Here) I’m the One You Need (Holland, Dozier, Holland)    
6   Don’t Know Why I Love You (Hardaway, D. Hunter, P.Riser, S.Wonder)   
7   Never Had a Dream Come True (Stevie Wonder, S.Moy, Henry Cosby) 2:58
8   True Love Can Be Beautiful (L.Caston, Jr., Jeanna Jackson, B.Taylor) 3:24
9   La-La (Means I Love You) (Thom Bell, William Hart) 2:52
10 I’ll Bet You (George Clinton, Sidney Barnes, Patrick Lindsey)        
11 I Found That Girl (The Corporation) 2:57
12 The Young Folks (George Gordy, Allen Story) 2:50

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