The Jackson 5: “Goin’ Back to Indiana”
I didn’t want Reselect to be an “in memoriam” blog. But at the rate I’ve been posting in recent months, that’s a little what it feels like, because I always feel compelled to post a song when someone notable in the music world (or elsewhere, as in my previous post) passes, and if I don’t also post the regular posts, by default the “in memoriams” are the only types of posts that will end up on here. And that would be a shame, because as much as music is something to remember by, it’s much more fun when it’s something to live by, to get excited about, and when it’s something to carry you away in one form or another.
The fact is, I do see a light at the end of the tunnel — I think it won’t be long before this ~6-month stretch of being particularly busy comes to an end and once again allows me more time to devote to Reselect. I’m thinking sometime in April, if you need something more specific than that. And let me tell you, the delight I feel when thinking of having sufficient free time to post to Reselect more regularly again is something akin to the joy Michael Jackson expressed in song when he realized he was going back to Indiana.
What? You aren’t familiar with one of the J5’s best songs? It’s probably because you simply don’t hear this one on the radio these days — and that in turn may be because the original studio version, even though it appears on several of their greatest hits collections, is actually kind of dull. But in the tradition of Cheap Trick’s live version of “I Want You to Want Me” being light years better than their rather sterile studio version, the Jackson 5 recorded a very high-energy version of “Goin’ Back to Indiana” on their 1971 album, Goin’ Back to Indiana, that blows the doors off the original. The accompanying album served primarily as a companion to their TV special that year of the same name, and holds the very personal distinction of being the very first album I ever owned (well, either that or the Partridge Family’s Sound Magazine, both of which I think I got that Christmas, at the age of 5) — and I still have it. (The Partridge Family album did not fare as well.) And I still love the Jackson 5 album — even the goofy spoken intro parts with Bill Cosby as roving reporter “Scoop Newsworthy,” or the track where the Jackson 5 form a basketball team that takes on a “Dream Team” featuring the likes of basketball legend Bill Russell(!). The live performance segment of the album (side 2) was captured at a homecoming concert in Gary, Indiana (their hometown, for those of you who paid absolutely no attention ever to Michael Jackson). And I have to say, if this is what one could have typically expected at a Jackson 5 concert, they put on one hell of a show. Even the slightly contrived dialogue between Michael, playing coy, and his brother (Jackie?) leading in to the beginning of the song works a little magic to push the song into instant overdrive when it kicks in.
“Well . . . I SAID . . . !” (0:45)