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I want to believe that this album has some sort of hidden magical power that makes everyone come together, forget their differences, and live harmoniously in a 1000 year reign of peace and understanding. I’d like to think that if I hooked up a sound system consisting of speaker horn loaded conch shells to the roof of my house in Over-the-Rhine and blared What’s Going On throughout the neighborhood that everyone would put down their serial number-tampered handguns and my neighbor would stop selling heroine to creepy assholes from Northern Kentucky in ratty Saturns. Maybe pregnant ladies wouldn’t get shot, loonies would stop throwing rocks through car windows, and Glenn Beck would fall into a volcano. The sweet sounds of Marvin’s voice, carried by his anointed orchestral wings, could shower over us like Manna from heaven and our iniquities would be atoned, trespasses forgotten.

This is really what I think of when I hear this album. I just seems so idealistic from a time when things were very much like they are now: cities in decay, basic necessities like healthcare being denied, and people just not understanding one another. How did we come to this again? It’s only been a wink under 40 years since this album was released.

I’d like to think that we here in Cincinnati are in for what happened to New York City after the 70s. When this album was released in 1971 Times Square was overrun by strip clubs, peep shows, pimps, prostitutes, gangs, drugs, mountains of garbage and general discontent. However, the people of the city realized that Times Square was worth saving and turned their environment around. It wasn’t easy and it took time, along with money, but it was worth saving. I’d like to think that there are still people left in Cincinnati that feel the same way about Downtown and the surrounding areas. There is too much rich history here to just let it recede into the twilight.

But maybe this album can be our shortcut. Maybe a good PA system will work like a magic wand and dissolve the bad mojo coursing through this city. Maybe Marvin is our savior.

Nah, Marvin wasn’t no saint. After all, he was shot to death in the midst of a coke binge while arguing with his pastor papa. There aren’t going to be any miracles.

So we’re gonna have to put Cincy back together by working together, one way or another.

Update: Governor Kasich gives Cincinnati, Columbus, Cleveland and the whole state of Ohio a swift kick in the nuts.

>>>Click here to download What’s Going On at 320 kbps