4.7 15
by Michael McDonald

Blue-eyed soul crooner Michael McDonald led the Doobie Brothers to fame in the late '70s before embarking on a solo career, capturing fans with his endearingly gruff, R&B-tinged vocals. So it's only fitting that the St. Louis native joined the Motown Records family in 2003. Named after the legendary label, McDonald's first disc for them is an elegant collection of…  See more details below


Blue-eyed soul crooner Michael McDonald led the Doobie Brothers to fame in the late '70s before embarking on a solo career, capturing fans with his endearingly gruff, R&B-tinged vocals. So it's only fitting that the St. Louis native joined the Motown Records family in 2003. Named after the legendary label, McDonald's first disc for them is an elegant collection of Motown covers. Produced by Simon Climie (B. B. King, Eric Clapton) and backed by Fourplay, McDonald pours himself into 14 classic cuts. Rather than cast too broad a net in selecting from Motown's enormous canon, the silver-haired singer leans heavily on the Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder songbooks. Traditional Gaye duets such as "Ain't Nothing like the Real Thing" and "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" find McDonald flying solo with just a hint of background harmonies, while Wonder's "Signed Sealed Delivered" is given a pitch-perfect reading. By far the most effective interpretations are McDonald's yearning reading of Gaye's "I Want You" and a funky take on Wonder's "Too High," accented by bubbling bass lines from Fourplay's Nathan East and quick, snappy guitar solos from Larry Carlton. On a project that could have easily turned into boomer-fueled nostalgia, McDonald does a fine job of paying homage to the past while reaching for new heights as a solo artist.

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Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Michael McDonald never disguises what his seventh solo album is: the title Motown makes it clear that this 2003 effort is a tribute to the glory days of Berry Gordy's Detroit empire. McDonald never strays too far from that thesis, occasionally dipping into the late '70s for material (he takes on Marvin Gaye's "I Want You") and sometimes choosing to wax relatively obscure items from Motown's vast, rich catalog, but for the most part, this is devoted to the songs that you know by heart, whether you were a kid in the '60s or raised on oldies radio. Since this is McDonald, not a neo-soul neophyte, this is cleanly and sharply produced, relying heavily on synthesizers, drum machines, and professional vocalists, but anybody who has spent any time with his solo records will find this not to be objectionable, but par for the course. If McDonald doesn't reinvent these songs -- hell, he uses the original arrangements as a blueprint, then cleans them up -- he does display a love and reverence for the work, and his singing is passionate throughout. Ultimately, Motown doesn't add much to his discography, but for those who love McDonald and Motown in equal measures, it's a fine listen.

Product Details

Release Date:


  1. I Heard It Through the Grapevine  -  Fourplay
  2. You Are Everything  -  Fourplay
  3. Signed, Sealed, Delivered, I'm Yours  -  Fourplay
  4. I'm Gonna Make You Love Me  -  Fourplay
  5. Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing  -  Fourplay
  6. Reflections  -  Fourplay
  7. How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved by You)  -  Fourplay
  8. Ain't No Mountain High Enough  -  Fourplay
  9. All in Love Is Fair  -  Fourplay
  10. I Want You  -  Fourplay
  11. Distant Lover  -  Fourplay
  12. I Believe (When I Fall in Love It Will Be Forever)  -  Fourplay
  13. Since I Lost My Baby  -  Fourplay
  14. Too High  -  Fourplay

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Album Credits

Performance Credits

Michael McDonald   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals,Track Performer,fender rhodes
Larry Carlton   Guitar
Amy Holland   Piano,Background Vocals
Fourplay   Track Performer
Tracie Ackerman   Background Vocals
Simon Climie   Acoustic Guitar,Electric Guitar,Background Vocals
Mark Douthit   Saxophone
Nathan East   Bass
Ricky Lawson   Drums
Audrey Martells   Background Vocals
Harvey Mason   Percussion,Drums
Ann McCrary   Background Vocals
Amy McDonald   Background Vocals
Tommy Sims   Background Vocals
Tony Swain   Synthesizer,Keyboards,fender rhodes
Duawne Starling   Background Vocals
Michael Hart Thompson   Guitar
Leon Ware   Background Vocals
Tim Akers   Hammond Organ
Kevin Whalum   Background Vocals
Paul Waller   Percussion,Fx Vocals
Gale Mayes-West   Background Vocals
Tammy Taylor   Background Vocals
Toby Baker   Acoustic Guitar,Bass Guitar,Electric Guitar,Keyboards,Vocals,Synthesizer Voices
Jennifer Karr   Background Vocals
Chris Rodriguez   Electric Guitar,Sitar,Electric Sitar
Chris Rodriquez   Electric Guitar,Sitar
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw   Bass,Percussion,Drums
Alfreda McCrary Lee   Background Vocals
Tim Carmen   Hammond Organ

Technical Credits

Marvin Gaye   Composer
Michael McDonald   Arranger
Smokey Robinson   Composer
Barrett Strong   Composer
Lee Garrett   Composer
Jerry Ross   Composer
Fourplay   Arranger
Nick Ashford   Composer
Thom Bell   Composer
Simon Climie   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Pro-Tools
Linda Creed   Composer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Shannon Forrest   Engineer
Ben Fowler   Engineer,Pro-Tools
Gwen Fuqua   Composer
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Nick Ingman   String Arrangements
Warren "Pete" Moore   Composer
Don Murray   Engineer
Valerie Simpson   Composer
Tony Swain   Executive Producer
Norman Whitfield   Composer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Gavyn Wright   String Conductor
Syreeta Wright   Composer
Yvonne Wright   Composer
Leon Ware   Composer
Grady Walker   Engineer
Michael Wilson   Cover Photo
Paul Waller   Programming,Sound Replacements
Adam Brown   Engineer,Pro-Tools
Sandra Greene   Composer
Toby Baker   Arranger,Programming,drum programming
Arthur Ross   Composer
Lula Mae Hardaway   Composer
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw   Arranger,Programming,drum programming,Drum Editing
Cliff Masterson   String Arrangements
Warren Moore   Composer

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Customer Reviews

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Motown 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
JEANPIERREFORRES6 More than 1 year ago
since i have learned  to find music that i am just comfortable with, this album found its way into my life and i am very thankful!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Michael has been out of the limelight for years, but it is great to hear him again & singing the Motown classics that obviously influenced him. It would have been nice to hear him sing songs by a wider variety of artists (he leans heavy on Marvin and Stevie tunes), but the ones he does sing are gems. He is really one of the most underrated vocalists out there.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was expecting a pretty good effort here but was blown away that all the tracks are awe inspiring. I have been a McD fan from way back so am real glad to have something to keep in heavy rotation between the Bose Wave/CD and the car. Way to go.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Do not hesitate - buy this fantastic CD from the worlds "best white black singer". That vocal is just... superb.
Guest More than 1 year ago
As usual Michael McDonald has capture the spirit of the song. Covering Motown hits is not an easy task,and his renditions of "Reflections, I Want You and Distant Lover", especially the latter two is in my opinion the best I have yet to hear. Kudos to Michael McDonald!11
Guest More than 1 year ago
A long -time Doobie Brothers fan because of this mans voice, this is his best solo stuff yet! My head snapped around when I heard the "V-----n" commercial on TV because of "the voice", and when I saw that there was an album of all Motown (which I have also always loved)I HAD to have it! Some very romantic selections mixed in with stuff that makes ya want to MOVE!
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you are a fan of either Michael McDonald or Motown music, pick this one up. You won't be sorry. Combine the voice with the music and you have a can't miss combination.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Only four words are necessary: Way To Go Michael! Love this cd, especially All is Fair in Love. Michael, as good as ever!
Guest More than 1 year ago
A must own, takes me to a peaceful place!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have fallen in love with Michael McDonald and his music. WOW! What a voice. I first heard him on the MCI Commercial and I just had to have the album.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I have followed his music for years and didn't think he could get any better. But he did. Great going Michael
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow! Michael raises the bar and takes this album/cd to the next level.Hands down Michael is back and on a real hot streak as Motown tops over one million in sales.I saw Michael in concert in Nashville and the place was packed. Michael was great and the fans were going "buck wild!" You will love Michael and Motown!
Guest More than 1 year ago
When I first heard Michael McDonald voice on the MCI commercial I too knew I had to have this CD and I'm glad I made a wise choice. In my opinion some songs are a better rendition than the originals - once again my opinion. He's breathes new light into old classics. Job Well Done!
Guest More than 1 year ago
and does an excellent job! I LOVE this CD and have always loved Michael's rich singing voice. I'm also purchasing Motown 2.
Guest More than 1 year ago
don't I hear him sing in this album? I bought the Motown cd because I heard "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" in a commercial for a wireless phone add. I have been a fan of Michael's for many years, however this cd did not live up to my expectations. Michael's voice was barely audible due to the din of all of the backup singers. I love his voice so I bought the cd. By the time it was done playing I was ready to use it as a frisbie. I hope you or someone can pass this critique on to Michael. I want him to know how I feel about this album. I hope future albums will be more of Michael's voice and less or none at all of the singers who have ruined this album. This is my opinion.