Motown

Motown

4.7 15
by Michael McDonald
     
 

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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

Overview

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:
06/24/2003
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0602498011331
catalogNumber:
000065102
Rank:
15094

Tracks

  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
Duane 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,Digital Editing,Pro-Tools
Linda Creed   Composer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Shannon Forrest   Engineer,Digital Editing
Ben Fowler   Engineer,Pro-Tools
Gwen Fuqua   Composer
Kenny Gamble   Composer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Nick Ingman   String Arrangements
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
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,Digital Editing,Pro-Tools
Sandra Greene   Composer
Toby Baker   Arranger,Programming,drum programming
Arthur Ross   Composer
Lula Mae Hardaway   Composer
Jonathan Shakhovskoy   Digital Editing
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw   Arranger,Programming,drum programming,Drum Editing
Cliff Masterson   String Arrangements
Joel Evenden   Digital Editing

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