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Motown Two

Motown Two

3.6 8
by Michael McDonald

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Given the unexpected success he had with 2003's Motown collection, it's no surprise that blue-eyed soul crooner Michael McDonald reentered the vaults of Hitsville U.S.A. for further inspiration. As was the case with its predecessor, Motown Two draws primarily from the Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder canons, while also making room


Given the unexpected success he had with 2003's Motown collection, it's no surprise that blue-eyed soul crooner Michael McDonald reentered the vaults of Hitsville U.S.A. for further inspiration. As was the case with its predecessor, Motown Two draws primarily from the Marvin Gaye and Stevie Wonder canons, while also making room for such seminal Motown composers as Smokey Robinson and the legendary Holland/Dozier/Holland songwriting team. The former Doobie Brothers frontman applies himself especially well on fare by his icon, Gaye, honoring him with a lush swing through "What's Goin' On," as well as a subtle, samba-infused "Mercy, Mercy Me" and a reading of "Baby I'm for Real" smothered in organ and just a dash of falsetto. Whereas Motown featured instrumental accompaniment by Fourplay, Two features a couple of surprise collaborations: Toni Braxton sounds like a throatier Diana Ross to her silver-haired counterpart's soulful Gaye on "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)," and Stevie Wonder peppers a funky rendition of his "I Was Made to Love Her" with his distinctive harmonica sound. A longtime Motown devotee, McDonald once again uses his undeniable talents to pay homage to the considerable legacy established by the "Sound of Young America."

Editorial Reviews

All Music Guide - Stephen Thomas Erlewine
Michael McDonald's 2003 album of Motown covers, modestly titled Motown, was his biggest hit in well over a decade, so it only made sense that he returned with a sequel to the record a little over a year later -- after all, might as well strike while the iron is hot. Logically titled Motown Two, the album follows the same blueprint as the first record, offering highly polished, professionally produced, expertly performed interpretations of gems from the Motown vaults; it's the sound of young America in the '60s reinterpreted for the adults of the new millennium. While the sound is the same, there are a couple of important differences this time around. First of all, there are a few celebrity cameos, a sign that this project has a higher profile than the first Motown record. These cameos -- Billy Preston on "You're All I Need to Get By," Stevie Wonder playing harmonica on his own "I Was Made to Love Her," a duet with Toni Braxton, "Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)" -- all fit seamlessly into the album, and actually enrich the album, giving it warm, open-hearted feel, which is also reflected in a looser performance from McDonald himself. Last time, he was in typically fine voice, but here he really digs into the songs, making this a better listen in terms of sheer performance, but what really distinguishes this album -- and what makes it different from its predecessor -- is that there's a slightly adventurous streak in the choice of songs. There are big hits here, to be sure -- "Reach Out, I'll Be There," "Baby I Need Your Lovin'," "Tracks of My Tears," "What's Goin' On," "Nowhere to Run" -- but McDonald has also dug out some lesser-known tunes like "Tuesday Heartbreak," "After the Dance," and "Baby I'm for Real" that make this album a richer, more enjoyable listen than before. It's the rare sequel that improves on the original.

Product Details

Release Date:


  1. You're All I Need to Get By
  2. I Was Made to Love Her
  3. Reach Out, I'll Be There
  4. Stop, Look, Listen (To Your Heart)
  5. Baby I Need Your Lovin'
  6. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
  7. The Tracks of My Tears
  8. What's Goin' On
  9. I Second That Emotion
  10. After the Dance
  11. Nowhere to Run
  12. Tuesday Heartbreak
  13. Mercy Mercy Me
  14. Baby I'm for Real

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Michael McDonald   Primary Artist,Piano,Vocals,Background Vocals
Billy Preston   Hammond Organ
Michael Thompson   Guitar
Lenny Castro   Percussion
Bernie Chiaravalle   Guitar (Nylon String)
Simon Climie   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Vinnie Colaiuta   Drums
Steve Crawford   Background Vocals
Nathan East   Bass
Isobel Griffiths   Conductor
Abraham Laboriel   Acoustic Guitar,Bass,Drums
Audrey Martells   Background Vocals
Shandra Penix   Background Vocals
Tony Swain   Synthesizer,Clavinet
Fred Vigdor   Alto Saxophone
Sharon White   Background Vocals
Stevie Wonder   Harmonica
Mitchell John   Background Vocals
Lawrence Johnson   Background Vocals
Kevin Whalum   Background Vocals
Tim Carmon   Organ,Synthesizer,Piano,Wurlitzer
Yvette Preyer   Background Vocals
Tiffany Ransom   Background Vocals
Toby Baker   Keyboards
Darwin Hobbs   Background Vocals
Sherrie Kibble   Background Vocals
Tamar Braxton   Background Vocals
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw   Percussion,Drums
Simon Clime   Acoustic Guitar,Background Vocals
Kimberly Mont   Background Vocals
Kendra Carr   Background Vocals
Abraham Jr. Laborel   Drums
Jay Malcomb   Background Vocals
Rachel Oteh   Background Vocals
Drea Rhenee   Background Vocals

Technical Credits

Ivory Joe Hunter   Composer
Marvin Gaye   Composer
Smokey Robinson   Composer
Toni Braxton   Duet
T-Boy Ross   Composer
Nick Ashford   Composer
Thom Bell   Composer
Renaldo Benson   Composer
Cleveland   Composer
Simon Climie   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Henry Cosby   Composer
Linda Creed   Composer
Lamont Dozier   Composer
Alan Douglas   Engineer
Shannon Forrest   Engineer
Anna Gordy Gaye   Composer
Eddie Holland   Composer
Brian Holland   Composer
Nick Ingman   String Arrangements
Warren "Pete" Moore   Composer
Don Murray   Engineer
Allen Sides   Engineer
Valerie Simpson   Composer
Tony Swain   Executive Producer
Stevie Wonder   Composer
Gavyn Wright   String Conductor
Leon Ware   Composer
Grady Walker   Engineer
Marvin Tarplin   Composer
Toby Baker   Arranger,Programming
Lula Mae Hardaway   Composer
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw   Arranger,Programming,beats
Simon Clime   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer
Joel Evenden   Engineer,Virtual Audio Engineer
Lisa Patton Brown   Personal Assistant
Signia Productions Team   Engineer

Customer Reviews

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3.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love this CD. No one else could have shown such respect for these wonderful songs. I have a big smile on my face during and after listening to it. What a soul sound he has. What fun.
Guest More than 1 year ago
If you liked Motown, you will LOVE the follow up CD. Michael McDonald, like fine wine, gets better with age!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I absolutely love the remakes. Some people can do it and some can't and Michael McDonald can do it so well. He puts his soul into an already great song. The combination music and vocal is great. Thanks Michael for your Motown versions.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Thank you Michael McDonald! Thank you for butchering some of my favorite Motown classics! The first Motown album was bad, and this is even worse! Listen to the sound samples and prove it yourself! Do yourself a favor: Don't buy this CD! Save your hard-earned money and buy some REAL Motown collections by the artists who know what Motown soul should sound like.
Guest More than 1 year ago
...what a tremendous disappointment. This CD is flatter than a pancake. After painfully listening to it once i gave it to my much older brother-in-law. Hopefully he can find something good about it. But, i must be even minded here, the #4 song, Stop Look Listen, did approach some artistic and creative music. It is really shameful that the very talented voice of Michael M. was wasted on the other poorly arranged and poorly sound-engineered cuts.
Guest More than 1 year ago
For those of you who have never heard and seen Mike McDonald live, I have nothing to say to you...except for that he is the greatest performer I have seen in a very long time. I absolutely love his singing.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This album is great! And I can't understand the idiots who say it's bad. Speaking as someone who wasn't around during the Motown era, Michael McDonald does a service to us for remaking the songs. Motown II is even better than the first. Michael McDonald has such a soulful voice that when I first heard him in the 80s as a kid on the radio, I thought he was black! Yes, few artists can remake Motown classics well, and McDonald is that artist. Anyone who doesn't like the album needs to get their ears examined!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is sad to me that one who cannot make original music that sells, rips off proven hits in an attempt to salvage an already mediocre career. I mean this guy was doing MCI commercials this past summer! C'mon, if I want to hear a Marvin Gaye song, I'll play my Marvin Gaye album. You wouldn't rent Brewsters Millions to watch the Yankees play baseball...would ya? At the end of the day the songs are great but not when Mr. McDonald sings them. You can't remake a classic and do it justice, especially with those old, tired chords. Everyone gets mad when Puff Daddy takes a song, but when this guy does it, it goes to the top of the charts. Why? This is the most egregious example of musical theivery since Vanilla Ice stole Queens "under pressure". For shame Mr. McDonald tisk tisk.