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 roomSee more details below

Overview

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."

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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:
10/26/2004
Label:
Motown
UPC:
0602498678947
catalogNumber:
000347202
Rank:
62354

Tracks

  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

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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,Digital Editing
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
Bob Ludwig   Mastering
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
Jonathan Shakhovskoy   Digital Editing
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw   Arranger,Programming,beats
Simon Clime   Arranger,Programming,Producer,Engineer,Digital Editing
Joel Evenden   Engineer,Digital Editing,Virtual Audio Engineer
Lisa Patton Brown   Personal Assistant
Signia Productions Team   Engineer

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