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Album Review

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.

Biography

Born: 12 February 1952 in St. Louis, MO

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

With his husky, soulful baritone, Michael McDonald became one of the most distinctive and popular vocalists to emerge from the laid-back California pop/rock scene of the late '70s. McDonald found the middle ground between blue-eyed soul and smooth soft rock, a sound that made him a star. He initially essayed his signature style with the Doobie Brothers, ushering in the group's most popular period with hits like "What a Fool Believes" and "Taking It to the Streets." McDonald disbanded the group in...
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Motown, Michael McDonald
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