Michael McDonald "Motown Two" album is released on Oct. 26, 2004 in The U.S.A. (on PGD/Morown). You can already listen to samples of his new album "Motown 2" there:
- "You're All I Need,"
- "Second That Emotion,"
- "Mercy Mercy Me,"
- "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever"
- and "Reach Out."
Stephen Thomas Erlewine says about it:
"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."
Michael McDonald has been nominated for Best Male Artist for an American Music Award to be broadcasted live Nov. 14 on ABC.
Michael McDonald has re-released again Christmas Classic CD "In The Spirit" on Universal Music - 20th Century Masters Series.
Michael has recently taped a new Soundstage in Nashville very recently which should air in February 2005. This show includes Billy Preston, Take 6 and Toni Braxton.
Michael McDonald "Motown Two" album tracklisting:
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 Loving
6. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
7. Tracks of My Tears
8. What's Going 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
Michael McDonald - Vocals, Piano, Vocals, Background Vocals
Tim Carmon - Organ, Synthesizer, Piano, Wurlitzer
Tony Swain - Synthesizer, Clavinet
Simon Climie - Acoustic Guitar, Background Vocals - Arranger, Programming, Producer, Engineer, Digital Editing
Nathan East - Bass
Abe Laborel Sr. - Bass
Michael Thompson - Guitar
Stevie Wonder - Harmonica
Lenny Castro - Percussion
Nicky "Misschief" Shaw - Percussion, Drums
Vinnie Colaiuta - Drums
Abraham Jr. Laborel - Drums
Toby Baker - Keyboards
Billy Preston - Hammond Organ
Fred Vigdor - Alto Saxophone
Bernie Chiaravalle - Guitar (Nylon String)
Background Vocals: Steve Crawford, Audrey Martells, Shandra Penix, Sharon White, Mitchell John, Lawrence Johnson, Kevin Whalum, Yvette Preyer, Tiffany Ransom, Darwin Hobbs, Sherrie Kibble, Tamar Braxton, Kimberly Mont, Kendra Carr, Jay Malcomb, Rachel Oteh, Drea Rhenee.
Michael McDonald "Motown Two" album: ORDER IT.
"Here's what McDonald says of the classic songs that have found a beautiful and loving new home on Motown Two:
YOU'RE ALL I NEED TO GET BY: That's one of my favorite songs written by Ashford and Simpson – I always loved the chord progression and the lyric. And like everyone, I loved Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell’s version of the song. Marvin Gaye was, well, Marvin Gaye, and Tammi Terrell is a singer who is so underrated. She had this angelic, sort of innocent voice with incredible range that you just fell in love with listening to her. When you heard those two sing together, you had to root for Marvin Gaye to land a chick as sweet as Tammy Tyrell. There was a great chemistry there.
I WAS MADE FOR TO LOVE HER: It's one of those great quirky Stevie Wonder songs. The thing I always loved about Stevie Wonder, even in his early years, is that his records were so assured and had so much genius in terms of the rhythm patterns. The grooves were always just different. How do you make a pop record out of so many, you know, really sophisticated elements? His genius was undeniable even then with these songs about high school romance.
REACH OUT, I'll BE THERE: The first thing that comes to my mind when I think of "Reach Out, I'll Be There" is Levi Stubbs' lead vocals. It’s one of my favorites of all the amazing things he did with the Four Tops. Levi just sang the hell out of that song. Actually he sang the hell out of all of them. It a great, dramatic song, but I imagine that when most people think of "Reach Out," the first thing they probably think of is the passion that man brought that lead vocal. It’s what it’s all about – a great singer and a great song.
STOP, LOOK AND LISTEN (TO YOUR HEART): Just a great song -- the first thing I always think of when I think of a Thom Bell tune are those great chord progressions. Of course the words are great, because Linda Creed never wrote a bad word. I probably went through three copies of that Diana Ross- Marvin Gaye LP. That and Marvin Gaye's Super Hits never left my turntable. And I get to sing the song with Toni Braxton who is an incredibly beautiful and incredibly passionate performer. She's mesmerizing to watch. She is one of those singers I have to be careful not to look at her too much because then I'll forget my next line.
BABY I NEED YOUR LOVING: One of my favorite Four Tops tunes. I love the form and the structure of that one. The chorus has an unusual key relationship to the rest of the song. It is really neat, kind of sophisticated, and a well written song. This is one of song I wanted to do on the last record, so I was really glad we got to do it on this one. At first wasn't sure that we did it justice to be honest with you – I did the best I could but it's hard to get close to Levi Stubbs on that one. Still, other people seemed to like it so much. People have told me that's their favorite. Personally, I think they're just responding to a truly great song.
LOVING YOU IS SWEETER THAN EVER: That was one we discovered in the course of making the project. I kept saying to Simon, "You know, I'm all for doing the big hits, but I really feel like we owe it to ourselves on this one especially to venture out into things the label might consider more obscure." I think there's a beauty in giving people not just the songs they know and love also something great they haven’t had the privilege of hearing. For whatever reason, I didn't remember this song from Adam. I heard Marvin Gaye's version on a compilation in Europe. I only heard The Four Tops version – which apparently was a big hit in England -- the other day in some restaurant. But when I heard Marvin Gaye's version I fell in love with it. It's one of those timeless soul songs that just rolls off your tongue.
THE TRACKS OF MY TEARS: Simon and Tony Swain really changed directions on this Smokey Robinson masterpiece. I just got in there and sang it the best I could, the way I felt the arrangement was taking it, which is a melancholy, introspective kind of thing. I think Smokey is one of the greatest American pop songwriters or American songwriters period, just way ahead of his game.
WHAT'S GOING ON: Of course, this is a daunting song to sing. The only comfort is we have been doing that song for quite a few years in our live show. I always felt that "What's Going On" was just such an important message -- the song's words are practically more timely today than when they were written. Marvin was one of a kind. We leaned a little bit more on the Donny Hathaway live version here than the original Marvin Gaye masterpiece.
I SECOND THAT EMOTION: Here's another one we took a departure on. It's another great Smokey Robinson song. We had fun with the rhythm cadence of it. Smokey Robinson's lyrics remind me a lot of Cole Porter lyrics. They have that kind of playfulness, and at the same time it's real poetry with the same kind of sense of humor of a great riddle.
AFTER THE DANCE: A great later song from Marvin Gaye that was written by Leon Ware who wrote some of my favorite songs for Marvin Gaye, including "I Want You." Leon Ware was another one of the great Motown songwriters. That label had some incredible talent come through its doors.
NOWHERE TO RUN: One of my all time favorite songs and again one of those numbers I wanted to do on the first Motown album. Martha and the Vandellas did it wonderfully, and it had one of those great Phil Spector-ish kind of productions with a relentless beat -- kind of like "Dancing in the Streets." It's just undeniable.
TUESDAY HEARTBREAK: As far as I'm concerned, music never got hipper than Stevie did during this period of his amazing career. The lyric turns out to be almost a stream of consciousness – it was so inside and the vocal performance was so nuanced that I almost found I had to just surrender myself to the feeling of the track and the original performance. It was almost like a Zen exercise -- just becoming one with the groove and the track and the song.
MERCY, MERCY ME: Of course, I love the song and Marvin's recording of it, but I think Simon really wanted to do that song more than I did. But when we got into it, we decided to take more of a Latino, almost Samba approach which sold me on the whole idea. The lyrics are still strong. I remember back when I was a kid listening to that song thinking, "fish full of mercury," what the hell is that about? He really was ahead of his time.
BABY I'M FOR REAL: This is one of those classic great R&B ballads that was a big hit for the The Originals. It always reminded me of one of the great songs Teddy Pendergrass sang with Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes. I'm embarrassed that I didn't know it was written and produced by Marvin Gaye for them. In fact, it always reminded me of "Distant Lover" by Marvin Gaye. Like so much soul music, it's incredibly romantic."