Monday, April 7, 2014

Michael BOLTON: "Ain't No Mountain High Enough - A Tribute To Hitsville USA"

Rating: Comp
Label: earMUSIC/Edel 2014
Review by: Urban "Wally" Wallstrom

...Ain't no valley low enough, ain't no river wide enough, to keep Michael 'Pale as death' Bolton from getting to you with his latest album, a tribute to Hitsville U.S.A. or if you prefer Motown. It's the 2014 Euro release of the U.S. comp and I noticed that trolls of the internet complain about Bolton acting black? So what if he can't get enough of the Motown or that he's jewish and pale as the grim reaper? deal with it or leave this space. It's never a question of skin or religion for that matter. Acting black? ALL modern music in the last 100+ years. Blues, R&B, Jazz, Soul, Pop, Rock, Rap, etc. The heritage of black musicians and songwriters. Black Metal on the other hand, that's all white, and the worst shite genre of them all. Geez...

I've recently discovered that I'm the major fan of 70's Soul/Motown and the albums of Al Green, Marvin Gaye, Harold Melvin (and the Blue Notes), Curtis Mayfield, Withers, Bland, etc. Perhaps not as much the 60's stuff, but you can't completely ignore the classic Motown. Never managed to stomach the music of Stevie Wonder though. People keep saying he's great? But I find the majority of the compositions to be sort of juvenile and cheesy/corny somehow? It certainly doesn't help when the only song you ever heard as a kid - "I Just Called To Say I Love You". The horror, the horror. Bolton does however, "Signed, Sealed, Delivered", and that's Wonder's personal best in my opinion.

"You Keep Me Hanging On", yet another distant memory as we first heard the song by Kim Wilde. Oh, shut up. Her version became the #1 hit in the states and we didn't know any better or other. Bolton tear down the 60's song and Supremes with a huff and a puff like a train in the night, like a train in the night (My Lovely Horse? by Fr. Ted Crilly and Fr. Dougal McGuire?). Simply ignore the latter remark. "What's Going On", gets the easy listening treatment by Bolton and it's not far fetched to think of it as the Simon Cowell approved version of the classic MG tune. As long as the songwriters get their royalties (which they didn't always back in the days), who gives a damn about who covers whom? Mikey cut two R&B albums in the mid seventies before turing into the AOR singer in the eighties and releasing the self-titled album in 1983 and Everybody's Crazy in 85. Oy Vey. "Sittin' on The Dock of the Bay", made him every hausfraus' favorite pet object and he never looked back.

The bottomline. There's simply not enough of 70's Motown on this record and why bother when you have the originals? The digipack 2CD version of the album comes with the greatest hits disc.

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