27 Songs, 1 Hour 23 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

Phil Collins hired three of the surviving Funk Brothers to recreate the sound of old Motown in a studio in Switzerland. Collins has always loved Motown — he had a hit in 1981 with the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” — and the 18 tracks on the basic album and 26 on the iTunes Deluxe Version are all done in complete homage to the sound that bedazzled Collins’ youth. The Deluxe Version includes many of Collins’ best efforts. “You Really Got a Hold On Me”, “Dancing In the Streets”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Standing In the Shadows of Love” are all indestructible, timeless tunes. Collins doesn’t just mine Motown’s biggest hits, but works through “Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue),” “In My Lonely Room” and “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer” with the same passion. He’ll never be Levi Stubbs or Smokey Robinson, but he also doesn’t sound much like the guy whose hits include “Against All Odds”, “Misunderstanding” and “That’s All”. Fans will surely be intrigued.

EDITORS’ NOTES

Phil Collins hired three of the surviving Funk Brothers to recreate the sound of old Motown in a studio in Switzerland. Collins has always loved Motown — he had a hit in 1981 with the Supremes’ “You Can’t Hurry Love” — and the 18 tracks on the basic album and 26 on the iTunes Deluxe Version are all done in complete homage to the sound that bedazzled Collins’ youth. The Deluxe Version includes many of Collins’ best efforts. “You Really Got a Hold On Me”, “Dancing In the Streets”, “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” and “Standing In the Shadows of Love” are all indestructible, timeless tunes. Collins doesn’t just mine Motown’s biggest hits, but works through “Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue),” “In My Lonely Room” and “Never Dreamed You’d Leave In Summer” with the same passion. He’ll never be Levi Stubbs or Smokey Robinson, but he also doesn’t sound much like the guy whose hits include “Against All Odds”, “Misunderstanding” and “That’s All”. Fans will surely be intrigued.

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Ratings and Reviews

3.3 out of 5
196 Ratings

196 Ratings

First-Aid ,

Refreshing!

It's great to hear some new material from Phil after 8 years. I will say, I didn't know exactly what to expect when he announced this album, but I am surprised and pleased at the result.

First I have to say that a white, middle aged Briton doing Motown reminded me of a movie back from the 80's called "The Commitments" I believe, about a group of British teen musicians that wanted to play soul. Off on a tangent I know, but still...it shows my age a bit. I grew up with Phil (and Genesis) in his heyday in the 80's. That means I'm also familiar with things like 8 tracks and records and old mono recordings. This albums stirs nostalgic memories for me. THe recordings themselves were designed intentionally to mimic the somewhat hollow sound of records in the 1950's and 1960's. I believe they accomplished this with flying colors. However, the sound does not necessarily appeal to those who have grown up on nothing but stereo. It may be a bit of a shock or disappointment to them as they are used to very high quality digital music (although most of it is BAD music, it's still digital). I thoroughly enjoy the mellow "mono" tones...it harkens back to my youth and, at my age, that's always a good thing. Well done on that point.

If I was a successful recording artist worth nearly a half a billion dollars, had my own recording studio and resources, and had the proper equipment, I admit I would certainly do an album like this. This is a labor of love...it's FUN. Music is meant to be fun, and this selection of tunes is definitely fun to listen to. There are a few tunes which seem generally flat, partially as Phil's intonation doesn't necessarily lend itself to them and partially as they are generally rather dull selections. However, other songs are absolutely perfect. "Ain't To Proud to Beg" is one such tune...Phil's voice is perfect for the song and it almost jumps into your soul. "Heatwave" is a very respectable remake, very true to the source material. "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" has a groove that just won't quit. Phil has always had a Motown influence to his music ("Behind the Lines" from Face Value comes to mind) and it is obvious here that he was attempting to pay tribute to those who helped make him the musician he is today. I'd be willing to bet he had a blast making this album; I wonder if this is almost like a mid-life crisis thing for him...a way to relive his own youth while helping a number of the rest of us remember the good times we had in days gone by.

All in all, this is a fun, enjoyable album- especially for those into Motown or into Phil. I have enjoyed listening to it and would recommend it to anyone. It is not a perfect, mega-blockbuster album but it really doesn't have to be. I think Phil did what he wanted to and hopes that others can feel that in the music.

stevelandress ,

What happened?

What happened to the Phil Collins of "Face Value" or even early Genesis or Brand X. The man has more music in his little finger than most but decides after all this time to do a cover album of old Motown music? C'mon Phil, where's the creativity? I know you can't play anymore, but you can still write. Remember, Beethoven wrote the 9th Symphony while totally deaf!

jeffkstkrt ,

Phil does Motown...well

I've listened to the album a few times so far. I find it enjoyable and somewhat uplifting to hear these classic tunes in a similar, but different light. The band / production is exceptional---great sound. Especially in that it's not 'current' -- it isn't meant to be. The tone fits the period --- 40+/- years ago!
Phil's voice fits the majority of songs well. A handful seemed a bit out of reach though.

Highlights for me:

Girl (Why you wanna make me blue)
Heatwave
Aint Too Proud To Beg
Papa Was a Rolling Stone (EXCELLENT!)
Blame It On The Sun
Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer
Standing In The Shadows Of Love
Don't Look Back
Do I Love You
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
Relly Got a Hold On Me
Dancing In the Street
Going Back

As a casual fan of Motown, it's quite clear that Phil's affection for the period rings through on each track.
I cannot understand why so many reviewers took the time to bash the record; almost as if they don't understand the point of the album.
Going Back is simply that...going back--to a period of truly amazing and talented songwriting.

Hats off to PC for dusting them off the top shelf.

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