It was well over a decade ago that  songwriter / producer / drummer DREW SCHULTZ released an unusual  album, ‘Back To Class’. Unusual and intriguing because despite his apparent youth, the album was a real throwback – a throwback to the great days of 60s and 70s soul in general and to the sound of Motown in particular.

We quickly learned that “young” Drew had worked with plenty of “names” including the Temptations, Aretha Franklin, The Dramatics, The Contours, The Chairmen Of The Board and – most importantly – The Four Tops. Drew played drums in the veteran group’s road band for over five years!

Mr S also fronted his own band – the Drew Schultz Funk Machine and they were the engine room on ‘Back To Class’ but, and here’s the thing,  the LP also featured contributions from the 4 Tops and other soul veterans like Dennis Coffey, Spyder Turner, Melvin Davis and Pat Lewis. Little wonder the music had a 60s throwback sound. More importantly a portion of the royalties from the sales went to worthy music projects in Detroit schools.

More Drew Schultz recordings followed including an album in tribute to Motown’s Funk Brothers (it actually featured original Funk Brothers Eddie Willis (Eddie’s pictured with Drew) and Dennis Coffey) . That Motown celebration was followed by a Schultz collaboration with the   Impressions’ Reggie Torian with (again) royalties going to musical charities.

Since then , of course, pandemics and all sorts of other things have gotten in the way but Drew has continued to record and he’s just released a second volume of ‘Back To Class’ and, as you’d imagine, the 20 tracker offer plenty more retro sounds  – delivered by Drew and his band plus a whole bevy of soul legends like the Four Tops, existing members of The Funk Brothers, Melvin Davis, Tommy Good, Ronnie McNeir, Pat Lewis, Sypder Turner, Al Kent and Carloyn  Crawford.

The tracks were recorded over a number of years like the Reggie Torian fronted ‘Waiting Game’ and ‘Please Don’t Give Up On Your Dreams’ (Reggie passed in 2016) and while were talking about posthumous recordings, another highlight is the passionate ‘Take It Slow’ with a vocal from Delbert Nelson and guitar solo from the late Eddie Willis.

Other cuts to listen out for include the lounge-jazz ballad ‘If You Were To Fall For Me’ (with vocals from Tommy Good) and the Chicago flavoured ‘Too Quick Caller’ featuring Joe Pep Harris (ex-member of the Undisputed Truth). However, if it’s old school four-on-the-floor Motown-esque dancers you want try ‘Murphy’s Law’ (featuring Willie Jones), the Carloyn Crawford-fronted ‘Long Term Plan’ or ‘My First Love’ with sometime Elgins vocalist Yvonne Vernee out front!

‘Back To Class Volume 2’ though offers something for everyone interested in 60s/70s soul and Motown and the good news is that once again 50% of profits will again benefit the music programmes of the Detroit Public Schools.

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