DONALD SHAW: Made In Motown (Label: Day Star Records)

  • Home
  • Reviews
  • DONALD SHAW: Made In Motown (Label: Day Star Records)
DONALD SHAW: Made In Motown

Donald Shaw is a soul crooner who works in and around Detroit, hence the title of this 15 tracker. That geographical link, however, is the only connection with Motown Records. Shaw’s sound isn’t proto Motown and there are no covers of old Motown songs; so don’t come to the album expecting some Tamla bonanza; rather, expect a moderate modern soul set that has all the characteristics of current self-produced, indie collections. That’s to say, budgetary concerns mean that some of the tracks are under-produced, while the writing royalty issue means that some of the songs aren’t that great – BUT you do get at least one goodie. So let’s deal with that first. The album’s best cut by a mile is ‘Smile Again’. Sub-titled, ‘The Wedding Song’ it’s a sensual ballad with a lovely melody. Featuring some slinky sax and tinkling keys, it’s no coincidence that the production values are much bigger here than elsewhere and hopefully Donald might get some of the wedding planners to use the song in their projects – like I said the royalties hurt no one. There’s a couple of other decent ballads on the set – notably ‘While We’re Still Friends’ (a pleasing duet with Roseann Matthews) and ‘I Just Want To Love You’, while the crisp ‘Don’t You Wanna Dance’ might inspire some modern rug cutters who like the ego boost that less accessible indie soul gives them: in honesty it’s not that’s special. Synthetic beats never help anyway – which takes us back to those production issues. Shame really, ‘cos Donald has a decent soul voice. It’s a kind of raspy amalgam of Tyrone Davis and Dennis Taylor with a hint of Luther. The Luther connection is also apparent in the plucked, popping bass on cuts like ‘Just In The Nick Of Time’, but Mr. V, of course, had big budgets to plump up his albums. CD Baby will help you find this one, where I’d file it under “decent if unspectacular“.
(BB) 3/5