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  1. #1

    motown american songbook - who today should do what?

    we've all talked about the various MOR albums motown artists issued in the 60s highlighting the American Songbook.

    well guess what everyone the songs we grew up with are now the "older" music lol. Just like Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, the tunes by HDH, Whitfield, Fuqua, Wonder, Robinson and others are part of the historical american songbook

    I was recently thinking that today's artists should explore more of the historic songbook. pay homage just like previous artists did

    so if you were compiling an album what would it consist of and who would record? would you want 1 artist to tackle it? a compilation?

  2. #2
    Rod Stewart. I remember fond memories, one of my favorite regular cafe hangouts, playing his Sings the American Songbook album, adds classy ambience. Plus, he could sing just about anything, from folk, to pop, to rock, to crooning, from warm, to exciting.

    "Rod Steward Sings the Motown Songbook", plus points if on a Motown record, meaning Rod Stewart recording on Motown at least once:

    - I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie, Honeybunch)
    - Jimmy Mack
    - Love Is Here, Now You're Gone
    - How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You
    - The Tracks Of My Tears
    - For Once In My Life
    - Beauty's Only Skin Deep
    - I'll Try Something New
    - Your Unchanging Love
    - I Heard It Through The Grapevine
    - Heaven Must Have Sent You
    - Baby, I'm For Real
    Last edited by Ngroove; 01-12-2020 at 03:55 AM.

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by Ngroove View Post
    Rod Stewart. I remember fond memories, one of my favorite regular cafe hangouts, playing his Sings the American Songbook album, adds classy ambience. Plus, he could sing just about anything, from folk, to pop, to rock, to crooning, from warm, to exciting.

    "Rod Steward Sings the Motown Songbook", plus points if on a Motown record, meaning Rod Stewart recording on Motown at least once:

    - I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie, Honeybunch)
    - Jimmy Mack
    - Love Is Here, Now You're Gone
    - How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You
    - The Tracks Of My Tears
    - For Once In My Life
    - Beauty's Only Skin Deep
    - I'll Try Something New
    - Your Unchanging Love
    - I Heard It Through The Grapevine
    - Heaven Must Have Sent You
    - Baby, I'm For Real
    Certainly your song list would be a great fit for Stewart's voice!

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    we've all talked about the various MOR albums motown artists issued in the 60s highlighting the American Songbook.

    well guess what everyone the songs we grew up with are now the "older" music lol. Just like Porter, Berlin, Gershwin, the tunes by HDH, Whitfield, Fuqua, Wonder, Robinson and others are part of the historical american songbook

    I was recently thinking that today's artists should explore more of the historic songbook. pay homage just like previous artists did

    so if you were compiling an album what would it consist of and who would record? would you want 1 artist to tackle it? a compilation?
    Depends on how 'today' the 'today's vocalists' fit your idea. Kelly Clarkson or Mariah, def. Adele, probably. Ariana, Demi could be good. Carrie Underwood perhaps. Raphael Saadiq of course. Leon Bridges oh yes.

  5. #5
    I would love to hear Adele sing the songbook of Smokey Robinson.

  6. #6
    Although not technically called "Songbook", we have had full album recordings by Michael McDonald & Phil Collins. I'd like to see someone like Kelly Clarkson dip into it. I like the idea above of Adele doing the Smokey Robinson songbook. It might be fun to have someone like Little Nas X reinterpret some of the songs. I guess it all depends on what you'd like to see accomplished with a new recording - tried & true arrangements or something a little different with them. I'm actually surprised that Johnny Mathis never did a Motown Songbook considering how many of those he has done through his career.

  7. #7
    I'm thinking of this from a slightly different perspective. Although a few folks have listed their dream track listing for an album by Rod Stewart, for example, I'm instead wondering which songs in the Motown catalog do you think qualify as "standards," in your opinion?

    A few, such as "For Once in My Life," come to mind instantly. This one just has to be the first one, as it was written to "sound like" a standard, and even published under a new publishing arm "Stein & Van Stock," which was supposed to sound like old money, I guess, instead of "Jobete."

    But what other songs do you think have that "instant standard" quality about them?

    Here's a few that I think qualify.

    For Once in My LIfe
    I Hear a Symphony
    Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things
    Fancy Passes
    Ooh Baby Baby
    Without the One You Love
    When You're Young and in Love (the Marvelettes recorded a cover version)
    It's All in the Game (the 4 Tops recorded a cover version)
    I Just Called to Say I Love You
    You Really Got a Hold on Me
    My Guy
    Don't Mess With Bill
    Just My Imagination
    Never Can Say Goodbye
    It's Got to Be a Miracle (This Thing Called Love)
    The Bells

    It's hard to say why, but to me these songs were more than "Motown songs," they seemed to be bigger than that somehow.

    Any others in your opinion that might qualify?
    Last edited by kenneth; 01-13-2020 at 07:03 PM.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post

    But what other songs do you think have that "instant standard" quality about them?

    Here's a few that I think qualify.

    For Once in My LIfe
    I Hear a Symphony
    Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things
    Fancy Passes
    Ooh Baby Baby
    Without the One You Love
    When You're Young and in Love (the Marvelettes recorded a cover version)
    It's All in the Game (the 4 Tops recorded a cover version)
    I Just Called to Say I Love You
    You Really Got a Hold on Me
    My Guy
    Don't Mess With Bill
    Just My Imagination
    Never Can Say Goodbye
    It's Got to Be a Miracle (This Thing Called Love)
    The Bells

    It's hard to say why, but to me these songs were more than "Motown songs," they seemed to be bigger than that somehow.

    Any others in your opinion that might qualify?
    "Forever" - the Marvelettes (1962), Marvin Gaye (1964)
    "Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)" - Martha & the Vandellas (1965)
    "You've Been A Long Time Coming" - Marvin Gaye (B-Side of "I'll Be Doggone"), 1965
    "Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam)" - the Valadiers (1961), the Monitors (1966)
    "Say You" - the Monitors (1965)
    "Since I Lost You Girl" - the Monitors (1966)
    "Darling Baby" - the Elgins (1966)
    "Try It Baby" - Marvin Gaye (1964)
    "Little Darling (I Need You)" - Marvin Gaye (1966)
    "What Good Am I Without You" / "I Want You Round'" - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston (1964)

  9. #9
    Ask Any Girl
    Baby I Need Your Loving
    I'll Be There
    I'm Giving You Your Freedom
    I'm In Love Again
    It's My Turn
    Just Ask The Lonely
    Reach Out And Touch
    Reach Out I'll Be There
    Touch Me In The Morning
    Who Could Ever Doubt My Love
    Yesterday's Dreams

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Ngroove View Post
    "Forever" - the Marvelettes (1962), Marvin Gaye (1964)
    "Love (Makes Me Do Foolish Things)" - Martha & the Vandellas (1965)
    "You've Been A Long Time Coming" - Marvin Gaye (B-Side of "I'll Be Doggone"), 1965
    "Greetings (This Is Uncle Sam)" - the Valadiers (1961), the Monitors (1966)
    "Say You" - the Monitors (1965)
    "Since I Lost You Girl" - the Monitors (1966)
    "Darling Baby" - the Elgins (1966)
    "Try It Baby" - Marvin Gaye (1964)
    "Little Darling (I Need You)" - Marvin Gaye (1966)
    "What Good Am I Without You" / "I Want You Round'" - Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston (1964)
    Forever - Yes, absolutely sounds like a standard.
    Love Makes Me Do Foolish Things - one of my choices as well
    Darling Baby - Yes this one too
    Try it Baby - definitely - has a "Sinatra Swings" aspect to it. Great song.
    What Good Am I Without You/I Want You 'Round - most definitely

    Great and interesting choices, Ngroove!

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by benross View Post
    Ask Any Girl
    Baby I Need Your Loving
    I'll Be There
    I'm Giving You Your Freedom
    I'm In Love Again
    It's My Turn
    Just Ask The Lonely
    Reach Out And Touch
    Reach Out I'll Be There
    Touch Me In The Morning
    Who Could Ever Doubt My Love
    Yesterday's Dreams
    I'll Be There - Absolutely sounds like a standard
    It's My Turn - For sure
    Reach Out and Touch - Absolutely sounds like a standard and indeed, has become one. Next to "For Once in My Life," perhaps the best Motown "Standard."
    Touch Me in the Morning - Yes. I recently said on a thread that this album plays like a Streisand album - I think it takes itself too seriously - but this is definitely a well deserved hit and a highlight from Ross' Motown days
    Yesterday's Dreams - Certainly

    Thanks for the contributions, Benross!

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Ngroove View Post
    Rod Stewart. I remember fond memories, one of my favorite regular cafe hangouts, playing his Sings the American Songbook album, adds classy ambience. Plus, he could sing just about anything, from folk, to pop, to rock, to crooning, from warm, to exciting.

    "Rod Steward Sings the Motown Songbook", plus points if on a Motown record, meaning Rod Stewart recording on Motown at least once:

    - I Can't Help Myself (Sugarpie, Honeybunch)
    - Jimmy Mack
    - Love Is Here, Now You're Gone
    - How Sweet It Is To Be Loved By You
    - The Tracks Of My Tears
    - For Once In My Life
    - Beauty's Only Skin Deep
    - I'll Try Something New
    - Your Unchanging Love
    - I Heard It Through The Grapevine
    - Heaven Must Have Sent You
    - Baby, I'm For Real
    Hey Ngroove, Rod did record a similar sort of album, although not exclusively Motown, called Soulbook. He even does "The Tracks Of My Tears", featuring Smokey! I think itís a pretty good album!!!

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soulbook

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