Music » Livewire

Michael McDonald

Saturday, September 3, at the Tower City Amphitheater.

by

comment
Along with Daryl Hall, Michael McDonald is the prime exponent of blue-eyed soul. He's got a voice so beautifully husky that it carries the weakest material. He sings with passion, he has taste, and he can hire the very best sidemen.

McDonald's chart-toppers with the Doobie Brothers dominate his new greatest-hits set, The Ultimate Collection, an overlong 19-track disc that sags in the middle, but winds up surprisingly strong. Although the St. Louis native is best known for his work with Steely Dan and the Doobies in the '70s and '80s, he's spent the new millennium resurrecting Motown, one of his key influences. His take on the Marvin Gaye-Tammi Terrell hit "Ain't No Mountain High Enough" launches Collection, but it pales next to the original. Fortunately, the Doobie hit "What a Fool Believes" follows. Clearly, sequencing isn't the strength of this album.

Some hits date badly, like "Yah Mo B There," McDonald's duet with James Ingram. Others are simple mismatches, like "On My Own," a strained effort with the frequently overwrought Patti LaBelle. But some more modern cuts work well, like the rich "I Stand for You." Slick, expertly played, and largely soulful, Collection presents a moderate talent with a major voice.

We welcome readers to submit letters regarding articles and content in Cleveland Scene. Letters should be a minimum of 150 words, refer to content that has appeared on Cleveland Scene, and must include the writer's full name, address, and phone number for verification purposes. No attachments will be considered. Writers of letters selected for publication will be notified via email. Letters may be edited and shortened for space.

Email us at news@clevescene.com.

Cleveland Scene works for you, and your support is essential.

Our small but mighty local team works tirelessly to bring you high-quality, uncensored news and cultural coverage of Cleveland and beyond.

Unlike many newspapers, ours is free – and we'd like to keep it that way, because we believe, now more than ever, everyone deserves access to accurate, independent coverage of their community.

Whether it's a one-time acknowledgement of this article or an ongoing pledge, your support helps keep Cleveland's true free press free.