Thursday, 5 February 2009

Donald Shaw - Made In Motown

Donald Shaw is a new name to me, and his album, “Made In Motown” Should win support here in the UK. The album relies on a mainly programmed backbeat – which is not a criticism – and vocally I think that although Mr. Shaw claims to be in Motown, I hear a lot of styling a la the late, great Luther Vandross in his vocal inflection. Donald is certainly no Luther, but no-one should expect him to be. This, and the oft-heard Marcus Miller type of guitar in the background works well. I have at least four songs here that I am very fond of, but as a whole the set did not really hit me. I found some tracks rather unmemorable, and they simply did not have that (dare I say it? Oh, alright, I will!) X-Factor. This is not to say that the set is not worthwhile as I heartily recommend it on the strength of these following tracks, which are magnificent examples of classy, modern urban / adult contemporary R&B. The paramount track on here for me is the ballad “You Got That Kinda Love”. This is the sort of top-draw indie track that I would have chased after in the early 90s. It carries the torch for the superior-style adult soul that started, sadly, to decline in 1987. There is plenty of guitar and keys here to add more that a bit of garnish on the programmed beats. I would buy the CD for this song alone! Secondly comes the beat-ballad R&B number “How Can I Win Your Love Back”. The piano lead is strong as is the backing vocal which is pitched just right. If you love your alto Sax in the style of Marion Meadows, then the gentle, unassuming “While We're Still Friends” will appeal to you you. Again, this is a nice early 90s style number – the sort of thing we could have bought alongside the Warren Bailey and Tony Warren albums back in '93. “I Never Felt Like This Before” jostles for the premier division along with “You Got That Kinda Love”. Such a strong, strong and soulful ballad. Perhaps this not in the running for my top albums of 2007, but a set like this has the ability to grow, and I guarantee that should you let it fall along the wayside now, I think that should you hear any of the above songs in 10 – 20 years' time you would definitely kick yourself.

Barry Towler

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