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41 of 47 found the following review helpful:
Collins Croons and Swoons, Chooses Too Many Tunes Sep 28, 2010
By Rudy Palma
"The Writing Fiend"
Phil Collins has never been in better voice than he is on "Going Back," his valentine to the musical influences - namely, Motown and soul of the 60s - that informed his early years.
True, he rarely breathes new life into these songs. It would be a lie to say he transforms into a full-on song stylist. The core audience for these tunes, however, is not looking for that, and the rich, well-informed voice he uses to navigate the record is still a damn fine pleasure to hear. His enthusiasm and vivacity cover the album like wallpaper.
The song selections are also excellent. "Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me for a Little While)" (The Doobie Brothers) rolls and tumbles with excitable energy, and the slightly overlong but well-arranged "Papa Was a Rolling Stone" (The Temptations) has a fine-honed, frothy disco-like flavor that throws an interesting curveball to the proceedings.
He can't fail with the likes of the swashbuckling, boundlessly frenetic "(Love Is Like a) Heatwave" (Martha and the Vandellas) and the timeless "Uptight (Everything's Alright)" (Stevie Wonder). This is pop music as it should be - a great singer with great songs to sing.
Of course, new material would be welcome from Collins, who has not released a record since 2002's uneven but enjoyable "Testify," so in light of that "Going Back" may seem like a disappointment in theory. We all know that it takes only slight thought and little effort for someone like Collins to enter a recording studio and whip-up a CD that sounds more like karaoke than covers.
However, that is not the case here. Collins may not re-stylize these songs or cover new ground with them, but he displays passion and dedication to the project through every track. This is not just a vanity project.
The only major flaw in the record's execution is that 29 songs are on the deluxe version. 29! There is the standard 18-track CD and the 25-track deluxe version which includes an audio rip of 4 more additional songs on the accompanying bonus DVD.
The project would have surely had more focus had Collins chosen to slim down the track listing or possibly released the albums in two volumes. Since there are so many songs there is no thematic focus, giving the album sudden dramatic changes in mood, shifting between melancholy tunes like Stevie Wonder's "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" and more boisterous material like "Standing In the Shadows of Love" (Four Tops) in slightly jarring fashion.
It certainly would have been a much more noteworthy project had Collins chosen fewer songs and taken the time to rearrange, reinterpret, restyle - in short, try something new - with them.
"Going Back" will dissapoint fans who want new material, but it is a well-wrought, slickly produced, ear-pleasing collection of tunes. It may not be particularly remarkable, but it is certainly welcoming to hear Collins' honeyed voice again.
33 of 40 found the following review helpful:
Best Phil Collins solo album since Dance Into the Light in my view Sep 29, 2010
By Terrence J. Reardon
"Classic rock and old school metal master"
Former Genesis singer/drummer/songwriter and solo superstar Phil Collins's new solo album of covers called Going Back is a must for Phil Collins and Genesis and Motown fans.
Before I continue the review, many of the bellyaching and complaining reviews are saying Phil has gone Rod Stewart's Great American Songbook approach to covers and so on and so forth. Many have either forgotten or failed to recognize that other rock legends from Paul McCartney (with his 1999 Run Devil Run (a covers album of 1950s rock songs plus three originals he recorded with the late Mick Green and former Pink Floyd singer/guitarist/songwriter David Gilmour on guitars and Deep Purple drummer Ian Paice)) to Canadian hard/prog rockers Rush (with their superb covers mini-album from 2004 called Feedback which saw covers of The Who, Cream, Yardbirds, Buffalo Springfield, Blue Cheer) and The Steve Miller Band (with his excellent Bingo which are all old blues numbers done in his own style was released earlier this year) in the last decade or so have put out great covers albums. There were some lemons of cover albums I admit with Queensryche's Take Cover, Styx's The Big Bang Theory (or as I call it The Big Bong Theory) and Phil's ex-Genesis bandmate Peter Gabriel's Scratch My Back (was uninspiring and BORING in my view) being the offenders. Now I got that quip off my chest, back to the album. This is Phil's first solo album since 2002's Testify and while that album had its moments, it wasn't a way to finish a solo career. In recent years, Phil had developed hearing loss in his ear which put a kabosh on his touring days with a two year long farewell tour and having two young sons with his third wife. Plus he did one last tour with Genesis in 2007. Sadly, somehow during the tour, he injured his neck and spine to the point where he has problems with his left hand now from the tambourine jigs he did nightly and him not having played much drums in recent years by then. He managed to play all of the drums on the Going Back album with the drumstick attached to his left hand, his snare hand (right hand) is fine. When I heard Phil was doing a Motown covers album, I was ecstatic as he is a huge Motown and soul music fan and his covers of "You Can't Hurry Love", "My Girl" were all superb. Also having the legendary Funk Brothers (bass player Bob Babbitt and guitarists Eddie Willis and Ray Monette) backing him I knew I was going to be in for a treat.
Phil chose his covers wisely and very well. First Motown group he covers is The Temptations and are well represented by Phil's excellent covers of "Girl (Why You Want to Make Me Blue)" and their 1971 classic "Papa Was a Rolling Stone". He also takes on Martha and the Vandellas' classics like "Heat Wave" (done in the same key that The Who did on their second album A Quick One (Happy Jack) but unlike The Who's fast speed version, it's done in its proper tempo), "In My Lonely Room" and "Jimmy Mack", all done great. He also takes on Stevie Wonder's "Uptight (Everything's Alright)", "Blame It On the Sun" and "Never Dreamed You'd Leave in Summer" all done well I may add. His take on The Four Tops' "Standing in the Shadows of Love", "Something About You" and "Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever" are excellent. The Supremes is represented with "Love Is Here and Now You're Gone". Smokey Robinson and The Miracles' "Going to A Go-Go" is the best cover version I've heard since The Rolling Stones' take on it back in 1982 on their live album Still Life.
He does an excellent take on "Take Me In Your Arms" (which had been previously done by The Isley Brothers and more famously The Doobie Brothers in 1975). Then he covers Curtis Mayfield's "Talking About My Baby" with great results. Then we have a couple of Gerry Goffin and Carole King penned covers out of "Some of Your Lovin'" and the closing title cut "Going Back" (which had previously been done famously by the late Dusty Springfield in 1966 and in 1973 by the also sadly missed Freddie Mercury of Queen as the pseudonym Larry Lurex prior to Queen's debut album being released in 1973).
Going Back is hands down Phil's finest solo project since Dance Into the Light. His voice is in its finest form in years and his drumming is stellar despite his physical health issues and if this is his last solo album he releases, he is going out with a bang!
There is various versions available (the 18 track CD, a special version with seven more songs "Ain't Too Proud To Beg" (another Temptations tune and The Rolling Stones had done this), "You've Been Cheatin'", "Don't Look Back", "You Really Got A Hold On Me" (the Smokey Robinson classic which had been covered by The Beatles and Greg lake), "Ain't That Peculiar", "Nowhere To Run" (the Martha and the Vandellas classic which had been covered by Santana) and "Dancing In The Street" (the Martha and the Vandellas classic which had been covered by David Bowie/Mick Jagger and in a rock/funk way in 1982 by Van Halen). Plus a vinyl version. There's also another deluxe import version with a DVD which has all 25 aforementioned tracks plus four more covers out of "Too Many Fish In The Sea", "You Keep Me Hangin' On" (the Diana Ross and Supremes classic which has also been covered by Vanilla Fudge, Rod Stewart and Kim Wilde), "Tears Of A Clown" (originally by Smokey Robinson and The Miracles) and "Too Busy Thinking About My Baby" and an interview with Phil on how the album was made.
19 of 24 found the following review helpful:
Phil Collins - Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing Oct 03, 2010
By Red on Black
Oh dear. I am sure that Phil Collins deeply loves this music and to be fair he makes a decent fist of "Papa was a rolling stone" and "Uptight (Everything's alright)". He also frankly admits that this was a labour and love and as such "my idea...was not to bring anything 'new' to these already great records". The trouble with this statement it that it begs the question why record them at all or more importantly what additional dimension is the selling point for this? Doing an X factor style run through of these great songs as an exercise in reverence is laudable but as a scintillating piece of music it falls flat. Carole King's "Going back" has been better covered by other artists not least of all the lovely versions by Dusty Springfield and Nils Lofgren. "Heatwave" always sounded perfect when performed by the Motown female groups like Martha and the Vandellas or the Supremes, thus Collins is onto a hiding to nothing here. His cover of "Jimmy Mack" is truly excruciating (although not as bad as "You keep me hangin on" on the deluxe edition), while "Going to a Go Go" is so intrinsically associated with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles that any artist would be brave to cover it and Collins voice is just not up to this. Thus for anyone to fall deeply in love with this album they must already be deeply in love with Collins voice since he admits that these are ultra straight recreations of the originals and while the backing musicians playing may be impeccable the "shop window" is Collins himself. The previous recent take by a white singer on the Motown catalogue by Michael McDonald kind of worked (although not always) but that was fundamentally because the former Doobie Brother does sound like a black singer, with Collins you keep expecting him to break into "Abacab" at any minute.
Having listened to Phil Collins take on the work on these classics of Motown I would remind the new or discerning listeners that Motown Chartbusters Vol 3 remains available on Amazon for under four quid where this transcendent music can be heard in its glory, as vibrant today as it was in the Sixties. If you don't own the originals seek them out and get the most sublime pop music of the 20th century to rank with the Beatles. Finally while I am not overly fond of Brian Wilson's recent covers album of Gershwin songs to his credit he tries something different, alternatively Robert Plant presents a model for older artists to aspire to with his brilliant choice of music for "Band of Joy". At one time Collins produced an album with his jazz fusion group Brand X called "Unorthodox Behaviour" which actually rivalled Weather Report in its brilliance (more please) in contrast "Going back" stands as an exercise in treading water by a very likeable bloke.
5 of 6 found the following review helpful:
Phil does Motown....Well. Sep 29, 2010
I've listened to the album a few times now. I find it enjoyable and somewhat uplifting to hear these classic, sometimes obscure classic tunes in a similar, but different light. The band / production is superb. So good that it's not 'current' sounding -- it isn't supposed to be. The tone fits the perioid -- 40 +/- years ago!
Phils voice fits the majority of songs well. A handful seemed a bit out of reach though.
Highlights for me include:
Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue)
Ain't Too Proud To Beg
Papa Was A Rolling Stone (EXCELLENT!)
Blame It On The Sun
Never Dreamed You'd Leave In Summer
Standing In The Shadows Of Love
Don't Look Back
Do I Love YOu
Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever
Really Got A Hold On Me
Dancing In The Street
and Going Back
As a casual fan of Motown, it's quite clear that Phil's affection for the period rings through on each track. I cannot understand why so many reviewers took the time to bash the record; almost as if they don't understand the point of the album.
Going Back is simply that...going back to a time of truly amazing and talented songwriting.
Hats off to PC for dusting them off the top shelf.
2 of 2 found the following review helpful:
Great renditions Nov 08, 2011
By Daniel Doty
I simply don't understand all the bad reviews of Phil's soul review. I think he did a fantastic job .... you just want to sing along.
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