Michael Bolton, "Ain't No Mountain High Enough: A Tribute to Hitsville U.S.A." (Montaigne Records)
In his nearly four-decade career, Michael Bolton has released some two dozen albums and has tackled various musical genres, always keeping a soft spot for classics and Motown tunes. He's covered everyone from Frank Sinatra to Glenn Miller to Etta James to Sting, but his strongest remakes have always been the unusual collaborations that put a different spin on a song, or added another dimension to an overly familiar hit.
His new 10-track Motown tribute album, however, seems to copy and paste original orchestrations in a less than stellar manner. It includes Marvin Gaye's done-to-death "Ain't No Mountain High Enough," which gets a boring and barely heard assist from Kelly Rowland, The Supremes' "You Keep Me Hanging On" and Stevie Wonder's "Signed, Sealed, Delivered (I'm Yours)."
Fans of the easy-listening genre will enjoy Bolton's warm voice and correct versions, but it ultimately feels like an exercise in unoriginality that lacks the igniting sparks.