Once upon a time four talented young students at Philadelphia's High School of Creative and Performing Arts formed an R & B vocal quartet. Before long Michael, Nathan, Wanya and Shawn would come to be known as Boyz II Men. And the rest as they say is rock and roll history. Throughout the 1990's Boyz II Men would amass an impressive total of ten Top Ten hits on Billboard's Hot 100 Singles chart. Remarkably, five of these tunes would make it all the way to number one!! In 2004 Michael McCary would be forced to leave the group due to a chronic back ailment. Fast forward to the fall of 2007. Boyz II Men is now a trio and Decca Records releases the groups latest album "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA". This disc features a baker's dozen of some of the most enjoyable Motown tunes of all time. It is an absolute joy to listen to!
Of all of the songs on "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA" perhaps my favorite is the remake of Stevie Wonder's 1967 smash "I Was Made To Love Her". I had never heard any other artist do this tune and the guys prove to be more than equal to the task. Outstanding! I also thoroughly enjoyed the groups rendition of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)". This 1962 classic was really Motown's first big hit and Boyz II Men inject new energy into this venerable tune. Among my other favorites on this disc are "All This Love", "It's The Same Old Song/Reach Out, I'll Be There" medley and most especially "War". This 1970 anthem originally recorded by Edwin Starr has never sounded better! And I would be remiss if I failed to make mention the final track on this disc. Brian McKnight leads the guys in a memorable acapella version of Boyz II Men's biggest hit "The End of The Road". Fans of group harmony will find this track to be simply irresistable.
"Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA" proves to be one of those rare albums with multi-generational appeal. Younger fans who enjoyed the groups work in the 1990's will certainly not be disappointed. And those of us who are quite a bit older and purchased these original Motown 45's when we were teenagers will enjoy this disc as well. I thought that most of the arrangements were outstanding and the vocal performances stunning. Having said that I am sorry to report that according to my ears special guest Patti Labelle's performance on "Ain't Nothing Like The Real Thing" left a lot to be desired. But that one minor negative aside "Motown: A Journey Through Hitsville USA" turns out to be one of the most enjoyable new discs I have heard in quite some time. I think you will agree. Highly recommended!
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Boyz II Men is the most successful R&B male vocal group of all time. They've recorded five #1 R&B hits between 1992 and 1997 and have since sold more than 90 million albums and 50 million singles.
Three of their #1 hits, "End of the Road", "I'll Make Love to You", and "One Sweet Day" (with Mariah Carey), set and broke records for the longest period of time a single remained at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100.