In Envy Of The Motor City: More Motown Femme Soul Soundalikes Vol. II

When you’re as large a cultural phenomenon as Motown Records, the depth of imitation as flattery is quite vast. I’ve explored this pool of influence before. After sitting with the topic for even longer, I decided, just in time for Pop Culture Summer, it was time to look at how The Sound Of Young America breathed life far beyond Studio A on West Grand Boulevard in Detroit.

Motown Studio A 4Granted, a healthy bit of what we consider knock off Motown came from Detroit itself. Sometimes that was via rival labels Golden World and Ric-Tic. Sometimes it was from disgruntled writers and producers knowing they could beat Holland-Dozier-Holland and Smokey at their game (Looking at you Mike Terry). But Coast to Coast the inspiration blossomed, from stalwarts like The Shirelles seeking a new direction, to Tony Award Winning Actress Bernadette Peters doing her early Pop-Soul confections.

Here we cut a little closer to more interpretations of Motown as stereotyped than before. The amorphous sound that lent itself to many a Supremes/Four Tops/Vandellas and/Or Temptations record between 1964 and 1966 (oft way past Motown using the sounds themselves) find new life for hopefuls seeking chart action.

So sit back, and enjoy 33 gems from art being life imitated.


1) Jean Wells – Welcome Home
2) Bernadette Peters – We’ll Start The Party Again
3) The Fantasions – That’s Where The Action Is
4) Joyce Bennett – The New Boy
5) Betty Lloyd – I’m Catching On
6) Susan Coleman – Age Of The Wolf
7) The Irresistables – As Sweet As You Can Be
8) The Shirelles – A Girl Is Not A Girl
9) Rose St. John & The Wonderettes – I Know The Meaning
10) Susaye Greene – That’s The Way My Love Is
11) The Gambrells – You Better Move
12) Telma Hopkins – Solid As A Rock
13) Paulette – Love You, Babe
14) Patti Young – Head & Shoulders (Above The Rest)
15) The Starlets – Loving You Is Something New
16) The Lovations – Heaven Told Me So
17) Clara Hardy – I Dream Of You
18) Barbara Middleton – Come On Back Me
19) Barbara Favorite – Then I’ll Be True
20) Barbara Jean and The Lyrics – Where Were You?
21) Mary Love – I’ve Gotta Get You Back
22) Patti Austin – Take Away The Pain Stain
23) Pat Lewis – No One To Love
24) Karen Small – To Get You Back Again
25) Goldie – Headlines
26) The Toys – Ciao, Baby
27) Sharon Scott – It’s Better
28) Dolly & The Fashions – The Right One
29) Pat Hodges – Playgirl
30) The Naturelles – Show Me The Way
31) Maxine Brown – In My Entire Life
32) September Jones – I’m With You
33) The Exciters – I Don’t Have Have To Worry (No More)

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