Animated children's television series Motown Magic's soundtrack comprises new versions of Motown label classics from the '60s and early '70s. Placed in the right hands, the project's executive producer is Songwriters Hall of Fame inductee Smokey Robinson, who takes the lead on two of his songs, "My Girl" and "I'll Be Doggone." Another one of Smokey's hits, "The Tracks of My Tears," is among the five songs fronted by playback singers (rather than cast members). Contemporary Motown artists BJ the Chicago Kid and Ne-Yo turn in fine versions of "Living for the City" and "Superstition," two of the four Stevie Wonder compositions here. The famed Holland-Dozier-Holland songwriting team is behind two of the inclusions, "Road Runner" and "Reach Out I'll Be There," with the former, popularized by Junior Walker, performed appropriately enough by Trombone Shorty. No apparent shortcuts were taken. Co-produced by a couple major figures who grew up on the stuff -- Detroit-area native Don Was and fellow Midwesterner Bob Mothersbaugh -- the album also involves a bunch of Motown session veterans, including Ray Parker, Jr., string arranger Jerry Hey, and bassist Cornelius Mims. This indeed functions as a loving introduction to classic, life-affirming R&B with everlasting value.
AllMusic Review by Andy Kellman