Phil Collins: Going Back

review phil collins x1 cong

This was Collins’ 2010 album, which saw him cover various Motown hits. It passed us by at the time (we did play it, but never touched it since), and it’s easy to see why it lies unloved in a dusty Review Corner recess.

Collins loves this music, and he roped in three surviving members of The Funk Brothers (the Detroit-based session players who were the backbone of most Motown recordings from 1959 to 1972) for the album. While all the songs are done well, he adds nothing to them, and some covers are a little better than others. Good efforts include  Going To A Go-Go and Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue); the latter is a good example, as it’s hard to tell it’s Collins, so faithful is the cover – so what is the point? A Phil Collins Motown cover that’s so close to the original you can’t tell it’s Collins?

Songs like Heatwave are so good it would take a Britain’s Got Talent entrant to mess them up — if you’re anything like decent, they’re still great songs.

The weaker songs are ones to which Collins is less suited, such as closer Uptight (Everything’s Alright), where his voice lacks the punch the song needs. He does better on soulful songs.

You have to take this album for what it is: a talented musician doing the songs he loves because he wants to; there’s no other reason for it. As with all these reissues there’s a live CD, where Collins again manages to render the good songs dull, though the crowd clearly loves him.

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