Album: Lamont Dozier

Reflections of..., Jam Right
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The Independent Culture

Back in 1974, Lamont Dozier released a solo album called Black Bach, an indication of the Motown songwriter's modest assessment of his own genius. But then, this is the man who wrote "I Hear a Symphony", which opens, closes and appears in the middle of this album, so this classical perspective is perhaps to be expected. Dozier hasn't changed, judging by the grandiose arrangements of his back catalogue here. But what a catalogue! "This Old Heart of Mine", "Reach Out, I'll Be There", "I Can't Help Myself" and "How Sweet It Is" feature in new cabaret- friendly versions, alongside, most incongruously, the early hits that established The Supremes as Motown's leading chart act: "Baby Love", "Where Did Our Love Go" and "Stop! In the Name of Love". But sadly, abstracted from those definitive Motown arrangements, even classics like "Reach Out..." and "This Old Heart..." are reduced to routine R&B ballad fodder. The best results are achieved with "Baby I Need Your Lovin'", whose exultant melody withstands all the smarm Dozier can lavish on it, and "Reflections", which transfers surprisingly well from its proto-electro-pop setting. The album, of course, is pretty much an academic exercise, given that Dozier, a decent but unexceptional singer, can't hope to animate the songs with quite the distinction of the original artists.

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