The Music of Detroit

So many flavors of music come out of (or near) the Motor City: Jazz, Gospel, Rap, Ragtime, Pop, Blues, Classical, Rock, Soul…all here for your consideration.

30 Greatest Hits

30 Greatest Hits zeroes in on Aretha Franklin's prime recording period for Atlantic, from her breakout in 1967 with "I Never Loved a Man (The Way I Love You)" through the end of 1974, during which the Queen of Soul truly reigned over the charts -- she averaged over one pop hit every two months. This two-disc set delivers all of her classics ("Respect," "Do Right Woman, Do Right Man," "(You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman," "Chain of Fools," "Think," "Spanish Harlem," "Rock Steady"), plus much more excellent material for those who won't recognize much more than the songs (and there are quite a few) that have entered the cultural consciousness.

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Coming from Reality

For his second album, Rodriguez decamped to London at the request of producer Steve Rowland, who had heard Cold Fact and wanted to produce him. Since Cold Fact had made little in the way of commercial movement, Rodriguez jumped at the opportunity. Session musicians like renowned guitarist Chris Spedding lent a hand on production, which was overseen by Steve Rowland.

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The Best of Anita Baker

The first and only anthology spanning the entire career of this so-called "Quiet Storm" R&B superstar! Here are 18 sensuously soulful songs she recorded for the Beverly Glen and Elektra labels from 1983-1995: Angel; Lead Me into Love; Giving You the Best That I Got; Fairy Tales; Talk to Me; It's Been You; Sweet Love; Just Because; No One in the World; Body and Soul , and more!

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Common Chords

An acoustic roots music journey by two veteran Detroit performers.

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The Decalogue

One of the most important things fans should know about this Sufjan Stevens album is that he doesn't actually appear on it. In 2017, Stevens was commissioned to write music for a dance piece choreographed by Justin Peck for the New York City Ballet. Stevens turned in a ten-piece suite for solo piano called The Decalogue, the title and themes inspired by the Ten Commandments. 2019's album The Decalogue gives fans a chance to hear Stevens' score wherever they listen to music, but rather than perform the pieces himself, Timo Andres, a noted composer and pianist, was brought in for the recording sessions. Without Stevens' trademark lyrics, vocals, or bold but passionate ensemble arrangements, The Decalogue becomes a very different animal than nearly everything else in his catalog. The music is angular and often amelodic, though the strength and dynamics of Andres' skills at the keyboard are superb and his dexterity gives the recordings a greater sense of drama than most solo recordings would bring. It's more than a bit difficult to imagine how this is supposed to work without seeing Peck's choreography in action, but the music moves back and forth between beauty and unrest with enough confidence that one can feel the purpose and the flow of The Decalogue, even if you can't see it.

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John Lee Hooker: Detroit, 1948-1949

Acoustic or electric, alone or with a few friends, John Lee Hooker is always interesting. He has the gift to take the typical three-chord blues song and boil it down to its essence, relying on two, and sometimes no more than one, chord. Detroit 1948-1949 captures him early in his career, delivering 16 songs on solo guitar (both acoustic and electric) and four with a raucous band. Savoy purchased the recordings -- perhaps illegally since Hooker was under contract elsewhere -- and never got around to issuing more than a few of them. It is funny to hear Hooker refer to himself in several places as "Slim," part of his effort to throw the record labels off the trail of his multiple commitments. These recordings reveal a bluesman that had already found his voice on numbers like "Landing Blues" and "Shady Grove Blues."

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Dark Sky Paradise

Artistically, three is the charm for Big Sean as Dark Sky Paradise is much more expansive than previous efforts, sometimes grinding with executive producer Kanye West's love of the dark, and other times bouncing with the snark, swagger, and style that propelled this Detroit rapper to the top. "Paradise" is a prime example of the latter as it busts into the strip club with a Mike-Will-Made-It beat as Sean strings expletives together for an intricate weave, but the man who yearned to be Finally Famous with his debut got it, and is no longer drunk on fame, because as the song explains, the hangover is well underway.

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Madonna: Sticky & Sweet Tour

Hard Candy may not have been Madonna’s biggest hit, but it -- like so many of her albums -- was supported by a major international tour. Madonna dubbed it Sticky & Sweet -- a none-too-subtle allusion to Hard Candy’s title -- which is also the name of this 2010 DVD/CD set capturing her stop at River Plate Stadium in Buenos Aires in 2008.

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When blockbuster gospel/R&B duo BeBe & CeCe Winans decided to hang it up in 1994 to concentrate on solo careers, they literally split themselves in half. Without flinching, BeBe Winans went the route of contemporary R&B, releasing a handful of soulful projects spread across a litany of record labels -- a streak that was prolific and mainstream-friendly, but too erratic in light of his and his sister's past glories. CeCe Winans, by contrast, became a superstar: by remaining true to the Winans' gospel heritage, she went on to sell millions of records, collected multiple Grammys, and even founded a boutique gospel label of her own. As disparate as the siblings' night-and-day fortunes were, nothing quite compared to the magic the two could create together, a spell that's in full force on Still, BeBe & CeCe's long-in-the-making return.

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Raggin’ at Greenfield Village

Raggin’ at Greenfield Village highlights music performed at Greenfield Village’s annual Ragtime Street Fair by Raisin River Ragtime Review. It contains some of our nation’s most important early popular music. The recording not only features music of notable ragtime and early jazz pioneers like Scott Joplin, Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton, Thomas “Fats” Waller and Louis Armstrong, but also presents never-before-recorded music of important, lesser-known historical figures, 21 recordings in all. Ragtime aficionados will love “Virginia Diggins,” an early work by Wilbur C. Sweatman, considered the first African American to record jazz. Listeners will experience the actual transition of ragtime to jazz when they hear Morton’s “Original Jelly Roll Blues,” written in 1915 and considered the first published jazz composition. Classic ragtime fans will love Scott Joplin’s “Gladiolus Rag,” and the hauntingly beautiful “Heliotrope Bouquet,” by Joplin and Louis Chauvin.

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The White Stripes: Greatest Hits

Like the other archival releases that appeared after the White Stripes called it quits in 2011, The White Stripes Greatest Hits is filled with the same detail, wit, and willingness to subvert expectations that made the band so dynamic when they were active. As with all things involving Jack and Meg White, the collection's hand-curated feel is much more personal than the average best-of or streaming play list. The idiosyncratic track list shuffles the pages of the Stripes' songbook, bringing new life to their music in the process.

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Ultimate Hits: Rock and Roll Never Forgets

With millions of albums sold and a place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, Bob Seger is one of music's most enduring icons. This two-disc set spans his entire career and includes such hits as Old Time Rock and Roll; Hollywood Nights; and Turn the Page. Also featured is his rendition of Little Drummer Boy, which makes its first appearance on a Seger CD, as well as two previously unreleased tracks.

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Detroit Stories

In 1970, fledgling producer Bob Ezrin walked into a farmhouse on the outskirts of Detroit to work with the Alice Cooper band. Abandoning flower power Los Angeles, because they were the opposite of the hippie peace and love ideal, Alice had brought his decidedly darker gang back to his birthplace to the legendary rock scene that gave birth to hard rock, garage rock, soul, funk, punk…and more.

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Motown Originals: The Classic Songs That Inspired the Broadway Show!

The last frontier for Motown is the Great White Way and so, in 2013, the Sound of Young America hit Broadway via a jukebox musical loosely focused on the rise of Berry Gordy Jr. in the '60s. To accompany this musical came Motown Originals: The Classic Songs That Inspired the Broadway Show!, another repackaging of the songs you know and love: "Get Ready," "Dancing in the Street," "Shop Around," "My Guy," "Where Did Our Love Go," "I Want You Back," etc. There are two versions, one a single disc and one a double, but in either incarnation there are no songs that will surprise because that's not the intent of this compilation. This is supposed to serve up the biggest and best songs of Motown, and it does. While it is hard to believe that many Motown fans don't have these tunes somewhere in their collections, it's also hard to believe that anybody who doesn't won't wind up satisfied by this enjoyable collection.

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8 Mile

The setting is Detroit in 1995. The city is divided by 8 Mile, a road that splits the town in half along racial lines. A young white rapper, Jimmy "B-Rabbit" Smith Jr. summons strength within himself to cross over these arbitrary boundaries to fulfill his dream of success in hip hop. With his pal Future and the three one third in place, all he has to do is not choke.

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I Care 4 U

Serving as both a greatest hits collection and a summary of stuff she'd been working on before her death in August 2001, the disc is a keen reminder of just how talented the 22-year-old was as a singer and song stylist. Sure, it's easy to have rhythm aplenty when R. Kelly and Timbaland are guiding you, but Aaliyah's silken phrasings are her own, and her ability to unearth tenderness in even the funkiest jam is a testament to her vision of R&B as musical comfort food.

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