Date: 10 June, 2004
: The Commodore Ballroom, Vancouver

Reviewer: John Jane





Hosts: Paul Myers and Oliver Conway

When thirty of Vancouver’s most talented artists come together to perform twenty-six songs in a Motown tribute show at the Commodore Ballroom, you just know you are in for a great evening of music.

Arguably the hardest working contributor, Oliver Conway got the show off to a solid start with the Marvin Gaye hit ‘Can I Get a Witness’ before taking his place with the back-up band on rhythm guitar and harmonica.

With artists coming from such diverse musical genres as country, folk, jazz, blues and rock, patrons were served some colourful interpretations of Motown classics.

Bill Henderson

Shari Ulrich offered a tongue-in-cheek, lounge-style rendition of a Mary Wells original, ‘My Guy’, while Roy Forbes (formerly known as Bim) gave us ‘Money’. A curious choice for him, his performance was more faithful to the Beatles cover version than the Barrett Strong original. Strong was a pivotal figure in Motown's formative years. It was his single hit in 1960 that provided "Money” for Berry Gordy to expand his Motown label.

Doug Bennett (Doug and the Slugs) gave a milktoast display with ‘Ain’t too Proud to Beg’. His light-weight effort was in stark contrast to Bill Henderson’s frenzied ‘I was Born to Love Her’ later in the show.





Barney Bentall

Barney Bentall came out looking every bit the west-coast cattle rancher (which he now is) in a loose check shirt and jeans. His delivery of the Temptations ‘Just My Imagination’ was characteristically laid-back.

Marcus Mosely and Dee Daniels, jazz and blues singers with roots in gospel music, were both naturals for Motown. Mosely’s cover of ‘My Girl’ and Daniels singing ‘Ain’t no Mountain High Enough’ had everyone heading for the dance floor.

The big surprise of the evening came from Coco Love Alcorn, daughter of renowned jazz musician John Alcorn. Coco has frequently been compared to the enigmatic folk artist, Ani Difranco. While there is some similarity in their lyrical styles, I believe Coco has the greater vocal range. Her spellbinding interpretation of the Jackson Five’s hit ‘I’ll Be There’ almost stole the show.

Artists who gave their time and talent without payment for this Shooting Stars Foundation benefit to fund HIV/AIDS organizations are as follows (in order of appearance)
Oliver Conway, Jane Mortifee, Melanie Dekker, Shari Ulrich, Chin, Linda Boyd, Barney Bentall, Dee Daniels, Doug Bennett, Coco Love Alcorn, Roy Forbes, Kendra Sprinkling, Marcus Mosely, Sibel Thrasher, Aaron Pritchett, Linda Kidder, Babe Gurr, Spirit of the West, Tom Lavin, Paul Myers, Emily Jordan and Garfield (duet), Leora Cashe, Bill Henderson, Paul Hyde, and Lori Paul.

© 2004, John Jane