After seeing the movie and many listens to the soundtrack, I can now talk about this excellent CD.
First, when Dreamgirls landed on Broadway the "powers that be" went out of their way to deny any direct connection to The Supreme's story. The first page to the movie program corrects this, and pays tribute to not only The Supreme's, but Berry Gordy, and Motown. Jennifer Hudson is a treasure as many have already reported, but more on her later......
Beyonce does a superb job portraying Deana Jones, the Diana Ross "role" complete with many of the insecurities and questions that Diana had when she was singled out to be the star (read Mary Wilson's book, Dreamgirl, for more on this and see my review). Ms. Knowle's standout song here is Listen, and she lets loose on the Disco version of One Night Only. A few critics knocked the song Listen as being out of step with the other songs, however, Listen is set at the time when the movie is taking place in the 70's, making it quite timely.
Eddie Murphy is able to shine with his songs here, and why everyone seems so shocked that he can realy sing is beyond me. Patience is another standout track here, and Eddie sings this as a duet with Anika Rose, ala the famed Marvin Gaye/Tami Terrel duets of Motowns glory days. Eddie's alter ego in the movie, James "Thunder" Early is a mix of Marvin Gaye, James Brown, Jackie Wilson, and others, and the tracks I Want You Baby, Fake Your Way To The Top, Jimmy's Rap allow this diversity to shine. We all (should) know that Jamie Fox can sing, and his standouts here are Steppin To The Bad Side, and When I First Saw You.
Jennifer Hudson, what is their to say, she is a vocal powerhouse, and yes she takes down the house with And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going. Jennifer however also shows what she's got with the tender, Love You I Do, the breakthrough of I Am Changing, and the ballad version of One Night Only. If only Florence "Flo" Ballad had her spirit.
The "white" version of Cadillac Car lends a great time stamp on the era that Dreamgirls starts in.