Tag Archives: Motown

Motown Monday ~ “That’s a Funny Way” ~ The Velvelettes.

Recorded in 1965 and never released until 2004 off the Motown Anthology album.

As I’ve said before these girls were robbed like so many. Fantastic song with Benny Benjamin carrying the instrumentation with his powerful drumming.

 

The Velvelettes

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Motown Monday ~ “Where Did You Go” ~ Four Tops

Four Tops

Never get tired of featuring my favorite male vocal group, or these fantastic extended versions that highlight The Funk Brothers, The Andantes & The Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

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Motown Monday “The Hunter Gets Captured By The Game” ~ The Marvelettes

What a befitting song for this day.

The Detroit Tigers had game 2, up 5-1 with a red hot pitcher who performed the was manager Leyland had hoped for and all of us expected. 13 KOs and hitless until the 6th inning. Max Scherzer as usual was on fire.

I will never understand the philosophy of taking this kind of pitcher out of the game. In the old days nobody was counting the pitches thrown, if they were doing good they continued until they weren’t doing good.

Denny McClain, Mickey Lolich were never pulled from fantastic pitching performances, they finished the game.

Boston didn’t win, Detroit handed them the game and there is a very distinctive difference.

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Motown Monday ~ “Last One Out Is Brokenhearted” ~ The Temptations

I still sit stunned that so many songs went unreleased by Motown. I also still want to cry every time I hear Paul Williams on lead who I’ll always regard as the soul of The Temps. His performances that powerful.

The album Unreleased until 1999 Lost and Found: You’ve Got to Earn It (1962-1968) gave no indication to the year when many of the songs were actually recorded. There were some in-which Elbridge “Al” Bryant were on with David Ruffin not having yet joined the group. From the year of 66′-67′ their 67′ release The Temptations with a Lot o’ Soul. This song came up from known outtakes, so whether it in fact was recorded then who knows. But if it was that tells you that Paul was still very much together.

On page 133 of The Temptations by Wikimedia Foundation
it states what most of us already know. That Paul and other Temptations constantly complained about the label not letting Paul sing lead on more album tracks or singles but Motown’s Berry Gordy continually blew them off. Remaining focused on Ruffin & Kendricks singing the leads.

As good as Williams was no wonder why it became so increasingly frustrating for him. After all we know what Gordy did to Flo Ballard another glowing voice ignored to death.

It is inconceivable why this song was never released. As a single it would have blasted to #1, on an album it alone would have gained sales. More than that it would have finally given Paul Williams the recognition and due he for so long very much deserved.

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Motown Monday ~ “Fire” ~ Gino Parks

Geno Purifoy aka Gino Parks didn’t have a very long solo career in the motor city spite his powerful vocals chords. Only three records (5 songs) were released, two for Tamla and one for Golden World.

“Fire” would be the second and last for Gordy. According to Parks, Andre Williams was mainly responsible for the song and although Parks helped write the lyrics he was never given a credit. Andre Williams & Gino Parks had recorded together with songs released by Fortune Records in the late 50s.

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Motown Monday ~ “You’ve Got To Earn It” ~ The Temptations

The Temptations

B Side to “Since I Lost My Baby”

To me there was never a wrong side on any Motown song made in Studio A at Hitsville U.S.A.

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Motown Monday ~ “Love’s Gone Bad” ~ The Underdogs.

1967…Living on the east side of Detroit and this blasting out of my little transistor radio on WKNR & CKLW.

Me and my 10-year-old friends loudly singing it and dancing to it. The much older teenagers going to The Hideout! in Harper Woods to see them perform this number among others. Obviously they heard it a lot louder. And Hideout had their own label which recorded The Underdogs for two years along with using Reprise for national distribution.

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Mary could Blues it, Soul it, Sass it and Seduce it, but most of all her pipes could sell it. She set the standard and the tone for the rest of the females who followed her.

From the beginning Mary Wells stood in a league of her own with hit after hit after hit. An individual still missed, a legacy that will never fade away.

 

Mary Wells_Looking Back 62'

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Motown Monday ~ “Stop Her on Sight (S.O.S.)” ~ Edwin Starr

Edwin Starr

This 1966 release was Starr’s third straight chart hit for Ric-Tic behind “Agent OO Soul” and “Backstreets”. With the moonlighting Funk Brothers and Mike Terry’s blazing baritone sax it was all pure Motown sound. Personally I thought his recordings with this label was his best before reaching Motown’s.

Detroit never sounded so sweet.

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Motown Monday ~ “Just Like You Did Me” ~ Yvonne Vernee

Yvonne Vernee

CORREC-TONE Sonbert & Yvonne Vernee.

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Friday Funk ~ The Funk Brothers Receive Star on Hollywood Walk Of Fame.

Yesterday March 21, 2013 Detroit’s own got their due by Hollywood’s Walk of Fame. Our treasures, musicians, sound, style, epitome of the definition of Instrumentation.

US-ENTERTAINMENT-FUNK BROTHERS-STAR

US-ENTERTAINMENT-FUNK BROTHERS-STAR

Surviving members Eddy Willis & Jack Ashford attending this honor. Joe Messina who has been said to be sick viewed the ceremony via a live stream from his Detroit suburban home. To me this should have been done long ago and about time!

Because what you heard on every single one of the Motown Hits you was the music behind the vocals and they were simply called The Funk Brothers. But what a sound they created. No one on this earth could ever duplicate them if they tried.

The were not only Detroit’s legends they were the worlds. They were musics magicians. Extraordinary talents each and every single one of them. And if I repeat myself more than one time on this blog so be it. It cannot be said enough times

This blog will honestly reiterate one I did honoring them on Jan. 2, 2012. Only I switched up what video auto-played. You will be hearing almost 4 hours of ex-tended Motown that features the artists and the music. (sadly already removed by YT)

13 Names….13 of the most outstanding individuals who ever created the most recognizable sound around this whole world totally together.

The Motown Sound and Epitome of Class.

Earl Van Dyke
Robert White
Joe Hunter
Johnny Griffith
Eddie Willis
Joe Messina
William “Benny” Benjamin
Richard “Pistol” Allen
Uriel Jones
The Best Bassist In The World “James Jamerson”
Bob Babbitt
Jack Ashford
Eddie “Bongo” Brown

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Motown Monday: In Honor of Bobby Rogers Homecoming Service “What Love has Joined Together” ~ Mary Wells

Bobby co-wrote this song that Mary would sing second rendition to behind The Miracles and I couldn’t have thought of a more appropriate song for today.

His words, our feelings about him.

What Love has Joined Together, Can nobody take it apart.

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Motown Monday Sadly Mourning Bobby Rogers of The Miracles.

Bobby Rogers _Motown

One of the founding members of the Miracles Bobby Rogers died Sunday from complications after a long battle with diabetes. It took the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame long enough to induct The Miracles, April of 2012 where Bobby was too sick to attend. He co-wrote not only some of the Miracles songs but other Motown groups and artists as well.

He was Claudette Rogers Robinson cousin and at one time married to Marvelettes singer Wanda Young.

He was a part of one the earliest successful groups of Motown who got the first million dollar record with Shop Around and will be sorely missed. Any part of this cities music legacy who passes leaves us with an emptiness, yet their music will continue to bring us joy making us feel that they will always live on.

Bobby Rogers was that joy. God Speed to his family, friends and the millions of fans that spanned over many generations.

 

Bobby Rogers & Mary Wilson

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Motown Monday ~ “You’re Baby’s Back” ~ Downbeats

This is Vintage Early Motown featuring a group that would actually become the Elgins but not of The Temptations variety. This group of guys prior also sang as the Sensations and the Five Emeralds.

Starting out in the early-mid 50s with various different changes in lines ups it would be Norman McLean & Johnny Dawson that started and would continue on to 1961 when they finally ended up on Berry Gordy’s Tamla label recording only two songs that would be released as A & B sides.

“Request Of A Fool” recorded in Sept. of 1961 then two months later with “You’re Baby’s Back”, released in 62′. They recorded 13 more songs until 1964 but none of them saw the light of day. More line up changes would come as they would add Saundra Mallet before they finally had more releases as The Elgins in 66′.

This was the Doo-Wop era.

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Motown Monday ~ “He’s The One I Love” ~ Mary Wells

Mary Wells 1964_Motown

This one from The Queen of Motown was released off her 4th album “Mary Wells Sings My Guy” in 1964. Sadly it would be her last for the label as she left Motown in a dispute.

Written by Smokey Robinson and backed by the vocals of The Andantes and The Love Tones it again defined her signature smoothness. Tammi Terrell covered this song a few years later.

Everything that Wells sang sounded like satin.

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Wednesday When It Was Music ~ “Ask The Lonely” ~ Four Tops, The Andantes, The Funk Brothers, the Detroit Symphony Orchestra.

To me this was the prettiest song that ever came out of “Motown”.

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Motown Monday ~ “You Keep Running Away” ~ Four Tops

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Motown Monday ~ “After All” ~ The Miracles

Written by Smokey RobinsonReleased in 1961 off first album “Hi! We’re The Miracles”. Tamla Label

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Motown Monday ~ “Shake Me Wake Me (When It’s Over)” ~ Four Tops

Was lucky enough to find this extended version that highlights all who contributed on the recording.

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Motown Monday ~ “Laughing Boy” ~ Mary Wells

 

Written by Smokey Robinson
Released in 1963

Mary had 10 consecutive #1 hits between 1962-63, this should have been number 11.

There is something about this song that puts a smile on my face but in reality every early Motown song does that. A classic period and a classy singer who started off the very long ride Motown had.

Laughing Boy also made you appreciate the Muse behind the singers with Ivory Joe Hunter’s piano, James Jamerson’s bass and the beat of William “Benny” Benjamin’s drums. Music never had it so good.

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Motown Monday ~ “Come See About Me” ~ The Supremes

Released in 1964, third song out of 5 consecutive singles released to hit #1 on U.S. Billboard Hot 100 Chart.

 

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Motown Monday ~ “My Baby Loves Me “

Written by William “Mickey” Stevenson and Ivy Jo Hunter
Released under Martha Reeves & the Vandellas Jan. 4, 1966

This was one of my favorites from this group yet sadly not one of the Vandellas were on the record. The Andantes (Jackie Hicks, Marlene Barrow and Louvain Demps) did the female backing vocals and the male backing vocals were none other than my favorite guys, The Four Tops.

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Monday Motown ~ “Shake and Fingerpop” ~ Junior Walker and The All Stars

When people went out to dance.

Written by Autry DeWalt (Jr. Walker), Willie Woods & Lawrence Horn.
Released in 1965

Junior Walker – saxophone, lead vocals
Willie Woods – guitar, vocals
Victor Thomas – organ
James Graves – drums

Featured James Jamerson – bass

Said put on your wig, woman
Were goin’ out to shake and fingerpop!

 

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Motown Monday ~ “Love, Trouble, Heartache & Misery” ~ Hattie Littles

It is a damn shame that these artists and their songs sat in some vault unreleased all these years. Again another worthy singer completely ignored by Berry Gordy.

She was signed to Motown in 1962 to a four-year contract where she recorded 10 singles. Only one record was ever released until 2005 off the Gordy Label. “Your Love Is Wonderful” / “Here You Come” 1962.

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Motown Monday ~ “You Haven’t Seen My Love” ~ The Ones

This was a 1967 hit by four teens out of Lansing, Mi. The song itself started out as an instrumental written by hammond organist Kerry Nicholoff but when the band’s guitarist Danny Hernandez broke up with his girlfriend he wrote some lyrics befitting the music.

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Motown Monday ~ Everybody Needs Love ~ Mary Wells

Written by Norman Whitfield and Edward Holland Jr.

Mary Wells was the first to record this song in 1964 but another that Berry Gordy wouldn’t release until Wells left Motown. Instead opting to release The Temptations version done in 1965 first. But not even The Temps could out do Mary Wells.

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Motown Monday ~ Carolyn Crawford ~ My Smile Is Just A Frown Turned Upside Down

What an awesome voice that fit in perfectly with the Motown sound but sadly just another artist totally ignored and overlooked by Berry Gordy.

Crawford debuted her first single with Motown that she wrote in 1963, “Forget About Me” then with “My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down)” Written by Smokey Robinson soon following and charting at #39 on the R&B chart. When her next in 64′ “When Someone’s Good To You” didn’t set Gordy’s own world that was strictly in his mind ablaze she wasn’t resigned and as the same story with a lot of other talented artists that came through the doors of Hitsville nobody ended up being good to her.

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Motown Monday ~ Trouble Man ~ Marvin Gaye

Marvin Gaye wrote every single song on this films soundtrack. He not only composed, produced and arranged them but along with the vocals he played the drums, keyboards & piano for the songs. Sadly the title track would ultimately epitomize his life at its conclusion.

One very talented yet tormented soul that has been very missed not only by the fans of the city who enjoyed his early works with Motown, but by the entire music world.

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Motown Monday ~ The Tracks of My Tears ~ The Miracles

Written by Smokey Robinson, Pete Moore and Marv Tarplin.
Released June 23, 1965 on the Tamla Label .

Smokey Robinson – lead vocals
Marv Tarplin – guitar
Claudette Rogers Robinson – background vocals
Pete Moore – background vocals,
Ronnie White – background vocals
Bobby Rogers – background vocals
The Funk Brothers and the Detroit Symphony Orchestra – Instrumentation

 

Lyrics are pure honesty, Muse is pure magic.

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Motown Monday ~ The Funk Brothers

These Musicians were MOTOWN.

They alone gave the artists the Muse to make it complete for a sound that would be recognized and known around this entite world as, Motown.

Earl Van Dyke
Robert White
Joe Hunter
Johnny Griffith
Eddie Willis
Joe Messina
William “Benny” Benjamin
Richard “Pistol” Allen
Uriel Jones
The Best Bassist In The World James Jamerson
Bob Babbitt
Jack Ashford
Eddie “Bongo” Brown

Detroit, Michigan had it all and owned the sound.
It was “MOTOWN” and it was ours.

I’m proud to make The Funk Brothers my first Motown Monday of the New Year dedicated to the greatest group of musicians ensembled.

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