Blues and Soul Music Magazine

Issue 1084

Welcome to B&S

BRINGING YOU THE STORIES BEHIND MUSIC + ESSENTIAL NEWS, REVIEWS AND INTERVIEWS...

Column

Sharon Davis' Motown Tracking column (December)

Sharon Davis' Motown Tracking Column
Sharon Davis' Motown Tracking Column Smokey Robinson @bluesandsoul.com Tammi Terrel @bluesandsoul.com Ludie Montgomery and Vickie Wright: Tammi Terrell - My Sister Tommie Dusty Springfield (1966) @bluesandsoul.com Smokey Robinson: The Solo Albums Vol.1 The Dynamic Superiors: The Dynamic Superiors/Pure Pleasure Ian Phillips @bluesandsoul.com Ian Phillips: Diana Queen Of Motown BRENDA HOLLOWAY: JUST LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE MARVIN GAYE - A FUNKY SPACE REINCARNATION Ben: L'Oncle Soul Ben: L'Oncle Soul The Supremes at Christmas @bluesandsoul.com

I just cannot believe another year is very nearly over. So much has happened; so much good, and a little badâ¦and now the bloody weather has taken a turn for the worst in East Sussex as thick snow has blanketed my immediate world. So have been very physical this morning by sweeping snow and salting pathways. Animals to walk and feed yâsee. Now, as I pull up my thermal socks and fleecy Bridget Jones, put on my thick woolly gloves, scarf and hat, and wrap another sheep skin blanket around me, letâs TCB with our Christmas edition. Ho! Ho! Ho! Why on earth did I write that? . Anyways..

SMOKEY AT THE ALBERT HALL

Breaking news firstâ¦Smokey Robinson will headline a tribute gala concert for Dusty Springfield to be held at The Royal Albert Hall, London, on 5 May 2011. Titled âFor Dustyâ, the gala will include a whole host of top named acts like Billy Ocean. All proceeds in aid of the MacMillan Nurses. More information when I get it.

TAMMI TERRELL

Following on from my piece last time about Tammi Terrellâs Come On And See Me â The Complete Solo Collection I canât believe my luck - but have had a chat with Tammiâs sister Ludie in time for this MT. The magic of Christmas, donât ever doubt it! Anyway. While penning her book My Sister Tommie â The Real Tammi Terrell, Ludie was in contact with several legends in the music industry and naturally had revisited her sisterâs recordings. When I asked how she now felt about seeing Tammiâs music available again (and some tracks for the first time), she replied - âIâm over the moon that the younger generations are getting a taste of the lovely, raw, talented Tammi, my big sister. With the release of the latest cd this October, I fell in love all over again, especially with the live recordings of What A Difference A Day Makes and Runninâ Out Of Fools. Another of my favourites ..is All I Do Is Think About You where Tammi just excels in vocal talent. The never before released songs have truly blown my mind as well.â Another of Tammiâs endearing qualities, Ludie said, was her love of people - âTammi loved, loved, loved people and never had a negative word that I can remember her saying. Everyone she met was her cousin, aunt or relative (smile). â Perhaps until now, Tammi will be best remembered for her work with Marvin Gaye. Those beautiful, engaging, ballads like âYouâre All I Need To Get By, If This World Were Mine and If I Could Build My Whole World Around You (even the very titles are deliciously addictive), and I mentioned to Ludie that when Marvin spoke of Tammi, it was always with warmth and love. Marvin was such a integral part of her life, and he missed her as much as our family did.

I then insisted, Tammi was loved in her own right, particularly in the UK, and I hoped she knew that before she died. Ludie thought not. But added - "In my opinion, Tammi would have loved a successful solo career as well as a film career (but) I am not so sure that she knew how much her fans adored her. Not only was Tammi blessed with outer beauty but she (had) an exceptional inner quality that is very rare. I can only say that I hope all, young and old experience the wonderful and musically gifted, talented phenomenon known as Tammi Terrell!â Many thanks Ludie â chat again soon. Meantime, do check out My Sister Tommie - an extremely good read.

MORE SMOKEY

I mentioned Mr Robinson earlier, and that reminded me of these things. One, was his involvement in things green. Well, to be more precise, his role as spokesman for Green Automotive, the company pushing Zotye, the new electric car. Said he â âWeâd better do something, because weâre destroying the earth. I have grandbabies and I want them to have some place to live.â The other was about his teaming up with Cracker Barrel Old Country Store to release the Now And Then cd featuring 12 songs. Six are live versions of classics like I Second That Emotion, The Tracks Of My Tears and The Tears Of A Clown. The others â like Donât Know Why and Girlfriend - are lifted from his 2009 cd Time Flies When Youâre Having Fun . Now And Then is, apparently, Cracker Barrelâs first release by a soul man - previously itâs been known for country and bluegrass acts - and the marketing folks believe he will expand the companyâs exclusive music programme. Certainly Smokey was happy - âI think many of my fans are also Cracker Barrel fans, and having my cd available when they come in to have a meal, will please them. With almost six hundred locations and a website, I am confident that my fans will be able to get this cd easily, and thatâs important these days when places that sell music are becoming rare.â How cute is that!

And the last thing is âThe Solo Albums Volume 1â, basically to remind you that this package contains Smokey and Pure Smokey. As you know, when Mr Robinson left The Miracles he intended to retire. Oh yeh! Soon got bored sitting behind a desk, composing and producing for other artists, didnât he? Said he - âAfter I left The Miracles, I wrote this song for them called âSweet Harmonyâ. It was a message to them, saying âkeep on going. Iâm not there, but youâre greatâ¦.My intention was to go into the studio and record it and give each one of the group a copy.â That didnât happen because he was persuaded to record the track himself. And this led to the Smokey album, co-produced by Willie Hutch, and re-uniting him with Marv Tarplin. Recorded possibly with reluctance, the album shows a solitary Smokey, slightly vulnerable but deeply emotional. Methinks he bares his soul the most with Silent Partner In A Three-Way Love Affair, Just My Soul Responding and Baby Come Close. While on Pure Smokey he tells it like it really is with Virgin Man, Itâs Her Turn To Love and Just Passing Through. An excellent release for sure but you know that already.

THE DYNAMIC SUPERIORS

Next item. Through a deal with Cherry Red Records, David Nathanâs soulmusic.com label will be releasing a load of soul items. One of the first out is The Dynamic Superiorsâ eponymous album and the follow-up Pure Pleasure. Both titles hail from 1975. A little overlooked while signed to Motown, these guys had a lot going for them: working with Ashford & Simpson was one! David has given me an insight into future releases and, have to say, theyâre mouth watering. Now Iâve teased youâ¦because I canât tell you who/what they are as I write this. Will soon be reviewing The Dynamic Superiors in more detail.

DIANA ROSS

Remember I was asked by Ian Phillips to write the foreward for his book Diana: Queen Of Motown . Well, I caught up with the young man just recently for a quick chinwag. When I asked my first question why write this book, he replied without faltering â âMs Ross has repeatedly said over the years that she wished people would focus on her music rather than her private life. Her music has often been sorely underrated and that encouraged me to write the book. I was also fed up with reading dismissive and snide comments about her work and the constant criticism of her singing. Then, of course, there are the several trashy biographies out there that undermine her talent and achievements. The media often tend to forget that Diana Ross is a pioneer who has set standards in todayâs music world. She broke down racial barriers, and her cultural impact was revolutionary during the sixties, not to mention the fact that sheâs made some of the most remarkable, long-lasting recordings of the last fifty years. And these are the things I wanted to focus on and celebrate.â

Now his baby has flown the nest, so to speak, I wondered if there was anything he felt he should have changed, included or omitted. Personally speaking, this is always my worst nightmare when a book of mine is publishedâ¦..anyway Iâm mumblingâ¦â¦Ian too, had his concerns. â âWell, I was criticised by one writer for glossing over Florence Ballardâs dismissal from The Supremes. Perhaps I should have detailed it more, and while I didnât try and sugar coat the facts, I didn't really want to focus too much on the negativity as itâs been touched upon by so many others. I also wanted to be respectful of Florenceâs memory. I do have my opinions on certain other subjects, which I'd rather not go onto. Maybe I should have written about them, but again I didnât want to take the focus off the music, or be controversial, as that would have detracted from what I set out to achieve. First and foremost, I wanted to chronicle Diana Rossâ career and nothing more, as very few other books really explored her career and celebrated her talent and artistry.â

Iâve always said this - Diana attracts a staunch and extremely loyal fan base on an international basis, and Iâm happy to include myself. Thereâs no grey area here; black or white â you love her or you donât. So I asked Ian, just what is it about the lady that commands such love. âAs we all know sheâs a global icon, a first class entertainer and singer, but foremost I think the constant vicious stories that circulate in the press, and the criticsâ indifferent attitudes toward her musical output, makes her fans leap to her defence to show their support. At her time in life, and after fifty years in the business, plus the immense pleasure sheâs given so many around the world, we should all be celebrating her long career, not trying to destroy it.â And finally, I quipped â what would you say to her if you ever met up? â Hmmmm......I'd probably say something very gushing about how I've been a fan since the age of four and loved her music, films, concerts etc. I think I'd also say I sincerely hope she can see what I set out to achieve with my book, and hope it makes her feel real proud.â Diana: Queen Of Motown available now through amazon.co.uk.

And to Felix Mensah with this monthâs fifty, which I think youâll find interesting.

âLOST HITSâ IN BRITAIN
1. JUST LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE - BRENDA HOLLOWAY (ZB 4191)
2. A FUNKY SPACE REINCARNATION - MARVIN GAYE (TMG 1138)
3. GOOD MORNING HEARTACHE - DIANA ROSS (TMG 849)
4. MEDLEY â THE TEMPTATIONS & FOUR TOPS (TMG 1320)
5. SMILING FACES SOMETIMES â THE TEMPTATIONS (TMG 832)
6. INNER CITY BLUES - MARVIN GAYE (TMG 817)
7. TELL ME IT'S A RUMOUR â THE ISLEY BROTHERS (TMG 877)
8. FRIENDSHIP TRAIN - GLADYS KNIGHT & THE PIPS (TMG 756)
â¨9. LET IT WHIP - DAZZ BAND (TMG 1270)â¨
10. MEDLEY - DIANA ROSS & THE SUPREMES (TMG 1180)â¨
11. I CAN'T GIVE BACK THE LOVE - RITA WRIGHT AKA SYREETA (TMG 643)â¨
12. I WANT YOU - MARVIN GAYE (TMG 1026)â¨
13. A LITTLE BIT FOR SANDY - PAUL PETERSEN (TMG 670)â¨
14. BETCHA CANâT LOSE - MAGIC LADY (ZB 42003)â¨
15. LEAVE ME NOW - BLACK RUSSIAN (TMG 1220)â¨
16. IT'S A LIFETIME THING - THELMA HOUSTON & JERRY BUTLER (TMG 1074)â¨
17. SATURDAY NIGHT, SUNDAY MORNING - THELMA HOUSTON (TMG 1130)â¨
18. TROUBLE MAN - MARVIN GAYE (TMG 846)â¨
19. I AM LOVE - JACKSON 5 (TMG 942)â¨
20. NOTHING'S TOO GOOD FOR MY BABY - STEVIE WONDER (TMG 558)â¨
21. USED TO BE - CHARLENE & STEVIE WONDER (TMG 1287)â¨22. I WAN'T TO GO BACK THERE AGAIN - CHRIS CLARK (TMG 638)â¨
23. NEEDLE IN A HAYSTACK â THE VELVELETTES (TMG 806)â¨24. TIN CAN PEOPLE - GLORIA JONES (TMG 910)â¨
25. CHILD OF LOVE - CASTON & MAJORS (TMG 938)â¨
26. IN AND OUT - WILLIE HUTCH (TMG 1285)â¨
27. I GOT A FEELING - BARBARA RANDOLPH (TMG 708)â¨
28. LAUGHTER IN THE RAIN - PHIL CORDELL (MW 3015)â¨
29. A REAL HUMDINGER - J.J BARNES (TMG 870)â¨
30. WHAT YOU SEE IS WHAT YOU GET - STONEY & MEATLOAF (RES 103)
â¨31. LET'S MAKE A DEAL - SYREETA & G.C CAMERON (TMG 1094)
â¨32. CAN I GET A WITNESS - BARBARA RANDOLPH (TMG 1133)â¨33. HERE I AM BABY â THE MARVELETTES (TMG 659)
â¨34. BAD WEATHER â THE SUPREMES (TMG 847)
**â¨35. HEAVY LOVE AFFAIR - MARVIN GAYE (TMG 1232)
â¨36. SCRATCHIN - MAGIC DISCO MACHINE (TMG 1004)â¨
37. POPS WE LOVE YOU - DIANA ROSS, STEVIE WONDER, MARVIN GAYE & SMOKEY ROBINSON (TMG 1136)
**â¨38. BABY HIT & RUN - THE CONTOURS (TMG 886)â¨
39. JUST MY SOUL RESPONDING - SMOKEY ROBINSON (TMG 883)
**â¨40. YOU CAN'T TURN ME OFF (IN THE MIDDLE OF TURNING ME ON) - HIGH ENERGY (TMG 1087)
â¨41. YOUR LOVE IS SO GOOD FOR ME - DIANA ROSS (TMG 1104)â¨
42. DO I LOVE YOU (INDEED I DO) - FRANK WILSON (TMG 1170)
â¨43. BIG TIME - SMOKEY ROBINSON (TMG 1085)
â¨44. DON'T LOOK BACK - TEENA MARIE (TMG 1158)â¨
45. AS - STEVIE WONDER (TMG 1091)â¨
46. PAPA WAS A ROLLIN STONE (REMIX) âTHE TEMPTATIONS (ZT 41432)â¨
47. HOLD ME TIGHT - STEPZ (TMG 1435)â¨
48. LOOKING FOR A DOPE BEAT - LADY LEVI (ZT 44574)
â¨49. LAW OF THE LAND â THE UNDISPUTED TRUTH (TMG 943)â¨50. UK SWING - KRUEZ (TMU CD2)â¨

(** CHARTED IN BOTH UK AND USA) â¨

LITTLE TRACKINGS

My pal Adam White has sent me the Ben LâOncle Soul cd. Will explain more. Benjamin Duterde is a French soul singer whose first album Uncle Benâs Soul was issued this year. The cd holds fourteen titles in French and English, all housing the magical sixties ingredient that made Motown so desirable. Ben crosses from the beat of uptown Stevie Wonder, to the sweetness of Smokey Robinson, into the sensuality of Marvin Gaye. I always treat this type of thing with some trepidation but on listening to this cd for the third time today, can say itâs an exciting modern day reflection on Motownâs yester year. â¦.. Heard the one about breaking your wrist while taking a photo? Yep. I did! Maybe too much medicationâ¦.As if you need reminding, my email is motowntracking@sky.com â¦Lionel Richie celebrates his 30th anniversary as a solo artist next yearâ¦..Oh lor, had better get out of here otherwise Iâll miss my deadline. Ouch! I can feel the editorâs ruler on my knuckles already. So, all thatâs left for me to say is â A very, very happy Christmas to you all. If youâre with loved ones, treasure the moments together, and if youâre parted for some reason, remember them with huge love and hugs. With my friends being scattered across the world, we always toast each other at some time over the Christmas period Why donât you try it?

Til next year..keep the faith!

SHARON DAVIS xx

From Jazz Funk & Fusion To Acid Jazz

Join the B&S Mailing List

Blues and Soul on Twitter