The Unknown Facts of Motown and Detroit
In 1953 Berry Gordy started a record shop with partner Marv Johnson by 1955 It had gone bust. Its name was 3-D Record Mart.
Also in 1953 he married Thelma Coleman who started Thelma and Ge-Ge Records by 1956 she filed for divorce. In 1957 he co-wrote “Reet Petite” with local musician Tyran Carlo, who went under a pseudonym known as Billy Davis.
It launched Jackie Wilson solo career.
The first record Berry Gordy produced in 1957 “Ooh Shucks” for The Five Stars issued on George Goldner,s Mark-X label. Two members of The Five Stars were Walter Gaines and C.P. Spencer who later were members of The Originals.
The first two singles by The Miracles were on the End label “Got a Job” and the ultra rare “I Cry”.
The label again was owned by George Goldner.
Kudo a small mostly gospel label. Issue four more Gordy productions Marv Johnson “My Baby-O” Brain Holland only known recording “Shock” The third co-written with Janie Bradford “Cry Baby Heart” and sung by Nancy Peters. The final production on Kudo “This Heart of Mine” by The Falcons who release it again but in a more polished fashion. 1958 to 1961
The Anna label ran from, and In 1958 a release on this label by a group known as The Voice Masters “Hope and Pray”/”Oops Im Sorry” Three members of this group were lead singer Ty Hunter (writer at Motown) Walter Gaines C.P. Spencer (Originals) and a late addition to the line up was Lamont Dozier and making his first appearance on vinyl David Ruffin. Anna Records were distributed by the End Label.
Also in1958 Berry Gordy co-wrote with his sister Gwen a single “Tunedrops” “Cant You See (Im in Love with You) Performed by Malcolm Dodd’s Check-Mate Records a Detroit label was a subsidiary of Chess Records of Chicago.
Gordys next venture, (It’s True Believe Me) is a combination of a Boutique/Beauty Parlour/Candy Store. Known as the House of Beauty, were Berry Gordys second wife Raynoma gets her hair done. The owner is known as Carla Murphy, who wants to front money for a record label. The label goes by the name of H.O.B. Records. It’s first release is by Herman Griffin “I Need You” Backing vocals is by The Rayber Voices, named after Raynoma and Berry. It is also the first song to be published by Gordys publishing company Jobete. The venture ended after this one release, but H.O.B.Records continued as part of a group of labels owned by Mike Hanks (D-Town Wheelsville and MRC among others)
The first vocal group signed for Tamla in 1959 were The Satintones as The Miracles hadn’t any releases on Tamla besides test pressing, so officially the honour fell to The Satintones. The Miracles first Tamla release (“The Feeling Is So Fine” 1960) is withdrawn to be replaced by a completely different song “Way Over There” and to complicate matters both songs have the same catalogue number Tamla 54028. Still not content Gordy calls this song back so strings can be added. In 1962 “Way Over There was released again, and to complicate matters even further the second release had a different catalogue No Tamla 54069 The second release did far better than the first reaching the lower end of the pop charts. Through national distribution
The biggest lose of all must be The Miracles recording “The Feeling Is So Fine” It’s similar to “Way Over There” but more raw, faster, and jerkier with a flat baritone sax. Sadly there are only four known copies of this track.
Less rare is The Miracles second release on Chess. “I Need a Change” because the single “Bad Girl was leased to Chess, the label demanded a follow up. So in 1960 this track was given to Chess Records it went nowhere in the charts. Even “Shop Around” (Tamla,s first R&B number 1) gets the once-over twice treatment. The first version is a little slower, and the Saxes are louder.
In 1962 The Miracle label merges with Gordy Records. There were 12 releases on Miracle but only 9 have been found. The other 3 are Jimmy Ruffin,s first recording of The Valadier,s “Greeting” (This is Uncle Sam) The second is by a group known as The Equadors “Someone to Call My Own” Nothing is known about this group who disappeared into thin air. Thirdly Freddie Gorman (Originals) only known solo effort “The Day Will Come”
1962 was the year that the Gordy and Mel-O-Dy label became. Gordy Records would join Tamla and Motown to become the three primary labels.Mel-O-Dy was soon discontinued, but there are four note worthy recordings on the label. The Creations “This Is Our Night” a rip off of a similar song by The Shirelles. “Mind Over Matter” credited to The Pirates who are actually The Temptations under a pseudonym.
The Vells whose members were later-day members of The Vandellas released “There He Is(at My Door) The fourth release in 1962 is “Dearest One” sung by Lamont Dozier. It is not only his first recording for Gordy, It is also the first Holland –Dozier and Holland collaboration There were a group signed to V.I.P known as The Mynah Birds whose line consisted of Goldie McJohn (Steppenwolf) Bruce Palmer (Buffalo Springfield) and Neil Young of (Crosby Stills and Nash) fame.
Motown and Some Interesting Facts of Detroit Artists and Record Labels
Skylines “Since I Feel For You” was the first release on V.I.P. Yet there two known copies stamped with the Motown Logo and It had a catalogue number M1046 The groups members were Sidney Barnes George Kerr and Andre Williams Little Freda Payne (“Band of Gold” fame) record an acetate for Motown titled. “Save Me a Star”
It was on a Hitsville Acetate. Also Ten Queens “He’s Seventeen” again on a Hitsville Acetate. Unissued Singles- Charter 5 “Trouble Lover’s” / ”Show Me Some Sign”Mel-O-Dy Andre Williams “Rosa Lee” Miracle 4. Little Iva and Her Band “When I Need You” Miracle 2 (Little Iva was actually Raymonda Gordy. His second wife. Majestics “Say You” V.I.P (25028) unissued Merced Blue Notes “Do The Pig” – “Thumping” Soul 35 unissued The Five Scalder,s before they were known as The Falcons “If You Were Mine”
Sugar Hill As Above on a label called Drumond a release titled “Girlfriend” There were two different coloured Drumond labels Blue and Maroon. Also the one I mentioned issued on Sugar Hill was also issued on Drumond cat No 300.
After releasing there first single "Lady In Green"/Heart Made of Stone" The Magnetics changed there name to The Volumes Wired but true a record by Mike Power "I Love Paris" issued on Zelma which derived from the Thelma label.
The first time Edwin Starr appeared on vinyl was with a group know as The Futuretones, "I Know" issued on Trees-2
Doni Burdick of "Barri Track" fame. Is a white Italian American. His real name is Don Doninquez Lorraine Chandler actually sang backing vocals on "Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree" by Dawn
These are all true facts taken from a Detriot discovery I have had for a number years. Given to me by an old friend who I meet in Detriot in 1975. Who still lives in the city and we still keep in touch.
Robbie Dunn (Dunnie)