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  1. PAUL RISER - MBA (Motown’s Brilliant Arranger) The importance of the arranger in the musical process, whatever the genre, cannot be overstated …or underestimated. The arranger translates the basic structure of a song, or piece of music, into a format that musicians can play, while improvising and embellishing the original concept into a completed creation. The American Federation of Musicians defines musical arrangement as “ …the art of preparing and adapting an already written composition for presentation in other than its original form. An arrangement may include re harmonization, parap
  2. News/Article/Feature Highlight: Paul Riser Motown’s Brilliant Arranger. View full article
  3. I Love Detroit - Sonny Munro - Falcons Interview Conversations with Americans can run the full gamut of human intelligence, understanding and thought. On a recent trip to Detroit I encountered a white bar tender in his late 20s, working at a renowned restaurant in the city, who seemed fascinated by the sight of a sterling five pound note I was showing a fellow patron. As he inspected it a couple of questions sprung forth. "Who is this woman?" he inquired. I politely responded that it was the Queen, to which he then asked "Is she still alive?" When I told him that she was, he seemed genui
  4. GEORGE McGREGOR - Detroit's busiest drummer. There can't be many people who have seen active military service as a teenager in Korea, played music for some of the most famous doyens and despots in the world, yet enjoyed a long and distinguished career as a musician and record producer in one of the most creative eras of popular music ever. George McGregor has. Over five decades, beginning in the mid 1950s, he played drums on everything from marching bands to Motown with a technical proficiency and distinctive style that made him one of the premier military beaters, and one of the m
  5. Around 2004 I was running a website for Melvin Davis . It was set up to promote his short Uk tour and also a cd that had been released by Hayley Records. Am sure that anyone who met him and his son when they were over would agree with me when I say that he is a great genuine guy. So when Rob Moss asked if wanted to use the sleeve notes for this section it was a no brainer. The sleeve notes are from the cd entitled Melvin Davis - His Greatest Recordings and though released in 2004 I think it is still availble, either via the usual outlets or indeed thru the Hayley website. Also featur
  6. IT'S A FAMILY AFFAIR ! Robert, Eugene and Albert Hamilton. There is little doubt that the most famous family name in Detroit, during the late 1950s,1960s and early 1970s, was Gordy. The family's prodigal son, Berry Jnr., and the rest of his extended clan, had combined to create a musical monolith that dominated local, regional, national and international affairs at the time, and continues to exert considerable influence in the modern era. Yet, among the myriad of performers, players and promoters of the same period that emerged to augment and expand the dominance of the so called 'Detro
  7. Ed Wolfrum by Rob Moss Article Photo: Detroit from the river 1966 The emergence of Detroit as a major music centre in the early 1960s has as much to do with technological expertise and sophistication, as it did with artistic creativity, musical talent or social migration. Yet, the coalescence of such a wide variety of highly skilled musicians, technicians, performers, engineers, entrepreneurs, composers and associated artisans all meeting at the same time, in the same place created a unique collusion that resulted in a period of unprecedented financial and artistic success for the ci
  8. Visiting Detroit Part 7 Holidaying in Detroit is probably not everyone’s idea of an ideal vacation. Though the weather is scorching in the summer, there are no beaches or swimming facilities to speak of. No English pubs serving Watney’s Red Barrel. No ‘Full English breakfasts with all the trimmings’ and no Sky TV showing football at all hours of the day and night. In fact, you’ll be lucky to even find out the scores. You can visit ancient relics, although I’m sure they wouldn’t take kindly to be referred to in quite those terms, see where many of the recordings were made and have a sporti
  9. Rob Moss delivers his view on the recently broadcast BBC4 TV programme Motor Citys Burning - Detroit from Motown to the Stooges I love Detroit — ‘Motor City’s Burning’ The title sounded fantastic. ‘Motor City’s Burning’ — ‘A documentary looking at how, during the 1960s, the blue collar Midwestern city of Detroit became home to a musical revolution that captured the sound of a nation in upheaval’ and ‘Detroit from Motown to the Stooges’ to quote the BBC’s own promotional blurb. Surely this would be a detailed examination of the circumstances that created one of the most influential mu
  10. In the days before computerized information flow, most Detroit performers’ awareness of any interest in their musical output from the 1960s or 1970s, anywhere in the world, was almost non-existent. Most had given up the dream of stardom or notoriety, and had selected alternative forms of employment. To be suddenly informed by a white man with a funny accent decades later, that a song, or songs, they had recorded in their teens or early twenties and completely forgotten about, were now popular with people from a different culture, several thousand miles away, for many, was a totally confusing r
  11. Visiting America can be a truly uplifting and pleasurable experience. It is the land of milk and honey, where the streets are paved with gold and everyone gets a fair chance to prosper and succeed. Migrants have been arriving for centuries, from all corners of the globe. Buy into the American dream and you too, can take your place on the gravy train to a modern day Utopia - a consumer heaven - a veritable Shangri La of goods, Gods and guns (for your own protection of course). Trans continental virgin visitors are usually impressed by the size and splendour of the cities, monuments and
  12. News/Article/Feature Highlight: The latest in the Visiting Detroit series - Rob Moss expands things with a visit to Memphis making up part 6 of this great series of soul articlesIn many ways, Detroit and Memphis have little in common. Historically and geographically, they were at... View full article
  13. News/Article/Feature Highlight: Visiting Detroit Part 7 Holidaying in Detroit is probably not everyone’s idea of an ideal vacation. Though the weather is scorching in the summer, there are no beaches or swimming facilities to speak of. No English pubs serving Watney... View full article
  14. News/Article/Feature Highlight: In the days before computerized information flow, most Detroit performers’ awareness of any interest in their musical output from the 1960s or 1970s, anywhere in the world, was almost non-existent. Most had given up the dream of stardom or notori... View full article
  15. News/Article/Feature Highlight: Very sad to report that legendary Motown bass player Bob Babbitt passed away this morning. He played on thousands of Motown and other Detroit label recordings, as a member of the Funk Brothers and as a session musician around the city. He will be sadly... View full article
  16. News/Article/Feature Highlight: The recent Live 8 thing made me realise just how lucky we are. Unlike those unfortunate millions who happily accept and enjoy geriatric rockers churning out the same old tried, tested and then tried again rubbish at every conceivable excuse for a benef... View full article
  17. News/Article/Feature Highlight: The TEMPOS Story The lineage of vocal groups, male and female, in the 1950s and 60s can be as difficult to establish as any family tree. Line-ups would frequently change as individual members came and went, group names could be dropped and replaced... View full article
  18. News/Article/Feature Highlight: I Love Detroit - Sonny Munro - Falcons Interview View full article
  19. Don Juan Mancha — songwriter, producer, musician and talent scout. The name ‘Don Juan’ first appeared in the Spanish play ‘The Trickster of Seville and the Stone Guest’ by Tirso de Molina in 1630. The plot centres on a fictional libertine who devoted his life to seducing women. The term quickly passed into literary parlance as a synonym for a ‘womaniser.’ The story itself was rewritten numerous times throughout the centuries, in a variety of forms, including many plays, a poem by Byron, an opera by Mozart and a social satire by George Bernard Shaw, ‘Man and Superman.’ Don Juan Manc
  20. The BROTHERS OF SOUL (Fred Bridges, Richard Knight, Ben Knight and Bobby Eaton) will be performing in Britain, for the first time ever, on October 22nd 2011 at the Caribbean Centre in Coventry with full orchestral accompaniment. This is their only UK concert. The group will be performing many of their own recordings as well as songs they wrote for other artists. The evening will be a celebration of Detroit’s important contribution to the rare soul scene and will only feature music recorded in the Motor City. In recognition of this essential event, we are proud to resurrect this 200
  21. The Tempos Story The lineage of vocal groups, male and female, in the 1950s and 60s can be as difficult to establish as any family tree. Line-ups would frequently change as individual members came and went, group names could be dropped and replaced completely or entirely different personnel brought in to replace decampers. On a few occasions in the 1960s several different groups, with the same name, managed to co exist. An entire book, devoted to the various and varied formations that represented 'The Drifters', provides a clear indication of the complexity of personnel peripety through the de
  22. People who reside in the largest city, or the capital, of a country seem to have a pompous air of superiority and an apparent belief that they are, in some way, better than their fellow citizens. This is certainly true in Britain, where most Londoners appear to believe that they are life’s leaders — the special, ‘chosen’ ones who were sent to civilize and refine the rest of us. How else could the BBC ‘Soul Britania’ television series manage to attribute the entire development of black music in our country to the people and places in the capital? In America, people from New York and Los Angeles
  23. Part 2 and Part 3 of this lengthy look at "... visiting Detroit" by Rob Moss Detroit’s musical and cultural legacy to the world has few equals. Forgetting the Motown and associated soul people of the 1960s and beyond for a second, the line up of native sons and daughters is awesome. Jackie Wilson, Aretha Franklin, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard, John Lee Hooker and Della Reese amongst scores of others, pioneered all shades of R&B and Blues throughout the 1950s, the city was a hotbed of jazz, counting luminaries like Kenny Burrell, Marcus Belgrave, Hank Jones within its considera
  24. News/Article/Feature Highlight: McGregor's recollections of his time in the pop music 'business' are candid, direct and brutally honest, and provide a tantalising insight... View full article
  25. News/Article/Feature Highlight: the sleeve notes from the cd from Rob Moss View full article


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