Questions regarding the Abraham Wilson "Smooth" CD
Since the release of "Smooth" a week ago I have received several emails with questions concerning the CD. The answer to the first question, 'how did I discover Abe?" was part of an interview conducted by forum member Kevin Goins quite a while back. Most of it seems relevant today, so I'll use my answer at that time to answer this first question.
But first, let me thank all of you who have been so supportive of Russ, Abe and me in the project. Your support is so very much appreciated and initial sales are very promising.
5) HOW DID YOU DISCOVER ABE WILSON? HAVE YOU HAD ANY SALES SUCCESS WITH HIS CD "SMOOTH
I suppose you could say that Abe and I were destined to work together. Actually, we DID do one session together about fifteen years ago. This was at the time Teddie Morrow and I were working together. We had done a song with Teddie, and Abe was brought in as part of a background session. Abe had been recommended to me by a mutual acquaintance. The back-up session went very well and for some un-remembered reason we went our separate ways after that date. Time went by and I never saw Abe again and figured he had moved away.
Fast forward fifteen years and I’m finding myself somewhat at odds with ever returning to the studio. Too many changes to whatever it was I was trying to accomplish and studio burn-out had me seriously thinking of chucking the whole deal. I was at such a point that I was ready to dump the studio, and told this to my wife, Jesse. Fortunately I’m married to a woman who is a little smarter than me. She said, absolutely NO WAY to my suggestion of dissolving the studio, and told me what I needed to do was get myself re-committed to the studio and get back to work.
Jesse isn’t very big. In fact, I affectionately refer to her as a “Twerp”. But what she lacks in physical stature she more than makes up with good old chutzpah. I knew she was right.
A young Russian girl I had produced a few years earlier had moved back to Monterey and called me. She was a few years older and had matured to the point of being a wife and mother, and was ready to seriously commit to working in the studio. A few years back, I was completely sold on this young and talented singer, and was willing to do whatever needed to help her season and grow musically. But she was young then and could be somewhat difficult, wanting to spend more time hanging with friends than being sequestered in a recording studio.
Now that she was back and seemed genuinely ready to work, I felt a little of the old creative excitement beginning to re-emerge. We made a date for the studio, and I was ready to work.
It is true that time does have a way of changing things and whatever magic the two of us were trying to create a few years earlier was clearly not going to happen again. The session did not go all that well, and it was apparent that she could still be a little headstrong in how things should go down. Well, I’m “Old School,” and that means that you could say whatever you want to me in the studio, but I’m still the producer and I have final say. That doesn’t mean that I won’t take suggestions. I have gotten some of my best ideas through artists I have worked with. A producer is an idiot if he doesn’t listen to his artist. However, it wasn’t going to be this way with Elina Bass. It just wasn’t going to work, and I was back to square one.
One day a short time later, I had met Jesse for lunch. While driving home I was stopped at a cross street. A few pedestrians crossed in front of me. I was flabbergasted to see Abraham Wilson in this group. I called to him from my car window. He turned, smiled and came up to the car. I couldn’t stay because cars were behind me, but he flipped me his phone number and we agreed to meet for coffee.
At home, later that evening, I told Jesse what had happened. How after fifteen years, I ran into Abraham. She just smiled and as she was getting ready to leave the house, said Abe was who I was meant to record with. At first I was adamant and, as she went down the stairs that led to the front door, I said we were just meeting for coffee and to discuss whatever it was we needed to catch up on. But before she could reach the door, I knew she was right. And I told her so.
I placed a call to Abe to see if he would be interested in getting into the studio. He eagerly accepted and we began recording in October of 08.
You could call this Fate, or divine Providential Intervention or just plain dumb luck. The bottom line is, it is the best thing that has happened to me creatively, in way too many years.
I brought Russ in to co-produce Abe with me. At a much later time Abe would confess to us a few sleepless nights before the first session, due to the fact that he was going to have to sing in front of Russ and Ralph Terrana. We laugh about that today, but I can see his point. At that first session, I noticed that Abe had a way of tucking his chin down toward his shoulder and singing with his eyes closed.. Russ would give me a silent nudge, while Abe was singing, and his unspoken words came shining through his eyes, “Where in the hell did THIS GUY COME FROM”. Yeah, Abe could sing.
It wouldn’t be until a bit later when Abe was feeling more comfortable around us that he would confess that his singing posture had nothing to do with Soul and everything to do with sheer terror. As I said, we laugh about that today. He doesn’t really sing that way any more, and I first realized this a long time back when, during a vocal date, Abe was, while singing, looking directly into my eyes with a determined look usually reserved for prize fighters. Abe was definitely beginning to hit his stride.
The interesting facet regarding what was transpiring between the three of us was, it was no longer a producer / artist situation. Abe would come to the studio one hundred percent prepared, and usually bring in a suggestion or two of his own as to where the song we were working on might go. To me, it evolved logically that Abe should also be a producer on this project. And that is how we set it up. The three of us are equals. It has worked well for us.
Kev, you asked about the “Smooth” CD. Our initial intention with those first ten songs was to consider that a completed CD and go for the second CD. I test market to several DJs that are gracious and supportive as to what I’m trying to do, and give us air play on several of those ten songs. We were getting positive feedback on what we were producing. However, I was still at a loss as to how we would market the product. The business end has changed so much over the last few years due to music downloading, that it is difficult to figure out what the business really is. In some instances, downloading a song for a buck is better than trying to deal with a record company that may be short changing the sales count a tad. It happens.
But, as I said, I’m Old School. I would prefer to work with a record company. I really don’t care to deal with the business end of the production, but would prefer the company to do that part while I did mine: Working in the studio.
We have decided to hold back on the ten song “Smooth” CD and turn it into a double CD, twenty song package. We have just finished song number18 and are nearing the finish line. I’m glad we decided to do this. As much as I like the first ten songs, this next ten is proving to be extremely strong. I know I’m going to be proud of this finished effort. I’m kicking around a few plans for placing and promoting the CD, which may include going to Motown for the deal. After all, Russ and I are former Motown producers, and in all honesty, whatever Motown stands for musically these days is, in my opinion, rather embarrassing. I’d like to see what we can do to bring some real music back to the streets. I know that it is a real crap shoot these days, but I need to try this. If I can pull it off, I have a few other ideas I’m also kicking around in my aging head. Time will tell.
Hi Soulful Detroit Family
With the permission of our Moderator Ralph Terrana,Let's play a Smooth Trivia Game to see how much you know or don't know about me.
Some of this you will find very interesting!
Question#1...What original member of Kool and the Gang is Smooth's Cousin?
Permission granted, Smooth. This is a good question.
Come on Soulful Detroit Family,
Someone must know the answer to the first question...
What original member of Kool and the Gang is Smooth's cousin.
Hint-Hint...This person was born in Florida but grew up in Jersey City ,New Jersey.
Same town as where Smooth was born.
I know, but I guess I'm not allowed to play.
I could give a hint that if you follow closely to my review of the CD and interviews, you'll find the answer :-).
If I had to take a wild guess, I think I would find that you know more about Smooth than I do.
Soulful Detroit Family...Here is another clue.
This original member of Kool and the Gang's daughter played Myra (Urkels) girlfriend on the hit T.V show Family Matters.
She also was on the Cosby show as Theos girlfriend Justine.
I can't believe that we don't have any Cosby Show or Family Matters fans out there!
Heikki ...You may be the only one who knows the answer to this Trivia question.
Well I guess I will have to give you the answer to the question...
Dennis Thomas aka DT (Saxophone ) player for Kool and The Gang is my cousin and a original member of the group.
He is still with the Gang and currently on tour.
They come to California several times per year and then we get the opportunity to talk in person rather than on the phone.
Michelle Thomas his daughter was the actress on the Cosby Show and Family Matters.
Soulful Detroit Family...Let's try another question
Which of the original members of The Temptations quoted directly to Smooth that" Russ Terrana is a Legend and so are we"
You're asking some pretty tough questions. While that one is being chewed over, I'll put forth another. For those who have read my book, "The Road Through Motown", What is the connection to singer Nancy Jones, who did extensive work on the "Smooth" album?
I know...I know...I know, but I will be polite and let the Soulful Detroit Family have a shot at that question
I think if anyone comes up with the correct answer to your question they are entitled to a complimentary copy of the "Smooth" CD.
Here is a suggestion!
Starting this afternoon after 5pm California time,I will put 3 Smooth Trivia Questions on the Soulful Detroit Forum.
The first 3 correct answers will receive an Autographed Smooth CD.
Ralph Terrana,Russ Terrana and Smooth will all sign and inscribe to the winner.
Good suggestion, Smooth. I'll be interested to see what you come up with regarding the three questions. Try and give the forum members a fair shot.
In the words of Marvin Gaye...Let's Get It On!
Questions To be posted at 5pm.
I'm anxious to see the questions, myself.
Soulful Detroit Family
Per our earlier post to give away three new(Smooth Cd's)autograhed By Ralph,Russ and Smooth,to the first 3 members who answer these questions correctly...Here is question #1
What were these two bands original names:
Rare Earth(Pre Sunliners)
and Earth Wind & Fire
Good question, Smooth. Someone should be able to field that one.
Who are The Glo-Worms (Rare Earth) and The Salty Peppers (EWF)?
Right on regarding the Glo-Worms. We'll have to wait on Smooth as far as Kool goes. I don't know the answer to that one.
Congratulations you are the first winner of the trivia contest.
Please contact our moderator Ralph with your pertinent information and he will get the prize to you.
you can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org or IM me from this forum. Congratulations. We'll get the CD out to you as soon as we can all sign it.
Soulful Detroit Family...This is Question #2 and the difficulty factor will go up another notch!
Abraham(Smooth) Wilson travels all over the world ( Japan to New York) with all points in between, performing this vital function.
When you do not practice this activity many people become ill and it is not good for business.
What does Abraham do for a living.
Smooth has been in the same profession since 1976.
Wow! How very cool! Thanks guys. My lucky day, no one beat me to the punch. I'll send you the contact info, Sir Ralph. Thanks again, guys.
I received your contact info, Soul. We'll get the CD signed this weekend and out to you the beginning of next week. Congratulations. Enjoy the music.
Smooth Trivia Question #2
Good Morning Soulful Detroit Family
Last night we posted Question #2 for the Autographed New double Smooth Cd.
The question was...
What is Smooth's profession?
He has traveled all over the world providing this service.
Without this service millions of people would encounter illness every year.
What does Abraham Smooth Wilson do for a living?
Abraham has been in this profession since 1976.
He has an Trademark for his service.
I see you're playing a little hardball on this one, Smooth.
Good Question Smooth ..... I'm not going to tell!
Soulful Detroit Family
So far no one has gotten the correct answer to Trivia Question #2...
So here is the answer.
Smooth is known as America's Food Safety Resource and has the Registered Trademark of Mr Food Safety.
Abraham specializes in Food Safety Education and Training to eliminate and reduce the risk of Foodborne illness.
Should you ever have questions on Food Safety,Abraham is the person to ask!
In America approximately 76,000,000 people are sickened yearly.
A new more musical question #2 to follow in 5 minutes!
That last question was a little tough, Smooth. Stick to the music.
But Abe is right. He can tell you things about food safety that will amaze you.
Soulful Detroit Family
Here is the new Question #2 for the personalized Smooth double CD.
What was the birth name of Freddie Mercury of the rock group Queen
and what was Soul singer Luther Vandross unusual middle name?
Here is a hint on Question#2,concerning Luthers middle name...
His mother ate this food everyday during her pregnancy.
This particular brand is very popular on the East coast
As kids we all ate lots of this in New Jersey and New York.
Ronzoni....after the spaghetti.
We'll have to wait for Smooth on this one. I don't have a clue.
You are correct in knowing that Luther's middle name is Ronzoni (Famous pasta,spaghetti and raviola company)
You are half way there to winning the cd....
Now tell us what was Freddie Mercury of Queen birth name.
Hint...It is a very common but exotic name for someone born in Zanzibar.
We have a winner for the 2nd new double Smooth cd.
Freddie Mercury's real name was Farrokh Bulsara.
Destruction please contact our moderator Ralph Terrana and give him the pertinent information, so he can get the personalized cd's out to you
Smoothj Trivia Question#3
Question #3 for the personalized new double Smooth cd is perfect for all of the Soulful Detroit Radio personalities.
Name the legendary 1960-70-80-90's New York City AM & FM Radio personality famous for his on the air rap and bantering.
He declared himself a legend and the 8th wonder of the world and when your radio is not tuned to him,your radio is not really on!
He would simulate taking a bubble bath with his female listeners on the air.
This radio legend closed his show every night with a classic theme song.
Name the Radio personality and the closing song.
Come on Radio DJ's and Program Directors ...I know you know this Radio legend!
More of my interview with Keven Goins.
4) FAST-FORWARD TO THE PRESENT...WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO RESUME INDEPENDENT PRODUCING AFTER SO MANY YEARS..
I have to admit, Kev, the term “independent producer” made me smile. In the Detroit record business we considered the term a euphemisim for going broke. It doesn’t take long to plow through a ton of money putting a project together. When I was running Tera Shirma I always felt a little uneasy talking with a guy that had lost his recording deal but was assuring me he was going to bring me a lot of business now that he was going “independent”.
My return to producing is not a recent happening. I actually began writing again in 1980. Russ was still at Motown and had begun producing again and was in the process of doing an album on Charlene. She was basically a one hit wonder with “I’ve Never Been To Me” and Russ was given the task of trying to make lightening strike once again.
Raye Singleton had returned to Motown to run the creative division. I applauded this decision since Raye was definitely an instrumental spark plug that helped create success for the company in it’s formative years.
On one of my trips to L.A., which I would take rather often to visit Russ and the guys from Rare Earth that were living there, I would have a meeting with Raye. She assured me I was still part of the Motown family, and my songs would be welcomed there and perhaps I would do some producing in the future. The problem with this sweet offer was, due to Motown’s turbulent management in those days, Raye was history. I always thought they blew it on this one, but that is what went down.
Synthesizers were beginning to come into their own around this time, so I figured I would set up a little home studio so that I could record my songs and then shop them in Los Angeles.
A close friend mentioned that rather than just writing the songs, I should try being the artist as well. Hell, I still had a little Rock and Roll spirit in me, so I took his advice and became “Hey Ralphie Boy” the artist. Russ and I collaborated on this project for about a year and a half and produced the self titled album. It wasn’t a bad effort and I was even offered a shot at becoming Eddy Money’s opening act. Problem was, “Hey Ralphie Boy” was just that. Ralphie. No band.
None the less I perseverered and the studio began to grow. I was buying more and more equipment and honing my rusty production skills. This would lead to a ten year association with writer-producer, Teddie Morrow. We came close on a number of opportunities but something would always mess up the deal. Beach Boy Al Jardine somehow got wind of us and wanted to broker a deal with a major label. It looked like he was going to pull something off for us until he told us he wanted to be listed as executive producer on the project. Well, maybe he had a point. After all, he was doing the leg-work for us. But Teddie and I were idealists at that time and it seemed to us that, since we were the producers of the songs, Al was getting a little pushy and we backed.
∙ We got involved with some L.A. Production company that, initially, showed a lot of promise. They were knocked out by the things we were doing in the studio and wanted us to produce some of their acts. The problem with this one was, they didn’t seem to have much that was worth producing. The one “name” they did have was “The Checkmates”. But it had been eons since the band’s success with “Black Pearl” and what now exisited seemed like the tired Vegas act that they now were.
∙ The kicker with this outfit was when we were told to try and sign this female singer they were hot to get and wanted us to produce. The fly in this ointment was she was married to an Elvis impersonater and he wanted to be part of the deal. We split.
∙ Teddie and I would part company after the ten year partnership. While we were together, we had become acquainted with Gospel singer Rance Allen. He wanted Teddie to try his hand at some Gospel. Rance lived in Arizona and Teddie would move there to see what he could do. Things never really worked out. Teddie did get an album released but it really wasn’t all that good and failed to connect.
∙ We have since been talking a lot on the phone and I want him to move back to Monterey to help out with my latest project. Abraham Wilson..aka Smooth.
∙ So you see, Kev, I haven’t been exactly gold bricking the last twenty five years or so. I am that independent producer that I would joke about those many years ago. Money? Yeah I’ve unloaded a truck load or two. But when you love getting into the studio. When listening to the playbacks of a good recording session is about as good as it gets. Well, it is worth every penny and then some.
answer to SMOOTH'S tivia quiz 3 i hope!!
1 frankie (hollywood) crocker
2 closing theme.....king pleasure..............moody's mood for love
Last edited by tamla617; 05-27-2011 at 03:24 PM.
frankie (hollywood) crocker......"there is no other like this soul brother,tall tan,young and fly"!
i watched a documentry on new york in the 80's and/or studio 54 programme within the last month and frankie (hollywood) crocker was riding a white horse through the front doors of the club.
Last edited by tamla617; 05-27-2011 at 03:22 PM.
You guessed it Tamla. Send me an address email@example.com and we'll get the CDs out to you next week.
nice! thanks ralph email sent!
Hi Tamla 617
Frankie(Hollywood)Crocker Was the Radio Personality everyone listened to from 4-8 pm on WBLS.
Frankie would Emcee all the great Soul concerts at Madison Square Garden,The Apollo and Radio City Music Hall.
His voice was amazing and he was just so super cool!
When I was in the Studio with Ralph and Russ I added some of Frankie's style to the intro of Mr D.J (Song #1 on the Smooth Part 1 CD.
Enjoy the CD and let Ralph, Russ and I know what you think.
as i was telling ralph after i won,when i was in ny 2005 i was talking with my cousins about soul,jazz etc.and frankie hollywood crocker came up in the conversation,he was the only ny jock that sprang to mind!there was a documentary on uk tv last month ish about ny in the 80's and studio 54 featured,frankie was riding a white horse thru' the main entrance to the club!
look forward to hearing your album,cheers smooth
I'll be taking your package to the post office this morning.
thanks ralph,look forward to getting it,let you know when it arrives.thanks again
Hi Soulful Detroit Family
Ralph,Russ and Abraham have decided to continue the Smooth Trivia Contest.
The prize will still be a personalized new Smooth double Cd (Part 1 and Part 2).
The questions will concentrate on what we all love...Music.
The first new question will be posted around 5 pm California time today.
Best of luck to all of you!
Here is the first new Smooth Trivia question.
The winner will receive a personalized Smooth Double CD autographed by Ralph,Russ and Smooth.
What two groups combined to form the "original" Stylistics featuring the often imitated but never duplicated voice of Russell Thompkins Jr.