This might help clear some things up! When "Your All I Need To Get By" was Recorded, Tammi had just recovered from her first operation! 8 of the 10 disputed tracks or "Easy" were done in March of '69 around the same timeframe implied in the Ebony article! By that time, Tammi had had 6 operation with the last one taken place two months prior. According to the DFTMC,She and Marvin did several tracks with Bristol for the "Your All I Need" album in Jan. of '68 a month after the sessions for "It's Been A Long Time Happenin'"
So Tammi didn't record as often as she did when she was healthy, but she recorded when it was convenient for her to do so. It's not like she was completely bedridden the last two years of her life.
Johnny Bristol might be talking about the YOU'RE ALL I NEED album as opposed to EASY. The YOU'RE ALL I NEED sessions would have taken place in late '67, early '68. The liner notes even mention Tammi's illness. And even then, a lot of that album has Marvin singing to unreleased Tammi solo tracks.
But Bristol & Fuqua were out of the picture by the time the EASY album was recorded, or at least they have no productions on that album, aside from again, two songs where Marvin overdubbed his vocal onto Tammi solo recordings.
Last edited by reese; 12-11-2011 at 05:22 PM.
A woven masterpiece - that's what they say.
well, i have spent the last two days listening to the complete tammi solo and duet recordings along with both of valerie simpson's records. i don't have any trouble telling the two apart! i wish people here could separate emotion from intellect but seeing how many divide into the pro and anti diana ross camps based on everything but miss ross's singing, i have decided that the tammi/valerie battle will continue ... i suggest listening instead of spouting! (if you listen to everything it is very "easy" to tell who stepped into whose shoes and did a very good job at keeping tammi's legend alive.)
but while doing my studying i want to know how tammi's "can't stop now (love is calling)" was never released as a single?! what a hit!! it is constant rotation here in my house. what a great arrangement. i hear what i suppose are the andants? but, who are those great guys backing tammi up?
Last edited by thisoldheart; 12-12-2011 at 03:42 AM.
Wikipedia says the same, but everybody knows they sometimes (often?) may be wrong.
The Gracenote CD Database - as used by iTunes, Winamp etc - is compiled from data entered by the first fan who ever put the CD into their computer. This is the same database that used to claim the Pirates' "Mind Over Matter" from TCMS 2 was actually British rockers Johnny Kidd and the Pirates, rather than (say) the Temptations under a different name. It's often a useful tool, but it's about as authoritative as saying something must be true because you overheard it in a bar one time. So let's put that to one side.
I'm a lawyer, and it's an instinctive reaction, when faced with two sides to a story, to start weighing and evaluating the evidence. I was going to go through all of this on Motown Junkies when we get up to Easy, but this seems as good a time as any.
THE CASE FOR TAMMI
- Valerie Simpson - who has to be considered the Alpha and Omega of this question, given that (a) she's the only person left alive who was definitely there, and (b) in her version of the story she was with Tammi recording when nobody else was around, and therefore impossible to prove or disprove beyond what she says - has consistently and clearly denied subbing for Tammi, not only in the quote at the head of this thread (which I can't believe some people are taking as an admission?!):
There were a couple things that were tweaked, but not a lot. I couldn't just sing like Tammi. People give me the credit of thinking I could be Tammi Terrell, but it's just not true. We did some production edits to fix things, but that's about it.
...but also in the liner notes to TCMS 9:
I’ve heard that so many times, but it’s not really true. To the extent that yes, when she was sick, I would stand in for her initially. But after we got Marvin’s part down, we would painstakingly bring her in and do her in a different kind of way because, at that juncture, she really wasn’t well. I’ve heard this all along, but I’m just not that good. I’m good, but I’m not that good.
...to the point that Valerie's story is easy (!) enough to summarise: she says she sang some guide vocals on the tracks, as Marvin needed, but later brought Tammi in to the studio to sing "line by line". (That, incidentally, is a description everyone who claims it was Tammi has used with surprising consistency.)
- Johnny Bristol and Louvain Demps both give accounts - albeit perhaps not necessarily first-hand accounts - which jibe with Val's version. Of course, they could just be following the party line, or remembering things other people said.
- Tammi's sister says she clearly recognises Tammi's voice on the disputed tracks. Loath as I am to dispute RossHolloway's ears, and without wanting to cause offence, if we're talking about the subjective quality of what other people say they can hear, I believe her claim carries more weight than Ross'.
- Quite frankly, and this is subjective, I don't hear the vast differences others have claimed. Sure, you play Easy right after United, the voices don't sound quite the same. But similarly, you play Easy right after Exposed, they don't really sound the same either. And I personally hear a lot of that Easy "Tammi" voice in some of Terrell's undisputed "throatier" vocals, e.g. Hold Me Oh My Darling. But as I say, it's all subjective. I certainly don't think it's as much of a night and day difference as some posters have made out.
THE CASE AGAINST TAMMI
- Marvin Gaye's direct testimony, as quoted in Divided Soul. Just as with Valerie above, this is the most important piece of evidence, and pretty damn difficult to overlook. A lot of court cases boil down to a "he said/she said" clash of stories, and so they hinge on the credibility of the witnesses and the way they give their testimony. I don't see why this should be so very different.
In this kind of analysis, any competent barrister would take Marvin's credibility and shatter it over his knee. Firstly, as has been pointed out upthread, Marvin not only made his claims ten years after the event, but ten rather eventful years - years full of personal triumph, turmoil, upheaval, and Olympic quantities of substance abuse. Easy to say he simply remembered wrong. Secondly, Marvin was also prone to giving interviews throughout the Seventies on any number of topics where he'd provide questionable information that's since been proven to be bollocks (usually well-meaning bollocks, but still bollocks all the same - does anyone have that interview where he claimed the forthcoming Trouble Man LP would change the history of music? Or, more pertinently, do people remember when he also said there was a lot more to the story of Tammi's death than the public knew, but it would all come out?) Thirdly, Marvin had no reason to lie, but even if Marvin was telling the absolute, perfectly-remembered, cast-iron crystal-clear truth, Valerie already has an answer for that: Marvin, according to her, was simply remembering the guide vocals Valerie laid down. He didn't remember Tammi being there because, according to her, Tammi indeed wasn't there, she was brought in later, so of course Marvin doesn't remember watching Tammi record The Onion Song. Impossible to prove either way. Which brings us to the fourth big problem with Marvin's testimony versus Valerie's: Marvin isn't around to ask further questions.
In the game of "she said / he said", Valerie makes a far more persuasive witness than Marvin.
- Tammi was really, really sick, such that it seems to stretch credibility she would head to the studio and sing. This is an interesting one, but as far as I understand it, and as far as the famous Ebony article linked upthread makes out, she had good days and bad days for the last three years of her life. By many accounts she at least visited Hitsville a few times in 1969 - and that Ebony article details her taking a long flight to get there - so it's not as though she was a bedridden invalid during the period the "Easy" vocal tracks were laid down. I've read she supposedly even appeared on stage in March 1969 at Seton Hall for a (brief) interlude at a James Brown show - I'd love to know more about that. (Is it in Ludie's book?)
- The woman singing on "Easy" sounds different. I've dealt with this above, but there's still no denying there's a difference in voices. But I don't understand why some people are so quick to deny Tammi could possibly have been well enough to go to Studio A in 1969 (despite first-hand accounts of her doing that) or even get up and move around (despite photographic evidence to the contrary accompanying that Ebony piece), because so many bouts of brain surgery would render that impossible, but then fail to accept that same logic to explain why someone's voice might sound a bit different.
- Nick Ashford's enigmatic "no comment" responses when directly asked. I've read that he supposedly admitted it was Valerie on those records all along, but I've never been able to actually pinpoint anything resembling such a quote - which would have been massive news, surely? Rather, he seems to have brushed off the question whenever it came up (bearing in mind this only really started happening in the mid-80s following the publication of Divided Soul). This seems to have been construed as an admission of guilt, but it's clearly no such thing - it's easy to impute *any* motivation to someone's keeping silent, but none of them count for anything in the eyes of the law.
- Valerie Simpson's testimony should be disregarded because she has a vested interest in keeping the lie going, in order to (protect Tammi's legacy / keep to a contractual agreement / make Motown look better / DELETE AS APPROPRIATE). This one I've never really got. Motown were never known for their scrupulous contractual dealings. Plenty of tell-all "warts and all" books about the company's dark secrets have emerged in the last 20 years. In the 80s, Motown was beseiged by lawsuits from disgruntled former artists, songwriters and producers. I don't understand why we're meant to believe that Motown screwed over almost everyone they ever came into contact with in one way or another, but that they stuck loyally to some shady deal they struck with Valerie to keep quiet forever, and that Valerie was happy to go along with it, even after moving to Warners and Capitol. (I certainly can't imagine the financial rewards from such a pact being enough to outweigh the royalties she'd be due for 40 years of airplay.) The only plausible reason she'd stick to a lie would be to protect Tammi, but I don't understand why that would be the case; nobody's denied the Andantes stood in for any number of other Motown acts, for instance, or continued to claim that it was really Martha Reeves and not Syreeta who sang on "I Can't Dance...". Why should Tammi have been treated any differently?
We'll never know for sure. I think the case for Tammi is much stronger than the case against, and ultimately if the only reliable source says it was Tammi, that's good enough for me. (Similarly if Val had come out and said "Yeah, it was me all along, sorry everyone", that would convince me too - presumably it would have been taken more seriously here...?) It's also tempting to go with Terry Wilson's theory, that Val recorded the guide tracks, Tammi came in to record a few lines here and there, and Motown went with the best take from either vocalist. But ultimately, when there's only one remaining credible first-hand witness and her story is impossible to disprove (or prove, short of some studio documentation and photographic evidence of Tammi recording the songs in question, and even then that wouldn't silence all doubts), there's absolutely no way for us to ever know for sure.
Besides my own ears, which even as a 13 year old I wondered why she sounded so different and strange (I remember thinking it was almost a Mae West impersonation, I found it so exaggerated), there are a few things not addressed in the above attorney's analysis. It's very difficult to believe that Tammi would have the stamina to record 10 new original recordings when even "You're All I Need" had to be put together with a great deal of Tammi solo recordings augmented by Marvin vocals to turn them into duets. That she could suddenly record a whole album with a little "tweaking" by Simpson...I just don't buy it, Counselor.
But as I've said repeatedly, it does nothing to diminish Valerie Simpson in my eyes. If anything, it elevates her further. I don't believe she's saying anything out of a contractual obligation. I believe it's to protect Tammi's legacy. Maybe I should shut up and do the same, but I have my ears to tell me it's just not the same girl.
Rebuttal: "Suddenly" is a stretch nobody's making - the accounts, if we're to believe them, use words like "painstaking", "line by line", "laborious"... it's not as if anyone's claiming she suddenly leapt up from her sickbed. (Not now, anyway - I don't know what the party line was in 1969.) "You're All I Need" made perfect sense - Motown had several hit Marvin & Tammi singles, needed a new LP, saw delays in Tammi being able to record new material, saw huge stack of unreleased or overlooked Tammi solo tracks (some of them fantastic songs that would work perfectly as duets, even if they weren't originally conceived that way)... what's not to understand? (This was Motown, remember - they'd have released an LP of Stevie Wonder's farts if they thought it would go gold.) There was no need in 1968 to drag Tammi through that drawn-out process, not while there were enough killer tracks in the can that could be hastily (and beautifully!) repurposed. None of that says anything about how much recording Tammi did or was capable of doing in 1968 or 1969, however much we'd like to read into it.
As for the last sentence, there's no reason for anyone to "shut up", but your ears aren't calibrated the same as my ears or anyone else's ears, otherwise we'd all buy the same records (hands up everyone else who thinks "Easy" sounds like "almost a Mae West impersonation"...? No, thought not.) We all hear slightly different things; what you and Ross Holloway hear as irrefutable proof it's Valerie, Ludie Montgomery hears as irrefutable proof it's Tammi, and I personally can't really tell enough of a difference to claim either way. If it is Valerie, she did a good enough impression to fool enough people that Marvin's "revelation" still seems to have been a major shock.
Last edited by radionixon; 12-15-2011 at 08:50 PM.
Okay. You're not in Court. Rest your case.
It's a discussion forum, isn't it?
Well, your "legal analysis" is couched as if it's a discussion, but you quickly seem to want to get snarky, as in your "everyone raise their hands" comment. Do you think your being an attorney makes your opinion any more valid than anyone else's, Sir? In any event, I'm done with this "discussion."
What the heck? No, I don't think that being a lawyer makes my opinion any more valid than anyone else's (if you've ever seen my site, you'll know I bend over backwards to make sure everyone's voice is heard) - and the 'hands up' thing wasn't meant to be "snarky" at all, just an illustration of how we're all hearing different things, which is what makes the world go round. Sorry if it came across as rude, I thought your first reply was going to be the start of a long and friendly discussion (you seemed to be writing in a sort of jokey tone), so I'm a little surprised by the turn this seems to have taken...?
Last edited by radionixon; 12-15-2011 at 09:36 PM.
The lawyer in me almost always comes down where Paul Nixon came down; there's the way the case would fall if we are being realistic as lawyers.
I have to say when I read the Ross Holloway style arguments, I'm nearly convinced.
So few of the legal cases against Motown were successful; basically most of the artists, producers, and writers never really signed on for a lot of money and spent everything they got......sadly, factually, there's never been much there to be successful with; I don't think that is popular but I believe it to be true.
Where the song "You're All I Need" is concerned, would Marvin have said quietly at one point (easy to hear on the stereo mix) "Tammi listen" if it was not Tammi? I say this as in older threads a contrast was drawn with the new songs on the Easy album where they do not sing their names as on the their first and second album together.
Perhaps they only sung each other's names when recording together and that when it came to the Easy sessions they recorded the songs separately.
I haven't really followed this thread closely, but found radionixon's evaluation just what is needed - an objective, forensic weighing up of the evidence. More basically, it also referred to "the disputed tracks", and i'm not sure exactly which ones they are anymore, or indeed if there is a uniform consensus in the 'Valerie as singer' camp as to which they are. So, apologies if they were clearly listed upthread, but can someone just list for me exactly which tracks are considered the disputed ones?
WHO DARES DISPUTE MY WORD!!! BRING THEM TO ME!!!!
But seriously, I have a very difficult time believing that anyone who has played the Tammi Terrell's Anthology and knows the quality, texture and nuances of her voice and still claim that they can't tell the difference between the two voices and tracks in questions either aren't listening or need to get their hearing checked. Perhaps I've just listened to and have studied Tammi's voice more and can pick out the sutleties in her voice more and can recoginze the nuances and I know Valerie Simpson's voice and it's qualities and characteristics and once you know the difference then the tracks on Easy become quite obvious. It's like listening to an early Supreme's record where they are harmonizing, and still being able to pick out Diana's, Mary's and Florence's individual voices, even though they are mixed and blended in together...Either you know someone's voice or you don't...
And while I don't have as much spare time as Radionixon has to write a dissertation on the subject. I will take the time to point out some curious flaws in his "analysis". With respect to the quote attributed to Tammi's sister, I just wonder what type of answer we would get from her under cross-examination. I'm hesitant to give her quote any type of meaningful weight without knowing the exact question that was asked and I'd like to know her full quote and not the edited quote that Radionixon provided above. It's important to study things in context and not just a short snippet of perhaps a longer sentance or statement. Radio refers to the Ebony article and pulls quotes from there, but fails to mention the part where Tammi herself says that she has not recorded in a YEAR AND A HALF. I find it curious that he would just leave out that part of the story. Or maybe he thinks that Tammi is telling a lie as well.. Or maybe that bit of information just didn't fit in with his narrative.... Also if my memory serves me correctly, in Divided Soul doesn't Marvin Gaye also pull out the Easy album and play it for David Ritz and points out the exact songs that Valerie sings on. And doesn't Marvin also state that Motown convinced him to go along with Valerie singing so that Tammi would have an income to pay her medical bills? Why would Marvin say something of this nature that could have potential negative raminifactions for his own career? What motive would Marvin have for making that statment if it wasn't true? By all accounts Marvin had deep feelings for Tammi and cared for her very much. Why would he just make those statements, against his own self-interest and against Tammi's interest? Radionixon calls into question Marvin's veracity, but questions no one elses. Interesting...
He also states that Valerie doesn't have a motive for keeping the story alive. Well I'll give you two: money and Milli Vanilli. How much money has Valerie made from the Marvin and Tammi duets? Would the public stop buying not only the Easy album, if the public knew that it was not Tammi singing those songs, but would it also impact the sales of the United and the You're All I Need To Get By albums as well? Would it turn into a Milli Vanilli or Blackbox type situation, where those groups were quite popular and selling a ton of records..until it was exposed that the people we saw in the videos were not the actual singers, but rather studio singers doing the vocals. After that no one wanted to listen to their music, muchless buy their songs or albums. Nobody likes to be defrauded.
One other elephant sized detail that Radio glosses over is the fact that Tammi had SIX brain opertions at the time of the Ebony article. SIX BRAIN OPERATIONS!!! And I think either two or three more before she died. But Valerie, Motown and Radionixon want us all to believe that Tammi some how righted herself long enough to fly back and forth to Detroit to sing love songs, painstakingly and line by line? Right... Let me just say that I've never had brain surgery, so I don't know what the recovery period is like. But I can tell you that I've had plenty of head colds, and with them I've usually feeling like crap and out of commission for like a week at a time. Now I can only imagine what it would have been like to have brain surgery in the late 1960's and how long it would have kept me out of commission, or Tammi in this case, much less after SIX BRAIN SURGERIES. It just defies common sense. One useful bit of information, that we will probably never know, but would definitely shed light on the whole affair would be the exact date of Tammi's surgeries, and then match those dates up against the alleged recording dates. Morbid, I know, but I'm just saying what others refuse to write.
The last thing that I'd like to point out (again) is that Motown had a track record of substituting singers on records. If Motown did it with the Supreme's, their top selling and most popular group, then why wouldn't they do it with Tammi Terrell, if they thought they could get away with it? And didn't they have Richard Street singing behind the curtains for Paul Wiliams during live concerts? I don't think this point can either be overlooked or glossed over.
Finally, I hope no one takes offense to anything that I've written in any of my posts, they are not meant to offend anyone. Do I question the listening abilities of some folks and their ability to reason to with facts and logic? Yes, indeed. lol. Now question me again and I'll send Dick and Liz Cheney over to your house to destroy your computer. (and I'm not kidding!) You've all been warned!!
Last edited by RossHolloway; 12-16-2011 at 11:06 AM.
Now, THAT'S what I'm talking about!
Some really good points.* There's definitely a case to be made for both sides of the argument - I hope I didn't come across as though I was trying to say "Ha, you're obviously wrong, and here's 10,000 words explaining why!" - that's not me.* I still do feel that one side of the argument stacks up more strongly than the other based on what we've got, but as I said a few times, I don't think we'll ever really know the truth.* There's no Judo Argument here, no one piece of evidence that anyone can point to and say "see, this PROVES it!", hence the ongoing discussion.
(And it is a discussion - when I'm baldly stating my opinions, they're just that, opinions.* I don't have the desire or the ability to sh(o)ut down a debate!)
In order to respond, I think it'll be illustrative to go back to that Ebony article, because I believe it goes towards a few of the points you raise.* In the prologue, the journalist (not Tammi herself) does indeed state: "Tammi Terrell, bound for Detroit and her first recording date in nearly two years...", but this is referring to the airplane incident in the opening paragraphs, rather than when the article was written (which was "approximately six months after her sixth and final operation", according to the text itself - given the article was published in November '69, you can come up with a few plausible ballpark dates for both the writing, and Tammi's surgeries).* The article <i>then</i> goes on to state: "Plagued by physical and emotional breakdowns, she has been in and out of the hospital at least four times in the past six months. Unable to accept night club or theater engagements, she has concentrated her efforts on <b>recording and song writing.</b>" (my emphasis)
Now, admittedly this is flimsy evidence at best, but it's evidence nonetheless - evidence she was <i>trying</i> to do some recording even after her sixth surgery.* The Ebony article is most interesting to me because of the picture it paints of Tammi's health after her six operations; she was in pain, she didn't have full use of her arms and legs, but equally she wasn't completely incapacitated either.* I've never met anyone suffering from brain cancer, but I've read "cancer diaries" from the likes of Ivan Noble and Steven Wells, and they were as articulate and personable as ever literally right up until the end, so I don't think it's so very unlikely she was still trying to work at such a late stage.* I think it does terminal cancer sufferers in general a bit of a disservice to suggest Tammi's gravely serious condition flatly precluded any travel or studio work.
In terms of otherwise cherry-picking evidence, I'd like to underline that I'd question <em>everybody's</em> veracity on this one - I don't assume that Valerie's version is the right one, I just point out that as things stand, it's by far the most convincing.* The trouble is that Valerie's story (which could easily have been invented after the fact - I don't have a date for the first time she gave her guide vocals/line-by-line explanation, not sure if anyone else does?) pre-emptively neutralises Marvin's story by giving a plausible explanation as to why Marvin may have remembered wrong (i.e. he remembered Valerie doing guide vocals and got his memories mixed up), and Marvin isn't here to answer back.* All we can do is weigh up the evidence as it stands, which by nature favours Valerie.* I don't claim Marvin is lying (he is my favourite Motown artist!), just that on the balance of probabilities, I believe he was remembering wrong.
The Milli Vanilli argument is a very good one, and something I hadn't really considered before.* The possibility of a confession causing sales to nosedive is pretty strong motivation, for sure.* Having said that, nobody's disputing it's Marvin Gaye on those records rather than, say, JJ Barnes, so it's not a perfect comparison.* Plus, the cat's been out of the bag on this particular conspiracy theory for a long time already (genuine question: did Motown seek to stop Divided Soul going to print?), and UMG haven't exactly been careful about sticking to the party line.* The Gracenote CD database error above is clearly derived from the liner notes to <i>The Complete Duets</i> CD, an official release from 2001 - and, unless I'm mistaken, the only way to buy any of the three Marvin & Tammi albums in full these days? - whose liner notes state unambiguously that it's Valerie and not Tammi on the later recordings (based on Marvin's "revelation" rather than any new insider knowledge).* The compilation continues to sell regardless - though I agree it's legitimate to wonder if that would have been the case had the cover stated "Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell and Valerie Simpson" in big letters instead.* Food for thought!
Ultimately, the evidence just isn't there to definitively support either argument, and so it'll come down to what people want to believe.* I appreciate you think the best evidence of all is what's on the records, but I still feel this is completely subjective - though I could be in a tiny minority on that one (it wouldn't be the first time!).* I'd ask everyone reading this: ignoring the fact that the vocalist on Easy sounds a bit different to the "golden age" Tammi we know, was your first reaction on hearing that LP "They've replaced Tammi!"?* Did anyone identify Valerie Simpson's voice before Divided Soul?* Not trying to make a point, I'm genuinely curious.
Sorry, this turned out really long again, didn't it?
Posting this from a train on my phone, no idea what's with all the asterisks!?
Radio Nixon opened up on a lot of things that I too have acknowledged in my study! I read over his revelation in "Divided Soul" and saw That there wasn't alot of intimate details about Tammi. Plus, he stated that the "Easy" album was done to give Tammi's family more income, which doesn't add up since Mr. Gordy was already paying for the medical bills.
The fact that Ludie herself says that it's Tammi on the recordings carries alot of weight! as some might recall, some of Michael Jackson's recordings on the "Michael" album were also debated for authenticity. And several close family members spoke out and said it wasn't him! Even his son Prince, who was there when they were recorded, said that only some lines were used but the rest wasn't him!
The bottomline though is that no matter how much evidence is presented, I think a lot of fans (i'm not naming names) are keep finding more ways to scrape off Tammi from the "Easy" album. And I can understand why. It's good music, but it just doesn't move us the way it did when Tammi had her full stamina. Plus, it's not easy to imagine her working through all she had to deal with. That's personally how I felt for some time after i accepted Valerie's story. But at the same time, it makes me happy to know that Tammi was making the most of the little time she had left on this earth! And it only makes me appreciate her that much more.
Last edited by jboy88; 12-17-2011 at 11:08 PM.
I bought "Easy" when it first came out, and it didn't even cross my mind that it might not be Tammi singing, and I don't remember anyone else questioning it at the time. Did we all have cloth ears?
This thread is very interesting and a good read all around. Having just rewatched the UNSUNG episode on Tammi (what a great series that is), I'm just sad her life and singing ended so early. The section where they talk about Marvin and her singing together for the last time (he from the stage and her from the audience) is just heartbreaking. As for who's actually singing on the disputed tracks, all I know is that to my ears the voice simply does not sound like the same Tammi as before, even if it is coming from the same woman. Knowing how sick she was for so much of her short life only makes her talent and star quality all the more wondrous...
Last edited by ejluther; 12-16-2011 at 07:32 PM. Reason: spelling and stuff...
and she insisted during my interview with her on the show, carries no weight whatsoever. Ludie wasn't present during the recordings, and I would say has a bit of a vested interest in helping to maintain the legend. It's still laughable to me that the evidence is on the album "Easy" itself. If one would merely listen to the tracks "in question" and the ones that Marvin was engineered onto and listen to the difference in the female voices.
i don't quite get the line of reasoning that people have who express worries about tammi terrell's legacy. so she didn't sing on the single "good loving at easy" and most of the "easy" album ... does that ruin her career? no! of course not. who here doesn't think that had she been in good health tammi wouldn't have nailed the "easy" sessions? i have never read a bad word about tammi's voice or spunky stage persona. healthy, she was a little dynamo and one of the few new rising stars at motown. there is no reason to be protective of her. her legacy was made long before the "easy" fiasco (of which she would have been the only innocent party because of the state of her fragile health.) motown's actions only put the company in a bad light ... but then the company was running as many record companies ran then. the person i have the most questions about are the real intentions of valerie simpson.
i waiver between trying to understand how valerie would write, produce, and sing on the "easy" album. was she was overly interested in furthering her carreer with her biggest act at that time? or did the whole messy situation just roll out of her control? once valerie was in deep it makes sense that she cover her actions with a stories that never actually say, "i never sang under tammi terrell's name".
remember, valerie was a formidable and forceful presence in the studio. she wasn't fooling around at motown, and it isn't surprising with the exit of holland,dozier,&holland and the split of the supremes that she ended up with barry gordy's ticket to hollywood, diana ross! i always read carefully between the lines of everything simpson says about the gaye/terrell "easy" sessions. she always seem too suspiciously coy to me. it is almost as if she knows it is in her best interest to say she didn't do tammi's parts, but yet valerie wants some recognition for what is probably one of the more cohesive albums of its time at motown (minus, of course, the two songs that are from older tammi sessions and feel out of place on "easy"). valerie does deserve credit for this album. it is good. valerie's voice is great, and a careful reading of what terrell might have done had she been healthy enough to sing. too bad that the album was produced under such difficult, stressful and secretive conditions. the "easy" sessions turned out to be anything but!
everyone was driven at motown, some more than others. simpson certainly was. ms. terrell, in this last year of her life, had more compelling concerns.
Last edited by thisoldheart; 12-16-2011 at 09:56 PM.
I only say scrape off because whenever this topic comes up, I read a bunch of theories as to why Valerie Simpson doesn't admit to doing all the vocals. It's all a case of one-sided selective exposure. Rather than say I think Val sings this but it could be Tammi, it's "Val's under contract or some other type of claim!
I think it's natural to speculate and to wonder why she wouldn't speak the truth, when it is so very clear that it not only isn't Tammi but IS Valerie.
I still stand by all my previous statements. In fact after re-reading the statements by Johnny Bristol and Valerie Simpson herself, I'm even more convinced that it's Valerie's voice. Can someone define what a "rich tapestry" is exactly?
it means simpson stitched her voice over tammi's ... if, in fact, tammi was in any shape to sing a single note!
Last edited by Kamasu_Jr; 03-08-2013 at 03:16 PM.
Dag, I missed this discussion but I have to say, someone would have to have been REALLY STRONG to, after going through six brain operations, somehow manage to come to Detroit and sing at a recording studio. At this point, I don't think saying it's Valerie singing on those records would hurt Tammi's reputation at all. If anything, it actually strengthens it.
Motown wanted to protect it's own mythology..
they also told us all those 1960's Diana Ross records were by The Supremes (Love Child, Someday We'll Be Together, The Composer, No Matter What Sign You Are, etc..)
And even back then it was obvious to me that on a couple tracks they were just Tammi solo vocals with Marvin's voice added.
Midnight Johnny is right, a good listen to the LP is quite revealing.
Great input radionixon. I dont understand why some dismiss Valerie as perpetuating falsehoods. It clearly wouldnt hurt her to say it was her if that was the truth.
Your All I Need to get by, Ain't No Mountain HIgh Enough,
Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing, Your Precious Love, If I Could Build My Whole World Around You, And with that said Marvin and Tammi Terrell were the greatest Pop Soul Duo that has not been touched since.
I was flabbergasted when I listened very carefully to You're All I Need To Get By yesterday and realized that it's Valerie Simpson's voice!!! It's not my favorite "Marvin/Tammi" record ... that would be "Your Precious Love", so I hadn't listened closely or sung along with YAINTGB very often. It was immediately apparent to me hat instead of Tammi's high, thin, reedy (but infinitely charismatic) voice it was the richer, more colorful, gospel inflected (but less charismatic, less unique) voice of Miss Simpson.
I'm sorry, but I don't buy this charade. The texture of the two voices is not the same. Neither is the diction. Tammi had a very strong (or "strawng") southern twang in her delivery that is missing in Valerie's imitation. Check out Tammi's twang on the word "enough" in "Ain't No Mountain High Enu-u-uff" for example. That along with the fact that Val's voice is smoother, more nuanced and controlled than the thin, high, reedy and to me, much more captivating and interesting voice of Tammi Terrell was all the proof I needed when I listened. There is more "depth" to Val's voice but I prefer Tammi's. I just let my ears tell me.