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detmotownguy
06-22-2018, 02:58 PM
Is there any written coverage about Floís experience in the Marvelettes? How long? Any live footage exist? Thanks.

reese
06-22-2018, 03:09 PM
Katherine Anderson spoke about it in Marc Taylor's book on the Marvelettes. Mary Wilson wrote about it in her book DREAMGIRL: MY LIFE AS A SUPREME.

Flo's tenure wasn't very long. Maybe a few months? She only did it so that there would be five girls on stage, as specified in their contracts with promoters, while Wanda was on maternity leave.

No footage exists. But in Taylor's book, there are some photos of Flo onstage with the group at the Apollo.

milven
06-22-2018, 04:32 PM
I can't tell, but is this Flo with the Marvellettes?

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thanxal
06-22-2018, 04:34 PM
I can't tell, but is this Flo with the Marvellettes?

14339
That photo is grainy. But it does look like Flo far left, but also, Mary far right. Maybe it was from an early Motortown Revue?

midnightman
06-22-2018, 04:59 PM
It's not significant. May have lasted how long that Wanda [[I think? I could be wrong) was prepping for the birth of her child.

BigAl
06-22-2018, 05:39 PM
14339


That photo is grainy. But it does look like Flo far left, but also, Mary far right. Maybe it was from an early Motortown Revue?

This would be Florence Ballard, Katherine Anderson, Wyanetta Cowart [[or
"Juanita," we've seen both spellings), and Georgeanna Tillman. Gladys Horton isn't pictured, but I suspect this was because she was singing lead, spaced a bit to the right and off camera.

I have to wonder how they managed to suit Florence up. Wanda was so tiny that Flo could never have squeezed into her outfits.

luckyluckyme
06-22-2018, 05:42 PM
The photos shows Florence Ballard, Katherine Anderson, Juanita [[Wyanetta) Cowart, and Georgeanna Tillman

luke
06-22-2018, 07:08 PM
Great topic. Did Flo come up with the line”Deliver da letter the sooner the better”?

detmotownguy
06-22-2018, 08:07 PM
Thanks everyone! I canít find Marc Taylorís book anywhere. Wow, didnít know Flo was in the group for 5 months. I wonder if it would have been a better fit for Flo in the long run? What year did she sub for Wanda?

milven
06-22-2018, 10:28 PM
Thanks everyone! I canít find Marc Taylorís book anywhere. Wow, didnít know Flo was in the group for 5 months. I wonder if it would have been a better fit for Flo in the long run? What year did she sub for Wanda?

I gave the book to someone as a gift, but never read it. It is still available, but very expensive

https://www.ebay.com/p/The-Original-Marvelettes-Motowns-Mystery-Girl-Group-by-Marc-Taylor-2004-Hardcover/30453070?iid=183241124498&_trkparms=aid%3D555018%26algo%3DPL.SIM%26ao%3D2%26 asc%3D52475%26meid%3D248a8b8eafb744d389cdb1acdcae8 709%26pid%3D100005%26rk%3D1%26rkt%3D1%26sd%3D17280 2781405%26itm%3D183241124498&_trksid=p2047675.c100005.m1851

But there is a podcast on line that is about an hour long by by Marc Taylor about the Marvellettes? I just listened to part of it. It is interesting

https://libwww.freelibrary.org/podcast/episode/241

thanxal
06-22-2018, 10:35 PM
14339



This would be Florence Ballard, Katherine Anderson, Wyanetta Cowart [[or
"Juanita," we've seen both spellings), and Georgeanna Tillman. Gladys Horton isn't pictured, but I suspect this was because she was singing lead, spaced a bit to the right and off camera.

I have to wonder how they managed to suit Florence up. Wanda was so tiny that Flo could never have squeezed into her outfits.
Where is the photo from? Anyone know?

detmotownguy
06-23-2018, 01:02 AM
Thanks!!!!!! Podcast too! My friends dad who worked at Motown said Flo was very comical, smart and observant. We share the same birthday. Always had an interest in knowing more about her career.

reese
06-23-2018, 09:09 AM
Where is the photo from? Anyone know?

The Apollo.

reese
06-23-2018, 09:11 AM
Thanks everyone! I can’t find Marc Taylor’s book anywhere. Wow, didn’t know Flo was in the group for 5 months. I wonder if it would have been a better fit for Flo in the long run? What year did she sub for Wanda?

Not sure of the length of time. I thought it was just a short tour. I'm assuming late '61 / early '62.

marybrewster
06-23-2018, 01:24 PM
It's funny; I've read that Flo often had difficulties trying to keep up with the Supremes choreography. To me, the Marvelettes always seemed to have more intricate steps and moves. In the pics above, Flo looks like she's not only keeping up, but having a great time.

floyjoy678
06-23-2018, 03:00 PM
marybrewster Katherine said that they actually had to tone it down for Flo lol. I believe this was in summer of '62 shortly after Barbara had left the Supremes and Diana and Mary had left town to live with one of Mary's relatives. Once the short tour ended the Supremes went back to work.

detmotownguy
06-23-2018, 04:07 PM
Mary and Diane go down south?

midnightman
06-23-2018, 04:10 PM
It's funny; I've read that Flo often had difficulties trying to keep up with the Supremes choreography. To me, the Marvelettes always seemed to have more intricate steps and moves. In the pics above, Flo looks like she's not only keeping up, but having a great time.

Not really. They had to slow it down for Flo. The Supremes had two left feet in those days lol

RanRan79
06-24-2018, 08:49 AM
marybrewster Katherine said that they actually had to tone it down for Flo lol. I believe this was in summer of '62 shortly after Barbara had left the Supremes and Diana and Mary had left town to live with one of Mary's relatives. Once the short tour ended the Supremes went back to work.

Yeah, it was a short tour of one nighters that spring, I think. I'm assuming it was before "Your Heart Belongs to Me" was released that May 62.

RanRan79
06-24-2018, 08:58 AM
Not really. They had to slow it down for Flo. The Supremes had two left feet in those days lol

I think Flo was the only one with two left feet. Mary and Diana demonstrated pretty well that they didn't have issues in the dancing department. Florence is the one who always comes across looking a bit awkward throughout their career. Take away the fact that the original Supremes should've been able to stay together because of their overall chemistry, but the one good thing about Cindy's arrival is that she brought with her the ability to really move, and with Gordy now giving DRATS an identity of slickness and glamour that set the new incarnation apart from the one with Flo, this was pivotal. I can't imagine Florence pulling off those choreographed spots like whatever it was they sang in tuxedos, top hats and canes.

marybrewster
06-24-2018, 11:55 AM
I couldn't agree more. I also can't see Flo in the beaded gowns that we saw in 68-69; I mean, can you see Flo in a green swirl on TCB? Or in a Butterfly on Sullivan?

midnightman
06-24-2018, 01:08 PM
I think Flo was the only one with two left feet. Mary and Diana demonstrated pretty well that they didn't have issues in the dancing department. Florence is the one who always comes across looking a bit awkward throughout their career. Take away the fact that the original Supremes should've been able to stay together because of their overall chemistry, but the one good thing about Cindy's arrival is that she brought with her the ability to really move, and with Gordy now giving DRATS an identity of slickness and glamour that set the new incarnation apart from the one with Flo, this was pivotal. I can't imagine Florence pulling off those choreographed spots like whatever it was they sang in tuxedos, top hats and canes.

Heh I haven't seen a Supremes performance in a while but yeah I do think Diana and Mary were the better dancers. Flo always did look awkward dancing.

RanRan79
06-24-2018, 05:26 PM
I couldn't agree more. I also can't see Flo in the beaded gowns that we saw in 68-69; I mean, can you see Flo in a green swirl on TCB? Or in a Butterfly on Sullivan?

Oh I can definitely imagine Flo in those TCB gowns. Those suckers looked tailor made for a woman of Flo's physical gifts. She is almost disgustingly sexy in those tight silver gowns they wore on Sullivan doing You Can't Hurry Love. I'd kill to see her in those swirl gowns. Flo was a goddess where my taste in women is concerned. Mary too.

RanRan79
06-24-2018, 05:28 PM
Heh I haven't seen a Supremes performance in a while but yeah I do think Diana and Mary were the better dancers. Flo always did look awkward dancing.

Yeah, and let me clarify just in case there's a misunderstanding. When I say Flo looked awkward, I was indeed referring to her dancing, like when they did "Itchin" on Sullivan. But other than that, she had great stage presence and seemed very comfortable in front of an audience and a camera.

sup_fan
06-24-2018, 06:40 PM
yeah flo sometimes flubbed the choreography. she definitely wasn't as coordinated as the other two. I'm stunned that she was perfect in the Back In My Arms clip on hullabaloo lolol. but she misses parts in Millie/Rose/Mame and others

I think she would have been gorgeous in the later gowns, provided she had gotten her figure back in shape. But they began doing even more complex routines and doing them more regularly. the Millie/Rose/Mame piece was one of the first that was really sophisticated and required spot-on choreography to shine. Look at what they did with Fats Waller, Funny Girl, I Get A Kick, Sam You Made the pants too long, Coronet Man. the girls were flawless with these routines and they're stunning. Gordy was demanding that the group reach new heights of performing. Cindy was a strong member during this time, though IMO she came across as a bit anonymous. It wasn't till the 70s that she really emerged as a significant personality within the group, IMO

luke
06-24-2018, 08:20 PM
I have never seen a photo where Florence looked unappealingly overweight. Motown machine myth. She was not Twiggy, thankfully. I have always found Cindy to also not be a very fluid dancer. She got the moves right but lacked a certain fluid style that Mary and Diana both had. I think Florenceís realness somehow contributed to the appeal of the group. She wasnít a machine eg also her sassy ad libs....

midnightman
06-24-2018, 11:23 PM
Yeah, and let me clarify just in case there's a misunderstanding. When I say Flo looked awkward, I was indeed referring to her dancing, like when they did "Itchin" on Sullivan. But other than that, she had great stage presence and seemed very comfortable in front of an audience and a camera.

Right. That's why she shined so much. It didn't matter how she danced because her showmanship and personality showed through. :)

RanRan79
06-25-2018, 03:22 AM
Right. That's why she shined so much. It didn't matter how she danced because her showmanship and personality showed through. :)

Yup. It's not like reviewers were commenting about how great the girls moved, all except one. The entire act was complimented, and Flo was often singled out for her look, voice and comedy. Other than the fact that the Supremes fashioned themselves as pure singers, I think Flo's two left feet are why the Supremes choreography in 64-66 was so simple. They didn't move around like the Marvelettes or even Martha and the Vandellas. The Supremes mostly just stood flatfooted [[as my grandma would say) and sang. Lol

midnightman
06-25-2018, 07:59 AM
^ That's a good point. :)

sup_fan
06-26-2018, 12:57 PM
Yup. It's not like reviewers were commenting about how great the girls moved, all except one. The entire act was complimented, and Flo was often singled out for her look, voice and comedy. Other than the fact that the Supremes fashioned themselves as pure singers, I think Flo's two left feet are why the Supremes choreography in 64-66 was so simple. They didn't move around like the Marvelettes or even Martha and the Vandellas. The Supremes mostly just stood flatfooted [[as my grandma would say) and sang. Lol

true the Sups weren't professional dancers but their choreography required coordination and sophistication. They moved in time and in sync with one another. if one of the girls was repeatedly off or turning the wrong way, it would have been called out in reviews. probably just stated that they lack polish or sophistication.

As for Flo's appearance and weight, true she was never a Twiggy but there were clearly changes in her appearance over the years. more so than the profiles of the other girls. Of course some of this is genetics - she was simply a curvier, more voluptuous figure than Diana. but if you look at the pics in 64 and 65, her profile is much more in keeping with the others. Look at the pics of the girls on Hullaballoo for Back In My Arms and You're Nobody. or the pics of them in the red fringe dresses. then look at her in the pink chiffon on My Fav Things or when they wore them in various pics in late spring 67 before she was kicked out. frankly she looks huge compared to the others.

flo wasn't really fired because she was or wasn't fat. yes that might have been a bit of an issue as they'd have to constantly alter costumes and they were going for a specific "look." There are periods in the DRATS era where Cindy was considerably larger than the other two. look at her in the pink chevron gown during doing Porgy and Bess or the Malted over Manhattan costumes. Flo was fired because of her rebellious behavior, her drinking and volatile moods. Unlike M and D, she could not perform her work responsibilities and her behaviors were extremely taxing on everyone else's ability to work. there was a LOT of money to be made off of the Sups and basically she was preventing everyone [[herself included) from making that money and being a success. There have been stories about how everyone tried, as best they could, to help. even Berry. Cindy talks about how he was terribly hurt by the turn of events. perhaps he arrived at the decision faster than D or M that Flo had to go. but it wasn't anyone's planned or plotted attempt to destroy her. sure mistakes were made but Flo was absolutely a culprit in her own undoing.

franjoy56
07-15-2018, 04:08 PM
As mary said on the girl groups the story of a sound that the elevation of diana ross whilee reducing mary and flo to just backup singers had more of a negative efect on flo than it did on mary. And this is probably the reason for her supposed weight gain drinking and other issues. The success of the supremes should have been distributed giving mary and flo more input nto the act on stage on bsides and in interviews while still maintaining diana as the lead least here ther would have been less hurtful feelings like are you mad at me because im the lead singer ross words from a 93 interview in vanity.

jobucats
07-15-2018, 05:27 PM
Do most people who lament Florence being unfairly fired from the group have a plan which should have been tried in order to keep her in the group? It's late 1966/early 1967 and you realize your group member is spiraling downward. Yes, you knew she has always had some issues, but you did not realize the severity. Do you continue to tolerate her erratic behavior? Go on hiatus? What is your plan? Who's responsibility is it to implement this plan: the manager, the members of the group, etc.?

PeaceNHarmony
07-15-2018, 07:23 PM
Based upon the material we've heard from the expanded editions as well as the interview tapes Flo was quite ghetto in her elocution. Much more so than any other Motowner. I'm sure that did not sit well with Gordy.

franjoy56
07-15-2018, 07:34 PM
Yes the members of t group. There was no communication in the supremes after t hits started coming and berry was smitten w ms ross and that was part of t problem yes diana had talent but so did the other supremes.

antceleb12
07-15-2018, 08:43 PM
Based upon the material we've heard from the expanded editions as well as the interview tapes Flo was quite ghetto in her elocution. Much more so than any other Motowner. I'm sure that did not sit well with Gordy.

"Ghetto?" That's rather derogatory. Florence's natural speaking dialect was pure southern, as she came from Mississippi. She had a low speaking voice and, yes, frequently said things like "ain't" or "we is," but she was hardly "ghetto."

midnightman
07-15-2018, 10:13 PM
I agree. She was far from "ghetto". Just because she came from humble backgrounds [[as did all the original Supremes did so let's not get that twisted) doesn't mean she was "ghetto". I always hated that term for a lot of reasons. I don't mind it when it's used in songs and even to describe pride in our neighborhoods but whenever anyone else says it, I feel some type of way.

BigAl
07-16-2018, 02:34 PM
I think Florence just preferred not to sound stilted in her conversation, and to her this might have meant overlooking “scholarly” grammar in favor of less formal usage. [[I can’t imagine her saying, for instance, “To whom am I speaking?” or, "This is she.") I’m sure Mrs. Powell drilled all that formal stuff into them, however, and I'm sure they could pull it out when needed. Actually, I also once heard Diane lapse way out of formal grammar and intonation herself, but only when she was talking to Flo and I just happened to overhear her. Most people are influenced in their speech by the people around them. At least I know I am. I don’t recall any glaring grammatical slip-ups when Florence was being interviewed publicly during her time with The Supremes, but she rarely got much chance to speak back then, either.

luke
07-16-2018, 06:23 PM
Flo also played it up on stage”honey we is teriffic”...”now honey I don’t know about all that”...that’s what YOU think”...give me the money and i’ll Do
My OWN shopping “ etc...in exaggerated intonation.

floyjoy678
07-16-2018, 06:35 PM
My partner who loves to psychoanalyze everything thinks Flo did the whole deep ghetto voice due to not wanting to bring any type of an attractive attention to herself from men due to being raped. Me thinks that's just the way Miss Ballard talked and there ain't nothing wrong with that [[in my Philly accent lol).

floyjoy678
07-16-2018, 06:36 PM
Also I noticed several shows where Diana talks and Mary even gets to say a couple of lines but Flo barely gets in a word. Wonder if Gordy wasn't a fan of her speaking voice. I noticed this happened more after the Copa debut.

PeaceNHarmony
07-16-2018, 07:14 PM
My partner who loves to psychoanalyze everything thinks Flo did the whole deep ghetto voice due to not wanting to bring any type of an attractive attention to herself from men due to being raped. Me thinks that's just the way Miss Ballard talked and there ain't nothing wrong with that [[in my Philly accent lol).
Your partner sounds interesting; I have a similar predilection! I would not disagree, but I think your opinion is probably more correct. And you are absolutely right, but I think in interviews and on stage Gordy liked to present an image of greater sophistication. Sure wish Florence were here to offer her opinion.

midnightman
07-16-2018, 07:58 PM
Flo also played it up on stage”honey we is teriffic”...”now honey I don’t know about all that”...that’s what YOU think”...give me the money and i’ll Do
My OWN shopping “ etc...in exaggerated intonation.

Those were enough to get the crowd to laugh their tails off. Flo was a great comedian. Motown should've allowed her to talk more.

antceleb12
07-16-2018, 09:41 PM
If you listen to studio chatter in some of the alternate takes and what not, you can hear the girls chatter quite naturally. You can really hear the 'Detroit' in their natural dialect. I, too, have always noticed that Florence preferred to talk naturally both on and off stage, but she certainly wasn't 'uneducated.' However, she was certainly capable of 'sweetening' it up. Listen to the stage patter where Florence is introduced as the 'quiet one' and she rebuttals in a meek, light, delicate tone with "that's what you think." When Diana points out that's not her natural voice, Flo comes back in a deep, smoky, Pearl Bailey-like boom, "Theeyyy don'no the difference," in that slow, seductive manner she was known for.

sup_fan
07-16-2018, 11:16 PM
I definitely wouldnít call flo ghetto. Maybe a bit more country. Or earthy. During these early hit years for the sups Diana was really working on her elocution and enunciation. Listen to her stage patter in the pre WDOLG live shows then copa 65 and then live at London talk of town.

Flo and Mary didnít have this level of training. Diana was clearly being trained as the spokesperson.