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keith_h
09-04-2010, 03:55 PM
As has been well documented, the Motown musicians/Funk Brothers moonlighted at other Detroit studios. Listening to some Motown tracks that contain that unique BB drum sound, especially the drum roll that was so BB, if he moonlighted did he have to alter his style, so it wasn't so identifiable?

StuBass1
09-05-2010, 12:07 PM
Hey Keith!!!...As an interested Funk Brothers observer for some time, you are absolutely correct that the great Benny Benjamin had several fills, pickups, and patterns unique to himself (as well as heavily influencing the other Funk Brother drummers...Uriel Jones and Pistol Allen). When producers solicited The Funks for "outside" work, I must assume that they were looking for the same sound that the musicians were laying down at Motown. Certainly a big part of Bennys drum patterns developed from his close musical relationship with bassist James Jamerson...a lot of call and answer stuff, etc...so if Jamerson and Benny were on any session...they would most undoubtedly play the same way they were accustomed. Also, Uriel Jones did a lot of outside work with the ensemble...especially club dates, but recording sessions too. On Motown tracks...Pistol Allen was recognized as the best "shuffle" player of the drummers...so if a track called for his style, he would likely get the call...Motown or elsewhere. Also, keep in mind that before Motown, Benny played for many performers, including some blues and jazz artists, and I doubt his work with Chuck Berry or Lowell Fulsom had an awful lot of similarity to the typical patterns he performed in the snakepit...but his Motown work was a big influence on the other Motown drummers, as well as pop, rock, and R&B drummers coming along the pike at that time. I don't know if that directly answers your question, but perhaps it can lead to more discussion on this topic.

By the way...fundraising has begun for pay for the Funk Brothers recently awarded Star on The Hollywood Walk Of Fame. We are in the process of sending out announcements, etc. More a little later on that.

keith_h
09-05-2010, 03:27 PM
Hi Stubass
Thanks for that, but I think I didn't make my point clear. What I meant was, as salaried Motown musicians were forbidden to play for other studios, anyone (Berry Gordy) listening to recordings that BB played on would have been able to identify him just from the sound, therefore know he was moonlighting. I imagine the same went for James Jameson.

robb_k
09-05-2010, 03:40 PM
1112
Berry KNEW they were moonlighting. He sent "spies" (Mickey Stevenson, Eddie and Brian Holland" at various times (usually 2:00-3:00 AM to look at Ed Wingate's (and later, LeBaron Taylor's favourite studios') parking lots, to see whose cars were there, and he fined them $1,000). Wingate gladly paid their "fines". Almost ALL The Funk Brothers moonlighted, as did most of the Motown musicians. That's why there was so much great Soul music coming out of Detroit during the 1960s.

StuBass1
09-05-2010, 05:03 PM
Keith...Robb is pretty much correct in that Berry pretty much knew when ZThe Funks did those moonlight sessions, and several of them were fined...or even fired on the spot (only to be rehired later). Also...not All of The Funk Brothers were on exclusive contracts, and I doubt Berry muched cared if they were cutting at the local production houses doing commercials, but he definitely didn' want his contract musicians cutting tracks at the atudios of his local competitors. I also doubt that Berry sat around listening to records trying to discern if Benny or others were rexognizable. He had h is eyes and ears on the street.

robb_k
09-05-2010, 06:17 PM
1114
Berry gave up fining them because Wingate just paid the fines. So, he just bought Wingate out, to get rid of the competition. But Berry made a mistake. He didn't take in Don Davis, Joe Hunter, and all the production people and recording artists that worked for Wingate. He only kept J.J. Barnes, The Fantastic Four and Edwin Starr. So, all those production people and artists needed a place to go. Don Davis partnered up with DJ LeBaron Taylor, taking his Groovesville Records to LeBaron's new Solid Hitbound Productions (Groovesville, Revilot and Solid Hit Records). George Clinton went along, as did most of the rest. So, Solid Hitbound continued to use Motown's musicians just as Wingate had done. The Funk Bros. and other Motown musicians also moonlighted with Jack Ashford and Joe Hunter's Pied Piper Productions, Sidra, popcorn Wylie's and Tony Hestor's productions, Mike Hanks' later productions, and other recording around Detroit and even sessions in Chicago, New York and The South. There was no way Berry could stop it.

workshop_jazz
09-08-2010, 02:25 PM
1114
The Funk Bros. and other Motown musicians also moonlighted with Jack Ashford and Joe Hunter's Pied Piper Productions...

Interesting! I had no idea Joe Hunter was involved with Pied Piper, I'd only heard of Jack Ashford and Lorraine Chandler being involved.

lorraineC
05-15-2011, 11:33 AM
I'm so grateful to have had the Funk Bros. on my songs.

Lorraine Chandler

theboyfromxtown
05-15-2011, 11:51 AM
Lorraine Chandler

Welcome to SDF. As this forum was originally set up to concentrate on Detroit soul, you will not be surprised to learn that there are many who will be familar (and very grateful) for your work.

I know it's a long time ago but can you recall some of your own recordings that featured those Detroit greats, whether that be musicians, vocalists, producers, arrangers or even studio location?

honest man
05-15-2011, 01:56 PM
strange when you read the books, interviews etc, it appears motown were recording 24 hours a day every day, yet had time to work in other studios, i guess they pumped out songd busily, but i don't think it was a 24 hour every day affair, part of motown myths-legends, any ideas people, cheers.

theboyfromxtown
05-15-2011, 02:19 PM
Cal Street told me that there was a huge demand for studio time and the producers would grab a time slot when they could.

Well, that was the reason she was offered when she got called out for a recording session in the middle of the night!

Ramone Verona
05-15-2011, 02:25 PM
Sounds like an excuse that one's mother might accept. ;)

dennis_coffey
05-17-2011, 07:11 PM
Hello everyone. Before I started doing sessions for Motown, I remember doing an all night session at Golden World Studios with Benny Benjamin on drums. What a funky drummer he was. He really kept a solid pocket. I also remember doing a session at United Sound Studios on a Sunday morning at 4:00am. James Jamerson was on bass and Eddie Willis was on guitar. We heard a knock on the back door of the studio. When we opened the door, Ralph Selzer, who worked for Berry, came in. He pointed at Jamerson and Eddie and told them they were busted. I think they got fined. I was always an independent so I worked for all the labels. Studio life in the "D" was good back in those days.

Dennis Coffey

robb_k
05-17-2011, 09:53 PM
For a while Motown had sessions running 24 hours a day, probably at least 6 days a week. Maybe it was closed for a few hours Sunday night? They had enough different great session players that if Benny, James, Joe and others were missing, they still would have enough great musicians to hold sessions. They couldn't expect them to never sleep.

dennis_coffey
05-18-2011, 10:00 AM
When I got to Motown in about 1967, the rhythm section did two three hour sessions each day at Studio A at Hitsville. The first sessions usually started at 10:00am or 11:00am and ended at 1:00am or 2:00pm. We then took an hour for lunch and came back and started at 2:00pm or 3:00pm and went to 5:00pm or 6:00pm. After we laid down the rhythm tracks, they needed to add the lead vocalists, background vocalists, instrumental overdubs, and horn and string overdubs. Then they had to mix down the different tape tracks to two track stereo tape. Then they had to master the tapes so they could go to the pressing plant to stamp out the records. All of these activities resulted in sessions at Hitsville Studio A, Golden World Studios with some mastering and overdubbing done at the Donavan Building downtown. Motown was really a busy place back then.

Dennis Coffey

lorraineC
05-30-2011, 12:11 PM
Lorraine Chandler

Welcome to SDF. As this forum was originally set up to concentrate on Detroit soul, you will not be surprised to learn that there are many who will be familar (and very grateful) for your work.

I know it's a long time ago but can you recall some of your own recordings that featured those Detroit greats, whether that be musicians, vocalists, producers, arrangers or even studio location?

It was a while back, but as stated earlier, The Funk Bros., along with our own musicians (of Pied Piper/Just Productions), The Soul Congress (Billy Sha-Rae's band), Ray Monette, George Rountree, Mike Terry and arrangers such as Joe Hunter, Paul Reiser, and Herbie Williams. Thelma Hopkins and Joyce Vincent did a lot of background work also. Of course, this is just the tip of the music mountain.

Lorraine

keith_h
06-03-2011, 09:22 AM
Hi Lorraine
What a privilege to have the opportunity to talk to you. I have enjoyed your recordings for many years, my favorite being 'What can I do', especially that great baritone sax - I assume that is Mike Terry. However for me your greatest triumph is the song you co-wrote and produced with Jack Ashford for Ray Gant, 'Don't leave me baby'. I have played that track so many times, but it still sends shivers down my spine. Do you recall much of that session, also I have never heard anything else by Ray Gant, do you know what became of him. It would be an absolute travesty if someone possessed of a voice that good never recoded anything else. I also like Maxine Browns very different take on that song, do you know who recorded it first?

Keith

lorraineC
06-09-2011, 09:06 PM
Hi Lorraine
What a privilege to have the opportunity to talk to you. I have enjoyed your recordings for many years, my favorite being 'What can I do', especially that great baritone sax - I assume that is Mike Terry. However for me your greatest triumph is the song you co-wrote and produced with Jack Ashford for Ray Gant, 'Don't leave me baby'. I have played that track so many times, but it still sends shivers down my spine. Do you recall much of that session, also I have never heard anything else by Ray Gant, do you know what became of him. It would be an absolute travesty if someone possessed of a voice that good never recoded anything else. I also like Maxine Browns very different take on that song, do you know who recorded it first?

Keith

Keith, thank you for the compliment. You assumed correctly with Mike Terry on anything I did as far as soloing. How and why would I have any other way?

Don't Leave Me Baby was written for and recorded by Eddie Parker first. It's a big track with an excellent arrangement. You need a strong voice to sing (beg) it because the track can be very overwhelming. Ray is singing it a lot like Eddie. If you liked Ray's, version, you'll love Eddie's. He really begging on it! I had no idea that Maxine Brown covered it. I just heard it on YouTube. Her arrangement is a bit watered down but even so, the track is bigger than her. It's just the song. You have to B-E-G! Don't leave me baby... I was trying to remember who sang background. I hear my big mouth back there (I was like Hitchcock, I tried to sing background on every song I wrote), I wonder if it was the Smith Bros. (11th Commandment)?

No, I haven't heard nor have I seen Ray since the recording. I hope he and the group are well.

Lorraine

keith_h
06-24-2011, 02:22 PM
Hi Lorraine
Thanks for the info. You are so right, the guy is absolutely pleading with his lady - as Irma Thomas sang, Anyone who knows what love is will understand. I didn't know Eddie Parker originally recorded it, was it actually released, as the discography for him that I have doesn't list it, do you remember what label it might have been on. Once again, I feel privileged to be able to chat to someone who has enriched my life so much.

Keith