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jsmith
09-28-2010, 03:04 PM
........ INFO off the net on Choker ...........
Born in Shelby Mississippi, his family moved to Saginaw when he was only five years old. His father worked at the General Motors plant in Saginaw. From an early age he loved music and studied under several influential musicians. At the age of nineteen, he started playing with several musical groups around Detroit. In the early 60's he got a job at Hitsville USA and his band became the company's resident backing band. They toured all the time, supporting all the Motown acts. After leaving Motown Records, Choker went to Canada with his band and continued to play regular gigs. He settled in Toronto, where he started his own record label.

That's all good & well ..... BUT it doesn't tally with all my Cleveland soul scene friends memories of Choker being a regular fixture around the Ohio city.
It also doesn't tally with this 1950's magazine piece on his activities ......
1358

Obviously, if his family were living in Michigan, he would have gone back there on a regular basis, but from the mid 50's he was already touring almost all of the time ....
.... so HOW & WHEN did he actually hook up with the Motown organisation ??

jsmith
09-28-2010, 08:51 PM
MORE ON CHOKER ......... taken from an old SDF thread with bits off the net added ......
Choker played tenor sax mostly and was best known for leading his own band (a 16 piece outfit in the 60’s). His recording career began in Cleveland around 1950 with the Lucky-7 label. Honey Brown (of Detroit) recut her song "Rockin' and Jumpin'" (originally released in 1951) with the Choker Campbell Orchestra for the Fortune label in Detroit in 1952. Chocker Campbell & his Batchelors of Rhythm backed many 1950s groups / vocalists (Billy Ward & the Dominoes, the Clovers, Charles Brown, etc). He was so successful behind the various Atlantic acts (Joe Turner, Ruth Brown & more) that they took him on permanently as their tour band and eventually recorded him in his own right. He backed Big Joe Turner on Atlantic in 1957 (and in the movie "Shake Rattle & Rock") and also recorded with Lowell Fulson on Checker that year. He also cut for labels such as Apt / Everlast 1958 ("Walk Awhile"/"Walking On My Thin-Sole Shoes") and joined Motown in the 1960’s where he led the band that supported the Motor Town Revues. Berry hired him for the revues because he brought a certain glitziness to the live shows (his band gave performances a polished night-club sound). It was Choker & the band who backed up the Marvelettes at thar group’s Apollo Theatre shows in 1962. Although his work was mainly on the road, he did do some studio work including his own 1964 album. He ran the recording sessions for big band dates for the likes of Billy Eckstine, Tony Martin and Barbara McNair. He led the house band at the Motown owned Graystone Ballroom where several unreleased live sessions were recorded. Choker was Hattie Littles' cousin, and she toured with him for some time. Choker Campbell and his band kept backing live revues (playing the Fox Theater and other venues) after he had left Motown. In July 1967, Choker and his band were the featured orchestra for "The Swingin' Time Revue" (they backed Deon Jackson, the Parliaments, the Soul Twins, the Little Soul Brothers, J.J. Barnes and Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. After Motown he worked at Magic City before moving out to Saginaw, Mich. to form the Tri-City (Red Topp & the Young Family + others), Moonville USA, Ultra City and Gospel Train labels. Later ventures include the Aspro, Campo and Candy Apple labels, the latter being based in Toronto.

Kamasu_Jr
09-29-2010, 04:49 PM
MORE ON CHOKER ......... taken from an old SDF thread with bits off the net added ......
Choker played tenor sax mostly and was best known for leading his own band (a 16 piece outfit in the 60ís). His recording career began in Cleveland around 1950 with the Lucky-7 label. Honey Brown (of Detroit) recut her song "Rockin' and Jumpin'" (originally released in 1951) with the Choker Campbell Orchestra for the Fortune label in Detroit in 1952. Chocker Campbell & his Batchelors of Rhythm backed many 1950s groups / vocalists (Billy Ward & the Dominoes, the Clovers, Charles Brown, etc). He was so successful behind the various Atlantic acts (Joe Turner, Ruth Brown & more) that they took him on permanently as their tour band and eventually recorded him in his own right. He backed Big Joe Turner on Atlantic in 1957 (and in the movie "Shake Rattle & Rock") and also recorded with Lowell Fulson on Checker that year. He also cut for labels such as Apt / Everlast 1958 ("Walk Awhile"/"Walking On My Thin-Sole Shoes") and joined Motown in the 1960ís where he led the band that supported the Motor Town Revues. Berry hired him for the revues because he brought a certain glitziness to the live shows (his band gave performances a polished night-club sound). It was Choker & the band who backed up the Marvelettes at thar groupís Apollo Theatre shows in 1962. Although his work was mainly on the road, he did do some studio work including his own 1964 album. He ran the recording sessions for big band dates for the likes of Billy Eckstine, Tony Martin and Barbara McNair. He led the house band at the Motown owned Graystone Ballroom where several unreleased live sessions were recorded. Choker was Hattie Littles' cousin, and she toured with him for some time. Choker Campbell and his band kept backing live revues (playing the Fox Theater and other venues) after he had left Motown. In July 1967, Choker and his band were the featured orchestra for "The Swingin' Time Revue" (they backed Deon Jackson, the Parliaments, the Soul Twins, the Little Soul Brothers, J.J. Barnes and Martha Reeves & the Vandellas. After Motown he worked at Magic City before moving out to Saginaw, Mich. to form the Tri-City (Red Topp & the Young Family + others), Moonville USA, Ultra City and Gospel Train labels. Later ventures include the Aspro, Campo and Candy Apple labels, the latter being based in Toronto.


According to Motown_Fan, Choker Campbell's Band backed acts on the Swinging Time Revue at the Fox Theater in Detroit, July 1967. We assume Choker was no longer with Motown, but his band opened the revue and backed such acts as The Parliaments, Deon Jackson, JJ Barnes & The Soul Twins. Martha Rreeves & the Vandellas headlined, but Motown_Fan thinks they were backed by their own musicians.

randy_russi
09-30-2010, 08:50 AM
As best as I recall he left Motown in '63, although I've seen photos of him leading the band behind Mary Wells in '64
before SHE left the label.

jsmith
09-30-2010, 10:43 AM
Choker & his band were still backing the Motown Revue show in the summer of 1965 (on tour).
I guess he was still 'officially' with Motown till past that date.