Deke Richards FORUM: Archive - Beginning May 30, 2003: DEKE RICHARDS..3: DEKE RICHARDS 2: Deke Richards
Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 04:11 am:

Hey man, the floor is yours.....just as soon as you are ready.

I am so excited about this....

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

Can we give Deke a bit of encouragement to get over here please?

He has already told me this wonderful story about "I'm Still Waiting"

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 03:03 pm:

Hey Deke,
Welcome to the forum...Looking forward to any stories that you have to share from your days At Motown...

Thanks for joining us....

Tammi Terrell's Biography

Top of pageBottom of page   By LG Nilsson ( on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 06:58 pm:

Hi there Deke!

It is always nice to speak to a living legend, a top producer and songwriter... and hero in my world!

I want to hear the true story about "The Corporation" & "The Clan"... from you, from a person who was in the center... Was Berry Gordy really afraid of giving songwriters credits... after H-D-H leaving Motown?


Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Saturday, January 04, 2003 - 09:20 pm:

I liked the Temptations' "Why Did You Leave Me, Darling"

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lster ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 02:28 am:

A 45 here in the UK!!! I bought that when it came out, a fabulous track....

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 08:38 am:

Hey Lars, how's it going? long time, please could you E mail me your address ?
There is a great shot of Deke in Berry Gordy's autobiography, in fact there several great photos. Maurice King working with the Temps on harmonies is a killer. Keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 09:04 am:


Can you scan it and post it please...

Top of pageBottom of page   By LG Nilsson ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 09:44 am:


I have got the book. It's great!



Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 10:20 am:


Can you scan the pic of Deke Richards please and post it here?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 10:28 am:

If Lars doesn't want to - give me a shout, and i will :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Keith Rylatt ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 10:34 am:

Thank you Lars, I respect your compliment.

Hey John, NOW you are getting technical! Can anyone run through how to post a scan, BUT AT IDIOT LEVEL please. Other interesting shots inc. A music business night at the Flame Show bar with Ernie Durham and `Long Lean` larry Dean, also at the Flame, a Lady Day with brother Robert `Kylie` & Mable John, a general shot of Motown personnel inc. Fran Heard ! a SUPERB shot of the Graystone Ballroom in 62 with Miracles on stage and a shot of a meeting in Brian Holland's office with what looks like a 12" acetate in a rack. keith

Top of pageBottom of page   By LG Nilsson ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 10:51 am:

Here's Deke!


And here's the Corporation & J5


But where is the real Deke?


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Sunday, January 05, 2003 - 02:57 pm:

I am trying to coax him following that ebay listing.....please everyone try...

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 12:11 am:

Deke...Its here!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 12:50 am:

I just wanted to step up to the mic and say hi to all of you out there. I'm sure you have already heard plenty of stories. However, if there is something you would like to know, know more about, or you would just hear the other side of the story, you might as well go ahead and ask. I'll do m y best to fill in the blanks. Please remember one thing: I have mostly fond memories of my years and work with Motown; and nothing can ever change that.

My best regards to you all,

Deke Richards

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 02:01 am:

Deke....thank you SO much for coming along here

Tell everyone the story about I'm Still Waiting - a HUGE number one hit here in the UK for Diana Ross.

...and another one.........I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playing - why was the story with using Rita Wright/Syreeta. Did Syreeta do a whole version of the song.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 02:05 am:

Why Am I Loving You from Debbie Dean is a HUGE UK Northern you recall that song?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 07:26 am:

Hi Deke

What a pleasure to see you on the Forum! You have many fans over here, I can tell you :o)

OK, from the vaults, courtesy of John, a pic... So, what can you tell us about Debbie Dean..? She's something of a mystery to many of us this side of the pond.

deke & co

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 08:03 am:

Deke is with Debbie Dean watching over Martha Reeves.

Thanks for your help Ritchie

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 08:55 am:

Just want to welcome you to the forum pal. You have ( and rightfully so ) many fans here that have much to talk to you about. Your time with us is appreciated Deke. Once again, welcome.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:02 am:

Hi once again. Just give me a little time and I'll probably get to know you all. It's a little tough during the day to talk (west coast time), but stay tuned. I'll back later tonight to tell you a bedtime story. I call this one, "The I Can't Dance Caper"

Til then,

Easy does it,


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:09 am:

I cant wait.

I am gonna buy me some hot chocolate later on as this is one bedtime story I wanna be awake to.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:21 am:

Welcome to Soulful Detroit! It's a privilege to have you here with us in the Forum. I know I have many questions regarding production but I will stick to one - who exactly played on the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back" and their other number one hits ("ABC" "The Love You Save" & "I'll Be There"). Thanks!

Kevin Goins - KevGo

PS - "Maybe Tomorrow" was my favorite Coporation-produced single.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Julian ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:27 am:

Hi Deke! I have a question about Motown's Quality Control system.
When and how did it change from "... a hot dog, or this record?" I'm assuming that did evolve as the company grew larger.
How did it change from the '60s into to the 70's and on until Motown was sold?


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:33 am:

That's it lads...great questions....keep 'em coming

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:47 am:


How were the songs constructed within the "Corporation." Did someone bring and idea in and then you all worked on it at the same time, or did you pass ideas around until you had a finished product?

One of my favorite Martha Reeves and the Vandellas cuts is I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playing" there is all sorts of lore on that song. Martha is doing a smoking vocal so it is a surprise to hear that someone else may have finished the song. Any stories with that song.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 02:52 pm:

I have to say that my most favourite song on Deke is "The Beginning And The End Of Love" which was first issued on the Supremes Box set. Its in my top 5 of all time - that track smokes so much it almost burns my cd player - the atmosphere of it just gets me so much, I feel shivers up my spine the minute it starts. Oooooo and what a lyric...haven't I just been in that situation "we act like strangers all the time, we're like two words that just won't rhyme.....the things we do and say....done them all before.." Talk about real life!! That song was a collaboration with R Dean Taylor and Debbie Dean....would Debbie have put together a lead vocal for Diana to learn?

I'll Try Something New was another one that smoked, the Supes and the Temps version - seems that was a joint venture with Frank Wilson.

Deke, did you operate at both Hitsville USA and elsewhere? That is a bit of an open's meant to mean GW studios and/or across the country.

Can you remember your producer code......if you can't I shall tell ya!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Steve Litos ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 03:22 pm:

Hey Deke,
Welcome aboard to the forum. How did you get started with songwriting & production at Motown? From the ebay post, it looks like you played a bit of guitar as well. Did you just play on your own sessions?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 03:47 pm:

Hi Mr. Richards, welcome to the forum and I can't wait to hear your great stories and tidbits of information!

Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Monday, January 06, 2003 - 11:59 pm:

John Lester,
I mean no disrespect, but I believe the title of
your favorite Deke song is "The Beginning of the End of Love"- an entirely different concept.
Mr. Richards,
Did any of the writers or producers of "Love Child" want to wait until Mary Wilson returned from her "vacation" to record the Supremes' background vocals? Was any consideration given to inviting Cindy Birdsong to the recording sessions
even though Mary was away?
A Syreeta demo vocal(?) of "Love Child" with slightly different lyrics has circulated for some time. What can you tell us about that?

Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 12:09 am:

Mr. Richards,
Black Oak Arkansas?????

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 12:54 am: are quite right.........the title I quoted is the one I had noted on my cassette tape of a really ropey quality copy of the song that I fell in love with for years. Old habits simply don't die for this poor old man.

If you want to see more of my boo boo's, ask me to sing lyrics to some Motown songs!!! Only kidding!

Thanks for posing more questions for Deke....

This is gonna be yet another great thread for Soulful Detroit

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 02:46 am:

I know it's late, but its been one of those days and this is the first chance I've had to write. I 'm sure most of you are already under the covers and even down for the count, but here's the bedtime story I promised you: "The I Can't Dance Caper".

Well, you must remember in those days we cut on 8-Track. There wasn't a lot of room for error, much less giving anyone extra tracks, including the lead vocalist. The 3 guitars were mixed to one track while you were recording live, Jamerson had his own bass track, the drums were cut on one, (sometimes) on 2 tracks The piano on one, percussion on another. So, you see there is 6 gone right there. You had enough for the group and the lead. If you planned to sweeten the tracks, you had to either do a different mix when you recorded the original tracks or make an 8 Track to 8 Track transfer and put the perc and drums together etc., etc., to open up another track. Well, let's cut to the chase . . .

The song, "I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playin'" was complete with Martha singing all the way through, as well as the 'saxy vocal break'. Enter . . . Quality Control. (Now, if you don't know about BJ and QC, we'll have to go into that one another time.) I can tell you that BJ liked it from the first time she heard it. There was competition from Richard Morris, who was out to follow up "Honey Chile" with "Sweet Darlin'". I hadn't really earned my 'stripes' yet to be in a QC meeting. I remember, BJ said just before going in, "Take it easy Deke, you've got a good record and a good shot at it. We'll see." However, you could hear BJ and BG playing the acetates (behind closed doors) in the hall, stopping and starting, comparing the 2 back and forth . Then, there was silence while they were voted on. When the door finally opened, BJ said, "OK Deke, you got it!"

Well, I just about had kittens. However, BJ wanted me to make a few changes. First she wanted the song to start right out with the chorus and then wanted me to change the melody on the chorus. 'Deke, make these changes, and you'll have a hit!" Chorus at the top? Maybe, but change the melody? I didn't really agree, but I wanted the release. Hey, BJ was the pro, a senior at Motown while I, was still a freshman. I had to go with her. After all, after BG, she was the boss when it came to making those kind of decisions. Don't get me wrong, BJ did have a certain amount of magic, and she was right on a lot of her calls. So, I had to go in the studio with my trusty 'safety razor' and edit the tape. After I did it, a few of Martha's lines got clipped where I edited the tape. Not only that. The phrasing just didn't sound natural. So I asked for studio time, to make the opening kick with a fresh OD of Martha doing the opening chorus. It was tight because Martha was leaving for a gig. I think it was in Philly. (I'm almost sure it started with a "P" anyway.) At any rate, I also changed the melody like BJ suggested. Done!

It goes back up to BJ & QC and Oh-Oh! Uh, the response to the change was a tad cool. Meeting time, closed doors, etc. I'm waiting in the hall, pacing back and forth, like a man who's wife is getting ready to have a baby. Doors open, "Come in, Deke". Well, it seems like I had it right the first time. "Deke", pregnant pause, "change it back the way you had it." (BJ had to admit she was wrong, which I know was not easy for her to do, especially to me, a kid who was still a bit green.) Great! No, it wasn't. What a drag, I thought. BJ wanted those first changes done so fast, there was no time to make an 8 track to 8 track transfer. I had to erase Martha's original lead vocal to redub her with the new melody BJ wanted. I didn't have an open track left. Anyway, back into the studio I go and re-edit the tape and put the pieces back where they were before I so rudely violated it. Now, I go to A&R to schedule another dub in with Martha. Wait a minute! Martha's gone to "P", wherever that was. Now, I have to go back up to A&R and tell them the problem. From there, I end up tangling with the Legal Affairs Dept. to get permission to go to "P" so I can redo her vocal back the way it was to begin with.

Now here' is the sad part of the story that no one, including Martha, knows. Legal Affairs, nixes the trip. What? Why Legal Affairs? Cost too Much? There wasn't a studio near where Martha was performing? She was going on to another gig and I wouldn't be able to catch up with her? Why couldn't I go and have Martha redub the missing pieces? This, I will never understand. On top of that, I keep being told, "there is no time". DJs and/or sales are putting on the pressure. They have to have the follow up for "Honey Chile". The record HAS to come out yesterday! NOW, what am I supposed to do? (to be continued . . . tomorrow night)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:05 am:

Hey, Deke -

Thanks for the story.... and the cliff-hanger. Talk about waiting with bated breath! We'll be eagerly awaiting the conclusion, with or without hot chocolate :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 04:06 am:

Oh....the day that David and Lowell got this site together..was the day my dreams started to come true.

I am not sure I can hold out until tomorrow!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 04:18 am:

A little background here

Sweet Darlin' was never issued as a 45 in the UK but "I can't Dance.." was. "Dance" was even put out on a compilation album in STEREO. Over he years, my American penfriends made me buy them that album (or later Greatest Hits Volume 2) just for that stereo version where you can hear that sax break right out front.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Carl Dixon London ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 04:49 am:

Riveted Dike � tell us more!

Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 06:50 am:

John Lester,
"Sax break right out front" ... with Martha's glorious high note folded in ????? The stereo version that was recenly released on the two-on-ones is missing that high note.
Harry Weinger,
Will we ever obtain that stereo version? Perhaps the time is right for "Martha Reeves & the Vandellas: Lost & Found" or "20th Century Masters: The Millenium Collection- Volume 2"

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 07:01 am:

Hey hold on PJ....the Velvelettes haven't even had a Millennium volume 1 yet!!


Top of pageBottom of page   By Rich ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 08:22 am:

Doggone Deke, you can spin a tale for sure.

Oh BTW, its an honor to have you on here and I'd like to ditto the raves of your work with the J5

I am curious (if you know or recall) who's idea it had been to put "I'll Bet You" on the ABC album. The song was huge in Detroit, but I'm thinking it wasn't all that big in LA.

Peace, Rich

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 02:09 pm:

I just had a minute, so I wanted to snap back with a few replies to a couple of the other questions you have asked. However before I do, John asked me tell you about "I'm Still Waiting".

I am so proud of "I'm Still Waiting" and the fans in the UK made it so popular; and to some, almost . . . a mini anthem. My one desire was to have my very own hit on Diana, with all due respect to 'Love Child". That was a collaboration. No one else liked "I'm Still Waiting". I remember Berry said, 'The character and sound you gave Diana, was not Diana at all". So, I was thrilled when it was pulled from the album and released in the UK. (Thanks to Tony Blackburn). It went up so fast. I remember in 2-3 weeks it was #4 and became the 3rd biggest seller at the time. (Of course this was before the Bee Gees came along with that great soundtrack.) Then up to #1. However, I was crushed when it became one of her biggest flops in the USA.

The USA! That's all I thought about. The UK was nice, but it wasn't home. I wanted to have a hit at Home. It took me almost 2 years to get over it. And then, it suddenly dawned on me, like a tree falling on my head: "What is so special about Home and the USA, when the entire UK and even the rest of the world loves your song?", I said to myself. " Don't you feel you finally did enough and that you have made the hit you wanted to make, by yourself, for Diana?"

Well, the answer is finally, Yes. Thank You so very much all of you in the UK, my home away from home.

Best Regards to you all,


Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 02:26 pm:

This one's for

I glad you like "Why Did You Leave Me Darling", so do I. Berry even called it 'fresh sounding' when it was played in the QC meeting. There was even talk of it coming out as a 45.

Just so you know, "Why Did You Leave Me Darling", was the working title when I cut the original track.Then, I put through the title change after I finished writing the song and they never followed through before the album came out. The title is supposed to be "It's A Tragic Deed (That You Do To Me").

. . . and they still haven't changed it. Oh well, that's history for you.


Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 02:50 pm:

Thanks for the respond, Deke. Who did the arrangement on "Why Did You Leave Me, Darling"? Was Pistol or Uriel on thr track?

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:11 pm:

Deke - as I mentioned earlier, Its A Tragic Deed (to give it its proper title!!) was issued as a 45 in the UK replacing the US released "Please Return Your Love To Me". Apparently, when issued on TMG 671, it was a special 45 mix

So now explain this one to the Forum - the 45 shows the writers as Dean and Lussier and the producer as Norman Whitfield.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:11 pm:

I did the rhythm track and Gene Page did the brass. This is one of the few early tracks I did in LA. The Tempts came in to play the Whiskey-A-Go-Go. The whole thing was cut live. I even had the guys behind the glass in the big room at either Columbia or RCA, singing live with the band, just like the ol' days. Although I had to redub some of it. Oh yea, for you 'who played?' people, It was Carol Kaye on Bass. Gotta run . . .


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:15 pm:


And you all know why!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 03:51 pm:

To: John

Re: Why Did You Leave . . . (Tragic Deed)

As far as the credits goes, Lussier is my real name. I used Richards on stage for years, but was going to use my given name. My Dad was a screenwriter, and I thought, I should carry on with the family name. He would have been proud. However, Berry couldn't pronounce it. So, I said to myself, "Sorry, Dad" and went back to Richards. Come on, us players HAVE to have a stage name. Who would Bernie Schwartz be, if he hadn't changed his name to Tony Curtis. Uh, "The Vikings" Starring Bernie Schwartz. I d-o-n't t-h-i-n-k s-o!

Anyway, when the early albums came out, the one with the most cuts or the hit, got the credit for the album. That's why Norman's name is on the LP "I Wish It Would Rain". However, when they went to release singles, they never bothered to look at the label copy or producers sheets, to give the right credit. Might as well follow through. Hello? Don't get me wrong, I always thought Fran Heard was a great gal. Maybe she was just out of the office on those days when this kind of stuff happened . In fact my early 45rpm copies of "I'm Still Waiting" (as well as the charts in the UK) said, produced by Hal Davis and Deke Richards. Why? BECAUSE . . .that's what is says on the 'Everything Is Everything" LP. The first 4 cuts are Hal's and the rest are mine. In fact I was pleased with the 2 Beatles cuts I did. I never knew whether anyone in the UK liked what did to those classics. Take it easy Beatle fans, I scar easily.

Back to the coal mines,



Top of pageBottom of page   By Chris Freston ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 04:15 pm:

I remember an interview with Martha in which she said she didn't like I Can't Dance... at all. Her reasons were 1) She had just finished a relationship with a two timing musician and it was a painful reminder and 2)She could not reach some notes which is why Syreeta fills a lot. For me it's amongst her best and Mr.Jamerson is cooking.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 05:31 pm:


This is why I love this forum so much. Your story of I Can't Dance to That Music Your Playing is unbelievable. It is incredible that you somehow got the record done and that it is so brilliant. I still believe that is one of the most underrated records to come out of Motown besides the Supremes "Touch" produced by the talented Frank Wilson, Stevie Wonder produced Bad Weather and the Norman Whitfield produced Martha Reeves cut I Gotta Let You Go. It is also one of the funkiest. I still play it and cannot get over how good it is.

Top of pageBottom of page   By john lester ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 05:35 pm:


Around that time there were two versions of Come Together about. Diana Ross's version and the version by The Supremes. I preferred Diana's cos the music was more in your face. The bit at the end where it suddenly extends and you can hear Diana getting real excited and that tambourine gets louder and just knocks you in the eyes....wooo.

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 06:03 pm:

Deke, I've asked this question a few times before, but no one's ever answered. But now that you are here, I can ask you. Were the early L.A. Jackson 5 cuts recorded at The Sound Factory or somewhere else? And when did Hitsville L.A. open?
I have a lot of questions like that, but this is where I'll start.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 06:50 pm:


I cut the first 2 hits "I Want You Back" and "ABC" (plus some of the others that went into the 1st two albums) at . . . The Sound Factory. The rest of the early tracks (mine anyway) were done at our first small LA studio, which we bought from Hassinger. It was originally Sound Factory West.


Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 07:17 pm:

So, The Sound Factory and Sound Factory West weren't the same studio? I didn't know Dave Hassinger owned that studio. He used to be at RCA.
How did you start working with Debbie Dean?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 09:50 pm:

OK Soulkiddies, it's time for the 'Rest Of The Story'

"The I Can't Dance Caper"-Part II

BJ suggests I have the Adantes sing the chorus on the opening. "Maybe you can get one of the girls to sound like Martha (or like the old Vandellas) in the background." Anyway, I try, but no way. I need Martha, that's it, period. It just won't work without Martha. Well, I don't know what to do. Sure, I want the release, but it's not right. To make matters worse, they won't let me go to Martha; and even if I got the OK, sales was putting on the pressure to get the record yesterday. If I wasn't a young buck, I probably would have had a heart attack.

Enter . . . Rita Wright. Rita was working in the arrangers room running sheet music to the sessions and assisting the arrangers etc., waiting for her own break. (Remember, many stars in the Motown family, worked as secretaries and such waiting for their chance.) She had already done a few demos for Diana. One of the arrangers asks me, "Have you heard Rita sing?". Well, to be honest, I hadn't. "She's really good"! I listened to one of her demos, and she had this little edge that gets thinner and fatter when she gets up there. Could this possibly work? Maybe if I bury her just enough with the other girls . . . Maybe if I double the girls and add just one Rita? No, then it will sound too big, to overproduced, to 'Mamas & Papas-ish". So, I go over and talk to Rita and tell her the situation. "So, do you want to give it a crack?", I asked. "Keep in mind there is no glory in this Rita, you are just playing a part." It was like . . Rita was going to be the one fake brush stroke on the original painting of the Mona Lisa."

I go into the studio and we begin. I even have her sing along with one chorus I still had with Martha's voice that was clipped when I did the edit. You know, Rita really tried. I even made her change the timber of her voice in the middle of words and almost crack. But I have to tell you, only Martha can really do that. I changed EQ..while recording live. I had 3 different setups I would switch to. Believe me, no one or two could have tried harder. When I originally mixed the rough 7 1/2 ips, it did sound decent. But, I had to pull her back into the group just right. However, I think anyone would have still said, "Why did you lower Martha's voice in the chorus?" Now, here's the next cute move. I didn't mix the final record! They didn't even call me in to be at the mixing session. QC and especially BJ, knew this was a problem side. (Note: There were only a few producers that got to mix their own product at that time: Norman Whitfield, HDH, Smokey and that's about it. Your final mixes were done without you being there.) So, you can see what a disaster this one was going to be. Whoever mixed it, needed to know what was going on. I remember when I heard it mixed the first time. "You better pull Rita back into the mix." I said. Who do you think you are going to fool? The fool, that's who . . . and that's all, I thought

Through all of this, my gut is doing somersaults. Here we are, emulating the great Martha, when the real Martha is still with us. Now, I don't want to make this a political forum, however . . .After all is said and done, and all the stories have been told, you have to ask yourself the following:

DO YOU REALLY THINK . . . I would want my first solo record by a major artist on Motown to be a fabrication? DO YOU REALLY THINK I wanted my first solo record to stop dead in it's tracks at the lower half of Billboards Hot 100, and have a bullet on the way down? Anyone who could have really prevented this from happening, took themselves off the hook. Someone had to take the fall. I remember seeing Martha one last time in Detroit. I went up to see BG, and she had just returned from being on the road. She was sitting there also waiting to see Berry, with tears in her eyes. She didn't even want to talk to me. I don't think she was ever told what was going down. She just heard it on the radio. Swell. What in the world did they tell her? I don't think any of us will ever know.

Since then I've heard stories, including a few mentioned in this forum. Well, Martha never mentioned anything to me about changing the lyrics because a relationship gone bad with a musician. If that was really the case, then she kept it inside, until she blurted it out later down the line to someone. Either that ,or some writer stared that junk. Oh yes, and the one about Rita having to hit the notes for Martha? Nonsense. Martha hit the notes I gave her just fine.

I met with Martha one more time after Motown in 1981. She was taking care of her mom and she came over and we spent the day together. We were both at low points in our lives. However, Martha had been "To Hell and Back". She had signed a couple of artist deals, neither of which were totally satisfying. I could tell she had definitely seen the demons. However, as much as I wanted to do something, I was really not in shape to help her, much less myself. Dearest Martha, I was crazy about you, I idolized you. Do you think I did this to you for my personal gain? Do you really think I had the authority to do this to you? Better yet, where did I, the new kid on the block, ever get the authority to do this to you? Ain't no way, baby. Never in a million years.

And then there's Rita. She was just a pawn in this deal. However, I'm sure she's had her share of embarrassing questions to answer over the years.

Now that it's history, I think we all are to blame. I could have stood up and told QC, "I'm not going to do what you want, without Martha!" Rita could have told me, "I don't want to be the one to play "Martha Reeves" on a Martha Reeves record"; and Motown could have said, "Get a hold of Martha and have her come back here so we can finish this record".

...and so we all came to the finish line together, dead last.

Goodnight to you all,


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph ( on Tuesday, January 07, 2003 - 10:24 pm:

Thanks for the sad tale. As I've mentioned many times to our friends here on the forum, the business isn't always pretty. Some fairly poor decisions were made on that whole deal, all for the lousey price of an airline ticket and an hour of studio time somewhere. Things could have turned out quite differently. Sorry pal.

Top of pageBottom of page   By larry ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:24 am:


What a story. Art imitates life and your post is PURE LIFE that art can't get near. A story likes this is really priceless. To let us in on it is a gift to SD. Thank you.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 01:43 am:


I am just overwhelmed to hear that and now I just wanna sit and absorb that story. Of course, Syreeta would go on to add prominent vocals to Martha's "Taking My Love and Leaving Me" a little later on.

Whoever is singing on that song, it is still one hell of a great track. And many a time, I have said to myself.....I sure CAN dance to "I Can't Dance To That Music You're Playing". He he he. So Deke, who did play that prominent sax?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 02:20 am:


Well, you got me there. If there is one reed man I should remember, it should be this player, but I don't You'll have to check the session notes. I remember I drove him a little wild. When I cut Martha's vocal, I actually faded her master while I was recording. She didn't know what I was going to do, as I wanted to surprise her. She just couldn't figure why I kept fading out the note going into the break, especially since I made her hit it hard and long. I'm pretty sure I put her last note on the BG vocal track, since it was open there. (That is probably why on another mix you didn't here that note at all). Then , I might have put the sax on the BG vocal track. It was tight and I was out of tracks. I just looked for cracks all over because Ididn't want to mix my percussion tracks together.

I knew exactly what I wanted and how it was going to, or should I say 'supposed to' sound. So, I knew I couldn't take a chance when it would be mixed later with the sax note. Whoever mixed it would have just left the faders up and it would have sounded 'cheesy'. I faded up the sax during the live overdub as well, so it would be forever seamless, and no one could mess with it down the road. He had to have just the right timber and quality to match Martha's voice, and I had to fade him in just the right place before Martha's timber changed. It's one of my favorite 'goodies' and I'm just so glad that you and other fans appreciate it.

Now, I'm fading. I'm cashing in my chips for the nite.

My Best Regards to you and yours,


Top of pageBottom of page   By Carl Dixon London ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 03:49 am:

Deke - I am still riveted and now, breathless. These stories are just wonderful. This takes our listening pleasure to a different level. I will certainly have to read this thread again, and again...Thank you

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:27 am:


Tell me about the session notes where you would find that information please

(Harry..I can feel a sudden urge to ask you something!!!)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 08:07 am:

Mr. Richards, you are a great storyteller, thanks for sharing the "I Can't Dance..." caper. It's quite unfortunate that the song didn't do better, it's a great song.

Top of pageBottom of page   By TonyRussi ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 08:16 am:

Thanks Deke for setting the story straight. You and Martha were duped because the record sure could have been the hit that Martha needed at that time....mayby thats why "they" mixed it that way and who knows what "they" told Martha.Over the years, I just remember Martha telling me that she never got to finish the song and that there were words she wanted changed.She was rightfully upset BUT she never said anything bad about you.The pix of you, Debbie Dean & Martha is great!Looks like you were having a good time!

Top of pageBottom of page   By TL ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 09:58 am:

Sounds like Martha didn't like certain aspects of the song and told this to the powers that be, which is why BJ didn't honor Deke's request to finish the song with Martha and brought in Syreeta to salvage the session.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 10:45 am:

Thanks for sharing the story regarding the Martha Reeves debacle.
What happened to you was the very reason why folks such as Smokey Robinson & Mickey Stevenson resented the control Billie Jean Brown had (yes I mentioned her name and so what!)in the QC department (check out the anecdote regarding Brenda Holloway's "You Changed Me" in BG's autobiography for the argument Smokey & Mickey had with BG over Billie Jean).
Regarding the Jackson 5, who were the West Coast musicians on their early Motown recordings ("I Want You Back" ,"ABC", "The Love You Save")and was the piano intro to "I Want You Back" based on how Leon Huff would "strum" the keys on his productions with Kenny Gamble?

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 11:34 am:

Just stopped by to say mornin'.

"I Can't Dance' till I've hooked up my I.V. and had 2 pints of java. I'm keeping track of all your questions. However, you continue to ask about the musicians I used on the early J5 stuff. Are you sure you want me to take you to that other planet, L.A.? Well, it's all part of the big picture. Sometimes, History doesn't have a home.


Top of pageBottom of page   By The Old Miner ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:23 pm:

Deke - any memories of the track with Edwin Starr

"BackYard Lovin' Man"

One hell of a production IMHO

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:26 pm:

To: KevGo (
Just for the record Kev, I don't have a problem mentioning names. I just figured everyone would already know who some of these people are i.e. BG, BJ etc. Otherwise there would be initials all over the place.

By the way, I'm going to hit on some of your fun questions tonight.



Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 12:40 pm:


Have you ever thought of writing books. Your story of I Can't Dance is compelling and makes the reader get a picture and feel for the participants. Possibly, there is great irony in that song title. You were being asked to dance to music that was difficult at times. In spite of the problems, it is a fabulous record and should have been a monster hit for Martha Reeves.

I am struck by how many "behind the scenes" people at Motown seem to have great fondness for Martha Reeves. It appears that she deserved her legendary status. I have had several conversations with Mary Wilson and although she is kind to almost everyone at Motown (she does not like to be unkind or negative) she seemed to have special affection for Martha, Mary Wells, and the Four Tops.

Deke, I hope you are working on something fabulous at this time and wish you a blessed 2003.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 01:46 pm:

Thanks for the feedback. The reason why I mentioned BJ's full name was because my girlfriend was reading your story and asked me what the initials meant. Since we do have many new people coming onto our site on a daily basis, it does help if folks knew what the intials meant.

Looking forward to more anecdotes and fun tales from the world of Motown.

Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bradburger ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 03:39 pm:


Thanks very much for telling us the story behind ICDTTMTP. This finally clears things up. Was this the most reworked 8 track in Hitsville history? Now when someone mentions the edit prior to the sax solo on the stereo version we can explain!

I always liked the song. I love Jamersons Bass line and that late style drumming.

I wonder if the Sax solo was by Dan Turner?

Now as for Why Did You Leave . . . (Tragic Deed). Liked this as well but I always thought it was Tragedy and not Tragic Deed! Another one of my misheard lyrics!

I remember hearing my Dads 45 of it a few years ago and haven't heard it since. Haven't come across it on CD so I'll have to dig it out and hear it again.



Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:05 pm:



That's OK. The reason why you thought it was 'Tragedy' is because David thought that's what I said when I sang him the lines. It's funny, I gave him the lyric sheet, but he used to just stare at me when I sung it, as if to memorize it all at the same time; my inflections, the words, the melody. However, you caught him. He does in fact say 'Tragedy' once if not twice.


Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:24 pm:

"Why Did You Leave Me Darling" is also on the "I Wish It Would Rain" Lp and CD.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bradburger ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:26 pm:


Thanks for that little snippet of info. So I didn't mishear it! Intresting observation about David Ruffin.

Earlier on you said that BG said that it sounded fresh. I thought the same when I heard the 45 for the first time and that was a good 20 odd years after it was recorded!

I liked it straight away and thought it sounded different to your typical Temps record. Shame it was never a single in the US.

Back to ICDTTMYP. Pitty you never got to do the mix. Maybe if the original master still exists maybe we can persuade HW to let you do you your own!



Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:30 pm:

Deke...why David and not Paul, Eddie or even a combination?

So does that mean YOU did a demo....are you a singer? Does the demo still exist (everyone reaches for their want list waiting for you to answer!)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 04:34 pm:

Deke, enlighten us about the I Want You Back track; I hear you completed most of it yourself. Also, tell of Bobby Taylor's exit from the Corporation. It's my understanding he was an original member of the songwriting/producing team, at least he's been quoted as saying he was.

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 05:02 pm:


We are going to tire you out on this forum with our questions, but there is such excitement because you are aboard.

I would love to know about the creation of Love Child for Diana Ross and the Supremes. That song brought the Supremes back to the #1 position and was a fantastic change in sound for them. Was the fact that Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong were not used on that fabulous cut and I'm Living in Shame simply a question of expediency?

Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 05:06 pm:

Can someone with extremely acute hearing give "Why Did You Leave Me Darling' a close listen? It still sounds to me as if David sings 'tragedy' and not 'tragic deed' throughout. At times, it's even hard to differentiate the difference in the Temptations' backgrounds, although at about :45, 1:13 and 1:49 and therafter they carefully enunciate 'tragic deed'
Oh, well, they say that as we age, we experience hearing loss. I guess I'm there already

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 05:18 pm:


I agree it is really hard to distinguish the difference..and in fact I sing it as "tragedy" all the time. You need an acute America ear to really be able to tell the differece. Us Brits hear the english language with an English slant to it. Maybe even better, a guy from Detroit Michigan would be best!! HE HE

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 05:55 pm:

OK Gang....Geeze you're busy little bees. I keep making notes as you go along. Honestly, I haven't forgotten any of you. It's just that I am waiting to get enough questions on one subject so I can answer most of you at the same time. However, It will be worth the wait

Gotta go,


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 06:47 pm:


Just start at the very beginning and stop at the end!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 08, 2003 - 11:24 pm:


Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:04 am:

Hi Mr. Richards, I have a question or request. If at all possible, I would love to hear about those fabled days when the Corporation members were in the hotel room, trying to come up with a hit for the Supremes - "Love Child." How was that writing experience?

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:10 am:

Hey Deke,
I remember Mary Wilson saying that the Supremes got to put their two cents in when it came to the vocals did you ever work with Mary and Flo and Diana and did they have any say and if so in what songs? Id also like to know who you enjoyed producing the most.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:15 am:

Hi Gang,
The tale for tonight is . .
"Once Upon A Time, We Had A Sound"

When I first came back to L.A. from Detroit, I wanted to recreate the Hitsville sound. From the room, the musicians, and the style of recording. First I needed a studio. That ended up being Dave Hassinger's "The Sound Factory". It was just the right size, intimate and perfect for rhythm tracks. Dave Hassinger was an easy pro to work with. He never hassled me about being at the controls of the console, or mixing, etc.

I ate up everything I could swallow about the Hitsville studio in Detroit. Trying to duplicate that drum sound was a serious challenge. There was a certain 'open hollow sound' to the snare, that I really wanted to duplicate. I recorded drum test after test changing the tightness of the snares, the skins, with tape, without tape. Nothing sounded right to me. I knew the one thing about the Detroit studio that was really different, was the floor! It was a wood plank floor with 1/8"-1/4" gap between 6" boards. That floor was funky. It was never cleaned, mopped, painted, polished, etc. It just kept getting funkier and funkier by some of the greatest musicians that ever walked the earth. I remember getting on the floor one day and looking through the cracks. There was empty space below the floor, just how much I can't remember now. That's it. "Dave," I said, " I'm going to build a drum stand here for my sessions." Dave said "OK, fine, except, where are you going to store it when you're not recording?" Oops!, my first snag! I thought for a minute. "Nope, I got it!," I said. "I'll design it like a baseball diamond and I'll put hinges in the center. So, after my sessions, we can fold it up and put it in the small sweetening room. It was a small isolated room used for a small brass or string section of 6 0r 8 musicians.

So I went out looking for old distressed wood. No way. Not easy. I would have had to find an old barn and tear it down. Well, I just had to improvise. I drew up a plan, got some 2" x 8" or 12" wood and we built the stand. It was about 12" high, separated the planks, put in the hinges, and went for it, win, place or show. Well, it worked. (Note: It worked so good, that other clients using the studio would see the stand sitting in the corner of the room and ask Dave, "What is this?" I never forget getting calls about groups asking to use the stand. I normally said no, but finally said yes to Linda Rondstadt. She ended up with a monster album. Later on, after the 'Hitsville West' band broke up, and we weren't doing sessions on a regular schedule, almost every group cutting there used that same drum stand.)

Then, I had a special direct box made up for the Guitar players, so they didn't have to bring in any amps. One big unit with (4-6) 1/4" phone jack inputs on the front and a small monitor speaker.

Next I needed a group of musicians that I would always use for my sessions. Since I was planning on coming up with a so-called Motown or Hitsville West Sound, I wanted a signature in the form of musicians and the charts. Certain players would always play the same parts. For example, I always used Don Peake to double most of the Bass lines. David T. always did the fills. The musicians in LA had played on every kind of session, so most of this was simple stuff. However, if I could get a group that respected each other AND liked each other, I thought we could cut some hits and have a good time, at the same time.

So, with Ben Barrett, who was the Local Contractor, we put together a list of players; some of which, I had already used at one time or another. The 'first string' players I finally chose stayed with me for quite a while.

The original players were:
Guitars: Louie Shelton, Don Peake and David T. Walker
Bass: Wilton Felder
Keyboards: Clarence McDonald and Joe Sample (I used Clarence on the first few tracks, then switched to Joe )
Perc: Saundra Crouch
Drums: Gene Pello (I used Gene through the "ABC" single, then switched to Ed Greene)

This group recorded the original tracks on:
"I Want You Back" and the LP cuts
"ABC" and the LP cuts

Now the next mountain to climb, was how to keep these guys exclusively for my sessions and eventually, 'The Corporation", Hal Davis and other producers that would eventually sign to the label. These musicians were working all the time and some, like Wilton and Joe were already in other established respected groups, like the 'Jazz Crusaders". Even Louie was hot stuff producing Seals & Croft. It was not easy, but I had to find a way to keep the group and sound together.

I met with Ben again, and finally made an unheard of arrangement with the musicians. This was a deal that you will probably never hear of anyone ever doing again. I had the group 'reserved' for Motown exclusively on Monday, Wednesday and Friday. If I didn't have a session, I would pay them for one. Secondly, I gave them all 2 'doubles' each. For those not familiar with the term 'doubles', I'll explain. When a studio musician plays more than one instrument on a session, he is entitled to a 'double', which at the time I believe was the equivalent to 1/3 scale or 1/2 scale, I can't remember which. Sometimes a musician reaches a certain status that his fee is "Scale or Double Scale+1, 2, or 3 doubles. So as a bonus for the privilege of having them on stand-by, I gave them all scale or double scale + 2 doubles each, whether I used them or not. After they became famous as the group that was cutting the J5 hits, the ante went up.

And there you have it: That is how I made a team and a sound out of a studio some wood, and group of fine players. No, it wasn't Hitsville; but it was my tribute to Hitsville.

Once upon a time, we had a sound, and so we made hit records . . . together.

Nite all,


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:26 am:

It's getting to the point where I am waking up in the middle of the night to get the next instalment. (It's now 5:30 in the morning in London)

Deke - you have just got to put all this information together by writing a book. This stuff is our history...please think about it...meanwhile carry on....

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:35 am:

I was wondering what time you Brit guys were posting ...?

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:43 am:

So it seems that the printed times on SD are Detroit times then, well that makes sense. Doh!!

By the way Sue, it snowed in London yesterday, are you sending us your weather!! If so, when can we send it back to you please! He he

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:47 am:

I figured it was the middle of the night -- 5:30. Just wondering if you were up late, or up early.

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 01:29 am:

Up early.........I couldn't stand the wait for Deke's next instalment.

I know what you must be thinking, this man has it real bad but it's always been that way for me. I love this with a passion and its been like it for sone 40 years!! (and I'm only 29!!)

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 07:00 am:

Deke, was the Diana Ross & The Supremes' stuff like "Love Child" and "I'm Livin' In Shame" done in Detroit or L.A.? And did Gene Page usually do the orchestrations or did James Anthony Carmichael chip in as well. By the way, I contacted Carol Kaye and hipped her to this site. I know she'd have some stories to tell.

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 07:10 am:

Oops, I spoke to soon, Deke. Carol's e-mail address is no longer active. She must have just gotten rid of it. Oh well, I gave it a shot.

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 08:30 am:

Deke, dvdmike again. It seems Carol has a new e-mail address. I plan to contact her later this evening. Mike

Top of pageBottom of page   By Sue ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 09:11 am:

Uh, can we take a vote on whether we invite Carol Kaye to this site?

How about you guys starting a new website, call it Soulful Los Angeles and invite her there.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 09:20 am:

Perhaps it would be best to not contact Ms. Kaye Mike. She is aware of Soulful Detroit and there have been issues in the past that are best left in the past. Nuff said?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Randy Russi ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 11:24 am:

Deke: I loved Diana's "I'm Still Waiting" and
remember when it was issued on 45 from the
LP--full page ad in Billboard! Could it be
that it did not do so well in the US because
at the time she was pregnant? I remember hearing
from Mary Wells that a record company won't push
your product if you're pregnant. I loved the song
and thought it would have been a tremendous hit
for her and was glad that it DID hit in the UK.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 11:27 am:

Thanks so much for the history behind the Jackson 5's sound which became what I would call the Hitsville West Sound! :)
I had a feeling the (Jazz) Crusaders were on those sessions but wasn't so sure (I know they recorded for Hugh Masekela's Chisa imprint which Motown distributed).
I've always admired the body of work you co-produced during those years. Are you still producing and performing? I would love to hear if you are doing anything new (I consult for record labels here in NYC and launching my own imprint within the next couple of weeks).
Best Regards,
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 11:31 am:

Although I'm guilty of posting some literature regarding Ms. Kaye in the past, I agree that we should leave well enough alone.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By SisDetroit ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:31 pm:

Sue - LOL @ "Soulful Los Angeles."

Deke - I love your phrases talking and describing about "Hitsville." That word has meaning of its own. It makes you realize exactly what sound you are speaking of. The efforts put into getting the "Hitsville Sound" apparently was tremendous. And getting the musicians together who respected each other who could get along. Now I realize that could not and has never been duplicated. As you can see in the Film. The magic between the Funk Brothers is still there. But you have done a fantastic job, and I enjoy reading your posts.

Best regards, Sis

Top of pageBottom of page   By Livonia Ken ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:39 pm:

Carol Kaye has her own website and forum at:

She's pretty active on it, too. Encouraging her to come here would likely be unwise for the reasons alluded to by Ralph and others.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:39 pm:

Re Ms Kaye

I suggest that's one path better left untrodden - for everyone's sake. Let's not deliberately stir a hornets' nest.

Top of pageBottom of page   By dr.vibes ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 12:41 pm:

David T Walker
love vibrations
zea records.
A pearler.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 01:48 pm:

Hey Gang,

I just had to jump in here for a hot minute. What in the world is all this jazz about Carol Kaye? I mean, I just mentioned she played bass on one of my early sides (before I had put together a group), and then the walls started to shake. In fact, I even went to her site and saw my name wasn't even mentioned as one of the producers she worked with. THAT"S how close we were.

I don't even know what the fuss is. However, if it's some dirt that needs to be thrown back an forth, open up another thread and go for it. What do you say we don't take up a lot of space here with that nonsense, OK?


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 01:59 pm:

Hi Deke

I'm sure you're aware of the controversy surrounding Ms Kaye's claim to have played on certain Motown titles when documentary and historical evidence dictates otherwise. While many of us admire her genuine achievements as a West Coast musician, we find it hard to understand her claims to have played on other projects, in which she was demonstrably not involved. Why invent a history when her true career is remarkable already? That's what the "fuss" is! :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 02:15 pm:

See? Just shows to go you, I didn't know. Unfortunately, I myself have been 'Standing In The Shadows' for years. So, I'm not up to speed on this. However, ignorance is a terrible disease , and I see I have a bad case of it. So, if you would like to write me an email (click on my very first post) and give me the unbiased details, you will be doing a good deed. Fair enough?

Now, what do you say we all get together and go see the Funk Brothers movie again...


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 02:23 pm:


I'll mail you shortly with the salient points. Suffice it to say, I fear that asking Ms Kaye to visit SD would, to quote my old Grandma, "all end in tears".

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 02:58 pm:


I love your recording stories. I hope you don't tire of the questions and do God's work and enlighten us all. LOL!! You are the best my friend.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 03:15 pm:


I've mailed you the story... (just the facts, Ma'am!)

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 04:55 pm:

Hey, I wasn't aware of all the hoopla about Carol. But I have to be honest in saying that I did inform her of the sight. I sure didn't mean to cause any problems. Particularly problems I had no prior knowledge of. If I had known, I wouldn't have said anything about it to her, so please don't get mad at me.

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 05:07 pm:

Don't sweat it.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 05:22 pm:

Check out the email I just sent you.
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Thursday, January 09, 2003 - 06:21 pm:

To the people of the Soulful Detroit forum:

KevGo sent me a personal e-mail explaining the hoopla concerning Ms. Kaye. I was not on this site at that time, so I had no knowledge of it. If I had, I would never have mentioned her name here. The last thing I want is to cause any problems here, particularly since I am a newcomer. I apologize if I ruffled anyone's feathers, I sincerely apologize. I just hope no one will jump down my throat, let's just forget about it and move on and I promise I will never again make any mention of what's-her-name. Can we be friends again? Mike

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ralph Terrana (ralph) ( on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 12:40 am:

Don't worry about it. You weren't aware of the past situation. You may be a new comer here but you have quickly become valuble to the validity of this forum. We're fortunate you joined us.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 03:38 am:

Seems like things have mellowed out a bit. That's good.

I'm going to be totally swamped with personal stuff through the weekend. However, I will return on Monday.

Monday Night's episode will be:

"The Making Of One Legend, And The Return Of Another"

The story of The Clan, The Supremes and Their Love Child

This various bits and pieces of this story, as well as the creation of the record itself, is like a quilt. The finished product we gave you became a distinctly unique piece of material. In return, you have all shown us all how much you appreciated our work. We sincerely thank you.

It all started with a 'sewing circle' of professional friends that sat and worked together, side by side. However, before the 'quilt' was completed, some of us became strangers. We separated, but we continued to work on different 'patches' at the same time. Sometimes, we even found ourselves all working on the same 'patch,' at different times. Some became envious while others found pride. Some became disillusioned while others became inspired; and yet, I don't think anyone ever stopped believing we would all conquer the challenge before us.

To get the complete true story, you would need to tear this fabric apart. To accomplish this task, you would have to get the entire 'circle' together again. In the meantime, at least I can offer you my pieces or 'patches' that became a part of this wonderful quilt.

This is a story filled with joy and sadness; trimmed with fine lace of elated pride. For all of us who rose to the occasion . . . It was "The Making Of One Legend, And The Return Of Another"

Until then, Good Night Soulkiddies,


Top of pageBottom of page   By dvdmike ( on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 06:58 am:

Thank you Ralph, I appreciate you saying that. And Deke, I'm really looking forward to the next episode. Mike

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 12:01 pm:


Cannot wait for the next episode. This is more exciting than tuning into the next installment of a marvel comics superhero. LOL!! Cannot wait to hear about the "Clan" and the creation of such songs as Love Child, I'm Living in Shame, Indiana Wants Me.

I have died and gone to heaven on this site. I have been able to read posts from the greats of Motown!! The exchange of creative information has been wonderful.

All the best Deke!

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulboy ( on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 12:32 pm:

Love child is one of my favs,can't wait to hear the story.

Top of pageBottom of page   By 1wicked ( on Friday, January 10, 2003 - 02:49 pm:

Deke...was Robert "Bob" Norris a regular percussionist or did he just come in and add "sweetening" ? (He played on some J-5 tracks...)

WRT David T. Walker....he's one of my favorite guitarists. I loved his ODE albums. He's living in the Long Beach, Ca. area virtually unknown.....and somewhat of a star in Japan. That sucks....

Top of pageBottom of page   By P.J. ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 02:35 pm:

Hey (Uncle) Deke,
It's Monday!!!! We, soulkiddies, have been extremely good and patient all weekend. I think that we deserve an extra long bed-time story tonight. Remember, you promised!!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 02:58 pm:

LOL!!! And I want Carvel too! LOL

Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 03:36 pm:

Are we a crazy bunch of coconuts or what? :)
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By stephanie ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 06:24 pm:

patiently waiting for the Love Child story..

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 07:09 pm:

me too..I came back specially early from Manchester so I wouln't miss out on Monday's story

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 10:12 pm:

Sorry I'm late gang . . . my server was down

Tonight's episode is:
"The Making Of One Legend, And The Return Of Another"

The story of The Clan, The Supremes and Their Love Child

I can't do this in one sitting. So I'll go a step at a time. I'm going to pass over some areas here quickly, because this story touches other facets of either my career or other subjects I will cover in other episodes.

To understand how, who and why the "The Clan" was formed, we need to go back to 1967. You knew that Motown had a west coast office, right? Well, it was in LA. in the Sunset and Vine Tower. Hal Davis held down the fort and was considered by some as "Mr. Motown". Frank Wilson who also lived in LA, worked out of that office as well.

I came to on board in late 1966, after actually signing the contracts in Detroit. There wasn't much recording going on, but what there was, Hal did most of it. He had already done some sessions for Brenda Holloway. When Motown had acts that were coming to LA, from Detroit, that's when we (Frank, Hal and myself) got a shot to record them. However, Quality Control, and Billie Jean Brown thought very little of us on the West Coast. First, QC didn't like the sound of our productions at all. Well, in hindsight, I don't blame them. It wasn't Hitsville, that's for sure. However, there were some good tunes. After almost a year, Frank and I had become disenchanted with the company. It would be different if we lived in Detroit, but living on the West Coast, seemed to be our curse.

So, Frank and I wrote a letter to Berry, saying we needed to have some 'action'. Both of us thought there was no sense staying on just for an advance and never getting any records released. We made it known, we were both ready to go looking for another company who would utilize use our talents. Berry got the letter and shortly thereafter sent us a letter saying he wanted both of us to come to Detroit.

After we arrived, we met with Berry, and he told us we would both get a cut on the next Diana Ross & The Supremes album. Of course, without question, whatever we did had be good. That album turned out to be 'Reflections'. Frank recorded the Brenda & Patrice Holloway tune, "Bah-Bah-Bah" and I produced, "I'm Gonna Make It (I Will Wait For You)", written by myself and Debbie Dean. Both cuts as promised went into the album. Finally, we had made a mark.

Now we need to jump down to late '67 to mid '68. "Reflections" single was a hit, but it went downhill from there. "In and Out of Love" got close, but no cigar. "Forever Came Today" (cut in LA) was only a mild success. Motown was going through legal matters with HDH over royalties, and somebody hollered, "STRIKE"! So, HDH stopped working on Diana and The Supremes. However, Diana needed a hit so they chose "Some Things You Never Get Used To". That even made it worse. Believe me, I know sales really tried to make the last 3 sides hits, but you can't get 'Blood From A Stone".

Berry was frustrated, but not down for the count. Diana HAD to have a hit. The way Berry explained it to me once, and I have never forgotten this. Here is a close quote. "Diana is the 'Queen Bee', Berry said. "When she has a hit, the rest of the acts, or company, does well. She is considered ,'The Leader Of The Pack'. So we have GOT to get a hit on Diana, period". Sales were down for all the artists. The company was suffering.

The next thing that happened, was really Berry's idea. It was the ultimate gamble. He did something that was very strange, fairly unorthodox and pure genius all at the same time. Little did anyone know, he was shopping for heroes, and looking for soldiers. It was time to wage war. Well, to go into battle, you need an army. I was lucky enough to be on that shopping list. Perhaps I should say, "I got drafted' into a small army that would eventually; save Diana and the Supremes, save Motown, and send a message to HDH all at the same time. (Note: After all was said and done, I always believed what probably pleased Berry the most ,was that it send a message to HDH and any other producer or artist; that 'No Man Is An Island").The next months would change history forever. It became the stuff legends are made of. It was . . . the beginning of "The Clan".

. . . to be continued

Top of pageBottom of page   By Vickie ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 10:27 pm:

WOW !!!!!


Top of pageBottom of page   By Promises Kept ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 10:31 pm:

Mr. you recall which tracks from both "Reflections" & "Love Child" that Florence Ballard sang on? This is an on-going debate you could help shed some light on.....thank you so much!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Nish ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 11:15 pm:

I'm dizzy with anticipation for the next installment! Thanks Mr. Richards! This is great!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Steve Litos ( on Monday, January 13, 2003 - 11:17 pm:

It's just like a Saturday afternoon serial at the wait - it's soulful campfire stories. I can't wait until the next one!

Thanks Deke!

Top of pageBottom of page   By ju ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 12:55 am:

now that's a cliffhanger [ my shift key is dead again]

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 12:58 am:


In due course......can you expand on what you mean by "Forever came Today" was cut in LA.....Lamont is on record as saying he spent a great deal of time on that that would be in Detroit....or would it? If HDH are on strike, did you help finish it....and whilst I am on this subject, did you havea hand in the completion of the Tops "I'm In a Different World"

Back to your thread, I'm Gonna Make It....that song was considered by my Motown buddies as 45 material....what I found was that, for some reason, it was a favourite amongst the Smokey Robinson fans.

Frank Wilson tells that the first song he worked on at Hitsville USA was "Whole Lot Of Shaking in My Heart" in 1966. What was yours, Deke?

Top of pageBottom of page   By David Meikle ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 05:41 am:

I am only catching this thread today as I have been out of town for the past week.

Welcome to SD Deke and thankyou for giving us one of our best threads.

The pic you attempted to post can be sent to myself I will upload it thereafter.

Thanks also to "the old miner" for reminding me about "Backyard Lovin' man"...great, great music.


Top of pageBottom of page   By John R. ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 08:42 am:

Wow, Deke, you sure know how to tell a story. You've got me anxiously anticipating your next chapter! It really is so great to have you here!

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 10:21 am:

You speak for many of us John R

Top of pageBottom of page   By Bob Olhsson ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 10:59 am:

Deke, I always felt HDH did Motown a huge favor by making all of us reinvent it!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 04:15 pm:

As a writer/producer from Philly with a lot of stories to tell( quite a lot has been said on past archival threads)I truly appreciate you great anecdotal perspective on the music that has truly touched my soul.
Can't wait for the rest of the story!!

Bobby Eli

Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 04:31 pm:


I am in agreement with the others WOW!!! You are providing a perspective of Motown that I have not quite seen before. I had to laugh at the "Queen Bee" comment by Berry Gordy since in the past I have occasionally used that term to describe La Ross and thought it was original. I once made Mary Wilson laugh when after the Motown 25th Anniversary Show I said to her "I see you got stung by Queen Bee."

I absolutely cannot wait for your next installment. You are giving us all a real treat.


Top of pageBottom of page   By John R. M.E. ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 04:42 pm:

Now, John Lester, while we wait for Deke's next chapter, how about getting Ms. Carolyn "Cal" Willis to visit us on this forum too! I just love me some Velvelettes (...and when she does arrive you know "my heart'll start thumpin' & my blood pressure jumping")!! :o)

A big thank you for letting us know about this forum over at the Motown BB. It's great!

Top of pageBottom of page   By soulboy ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 05:42 pm:

Really interesting stuff Deke!! i can't help thinking that you should be writing a book on this stuff.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 06:00 pm:

Hey there Soulkiddies!

I keep trying to break away to come back to you but the business of life, keeps bogging me down. Believe me, I'd stay up here if I could. That is, if you'd let me stay the night.

I really haven't forgotten any of you. Especially the ones that are waiting for the Jackson 5 and the Corporation. Hang in there . . .

Oh, by the way soulboy, you're getting bits and pieces that were originally going in the b--k. (Is that a dirty word? Oh well, just in case). I just put it on hold, because there were so many b--ks out there already. I just figured, who'd want to hear from 'The Kid'?

Gotta run again . . there goes the phone


Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Tuesday, January 14, 2003 - 06:03 pm:

And just like a great serial, the ever-present element of tease! Hurry back, Deke - you got an audience here, eager for the next instalment :o)

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 12:18 am:

"The Making Of One Legend, And The Return Of Another"

The story of The Clan, The Supremes and Their Love Child

(Note: You will find at times, I will make reference to people I worked with saying, "was' or "knew". This is not meant to infer the person has passed on. It only means, it has been some time since we were last together. Hence the words 'knew' or 'was', etc.)

Part II
Heads Up! Female In The Foxhole!

Now, whether there was a meeting in the 'War Room' first, or we all met in the 'Foxhole' itself, THAT is a tad foggy. So, let's just go to the Foxhole. This is where we would get to meet our comrades, the ones who we would be fighting with, side by side.

Time: 21:00 hrs.
Place: Hotel Ponchetrain, Detroit

We all arrived at separate times, except Frank and I came together. "Nice place", I thought, "Now this is where we should be staying", I said to Frank. Of course, it was nicer than where Frank and I were holding up; at the Quality Inn Motel on Grand. Don't get me wrong, we had some good times there. However, this Ponchetrain Hotel had class. Anyway, we went up to the room. I do remember when the door to the suite opened, I walked inside and I said, "Not bad. Tennis anyone?" Come on, this was not a room. This was a big play pen, and guess who came over to play. I mean, you can't tell the players without a program.

Of course you know Berry's track record, forget about Motown. Hey, Jackie Wilson alone . . .great stuff.

Frank Wilson was active before I came along. However, other than the Supremes Reflections cut, Frank and I worked together on a single for Barbara McNair called, "Where Would I Be Without You". When Frank was going to do the Supremes and Tempts first album, I came to him with an arrangement I had for "Funky Broadway". He loved it . He wanted me to play the Whrilitzer elect piano on the session just like I played it for him. However, I was a little nervous, so I backed down. After all, that was a live session with 35-40 musicians. I couldn't afford to screw up. Besides I was a guitar player, not a piano player. So, I had Gene Page write it out and I'd make sure the player got the feeling right in the studio. We did 2 other cuts together for the album; "I'll Try Something New" and a name value tune, "This Guy/Girls In Love With You". It was a fun session. Frank and I got along just fine. I think I was his first 'white' soul brother and I really liked having him for a brother as well.

Then Hank Cosby arrived. Now, Hank was a decent man. He always treated me with respect at Motown, even before I had really earned any. I wasn't that familiar with Hank's early work. When I came along, Hank worked closely with a good looking writer named Sylvia Moy. Together they were on a roll and he was producing hits on Stevie Wonder. Hank was also in charge of the arrangers and coordinating the sessions. Hank had his office there, in the Arrangers Room. I liked Hank. He was a good man.

Then in walked R. Dean Taylor. Now, my first impression was that Dean was the one artist that just seemed totally out of place at Motown. Now, I had met him before at Hitsville, downstairs in the rehearsal rooms. In fact it was there in Eddie Holland's 'office'. I'll never forget. Dean was sitting there, with a pipe in his mouth. I thought he was someone from upstairs (Legal Dept. ). However, that just goes to show you. Never judge a book by it's cover. Eddie introduced us and said Dean was a writer and artist with the label. Well, Dean loved Neil Diamond and semi-fashioned his style after Neil as well. I would soon learn that Dean could write some great words and had a different approach to going after, and finding hidden melodies in tracks. Dean was a Top Gun.

The Plan of attack was outlined by our Commander and Chief, Mr. Gordy himself. (Pardon me while I give you the essence of what he said, purely in jest.)
In essence, Berry very calmly said, "You vill virk, and virk and virk, until you can virk no more. You vill not leave the premises. And ven you are done, you vill have a hit on Diana Ross. Is this perfectly clear?" Ouch!, I thought, but I said, "Sounds pretty crystal to me."

Now, every great plan has it's 'drawback', or a 'catch'. It seemed like this one had both barrels blazing. Here was the 'drawback'. We were to stay there, in that suite, until the 'hit' was completed. Woah! Hold on there! Wait a minute. Did I hear you correctly? Stay HERE in this hotel room?, All of us? 'Til it's done?

"Right.", Berry said. "This is a (2 or 3) bedroom suite. There's plenty of room. You can have room service bring up your food and then you can take turns sleeping. Everybody stays here."

Then, at that very moment, in walked . . . the 'catch'. The last 'soldier' to arrive was . . . WHO? No one said a word. The silence was deafening, but the sound of our thoughts came through loud and clear . . . "Heads Up! Female In The Foxhole!"

. . . to be continued

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:49 am: are a real tease .

Barbara's "Where Would I Be Without You" is another one of my all time favoutites but I had no idea you were producer of that one, I thought it was just a solo Frank Wilson production. I just checked the 45 and it only states you as a writer - also the 45 reference only shows Z1 not D1. In my opinion, the feel and atmosphere of that track was repeated by Frank on the just as wonderful "Let Me Run Into Your Lonely Heart" for Eddie Kendricks.

There are many "artist" books on Motown out there but IN MY HUMBLE OPINION AND EXPERIENCE, the in depth story of the music is told by the producers, musicians engineers and arrangers who tended to follow a particular track from start to finish. So many guys on here, could write a book (and we have even tried our damnest to get our dearest terror twins Ralph and Russ to put pen to paper!) but I can appreciate the thought of it is a bit daunting. However, that doesn't stop the likes of me hoping that you might all change your minds one day.

John R - I assume you mean Cal Street - Cal has been on Soulful Detroit already. When the ladies came to tour here, I asked Cal to say a few words. Carolyn Willis of Honey Cone, Bob B Soxx etc has not been on here, to my knowledge. I am real happy you like the forum, guys like us needed it badly and Deke's thread here shows how much there is that we don't know. Maybe David Lowell and Ralph will one day put all these archives in a book as the definitive Detroit story!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 02:23 am:

Quickie Note for John:

Sorry, I didn't mean to give you the impression I did or co-did the track. That was Franks. We wrote together, and I helped with the dub in. I never thought of being added as producer. However, we would help each other at times, not looking for credit. It was just because we not only loved what we were doing; we both enjoyed helping another make something stronger if we could. We respected one another. We were brothers.


Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 03:31 am:

(That was a quick return - so now you can see how many times I keep checking this thread! HAHAHA)

Seriously though.......I, for one, appreciate that you WAS involved.

Top of pageBottom of page   By DanMan869 ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:06 pm:

Deke... first of all, thank you so very much for coming to the forum. Insights like yours are invaluable to the Motown fan! I am really enjoying the story of The Clan and "Love Child," but your involvement with the glorious "Where Would I Be Without You" brought to mind a question.

Please forgive my lack of technical knowledge, but you had said you "helped with the dub in." Does this refer to the fact that there is a male voice singing along with Barbara McNair on the title line? Is that voice yours? If not, do you remember who it was? Also, if not, what did you mean by helping with the dub in?

Thanks in advance for your response. I've greatly enjoyed reading your rememberances. They really bring the events to life and I look forward to reading more!

Best regards,

Top of pageBottom of page   By Eli ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:19 pm:

I thought that my stories were the bomb but brother, my hat goes off to you.
Great stuff. Sometimes we should share some Detroit/ Philly war stories.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:43 pm:

When I referred to helping with the dub in... well, when you're a writer and a singer (I performed for 5 years before signing with Motown), Frank and I were singing different ideas back and forth. When I had a lick or a phrase we both liked, Frank would say, "Yea, have her do that!" So instead of Frank mimicing me, I'd get on the talk back mic and give her the line and phrasing. BTW . . .The voice doing the harmony with BM was Franks.

I will let you in on a little secret. It's funny but true. Many of the producers were frustrated singers.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:46 pm:

Hey Eli,

Now THAT would be fun. Start getting your notes together. When things quiet down a bit for me I'd love to hear about Philly. Top notch stuff, no doubt about it.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Reese ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:54 pm:

Hello Deke:

Thanks for visiting this forum. Your stories are incredible.

I know that you were the producer of the FAREWELL album by Diana Ross and the Supremes. First off, what exactly did that entail on your part? I have read that three nights of recording were done and then compiled for the final album. Might there be some unreleased gems in the Motown vaults from those shows?

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 01:57 pm:

This Ones for PJ,

Black Oak Arkansas? Boy you have been up late doing your homework. My good ol post Motown years. Black Oak, Bonnie Bramlett, Duke And The Drivers (Heh, I sang too much on that album. The joke was among my peers to remane the album, "Deke And The Drivers". Onch!)

Then there is the sad story of Fleetwood Mac, which I keep locked away. Maybe someday . . .


Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 02:04 pm:

This is crazy...I've never written so many replies at one time. Isn't it time for you guys ('scuse me, people) to get a bite to eat or go to bed?

For Reese:

Now THAT was a difficult one. It wasn't 3 days. IT WAS FIVE!!! I'll come back to this one later. I'm just getting my brain cells in shape with the other stories. I won't forget you.


Top of pageBottom of page   By Davie Gordon ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 04:59 pm:

Hi Deke,

I've been away from my computer for a week or so
and was delighted to find that you'd joined us.

The background stories have been wonderful -
thank you so much for taking the time to give
us your insight into records that have been long time favourites.

I'd like to know how you came to join Motown -
we know of your work there but know nothing of
your career before "I Can't Dance ...".

I was always under the impression that Motown was
a bit of a closed shop in the sixties as far as
taking on new producers was concerned. Did you join as a writer and took on production dutiers because you could "hear" the final record better
than the existing staff producers ?

Berry was definitely right about your having
a "fresh sound". I always loved the rhythm tracks on songs like "Back Yard Lovin' Man". I wish my
musical vocabulary was up to the of of describing just how special those tracks were !

Top of pageBottom of page   By Scratcher ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 06:43 pm:

Tell 'em about Deke & the Deacons, Deke.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 08:12 pm:


Come on , fess up!


Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 10:37 pm:


OK Soulkiddies, it's time for another chapter from

"The Making Of One Legend, And The Return Of Another"

The story of The Clan, The Supremes and Their Love Child

Part III
Round And A-Round and A-Round We Go

Heads Up! Female In The Foxhole! Great Balls Of Fire! It was the Blonde Bombshell from England, Pam Sawyer. Pam was also an LA resident. Her hubby was quite famous, or should I say he helped one singer to become a household name in the 50's producing hits like 'Chances Are' and "The Twelfth Of Never" (I'm almost positive, those were just 2 of his great hits.) That's right, Johnny Mathis. Now Pam was a wild one. She could talk faster than I could think, and lyrics? Forget it. This girl just came up with great ideas and words as well. Pam was not for everyone. I mean if you were a slow kind of laid back person, Pam could exhaust you. Before I understood more about good lyrics from writers like Smokey, Eddie Holland, and later even Pam and R.Dean, I was writing what I call 'Moon, June, Spoon' lyrics. Well, I guess I was stuck in the 50's. Most of the lyrics were so simple then. Words in many of the hits, were like you talked. "I love you...I'll never let you go...I can't live without you...I want to hold you again, etc. YUK. (My Alter Ego interjecting here: Sorry Deke, I liked your tracks. I even liked your melodies, but give it up; you were a terrible word man.) Times had changed. Lyrics were deeper, and had double and triple meanings. I really wanted to become a good lyricist, but it was a lot of hard work, if you weren't a 'natural'. Now Pam, on the other hand, was a gifted girl. I could go for days sometimes, searching and struggling for just the right words. On the other Pam, just opened her mouth and seemed to, excuse the expression, vomit one classic line after another. Who says girls can't play 'war games'?

Now, naming this small band of misfits was again, Berry's Idea. "We are going to be called . . "The Klan".
WHAT?, I thought to myself, did I totally miss the humor or clever hidden meaning of the name?. "The KLAN"? I said as I took a deep breath, but wasn't sure what I wanted to say. I mean I've heard of 'friendly fire', but with a name like that? Eh, I don't think so. Then, Berry said 'spelled with a "C", and I let go of the air in my lungs. Now, keep in mind "The Clan" itself consisted of everyone except Pam. This is because "The Clan" was actually a production team. Pam was not a producer. So, Berry gave us his blessing and said, "Let me know when you have something", and walked out the door. Then, we all left the hotel to get a change of clothes, personal items, etc. It was obvious we were going to need them. After we all returned, I recall it was all so awkward in the beginning. I brought my guitar and small amp with me. The hotel had provided us with an upright piano. (Note: In fact images pop in and out of my head about 2nd piano. In fact it was a baby grand. Oh well, either I'm seeing double, or it was wishful thinking)

Now you have to imagine this scenario. Here are 5 writers that have never teamed up before, that have just suddenly become partners, and mind you, not by choice. Great! How do we start? Who starts first? Well, it was just plain weird, period. I plugged in my amp and guitar and limbered up a bit, quietly. Frank played a few chords. I backed him up for a while. Hank was checking out the groove. Then, Frank changed over to another feel and set of chords. I backed him up again. Hank stomped his foot and nodded his head to that set. Hank had this cool way of nodding his head kind of in a semi-circle when he liked a groove. Then, it all slowly died out . I'm almost sure R. Dean brought his acoustical guitar and then started strumming some chords. However, remember he had that 'Neil Diamond' thing going. Hank couldn't get into that. I played with Dean. Easy stuff. Guitar players can talk together with guitars. It doesn't matter what the other one is playing, you just shift gears. Frank tried to follow, but he couldn't lay into that kind of groove. So, he was stuck playing mostly pads and a few licks.

Poor Pam was stuck. What could she do? Holler out a concept? I mean did Hammerstein just holler out "OKLAHOMA" and Rogers say, "Yeah Oscar, here you go' Plink, Plink, Plink, Plink, Plunk? Well, that might have been OK for those boys, but we were a different breed. We always did music, melody or tracks first. The actual song or lyrics came later. However, like I said, Pam could come up with concepts, like rabbits have babies. So she would just keep on writing, talking her ideas to whoever was playing at the time. I don't care what I, or anyone else says about that girl, she was a real trooper.

Frank took a break and I jumped on the piano. Dean tried to follow me. Pam recited lyric ideas in my ear. Hank was nodding and tapping his foot. Back to Frank. Frank fumbled, Dean took it, I blocked and ran with it and Hank kept on checking for the groove. IT WAS CRAZY, totally insane. Five talented writers, and we were all out of control. What we really needed to do, was all go downstairs to the bar and get drunk. "Round and around and around we go, where we gonna stop nobody knows." You see, someone had to come up with a structure that all 5, or at least 4 of us, took a liking to. Then, the odd man out, would eventually come around. In reality, Frank and I were just playing things we were in the midst of writing. So this is how it went that first night until someone finally quietly walked into one of the bedrooms and lied down. Then Pam, having no one to 'play' with, took her toys and went to bed in the other room. The sound slowly faded. The last thing I remember is lying on the couch at 4am, holding on to my guitar by the neck like a Lilly in my coffin. I never heard the last note of the night.

The morning after, was rough. I really think we all felt we had partied the night before. It was like we either got too drunk to drive and crashed at a strangers or we got 'picked up' and taken to 'their' place. Think about it. Here are these 5 'dead' bodies all over the place. Whoever woke up first got to see the others at their worst. One was snoring like a bear. Someone else took their shoes off and it didn't smell all that great. Everybody's hair is sticking up in the air, etc. Then, there is the one lady in the house. Well, don't ask me. I wasn't the first one up. I got busted with the rest of the late sleepers. There was only one way to do 'the morning after' gracefully. If you were lucky enough to wake up first, and quietly sneak out without waking the others, you could make a dash for home, or your 'other hotel'. Then, take a nice shower and change. By the time you got back, you would have missed the awkward feeling of seeing everybody at their worst. Oh well, life is made up of little memories like this.

By the time we got ourselves together and ordered some food, the ice began to melt. We had a few laughs and we were ready to give it another go. Everything went about the same as the night before, but at least we were listening to each other. Sometime during the early part of the night, I started to feel my oats. I had laid back earlier, because the piano just seemed more natural to kick things off with. Maybe I was a tad shy to stick myself out there with my guitar. (Note: Just so you pickers out there know; I was playing my '61 Telecaster with a rosewood neck. It was a stock job with the old hand wound Leo Fender pickups. I was going to get a Maple neck, but it just seemed like everyone was changing over to Maple necks. I hate that. So, I just stayed with my Rosewood.)

I had a number of guitar players I followed and were idols of mine including, Freddie King, BB King, Pee Wee Crayton, Lonnie "Memphis" Mack, and for that funky country thing, some early James Burton licks. So I just turned up the volume on my trusty small Magnet Student amp (which gave just the right amount of dirt or clean distortion and started pickin this groove. It was a mixture of Lonnie Mack and Jimmy Burton. That groove became the guitar quilt I actually used in the verses of the song. I just stayed there on that lick. It was easy for Frank to play against it, through it and over it. Then Dean jumped in. We were finally jamming. Then, there was a knock on the door. We froze. Just when we had something going I thought, the hotel was going to bust us. I put down my guitar, turned off the amp and went over to the door. I was all prepared to blame Pam and her stupid record player (just kidding, Pam). I opened the door and the man said, "That sounds good!". It was Berry.

. . . to be continued

Top of pageBottom of page   By 1wicked ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 11:16 pm:

Here I am.....two days older than dirt. I never got hooked on One Life To Live, Gen. Hospital, Dallas, Dynasty, etc......and now...stick a fork in me...I'm done...hooked on "Deke's Diaries". (Commercial breaks are too damn long though !! LOL)

Great stories from "the inside"....I can't wait for books from you AND Eli !

Top of pageBottom of page   By paulie3shoes ( on Wednesday, January 15, 2003 - 11:54 pm:

Its time for an Ivory snow commercial!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By Steve Litos ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 12:21 am:

Let's get a chant going for our guitar slingin', song writing hero.

Deke! Deke!! Deke!!! Deke!!!! Deke!!!!!

Top of pageBottom of page   By John Lester ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 02:44 am:

I hope you are enjoying this as much as we all are know we here are glued to our seats!

A little personal aside from me - and I only mention it cos it is so important in my life. I bought my 45 of "Love Child" in "Wells Music Stores" in a town in East London called Romford. A little later, I found out that Pamela Sawyer's family came from Romford! Now knowing that made me realise that it doesn't matter who you are or where you are from, you can reach any height you want to, but you have to make it happen.

Top of pageBottom of page   By Ritchie ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 03:44 am:

Deke! Deke!! Deke!!! Deke!!!! Deke!!!!!

(Sheesh - if this is the act, what does this guy do for an encore?)

Top of pageBottom of page   By john dixon ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 06:56 am:

This is easily the most fascinating thread that I've followed since discovering soulfuldetroit four month ago. Deke, to to say you have a natural flair for storytelling understates the case. . All of us here are riveted, not to mention extremely lucky and grateful that you're not clammin' up and savin' it for the book!

Top of pageBottom of page   By LG Nilsson ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 08:11 am:

This is great stuff! Thanks Deke...


Top of pageBottom of page   By padgburyman ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 11:16 am:


I honestly had not even heard of you prior to this thread (slow learner and just another Jamerson devotee) but "WOW" - I am now so fascinated and eagerly await the next 'episode'.

More, more, more.............

Top of pageBottom of page   By Deke ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 11:26 am:

That's OK,
I got nicknamed 'The Best Kept Secret At Motown' years ago. I used to mind, but not anymore.I'm not alone. There are many of us out there in all walks of life. Thanks for stopping by.


Top of pageBottom of page   By KevGo ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 11:35 am:

Great story! Can't wait for the next chapter! (As I play my old scratchy copy of "Love Child" in the background...).
Kevin Goins - KevGo

Top of pageBottom of page   By RALPH ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 11:39 am:


Top of pageBottom of page   By cleoharvey ( on Thursday, January 16, 2003 - 05:35 pm:


Again WOW!! It is like going on every day looking for your latest fix of Stephen King (of course without the murder, just the mayhem). LOL!! Cannot wait for the next installment. I think Love Child ranks with Heatwave, Papa Was A Rolling Stone, and Up The Ladder to The Roof as one of the most creative and innovative songs to come out of Motown.

What a blast to hear your story.

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