Today 06:31 AM

Little Richard PBS Special

Did anyone see the special on Little Richard on PBS American Masters on June 2nd? I missed it but I see I can watch it "On Demand" on my cable by going to Networks PBS American Masters. I hope to have time to watch it in the next few days.
Today 04:31 AM

Why did Motown have their artists record SO MANY standards and show tunes?

Once again, I'm realizing that sometimes stuff that went down at Motown seem a bit puzzling because we are so far removed from the context of the times in which those thing happened. Fortunately, [[or UNfortunately for my ever-shrinking living space) I love collecting old magazines and book from the 60s and 70s. I've learned a lot of things that make Motown's operating procedure make a lot more sense.

The Andantes being on almost EVERYONE's records? Easy. That was pretty much an industry practice that allowed records being performed by young amateurs to gain a more professional sound. Many of the young groups welcomed it. So Motown was just following something that everyone else had been doing.

How about the way Motown had its artists record so much of that old-people's music and [[whaaaa?) showtunes? I think all of us have figured out the reasoning, but again, if you didn't grow up back then, you're kind of stumbling around without a proper context.

Recently, I found an EBONY Magazine article [[a nice big one) that really, I mean really, does an exceptional job of putting into perspective why those standards and showtunes could be so crucial to a group's career and longevity. What do you do when the hits dry up? Cuz' if you're singing teenage music, trends change so fast, you're liable to find yourself on the junkheap of Yesterday's Trendsetters faster than you'd imagine.

The article profiles Martha & the Vandellas, the Supremes, the Four Tops as well as groups like Curtis Mayfield and the Impressions and Little Anthony & the Imperials. The Marvelettes and Shirelles are also mentioned. It's a great article that I posted on YouTube.

It's rather long so I pared it down to the main points. You may not care at all about all this backward-looking history, so you've already moved on to another thread. If you are even just a bit interested about what made Motown do some of the things they did, check it out here:

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Yesterday 10:37 PM


Tracy Chapman's 'Fast Car' vs. Peter Gabriel's 'Solsbury Hill'.
06-01-2023 10:14 PM

Favorite Tina Turner Recordings

I'm sure most of us were saddened by the recent passing of Tina. Though I had known she was ill, it was still a shock when she finally transitioned. Like so many of the greats who have left us, I never imagined a world without Tina.

My earliest Tina memory was my parents taking me to see the SOUL TO SOUL film. To this day, I can remember seeing this wild woman singing the title track while bopping with the Ikettes. I also had the memory of Ike and Tina performing I SMELL TROUBLE stuck in my mind for many years.

While I was out shopping today, WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT came over the pa system and it made me think of my favorite Tina recordings.

From the Ike and Tina days, my favorites [aside from the hits] are:


Tina solo:

Yesterday 09:52 AM

Typical Studio Musician Rates -- late 60's / early 70's.

From memory a typical studio musicians pay rate back in the late 60's / early 70's was around $10 to 15 / hour -- and lots of studios / producers tried to pay less than 'union rate'.
I may well be wrong with my quoted figure.

Today, things have moved on but not by that much. A typical studio musician [[not a 'name' session player) will get around $25 per hour or $50 per completed song. Backing singers getting around the same rate.

So, aside from the cost of hiring the studio, the arranger, the producer [[the cost of the engineer coming in with the studio hire cost), sessions can't have cost that much if we're just talking musician / backing singer costs.
A typical studio session would I guess have involved say 5 musicians & 2 backing singers, so that would run [[back in the day) at around $100 per hour.
I know some record guys would make use of a local 'cheap' resource -- seem to recall the likes of John Richbough / Shelby Singleton using the local music college's student band with very little cost involved [[& that could run to 20+ musicians; strings, brass, percussion, etc.).
So the cost of many sessions were kept quite low, which is probably why so many soul tracks were cut back in the 60's / 70's.
AT MOTOWN, they had their own dedicated studio band [[the Funk Bros), who were never too happy about how much they earned [[& so were always taking outside sessions on the quiet). The backing singers were usually other Motown acts [[or the Andantes).
. . . .So session costs were kept low-ish.
So how come most Motown acts owed BG & Motown loads of money for past sessions, so didn't get paid out much when they enjoyed a hit record. Was this due to a lot of 'creative accounting' ?


Ralph Terrana

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