Today 03:45 PM

Tommy Good Protest!

A re-enactment of a Tommy Good fan protest from 1964; his fans wanted his record released!
Today 03:26 PM

RIP Barrett Strong

From BestClassicBands.com-

Barrett Strong, whose recording of “Money [That’s What I Want]” became the first hit single for the new Motown Records complex in 1960, has died, according to multiple sources. The song was at first credited to Strong, then, three years later, authorship was changed to that of label founder Berry Gordy Jr. and Janie Bradford [Berry’s secretary at the time].

“Money” was later covered by the Beatles in 1963, and many other artists in subsequent years. Recorded in late 1959, it actually appeared first on Gordy’s Tamla label and was re-released on his Anna label, named after Anna Gordy [Berry’s sister]. The single’s brisk sales gave the businessman the impetus [and capital] he needed to continue releasing recordings from the company’s headquarters in Detroit.

Strong was 81. Details on cause and place of death have not been announced.

“Money” reached #23 on the Billboard Hot 100 but jumped to #2 on the trade magazine’s R&B chart. Strong never placed another single on the pop chart but he did place two further singles on the R&B chart in his post-Motown career, 1973’s “Stand Up and Cheer for the Preacher,” on Epic Records [#78] and ’75’s “Is It True,” on Capitol [#41].

Although Strong was a one-hit wonder under his own name, he subsequently maintained a substantial career as a lyricist for the Motown empire. Teamed with Norman Whitfield, Strong co-wrote such enduring classics as “I Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a massive hit for both Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips; Edwin Starr’s “War”; the Undisputed Truth’s “Smiling Faces Sometimes”; and a string of classic soul hits cut by the Temptations, including “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone” [which won the Grammy for Best R&B Song in 1973], “Cloud Nine,” “I Can’t Get Next to You,” “Ball of Confusion,” “Psychedelic Shack” and “Just My Imagination.” The latter became a #1 hit for the Temptations and was later covered by the Rolling Stones.

Barrett Strong was born Feb. 5, 1941, in West Point, Miss. He left the Motown operation in 1971 when the company shifted its base of operations to Los Angeles. He continued writing and recording into the 1980s, but met with little success. Strong was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2004.
Today 02:35 PM

Smokey Robinson returns on "If We Don't Have Each Other"

Info from SoulTracks.com-
If there is a Mount Rushmore of soul music greats, the legendary Smokey Robinson is certainly on it. As part of the Miracles, as a solo artist, and as one of the great songwriters of the past century, Mr. Robinson is one of those stars who is identified around the world with just his first name.
It has been nearly a decade since we had brand new solo music from Smokey, but the 82 year old star returns today with the smooth, mostly acoustic midtempo "If We Don't Have Each Other." It's the testimony of a man who is reminding his woman what she means to him, and what a good thing they have together.
Smokey is in fine voice on the single, which overcomes some muddy vocal backing harmonies with a steady groove and tasty guitar work to deliver a nice adult soul cut that radio should pick up. Check out "If We Don't Have Each Other" below, and welcome the great Smokey Robinson back to SoulTracks!

Today 05:40 PM

What happened with the Isley Brothers at Motown?

Listening today to "I Guess I'll Always Love You" and I thought, what a wasted masterpiece. What on earth happened to the Isley Brothers at Motown? They came out of the gate strong with one of the best records by any Motown artist, "This Old Heart of Mine," a song universally lauded and discussed in music magazine articles. But then, Motown did an odd thing; they followed up a trendsetter, a break from the past with a song that was exactly a return to the past: "Take Some Time Out for Love," which went nowhere. Then came the record that sounded like IT was supposed to follow the trendsetting "This Old Heart"- "I Guess I'll Always Love You." Apparently, either the momentum of the Isleys' career was lost with just one misfire -OR- Motown was satisfied that they proved they could get a hit on an artist that wasn't a homegrown creation and just left the subsequent records to fend for themselves.

Either way, I never understood why Motown would follow up something that gave the Isleys a fresh, updated sound with a record, even though nice, was a huge throwback in style and sound. "I Guess I'll Always Love You" was such a a breathtaking record and sounds as if it was an upward progression of "This Old Heart." But hardly anyone in the listening public cared about the record. After this, the records just progressively did worse on the charts until, thankfully, the brothers broke from Motown to do something completely new.
Today 05:24 PM

Mickey McCullers Who Is He?

Mickey McCullers was from Detroit [as far as I know] and he was a good friend of Smokey Robinson & his wife Claudette. Mickey was also well known as a singer across the Detroit clubs and Smokey issued a good story piece on him. Motown Junkies then remixed and summarised Smokeys story and published it. Well worth a read with the primary view as to each of the songs and Mickey's singing ability

Mickey McCullers had two 45's issued by Motown one on "Tamla" in 1962 and the second on "VIP" in 1964, Smokey wrote both songs on each of the two 45's, and this would have given Mickey a second chance. Sadly both 45's didn't sell, and that was the end of Mickey's Motown contract.

Having read "Mickey McCullers" Smokey's summary, it focuses on the two records as to how Mickey did in recording his first record in 1962, followed by his second chance in the studio which came later in 1964. Mickey did well in the clubs as a singer, however he struggled in the Motown recording studios on both of the two 45's.

Other than the above and the Motown Junkie's piece we know nothing about him, I have scoured around for any photographs, more details as to whom he was, did he have a family, where was he from, lived and/or anything else about him. I have quite a number of Motown Books including Adam Whites "Motown" monster, but not a mention, same goes for many others.

He had two great records [with the Andantes] albeit hard to find, I cherish them both, but what about him? do we have anything else?

I Have attached below the two 45's.

Today 10:19 AM

Did I hear some of our favorite girls Sunday during the football games?

On Sunday the 29th, during the two championship football games, I heard very brief clips [[like five seconds or less) of songs that I immediately recognized. However, the clips were soooo brief that I could not tell for sure that they were original.

But one was Nowhere to Run and the other was When Will I See You Again. So was that our real Vandellas and Degrees or just some cheap imitation because they did not want to spring for the real thing? Surely someone else heard these clips and can confirm.


Ralph Terrana

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