Today 02:55 PM
Today 03:07 PM

Dionne Warwick - Ashford & Simpson: We Need To Go Back

Dionne Warwick's career at Warner Bros. in the 1970s was, apart from her 1974 duet with The Spinners, Then Came You, overall a commercial failure, despite the involvement of high profile producers such as Holland-Dozier-Holland, Thom Bell and Jerry Ragovoy. She would not land a major hit until 1979's I'll Never Love This Way Again, written & produced by Barry Manilow for her first album with Arista.

However, Ashford & Simpson recorded two gorgeous tunes with her in 1973 that mysteriously did not appeal to Warner. "She's so fast - she catches on so quickly to musical ideas," said Valerie Simpson in an interview with Blues & Soul, December 1973. While the two tracks sat in the can for a year, they were asked to remix the tracks because Dionne wanted to redub the vocals, but even after that Warner shelved the tracks to the duo's disappointment: "Well, that day a few plates got smashed about and it wasn't exactly one of our better days, you could say."

Both tracks were gathering dust for 40 years before seeing the light of day in 2013. Listening to We Need To Go Back now, it is inexplicable how this could be rejected. The full 7:24 mix has only just now been released in 2023, 50 years after it was recorded. Interestingly, Ashford & Simpson completely rewrote the song but kept the original verses for Angela Bofill's Rough Times in 1978 [[also covered by Candi Staton as a 1979 B-side).

The second track, Someone Else Gets The Prize, is just as gorgeous and classic A&S. They never recorded the song with anyone else, but the lyrical theme was of course recycled for Diana Ross in 1979 as No One Gets The Prize.

What a shame a full album never materialized because this could have been as wonderful as Diana Ross's three Ashford & Simpson albums.
03-19-2023 04:40 PM

Motorcity: Soul Giants 4 CD Box Set: New Backgrounds


50 Soul Classics from the 60s and 70s.....

Many performed by the original legendary hit makers from the USA....

- features exclusive, previously unreleased versions -

A track-by-track review of the 'Soul Giants' box set, noting the differences between earlier released Motorcity titles and their later versions from 1995 with new backgrounds, many of which were included in this set.


Track 1: Mary Wells - My Guy 3.25

[Original Motorcity Version:
Reference: Charly/Motorcity 'Keeping My Mind On Love' album.

Track, also length, seem identical on all following additional references:

Hot Productions: 'Very Best Of Mary Wells'
Essential Gold 'Motor City Sings Smokey's Songbook'
Down Town Dancing In The Streets Series - Vol 1: 'Million Sellers'
Quality - Motor City Dance Party - Vol 2 : 'Love Dancin'

A different arrangement from the Motown original. Intro lacks impact here. A light, skipping beat, with finger snaps. Addition of string sounds. Nice echo on background vocalists, who sing lines of lyrics, in contrast to 'call and answer' responses of Mary Wells' Motown original. A pleasant production, if lacking in the distinctive sound quality of the original hit version.]

Soul Giants version 2.41:
A shorter track length. A simple, stripped down production, in an attempt to emulate the hit version. No string sounds this time. Prominent organ, as with the Motown original. Drum, bass and piano seem basic computer generated sounds. Less echo used, and with lead and background vocals identical to the earlier Motorcity version.

Track 2: The Contours - This Old Heart Of Mine 3.05

[Original Motorcity version:
Reference: Charly/Motorcity 'Flashback' album.

The distinctively prominent drum, bass and piano of the Motown original are missing from the intro, which soon leads into standard Motorcity 'hammer hitting metal' drum sound. Track bounces along, rather than with the emphatic drive and rhythm of the Motown original, and with good vocals, although a less impassioned lead.]

Soul Giants version 2.56 :

Shorter, and with an intro which more effectively replicates the Motown original, albeit with a more mellow toned version. The sax is noticeably more prominent throughout than with the version above, with a different short solo in the middle break - and the string sound seems more sparingly used. A good attempt at having The Contours replicate the Motown original by the Isley Brothers, and quite a nice little track in its own right, without trying too hard to give it a 'Motorcity' sound.

Track 3: Martha Reeves & The Vandellas - Heat Wave 4.00

[Original Motorcity version:
Reference: Object Enterprises 'This Is Soul-2' four CD set.

As a get-up-and-dance track, this to me is excellent, but for the threat of a tick-tock computer drum sound. Even so, it gets away with it, and always makes me smile and move to the beat. A full production, string sounds, big echo, and surely the sweet, high harmonies of The Andantes on background vocals. In its own way, I love this as much as the original Motown version, with Martha still in enthusiastic and uninhibited voice - but more mature and controlled - riding the wall of 'instrumentation' sound and effortlessly powering her way through to the fade.]

Soul Giants version 3.05:

Shorter, with a solid drum and sax led intro. No string sounds. Same lead and background vocals, but with Martha's voice lower in the mix, and less echo. Prominent sax middle break. Additional drum work on the chorus.
Today 06:57 AM

The MOTORCITY JUKEBOX Of Individual Artist CD's


As you'll discover below, most of the MOTORCITY recording artists featured an album of their own [[titled after one of their recent single releases) as well as a "Very Best Of" album.

At the time of purchase back in the mid-to-late 1990's, I bought every one I could get my hands on. Unfortunately, I have only 22 of them which was all that were available to me at the time. It boggles the mind to see how many individual-artist album titles were planned but never released.

For now, let me share with you the MOTORCITY individual-artist CD titles from my personal collection which I've compiled for you here!

Also, another HUGE thanks to Kenny [[Kenneth) for uploading this project for me.

Today 08:04 AM

Gladys Knight and others to Receive National Medal of Arts From White House

From RollingStone.com-

A COHORT OF iconic musicians and artists will be receiving the 2021 National Medal of Arts from President Joe Biden Tuesday. On Monday, the White House announced that Bruce Springsteen, Gladys Knight, and José Feliciano are among the musicians to receive the coveted award.

The event will mark The Boss’ second visit to the White House after being awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama back in 2016. Tuesday’s event will celebrate the 2021 distinction after the White House had to postpone numerous ceremonies due to the pandemic.

Among the honorees are actors Mindy Kaling and Julia Louis-Dreyfus, fashion mogul Vera Wang, artists Judith Francisca Baca and Antonio Martorell-Cardona, philanthropist Fred Eychaner, and film producer Joan Shigekawa. Two institutions — the Billie Holiday Theater and the International Association of Blacks in Dance — will also receive the medal. [Only Feliciano is expected to miss the ceremony Tuesday.]

First Lady Jill Biden is set to join the president during the event. It follows last September’s special moment when Biden surprised Elton John with the National Humanities Medal during an appearance at the White House last year.
Today 12:21 PM

Diana, Supremes Greatest Hits 3; Smokey, Miracles Greatest Hits 2

This was always confusing to me. In 1965 Motown released a 2-disk greatest hits package on the Miracles. Two years later they did the same for the Supremes.

Oddly, the followup Smokey Robinson & The Miracles package was label Vol. 2 in 1968. However, the follow up hits package on the Supremes in 1970 was labeled Vol. 3. Seems the Miracles 1968 set was also Vol. 3. What was up with this?


Ralph Terrana

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