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  1. #1

    Soul source hall of fame inductee - mike terry

    He is just one of the Inductees. This is just a tease. For the full story and layout, please visit Soul Source. I'm proud to have been associated with such great talent and so glad he was honored.

    Mike Terry - Pre Production Inductee

    Date Of Induction : 01 November 2014 Category: Pre Production

    Andrew Alexander Terry was born in Hempstead , Texas , in July 1940. By the time he was eight years old the family had moved permanently to Detroit, Michigan. After attending Elementary School , Terry attended Cass Technical High School on the downtown west side of the Motor City , where he studied music properly for the first time ."I took up the baritone sax , because no one else wanted to play it" he explained to Rob Moss in conversation during the 90's. He became so proficient playing the baritone, that by the age of 18 he was sitting in on recording sessions with Berry Gordy at United Sound Studios in Detroit, his first session being in the late 50's. He was soon recruited by Richard ‘Popcorn’ Wylie for his band Popcorn And The Mohawks, along with future ‘Funk Brothers’ Eddie Willis and James Jamerson, plus Lamont Dozier and Norman Whitfield, who would subsequently become legendary Motor Town producers of the future. One of the first releases to feature Mike, was Popcorn and the Mohawks - "Custers Last Man b/w Shimmy Gully” - Motown 1002 on the Motown imprint.

    Mike was retained by Motown after Popcorn departed West Grand Boulvard in 1961, and up until 1967 was to feature on thousands of Motown recordings with his trademark baritone sax teasing the listener until the ‘middle eight’ where it would break out in a uniquely trademark style. Great examples of his style can be found on cherished recordings such as, The Isley Brothers - "This Old Heart Of Mine ", The Supremes - "Love Is Like An Itching In My Heart”, Kim Weston - "Helpless", The Four Tops "Something About You " and countless more. He also toured with Joe Hunter's band, backing Jackie Wilson and was a member of the first MotorTown Revue. His real musical heart though was happiest in the recording studio and by 1963 he was an integral member of the Berry Gordy’s Motown House band that we came to know and love as ‘The Funk Brothers’, often recording up to 25 songs a week.

    As is the case with many truly creative and talented people, Mike became frustrated with the constraints of just playing his baritone sax at Hitsville, tied by Berry Gordy's ‘single role’ rule that was imposed on most of the musicians there, where they weren't rarely, if at all, allowed to partake in writing, producing or arranging, so he enrolled at the Detroit Institute Of Performing Arts, to study music arrangement and, whilst ‘Moonlighting’ at other studios around Detroit, in common with the other Funk Brothers, helped to create many classic records that would become so beloved of the Northern Soul scene .

    By 1966, Mike and Jack Ashford had set up Pied Piper Productions, which was a musical meeting of the minds, with Terry producing while Ashford penned the songs, often accompanied by Lorraine Chandler. A huge body of quality danceable Soul music was to follow, it's legacy still being enjoyed today via Ace /Kent's issuing of previously unheard sides from the vaults of Pied Piper master tapes .Several tracks by September Jones - "Stuttering Sam", "Voodoo Mademoiselle", "Chink A Chank Baby" and "You Better Know Why", Nancy Wilcox’s fantastic driving, "Gamblers Blues" and "He'll Be Leaving You", Willie Kendrick's thunderous version of The Metros - "Time Changes Things", The Cavaliers - "We Go Together" have been aired at The 100 Club, the longest running soul club in the world to much acclaim. Separate deals were set up with various labels locally and nationally during its short life span to release Pied Piper product, RCA was the main benefactor, issuing classic sides like Willie Kendrick - "Change Your Ways", Micheal and Raymond - "Man Without A Woman", Lorraine Chandler with 3 superb releases "I Can't Hold On", "I Can't Change" and "What Can I Do", The Metros -"Since I Found My Baby" plus a great album "Sweetest One ", The Caveliers - "Hold To My Baby" and many more from the vaults tracks ,by Artists including Lorraine Chandler , The Metros ,Willie Kendrick , The Dynamics , etc .

    Other standout tracks bearing the Pied Piper name worth highlighting were the brilliant Karate imprint double headers, "Tony Hestor – “ Just Can't Leave You b/w Watch Yourself" – Karate 523 (Giant707) and Mikki Farrow – “Set My Heart At Ease b/w Could It Be – Karate 524. The Giant logo would also deliver, Mike and Ray – “If Only You Knew b/w Private World Of My Own” – Giant 706, all three of these became dance-floor favourites and the releases are still very much sought after. It wasn’t just the 45 format that Pied Piper excelled at, the company released a trio of iconic albums of soul music that are often held up as the best LPs of Northern soul you can enjoy. On the Kapp logo, The Hesitations - "Soul Superman " and Freddie Butler – “A Dab Of Soul"- and on the RCA logo The Metros”- Sweetest One (RCA)

    In December 1967 , Epic Records A & R Vice President Dave Kapralnik announced that Mike Terry had been signed as Staff Arranger and Producer .Classic sides from this period are The Little Foxes " Love Made To Order " [ Okeh ] which was the first time Mike had arranged strings .Other classics onOkehby Johnny Robinson - "Gone But Not Forgotten" and Sandra Phillips - "I Wish I Had Known" soon followed. A great album from this period is the Maxine Brown "Out Of Sight" set on Epic, on which Mike collaborated which the highly talented Bridges /Knight / Eaton team, (otherwise known as The Brothers Of Soul). Essential tracks on this LP are "Don't Leave Me Baby" ," Just Give Me One Good Reason" and "Seems You've Forsaken My Love", which was also issued as a 45 .

    By now Mike Terry was in huge demand all over the USA travelling all over from New York to California to cut sessions .As he explained to Rob Moss " If I went to New York I would use Richard Tee ,in California I'd use Joe Sample and all the musicans there " .As the 60's ended he became Musical Director for a Broadway musical " Big Time Buck White " in New York , featuring Muhammed Ali , and Bill Cosby's 23 piece orchestra director during a stint in Las Vegas .Into the 70's and Mike found himself in Atlanta working with Dave Crawford on two Mighty Clouds Of Joy albums .

    Mike continued to work in the music business until the late 70's , but then stepped out of the picture to spend more time with his family , becoming a lorry driver for a while during the 90's. My great friend Rob Moss hooked up with him during this time and took him back to the Motown studios in 1993, the first time he had returned, since he left in 1967. Mike eventually returned to live in Detroit for the remainder of his life, where he sadly passed away on 30th October 2008. Thankfully, before he passed away, Mike Terry did eventually realise that his life's work was revered by a whole world-full of soul fans and when looking round for people to consider for the inaugural Inductees to our Northern Soul Hall Of Fame Mike Terry came top of the list.

    Again, run over to the site: www.soul-source.co.uk, for the full story, more pictures and credits.

    I had to cut over half of it because it was too long to put here. I think they did a good job on the layouts.


  2. #2
    Great feature on Mike Terry, and a peerless website on soul music - congratulations are in order to the website founders!

  3. #3
    Mike is a massive player in the sort of 60s soul music we go for in the UK and Europe. He accomplished so much in his career; enough to make your head spin.

  4. #4
    Milke's baritone is as iconic as Jamerson's bass. Definitely one of the most talented and nicest guys I ever came across in the music business.

  5. #5
    Fantastic article about a man whose face and musical achievements might not be known to the masses, but his sax solos certainly are!

    I think what Ralph says about his baritone vs Jamerson's bass is spot on.

    Keep up the good work with the Soul Source Hall of Fame!




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Ralph Terrana

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