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  1. #1

    Martha Reeves "Rainbow"

    Gang, I recently purchased a CD of Martha Reeves' "Rainbow" album, and I have lots of questions about it.

    For starters, let me say that I think the album is absolutely incredible. In my opinion, it is some of the best music she ever recorded. Her voice is strong and does not have that irritating warble that she displayed in many of her solo recordings. The songs are also quite good, especially "Can't Take It No More," "Don't Ever Take Your Love From Me," and her bluesy take on BB King's classic "The Thrill is Gone." Really, really good music. Martha at her best.

    The CD version I purchased says the material is believed to have been recorded and released around 1975, but then states it probably did not get out until 1982 when it was issued through a label called Phonorama.

    Now to my questions: Was Martha signed to a label when she recorded these tracks? Who produced them? Was the material truly intended for an album to have been called "Rainbow," or is that title something that fans came up with? Was the material ever actually released prior to showing up on K-Tel and various cheapy labels in the 80's and beyond? Why didn't Martha even mention this material or this album in her autobiography?

    This is just all very confusing. Please, Martha fans, shed some light...
    Last edited by mistercarter2u; 03-15-2018 at 08:25 AM.

  2. #2
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    The "Rainbow" album cover....fan-created.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

  3. #3
    Here's a previous thread on this project.

    https://soulfuldetroit.com/showthrea...Streets-quot-)

  4. #4
    So... based on what I read in the other thread about "Rainbow," I am beginning to believe the album was actually recorded and released in 1982 for the first time, as opposed to being a 1982 re-issue of a 1975 album. If there was really a 1975 album, someone would have a copy. There would be scans of the cover. Someone actually would know the label it was first released on. So far, none of that is true. There is also the issue that several of the songs on the album were not written or given a copyright until sometime between 1978 and 1982; therefore, they cannot have been recorded in 1975!

    So where on earth did the idea of "Rainbow" come from? Who created the story to begin with?

    People have said Martha has never mentioned the album because she was ashamed of it. Perhaps the truth is that she recorded the tracks that came to be called "Rainbow" for a budget label, just to get a few bucks, and maybe she never considered the tracks "real" recordings...

    This all perplexes me...

  5. #5
    Quote Originally Posted by mistercarter2u View Post
    Gang, I recently purchased a CD of Martha Reeves' "Rainbow" album, and I have lots of questions about it.

    For starters, let me say that I think the album is absolutely incredible. In my opinion, it is some of the best music she ever recorded. Her voice is strong and does not have that irritating warble that she displayed in many of her solo recordings. The songs are also quite good, especially "Can't Take It No More," "Don't Ever Take Your Love From Me," and her bluesy take on BB King's classic "The Thrill is Gone." Really, really good music. Martha at her best.

    The CD version I purchased says the material is believed to have been recorded and released around 1975, but then states it probably did not get out until 1982 when it was issued through a label called Phonorama.

    Now to my questions: Was Martha signed to a label when she recorded these tracks? Who produced them? Was the material truly intended for an album to have been called "Rainbow," or is that title something that fans came up with? Was the material ever actually released prior to showing up on K-Tel and various cheapy labels in the 80's and beyond? Why didn't Martha even mention this material or this album in her autobiography?

    This is just all very confusing. Please, Martha fans, shed some light...
    I know she was with MCA in 1974, so maybe she was still with them when this album was recorded.

  6. #6
    Ok, I just checked Wikipedia and it says - 1975: Rainbow (Phonarama)

  7. #7
    Lord, I'm getting old, I use to know all this.I do know that both Martha & Mary Wells got paid good money to rerecord some of the old stuff & some new tracks for some label out of Nashville. They got paid "per side" which like Mary told me amounted to more then most royalty payments came to.That was probably late 70's. I will have to dig through stuff at home cause I know I have that "Rainbow".

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by motony View Post
    Lord, I'm getting old, I use to know all this.I do know that both Martha & Mary Wells got paid good money to rerecord some of the old stuff & some new tracks for some label out of Nashville. They got paid "per side" which like Mary told me amounted to more then most royalty payments came to.That was probably late 70's. I will have to dig through stuff at home cause I know I have that "Rainbow".
    In her book, Martha mentions recording her cd THE COLLECTION in Nashville. It had remakes of some of her hits, plus those of other artists. But it was recorded in the 80s. The cover photo on the cd looks like it was taken backstage at the MOTOWN RETURNS TO THE APOLLO tv special. Of course, since then the material has been endlessly repackaged on various labels.
    Last edited by reese; 03-16-2018 at 06:40 PM.

  9. #9
    Here is information I found on the Net. I assume it is accurate. I used to own the album (DANCIN’ IN THE STREET from Phonorama). You can still find it now and then on the Net for sale.

    “Martha recorded another album in 1975, after her 1974 debut for MCA. The album, which is titled "Rainbow," is extremely hard to find; both the original pressings, and the alternately-titled re-issue. The album was not promoted well, and it did not help that the label (which only a few who own the album know by name) folded shortly after its release. In 1982 Phonorama acquired the licensing for the tracks, and re-titled the album "Dancin' in the Street" based on the fact that Martha re-recorded her famous hit for the project.

    The 1982 re-issue copies go for anywhere as high as $600, while the rare original pressings go for $1,000 or more. Those who are avid fans of Reeves have debated it to be her best album ever.”

  10. #10
    Wow, I would love to hear this album. I've read so many great things about it but can't find it anywhere to purchase right now. Where did you buy the CD?

  11. #11
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    To add to the confusion, I own this LP from 1982. The songs on this LP match identically to the songs described above that appear on an album called “Rainbow.” There is one additional track on “Rainbow,” i.e., “I Love the Way He Loves Me.” Go figure!
    Last edited by longtimefan; 11-15-2018 at 02:22 AM.

  12. #12
    “I Love The Way He Loves Me” is a Motown outtake from 1970.

  13. #13
    I double checked the info provided by Buttered Popcorn and so forth on that previous thread linked above and can confirm that the following songs all have a copyright date of creation later than 1975. (This date is a distinct field from the copyright registration date, which would be later.)


    1977 Don't Take Your Love Away
    1978 Be Grateful
    1979 Light In The Long Run
    1982 Circle of Love
    1982 Can't Take It No More


    I didn't try to solve the mystery of "Hearts On Fire".


    The first three songs above were each co-written by an artist who released a recording of it in the same year as those listed above. The last two songs have Martha Reeves listed as co-writer of the lyrics. They appear to have been recorded in November 1982.


    The date of publication of the Phonorama album, Dancin' In The Streets, is April 1, 1983. This would seem to be the first release of the material.

    If Martha Reeves did indeed release an LP named Rainbow in 1975, it could not have contained these recordings. It seems no one has ever seen the album, and we have no pictures or any recordings to go on it. I believe we can conclude that there was no such album.

  14. #14
    A few members here seem to know Ms. Reeves. I'd love it if they could send her a few questions to clear up the mysterious origins of this very unusual album.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    A few members here seem to know Ms. Reeves. I'd love it if they could send her a few questions to clear up the mysterious origins of this very unusual album.

    It might be a sore spot. In her book, she mentioned every album she ever recorded, except for this and her Motorcity material.

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by reese View Post
    It might be a sore spot. In her book, she mentioned every album she ever recorded, except for this and her Motorcity material.
    Well I think you're one of the members who knows her so I respect that. I wonder why though, because I think it's a very good album. I love the "unplugged" Martha. In her prime, her voice was unbeatable.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    Well I think you're one of the members who knows her so I respect that. I wonder why though, because I think it's a very good album. I love the "unplugged" Martha. In her prime, her voice was unbeatable.

    I wish I did know Martha, but I'm only a huge fan. I have met her after concerts and she has always been very nice, but that's it. I too wonder what the story is with the "RAINBOW" project. I just find it strange that there was no mention of it in her book, not even in the discography.

  18. #18
    Quote Originally Posted by TrulyYours View Post
    If Martha Reeves did indeed release an LP named Rainbow in 1975, it could not have contained these recordings. It seems no one has ever seen the album, and we have no pictures or any recordings to go on it. I believe we can conclude that there was no such album.
    I've come to the same conclusion. If Martha herself hasn't ever said anything about a Rainbow album from 1975 and we can't find any evidence that it exists, there must not be such an album. But we know the Dancin' In The Streets album exists, and it sounds like all of the songs were recorded at the same time, and the newest copyrights were from 1982, and some of the songs were cover songs, which must've been written after 1975 since they have later copyright dates. And she even mentions "let's go skating" in the lyrics of the 1982 version of "Dancing In the Street" which would be a reference to her 1980 disco version of the song called "Skating In The Streets." All clues point to this being a new album from 1982.
    Last edited by Buttered Popcorn and so forth; 11-18-2018 at 05:18 AM.

  19. #19
    I'm speculating, but perhaps the reason why Martha doesn't mention this album in her book is that is was never commercially released. Every copy I've seen on ebay or scans of the artwork all have the "Promotional Copy - NOT FOR SALE" sticker on the cover. Maybe there was some legal problem that prevented them from selling it.

    The catalog number is right in the middle of their sequence so this isn't a case where they went out of business between issuing a promo and the commercial version. The listing(s) for the label on discogs are incomplete, but it doesn't look like they made "promo" versions of any other release. And being a budget label, I wouldn't expect they were doing any promo or sending copies to radio stations in the first place. So I further speculate that they already had the albums pressed when they found out they couldn't sell them for whatever reason, and they slapped "promo" stickers on them and set them aside to be sold via some unofficial, sort-of gray market or whatever, which eventually turned out to be ebay.

  20. #20
    I did a search on Ebay for all "Phonorama" vinyl records and got this:

    https://www.ebay.com/sch/176985/i.ht..._nkw=phonorama

    Just a few albums and they all look like they're from the early 80s. Mostly country, but found an odd Herman's Hermits (!) LP "Something Good...Again." Evidently, the Hermits made a comeback in the early 80s but I guess nobody noticed!

    Maybe I'm taking this too far, but this Mac Davis album on Phonorama has a similar look to the Martha Reeves "Rainbow" cover, at least the one I've seen that has a portrait of her that I believe is a painting, not a photograph. Maybe I'm just imagining it; I haven't seen the "Rainbow" cover with Martha on it for a long time. The LP I bought on Ebay a while ago has the generic cover with the LP redubbed "Dancing in the Streets."

    https://www.ebay.com/itm/MAC-DAVIS-L...swXr:rk:2:pf:0
    Last edited by kenneth; 11-18-2018 at 06:36 PM.

  21. #21
    I remember asking Martha about this album when she appeared years ago in Columbia, MO. She told me that the songs were licensed from another label. Whether she meant Motown or not, she did not elaborate. I know she was supposed to be signed to AVI Records or something like that but the owner of the label died and nothing was released. She herself said she had never seen the album I had, which was the Phonorama release. I sent her a copy that I burned to cd for her.

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