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  1. #1

    Most obscure Motown single of all time

    What Motown song is so obscure that it is in no Motown compilation CD, tape or LP, was omitted from Complete Motown Singles, has no radio/intercom airplay (60s, present or otherwise) nobody talks about, and Motown legends, living or dead, doesn't remember much about this recording.

    It also couldn't been uploaded to youtube so it's a rare find in a phonograph/gramophone record (45 or LP track) that not many copies were sold and is worth thousands of dollars even if the record is completely scratched.

    My only rule is that it must be a song, and is from Motown's golden age(1959-1971).



    Another rule is that it had to be released. Anything unreleased and/or destroyed in the Universal fire doesn't count.




    What is the most forgotten Motown single

  2. #2
    I say it's Wade Jones' "I Can't Concentrate"/"Insane" on Rayber. I know it's a forerunner to the launch of the Tamla label in 1959 but I think it deserved a spot on TCMS-1.



  3. #3
    And I found this at the Discogs site; The Five Stars' "Magic"/"Lazy Daisy" also on Rayber.


  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    I say it's Wade Jones' "I Can't Concentrate"/"Insane" on Rayber. I know it's a forerunner to the launch of the Tamla label in 1959 but I think it deserved a spot on TCMS-1.




    too easy. it's a forerunner.

  5. #5
    Okay, how about Cornell Blakely's "I've Got That Feeling"/"I Want My Share". Although the songs were recorded at Motown & produced by Clarence Paul and William Stevenson respectively , Blakely's manger didn't want to turn over the ownership of the recordings to Gordy so the single came out on Rich Records in 1963. Still, they're Motown Recordings in all but name.



    Last edited by Motown Eddie; 08-30-2019 at 03:28 PM. Reason: corrections

  6. #6
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    Okay, how about Cornell Blakely's "I've Got That Feeling"/"I Want My Share". Although the songs were recorded at Motown & produced by Clarence Paul and William Stevenson respectively , Blakely's manger didn't want to turn over the ownership of the recordings to Gordy so the single came out on Rich Records in 1963. Still, they're Motown Recordings in all but name.





    As long as it didn't make it to the charts, then we've got a winner!

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by IMissFlo93 View Post
    As long as it didn't make it to the charts, then we've got a winner!
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    There were hundreds of Motown 45s issued that had almost no sales or no sales, got no air play, and were never even pressed on store stock labels. The Cornell Blakely Rich record WAS a Motown label (subsidiary). It was a joint venture between Berry Gordy and Blakely's manager, Reverend James Hendrix (who also owned Carrie Records, and was co-owner of LaBeat, Mary Jane and Cool School Records along with Lou Beatty, and co-owner of Staff Records. That is the same arrangement Gordy had with Harry Balk, when Balk was brought into Motown to run Rare Earth Records, and he brought his own Inferno Records into Motown. It became a joint venture, recording Balks Volumes and The Detroit Wheels.

    Frank Wilson's record on Soul never was sold in a shop. Only 6 test pressings of the DJ issue were pressed, and only 6 test pressings of the store stock were run, before the whole project was stopped. Same happened with The Andantes' record on VIP. Also, some releases were assigned, slated for pressing, but never pressed (Andre Williams and Gino Parks' records on Miracle #3 and #4).

    The Charters were a Toledo group who paid Motown to press up 50 DJ copies of their record, released on Mel-O-dy Records. There were many more with similar stories.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    And I found this at the Discogs site; The Five Stars' "Magic"/"Lazy Daisy" also on Rayber.

    A GREAT FIND. Never knew of this before your locating it.

    QUESTION: I see where the Five Stars were accompanied by the Teen Queens. What does anyone know about the Teen Queens? Could it have been Raynoma and her sister?

    SUBSEQUENT EVENT: I dug out my Berry, Me, and Motown book by Raynoma. I was basically correct in my comment above about Raynoma and her sister. In the book it states that ". . . I was encouraged to assemble my own group, the Teen Queens, to do my material. Alice and Ray became the nucleus of the group, aided by a fledging singer with strong potential named Marlene Nero. Upon the sheepish suggestion of Berry, I agreed to the return of the theretofore exiled Mamie as our fourth member. . . ."

    Although there is no mention of an actual record being pressed as shown in this thread, I looked at the Discogs listing for it and see where the "reissue" is being offered for sale by Brad Hales. In case you are unfamiliar with Brad, he owns People's Records in Detroit. I wonder if an original was ever pressed on the Rayber label as the reissue indicates.

    Food for thought.
    Last edited by woodward; 09-01-2019 at 09:56 AM. Reason: Subsequent Event

  9. #9
    The Teen Queens were sisters Betty & Rosie Collins. They had a hit with the 'doo-wop' styled "Eddie My Love" in 1956. It's possible that they backed The Five Stars on "Magic"/"Lazy Daisy" or that Raymona Gordy & her Sister used the name "Teen Queens" for that single.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by woodward View Post
    A GREAT FIND. Never knew of this before your locating it.

    QUESTION: I see where the Five Stars were accompanied by the Teen Queens. What does anyone know about the Teen Queens? Could it have been Raynoma and her sister?

    SUBSEQUENT EVENT: I dug out my Berry, Me, and Motown book by Raynoma. I was basically correct in my comment above about Raynoma and her sister. In the book it states that ". . . I was encouraged to assemble my own group, the Teen Queens, to do my material. Alice and Ray became the nucleus of the group, aided by a fledging singer with strong potential named Marlene Nero. Upon the sheepish suggestion of Berry, I agreed to the return of the theretofore exiled Mamie as our fourth member. . . ."

    Although there is no mention of an actual record being pressed as shown in this thread, I looked at the Discogs listing for it and see where the "reissue" is being offered for sale by Brad Hales. In case you are unfamiliar with Brad, he owns People's Records in Detroit. I wonder if an original was ever pressed on the Rayber label as the reissue indicates.

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    Those 2 Five Stars' cuts were NEVER released on a legitimate record. That Ray-Ber pressing was a bootleg. Those 2 Five Stars' cuts were recorded at the same time as Berry Gordy-produced "Ooh Shucks" and its flip, which were released on George Goldner's Mark-X records in late 1957. At that time, and through early 1959, ALL the Gordy productions, those by Gwen and Anna's Anna Records, and those by Berry and Ty Carlo (Billy Davis), were released on George Goldner's own labels, or those he distributed (End(Miracles and Five Stars), Anna (Voice Masters (former Five Stars and future Originals)), Mark-X (Five Stars), and Vega (Little David Bush(David Ruffin)). In spring 1959, The Gordy's changed their pressing and distribution affiliation to Chess Records, through their new affiliation with Harvey Fuqua (how Harvey and Marvin Gaye came into The Motown Family).

    The Ray-Ber label was used for that Bootleg, to help sales, by having people think it was a really rare early Motown release. That could seem reasonable to many people, because the late 1957 sound could "fit", soundwise, with the sound late 1958 recordings by Wade Jones, which actually DID come out on Ray-Ber Records. That label issued no other records, despite Berry and Raynoma getting several more records pressed up while operating Ray-Ber Music Company. However, they chose to lease those other productions to already existing small Detroit labels (Don McKenzie and Bryan Brent & The Cut-Ups), or making DIFFERENT new labels (Mike Power), all for releases of non R&B/non-Soul music other genres. Bryan Brent's record company was given a name more consistent with his group's Pop/Surf sound, and Mike Power's schmaltzy Tin Pan Alley tune sound was given a label name that appeared to be a Jewish-sounding name. Clearly, Berry and Raynoma weren't able to place Mike Power's cuts with an existing label, so they gave their new label name something that could make it appear "legitimate". They may have split recording/pressing costs with Bryan Brent & group, and so, COULD have released it on Ray-Ber, had they wanted to. But, they thought the Pop-sounding name would help them get more airplay. They COULD have released Power's cuts on Ray-Ber, but it would have had even less clout than on a Jewish-sounding label, so they didn't make that decision. Getting their other productions financed by other owners, gave the latter the choice of release label (which was a better situation financially for Berry and Raynoma, given that ALL those Ray-Ber productions failed to sell at all (and were, thus, money down the drain). In the case of the leased tapes, Berry and Raynoma made out much better, getting the production fees from the recording artists, but not putting out much overhead money, getting the distributing label to pay for record pressing and distribution, or, sometimes, even the recording studio fees.

    Berry and Raynoma probably released the Wade Jones recording on their own, Ray-Ber Records label, because they thought it had a real chance to become at least a local or regional hit, because it was the kind of music they were experienced in producing, and the kind they knew how to market, and had the marketing connections to have a realistic chance to get radio airplay. Jones' Ray-Ber record was distributed by Robert West's B&H Record distributors.

    Berry had produced sessions on Eddie and Bryan Holland, and Nancy Peters, for Robert West's Kudo Records, and The Gordy's had allowed Robert West's 1959 Falcons' release "Just For Your Love", to be re-released on their Anna Records, then distributed by Chess, when the earlier Chess release did nothing, and it was thought that The Gordy's and West's combined clout in The Detroit/Michigan, and western and northern Ohio markets would be better than Chess' (e.g. they could give it more attention than Chess could), and so get the record off to a better start.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
    Those 2 Five Stars' cuts were NEVER released on a legitimate record. That Ray-Ber pressing was a bootleg. Those 2 Five Stars' cuts were recorded at the same time as Berry Gordy-produced "Ooh Shucks" and its flip, which were released on George Goldner's Mark-X records in late 1957. At that time, and through early 1959, ALL the Gordy productions, those by Gwen and Anna's Anna Records, and those by Berry and Ty Carlo (Billy Davis), were released on George Goldner's own labels, or those he distributed (End(Miracles and Five Stars), Anna (Voice Masters (former Five Stars and future Originals)), Mark-X (Five Stars), and Vega (Little David Bush(David Ruffin)). In spring 1959, The Gordy's changed their pressing and distribution affiliation to Chess Records, through their new affiliation with Harvey Fuqua (how Harvey and Marvin Gaye came into The Motown Family).

    The Ray-Ber label was used for that Bootleg, to help sales, by having people think it was a really rare early Motown release. That could seem reasonable to many people, because the late 1957 sound could "fit", soundwise, with the sound late 1958 recordings by Wade Jones, which actually DID come out on Ray-Ber Records. That label issued no other records, despite Berry and Raynoma getting several more records pressed up while operating Ray-Ber Music Company. However, they chose to lease those other productions to already existing small Detroit labels (Don McKenzie and Bryan Brent & The Cut-Ups), or making DIFFERENT new labels (Mike Power), all for releases of non R&B/non-Soul music other genres. Bryan Brent's record company was given a name more consistent with his group's Pop/Surf sound, and Mike Power's schmaltzy Tin Pan Alley tune sound was given a label name that appeared to be a Jewish-sounding name. Clearly, Berry and Raynoma weren't able to place Mike Power's cuts with an existing label, so they gave their new label name something that could make it appear "legitimate". They may have split recording/pressing costs with Bryan Brent & group, and so, COULD have released it on Ray-Ber, had they wanted to. But, they thought the Pop-sounding name would help them get more airplay. They COULD have released Power's cuts on Ray-Ber, but it would have had even less clout than on a Jewish-sounding label, so they didn't make that decision. Getting their other productions financed by other owners, gave the latter the choice of release label (which was a better situation financially for Berry and Raynoma, given that ALL those Ray-Ber productions failed to sell at all (and were, thus, money down the drain). In the case of the leased tapes, Berry and Raynoma made out much better, getting the production fees from the recording artists, but not putting out much overhead money, getting the distributing label to pay for record pressing and distribution, or, sometimes, even the recording studio fees.

    Berry and Raynoma probably released the Wade Jones recording on their own, Ray-Ber Records label, because they thought it had a real chance to become at least a local or regional hit, because it was the kind of music they were experienced in producing, and the kind they knew how to market, and had the marketing connections to have a realistic chance to get radio airplay. Jones' Ray-Ber record was distributed by Robert West's B&H Record distributors.

    Berry had produced sessions on Eddie and Bryan Holland, and Nancy Peters, for Robert West's Kudo Records, and The Gordy's had allowed Robert West's 1959 Falcons' release "Just For Your Love", to be re-released on their Anna Records, then distributed by Chess, when the earlier Chess release did nothing, and it was thought that The Gordy's and West's combined clout in The Detroit/Michigan, and western and northern Ohio markets would be better than Chess' (e.g. they could give it more attention than Chess could), and so get the record off to a better start.
    Thanks for all the info Robb. That explains why that Five Stars single on Rayber hasn't been discussed anywhere (since it's a bootleg).

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Motown Eddie View Post
    The Teen Queens were sisters Betty & Rosie Collins. They had a hit with the 'doo-wop' styled "Eddie My Love" in 1956. It's possible that they backed The Five Stars on "Magic"/"Lazy Daisy" or that Raymona Gordy & her Sister used the name "Teen Queens" for that single.
    They had an album on Crown Records, drawn by "Fazzio" who did so many of those pen and ink renderings of the artists on many Crown albums.

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  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    They had an album on Crown Records, drawn by "Fazzio" who did so many of those pen and ink renderings of the artists on many Crown albums.
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    The Collins Sisters worked out of L.A. with The Bihari Brothers' Modern Records. I doubt that they'd have recorded in Detroit. Raynoma and her sister were much more likely to have backed up The Five Stars on a Berry Gordy production. They were called "The Cute Teens" on their record produced by Berry which was leased to Aladdin Records in 1959. They certainly would have been teenagers in late 1957.

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