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  1. #1
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    Maurice King Archive Discovered...

    As the membership may have gathered from my participation in the lengthy thread on sharing your Motown collectibles at the start of the pandemic, I love seeking out and acquiring the memorabilia related to Motown as much I love the music of Motown. I'm always on the hunt for anything related to Motown's Detroit days up to 1972. To me there is nothing better than being able to hold things in your hand that really weren't meant to leave the facilities on West Grand Boulevard or Woodward Ave. I'm lucky in the fact that I live in Michigan and have contacts in the record collector business that regularly scour collections in the Detroit area, and keep me in mind when anything Motown shows up.

    At any rate, my trip to Detroit on May 21st was two-fold. First, I attended the "What's Going On" 50th Anniversary event at Hitsville. It was a good time and I enjoyed being there with fellow aficionados celebrating the song's release. I met Dayna Hartwick and it was fun to listen to her talk of her experiences of working at Motown, starting at the age of 15! It was very nice being in a small group of 10 people in a slower than normal paced tour. I wish they were always like this to be honest!

    The second, just as exciting reason was to meet a gentleman I had connected with early this year. It was months of back and forth and eager waiting on my part, but we finally set the time to meet that day. The man I was meeting buys unclaimed storage unit contents at auction in the Detroit area. A couple of years ago he purchased a unit and concluded the contents belonged to one of Maurice King's sons. Included was the equivalent of a file cabinet's worth of papers and handwritten musical scores belonging to Maurice. OH, and a box of approximately 40 reel to reel audio tapes too! There is a lot of material from the years when Maurice was the musical director for the Spinners, but I am happy with the amount of Motown material I was able to discover as well. There is also a fair amount of items from the 1950's and before when Maurice led his band the Wolverines.

    If there is interest, I will share some of the discoveries with the forum, and there are some really neat items! I was able to secure a reel to reel player on Monday and have reviewed the audio tapes. Wow is all I can say! I made a post yesterday asking about Chris Clark's appearances at the Roostertail. Well, I can tell you a different performance by Chris has been discovered and is likely from the Roostertail as Scott Regan is the announcer. It's approximately 13 minutes long and the quality is great. Other reels include The Temptations, Tammi Terrell, Martha and The Vandellas, Brenda Holloway, Smokey and The Miracles and more Chris Clark.

    Luckily this archive was not lost to the dumpster as it very easily could have been. Most storage unit buyers would have seen a pile of old papers and a pile of spaghetti reel to reel audio tapes and threw them out, almost without a doubt.
    Darin

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    Last edited by DWSheffer; 06-17-2021 at 04:25 PM.

  2. #2
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    Wow, what a fantastic find! I would love to see some of the items shared here on the forum. I assume you are going to digitize the reel to reel tapes ?
    Last edited by lockhartgary; 06-18-2021 at 12:33 PM. Reason: Spelling change

  3. #3
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    Yes, I hope to figure out a way to get the tapes transferred into a digital format, but that will be a down the road project at this point. Unfortunately I don't have the proper equipment to be able to do so currently.

  4. #4
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    What an awesome find!!!! I would love to hear the Brenda Holloway and Tammi Terrell tapes. Have you had a chance to listen to them and the rest? Could you share Brenda and Tammi's set list?

  5. #5
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    I`m so glad that this wonderful treasure trove fell into your hands Darin and has not been lost.
    If you need donations to help finance their restoration please sing out.

  6. #6
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    Thank you for the nice comments.

    I want to clarify that so far the Chris Clark full live performance is the only one I've discovered of it's type. The majority of them are of Maurice rehearsing songs and coaching the artists, which to me is equally as interesting. It's a behind the scenes listen to a part of the Motown workings most of us have never heard, unless we were there and there are few around today who were. For instance, the Tammi Terrell tape is her and Maurice rehearsing "Almost Like Being In Love" and is pretty short. Some are very long, like the Temptations and The Miracles reels are the whole tape. I laughed listening to the one Tempts tapes as Maurice asked a member to announce each song they were working on and the take number. For "A Taste of Honey" Melvin says the title and "Take one and a half" and you can tell he was clowning with Maurice. Another cool reel is Maurice rehearsing "Real Humdinger" with JJ Barnes. And not all of the reels are Motown, many are earlier from Maurices band leader era and are important as part of Maurice's life story.

    I must admit that previous to the last 3 days, I had never touched a reel to reel player in my life as I'm too young to be familiar with the technology! I thought I had reviewed all of the reels, but discovered tonight through the magic of Youtube how to play side 2. I know they are marked that way but I was unsure of how to listen to the other side. I now know so I guess I'm far from reviewing all of them as I still have side 2's to listen to!
    Last edited by DWSheffer; 06-17-2021 at 09:08 PM.

  7. #7
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    Sounds really interesting and still side 2`s to go! I hope that you are willing and able to share them with us.

  8. #8
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    What a fantastic find! And how fortunate it found its way into caring hands! Please keep us informed as you dig through your hidden treasures!

  9. #9
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    Just imagine if the producers of "Hitsville: The Making of Motown" had access to those tapes!!

    As far as getting digital copies made, you may want to consider having them digitized by a professional company. The tapes may have been stored under less than ideal conditions and that, combined with their age, may have taken a toll on them.

  10. #10
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    I played a reel last night that I had not reviewed yet and it was Maurice with The Underdogs. I thought that is a rather unique combination! Obviously he worked with and coached everyone under contract with Motown.

    I agree lockhartgary, it may be wiser for me to have them digitized by professionals. I'm sure being in a storage unit for who knows how long was not good for them, but luckily I have not had any issues with them. Some are quite dusty but other than that they are not visually degraded or brittle.

  11. #11
    Great find! I have a friend that works at Wayne State and has access to the university's archival equipment. He helped us transfer some of the Don Davis/Groovesville tapes when those first started appearing around town. Feel free to send me a message, and I can give you his contact info if you're interested. It took a while to get the files back, but he might have more availability now with the pandemic.

  12. #12
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    Darin, that's an AMAZING find! Congratulations! I hope there's a way that those treasures can somehow be [[officially) shared with the Motown fan base because it sounds as though there's a little something for everyone in what you've found! I can't wait to hear what happens next in your quest to get them digitized and...?

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by DWSheffer View Post
    I played a reel last night that I had not reviewed yet and it was Maurice with The Underdogs. I thought that is a rather unique combination! Obviously he worked with and coached everyone under contract with Motown.

    I agree lockhartgary, it may be wiser for me to have them digitized by professionals. I'm sure being in a storage unit for who knows how long was not good for them, but luckily I have not had any issues with them. Some are quite dusty but other than that they are not visually degraded or brittle.

    When you do get them digitized it would also be a good idea to have multiple copies stored in multiple places offsite; that way if the original gets damaged or destroyed you'll have copies to fall back on. Cloud storage, jump drives, hard drives and cds are viable options.
    Last edited by lockhartgary; 06-18-2021 at 03:09 PM.

  14. #14
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    I’m in the Detroit area with a home studio and I’d gladly help transfer tapes to digital! Feel free to send me a message, I’m Drew@Drew-Music.com and I might be able to help get copies to some of the artists themselves as well! What an amazing discovery!

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