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  1. #1
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    Mary Wilson Solo LP

    I've never heard of any "outtakes" from this album, and I'm certain if there were, they would have been included in the new Anthology. Interesting though then that there were only seven tracks recorded for her solo debut? A run time of just over a half hour.

    I can't imagine then that the actual recording of this album was a long process? Seems like she could have cut all of these in just a couple of days or one weekend?

    I hope the 44 page booklet gives more insight to this release.

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    I can't wait to get Mary Wilson's Anthology cd in my hands.

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    it seems that extra tracks became increasing rare. there was only 1 from Surrender. there's supposedly 1 from Floy Joy. with Sup 75 there were a bunch but with HE and MSS not really. certainly alt vocals and mixes. but not completely new, different tracks. same goes for The Boss and diana 80.

    now there could very well have been more songs rehearsed and explored. maybe Hal sat down with mary and they worked through 9 or 10 songs and then went with the 7 or 8 on the lp. At this time, they often used longer tracks on the lps than in the 60s so they didn't need as many to begin with

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    also additional tracks add to studio costs. Mary hypothesized in her book that motown gave her the recording contract in order to get her to drop her lawsuit. if that was the case, they would have most likely approached her album with the idea of keeping costs at a minimum. she was assigned to work with Hal and he might have been assigned a short amount of studio time and very limited budget to work with.

    think about the stories Deke told with Everything Is Everything. he was given a very very short window to work with. Berry wanted an lp ASAP. he states in the booklet that had he had more time, he might have come up with more original material.

    so for the MW album, if Hal was given a short window and small budget, he might have just taken existing tracks or things he had on the shelf and had her quickly record them. Also it's easier, cheaper and faster to simply extend a song with more instrumental breaks in order to pad out an album rather than coming up with an 8th or 9th song.

    my guess is motown wanted to invest as little as possible in this project. they had no intentions of promoting Mary as a solo artist, no intentions of doing much promotion of her album and no intentions of a long-term career with mary.

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    I have mixed thoughts about time frames concerning album making.
    Deadlines and pressure can sometimes force productivity in a good way. Provides momentum and demands problem solving . It can also create a natural progression from the recent past project.
    Some of the best songs , most popular , have historically been almost afterthoughts in the studio , where one more song was needed or there was spare time remaining in the recording session. More on the fly, than methodically thought out.
    [a thread of that, a listing of those type of hit songs, could be interesting]
    I know I perform best under pressure or else I tend to linger as can happen Ö thinking too of Marvin Gaye Ö.
    Sometimes when so much time has passed there can be a Disconnect from an artistís previous performance and itís hard to regain interest from listeners who have moved on.
    Itíd be interesting to analyze Maryís situation at the time. Sheíd been through A LOT those past ten years.
    I imagine she was so grateful for this opportunity , she just put her trust in the hands of Hal Davis hoping he could provide the magic. I doubt she had much opportunity to provide input , or was given much time for strategy, this probably felt like a lifesaver had been tossed to her.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-24-2021 at 12:04 PM.

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    It's confusing to know what was going on with Motown in terms of Mary's debut lp. The week it was released Motown purchased an entire billboard for the lp over Tower Records in LA. The billboard apparently ate up the entire promotion budget.

    I was a dj during this time and we neither received the lp or single, I had to buy it. Same was true for Scherrie and Susaye. I would call Skip Miller or Marlene Reyes monthly in Motown's promotion dept to see what was new as I always gave special consideration to their music. In Sept 1979 I was talking with Marlene and she was pushing Switch, the Commodores and Smokey. When I asked about Mary's lp her response was "oh yea, she has a new album too."

    What appears obvious to me was that all the legalities brought on by Mary and Pedro cost Motown a lot of money and made Mary nearly homeless. So Motown offered each lady a solo contract in order to drop all the lawsuits. Hal Davis had not had a hit record since Don't Leave Me This Way so he was just a house producer now. Mary's lp was rushed out and besides the mural there was no promotion. I remember one dj in Colorado played Red Hot and it was catching on when a promotion man from Motown called him and said not to play it that he was sending the new Commodores single. It is possible the Tower mural was meant to cirumvent a future lawsuit, Motown could use it as proof of promotion.

    In an effort to economize, Motown presented Scherrie and Susaye as a duo. Most of the material on their lp had been recorded as solo tracks with the other lady dubbing her voice over the track.

    Both lps were contract breakers, a way for Motown to get the ladies out of the company.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    It's confusing to know what was going on with Motown in terms of Mary's debut lp. The week it was released Motown purchased an entire billboard for the lp over Tower Records in LA. The billboard apparently ate up the entire promotion budget.

    I was a dj during this time and we neither received the lp or single, I had to buy it. Same was true for Scherrie and Susaye. I would call Skip Miller or Marlene Reyes monthly in Motown's promotion dept to see what was new as I always gave special consideration to their music. In Sept 1979 I was talking with Marlene and she was pushing Switch, the Commodores and Smokey. When I asked about Mary's lp her response was "oh yea, she has a new album too."

    What appears obvious to me was that all the legalities brought on by Mary and Pedro cost Motown a lot of money and made Mary nearly homeless. So Motown offered each lady a solo contract in order to drop all the lawsuits. Hal Davis had not had a hit record since Don't Leave Me This Way so he was just a house producer now. Mary's lp was rushed out and besides the mural there was no promotion. I remember one dj in Colorado played Red Hot and it was catching on when a promotion man from Motown called him and said not to play it that he was sending the new Commodores single. It is possible the Tower mural was meant to cirumvent a future lawsuit, Motown could use it as proof of promotion.

    In an effort to economize, Motown presented Scherrie and Susaye as a duo. Most of the material on their lp had been recorded as solo tracks with the other lady dubbing her voice over the track.

    Both lps were contract breakers, a way for Motown to get the ladies out of the company.
    Wow !
    This is most fascinating , it also strikes me as a bit strange.
    Where were you DJing Bayou? Sounds like you were in the LA area as you witnessed the billboard on Sunset.
    Was it radio or a club ??

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    In the land of what ifs, I wonder what the outcome would have been if Mary ditched the solo record and proceeded with the lawsuit. Looking back now, it's so obvious that once Mary signed the dotted line, she was doomed. She she really expect a company she was fighting with was going to do her right?

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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    In the land of what ifs, I wonder what the outcome would have been if Mary ditched the solo record and proceeded with the lawsuit. Looking back now, it's so obvious that once Mary signed the dotted line, she was doomed. She she really expect a company she was fighting with was going to do her right?
    My guess is that Mary had a case and Motown knew it and didn't want to imagine what a court ruling would look like. On top of that, as the case moved on, that's more legal fees racking up. And if Motown was having a bit of financial issues as has been rumored, settling the suit made the most business sense. As I've said before, Gordy knew Mary. He knew what made her tick. He'd known her since she was 16, just a baby. At that point in life Mary wanted a solo career, where she could just be Mary Wilson without the Supremes and stand on her own. Gordy knew if he dangled that carrot, Mary would follow it wherever he tossed it.

    When Flo was offered a solo contract with Motown she was wise enough to know that was an idiotic move, and she believed in her own talent and probably figured she could sign anywhere. We know Mary had esteem issues where her talent was concerned and I can imagine the thought of shopping herself to other labels was scary. On top of that, Motown, even with all it's faults, was still home and family. It may have made some sense to her to try it with the devil she knew vs the one she didn't. Unfortunately, even Stevie Wonder probably saw that Motown wasn't interested in doing Mary any favors. She should have gambled on the case, or at least gotten a monetary settlement, put her mind in the game and found another label. Mary had a talent that someone somewhere could've used and turned her into, at the very least, a marginally successful recording artist. But as I always say: being successful in the music business is upwards of 90 percent luck. Some folks have a ton of it, while others have very little, if any at all. Recording wise, post Supremes Mary had a ton of bad luck.

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    Motown had starved Mary and Pedro and three kids into virtual poverty. She lost her mansion in Hancock Park and was living with an abusive husband and three kids in a one bedroom, cramped apartment. Mary's only income was from performances a at fraction of what she used to make with the Supremes. Most bookings were overseas where Motown wasn't as successful at getting her bookings cancelled as they were in the USA. It was just such an ugly time.

    Mary had little choice but to trust Motown and sign the solo recording contract. She was 35 and was considered basically a washed-up background singer in LA. There was no interest from other record companies.

    After Motown dumped her in 1980, and that was always their intention, Mary basically spent the rest of her life trying to secure a recording contract with another label. Little to no interest. Over ten years later she got a small record label to sign her and right after releasing her second solo lp, which was a good record, they went bankrupt. She did a few recordings for Ian Levine which were contentious.

    Like Flo, Mary was treated with disdain by record company execs, mostly because Motown put out the word. She did not deserve this. As time went on Mary's vocals became more powerful and her concert reviews improved. It should have been record labels fighting over her, and Flo as well.

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    This is what I see at discogs:

    The song, RED HOT was remixed and extended into a special 12" version, commissioned by DJ Rusty Garner , that was available for purchase in the US, Canada and the UK. Those same three countries pressed promo copies for clubs , DJs, record stores etc...., the US promo being pressed on special red 'hot' vinyl.

    The 45 for RED HOT had promo [radio] copies made in the US and the UK.
    The 45 was pressed commercially in the US , Canada, UK , Portugal, Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

    No mention of the album punched as promos but the LP was pressed in 8 countries:
    US UK Canada France Portugal Germany Argentina Spain

    A second single PICK UP THE PIECES was released in the UK in 1980 with both a commercial and promo pressing.

    * added: curiously on the PICK UP THE PIECES 45 label: co-production is given to Bobby Belle. No involvement by him was credited on the LP.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-25-2021 at 04:28 PM.

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    All 7 songs on her debut were written by the same writers: Frank Busey and John Duarte. What else did they ever write together? Were they Motown staff writers?

    After finally hearing the album earlier this year, I still have a feeling that I've Got What You Need, You make me Feel so Good, and You're the Light that Guides My way are pretty much the same song as they sound very similar to one another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    All 7 songs on her debut were written by the same writers: Frank Busey and John Duarte. What else did they ever write together? Were they Motown staff writers?

    After finally hearing the album earlier this year, I still have a feeling that I've Got What You Need, You make me Feel so Good, and You're the Light that Guides My way are pretty much the same song as they sound very similar to one another.

    Yes this is most odd, a couple of nobodies- for a lack of a better word- , suddenly writing every song: MOST BIZARRE.

    I wonder if Mary was sort of clueless about music beyond her role as a Supreme. Surely when offered the chance to do her ow album she was asked , "Are there any songs you'd like to do on this?", or surely she must've said "I've always wanted to sing "______".

    She wasn't used to having this opportunity .....hers was a history of singing what was handed to her.

    Now why these two chums were chosen exclusively would be most interesting to know.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Yes this is most odd, a couple of nobodies- for a lack of a better word- , suddenly writing every song: MOST BIZARRE.

    I wonder if Mary was sort of clueless about music beyond her role as a Supreme. Surely when offered the chance to do her ow album she was asked , "Are there any songs you'd like to do on this?", or surely she must've said "I've always wanted to sing "______".

    She wasn't used to having this opportunity .....hers was a history of singing what was handed to her.

    Now why these two chums were chosen exclusively would be most interesting to know.
    They were probably chosen by producer Hal Davis. Being that this was primarily a disco lp, there wasn't much emphasis put on lyrics.

    i enjoy this album. It was well orchestrated but was issued when disco was waning. I still think Red Hot was the weakest track on the lp, I always considered it cheap disco. Very unimaginative. I would have picked an extended version of Midnight Dancer as the first single followed by Warm Summer Night and possibly I've Got What You Need as a third single

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    Quote Originally Posted by BayouMotownMan View Post
    They were probably chosen by producer Hal Davis.

    i enjoy this album. It was well orchestrated but was issued when disco was waning. I still think Red Hot was the weakest track on the lp, I always considered it cheap disco. Very unimaginative. I would have picked an extended version of Midnight Dancer as the first single followed by Warm Summer Night and possibly I've Got What You Need as a third single
    Very good .....but why?... why these two and for all the songs....surely Hal had a couple of potential tracks on reserve in his cache....in a similar way he dug up DONT LEAVE ME THIS WAY .

    Is it a disco album , or an album that includes some disco??? I can't remember.
    I could make a long list of classic songs from many genres done disco. And, I would think judging from LOVE HANGOVER and DON'T LEAVE , Hal would've been in tune to the idea that good lyrics can elevate a disco production.

    My interpretation is Mary just showed up to sing some songs ....whatever they were... I hardly think it was a dream come true for her to sing some contrived disco tunes ...


    It came off as 'cheap' disco [formula], exactly .... which also makes me wonder how important Art Wright was to Hal Davis' work ....


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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    Very good .....but why?... why these two and for all the songs....surely Hal had a couple of potential tracks on reserve in his cache....in a similar way he dug up DONT LEAVE ME THIS WAY .

    Is it a disco album , or an album that includes some disco??? I can't remember.
    I could make a long list of classic songs from many genres done disco. And, I would think judging from LOVE HANGOVER and DON'T LEAVE , Hal would've been in tune to the idea that good lyrics can elevate a disco production.

    My interpretation is Mary just showed up to sing some songs ....whatever they were... I hardly think it was a dream come true for her to sing some contrived disco tunes ...


    It came off as 'cheap' disco [formula], exactly .... which also makes me wonder how important Art Wright was to Hal Davis' work ....

    I think first and foremost Mary was was just mega relieved to be recording her first solo album. I would also imagine Gordy had dictated the album be finalised ASAP, being keen to be rid of her. This would account for the lack of effort in finding quality songs.
    At that point in time Mary didn’t have a clue where she was heading musically, so might well have thought why not disco. That lack of musical foresight was to cost her dear.
    I agree with Bayou in that “Red Hot” probably killed any chance the album might have had.

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    It's unfortunate that the album didn't play to Mary's strengths as a vocalist. Personally, I'm not convinced that if Motown had handed her over to, for instance, James Anthony Carmichael, or even Smokey or Stevie or Marvin, that the resulting album would have found much success because Motown was disinterested in finding success for Mary Wilson. There may have been some buzz and interest, but ultimately the album would've sunk just like MW lp. But the difference between the MW album and one that might have been better produced in someone else's hands, had Mary recorded an album of songs that best showed who she was as a singer, had the album found critical acclaim even if a commercial failure, Mary could have used that album as a launch pad even after Motown dropped her. But I imagine any exec who held the minimal interest in signing Mary may have been put off by her last public work. The industry has always held tight to the "what have you done lately" motto, with few exceptions. The truth is that Mary Wilson was a new solo artist on the block, but she was a legend in the biz as a Supreme, a Supreme who more often than not was singing background. The MW album didn't do her any favors. The Gus D album should have been her ticket, yet once again luck was not on Mary's side.

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    I've always really liked Mary's solo LP. Strangely, I've never seen her perform any of the songs live - but I guess my first time seeing Mary perform was about 1990. After that time, I've managed to see her many times - each performance, you can tell she was enjoying entertaining the audience, and none of the "I'm a diva" attitude.

    As soon as we're able to buy the Real Gone CD over here, I'll be ordering it.

    Conversely I thought the "Partners" LP was absolutely hideous and just can't bear to listen to any of it.

    Somehow - I can't remember who wrote it - but perhaps Motown wanted all three singers gone from their roster - and hence lack of support for Mary's LP, and just awful tracks given to the other two. I'm sorry, but I find the screeching on the "Partners" LP so painful for my ears!

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    @gordy_hunk,

    I always thought both albums suffered from being comprised almost entirely of original songs. I think both albums would have benefited more from the classic Motown album formula of including several Motown songs originally made famous by other artists, or a few modern standards. I will say that after seeing Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene perform live twice, the songs they performed from their album come off better in a live setting than they did on the album itself. As with you however, having seen Mary Wilson perform a few times, I never heard her perform anything from her solo project.

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    Lyrically I think Partners is much stronger than Mary's solo album. Especially Another Life From Now. In terms of production quality I prefer Mary's album.

    If one doesn't like the songs on Partners, though, don't blame Motown. Scherrie and Susaye wrote the songs. They weren't handed to them to sing like Mary's album.

    I really wonder what Mary thought at the time of the lyrics of the songs she recorded for this album? Her performance was certainly game and she gave it her all.

    And what songs from the album were ever a part of her live show? I know Red Hot was for much of the 80s. And her Club New York New York debut show had Midnight Dancer and I Love a Warm Summer Night as well as Red Hot. I hope Pick Up the Pieces was part of the live show at some point as that's the only song on the album with lyrics with any sort of substance for a ballad specialist like Mary to sink her teeth into.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Ollie9 View Post
    I think first and foremost Mary was was just mega relieved to be recording her first solo album. I would also imagine Gordy had dictated the album be finalised ASAP, being keen to be rid of her. This would account for the lack of effort in finding quality songs.
    At that point in time Mary didn’t have a clue where she was heading musically, so might well have thought why not disco. That lack of musical foresight was to cost her dear.
    I agree with Bayou in that “Red Hot” probably killed any chance the album might have had.

    But I would think almost every project was under the gun with deadlines, this was the norm , isn't that a big part of a producer's role to scout out material and organize studio time in a timely efficient way. A producer has to produce!! Hal Davis was no schlep , unless his talents really relied on his wrapping himself with qualified assistants, because it does seem as though by this time his skills had flattened .
    I'd like to think he wasn't chosen for this job because Berry wanted the project to sink and choosing Davis would facilitate that. And I'd like to think that Hal Davis was the kind of guy that would give it his all, and not be part of some conspiracy to do Mary Wilson in.

    So who the hell were Frank Busey and John Duarte that they be given such a huge chunk of the project ....the entirety of it. Why would Hal Davis think that a good idea? [shame on him!] It is absurd unless that really was the goal: to serve up Mary with a plate of crap.

    But also shame on her to be so clueless as to what she wanted to record when the chance was given her . Mary didn't think to call up Ashford and Simpson, Pam Sawyer ....or whoever amongst all she had connections with .... and say "I really need a hot song" ....

    Didn't she see from Flo's experience at ABC how important this was. ...."Oh well, I'll do disco [its working for Diane]"... there were easily thirteen hundred plus eager divas lined up competing for their turn to sing at the disco conga line ....

    I can understand Mary being grateful , but she needed to take it much more seriously.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-28-2021 at 12:29 PM.

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    Mary performed "Midnight Dancer" on television several times, coincidentally once on an overseas disco competition show. IMO that's a much stronger track than "Red Hot" with all the cat howls and "woo-wees". Still, it would have been nice for her to include it in her shows.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post

    And what songs from the album were ever a part of her live show? I know Red Hot was for much of the 80s. And her Club New York New York debut show had Midnight Dancer and I Love a Warm Summer Night as well as Red Hot. I hope Pick Up the Pieces was part of the live show at some point as that's the only song on the album with lyrics with any sort of substance for a ballad specialist like Mary to sink her teeth into.
    In 1987 or 1988, I saw Mary in concert for the first time. She did perform RED HOT but I remember it being rather sped up and sort of Vegas-y, with her bringing a fan on stage to dance with her.

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    I did some googling and one of the writers of the Mary Wilson solo album wrote this "gem" for Tiffany in 1988.


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    Used to love me some Tiffany when I was a kid. Lol I kind of like "Radio Romance". It's no "I Think We're Alone Now", but it's late 80s fun kids stuff. Doesn't appear that the writers evolved much from Mary's album though, huh?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Spreadinglove21 View Post
    I did some googling and one of the writers of the Mary Wilson solo album wrote this "gem" for Tiffany in 1988.

    hoo boy. I wonder how Mary felt when she realized heíd held back his best from her.



    [I wonder if a lawsuit was considered ]
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-29-2021 at 02:55 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    Used to love me some Tiffany when I was a kid. Lol I kind of like "Radio Romance". It's no "I Think We're Alone Now", but it's late 80s fun kids stuff. Doesn't appear that the writers evolved much from Mary's album though, huh?
    Ran, we must be from the same generation.....Tiffany was my jam! I was just listening to "All This Time" last night, lol.

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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post
    Mary performed "Midnight Dancer" on television several times, coincidentally once on an overseas disco competition show. IMO that's a much stronger track than "Red Hot" with all the cat howls and "woo-wees". Still, it would have been nice for her to include it in her shows.
    A three minute plus disco song was absolutely pointless. No dj was going to bother with it. If you were going to go the disco angle with Mary , you needed to do it right.
    The 12” should have been two sided with a six minute or more version of midnight dancer on the flip of red hot. It would have done better —- which is not to say it would’ve become a floor filler.
    I don’t know why the successful disco veteran Hal Davis didn’t know better. If he submitted a longer version that got whittled down for the album , again, how absurd.
    One more part of this puzzle that is perplexing.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-29-2021 at 12:35 PM.

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    Midnight Dancer is actually over six minutes long. They faded just after 3 minutes for the album and single. And yes, it's surprising they didn't use the full version on the 12". Similar with some Supremes songs from the last albums. I think I mentioned, Early Morning Love and Where Do I Go From Here were much longer. We've got the long version of Early Morning Love on the upcoming Anthology. And Kevin did a great mix!

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Solomon View Post
    Midnight Dancer is actually over six minutes long. They faded just after 3 minutes for the album and single. And yes, it's surprising they didn't use the full version on the 12". Similar with some Supremes songs from the last albums. I think I mentioned, Early Morning Love and Where Do I Go From Here were much longer. We've got the long version of Early Morning Love on the upcoming Anthology. And Kevin did a great mix!

    Can't wait to hear the long version of "Early Morning Love." I just love that song and think it suited Mary's voice perfectly. I love when she sings, "Touch my shoulder...turn me over!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Solomon View Post
    Midnight Dancer is actually over six minutes long. They faded just after 3 minutes for the album and single. And yes, it's surprising they didn't use the full version on the 12". Similar with some Supremes songs from the last albums. I think I mentioned, Early Morning Love and Where Do I Go From Here were much longer. We've got the long version of Early Morning Love on the upcoming Anthology. And Kevin did a great mix!
    It's always good to hear that Early Morning Love lasts longer than 3 minutes. Can't wait to hear the great work you all have done. Thanks again for your tireless efforts.

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    I would say as far as Mary wanting to choose songs for her debut, she clearly must have remembered that she definitely did not like "Where Did Our Love Go" and was surprised it became a #1 hit. I believe she wrote that after that she "knew" to choose the picking of the songs to the company. I believe both Diana and Flo also didn't care for the song. I always liked Midnight Dancer much more and I really liked I Love A Warm Summer Night. It took me many years to notice the James Brown groove and influence on "Red Hot" and that made me appreciate it more. Once Mary did choose songs or someone who would choose songs best for her voice and style with Gus Dudgeon, Motown declined them and showed her the door. Anyone who listens to those four songs could easily tell they were a superior product and would have been a potential hit of some kind for Mary and Motown alike. Listening to all of this music now makes me appreciate it a bit more than I did at the time as I was seriously hoping for more songs like she was featured on in each Supremes album in the 1970's- like A Heart Like Mine, I Keep It Hid, Early Morning LOve, You Turn Me Around, Don't Let My Teardrops Bother You,Till The Boat Sails Away,I Don't Wanna Lose You, You're What's Missing In My Life,We Should Be Closer Together and You Are The Heart Of Me. Listening to those songs and then her first solo album seemed like it was coming from a much different place artistically than what her progression had been in the previous years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sup_fan View Post
    also additional tracks add to studio costs. Mary hypothesized in her book that motown gave her the recording contract in order to get her to drop her lawsuit. if that was the case, they would have most likely approached her album with the idea of keeping costs at a minimum. she was assigned to work with Hal and he might have been assigned a short amount of studio time and very limited budget to work with.

    think about the stories Deke told with Everything Is Everything. he was given a very very short window to work with. Berry wanted an lp ASAP. he states in the booklet that had he had more time, he might have come up with more original material.

    so for the MW album, if Hal was given a short window and small budget, he might have just taken existing tracks or things he had on the shelf and had her quickly record them. Also it's easier, cheaper and faster to simply extend a song with more instrumental breaks in order to pad out an album rather than coming up with an 8th or 9th song.

    my guess is motown wanted to invest as little as possible in this project. they had no intentions of promoting Mary as a solo artist, no intentions of doing much promotion of her album and no intentions of a long-term career with mary.
    I agree Iím sure Motown had very little interest in this project, and Mary, knowing they had no use for her, was a fool to settle for a contract. Iím dumbfounded she fell for this. Of course, she had been trying desperately to get a contract on another label and it didnít go well, so maybe she felt if she got something going here things might look up. It was quite a gamble.

    Motown was interesting because they signed artists with absolutely no idea what they were going to do with them. That includes diana ross as a solo if you think about it. They gave away her debut single to the Supremes and then had to scramble from scratch to try to find some thing, and then they had to scratch to find some thing that didnít sound like a fifth dimension out take. Tina turnerĎs re-emergence came from a man with a plan who had a vision and respect for her as an artist and an entertainer. Mary didnít have that. Her last album with the group didnít even chart, and she was the big draw in that group. I wish that she had better advice so that something couldíve been planned out for a great splashy launch to her solo career. This album, save for mary wilsonĎs diehard fans, has almost no commercial appeal whatsoever. Itís an eight track exercise in mediocrity it has a little bits here and there that are wonderful. But this isnít the kind of music that Mary I had a talent for, I understand why they went with a dance album, because contrary to what some people here say, disco was still huge in 1979 there were dozens of top 40 hit disco records in 1979. Itís just too bad that no one at any record company saw a financial return on Mary. And yes, she carved quite an impressive career for herself!

    I canít imagine that Motown gave any kind of timeline for the release for this project. Deke Richards was given a timeline because Gordy wanted a back up plan in case the album by Ashford and Simpson didnít sell. That wasnít the case here at all. I agree that Motown probably want to spend as little money as possible on the album because they didnít expect to get any return on it from the royalties. I play the album through last night, we were looking through the weekly Billboard charts from 1979 in 1980 and it just reiterated that this music was not in any way shape or form going to fit on the playlists because, sadly, it just wasnít very good by comparison.

    I donít blame Motown, itís a business and all businesses do what they can to maximize profits and minimize mistakes.I just wish that Mary had signed with another label and had some success so she could have showed Motown what they missed out on.

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    Allowing for the fact that Motown was indeed a business, any semblance of family unity that was seen on display at the Motown picnic of 74 seems to have all but evaporated by 79/80.
    Mary was no doubt sweet talked into a solo contract by Gordy, her lawsuit being a rather healthy one. She was then unceremoniously dumped without second thought. Nice.
    It is possible the powers that be considered her solo voice rather uncommercial, expecting little return no matter how polished or promoted the finished product might be. Hence the dime a dozen songs.
    From a financial perspective as opposed to creative one, even Diana was being ripped off by the company.
    I wonder if Motown might have put more effort into Mary’s solo album had Diana no longer been signed. Would the fact they still had at least one original Supreme have made a difference. Would Gordy have pushed Mary to get back at Diana for leaving?. Just a thought.
    Last edited by Ollie9; 10-30-2021 at 08:15 AM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gordy_hunk View Post
    I've always really liked Mary's solo LP. Strangely, I've never seen her perform any of the songs live - but I guess my first time seeing Mary perform was about 1990. After that time, I've managed to see her many times - each performance, you can tell she was enjoying entertaining the audience, and none of the "I'm a diva" attitude.

    As soon as we're able to buy the Real Gone CD over here, I'll be ordering it.

    Conversely I thought the "Partners" LP was absolutely hideous and just can't bear to listen to any of it.

    Somehow - I can't remember who wrote it - but perhaps Motown wanted all three singers gone from their roster - and hence lack of support for Mary's LP, and just awful tracks given to the other two. I'm sorry, but I find the screeching on the "Partners" LP so painful for my ears!
    I agree . Iíve always liked Maryís album a lot . Itís not earth shattering but itís ok.
    in contrast I find Partners a hideous,hot mess thatís quite pretentious.
    I know itís different strokes for different folks but Iíve never liked Susayeís voice . Way to screechy & shrill for me and the songs on this album try to hard for me

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    Quote Originally Posted by George Solomon View Post
    Midnight Dancer is actually over six minutes long. They faded just after 3 minutes for the album and single. And yes, it's surprising they didn't use the full version on the 12". Similar with some Supremes songs from the last albums. I think I mentioned, Early Morning Love and Where Do I Go From Here were much longer. We've got the long version of Early Morning Love on the upcoming Anthology. And Kevin did a great mix!
    Thanks!, this is good to know. At least Hal is off the hook in this sense. He had to know that disco invented the 12” single so as to accommodate the longer tunes DJs embraced [and with their superior sound quality]. Three minutes barely gives anybody time to get on the dance floor before the song’s over.

    I suspect similar edits were done to his THANK GOD ITS FRIDAY contributions.

    could be argued someone along the way reduced MIDNIGHT DANCER to fit the time space of the LP[?] but even if so that doesn’t explain the absurd decision to put the three minute version on the 12 “.
    Since they handed Rusty Garner RED HOT to play with why not MIDNIGHT DANCER too. Poorly executed.

    So the edit is just truncated. Maybe there is gold in the second half, a killer break, a crescendo ending. Not overly hopeful since they had to call in Rusty to try to liven up RED HOT.
    I’m trying to understand what has happened to Hal Davis by this time.
    Those fantastic intros to both LOVE HANGOVER and DONT LEAVE ME .
    He wasn’t wanting to deliver similar quality for Mary ? His own reputation was on the line too.

    i look forward to those Supremes nuggets.

    added:
    wait a minute , the longer discovered version of MIDNIGHT DANCER isn’t on the anthology …..
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-30-2021 at 11:03 AM.

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    Don't get too excited. The longer Midnight Dancer contains no new info. It just goes on for another three and a half minutes at the end. The back up singers repeating the chorus and Mary ad-libbing. That's probably why it was faded. But it would have worked for a 12" single. It would have been easy to create a break or instrumental during those last 3 minutes and then bring the voices back in. Actually, all the songs on the album were considerably longer [[even the long ones were trimmed down.) We wish we could have remixed the whole album but there wasn't the time or space. Maybe another project. I know... wishful thinking considering how long it takes to get a project approved.

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    That a hidden masterpiece had been suppressed seemed a long shot at best. Longer does not in of itself mean better, especially
    more of the same. Now I’m wondering what RED HOT sounded like before Rusty Garner had a poke at it.
    I know I’m repeating it, but still have to question, what the heck happened to Hal Davis here.

  39. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    This is what I see at discogs:

    The song, RED HOT was remixed and extended into a special 12" version, commissioned by DJ Rusty Garner , that was available for purchase in the US, Canada and the UK. Those same three countries pressed promo copies for clubs , DJs, record stores etc...., the US promo being pressed on special red 'hot' vinyl.

    The 45 for RED HOT had promo [radio] copies made in the US and the UK.
    The 45 was pressed commercially in the US , Canada, UK , Portugal, Netherlands, Italy and Spain.

    No mention of the album punched as promos but the LP was pressed in 8 countries:
    US UK Canada France Portugal Germany Argentina Spain

    A second single PICK UP THE PIECES was released in the UK in 1980 with both a commercial and promo pressing.

    * added: curiously on the PICK UP THE PIECES 45 label: co-production is given to Bobby Belle. No involvement by him was credited on the LP.
    I’m not following how pressing an LP in eight countries is seen as trying to quash somebody’s career ?
    And despite plenty of push, RED HOT just wasn’t. Then another attempt, a second single was tried in a manner that often worked for Motown , through the UK market.

    is it just a case of you can lead a horse to water ….
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 10-31-2021 at 11:51 AM.

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    There’s seem to me that there really wasn’t a push
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I’m not following how pressing an LP in eight countries is seen as trying to quash somebody’s career ?
    And despite plenty of push, RED HOT just wasn’t. Then another attempt, a second single was tried in a manner that often worked for Motown , through the UK market.

    is it just a case of you can lead a horse to water ….

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    Quote Originally Posted by blackguy69 View Post
    Thereís seem to me that there really wasnít a push
    There wasn't really any push. In The US, in my local newspaper buried in the last pages of the Sunday Entertainment section was a photo of her and a small caption that Mary Wilson was giving up her "Supreme Image" after her solo debut in New York, New York a disco. In my local radio stations, Red Hot was only played on the R&B station WAMO and it listed on their charts all the way up to #7 and I did hear it playing on a boombox while taking a bus to college. Still, never heard it on the local pop stations at all. I worked in a mall and did not see her album at any of the local record stores. I managed to find one lone copy at Zelda's, a store by the Pitt Campus. I never saw it advertised anywhere in print, in stores or anywhere else. So, when the second Original Supreme goes solo after the group disbanded the publicity on that alone should have been in the entertainment media somewhat. Granted, Motown only gave her the deal so she'd drop her lawsuit and Motown and her husband/manager did not have any positive relationship at all. But with everybody going on that it was given a push, the simple fact is it was not and definitely not nearly what even an outside observer could see because this was the second Supreme going solo on the Motown label. It should have received far more publicity than it did.

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    I keep reading that Motown made this album deal as part of a scheme to get rid of Mary ….what is the source of this info ?

    also what ‘push’ did Flo get from ABC in comparison?

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    @Boogie,

    I think to surmise as many people have that Motown entered the deal to ďget rid of Maryď is not really an accurate rendering. Obviously, the album was part of a settlement with Mary so she would give up demands to use of the Supremes name and and the litigation back-and-forth which I believe had been going on for a few years by that point though someone may wish to correct me on that. But with any settlement, the obvious purpose is to have the plaintiff waive all their complaint demands so both parties can move forward without having to encourage the continuous rising costs of attorneys and court. Of course any company like Motown can bide their time more than someone in Maryís position because they have deeper pockets and time is always on one partyís side in any litigation, no matter what the kind of case it is.


    I think a more realistic assessment is that the album was simply part of the litigation and resulting global settlement, and had it hit Motown wouldíve likely followed it up with another release. In Maryís case, the album just wasnít very good and didnít sell unfortunately.


    Just my thoughts.

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    Quote Originally Posted by kenneth View Post
    @Boogie,

    I think to surmise as many people have that Motown entered the deal to “get rid of Mary“ is not really an accurate rendering. Obviously, the album was part of a settlement with Mary so she would give up demands to use of the Supremes name and and the litigation back-and-forth which I believe had been going on for a few years by that point though someone may wish to correct me on that. But with any settlement, the obvious purpose is to have the plaintiff waive all their complaint demands so both parties can move forward without having to encourage the continuous rising costs of attorneys and court. Of course any company like Motown can bide their time more than someone in Mary’s position because they have deeper pockets and time is always on one party’s side in any litigation, no matter what the kind of case it is.


    I think a more realistic assessment is that the album was simply part of the litigation and resulting global settlement, and had it hit Motown would’ve likely followed it up with another release. In Mary’s case, the album just wasn’t very good and didn’t sell unfortunately.


    Just my thoughts.

    I would also add that according to Mary, her solo deal was for five years with two lps per year. I admit that I don't know how many artists were releasing two lps per year in those days. Maybe she meant she was to record two albums per year?

    In any event, after her first solo lp was released, she went to England and recorded four songs with Elton John's producer Gus Dudgeon. Motown rejected the tracks, gave Mary the masters [which is rare], and dropped her from the label.

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    Thank you Kenneth and Reese. So thus far no one is providing a source that lays it out that the intention was to sink Mary Wilson with this album.
    Reese I know you are pretty thorough in your referencing.
    Kenneth I agree that it was part of an agreement to provide an album if that’s what it took to resolve this, and I bet it likely Berry’s heart wasn’t in it , but was his heart into anything at this point? Did he have anything to do with Diana’s output at this point? Or any other artist ?
    I find it hard to believe that Berry would be upset that Mary had a big selling LP. I don’t think he ever expected it, but I doubt he wished it to not happen.

    Motown was rife with disgruntled employees and litigations and people came and went.
    Was anybody permanently banned ??
    when Eddie and David caused disruption didn’t Berry nonetheless want them to be successful? A&S returned as did HDH.
    I suspect the deal was made including a not too shabby Hal Davis as the producer. Maybe Mary requested him knowing what he’d done for Diana.
    But when she showed up at the planning and was asked what she wanted on her album, and all they got from her was a blank stare, it went downhill from there.
    Last edited by Boogiedown; 11-01-2021 at 10:59 AM.

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    Funny you say no one is providing a source to "sink Mary", yet you go on to assume she was asked about what she wanted for the album and got a "blank stare". Where was that documented?

    I think Mary's fault was trusting Motown would take care of her, as they did in the 60's. Motown, Berry, HDH, and others knew what course to take the Supremes. What sound was hot. What lyrics work. It was a promotional machine. Mary probably hoped the same would work for her solo career. It didn't.

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    When Mary recorded her album, disco was hot so it's not like Motown gave her a bunch of doo wop tunes. It's just by the time it was released disco had saturated the market and there was a backlash [[some justified due to saturation and poor records, some not justified, as it was malicious if not outright evil, and fueled by racism and homophobia).

    And as the last Supremes line ups saw only significant play and sales in the disco market, it makes sense to direct Mary's first album to that market.

    Only problem was that Mary's talents weren't based on being a Disco Diva type vocalist. But I think she does a decent enough job with her vocals on her solo debut, even if the ad libs get repetitive.

    A shame that a few more songwriters weren't called in for the album.

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    I just read in an old Mary Wilson Fan Club newsletter [[take it for what it's worth) that had the Supremes continued after the MSS album, there was talk they would be paired with Pam Sawyer and Marilyn McLeod. I wonder if High Energy's TURNIN ON album might have gone to the Supremes? Or, what if Pam and Marilyn would have written for Mary's solo debut?

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    Quote Originally Posted by marybrewster View Post

    I think Mary's fault was trusting Motown would take care of her, as they did in the 60's. Motown, Berry, HDH, and others knew what course to take the Supremes. What sound was hot. What lyrics work. It was a promotional machine. Mary probably hoped the same would work for her solo career. It didn't.
    If that were true, it would be a real shame because it would mean Mary hadn't learned much over the past X years. Why would she trust Motown to tune into all of that at that point when they certainly weren't doing much of that for the Supremes in the 70s? I'm sure there was a part of Mary that wanted to believe that Motown would do right by her, especially if Gordy was around. But Motown dropped the ball with Mary's group and the company never seemed to get behind her as a lead vocalist with the group [[although it did greenlight four singles- one of which was a hit- with Mary as co-lead). It boggles my mind that she thought this would magically change because she was no longer in the group.

    I do agree with other's thoughts that Motown wasn't necessarily "hoping" for Mary's failure. They put money into the album and would have most certainly appreciated a return in investment for their "troubles". But they were only willing to be "troubled" as a result of the lawsuit, and the terms of dropping it. Motown appears to have been disinterested in putting in the work to get Mary Wilson solo artist into anything substantial. The fact that the label heard Mary's GD demos and still showed her the door, with masters in hand, tells me all I need to know about it's interest in Mary. They did the bare minimum- or close to it- for her solo and then turned their attention elsewhere.

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    I wonder if Mary had secured a label across the pond for her debut if things might have turned out differently. In the States, even after 15 years with the Supremes, I don't know how recognizable her name was. In the UK however, Mary seemed to be the toast of the town. I think she even eluded that fans overseas, even in the 80's and 90's, had a greater appreciation for her. Not to say we didn't love our Mary here, but think about groups like the Three Degrees; just as popular today in Japan as 40 years ago.

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