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  1. #1
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    The Rick James documentary & The Mynah Birds unreleased Motown recordings

    Greetings all and thank you for such wonderful Motown posts!

    Apologies if this has been discussed before [[I couldn’t find a post on this).
    ‘Bitchin': The Sound and Fury of Rick James’ was an insightful documentary on an exceptionally talented yet troubled musical mastermind. Can anyone help shed more light on The Mynah Birds incredible story of Motown sessions between 18-26 January 1966 recorded for an album...

    We’ve had the joy and pleasure of 5 recordings; 1966’s ‘It’s My Time’ / ‘Go On And Cry’ [[V.I.P. 25033), ‘I’ve Got You [[In My Soul)’, ‘I’ll Wait Forever’, and the 1967 new group member more soulful re-recording of ‘It’s My Time’.

    In the documentary, and in other interviews, Mynah Birds drummer, Rickman Mason, says they recorded “24 hours a day” over a few days, and that there were 6-8 1966 recordings. Given Motown’s norm of 3 songs an hour, this would seem to make sense?

    He also states that the 1966 recording sessions had contributions from Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Tammi Terrell. Neil Young said; “Smokey Robinson dropped in and was helping us, and some of The Four Tops would come in and back up our vocals, standing behind us as we sang. They made us sound cool”.

    John Taylor’s widow Carolyn has five separate song-writing contracts signed by Rick James and her late husband for Jobete Music, dated 18 January 1966;
    “We Gotta Go”, “Don’t Change Your Mind” and “Pretty Words”.

    Could there really be 1966 recorded takes with The Mynah Birds and those other established Motown artists?! They are not identifiable on the 5 released recordings. That could be members of The Four Tops providing the additional backgrounds/harmonies on the 1966 and/or 1967’s versions of ‘It’s My Time’ and ‘Go On And Cry’?

    It would be a dream [[and further significant music history) to hear Neil Young harmonise with Tammi Terrell… or The Supremes backing Rick in ‘66… or the first collaboration with Smokey pre ‘Ebony Eyes… or Stevie tinkering on the piano….

    This is how I understand it went down:
    1965 - Demo audition backing track of ‘No Greater Love’ produced by Harvey Fuqua.
    1966 - The above 4 released recordings with musicians Neil Young, John Taylor, Rickman Mason, Bruce Palmer, produced by Mike Valvano, R. Dean Taylor, Mickey Stevenson.
    1967 - Re-recording of ‘It’s My Time’ with musicians Bill Ross, Al Morrison, Neil Merryweather, Vernon Wayne Pickel, prodec by R. Dean Taylor.
    1968 - 2 other unreleased recordings; ‘Masquerade’ and ‘Fantasy’.
    1969 - Rick co-writes and produces ‘Out In The Country’ for Bobby Taylor and ‘Sunshine Train’ for The Spinners [[and possibly for The Miracles and The Marvelettes?),

    Does anyone know more on these unreleased Rick James & co recordings? And what other Motown artists may have been at - and contributed to - the sessions?

    As a side note, this means Rick James and George Clinton were both around at Motown on and off 1965-1969 as both were in the pool of staff songwriters.


    Thank you for any help!

  2. #2
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    Where can we see this documentary? I'm interested.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by soulster View Post
    Where can we see this documentary? I'm interested.
    It aired on Showtime. I'm not sure if it has been released on home video.

  4. #4
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  5. #5
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    There is another title for the January 1966 sessions called "Little Girl Go". Also those titles "Masquerade" "Fantasy" were from June 1967 and not 1968

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