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  1. #51
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    Ralph, thanks for this update, if so, sad news!

  2. #52
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    I believe they were on Smokey's "Just My Soul Responding", which is both an amazing song and a powerful critique of the treatment of African American and Native people in the US. It also incorporates Native American style chants as provided by XIT.
    Not having ever been a big Smokey solo fan, I hadn't heard this song until about 2011 when I bought his 2-CD anthology. I found the song to be one of the most adventurous, amazing, and haunting tracks he has ever done.

  3. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralpht View Post
    Tom, I'm not that familiar with Redbone's music but I don't think it was as political as XIT. I know they were rather serious rivals for a period of time until both bands appeared together at a concert. It was here, from what
    i was told, they buried the hatchet.
    because Redbone was commercially successful, they had to disguise the politics in a clever way. The most blatant single was "Wovoka" in 1974. Of course, most audiences didn't pick up on it because of the public's ignorance about Native American history. The single didn't even make the Billboard Hot 100, which must have been extremely disappointing after their #1 single "Come And Get Your Love". One more bubbling-under single after that and they were done.

  4. #54
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    I have a fond Redbone memory.

    At the Kern County fairgrounds , in an indoor building with a stage, where you stood to watch performances, no seating , where I also saw Al Green, Dr Hook performed and Redbone opened, hot on the heels of COME AND GET YOUR LOVE.
    After their set there was a long pause waiting for Dr Hook. Finally an upset Ray Sawyer came out and announced that the promoter had made off with all the money for the show.

    "But you know what? We're gonna give you a show anyway!"

    Bless them, they made good of the obligation to their fans and didn't make us pay the price, and I remember it being a great show. They probably were more loose with a feeling of nothing to lose. Worked off their distress in their performing.

  5. #55
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    Soulster, thank you for the information on Redbone. I really never knew all that much about the band.

  6. #56
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1382hitsville View Post
    Hm, that is a tough one to answer. Mr Gordy motto is "innovate or stagnate" The first 10 years of Motown the US and the world changed a lot.

    With all of the talented people he gathered around him during this decade the Motown Sound was created and the company was often seen as a trailblazer. But once a trail has been blown and standards has been set, that became the new reality. The bar was raised. Other companies followed and sometimes became better than Motown at it.

    However, don't forget the new music standards Marvin, Stevie, Diana, Smokey, Jackson 5, Temptations [please add...] set after the move to LA.

    Old Motown was gone and evolved into something new. That kept happening. Some members call this period from there on "just another label". There is some truth in that, the family feeling was gone, Hitsville was closed and LA was the main office now. Remember what Ralph wrote about the sophisticated studios in LA?

    After the sale of Motown, should the label be closed? There where some thoughts about it but Universal saw that there was still money to be made. Not just as a classic re-issue label, but as a current hip-hop label.Remeber the ill fated rebranding with the new Motown logo?

    New Motown doesn't do it for me and the newest Motown music I have bought was from 702. But I hardly listen to that.
    'Nuff said!

  7. #57
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    To piggyback off of the previous post, that Motown Sound we commonly think of was what set the label apart from all others, as far as the music went. When you heard a Motown record you usually knew instantly that it was a Motown record, even if the label was a subsidiary. As the 70s arrived, and certainly as that decade progressed, there was no longer an identifiable Motown Sound. The Philly Sound and others would become the distinguishing sounds of the decade and Motown would be relegated to a "no special sound" label. Which of course is not to diminish the popularity and success of Marvin, Stevie, Diana, the J5, the Miracles, and a handful of others who still managed to release popular music. Motown just never captured another homogenized sound that threaded their artists together. Honestly, I don't have a problem with this. Motown came and conquered like no other record label before or since, so IMO they didn't really need to step their game up in finding another sound to compete with the "new" guys.

    What messed Motown up was shutting down Detroit music operations and moving it to California. I would never suggest that Gordy not pursue his dream of moving into the movie industry, so why not just open a film and broader entertainment division in LA and leave the music in Detroit? Also it seems like he focused on his new dream and wasn't heavily involved in the music side of things. While Gordy certainly had some clunker ideas over the years, Motown's golden age was his baby. With him no longer hovering over the music, the discography of the legendary acts sometimes suffered, and the new acts who were brought on it seems barely got a chance to make their mark. No more artist development. No more sticking with an act for a time to see what works and what doesn't. I reckon in that sense, Motown moved out to LA and decided to blend in with everyone else rather than maintain a specialty.

    Despite this, throughout the 80s and 90s Motown was still the label for some of the biggest acts in the world and it is unfortunate that it's legacy is often reduced to only the golden age and the accomplishments of the three biggest acts on the label throughout the 70s. Debarge, Lionel Richie, Boyz II Men, among others, were killing it at various times.
    Similarly, as an aside, to what happened with Phil Spector's, Wall of Sound. But then again he had a few distractions in his life.

  8. #58
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    Quote Originally Posted by RanRan79 View Post
    To piggyback off of the previous post, that Motown Sound we commonly think of was what set the label apart from all others, as far as the music went. When you heard a Motown record you usually knew instantly that it was a Motown record, even if the label was a subsidiary. As the 70s arrived, and certainly as that decade progressed, there was no longer an identifiable Motown Sound. The Philly Sound and others would become the distinguishing sounds of the decade and Motown would be relegated to a "no special sound" label. Which of course is not to diminish the popularity and success of Marvin, Stevie, Diana, the J5, the Miracles, and a handful of others who still managed to release popular music. Motown just never captured another homogenized sound that threaded their artists together. Honestly, I don't have a problem with this. Motown came and conquered like no other record label before or since, so IMO they didn't really need to step their game up in finding another sound to compete with the "new" guys.

    What messed Motown up was shutting down Detroit music operations and moving it to California. I would never suggest that Gordy not pursue his dream of moving into the movie industry, so why not just open a film and broader entertainment division in LA and leave the music in Detroit? Also it seems like he focused on his new dream and wasn't heavily involved in the music side of things. While Gordy certainly had some clunker ideas over the years, Motown's golden age was his baby. With him no longer hovering over the music, the discography of the legendary acts sometimes suffered, and the new acts who were brought on it seems barely got a chance to make their mark. No more artist development. No more sticking with an act for a time to see what works and what doesn't. I reckon in that sense, Motown moved out to LA and decided to blend in with everyone else rather than maintain a specialty.

    Despite this, throughout the 80s and 90s Motown was still the label for some of the biggest acts in the world and it is unfortunate that it's legacy is often reduced to only the golden age and the accomplishments of the three biggest acts on the label throughout the 70s. Debarge, Lionel Richie, Boyz II Men, among others, were killing it at various times.
    I'm sure that probably accounts for the Motown Unreleased series of singles. And many acts and production personnel leaving the label, i.e., HDH.

  9. #59
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralpht View Post
    I can't say I was thrilled on how the Funk Brothers were dismissed.
    Yeah, Ralph that doc film on them a few years ago was heart wrenching; especially after meticulously giving you each member's current status, then, showing us an empty chair and instrument in the studio. Ouchie.

  10. #60
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogiedown View Post
    I guess logistically the company couldn't have continued out of two camps ...maybe financially too much a stretch, I hope they at least considered it. It seems a waste that the set up in Detroit was demolished with so much there to offer still remaining.


    The Funk Bros. were dismissed??
    I read somewhere, Boogiedown, that when the label folded - in Detroit - for good, all the furnishings, awards, stationary, etc.was just unceremoniously hauled away in huge dumpsters. Fans were deprived of rich Motown history/memories. Only staff came away with some of those gems. Come to think of it niw. I do believe I read this in the adampwhite/westgrand blog. So sad all.

  11. #61
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralpht View Post
    Look at it this way....L,A. had top session musicians for their production. And that was just fine. And what you are going to get is a good structured session.. But you can't buy what the Funk Brothers brought to the table. These guys were doing three and four sessions a day, and then playing together in the clubs at night. This put them in a completely different category. More like a very tight knit band, which is exactly what they were.
    And was it true, Ralph, that some - if not all - the Funks had classical and jazz training backgrounds?

    Well, at least Drew Schultz is doing a serviceable job of keeping the Funks undeniable legacy at Motown alive today. He often teams with Funks' progeny or former Motown group leads. Do you know or have heard of him, Ralph?

  12. #62
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    Quote Originally Posted by ralpht View Post
    I remember Dennis Coffee telling me, upon returning to Detroit after spending time in L.A, the difference between Detroit and L,A, Musicians. He said the Detroit guys "played like they mean it".
    I agree totally! And love everything from Coffey, then and now. He still records. A living throwback.

  13. #63
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    Quote Originally Posted by bradsupremes View Post
    Don't get me wrong - the Wrecking Crew were incredibly talented and versatile musicians who could go from playing sessions for Frank Sinatra to the Mamas & Papas all in one day. It takes a great musician to adapt to different genres and do it with ease. I love a ton of their work, but the Funk Bros. were the most gifted and influential studio musicians ever in popular music. They had a click and swing no other musicians could do. To this day there are artists who want to make "Motown-sounding" records and it's all because of the Funk Bros. We know the Beatles were the most influential band of all-time, but I will argue the Funk Bros., although much different as performers from the Beatles, were on par with them in terms of musical influence and defining a sound for a generation. The Beatles and Motown ruled the 60s.
    I agree. It's notable that Mick Jagger credits James Brown and Motown with he and The Stones success. He famously did so at their concerts. Berry Gordy. Motown. The Funk Bros. Let the record state.

  14. #64
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    Quote Originally Posted by TomatoTom123 View Post
    Hey nativeNY, are you familiar with Joy Denalane? She and BJ collaborated on this track from 2020 which is quite Motown-esque…
    Vid wouldn't play or not available. But imma look her up. Thanks for the heads up, TTom.!

  15. #65
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    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Her name is Ethiopia Habtemariam; technically, her titles are chairman/CEO.
    Thanks, Sans.!

  16. #66
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    Yes I know Drew. And he is a very talented musician.

  17. #67
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeNY63 View Post
    And was it true, Ralph, that some - if not all - the Funks had classical and jazz training backgrounds?

    Well, at least Drew Schultz is doing a serviceable job of keeping the Funks undeniable legacy at Motown alive today. He often teams with Funks' progeny or former Motown group leads. Do you know or have heard of him, Ralph?
    Drew is actually a member of this forum as well.

  18. #68
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    Sans, thanks for reminding me. I don't think I've seen him post in quite a while. I follow his career on Facebook.

  19. #69
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    Quote Originally Posted by 1382hitsville View Post
    Standing In The Shadows Of Motown, the book and movie confirms this.

    Luckily, Alan Slutsky, the writer of this book, brought the Funk Brothers together for a worldwide tour in 2002.

    Typical Motown style, it all fell apart afterwards and Jack Ashord then made a second worldwide tour with only Joe Hunter, Papa Joe.

    And Phil Collins had the Funk Brothers on an album.

    In the end, for the surviving members, some recognition came. Too late, too little. A painful episode in the Motown history.
    I do remember watching SITSOM. I said in another thread on the Funks that is was truly heart-wrenching. Especially the clups where the guys who passed were represented by an empty chair and a lonely instrument. I believe that was in reference to that reunion concert someone posted in the FB thread.

  20. #70
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    Oh. My bad,1382Hit, that was you! Senior moment.

  21. #71
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    I wish you had, Ralph. If you recall, I love XIT's first two albums on Rare Earth -- especially the first one -"Plight Of The Red Man".

  22. #72
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    For traditional Motown fans the best Xit track to investigate is probably "Cement Prairie" from the Silent Warrior album.

  23. #73
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    Back to our regularly scheduled programming, are there any current acts, other than hip-hop, on the radar? Is Giveon on the label? Was Ne-Yo at one point?

  24. #74
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    Quote Originally Posted by sansradio View Post
    Her name is Ethiopia Habtemariam; technically, her titles are chairman/CEO.
    Wonder if Miss E. is or is contemplating diving into the deep end of the NFT pool? Good way to unload on us rabid fans the remaining Motown Unreleased Singles from the vault, session outtakes, remixes , reissues, and or remixes. Of course, if viable, for the label, the market prices of these NFTs have got to come down. Would Smokey and the board have to sign-off on? BJ? Just a thought, guys.

  25. #75
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    Quote Originally Posted by nativeNY63 View Post
    Wonder if Miss E. is or is contemplating diving into the deep end of the NFT pool? Good way to unload on us rabid fans the remaining Motown Unreleased Singles from the vault, session outtakes, remixes , reissues, and or remixes. Of course, if viable, for the label, the market prices of these NFTs have got to come down. Would Smokey and the board have to sign-off on? BJ? Just a thought, guys.
    Crazy spell check. Should read BG.

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