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  1. #1

    Marvin Gaye vs J.J. Barnes /Information or Opinion's Please

    While compiling some sounds (Dusty's) that were in my collection I came across this song that I remember buying when I was a young man. Now mind you I hadn't heard this record in at least twenty years. What amazed me is that this "record" sounds so much like Marvin Gaye, it's ridiculous. And not just early "Marvin" but later release Marvin. The vocal inflections, the ad libs, right down to the moans and groans. Even the piano and drum breaks sound like Marvin. Now when this record was released I never thought much about Marvin and JJ Barnes but folks say imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, but can anyone tell me who was the chicken and who was the egg ?????


  2. #2
    Wasn't J.J. signed to Motown (via a label buy-out) to keep him from being too much of a 'rival' to Marvin .........
    .......... of course, he played live Motown revue shows but failed to gain any releases on the label.

  3. #3
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    The 45 is shown above. But the song being played is NOT the 45 version. It must be an LP version. But, I thought it was also the 45 version that was on JJ's "Rare Stamps" album. Where was this version released -IF it was released?

    J.J. sounds a little bit like Marvin. But they don't sound alike enough to have problems having separate fans of both. I think it was a terrible travesty for Motown to not promote J.J. or release records on him. We lost a lot of good music. I don't think they gave him much decent material, based on the unreleased recordings I've heard. He could have been a big star, and we could have had another 30-40 great classic-period Motown songs to listen to. If he had become a star at Motown, then we also would have had a lot more great songs to listen to after he would have left Motown, instead of his disappearing into the shadows because no one believed in his commercial potential. Don Davis did good things with him at Volt/Stax after, but no-one pushed him there -no money to promote, no extensive recording. "Snowflakes" was fantastic. Did anyone hear it on the radio? Did Stax record enough for a 2nd album? No. Did J.J. perform in Stax revues? After Stax, he disappeared off the face of the Earth (only a few 45s on a few local Detroit labels with virtually no sales).

    Personally, I like him as a singer BETTER than Marvin Gaye.

  4. #4
    J.j.barnes wasn't the only[marvin]sound alike,take a listen to steve mancha[don't make me a story teller]and if you can take a listen to his gem[i need to be needed]and you might think it's marvin!

  5. #5
    Paladin, he (JJ Barnes) so much like Marvin Gaye that we thought at the time that "Baby Please...." was a new release by Marvin.

    I know the song was recorded in Detroit, but I thought it was released on a label out of Canada.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by arrr&bee View Post
    J.j.barnes wasn't the only[marvin]sound alike,take a listen to steve mancha[don't make me a story teller]and if you can take a listen to his gem[i need to be needed]and you might think it's marvin!
    J.J. Barnes, Steve Mancha, Melvin Davis, Edward Hamilton, Clifford Binns, Leonard Pierce and a few other Detroit singers also had that same slightly raspy edge mixed with smoothness. ALL of them could be mistaken for Marvin and all the others listed on various recordings. Maybe Berry Gordy should have crushed all their careers?

  7. #7
    Ok now I understand why the copy we had back at the time had a different label than the one above. It was from Canada!

  8. #8
    Jai, I have Steve Mancha's record as well but it doesn't come close to the sound on this particular record. Thats one of the reasons, I included the record instead of just stating my case. The similarities are just uncanny. Someone had to copy someone ? On this particular record its more than just the voice, I can tell the difference between the two singers but.....there was (IMO) something clearly going on here and either Marvin borrowed from him or vice versa, I'd just like to know more.

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Marv View Post
    Ok now I understand why the copy we had back at the time had a different label than the one above. It was from Canada!
    Funny aint it Marv, the 1st record above(Groovesville) is exactly the label I bought it on so many years ago, although I do remember the Trans World label.

  10. #10
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    Where are you, Marv2, that you got it on a Canadian label, if you didn't live in Canada? It can't be Detroit, as Detroit was the home city of the original label (Groovesville). I saw scads of Groovesville copies in Detroit, at the time the record was out, and only saw a few used copies of the Canadian pressing, periodically, in thrift shops. I imagine the same situation was true in Seattle, Buffalo and other border areas. That record on Groovesville had excellent National distribution. Whoever in your family bought that record, must have bought it in Canada.

  11. #11
    Doesn't J.J. Barnes tell a story about being told by Motown staff that he had to offer something different than his 'Marvin' style, otherwise he was toast at Hitsville.
    Was it deliberate by Motown........did they need another Marvin Gaye?

  12. #12
    Snakepit, I think you may be closer to the truth than I expect. But realistically, I still covet answers from anyone who knows. This record was recorded in Detroit/ and sounds exactly like a Motown Production. I wonder who the players were and what went in to the composition of the tune? Come on guys, someone here knows ! Or maybe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone......I'm just saying.....

  13. #13
    just another copy-cat sound out of Detroit.......but one of the best attempts at copying the Motown Sound (No doubt some Funk Bros involved).Because he could copy Gaye's sound, Motown probably decided to have him in the tent aiming in rather than out, when Ric Tic was absored in to Motown.

  14. #14
    In 1968 will lived just south of Detroit Michigan in Toledo which is on the border of the U.S. and Canada. You didn't just get Canadian pressings ask anyone from Michigan and Ohio how we have to check our change often to make sure we don't get Canadian coins, hehehehehehe.......

  15. #15
    Robb_K I don't know. I was a kid at the time and my Mom was generally the record buyer as she averaged 5 new singles every Friday for years. She bought her records in those days at places like (BigSexxe will know these.....) Clarks Record Shop, Gold Coast Records, Hit Record Shop and places like Arlens, Wards, Kresge's, etc,etc . We did use to go over to Canada a lot, but I am pretty she bought that record in either Detroit or Toledo.

  16. #16
    Robb_K, many years before I ever started collecting and yep buying albums at Sam the Record Man in Toronto and other places in Canada, I bought records in Michigan and Ohio that when I opened up once home had the black with the red strip and the white bottom part signifying a Motown Records Canadian pressing. It really is not a big mystery to me because of the close proximity.

  17. #17
    Name:  av-5.jpg
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Size:  21.1 KBShe probably got that record in the 10 cent sales at Woolworth's or Kresge's. They often had Canadian cut-outs and used records among them. I thought she had bought it new, full retail. A shop in Detroit would have sold only the US copy that way. Not to say that Detroit and Toledo shops didn't sell new Canadian records -they did. But they wouldn't sell a new Canadian issue of a record that Lebaron Taylor had hand delivered US copies to their shop.

  18. #18
    Robb_K, I am sorry but my Mom never, ever bought old or discounted records. She bought them while they were still red hot on the radio. I know and I remember because she would always bring back that weeks hit playlist from the record stores distributed by the popular local radio stations. I'm telling you all those hundreds of old 45's are still in the basement of her house in a wooden cabinet. She bought J.J. Barnes and everyone else's record new! I remember I flipped when she brought home this new record by this new hot group called "I Want You Back" by the Jackson Five. I noticed it had the same label on it as all those Supremes and Four Tops records she'd bought. My dad bought albums. He bought Spyder Turners' "Stand By Me" when it was NEW in 1966 and it is still there at the house!

  19. #19
    Lebaron Taylor was a great guy, but he did not go to every record shop on Dorr Street, Collingwood or Downtown. How some Canadian pressings found their way over the bridge and down I-75, I do not know or vice versa. I do know that for many years up until recently (the 9-11 Era) Americans as well as Canadians in the Region went back forth freely to do routine things such as shop and dine. I have the Canadian pressing of Diana Ross & The Supremes with The Temptations "Together" lp, the one with the painted faces, clouds etc and it is a Canadian Pressing bought in Ohio! How it got there I don't know, but if they can move drugs, smuggle Jamaicans and other illegal stuff back and forth across the border, I can imagine how easy it would be for a few records to end up in some small neighborhood record shops.

  20. #20
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    Maybe The Canadian distributor hand delivered HIS Canadian customers' records to your Toledo shops (not bothering to worry about whether or not the US distributor had already sold that shop a stack of the US issues of that very same record. Why would the shop owner buy Canadian issues of a hot record with great US distribution? All I can think of is that there were so many calls in for that J.J. Barnes record, that his distributor was out of them. So, the shop owner called the biggest Windsor distributor and got Canadian pressings, so his customers wouldn't go to another shop to buy that record.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by paladin View Post
    Snakepit, I think you may be closer to the truth than I expect. But realistically, I still covet answers from anyone who knows. This record was recorded in Detroit/ and sounds exactly like a Motown Production. I wonder who the players were and what went in to the composition of the tune? Come on guys, someone here knows ! Or maybe Lee Harvey Oswald acted alone......I'm just saying.....
    Ex-Motowner, Don Davis, produced it. Mike Terry (ex-Motowner) arranged it, and the regular musicians for Lebaron Taylor's Solid Hitbound Productions (as they also were for Ed Wingate's Golden World/Ric Tic Records) were almost exclusively current Motown musicians (Funk Bros. and others) and former Motown musicians (Joe Hunter, Pistol Allen, James Jamerson, Benny Benjamin, Uriel Jones, Eddie Willis, Joe Messina all moonlighted with those two competitors of Motown (plus stray sessions with other Detroit labels. Other players who just went in and out of Motown on stray sessions, such as Dave Hamilton, George McGregor, Mckinley Jackson.

    The reason it sounds like a Motown record is because most of the people that worked on it were Motown producers, writers, arrangers and session players. Even the singer had been at Motown. No surprise there. But, basically ALL Golden World, Ric tic, Wingate, Groovesville, Solid Hit, Revilot, Mickay's, Thelma, Correc-Tone and Pied Piper Productions on RCA and Kapp were made mostly with Motown-related musicians. The Funk Brothers and other Motown musicians also worked on a fair amount of sessions for Mike Hanks' MAH's, D-Town and Wheelsville USA Records. No wonder so many '60s Detroit records are so good!

  22. #22
    Robb_K, I was on the phone a few minutes ago with my Mom and she says you must have her confused with some other woman, she never bought any 10 cent records, only new and hot. LOL!!!

  23. #23
    Thanks Robb, appreciate the information. Now after a day of searching, I have found the definitive answer from the man himself, Who would have thought that Stevie Wonder had his imprint on this song ? This short video interview answers most of my questions as far as time lines etc. I never realized that JJ had this song at Motown, took it with him and it became one of his biggest hits. I hope you guys enjoy this, I certainly did !



  24. #24
    He should've moved to Los Angeles. Would've been hard for BG to snatch him. LMAO

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    But J.J. didn't say anything about Berry sending Brian Holland or some other higher-up in the company out at 3:00 AM to check to see what cars were in the Golden World Studio parking lot, and then slapping those car owners with a $1,000 fine the next morning. It didn't stop the moonlighting. Ed Wingate paid their fines (gladly). Not sure if LeBaron Taylor did that after Golden World and Ric Tic were bought out.

  26. #26
    Yes thats another story that I heard many times and mind you this was an eight minute clip from a much longer interview. The first two I found were so badly mangled you really couldn't hear him. So I went to the original source. His mention of Earl Van Dyke, James Jamerson and others (David Ruffin/ Edwin Starr etc) was worth the time I spent trying to track down the info....

  27. #27
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    There was a David Ruffin recording done by Don Davis at Groovesville that came out first as a bootleg tape, and later, on a bootleg cassette, and later, UK bootleg CD compilation of Groovesville recordings. Maybe that was one of those recordings Don Davis made of Ruffin (referred to by J.J. Barnes) that Davis used to "show JJ and Steve Mancha how to sing better)? Certainly, Ruffin didn't want that released, as it was made in 1967, while he was still under contract at Motown. Now things start to make more sense.

  28. #28
    They sure do and I'm glad I was able to pin point it with some degree of accuracy about what went down. This was fascinating because it started with JJ & Marvin, then Stevie pops up, The Fantastic Four, David Ruffin, Holidays, Edwin Starr, Jamerson...........wow !

  29. #29
    Good work Kdub. Dailymotion carries more clips from around the World than Youtube also things that Youtube does not allow.

  30. #30
    Interesting story.

  31. #31
    Interesting indeed! Nice research, kdubya...

  32. #32
    Thanks Splanky, I was having one of my moments and this issue was nagging the hell out of me. And it certainly is far better for conversation to discuss something that came from the actual artist and not some wild theory or gossip that really can't be substantiated.

  33. #33
    You'd do well to have more of those moments, they bring more intelligent discussion to the forum...

  34. #34
    I'll try, I hear you loud and clear...........and I realize that you hear me as well.......

  35. #35
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread but listening to the JJ Barnes track on the new Motown Northern Soul release it got me thinking about his Motown career, and what Edmonds mentions in his book about Barnes relationship with Marvin and Marvin being possibly responsible for him not getting of a chance at Motown? Thoughts gentlemen?

  36. #36
    Quote Originally Posted by simon.millar View Post
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread but listening to the JJ Barnes track on the new Motown Northern Soul release it got me thinking about his Motown career, and what Edmonds mentions in his book about Barnes relationship with Marvin and Marvin being possibly responsible for him not getting of a chance at Motown? Thoughts gentlemen?
    I feel bad that I wasn't able to take part in this discussion initially. Don't know where I was or what I was doing. I won't go long here.

    It's said that Marvin was the reason for his lack of a recording career at Motown. While that's the story, I believe it had more to do with the producers inability to come up with material different from Marvin's. They sounded so much alike and based on the unreleased tracks that's surfaced, they tried, but hadn't got it straight yet. He was only there for about five months and only recorded a handful of tracks( only one more track is known to exist in the vaults).

    There's also a tale that Berry Gordy only utilized J.J as a wedge to straighten Marvin out. Him and Berry always had what seemed like a pissing contest as he never liked authority figures. Marvin was one of the few who was aware of the unfair business practices at Motown and fought back. With Berry acquiring Golden World/ Ric Tic and J.J's contract in the process, this was his chance to humble Marvin. The spectacle worked and things moved along.

    I read all the previous comments and viewpoints and I agree with most. J.J. is probably in the top five,maybe three as one of Detroit's greatest male talents, however he is in no way a better singer than Marvin Gaye. Marvin was much too versatile and as the late Don Davis said, had too many demons in him. I've even compared his songs to Marvin's with other people and Marv always won out. Had Don recorded better songs on J.J he could've gone further, but he favored songs over chart profile and Barnes career took a nosedive. In ending this, J.J. was a marvelous singer who could never get a consistent break. He was constantly compared to Marvin, but has a healthy catalogue nonetheless. Like so many of his era he didn't get what he deserved, but he's appreciated and will continue to be.

  37. #37
    Quote Originally Posted by simon.millar View Post
    Sorry to resurrect this old thread but listening to the JJ Barnes track on the new Motown Northern Soul release it got me thinking about his Motown career, and what Edmonds mentions in his book about Barnes relationship with Marvin and Marvin being possibly responsible for him not getting of a chance at Motown? Thoughts gentlemen?
    Yeah, well my understanding was Motown used JJ Barnes as a club over Marvin's head whenever he got into one of his moods and did not want to record. They would threaten to record JJ Barnes instead. LOL!
    Last edited by marv2; 09-25-2018 at 08:55 PM.

  38. #38
    Quote Originally Posted by marv2 View Post
    Robb_K, I was on the phone a few minutes ago with my Mom and she says you must have her confused with some other woman, she never bought any 10 cent records, only new and hot. LOL!!!
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    If she bought Canadian Motown records new in Detroit or Toledo record shops, then it HAD to be that those US shops ran out of copies hot selling records, while the local, Detroit US distributors were also out of it. So those shops bought copies directly from Windsor distributors. They probably sent one of their employees over to Windsor, to buy them. Motown used to use Canadian record pressing plants to make emergency press runs, when they would have had to wait in line (several more days or a few weeks) when all the Michigan/Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana plants were booked up. Nothing wrong with international commerce.

  39. #39
    Quote Originally Posted by robb_k View Post
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    If she bought Canadian Motown records new in Detroit or Toledo record shops, then it HAD to be that those US shops ran out of copies hot selling records, while the local, Detroit US distributors were also out of it. So those shops bought copies directly from Windsor distributors. They probably sent one of their employees over to Windsor, to buy them. Motown used to use Canadian record pressing plants to make emergency press runs, when they would have had to wait in line (several more days or a few weeks) when all the Michigan/Northwest Ohio and Northern Indiana plants were booked up. Nothing wrong with international commerce.
    Robb that makes sense. I never knew how we'd sometimes end up with Canadian pressings. Now I remember in the 70s buying cut outs at places like Woolworth's , Woolco etc and many times they would be on the Tamla/Motown Phonodisc. For example:

    Attachment 14660

  40. #40
    That didn’t just happen in the USA. UK record companies farmed out work, not only to each other but sometimes also outside of the UK.

    My favourite was the last big hit by 10CC - “Dreadlock Holiday”. This song was about a British tourist on holiday in Jamaica who found himself both intimidated and entertained by the locals. The track was so massive that some pressings were actually farmed out to Jamaica.

    I was working for a record wholesaler at the time and was fascinated to see my bulk order for this single arriving in the typical Jamaican boxes made from what looked like inside out recycled album sleeves and pressed using very poor quality lumpy and bumpy vinyl. Even the labels looked cheap and poorly printed. I still have one of these at home but it has no real value, I suspect, other than as a curio for a very small audience.

    Also in the UK, in the early 80s the Dollar exchange rate was such that it was cheaper for UK wholesalers to order in bulk from the USA than to buy domestically, and for a few months the wholesaler that I worked for did just that. Hence , my copy of “Why Do Fools Fall In Love” by Diana Ross is on RCA and not Capitol. Eventually, however, Customs and Excise sat very heavily on my wholesaler and the practice ended.
    Last edited by Sotosound; 09-26-2018 at 06:02 AM.

  41. #41
    The abbreviated version which seemed to disappear from this forum


    https://www.soul-source.co.uk/videos/view-41-jj-barnes-talks-about-motown-92-pcrl/
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 09-27-2018 at 04:04 PM.

  42. #42
    J J Barnes singing 'Every Time I See You I Go Wild'. On Motown.

    OK, judge for yourself whether a doppelgänger for Marvin.... i would say the register, phrasing and tonal quality are very similar.....not identical, but close enough for the general audience to not notice the difference

    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 09-27-2018 at 04:04 PM.

  43. #43
    And Stevie's version. He was the composer along with Sylvia Moy

  44. #44
    Might as well throw in Brainstorm's version....


  45. #45
    It's a few more too:
    Ain't It The Truth
    Everybody Needs Somebody( I Need You)
    I'm Here Now That You Need Me
    The House That Jack Built

    * The supposed last and final recording J.J. made at Motown has yet to surface.

  46. #46
    Let's not forget High Inergy's versions.......


  47. #47
    Marv, I hesitate. I don't want to give you nightmares.....
    https://vimeo.com/70407598
    Last edited by MIKEW-UK; 09-28-2018 at 02:20 PM.

  48. #48
    Quote Originally Posted by MIKEW-UK View Post
    Marv, I hesitate. I don't want to give you nightmares.....
    https://vimeo.com/70407598
    Mike! Wow! How cool was that? The video is excellent and the female lead on the song does a great job with it. Now I am wondering why this particular song is so popular that it's been re-recorded so many times.

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