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Thread: The Andantes

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    The Andantes

    Ok I have been thinking about this wonderful group of ladies a lot lately and I cant help but wonder what really happened? All of the other great session singers like the Blossoms and The Sweets and The Blackberries etc.etc, etc were able to step forward and record songs under their own name and even perform [[especially the Blossoms) The one song released as the Andantes featured a non Andante -Ann Bogan. I cannot believe Motown or Berry would have prevented them from moving forward especially since there was money to be made by all. Besides the guy session singers [[the Originals and the Spinners) moved on and were succesful in their own right. Where the ladies just not ambitious or were they just okay with staying in the Background? I know no one here can truly answer this , perhaps Louvaine would care to elaborate.The talent that these ladies possessed needed to be brought forward. This thread is not meant to start a cyber riot but something just doesn't seem right. Louvaine is still very emotional after all of these years. I think she might have wanted to step out more than the other two, who at this point seems to have distanced themselves from the experience maybe because it hurts to much. But what hurts? Is it because they were not given label credit or television performances or was it because they wanted to release songs with their own voices under their name with one of them doing the lead instead of an outsider. Other than the background none of us even knows what they really sound like with the exception of Louvaine's Ian Levine's sessions. And one or two lead lines here and there. I just watched Carolyn Willis of the Honey Cone performing with Seals and Croft and she was fantastic on "Closer To You",and it just makes me wonder. I mention Carolyn because she and the Honey Cone also did session singing and a live performance with Cass Elliott on her tv show.
    Last edited by soulballad; 07-24-2013 at 03:14 PM.

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    If you haven't seen it, go see 20 ft. from Stardom, the Andantes are not in it, but the documentary is about session or background singers and it might answer some of your questions.

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulballad View Post
    Ok I have been thinking about this wonderful group of ladies a lot lately and I cant help but wonder what really happened? All of the other great session singers like the Blossoms and The Sweets and The Blackberries etc.etc, etc were able to step forward and record songs under their own name and even perform [[especially the Blossoms) The one song released as the Andantes featured a non Andante -Ann Bogan. I cannot believe Motown or Berry would have prevented them from moving forward especially since there was money to be made by all. Besides the guy session singers [[the Originals and the Spinners) moved on and were succesful in their own right. Where the ladies just not ambitious or were they just okay with staying in the Background? I know no one here can truly answer this , perhaps Louvaine would care to elaborate.The talent that these ladies possessed needed to be brought forward. This thread is not meant to start a cyber riot but something just doesn't seem right. Louvaine is still very emotional after all of these years. I think she might have wanted to step out more than the other two, who at this point seems to have distanced themselves from the experience maybe because it hurts to much. But what hurts? Is it because they were not given label credit or television performances or was it because they wanted to release songs with their own voices under their name with one of them doing the lead instead of an outsider. Other than the background none of us even knows what they really sound like with the exception of Louvaine's Ian Levine's sessions. And one or two lead lines here and there. I just watched Carolyn Willis of the Honey Cone performing with Seals and Croft and she was fantastic on "Closer To You",and it just makes me wonder. I mention Carolyn because she and the Honey Cone also did session singing and a live performance with Cass Elliott on her tv show.
    I had heard a reason a long time ago from someone that was at Motown and the answer was not pretty. I don't really want to say what it was here, out loud to avoid an avalanche of off track comments. They did their jobs brilliantly and were paid and went home. End of?

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    Quote Originally Posted by soulballad View Post
    Ok I have been thinking about this wonderful group of ladies a lot lately and I cant help but wonder what really happened? All of the other great session singers like the Blossoms and The Sweets and The Blackberries etc.etc, etc were able to step forward and record songs under their own name and even perform [[especially the Blossoms) The one song released as the Andantes featured a non Andante -Ann Bogan. I cannot believe Motown or Berry would have prevented them from moving forward especially since there was money to be made by all. Besides the guy session singers [[the Originals and the Spinners) moved on and were succesful in their own right. Where the ladies just not ambitious or were they just okay with staying in the Background? I know no one here can truly answer this , perhaps Louvaine would care to elaborate.The talent that these ladies possessed needed to be brought forward. This thread is not meant to start a cyber riot but something just doesn't seem right. Louvaine is still very emotional after all of these years. I think she might have wanted to step out more than the other two, who at this point seems to have distanced themselves from the experience maybe because it hurts to much. But what hurts? Is it because they were not given label credit or television performances or was it because they wanted to release songs with their own voices under their name with one of them doing the lead instead of an outsider. Other than the background none of us even knows what they really sound like with the exception of Louvaine's Ian Levine's sessions. And one or two lead lines here and there. I just watched Carolyn Willis of the Honey Cone performing with Seals and Croft and she was fantastic on "Closer To You",and it just makes me wonder. I mention Carolyn because she and the Honey Cone also did session singing and a live performance with Cass Elliott on her tv show.
    Can any of the ladies sing lead? I know singer that are great background singer but can't carry a lead to a song. I know the Ann Bogan did a lead with the group, but are there any other songs where that feature Lovain, Marlene and the other lady on full lead vocals?

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    Quote Originally Posted by rod_rick View Post
    Can any of the ladies sing lead? I know singer that are great background singer but can't carry a lead to a song. I know the Ann Bogan did a lead with the group, but are there any other songs where that feature Lovain, Marlene and the other lady on full lead vocals?
    I'm sure one of them could have sung lead. I've never heard of anything by the Andantes other than Like A Nightmare and those recordings they did for Ian Levine. Marv, WE all know one of them was heavy back in the day, SO!

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    Not everyone aspires to be a "star". Some are content singing and earning a living doing it. There is nothing wrong with being a session or background singer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skooldem1 View Post
    Not everyone aspires to be a "star". Some are content singing and earning a living doing it. There is nothing wrong with being a session or background singer.
    Skooldem1
    You make a very good point in your post and I agree ther is nothing wrong with being a seeion singer.

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    Quote Originally Posted by skooldem1 View Post
    Not everyone aspires to be a "star". Some are content singing and earning a living doing it. There is nothing wrong with being a session or background singer.

    I agree. That's why I suggested seeing 20 Ft. From Stardom. A subject in the film says exactly that. And the film also explains other things that keep session singers out of the spotlight.

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    I've only seen the promos from 20Ft, and would like to see the entire film, I have seen several interviews with Merry Clayton and although she was happy at singing background she did state that she wanted to be out there for herself and not singing behind somebody and she was not alone . IMO it's totally cool to want to be a bg singer in fact it takes more effort to blend effectively and harmonize than it does to sing lead. But as I suggested in my first post maybe they [[the Andantes) were content on doing their thing, getting paid and going home. Though from the book and the recent interviews it seemed at some point they wanted more. It had been hinted on the net that their age was a factor [[I think they were up there with the Four Tops) It seemed to be okay for men to be a little older but it's more difficult for women, Especially at Motown where the appeal was to young Amerca i.e teenagers. I have also heard other rumors as well but I dont care to share them here because many people read this board and I'm not in the business of hurting people's feelings. And because they are rumors I woudn't share them anyway. I would like to hear the ladies version of what happened. None of the books of interviews touched on it. it seems all people were interested in was who sang on what and even some of those recollections are suspect at this point. All we can do i speculate and question the what if's etc. It still a cool topic though. Kim Westin was a big supporter of the group and she even gave them props backing her on the Motortown Review volume 2. But again no picture to be found. It just seemed a little odd.
    Last edited by soulballad; 07-24-2013 at 07:33 PM.

  10. #10
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    To get a chance to make it in a popular music field, you have to have potential star quality. Star quality is an intangible and not dependent on talent or skill. The Andantes had skill, but perhaps Berry Gordy just didn’t see any potential in putting them out there as a commercial recording and touring act that would make money for the company?

  11. #11
    Hi All . I have been doing some googling in youtube and have found some interesting tracks that are giving me a way better appreciation of The Funk Bros and The Andantes . They are the tracks with the vocals stripped away and / or the Andantes and The Funk Bros. For example Marvin's version of " I Heard It Through The Grapevine " or
    "Ask The Lonely " - my favourite of what I have come across so far.

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    Of the many many songs where the Andantes Supported the Tops "Ask The Lonely" is the best imo! It's sad that the poster of this video choose photos of Darlene Love and the Blossoms. At least a few pics of the real core Andantes then and now was thrown in.
    Last edited by soulballad; 07-25-2013 at 01:04 AM.

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    You need to read the book "Motown From the Backgound" written by The Andantes, they explain a lot in there, but Louvaine told me that there are things she did not put in the book as she did not want to upset anyone! After reading the book I would have said go ahead & print!

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    For some reason I thought Pat Lewis took the lead on the Ian Levine Andantes' tracks. Am I wrong?

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    Quote Originally Posted by 144man View Post
    For some reason I thought Pat Lewis took the lead on the Ian Levine Andantes' tracks. Am I wrong?
    She might have done the lead on some. I've heard a couple, and there was a different lead on each. I think LIGHTNING NEVER STRIKES TWICE is Louvain, but I'm not sure. There's a different lead voice on TWO SIDES TO LOVE, but I have no idea who it is.

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    I have the book and was totally disappointed. It was a quick read but no real details. I'm not one for gossip but since it's their story I thought we would get more from their point of view. Imo it was mostly fluff! In fact I think as of late more has been written about them than they actually contributed in the book, mostly from eager fans. I will close with this - If they choose not to give up any more details like recording session info and how things were for them etc then we have to be okay with it. They have to know that they have a lot of fans who care, but I guess somethings are best left unknown. I used to see the Marvelettes being referred to as the Mysterious Marvelettes when in fact to me it's the Andantes

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    The Andantes "Step Into My Shoes" and there's Earl Van Dyke too...


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    And their backing on "Heaven Must Have Sent You" - no Elgins.


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    We all know they were one of the best background groups ever, but how does that translate to a lead singer? Was there anyone that had spectacular enough chops?

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    Quote Originally Posted by mysterysinger View Post
    The Andantes "Step Into My Shoes" and there's Earl Van Dyke too...

    I wondered why this song sounded familiar...! Back in the '90s, I remember having cassette copies of many of the Ian Levine productions of the classic Motown artists and this song was included as recorded by Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. Although, I'm wondering whether it was really Martha Reeves and...The Andantes? Anyway, I thought I'd share this one, too. I think Pat Lewis singing lead with The Andantes on backgrounds sounds better. Martha's voice doesn't sound good on this track to me.


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    Quote Originally Posted by danman869 View Post
    I wondered why this song sounded familiar...! Back in the '90s, I remember having cassette copies of many of the Ian Levine productions of the classic Motown artists and this song was included as recorded by Martha Reeves and The Vandellas. Although, I'm wondering whether it was really Martha Reeves and...The Andantes? Anyway, I thought I'd share this one, too. I think Pat Lewis singing lead with The Andantes on backgrounds sounds better. Martha's voice doesn't sound good on this track to me.
    I really liked both releases of new material by Martha and the Vandellas on Motorcity: STEP INTO MY SHOES and ANGEL IN DISGUISE. But the backup vocals didn't sound like Annette and Rosalind to me, even though they are pictured on the 12-inch versions.

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    I've had Martha's version of "Step Into My Shoes" on CD for years, along with my countless other Ian Levine CD productions. Somehow, The Andantes' version managed to pass me by. But, now that I've heard their version, The Andanes' version is my favorite! Was their version available on an Andantes' CD of their own, or was it on a Various Artists CD with other Ian Levine product9ns?

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    I've had Martha's version of "Step Into My Shoes" on CD for years, along with countless other Ian Levine CD productions. Somehow, The Andantes' version managed to pass me by. But, now that I've heard their version, The Andantes' version is my favorite! Was their version available on an Andantes' CD of their own, or was it on a Various Artists CD compilation with other Ian Levine productions?
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 01-25-2023 at 05:54 AM.

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    I believe it was scheduled for Volume 13 of 'The Best Of Motorcity' series, from Hot Productions....but those released volumes ceased at Volume 12, and so The Andantes' version was not released on CD at that time.

    I've looked through my own collection, but can't see it. It could possibly have been released on a CD collection in recent years. You could try asking member Soren1974, who may be able to add something?

    However, if you are into downloads [I'm not......yet] you will find it in the collection 'If You Really Love Me - The Best Of The Andantes'.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by westgrandboulevard View Post
    I believe it was scheduled for Volume 13 of 'The Best Of Motorcity' series, from Hot Productions....but those released volumes ceased at Volume 12, and so The Andantes' version was not released on CD at that time.

    I've looked through my own collection, but can't see it. It could possibly have been released on a CD collection in recent years. You could try asking member Soren1974, who may be able to add something?

    However, if you are into downloads [I'm not......yet] you will find it in the collection 'If You Really Love Me - The Best Of The Andantes'.....
    wgb,
    Are you sure the release of the "Best of Motorcity, Volume 13 was canceled? I have volumes 13 to 20.

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    Now, that's very interesting, 144Man...

    I had always assumed the Hot Productions series had stopped at Vol 20, even though there were indeed further volumes listed in the notes with some of the releases.

    My reason for thinking that is because a download giving details of the Motorcity Project which I was given does state that 'Step Into My Shoes' by The Andantes was never released.

    After reading your post, I have checked and it does look like those numbered volumes were indeed released, and have also been subsequently released by Essential Media...and this is good news to me.

    So Philles/Motown Gary should be looking for Vol. 13....

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    Quote Originally Posted by westgrandboulevard View Post
    Now, that's very interesting, 144Man...

    I had always assumed the Hot Productions series had stopped at Vol 20, even though there were indeed further volumes listed in the notes with some of the releases.

    My reason for thinking that is because a download giving details of the Motorcity Project which I was given does state that 'Step Into My Shoes' by The Andantes was never released.

    After reading your post, I have checked and it does look like those numbered volumes were indeed released, and have also been subsequently released by Essential Media...and this is good news to me.

    So Philles/Motown Gary should be looking for Vol. 13....
    Hey, westgrand -- I just checked. Now that I have my new desktop PC, my access to my word processing documents has been restored including all of my CD titles and individual songs in my CD collection. As it turns out, I do indeed have the Best Of Motorcity - Vol. 13" which contains THE ANDANTES - "Step Into My Shoes" on Track 8. Loving The Andantes as I do, I have no idea how I could have forgotten that. I've always loved Martha's version of "Step Into My Shoes", and now that I discovered The Andantes' version [[above), I love it even more. To discover that I've had it all along is just plain weird! If you don't mind, we'll call it a senior moment and be done with it! Ha!
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 01-30-2023 at 01:19 AM.

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    Westgrand, I have the "Best Of Motorcity" CD series Vol. 1-20 [[which, I think, is the entire series). If you, or anyone else here, needs track info. on any of the above volumes, just holler and I'll do what I can to provide track lists for you.
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 01-30-2023 at 06:49 AM.

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    Philles/Motown Gary....

    What a relief. I can now admit that I must be more than matching you for 'senior moments'......

    First, in post #28, there I am, stating the 'Best Of' volumes ceased at number 12...

    But then, after checking online, there I go again, stating in post #30 that the series stopped at number 20. Well, that was a big clue right there.....

    If that wasn't enough, I go to the drawer where volumes 1-12 are right at the front in numerical order....then followed by 'Best Of' by various artists...only to discover that, again in strict numerical order, at the back of the drawer are....volumes 13-20.....

    You may be more accomplished on the internet than myself.....so how about starting your own thread, with your personal selection of 'Best Of Motorcity', right here....?

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    Quote Originally Posted by westgrandboulevard View Post
    Philles/Motown Gary....

    What a relief. I can now admit that I must be more than matching you for 'senior moments'......

    First, in post #28, there I am, stating the 'Best Of' volumes ceased at number 12...

    But then, after checking online, there I go again, stating in post #30 that the series stopped at number 20. Well, that was a big clue right there.....

    If that wasn't enough, I go to the drawer where volumes 1-12 are right at the front in numerical order....then followed by 'Best Of' by various artists...only to discover that, again in strict numerical order, at the back of the drawer are....volumes 13-20.....

    You may be more accomplished on the internet than myself.....so how about starting your own thread, with your personal selection of 'Best Of Motorcity', right here....?
    Waiting, you poor thing! If you consider matching or surpassing me in the Senior Moments department to be a "relief", I'll gladly pass the crown on to you! You can have it! HA!!!

    I'm not at all savvy where technical internet skills are required. In fact, I'm severely challenged. But, where the music and the CD releases are concerned, I can hold my own pretty confidently. What did you have in mind? If you're picking up on my offer to list each Motorcity CD and it's corresponding tracklist, yeah, sure -- I'd be happy to do that! Let me think about how I want to go about it and I'll start a Motorcity CD thread, similar to the Phil Spector PHILLES thread I covered a couple/three years ago. [[BTW, thanks for asking!)
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 02-01-2023 at 04:39 AM.

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    Hi Philles/Motown Gary....

    [Ahem..... no, it's not actually 'Waiting'...it's WestGrand here....haha.....]

    Perhaps you would just see how you feel about a Motorcity thread, and then do whatever you think might be interesting?

    It does seem that the whole project is dismissed by many as unworthy of much, if any attention.

    I tend to think there was a lot which was good about it....but, of course, also very much which could have been improved.

    In suggesting you start a thread, I was thinking that you might, if it were possible, be able to post clips of your favourite tracks, and we then critique them, stating what we do enjoy about them...and also what we think about them which could have been improved?

    For myself, the percussion sounds were most in need of further attention. The drum machine sounds, without overdubs, could threaten a whole recording. There is one particular drum sound which, when used alone, sounds to me like someone hammering metal, which I think is disastrous.

    Also, if a tambourine sound could have been added, I believe that would have successfully helped to create an updated version of the 'Motown' sound, and to showcase the voices we all love.

    I can quite understand that many staunch Motown fans cannot listen to the Motorcity recordings, but I do enjoy what I can from them, and also imagine just how they could have been improved.

    For me, the vocals on the vast majority of the Motorcity tracks are fine as they are.

    Knowing that the musical sounds behind the voices are generally computer generated does tend to represent a strong drawback, right from the start.

    With the Motown recordings I can picture in my mind the musicians making the music with real instruments, even if the band tracks were recorded without the singers being present. Not being able to do this is one fundamental problem with the Motorcity recordings.

    But I still think that can be overcome, and a good recording can be achieved with the use of computerised sounds, if sufficient time is taken with the production, and sufficient remixing and overdubs are used as appropriate, to produce a unique sound on completion.

    With Motorcity, many of the tracks are fine in representing the era in which they were recorded...but it does seem there wasn't enough time to finish many of the others. They sound incomplete, and need additional polish and sparkle which was given to only some.

    Maybe if you started a thread, any other members who can identify Motorcity tracks which appeal to them, could then post clips of them, even if you and I cannot..and we could take it from there....?
    Last edited by westgrandboulevard; 02-01-2023 at 07:21 PM.

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    Westgrand, I could have sworn you were WaitingWathing! Sorry about that! [[See what I mean! There's that senior moment again!)

    Since you're really interested in the Motorcity material, I have good news for you! I've discussed it with Kenny [[Kenneth), and he's more than happy to help me with the Motorcity project! As with my Phil Spector/Philles salute, I'm providing the visuals from my personal CD collection along with audio clips, and Kenny is gonna post them for me!

    I know what you mean about varying opinions regarding the Motorcity recordings. Some people love it, while other people seem to detest it. Personally, I love a lot of it, although not all of it. I don't have every production that Ian released, but I have a LOT of it -- about half of it from the Various Artists "Best Of Motorcity [[Vols. 1-20) series, as well as CD's by individual artists. I'm pretty sure that between the two, I have probably at least 2/3 of Ian's Motorcity material [[maybe more). I also have a lot of Ian's non-Motown productions released through HOT productions, Record Shack label, etc.

    I'm personally psyched up about this, and I'm glad to hear that you are, too! Give me a few days to figure out exactly how I want to present it. Then I'll send some experimental stuff to Kenny. When we perfect it, Kenny will start posting. Should be fairly soon!
    Last edited by Philles/Motown Gary; 02-02-2023 at 01:08 AM.

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    Iíve thought about starting a Motorcity thread myself over the years, but never got round to it! So Iíll be happy to contribute!

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    Well, this is all starting to sound very good indeed.....

    And Philles/MotownGary.... with a relatively few exceptions, I believe I may have virtually the whole set...UK CDs, 45s, 12" singles, vinyl albums....and also many of the US versions.

    Plus, some of the Ian Levine CD collections which contain later remixes...and which did convince me that the originals could often be improved, with more attention....

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    Westgrand, you really have nearly all of Ian's Motorcity recordings? Wow! You're the one who should be doing this project! What about Ian's non-Motown-related productions? Do you have those as well?
    Thanks to HOT productions in Florida and their highly-addicting CD catalog from the 1990s, I was worse than a kid at Christmas discovering Ian's non-Motown artists like Miguel Brown, Carol Jiani, Evelyn Thomas, Norma Lewis, Seventh Avenue, etc. -- and buying them ALL!

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    No, I have nowhere near so many of the non-Motown related productions.....

    I think I was drawn to the Motorcity project because of all the personal memories from being much younger, and then seeing everyone given a profile, once again....only much more mature, that time around.

    I would say Motown represents my youth, and Motorcity represents my middle-age.

    So, now I am 'early elderly' [I will admit to no more than that...!], I can now remember both those 'times of my life'. Well, for as long as I DO have memories, of course...!

    As for those non-Motown artists you have mentioned....all Ian's Nightmare artists, of course....and names I knew, but didn't buy the discs at that time, but since then have a number on CD.

    But I did see ALL of them making live appearances in the day, blasting out their latest records at my local Sunday night disco....along with other names which would probably sound quite familiar to you.....

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    The Backbeats CD “Unexploited & Underrated” BACKB036 has 18 Ian Levine tracks reworked with new backing tracks. Both ex Motorcity artists like Elgins, Contours, David Ruffin, Barbara Randolph etc plus some of Ian’s other projects such as JJ Barnes, Vermettya Royster and the wonderful Ebony Alleyne. All the original stars with new tracks. I love this album and can recommend it without reservation.

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    Please don't forget tracks such as Kim Weston's "Signal Your Intention", which were issued on Nightmare prior to the launch of Motorcity.

  43. #43
    There were indeed 20+1 volumes released on HOT [[out of 50 planned), the +1 being the Summer On The Beach CD that focused on Carolina Beach fingersnappers recordings. Step Into My Shoes had been written with Martha in mind, but she was reluctant to record with Motorcity at first, and Ian Levine cut the track with The Andantes instead. When then Martha had a change of mind, Ian wanted her to record this one even though he said Pat Lewis was not pleased about his decision.

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