9413 - 9415 Oakland

By 1964, Ed Wingate and JoAnne Bratton were releasing material on their Golden World record label and gathering capital to invest in a new studio.

It couldn't happen overnight however, so while the studio was being built by Bob d'Orleans, the couple were leasing premises up on Oakland at  #9413-15,  just a couple of blocks north of one of Detroit's premier nightspots, Phelps Lounge. 

"It was JoAnne who was the eyes and ears of the partnership. She had the musical expertise and was a very shrewd business woman. Ed had very little input in those early days and was more like the silent partner.

JoAnne decided to place Production in the hands of Bob Hamilton, whom I knew well, and who brought me to the company to help write songs and sing backgrounds for the new artists. 

The rooms we used for rehearsals were on the ground floor and there were some living quarters upstairs. 

Don Mancha and Al Kent also joined the team and we had a couple of pianos in there. Don would work a lot with me  writing songs and playing piano. 

Man, I spent a lot of time working with the Adorables in that building."

When the studio finally opened in the Spring of '65, Ed and Joanne unfolded another label called Wingate.

Their first release was a Fred Bridges/Bob Hamilton song called "Loving you" which was recorded by one of Bob's brothers , Ronnie Savoy.

Fred recalls Ronnie as a nice guy and a real talent who was light skinned and who didn't look much like Bob or the other brother Al who was also known as Al Kent.

Working with Bob was more of a challenge however as he was a bit of a loose cannon.  

"I got real mad with him on "Loving you" for example.  We sat down, wrote the song  together, then I find out that he has gone and cut it behind my back. "Loving you" had a lot of potential and could have sounded so much better."

One of the first tracks cut in the new studio was Edwin Starr's "Agent Double-O Soul". Fred featured prominently on that classic song but in a most unusual way.

"I played the slap-sticks on that song. Listen to it. We hinged 4 strips of wood together (2x2's). I held the sticks in both hands and slapped them to that irresistible beat.

We would stay in that studio all night, every night. Me, Mike Terry, Don Davis, George McGregor, Eddie Willis, Pistol Allen, James Jamerson. Trying to make those hits.  JJ Barnes was being pushed in particular and I remember working on several of his songs. 

Those were great days."

Fred records his sadness at the demise of this historical building - Golden World Studios aka Motown Studio B, July 2004

Away from Golden World, but In the same time-frame, Fred collaborated with Don Mancha on one of the best songs of the year. It was called “Don’t turn your back on me” by Jack Montgomery, released on Barracuda and published by Travler Music.

Don co-owned the Barracuda label with his partner, Don Montgomery, who was a local motel owner and probably financier of the project. Montgomery's motel was also called Travler.

The flip side, "Never in a million years" was another excellent track, but without vocals. It was written by Fred and one of his life long friends, Richard Beasley.

Don Mancha also owned the Empire label and was responsible for releasing another of his collaborations with Fred Bridges; "She broke his heart" by The Just Brothers.

The Garrison label picked up the Just Brothers and the Honeybees, the latter providing vocals for "Never in a million years".

"She broke his heart" gained a third release, this time on Wand in New York City, showing the faith being placed in the song.

The Barracuda and Empire sides were cut at United Sound Studios on Second Avenue.


Notes thanks to David Meikle.


This website is dedicated to Detroit, Soul Music, 45 RPM, Northern Soul and the great Motown era of Detroit Musics. It covers Golden World, Tamla, Wheelsville, Robert West, Darrell Banks, Johnnie Mae Matthews, Rose Battiste, Tera Shirma, Fred Bridges, Supremes, Stevie Wonder, Edwin Starr, Funk Brothers, Dennis Coffey, Bob Babbitt, James Jamerson, Twisted Wheel, Wiggan Casino and many more Detroit Souls topics.