The advert for the Webb Wood Inn is from May 1964 and the group are photographed there - left to right: Cleo “Sonny” Barksdale, Robert Barksdale, Johnny Mitchell and James Holland. The left-handed guitarist in the center is John Glover. The group’s Master 45 was recorded at United Sound Studio in Detroit and released in February 1964.


With Markie not scoring with “I’ll Walk Right Out The Door”, the group headed back to Detroit and got Joe Hunter to organize a session at United Sound. The result was two top-notch sides that the group hawked unsuccessfully around Chicago. Once back in Detroit they propositioned business Ronald Holmes, who had a store on Joy Road.

Ron liked what he heard and formed The Master Recording Company. The 4 Hollidays’ had the maiden 45 on his label in February ’64: two photos of the group appeared in The Michigan Chronicle. One showed the four in their uniforms and another was on stage with WJLB disc jockey “Frantic Ernie” Durham, who enthused about their prospects. And rightly so: the songs are great.

“Deep Down In My Heart” has Jimmy leading with music by Joe Hunter’s band, which included famed musicians that were by then ensconced at Motown. As you would expect, the result is a high-quality recording that should have shot up the charts. But the fledgling company wasn’t really set up to properly promote and distribute the disc and consequently sales never materialized. It’s now a valuable collector’s item.

In May the group gigged at the Webbwood Inn, a large club on the corner of Woodward Avenue and Webb where Tony Lee’s Band backed a revolving set of artists. As a novel way of getting some attention, The 4 Hollidays started to don colored wigs and were therefore billed as “the group with purple hair”. The advert for the gig also shows “guest star” Lillian Dupree, who had a Don Davis penned song on Mike Hanks’ D-Town label in ‘65. By then Mike had taken over the management of the club.

James Holland
“Deep Down In My Heart”

It was you
right from the start
I broke your heart
No, I wasn’t too smart
(Deep Down In My Heart)

The Webbwood was one of numerous places that Detroit could boast about during the 60s. The array of nightclubs dotted around 12th Street and over on the East Side enabled entertainers to hone their craft, promote their recordings and earn a living: The 20 Grand on 14th, The Chit Chat on 12th, Mr. Kelly’s on Chene and Phelp’s Lounge on Oakland were just a few of the most popular.

The Four Hollidays appeared at them all and in July ’64 sang at Lee’s Club Sensation - a place on Owen that had been packing them in since 1941. The Michigan Chronicle printed a publicity piece in July ‘64 that plugged The Hollidays’ first appearance there; they were billed with Cleveland-based singer Kim Tolliver.

When I quizzed Jimmy Holland about gigging at Detroit’s nightclubs, he had the fondest memories of The Moonglow Lounge at 8434 Grand River Avenue - a place that rarely advertised in the local papers. Maybe it didn’t have to:

“You cannot talk about clubs in Detroit without talking about The Moonglow. The Moonglow was the practice house, it was the assembly house, it was the love house, it was the entertainers’ house. Then they had the 20 Grand Ballroom - and this is where you worked when you got your hit record. But… you’re in the business to create music and the only way you could do that craft is find a club that would allow you to do it; and would give you special treatment; and the Moonglow was always nice to artists. It was only a $2 cover, but you didn’t have to pay. You gotta remember The Moonglow. The 20 Grand was a step up - that was where you got dressed up - you did pretty much the same thing, but it was a little bit more sophisticated.”

Kim Tolliver was based in Cleveland and The Hollidays appeared with her at Lee’s Club Sensation in July 1964, still plugging their Markie 45s. Ronald Holmes owned the Master label.



Researched and written by Graham Finch


This website is dedicated to Detroit, Soul Music, 45 RPM, Northern Soul and the great Motown era of Detroit Musics. It covers the Holidays, 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.