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DEEP # 3/2010 (September)

My autumn column concentrates on recent compilations, as there are not only some real Southern soul gems, but also other quite noteworthy retrospective CDs among them this time.  I was fortunate enough to be able to talk to George Jackson and Jimmy Hughes, two remarkable artists with previously unreleased material now readily available.

Content and quick links:

George Jackson
Jimmy Hughes

CD soul reissue albums or compilations:
George Jackson: All Because Of Your Love
Joe Tex: Singles A’s & B’s, vol.2 – 1967-68
Tavares: New Directions
Deniece Williams: Song Bird
Ruby Turner: Women Hold Up Half The Sky
Bobby Sheen: The Bobby Sheen Anthology 1958-1975
Jimmy Hughes: Something Extra Special/The Complete Volt Recordings 1968-1971
Various Artists: A Cellarful Of Motown, vol. 4

New CD reviews:
Sweet Angel: A Girl Like Me
Jim Bennett: Slap It Slap It Slap It Tap It Tap It Tap It

Gospel CD reviews:
The Dixie Hummingbirds: A Christian Testimonial
John Harrell: King Jesus

Book review:
Russ Terrana’s Motown



  As John Ridley writes in his liner notes “this is the third collection of masters and demos George Jackson recorded at Muscle Shoals Sound during the 1970s – and all but two of these vintage tracks are previously unreleased.”  Demos or not, on most of these tracks there’s a full rhythm section playing and some are embellished even with sweetening.  All Because Of Your Love (Soulscape, SSCD 7024;; 62 min.) has twenty songs on it, and George co-wrote all of them.  His main writing partner those days was Thomas Earl Jones III, and he’s credited on ten tracks.

  The opening cut, Sweet Surrender, is a melodic beat-ballad with horns and choir giving it an extra boost.  George: “It was supposed to be coming out on me, but it was also recorded by Bobby Bland.”  Bobby cut it for his Members Only album on Malaco in ’85.

  My Heart Won’t Let Me Forget is again a melodic and slowish, laid-back swayer.  “I demoed it, but it wasn’t recorded by anybody else, as far as I know.  I kind of had Dobie Gray in mind.”

  Although George is best known for his ballads and blues songs, he has written a lot of funk numbers, too, such as There’s So Much More Where This Came From and Can’t Break The Habit.  The latter appeared on The Muscle Shoals Horns album titled Doin’ It To The Bone (on Ariola in ’77).  Equally funky are Your Love Is Working On Me – “I think I had in mind Wilson Pickett” – and Let The Funk Flow, which James Brown released as a single on Polydor in ’79.

  Also those two previously released tracks by George – Fast Young Lady and Funky Disco Music – invite us to the dance floor.  “Muscle Shoals Sound put that single out (in ’79) but with no promotion behind.  It sort of fell apart.”  Ollie Nightingale recorded Disco Granny in ’78.

  Play Something Pretty is a haunting and indeed “pretty” ballad.  “The original version I did first, then Johnnie Taylor heard it and recorded it” (in ’79).  Back Track is a mid-to-fast, sharp number with seemingly a lot of hit potential, at least to these ears - “I kind of had in mind Bobby Womack” - and I Get A Rockin’ Good Feeling falls in the same bag, although in style it’s closer to southern swamp rock.

  Instant Replay is an achingly beautiful, poignant ballad and one of the highlights on this CD.  “That was a real good song.  I might have the Staple Singers in mind for that.”  The title song, All Because Of Your Love, is a mid-tempo toe-tapper that Otis Clay cut in 1977 – “that was the original demo that Otis Clay heard” – and tempo-wise the one to go along with that song is another jogger called You Gave The Best Performance Of Your Life

  I Can’t Make It Without You is a slowly rocking, bluesy song.  “That was put down for Millie Jackson, but she never recorded it.”  A gentle beat-ballad titled Can I Take You Home was co-written by Larry Chambers, the promotion wizard at Ecko Records in Memphis today.  George: “It was a song I wanted to record myself.”  Those days George wrote a lot of songs with Raymond Moore, too, and today Raymond happens to work for Ecko as well, as one of their main writers.

  Another hidden gem on this CD is a pretty ballad with a touch of country to it named Hey Miss Lady.  “That’s one of my favourites.  I kind of had Kenny Rogers in mind or somebody like him to do a song like that.”

  As late as in 1988 Little Milton cut the slow I Was Trying Not To Break Down, but the most money-making song on this CD is Old Time Rock And Roll, which Bob Seger took to the pop charts twice, both in 1979 (# 28) and in 1983 (# 48).  “I put that original version down for Ike and Tina Turner.  During that time, when I first played it for them, they broke up, and Tina didn’t have any label.  I wanted to put it on her.  When Tina Turner wanted to record the song, Jimmy Johnson presented Bob Seger the song.  So I dropped the Tina Turner thing and went on to the Bob Seger thing.  After he got a hold of it, we changed the whole thing around.”

  Although this fine CD is the third George Jackson “demo collection”, it may be far from the last one.  “I recorded a lot of songs in Muscle Shoals.  I used to record like twenty some songs a week, when I went down there.  They have a lot more that haven’t been released yet.” (Interviews conducted on August 20 and September 13).


  Singles A’s & B’s, vol.2 – 1967-68 (Shout 67;; 22 tracks, 65 min., liners by Clive Richardson) continues Joe’s Dial saga by presenting his next eleven singles, all self-written (except C.C. Rider), cut in Tennessee and produced by Buddy Killen.

  As many as eight singles charted, and with the exception of two instrumental and two blues tracks the music mostly runs according to the tried and tested pattern – either slow and philosophical songs with a message (A Woman Sees A Hard Time, A Woman’s Hands, I’ll Make Everyday Christmas, Don’t Give Up, I’ll Never Do You Wrong, Sweet Sweet Woman) or good-time scorchers (I’m Going And Get It, You’re Gonna Thank Me Woman, Go Home And Do It, That’s Your Baby).

  The biggest hits this time include a shuffle called Show Me, fooling on the stage titled Skinny Legs And All and Men Are Gettin’ Scarce and a slow swayer named Keep The One You Got.  Joe’s melodic, soulful and energetic music always leaves you in a good mood.


  Soon it’ll be close to fifty years since Chubby and the Turnpikes were formed.  They signed with Capitol in 1967 and under the name of Tavares churned out a hit after hit from ’73 till the early 80s.  This group of five brothers then switched over to RCA, where they released two albums, and New Directions is the first of them (, CDBBR 0008; 12 tracks, 55 min.; liners by Hayden Jones).  This re-release offers four bonus tracks – one dance mix and three single versions of the songs on the album.  The original LP peaked at # 30-black and # 137-pop.

  I just checked my vinyl collection and noticed that this is the only Tavares album I’m missing.  I can’t remember anymore why I skipped it in the first place, but it certainly wasn’t because of poor quality.  Actually all four tracks on the slow A-side are enjoyable.  Produced and mainly written by Kenny Nolan and Jay Senter, the haunting A Penny For Your Thoughts became a small single hit (# 16-black, # 33-pop), and both Mystery Lady and Abra-Ca-Dabra Love You Too are caressing, tender ballads.

  Rick Wyatt, Jr. produced and co-wrote the other charted single, a melodic disco dancer called Got To Find My Way Back To You (# 24-black).  René & Angela produced and wrote the concluding funky chugger, Wanna Be Close To You, which they had cut a year earlier for their own Wall To Wall album.  It was nice to finally get this album after 28 years (


  Like its predecessor This Is Niecy, Deniece Williams’ second album in ’77 was co-produced by Maurice White, but the magic wasn’t there anymore.  Reasons for this you can either read in Wayne A. Dickson’s liner notes to the CD, Song Bird (CDBBR 0009; 9 tracks, 38 min.; # 23-soul, # 66-pop), or you can go to my feature at (please scroll down a bit).

  The album kicks off with the funkiest cut, Time, before settling down to more poppy movers, The Boy I Left Behind and We Have Love For You.  The highlights on this set are two Deniece’s own songs, a beautiful and melodic inspirational ballad called God Is Amazing and a slightly jazzy and experimental The Paper, which could pass for a show tune with sax-colouring and vocal gymnastics.

  Baby, Baby My Love’s All For You, a haunting floater, evolved into a soul hit (# 13), and Season, a melodic mid-tempo swayer, was chosen for a single release in the U.K. (


    Ruby’s first Jive album in 1986 was a sort of musical hotchpotch with many production units and styles involved, although in most cases she was made to sing light and poppy ditties those days.  Women Hold Up Half The Sky (Cherry Pop Records, CRPOP 62;; 17 tracks, 71 min.!) offers in the sleeve notes an interesting interview with Ruby about her career and this album in particular.

   The opening track was also her first hit, a Jamaican style of an interpretation of If You’re Ready (Come Go With Me).  This cover was produced by Billy Ocean, Ruby sang it with Jonathan Butler and in the U.S.A. it reached # 58-black.  In the U.K. they still released as singles another reggae-beat track, Bye Baby, a melodic mid-paced bouncer titled I’m In Love and Ruby’s absolute show-stopper on stage, I’d Rather Go Blind, which on record here clocks in at 6:30.

  Janis Joplin gave a big boost to Dan Penn’s and Spooner Oldham’s ballad A Woman Left Lonely and Alice Kooper co-wrote and recorded the passionate Only Women Bleed, and Ruby handles creditably both songs.  The latter can be counted as one of her tributes to Etta JamesStill On My Mind and He’s Mine are both poppy, melodic ballads, and the album closes with Womack & Womack’s “silent pain” slowie named Hurting Inside.

  There are still three single sides among the five bonus tracks.  Won’t Cry No More is a catchy, mid-tempo toe-tapper, I’m Livin’ A Life Of Love a mediocre beater and Smokey’s Ooo Baby Baby is a mesmerizing floater in high sonic spheres (


  The Bobby Sheen Anthology 1958-1975 (Ace, CDCHD 1257;; 24 tracks, 2 prev. unreleased, 62 min.) covers Robert Joseph Sheen’s career on ten different labels either as a member of a group, or as a solo act.  The CD is accompanied by a booklet with Dennis Garvey’s exhaustive liner notes.

  Bobby’s six leads as a member of the Robins between 1958 and ’61 are all fast doowop & pop songs – sometimes á la the Coasters or the Monotones – with the exception of one teeny pop ballad, Magic Of A Dream.  Bobby often sounds like his idol, Clyde McPhatter, or on A Little Bird Told Me more like Dee Clark.  How Many More Times already has marks of fledgling soul to it, but Ding Dong (Saw Wood Mountain) is as silly as the title suggest.  This time the group was called – of course – the Ding Dongs.

  The following Phil Spector spell in 1962 and ’63 is represented by three cuts – the trotting How Many Nights (How Many Days) and two Bob B Soxx & the Blue Jeans songs, Zip-A-Dee Doo-Dah and The Bells Of St Mary.

  Bobby’s solo career got musically off to a good start with his ’65 Dimension single, I Want You For My Sweetheart/My Shoes Keep Walking Back To YouThe Vibrations’ My Girl Sloopy or the McCoys’ cover Hang On Sloopy must have been a model for the stomping and loud A-side, but the beautiful and utterly soulful Shoes – country-soul goes gospel – is a revelation and the personal highlight on this set.

  I’ve learned that a dancer called Dr Love is big in northern soul circles – I guess that’s why it opens this CD – but purely from the musical point of view I prefer the Spector-sounding mid-tempo flip, Sweet, Sweet Love.  Among Bobby’s other Capitol recordings between 1966 and ’68, those that stand out include the uptown The Shelter Of Your Arms and the slow raycharlesian Don’t Pass Me By.

  For his 70s singles on Warner Brothers and Chelsea in 1973 and ’75 Bobby went to Muscle Shoals, and the two Phillip Mitchell songs, the fast Something New To Do and the mid-tempo I May Not Be What You Want (earlier by Mel and Tim), made a strong single.  Although co-written by Frank Johnson, unfortunately Bobby’s ensuing disco and funk efforts were mediocre, except a southern soul cheating ballad titled Love Stealing, which Frank himself was to record later on.  Incidentally, Bobby’s early 70s material is issued on another new compilation (Too Many To Fight on Soulscape) with as many as nine canned tracks now released.

  This Ace anthology is quite fascinating, and certainly covers many subgenres of our music.  Bobby passed in 2000 at the age of 59.


  After his successful spell at Fame with such hits as Steal Away, Neighbor Neighbor and Why Not Tonight, Jimmy Hughes switched over to Stax/Volt in 1968, where he had one album, Something Special (Volt 6003 in ’69), and five singles released before his retirement in 1971.  Now all those cuts together with as many as fourteen unreleased tracks from that period are available on Something Extra Special/The Complete Volt Recordings 1968-1971 (CDKEND 341; 27 tracks, 79 min!; notes by Tony Rounce).

The first single was a pretty and sunshiny ballad called I Like Everything About You, Jimmy’s only charted Volt single in Billboard (# 21-r&b).  Jimmy: “I think Al Jackson produced that.  We cut it at Stax.”  This slow song was a cover of Ty Hunter’s single on Anna in 1960, and it was backed by a blues romp titled What Side Of The Door.

  The second Volt single coupled the funky Sweet Things You Do with the slow and bluesy Let ‘Em Down Baby, but it didn’t score anymore.  “At that particular time there were so many top artists over me, when I got in there, like Isaac Hayes, Booker T. & the MG’s, the Staple Singers...  I just never got in that flow up, climbing that stairs.  They were going to stay with their top dogs that were selling the most records.  I never did make it up that high with them, although Al Bell told me to put me on top, but he never did.”

  On the third single - and on the flipside of a stomper named Chains Of Love - they placed a personal favourite, a haunting and smooth mid-pacer called I’m Not Ashamed To Beg Or Plead, which was cut at Ardent Studios and produced by Al Bell this time.  “I think it was a very good record, but it didn’t do big either.  They just weren’t pushing me at the time.”

  All the six tracks above were included on the Something Special album, as well as the single, which was released right after it and which paired two mid-tempo groovers, I’m So Glad and Lay It On The Line.  “They let Charlie (Chalmers) produce that.  He was a nice dude.  He recorded many songs on me.  I had known him for a long time, but he just couldn’t get that Stax flavour in there some kind of way.  All studios do have a sound of their own and Stax had a sound of their own, but I don’t know why he couldn’t get that flavour.”

  The rest three tracks on the album were all uptempo ones – the pumping It’s All Up To You, the poppy Lock Me Up and the loud Peeped Around Yonder’s Bend.  Before we proceed to those fourteen unreleased tracks, let’s have a look at Jimmy’s last single in 1971, a scorcher titled (Just Ain’t As Strong As I Used To Be) You Done Fed Me Sumpin’ and a “Hi-sounding” mid-pacer called Did You Forget.  They were recorded at Royal Studios, produced by Al Jackson and Jimmy himself co-wrote the Sumpin’ song.  “I came up with the idea for it.  Willie Mitchell had a very good studio, and all the musicians were very nice.  At that particular time they had hot stuff out there with Al GreenDid You Forget has that Al Green flavour in there.  I really enjoyed recording over there.”

  Most of those unissued songs were meant for Jimmy’s second Stax/Volt album, which never materialized.  “No, it never did.  Soon they went out of business, and there’s a lot of stuff they have on the shelf that never came out by a lot of artists.”  Three production units and studios were involved.  First Charles Chalmers cut in ’69 songs that he had written either with Sandra or Donna Rhodes.  “The music was laid down over at Sam Phillips’ Sun studios, where Elvis recorded all his stuff when he started out down there.”  There are many delightful and surprisingly soulful gems among these songs.  No Easy Way is a nice and smooth mid-tempo floater, I Was Closest At Hand is a tender and string-heavy, poignant ballad and both Never Grow Old and Leave Us Alone are beautiful, waltz-time country-soul ballads.  You Got The Power is a light and mellow stepper, while the cover of Tell Him Tonight takes us back to pleading soul balladry again.  “I really did like that.”

  Steve Cropper recorded Jimmy next at Stax in 1970, and the cream cut is I Want You So Bad, a mid-tempo mellow George Jackson song.  Jimmy himself co-wrote the funky It Just Ain’t Enough.  “I remember we did it in a motel one night, and there were so many different people.”  Possibly a slow blues number named I Worry About You was cut at the same session, but Jimmy doesn’t remember this song by heart.

  Finally Al Jackson took Jimmy to the Royal Studios, where – besides that farewell single – they cut four more songs: a Syl Johnson type of a bluesy moan called Don’t You Know I’m All Alone, a chunky George Jackson funk named Your Love Made A U Turn, a slow weeper titled Too Old To Play and a restrained Al Green type of a ballad called Your Love Is Important To Me.

  Although after Stax/Volt Jimmy left the music business, has he ever considered a comeback?  “At that time I did, but now I do not.  I’m an old man now, 72 years old.  It wouldn’t make any sense for me to get back out there with these youngsters.  I don’t think I would enjoy it now.  It would be too much on my body and my mind.  I just want to relax and take it easy now.”  Jimmy only sings congregational songs in his church these days.

  Jimmy is still living in Leighton, Alabama.  “That’s where I was born.  The population is down to about 600 now.  Everybody’s moving out.  But it’s very nice, peaceful and quiet over there - no trouble.  Everybody lives like a family there.  Just about everybody knows one another.  That’s a very good life.  I don’t have a thing to worry about.  I’m just happy.”

  Something Extra Special is a rare case, when the unreleased tracks are superior to the released ones; for this listener, anyway.  I actually prefer Jimmy’s second, non-materialized album to his first one.  Of course, it’s up to your taste, whether you warm to rawer Stax sound or appreciate softer soul material more, but – whatever your leaning – this is a highly recommended CD. (Interview conducted on August 26; acknowledgements to Suzanne Bolton and Rodney Hall).


  For A Cellarful Of Motown, vol. 4 (Universal Music Operations Ltd. 8824009; 2-CD, 141 min.) they have dug out and dusted again as many as fifty shelved tracks from the period between 1962 and 1971.  Paul Nixon and Keith Hughes are in charge of the research, annotations and notes, and this package is sold at a reasonable price, to say the least.

  For those, who are attracted to the basic Motown sound, this series is a must.  Only two sophisticated and jazzy slow jams by Barbara McNair and Brenda Holloway at the end of each disc bring some variety to the pattern.  Also the opening song, an infectious fast dancer called Kidnapped by the Blackberries, is intriguing.  It was cut around 1970 or ’71 for their Motown album that was readied but not released.  Sherlie Matthews and Deke Richards wrote and produced the song - led by Venetta Fields - and today Sherlie is still active.  She just released a self-penned single called We Are All The Same Inside

  Without going into details on the rest of the songs, most of these tracks are uptempo scorchers or thumping stompers with only nine mid-pacers and five slowies.  Purely personal notes indicate that there are nine very good tracks, fifteen OK and nine poor ones.  The rest are passable or so-so.  I’m sure that you either have, or will come up with different figures.

  I naturally checked my long-time favourites first and am glad to report that the pleading Keep On Tryin’ (‘Til You Find Love) and the fast Take Him Back If It Makes You Happy by the Fantastic Four and the infectious Head Over Heels In Love With You Baby by the Spinners belong to the first class.  On the contrary, the Originals let me down with their somewhat messy Just Let Me Thank You For Loving Me.  The two energetic Gladys Knight & the Pips stormers belong to the “ok” category.

  Eddie Holland, the Vandellas, Debbie Dean, Chuck Jackson and Dennis Edwards came up with pleasant musical surprises, too, and in addition to some lesser-known acts (the Vows, Robert Dobyne, the Versatones, Oma Heard, the Utopians, the Lollipops and the Agents) they are still able to find canned material from such big-timers as Marvin Gaye, the Four Tops, Stevie Wonder, the Miracles and the Temptations.



  Clifetta Dobbins aka Sweet Angel wrote with her hub, Mac Dobbins, most of the material for A Girl Like Me (ECD 1126;, her fourth Ecko CD, which the couple also produced with John Ward.  The sound throughout the CD is quite full, notwithstanding faux horns and strings.

  The title song opens the set and it’s a mostly spoken, novelty type of a funky stormer with a story linked to Bobby RushWhat I Want, What I Need is a laid-back stepper, while a bluesy roller titled I Like The Money But I Don’t Like The Job actually bears a resemblance to Barrett Strong’s Money.  Similarly, while playing a rock & roller called Do You Feel Alright?, one can’t help thinking of Ray Charles’ What’d I Say.

  Last Night Was Your Last Night is a nice and mellow mid-tempo floater – co-written by Sherrie Thomas - but the real gems can be found among the six slow songs.  I’d Rather Be By Myself, Than To Be Unhappy is a big-voiced ballad interpreted in a determined style, and I’ve Got To Get Paid is a slightly bluesy number, which again echoes Ray and Drown In My Own Tears.  A longing plodder named Don’t Be Lonely, Be Loved is cut in memory of Sweet Angel’s deceased niece.

  The most soulful sides are a strong slowie called Mrs. Number Two, a touching swayer titled The Comfort Of My Man and a country-soul ballad named I’m Workin’ On My Job.  On this CD Sweet Angel portrays a strong-willed lady, and it seems to pay off, because music-wise this is her strongest album so far.  I really enjoyed this one, especially the ballads (


  Slap It Slap It Slap It Tap It Tap It Tap It (AVI 05; is not only the title of Jim Bennett’s new CD, but also his latest hit single, and – as far as I could comprehend – this mellow dancer has no dirty connotations in its lyrics this time.  Jim wrote all the songs and produced them (Carl Marshall created the remix of the title song) and he uses some real instruments on the background, with the exception of the horn sound.  Jim’s singing range is limited and suits only certain type of music, but I’ve always had a liking for his husky, pleading voice.  You can read about Jim’s early career at

  This Slap & Tap CD is actually a compilation of Jim’s earlier recordings.  Besides the title song, there are only two tracks that I didn’t find on Jim’s previous albums, but Jim’s been such a frequent visitor to studios that I just may have missed them.

  All the songs are either smooth mid-tempo jams, or wistful and emotive ballads.  The slow That Girl Is Mine is a duet with Roy C, and the humorous Goldilucks was strongly inspired by Roy, too.  Lady Mary and Jim’s Unique Creation Band join him on another mid-pacer called All Night After A PartyEast Coast West Coast Jam is a nice floater, and I Can’t Walk Away is a poignant, soulful slowie.  In case you’re not familiar with Jim Bennett’s music, this CD is a perfect short-cut to his work (



  A Christian Testimonial (Shout 68;; 26 tracks, 67 min., liners by Clive Richardson) gives us the Dixie Hummingbirds’ first Peacock album from 1959 plus fourteen single sides mostly from the late 50s, all produced by Don Robey and orchestrated by Joe Scott.  This gospel quartet was founded in 1928 in South Carolina, and their famous baritone Ira Tucker joined the group ten years later.  Ira passed in 2008 at the age of 83.  During the time of the recordings on this set, the other members included James Davis (tenor), Beachey Thompson (tenor), James Walker (baritone) and William Bobo (bass).  Allegedly the group was renowned for not only its music, but also its energetic and extemporized live performances.

  Among strong hand-clappers and fast jubilee stormers there are The Final Edition, the popular Christian’s Automobile, the playful Devil Can’t Harm A Praying Man, the accelerating Just A Little While and two novelty cuts, Let’s Go Out To The Programs, on which the group emulates other gospel outfits - on part 2 female groups only.  Bobo “the bass” leads the first half of I Don’t Know Why.

  There are as many as five waltz-time inspirational songs – Walls Of Zion and Make One Step are the most intense ones – and the most touching slowies are the traditional Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen, the almost a cappella God Is Now Speaking, We’ll Meet Again and Live On Forever.  Now listen closely and you too may become a believer (


  John Harrell out of Miami, Florida, sings in an original style that you could call folk-gospel or folk-spirituals.  He has a distinctive voice, somewhat gruff high tenor, and he writes and arranges his own music.  On King Jesus (C & C Productions; 9 tracks, 64 min.) he also plays the lead guitar, while S. Kendricks is on keyboard and James Charry, Joseph Charms and Vernon Devoe are on bass guitar.  Martha Roll and Americus Harrell sing background.

  Prior to this CD John had one r&b release in the mid-80s – Pretty Lady/Want My Money – and one gospel single in 2005, Ain’t It Sweet.  He’s also a member the Harrell Singers (

  The title song, King Jesus, is a melodic, laid-back ballad with a catchy chorus; plain and simple.  Talk With Jesus is another soothing and poetic slow song, and you can watch the video shot around it at The swaying He’s A Friend Indeed and the slightly dramatic Just One Way are similarly arranged and constructed, whereas Got A Race To Run and Weeping are more rocky beaters.  Somewhere To Lay My Head is another uptempo pop song, true to 60s Greenwich Village spirit.  The only outside song, the traditional Amazing Grace is performed almost a cappella, and there’s a touch of blues to the concluding slowie, When The Gate Is Open.  In its own way this is quite fascinating, at times even hypnotic music (acknowledgements to Betty Worley).



  Russ Terrana’s Motown (ISBN 9781904408703; was written by his twin brother, Ralph Terrana, whose own autobiography titled The Road Through Motown was published a couple of years ago.  With approximately one hundred pages – plus 22 with photos – this is a quick and quite light read, with enough anecdotes to keep you hooked.  Jumping back and forth chronologically, the book covers those eras that matter: childhood & the 50s Detroit, the Sunliners, Golden World, Tera Shirma, 20 years with Motown and beyond.

  Such productive and talented figures as Frank Wilson, Hal Davis, Berry Gordy, Ron Miller, Ed Wolfrum and Harry Balk are brought into focus, as well as a few performing luminaries (Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross).  Inevitably, by being twin brothers and working partners for a lengthy period, besides Russ, also Ralph himself is featured to an extent.

  Then in this review we come to the “however” and “but” parts.  Especially after looking at the list of tens and tens of number one records that Russ engineered and mixed, I would have loved to learn more about his technique.  Even at the risk of getting too deeply absorbed in technical details, it would have been interesting to read what the tricks in engineering and mixing were that made a certain disc stand out.  What were Russ’ working methods, and how did he deal with this and that artist and musician?  Naturally the book would have been heavier but at the same time perhaps more enlightening, especially for Motown fans.  But as such, the book is valuable in finally exposing one of the best-kept secrets in music business.


  “This is Luther Ingram’s son, Eric Luther Ingram.  I’m looking for an investor to come on board to finance the story behind my dad’s signature song, If Loving You Is Wrong, I Don’t Want To Be Right.  If you know of anyone looking for a great project, this is it.  The Memphis film commission thinks it’s a great idea and will give me all the extras that I need to film there.  I’ve just got to come up with the financing.  If you have any connects, I would appreciate the help.”  You can contact Eric at

Heikki Suosalo

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