On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67.

Label: Ace Records.

As 1959 unfolded, Detroit based songwriter, producer and future musical impresario Berry Gordy Jr had already discovered The Miracles and started to build a successful portfolio of recording artists. There was only one problem, what would Berry Gordy Jr do with these talented artists and groups? It was Smokey Robinson, the leader of The Miracles, that came up with the answer, when he suggested that Berry Gordy Jr found his own record label.

Straight away, this made sense to Berry Gordy Jr, and he borrowed $800 from his family to form his own R&B label. Originally, Berry Gordy Jr planned to call his new label Tammy Records, after a song that had been recorded and released by Debbie Reynolds. There was only one problem, someone had beaten Berry Gordy Jr to the punch, and had already registered the name Tammy Records. This was a huge blow for Berry Gordy Jr, who suddenly, had to think of a new name for his nascent record label. 

After some thought, Berry Gordy Jr came up with the name Tamla Records, which was incorporated on January the ‘12th’ 1959, in Detroit, Michigan. That day musical history was made.

Nine days later, Tamla Records began trading on January the ‘21st’ 1959, and not long after that, Marv Johnson’s single Come to Me was the label’s first release. Tamla Records second release was another single by Marv Johnson, You Got What It Takes, which was released later in 1959 and reached number two in the US R&B charts. This was a huge boost to the nascent Tamla Records. 

Buoyed by this success, Berry Gordy Jr was already making plans to expand his musical empire, and formed a new record label, Rayber. Its first release was Wade Jones’ single Insane, which sunk without trace and nowadays, one of the rarest singles that was released by one of Berry Gordy Jr’s labels. 

Later in 1959, Berry Gordy Jr’s next label, Motown Records released The Miracles’ single Bad Girl, which was released nationally by Chess Records. Little did Berry Gordy Jr realise that his new label Motown Records would become one of the most successful and iconic soul labels. 

In the spring of 1960 Berry Gordy Jr decided to merge his two small labels, and on April the ’14th’ 1960 Tamla Records and Motown Records were merged into one label new company, Motown Record Corporation. 

Six months later, The Miracles released their single Shop Around nationally on the ‘15th’ of October 1960, which topped the US R&B charts late in the year, and reached number two in the US Billboard 100 in early 1961. By then, Shop Around had become Tamla Records’ first million-selling hit single, and Berry Gordy Jr’s labels were about to provide the soundtrack to America over the next decade.

Meanwhile in Britain, the Motown was releasing passed record buyers by until 1964. By then, around forty singles had been released by Motown but failed to make any impression on the charts. This changed when Mary Wells enjoyed a top ten  hit with My Guy. After this, Berry Gordy’s label started to enjoy further success.

Things changed over the next three years for Motown’s top acts between 1964 and 1967, when they enjoyed a series of top ten twenty hits. What helped was when The Beatles recorded three Motown songs on their second British album. Before long, many artists started to cover of songs that had failed to make any impression on the British charts  for the original artists. There was one problem though.

It wasn’t easy for artists and brands to replicate the Motown sound, which featured the considerable talents of the Funk Brothers. As a result,many who covered tracks from the Motown vaults, gave the songs their own twist. Not all of these covers were commercially successful, but a new compilation from Ace Records On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67 features twenty-four that gave the artist and bands hit singles with their Motown covers. These songs are a mixture of singles and B-Sides that gave twenty-four artists and brands a hit single.

The artists that feature On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67 include a mixture of familiar faces and what will be new names for many. 

Among the familiar faces are Manchester’s very own The Hollies, cover The Miracles Mickey’s Monkey on On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67, while future Vinegar Joe vocalist Elkie Brooks reworks The Temptations’ Way You Do The Things You Do. They’re joined by Georgie Fame’s version of Sweet Thing, The Small Faces’ take on  You Really Got A Hold On Me and The Spencer Davis Group’s cover of Every Little Bit Hurts. Dusty Springfield covers early Supremes classic When The Lovelight Stars Shining Through His Eyes. Helen Shapiro’s cover of You’re My Remedy is a welcome addition. So is  I’ll Be Doggone by Billy J. Kramer and The Dakotas and Number One in Your Heart and Herbie Goins and The Night-Timers. These singles will be familiar to many people and bring back memories of a time and place.

Sadly, not every single enjoyed the commercial success it deserved. This included Beryl Marsden’s Let’s Go Somewhere, As Long As I Know He’s Mine by Julie Grant and John Leyton and The Leroy’s I Want a Love I Can See. That isn’t forgetting Louise Cordet’s Two Lovers, Bern Elliot and The Fenmen’s Shake Sherry Shake and Truly Smith’s My Smile Is Just a Frown (Turned Upside Down) which are welcome additions to On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67.

Closing On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67 is Cilla Black and Sounds Incorporated’s cover of Junior Walker’s Shotgun. This is a cover one of the best known tracks on the compilation.

On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67 is  a lovingly curated compilation where twenty-four British artists and bands pay homage to the Motown sound on Ace Record’ new compilation. It’s sure to be of interest to anyone who loves the Motown sound, sixties music or just a great compilation packed full of memorable music from familiar faces and new names. 

On The Detroit Beat! Motor City Soul-UK Style 1963-67.


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