Early Motown labels and lists

Motown Greatest Hits

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This page gives Early Motown labels and lists of releases under those various labels.

LONDON AMERICAN LABEL  
Paul Gayton:The Hunch / Hot Cross BunsHLM 8998 – Nov 1959
Paul Gayton Was Issued On A 78 As Well As A 45 first on Anna US Berry gordy’s sister label pre-dating Motown
Barrett Strong:Money (That’s What I Want) / Oh I ApologiseHL 9088 – Apr 1960
The Miracles:Shop Around / Who’s Lovin’ YouHL 9276 – Feb 1961
The Miracles:Ain’t It Baby / The Only One I LoveHL 9366 – Jun 1961
FONTANA LABEL  
The Marvelettes:Please Mr Postman / So Long BabyH 355 – Dec 1961
The Miracles:What’s So Good About Goodbye / I’ve Been Good To YouH 384 – Mar 1962
The Marvelettes:Twistin’ Postman / I Want A GuyH 386 – Mar 1962
Eddie Holland:Jamie / Take A Chance On MeH 387 – Mar 1962
ORIOLE LABEL  
Mary Wells:You Beat Me To The Punch / Old Love (Let’s Try Again)CBA 1762 – Sep 1962
The Contours:Do You Love Me / Move Mr ManCBA 1763 – Sep 1962
The Marvelettes:Beechwood 4-5789 / Someday, SomehowCBA 1764 – Sep 1962
Mike & The Modifiers:I Found Myself A Brand New Baby / It’s Too BadCBA 1775 – Oct 1962
The Miracles:You Really Got A Hold On Me / Happy LandingCBA 1795 – Jan 1963
Mary Wells:Two Lovers / OperatorCBA 1796 – Jan 1963
The Contours:Shake Sherry / You Better Get In LineCBA 1799 – Feb 1963
Marvin Gaye:Stubborn Kind Of Fellow / It Hurts Me TooCBA 1803 – Feb 1963
Eddie Holland:If It’s Love (It’s Alright) / It’s Not Too LateCBA 1808 – Mar 1963
The Valadiers:I Found A Girl / You’ll Be Sorry SomedayCBA 1809 – Mar 1963
Martha & The Vandellas:I’ll Have To Let Him Go / My Baby Won’t Come BackCBA 1814 – Mar 1963
The Marvelettes:Locking Up My Heart / ForeverCBA 1817 – Apr 1963
Martha & The Vandellas:Come And Get These Memories / Jealous LoverCBA 1819 – Apr 1963
Mary Wells:Laughing  Boy / Two Wrongs Don’t Make A RightCBA 1829 – May 1963
The Contours:Don’t Let Her Be Your Baby / It Must Be LoveCBA 1831 – May 1963
Marvin Gaye:Pride And Joy / One Of These DaysCBA 1846 – July 1963
Mary WellsYour Old Stand-By / What Love Has Joined TogetherCBA 1847 – July.1963
Little Stevie Wonder:Fingertips (11) / Fingertips (1)CBA 1853 – Aug 1963
The Miracles:Mickey’s Monkey / Whatever Makes You HappyCBA 1863 – Sep 1963
STATESIDE LABEL  
Martha & The Vandellas:Heatwave / A Love Like Yours Don’t Come Knocking Every DaySS 228 – Oct 1963
Little Stevie Wonder:Workout Stevie Workout / Monkey TalkSS 238 – Nov 1963
Mary Wells:You Lost The Sweetest Boy / What’s Easy For Two Is So Hard For OneSS 242 – Nov 1963
Marvin Gaye:Can I Get A Witness / I’m Crazy About My BabySS 243 – Nov 1963
Martha & The Vandellas:Quicksand / Darling I Hum Our SongSS 250 – Jan 1964
The Marvelettes:As Long As I Know He’s Mine / Little Girl BlueSS 251 – Jan 1964
Supremes:When The Lovelight Starts Shining Thru’ His Eyes / Standing At The Crossroads Of LoveSS 257 – Jan 1964
The Miracles:I Gotta Dance To Keep From Crying / Such Is Love Such Is LifeSS 263 – Feb 1964
Martha & The Vandellas:Live Wire / Old Love (Let’s Try Again)SS 272 – Mar 1964
The Marvelettes:He’s A Good Guy (Yes He Is) / Goddess Of LoveSS 273 – Apr 1964
The Temptations:The Way You Do The Things You Do / Just Let Me KnowSS 278 – Apr 1964
The Miracles:(You Can’t Let The Boy Overpower) The Man In You / Heartbreak RoadSS 282 – Apr 1964
Marvin Gaye:You’re A Wonderful One / When I’m Alone I CrySS 284 – Apr 1964
Little Stevie Wonder:Castles In The Sand / Thank You (For Loving Me All The Way)SS 285 – Apr 1964
Mary Wells:My Guy / Oh Little Boy (What Did You Do To Me)SS 288 – Apr 1964
The Contours:Can You Do It / I’ll Stand By YouSS 299 – May 1964
Martha & The Vandellas:In My Lonely Room / A Tear For The GirlSS 305 – Jun 1964
Brenda Holloway:Every Little Bit Hurts / Land Of 1000 BoysSS 307 – Jun 1964
Mary Wells & Marvin Gaye:Once Upon A Time / What’s The Matter With You BabySS 316 – Jul 1964
The Temptations:I’ll Be In Trouble / The Girls Alright With MeSS 319 – Jul 1964
Stevie Wonder:Hey Harmonica Man / This Little GirlSS 323 – Aug 1964
The Miracles:I Like It Like That / You’re So Free And SweetSS 324 – Aug 1964
Marvin Gaye:Try It Baby / If My Heart Could SingSS 326 – Aug 1964
The Supremes:Where Did Our Love Go / He Means The World To MeSS 327 – Aug 1964
The Marvelettes:You’re My Remedy / A Little Bit Of Sympathy, A Little Bit Of LoveSS 334 – Sep 1964
The Four Tops:Baby I Need Your Loving / Call On MeSS 336 – Sep 1964
Martha & The Vandellas:Dancing In The Street / There He Is (At My Door)SS 345 – Oct 1964
The Temptations:(Girl) Why You Wanna Make Me Blue / Baby Baby I Need YouSS 348 – Oct 1964
The Supremes:Baby Love / Ask Any GirlSS 350 – Oct 1964
The Miracles:That’s What Love Is Made Of / Would I Love YouSS 353 – Oct 1964
Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers:Soul Stomp / Hot ‘n’ TrotSS 357 – Nov 1964
Kim Weston:A Little Bit More Love / Go Ahead And LaughSS 359 – Nov 1964
Marvin Gaye:How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) / ForeverSS 360 – Nov 1964
The Velvelettes:Needle In A Haystack / Should I Tell ThemSS 361 – Nov 1964
Marvin Gaye & Kim Weston:What Good Am I Without You / I Want You ‘RoundSS 363 – Dec 1964
The Marvelettes:Too Many Fish In The Sea / A Need For LoveSS 369 – Jan 1965
The Four Tops:Without The One You Love (Life’s Not Worthwhile) / Love Has GoneSS 371 – Jan 1965
The Supremes:Come See About Me / (You’re Gone But) Always In My HeartSS 376 – Jan 1965
The Miracles:Come On Do The Jerk / Baby Don’t You GoSS 377 – Jan 1965
The Temptations:My Girl / (Talkin’ Bout) Nobody But My BabySS 378 – Jan 1965
The Contours:Can You Jerk Like Me / That Day When She Needed MeSS 381 – Jan 1965
Martha & The Vandellas:Wild One / Dancing SlowSS 383 – Jan 1965
Carolyn Crawford:When Someone’s Good To You / My HeartSS 384 – Feb 1965
The Velvelettes:He Was Really Saying Something / Throw A Farewell KissSS 387 – Feb 1965
Tony Martin:Talkin’ To Your Picture / Our RhapsodySS 394 – Mar 1965

UK MOTOWN LABEL  Distributed by EMI

Mutt & Jeffo

JERRYO - SOUL LOVER

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DL - Blue Note Club

 

Jerryo,  Radio Station DJ and the guy with a huge hit at Manchester’s Twisted Wheel with Karate Boo-Ga-Loo, started his own record label of course named JERRYO. The best release on JERRYO was by MUTT & JEFFO a name taken from DELL Comics and an original 1920’s USA cartoon series, also Count Basie made an orchestral arrangement themed on the characters, but maybe I’m getting off the subject. So with Jerryo as ‘Jeffo’ singing on this duet, it was certainly Jerryo’s next best thing to Karate Boo-Ga-Loo.

At The Blue Note club in Manchester in 1968 one of the DJ’s: Dave Lomas (DL) bid on a postal auction for this record just because of its label name: JERRYO. Sometimes we just took chances like that.

Bingo – Dave won the auction and played it at the Blue Note, but unfortunately it killed the dance – floor; the buggers wouldn’t dance to it, so it faded away, but Dave & Dave, the two DJay’s claimed it as one of their all time favourites.

JERRYO Records

JERRYO on Soulbot

The Shrine Records Story

Eddie Singleton (Shrine Records) telephone Interview by Andy Rix - 12th May 1989.

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The Shrine Records Story: this is the label label that was allegedly torpedoed by Berry Gordy was started by Berry’s ex wife ‘Miss RAY’ and her new husband Eddie Singleton.

To finance the new venture in 1964, Raymona (Berry’s Ex wife) AKA ‘Mother Motown’ pressed hundreds of copies of “My Guy”, by Mary Wells and sold them to record shops around Washington, Berry got her arrested by the FBI for fraud. The label quickly went into receivership: USA Code Chapter 7.

Many years later the entire Shrine catalogue was released on a set of CD’s:

The story is covered to some extent in our: Motown The Darker Side and interviews with Eddie Singleton can be  found on Ian Levine’s: The Strange World Of Northern Soul.

Shrine the rarest Soul label was started by Eddie Singleton and his wife Raynoma the ex-wife of Berry Gordy. Some of their story is told in Ian Levines amazing but long The Strange World Of Northern Soul and also in the book BERRY, ME, AND MOTOWN.

The financing of Shrine ran into trouble due to: THE CURIOUS STORY OF MY GUY.

The whole early story about Motown and Shrine records is told in this book

RAYMONA TV Interview

Early Motown: The Untold Story

Eddie Singleton RIP

Ahmet Ertegun

Atlantic Records: The House That Ahmet Built

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Ahmet Ertegun – Atlantic Records Ahmet Ertegun was the founder of Atlantic Records. The son of a Turkish diplomat, his musical tastes ranged from Jazz to Soul, from Ray Charles to Led Zeppelin.

Ahmet Ertegun

He is reported to have started Atlantic Records with the help of a loan he secured from his dentist.  He sold the company in 1967 for 20 million dollars. There is no doubt that his enthusiasm for black music helped to start both rock and roll and soul.

He was injured at the aged of 81 when he fell at a Rolling Stones concert in New York. He died on December 14th, 2006.

Atlantic Records Website

Atlantic Records UK

MOTOWN: Berry Gordy and The Darker Side of Motown

Motown Greatest Hits

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Gordy

Allegedly Berry Gordy, the founder and owner of Motown, was not always Mr Nice guy as far as some of the artists and associates would have you believe. The Motown Museum is situated at 2648 West Grand Boulevard, Detroit, Michigan. Later on Motown left Detroit and their original headquarters in Detroit for L.A. which upsets many Detroit residents to this day.

Berry Gordy founder and owner of Motown records, started out by writing songs for Jackie Wilson (Reet Petite). He was later joined by Raynoma Liles with whom he formed Rayber; a song writing and promotion company. Raynoma would later become his wife. According to her biography, Berry, Motown and Me, things got so tight financially that she turned to part time prostitution to make ends meet. The book was brushed aside as a good fantasy by Gordy’s sister who runs the Motown museum.

But rumour has it that Berry tried to suppress the book sales, even going as far as buying up stock from distributors. Ramona’s claims are also backed up by many ex-Motown stars and workers (see also Publishers Weekly – article reprinted at the bottom of this article.) Allegedly Ranoma owned half of Motown but was moved out by Berry.

Gordy started Motown in 1957 and its not widely known that one of his sisters; Gwen, married Harvey Fouqua  and with Marvin Gaye together formed Tri-Phi Records, Harvey also owned Harvey records who had signed the Spinners, Junior Walker and The All Stars; Harvey was an established star and one time member of The Moonglows.

Cleo's Mood

But getting paid by the (white owned) record distributors for his releases (eg, the instrumental Cleo’s Mood) was difficult and cash flow deficiencies probably forced Harvey’s hand and he joined the competition, his brother in-law’s Motown company in a house at on the outskirts of Detroit. Berry had been a tough guy boxer and could take care of himself and his business distribution. Cleo’s Mood was re- released by Motown.

It’s not easy being a business entrepreneur and harder still in the late fifties as a black man, Mr Gordy was one of the few black businessmen to make it in the USA at the time and one almost alone to own a major record company.

Mr Gordy’s achievements are well documented but much of the other side of things have been sometimes glossed over. His own biography To Be Loved leaves out any hint of problems other than business issues and his concerns about selling out Motown to Herb Alpert’s MCA.

Berry started out as a song writer he soon learned that being credited with writing a song, especially a hit song brought in far more royalties than being a musician or the singer, who in those days might only get a few dollars, a suit of clothes or if it hit big, a Cadillac. He may have learned this from his association in those early years with the Chess Brothers: who allegedly carried a ’45 of the metallic type to assist in negotiations…

Early on he must have come into contact with the bad sorts that had attached themselves to the lucrative recording industry, some claim it was Mafia infiltrated as the Payola scandal demonstrated. There is no doubt about Berry’s fantastic contribution to musical history and he probably was faced with continuous difficulties in keeping on an even keel.

Another of Berry’s sisters started a company ANNA Records, its first release would be one of the first on Motown;  eventually everyone in the family came together within the same family Motown stable.

In the 1980s he sold Motown to MCA for $61 million Dollars – a small amount in reality for such a major keystone record company. It was probably due to losing acts like The Jacksons, who spawned Michael Jackson’s solo career. Eventually even Dianna Ross left Motown, again reducing the companies stock value. He had problems with The Isley Brothers and Holland Dozier Holland his major writers who were all getting tired of arguing about royalty payments that allegedly never were paid out.

His Ex wife who started Motown in partnership with him was given a commemorative plaque… Gordy asked her to take her name off the partnership for tax purposes… thus removing her as 50% owner of Motown.

Berry and Diana Ross had a long standing affair her first child was his not her husbands.

Berry had a strategy to entice Jazz musicians to play for a pittance around 5 – 10 dollars when the rate should be $50 with the promise of a jazz recording session and LP releases later on. They evolved into the Funk Brothers and got little or no acknowledgement from Motown. musicians were segregated on tour buses as Berry did not want his young artists taught tricks by old hands, on the basis they were giving them Marijuana…or more likely telling them as they did to moonlight for more cash at Detroit’s other Soul recording studio Golden World.

Many times Gordy encouraged (and other times forced) his artists to record other Jobete copyrights so he got the credit/payments.

HDH’; Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Edward Holland, Jr.

But by1967 the relationship between this writing team and Motown was getting strained.  Because HDH was so important to Motown, BG had let Brian Holland know that he would be getting a block of stock in the company.   When that didn’t come about, Eddie Holland suggested a label deal with Motown in which the team would write and produce for three new acts.   When BG said no to this, the team left Motown to start their own label, outside of Motown. They established both the Hot Wax and the Invictus labels.

Undervalued, underpaid, under the thumb at Motown; so they all left and formed their own label INVICTUS 1968/9. From Notes put together from HDH:

Holland-Dozier-Holland and Motown Records – discography

A discography of hit singles written by Brian and Eddie Holland and Lamont Dozier.

The New Labels Build

The three team members of HDH were under exclusive writing contracts with Motown, but nothing prevented them from being music publishers – which brought in just as much money.  In  of this series I described how they used their vast talent to develop new writers for their new publishing company – keeping a flow of hit songs coming. Lamont Dozier and Brian Holland were under exclusive production contracts with Motown, But Eddie Holland was not.  Eddie had been helping with production for years, so there was nothing preventing him from being the producer.  It looked like they could keep the team operating much like it did before, without Motown.

Almost instantly the new HDH labels started getting hit records.   They had the Hot Wax Records label distributed by Buddah Records and the Invictus label distributed by the giant Capitol Records.  They went with two different national companies so that they could not be exclusively under the control of any one company – an business decision that they should have stuck with.   Over the next few years they got a dozen gold records with these labels, on artists such as the Honey Cone, Freda Payne and the Chairmen of The Board.

Divided We Fall

HDH left Motown early in 1968 and for a while were a major force in the industry, producing black recording artists.  But by 1971, it became apparent that all was not well in music-land.  By that time, Buddah Records had gone under, leaving HDH with only one national distributor.

See – “Gotta See Jane” “Ghost In My House” great tracks from White artist R Dean Taylor  – said he wrote quite a few H-D-H numbers that they just paid him a few dollars for and he was never credited.

Moving Motown to LA leaving many of the acts that made Motown there, some destitute, alone…one member of the Marvelettes.

Frances Nero Keep On Loving Me

Frances Nero’s Motown’ recording, “Keep On Loving Me,” with backing vocals from The Originals has a strange history of undercurrents of the way things go –  see ‘the dark side of Motown’,  ‘Where Did Our Love Go’ by Nelson George,  and coming close with her book Berry me and Motown from Raynoma. Consequently this 45 is so very rare, it was released on 11th of March 1966 in the USA only; and only locally to Detroit. It was the result of a long history for Frances from being mad about piano to playing music at school to meeting a member of the Tams and moving to Detroit where she entered a talent contest at WCHB (Detroit Radio Station) in 1965. Her luck was in and the judge was Berry Gordy. She won first prize; $500, a recording contract and a bunch of roses. Apparently Ronnie McNeir came second. Her short time at Motown was difficult with her only release  a rushed recording, not bad for all that, but it put pressure on her or rather Motown did, if she did not record the song there were others who would….She asked about renewal of her contract (She was 25 married with two small children and an insecure future) they stalled. She had aloofness about her nature, being beautiful but firmly married made her less available to the co-workers, musicians, writers and producers with ‘influence’ at Motown (the dark side of Motown). So the ‘usual stuff’ did not work for her! You get the drift. Other female artists at Motown told under their breath of similar happenings to get on… some left, some stayed.

So Motown stalled the release, of uncooperative Francis, then only pressed 10,000 copies distributing it only locally – Frances claims she “never received any money from Motown ever.”

WCHB played it every half-hour in Detroit announcing that she had won their contest.

Then after leaving Motown, things went from bad to worse; Frances signed for Shrine Records and did some recordings. Shrine was started by Eddie Singleton, and Raynoma Gordy-Singleton, Berry Gordys’ second ex-wife. Frances was loyal to Raynoma. Shrine never released the recordings they went out of business after air plays for their records were curtailed allegedly by pressure from Motown (see the book Berry Me And Motown and the interviews with Eddie Singleton on the DVD set The Strange World Of Northern Soul) and The Curious Story Of MY GUY(Mary Wells).

Frances: a trouble life but Ian to the rescue!

1978 her mother died, and then she cared for her ill step father and after he was OK a car accident crippled her son so she had been looking after him without any more musical activity.

1989 Ian Levine made contact with her as an ex-Motowner, along with many others to re-record and to make new material for his Motorcity label all of which was recoded on film for the DVD set released in 2004.

Frances recorded ” Footsteps Following Me” Writen by George Ivy Hunter a.k.a. Ivy Jo produced by Ian Levine and it charted at 17 in the Billboard Hits/UK, and was number 3 on Radio One’s play list. English DJ’s named Footsteps “The Soul Anthem of the Nineties”. And she got her royalties paid – nice guy Mr Levine.

Golden- worl records

Based in Detroit and a subsidiary of Golden World records. It was the success of Agent Double 0 Soul as a sort of none official promotional single for James Bond films, performed by Edwin Starr that led to the company being taken over by Motown and leaving the lesser known artists without a recording contract.

Golden World and Wingate Records, owned by Ed Wingate, were Motown’s biggest competitors and in the same city; Detroit. Motown’s Funk Brothers were fined $1,000 each for moonlighting on Agent Double O Soul, calling themselves The San Remo Golden Strings. The 45 was released on the Golden World subsidiary Rik-Tik and in the UK via a distributuion deal with Polydor. Long before it would become re-released on a Motown label

Berry Gordy  was apparently ‘very unhappy’ at Ed Wingate’s success with the Ric-Tic label. Eventually Edwin and some artists joined Motown  for a payment of $1 or 2million (1968). Al Kent’s ‘You’ve Got To To Pay The Price’ takes on an ironic extra meaning as Berry Gordy purchased the Ric-Tic and Golden World acts and recordings. The artists included Gino Washington, JJ Barnes, Laura Lee, Al Kent, Rose Battiste, Freddie Gorman, The Fantastic Four and infuriatingly for Berry, the rights to ‘his own session musicians’ known as the San Remo Golden Strings in fact the Funk Brothers!

This is the reason that in the UK  Edwin Starr’s hits were released on Polydor rather than Motown as Polydor had the UK distribution rights with Ric – Tic USA.

Rose Battiste’s record Hit and Run is so much like a Motown track, you can almost hear the Earl Van Dyke style oozing out of it; but that was when she left and recorded at Revilot – apparently.

Richard Wylie leaves Motown…

1962 he moved to Correc-tone and Continental. Then on to Golden World. Golden World and Wingate Records, owned by Ed Wingate, They were Motown’s biggest competitors and in the same city, with Richard Wylie moving there and with his own backing musicians moonlighting over there! Berry got mad. To this day lots of tracks from this period are still in the archives. Berry bought out the entire company from Ed Wingate and put most under lock and key.

Diana ‘BOSS’: her relationship with Berry Gordy ensured she would have her solo career and she left the Supremes.

Florence Ballard – ex Supreme dies of heart attach – lost income etc from Motown and was unhappily treated.

He never helped his original artists like the Marvelettes ‘bag lady’ walking the streets …. See The Strange World Of Northern Soul (DVD)

What changed Berry from a man who himself started out his own company because of a similar experience of low or no royalties for writing with Jackie Wilson, ends up doing the same to ‘HDH’ and other artists?

He must have had a good salary from his time at Motown before selling it, something from the sale could have gone to ex Motown down and outs who were useful in creating the original hits/business.

The Jacksons dispute – they left Motown but were unable to use their own name….

You get a good idea about the Mind-Set of Berry in Raynoma’s Book:

Raynoma Berry-Singleton has supporters as well. Many of the early Motown artists who gathered in Detroit 1989 for a Motown memorabilia convention either voiced approval for the book or acknowledged Raynoma’s presence as a driving force in Motown’s early days.

“By the time the company was really going strong, she was gone and a lot of the artists didn’t know her,” said Claudette Robinson, a former Miracle and the ex-wife of Motown superstar Smokey Robinson. “But she did play a great part in organizing the company in the beginning.”

From Publishers Weekly:

In the last line of her prologue, Berry Gordy’s second wife says of this notably well-written and relentlessly candid memoir, “As God is my witness, every word of it is true.” The author’s claim will no doubt come to haunt several soulful celebrities as well as her legendary ex-husband who, despite an underlying tone of love, is portrayed in this dishy tell-all as a Jekyll-and-Hyde “thief of dreams” as well as a former pimp and monstrous manipulator. Inspired by a desire to reclaim her rightful place in Motown history, to which her many creative and administrative contributions have been all but erased, the author, who co-founded the company with Gordy some 30 years ago and continued to work there in various capacities until the early 1980s, presents a riveting inside look at how the “Motown Sound” was created and ultimately decimated, and in doing so she tells startling “family” secrets, as well as a funky and finger-snapping story. Photos not seen by PW .
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Wikipedia

Shrine Records was a Washington DC soul music and R&B record label.

Shrine Records was founded in 1964 by songwriter Eddie Singleton and his wife, Raynoma Gordy Singleton, also known as Miss Ray, who had previously cofounded the legendary Motown with her first husband, Berry Gordy. Its headquarters was a townhouse at 3 Thomas Circle NW, Washington DC. There were a total of 19 Shrine Records singles released, and about six more completed recordings that were never issued. Eddie Singleton wrote many of the songs himself, and the musicians were primarily local Washington acts. Notable artists involved with Shrine included Ray Pollard (who later released material on Decca), Linda Tate, Eddie Daye & The Four Bars, and The Cavaliers. However, none of the Shrine singles were significant hits, and the label ceased operations in 1967. Shrine’s stock of unsold records was destroyed in a warehouse fire in the 1968 Martin Luther King riots. As a result, very few Shrine records remain today, and they are highly sought-after by collectors.

The Shrine Records logo was a line drawing of an eternal flame.

RAYNOMA AIR BRUSHED OUT OF MOTOWN

Kingsley Abbott’s otherwise excellent article Motown From The Beginning (RC 360) is marred by a glaring omission. Berry Gordy’s wife Raynoma Gordy Singleton was much more than one of the Rayber Voices. The name says it all, Rayber = Raynoma and Berry, co-founders of Motown. Despite this, her role in Motown’s history has been almost completely expunged.

Raynoma’s 1990 autobiography Berry, Me, and Motown – The Untold Story lays it all out. She was songwriter, arranger, producer, A&R, even engineer – a crack musician with perfect pitch who could write lead sheets and arrangements without a piano. She and Gordy together established the partnerships for Tamla Records and Jobete.

The forerunner for Jobete (named for Gordy’s three children Joy, Berry, and Terry) was the Rayber Music Writing Company. Gordy later had her change the partnerships to his name alone on the grounds that the company would look less like a ‘mom and pop operation’ and ‘for tax reasons’ – ‘it would be just simpler to have it in one name’. Simpler for him.

At the Motown 25 event in 1983, Raynoma was relegated to the balcony and her name was not mentioned once that evening. That is just wrong. She found the building on West Grand Blvd. in Detroit and ordered the sign reading ‘Hitsville USA’. Even Diana Ross calls her ‘Mother Motown’. It’s time for writers of Motown history to give Raynoma Gordy Singleton her dues.

by Robert Gallagher.


Marvin Gaye more sadness

Shot to death by his father who was a minister, supposedly after arguing with Marvin about him watching too much porn on the his VCR TV combination.

Marvin in many ways had a sad and difficult life.

Tammi Terrel did not die on stage in his arms, but later, in hospital were she had been taken after they had finished performing together. This caused Marvin lots of anguish.

It all started out strange with Marvin as his first wife was Bery Gordy’s sister Anna who wasn’t able to have children and it was agreed that Marvin should have sex with Berry Gordy’s at the time 15 year old granddaughter (Denise). Marvins wife faked being pregnant until the baby was delivered. These days this would be a paedophile crime! The resulting child was adopted and called Marvin Pentz Gaye the Third.

Wikipedia: Motown

Big Top Records

Sammy Turner - The Things I Love (Big Top Records 45-3061 Dec 1960)

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Big Top Records

Big Top CD

Raynoma Liles, Gordy Singleton

Geraldo 1990 "Ladies of Motown"

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Raynoma Liles

RAY‘ AKA ‘Mother Motown‘.

Berry Gordy’s second wife and member of the RAYBER Singers a backing group that sang on the first record Label that Berry Gordy with Raymona formed in the late 1950’s: RAYBER from their respective names.

Ray & Berry
Gordy and Raynoma

I Cant Concentrate – Early Motown (1959)

Raynoma Liles Gordy, later after their break-up met Eddie Singleton and became Raynoma Liles Gordy Singleton, but her original name before her first marriage was Mayberry. Hope your not too confused. Its interesting, a set of coincidences of berry in her first name. Anyway, they thats Berry Gordy and Miss ‘RAY’ got together and she not only assisted in forming RAYBER but that led on to the Formation of Motown which she was a joint half partner. This fact has been airbrushed from history (mostly by Berry).

The Rayber voices/singers, included Raynoma and performed as backing singers on many early Motown recordings and were also backing The Satintones the very first Motown recording: Going To The Hop. The ‘B’ side is said to have been the inspiration for naming Motown:

With Eddie Singleton she formed SHRINE Records in Washington, and to launch the new label she had pressed 500 copies of My Guy by Mary Wells and sold them to raise finance. She felt entitled to do this being half owner of Motown, but it all backfired and ended up with Shrine in trouble and thats why that label is so rare as many releses just went into and stayed in the can. More on this story see SOULDIRECTIONS and the book that Berry tried allegedly to suppress, BERRY ME AND MOTOWN.

Pre-Motown History

Ray Sings the Gordy Blues – article about all of this.

And the whole story is told in this Motown Explosive Book:

RAY @ Wikipedia

Action Records (UK)

Action Records in Preston (Behind The Counter Episode 2/12)

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The Action Records (UK) label was devoted to Soul music. Based in Blackpool.

GRAB YOUR CLOTHESMinnie Epperson
SAY YOU’LL NEVERAlice Clarke
GIVE ME ONE MORE CHANCE – Wilmer And The Dukes
SHE SHOT A HOLE IN MY SOULClifford Curry
I SURRENDEREddie Holman
SLOW DRAG – The Intruders
RIDE YOUR PONYBetty Harris
COMPETITION AIN’T NOTHINGLittle Carl Carlton

 

Wilmer And The Dukes
  SAVE IT (NEVER TOO LATE)Melvin davis
EARTHQUAKE – Al ‘TNT’ Braggs
BABY I NEED YOUR LOVEBobby Williams
Al-tnt-Braggs-Earthquake

The above were popular at the Blue Note Club Manchester at the time of their release.

More Action:

Action @ SKA 2 Soul

Still going: Action now and then

Motown

Motown Greatest Hits

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Tamla Motown – the first Black owned record label which went on to produce some of the most memorable soul releases of all time. Many of the most famous artists were signed to them including

The Supremes
The Four Tops
Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
The Isley Brothers
Martha and The Vandellas

2640 West Grand  Boulevard Detroit Michigan USA West Grand Boulevard had one time been a very fashionable location but  by 1958/9 several of the homes had been converted as business premises.
Motown started at number 2640. The location was close to the headquarters of General Motors.
The name Motown is derived from Motor Town.

Wikipedia: Motown Records

Leonard and Phil Chess

Chess Records - A Brief History

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Leonard and Phil Chess

Chess Records was founded by Leonard and Phil Chess in the 1940s. These Polish brothers Lejzor and Fiszel Czyz became Leonard and Phil Chess. They had come to the United States from Poland in the late 1920s. In 1947 Leonard Chess was a nightclub owner in Chicago, Macamba night club on Chicago’s Southside. He bought into the local Aristocrat label. Aristocrat was not a  famous blues label at that time, (pop and jazz). Chicago was a magnet for black immigrant workers from the South many were the blues artists that Chess signed. The address of Chess studios is 2120 South Michigan made famous as an instrumental track by the Rolling Stones.

Wikipedia: phil chess