Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life


May 30th, 2012

From the MCRFB news archives:

BACKSTAGE: Supreme Supremes

From the desk of Hal B. Cook, Publisher; Billboard





The superb Supremes, Diana, Florence and Mary, brought joy to New York’s Copacabana Club, July 29, just last week. Opening night Thursday brought an overflow audience which included Sammy Davis, Jr., Don Murray, Jack Cassidy, Marty Allen, Ed Sullivan, Bill Randall and Hal Jackson, radio personalities; Jim Schartz, Washington record distributor; Neil Keating and Bill Bell, Columbia Record Club executives, and a host of fans from other record labels.

The lovely Supremes shook up the entire block with their performance.

Berry Gordy, Barney Ales, Phil Jones, Harry Ascola and the entire Motown-Tamla organization can be proud that it was one of their groups who brought excitement to what in the summer in New York could be a pretty dull room.

A top-notch act will usually bring along enough extra musicians to get their sound. In the case of the Supremes, only two stand-in extra musicians were needed. Their attentive conductor, Gil Ashey, brought the Supremes’ own bass man Joe Mack and drummer Bob Cuosar, who proceeded to whip the Copa band at a frantic pace giving superb backing to the girls.

Choreography by Charlie Aiken created a visual impact perfectly matched to the powerful Supremes musical arrangements.

A wind-up tribute to Sam Cooke and his music developed into a standing ovation from the audience for the girls. Their attempt to retreat with only one encore proved hopeless.

This group has had fabulous success on records. We have heard of their great “in person” ability. Now we have seen it firsthand. If you get the chance, catch the Supremes in person.




(Information and news source: Billboard; August 7, 1965).


May 30th, 2012

From the MCRFB news archives:







NEW YORK — Any doubts that the Supremes will be around for a long time as a top adult act were erased at the Copacabana on Thursday night, as the three Detroit girls put on a performance the likes of which the famed bistro has seldom experienced.

The Motown beat was polished, refined and arranged to a fare-thee-well, particularly in “Come See About Me,” the female group’s first chart topper.

Motown Supremes in 1965. (Click on image for larger view).

But more important, Diana, the lead singer, emerged as a solo talent to be reckoned with, and the trio’s treatment of pop material like “Queen Of The House” demonstrated that the girls have a sharp comic sense and a reportorial range worthy that of a veteran group having been in the business for some time.

The first opening number in their Copa act was a sprightly “From This Moment On,” followed by a song generally more associated with the group — “Baby Love.” Another of the Supremes stand-bys — “Stop In The Name Of Love,” — was delivered in typical Motown style.

“The Girl From Ipanema” was delivered in a cool, subdued style and provided a suitable change of pace after the two beat numbers.

“Make Somebody Happy” was the showcase act for Diana’s solo potential. Her distinctive phrasing and amazing vocal range in every song confirms that she truly is one of the best in the business.

The girls proved also that they can handle the old music hall song-and-dance routine. On “Rockabye Your Rockabye Baby” they came prepared sporting straw hats and stage canes as they performed in the vaudeville tradition before the rousing, standing-room only crowd.

A bit of nostalgia was introduced with selections from their “We Remember Sam Cooke” album, delivered with taste and sentimental class.

The closing number was “You’re Nobody Till Somebody Loves You,” with Diana Ross delivering the lead vocals well into the song’s lyrics, as Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard were cutting in with appropriate asides on cue.

The Supremes’ stellar act was evident in every aspect of their stage presence on Thursday night. The event was electrified by the crowd’s numerous standing ovations throughout the evening as they performed.

While the Supremes will probably keep their teenage following for some time, there appears little question that the act will last a lot longer as an adult-generated “class act” as well, and not too dependent on chart positions of their latest chart hit.

They have all their able resources well in place — poise, polish and glamorous stage appeal — and evidently everyone who was present would unanimously agree, all were working flawlessly on stage at the Copacabana last Thursday night. END


(Information and news source: Billboard; August 7, 1965)

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May 29th, 2012

From the MCRFB news archives:

NEW CALL LETTERS SOUGHT: WJR-FM Getting Joseph, ‘Hot Hits’






NEW YORK — When consultant Mike Joseph arrives in Detroit the first week in July, he’ll be taking his “Hot Hits” format to WJR-FM, which petitioned the FCC for a call-letter change to WHYT-FM on June 8.

Joseph confirmed Thursday that he would “monitor and research” the Motor City market for WJR, but it’s premature for him to commit to a new station sound. The Capitol Cities property is now a beautiful music outlet in the Detroit market.

WHYT-FM studios situated on the 21st floor of the Fisher Building in 1986. (Click on image for larger view; photo courtesy Gary Berkowitz).

Joseph normally lives in the market he’s consulting for a six-month period. But he says the length of his stay in Detroit will be “open ended.” The consultant last worked on the city scene in 1963, when he engineered a one-book turnaround for WKNR-FM, which simulcast the Top 40 sound he instituted for WKNR-AM during that time.

WJR-FM general manager Roger J. Longwell was in Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio on Wednesday, and was unavailable for comments on Joseph’s hiring. But WJR-FM sales manager Roger G. Sisson confirmed that the station had petitioned the FCC for new call letters and that other Motor City stations have been notified.

WHYT airstaff in 1986: Capt. Rick Jagger; Mark Jackson; Mike Benson; Jennifer Stevens; Bob Shuman; Dirk Hunt; Bobby Mitchell; J.J. Walker; Michael Waite and Bob Stuart. Kneeling: Hal Buttermore and Gary Berkowitz. (Click on image for larger view; photo courtesy Gary Berkowitz).

Joseph’s arrival “proves again that Detroit is the most volatile market in the country,” according to Elaine R. Baker, vice-president and general manager of WOMC-FM (104.3), an adult contemporary Metromedia outlet in Detroit. “I suspect the stations in the market will take a wait-and-see attitude.”

Baker says she doesn’t anticipate a format change at WOMC at present, although she notes that “aggressive management always look at new possibilities. But we’re adult contemporary and that’s where we are today.” Asked about any possibility for change “tomorrow” at WOMC-FM, the station executive replied, “I don’t have a crystal ball.” END

 (Information and news source: Billboard; July 3, 1982).

WHYT 96 Hot Hits (MCRFB)


May 29th, 2012

From the MCRFB news archives:

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas Rock (and Soul) It to ‘Em; Wows ‘Em in the Big Apple





NEW YORK — Martha Reeves and the Vandellas, three sparkling ambassadors from Motown country in Detroit, delivered soul music downtown to the Copacabana on Thursday, June 20, to weather a spell on prom-happy students and other scholars of the soul sound.

Martha Reeves & The Vandellas circa 1968 (click on image for larger view).

Martha Reeves, the tall beauty who delivers the major sock in the group’s soul, marshaled the Vandellas through an opening-night traffic jam of steps, fancy hand symbols and harmonies. They sang “Ready For Love,” “Come And Get These Memories” and “Heatwave,” a medley of the trio’s golden goodies, then jumped into “Nowhere To Run” and “Honey Chile,” a booming gospel chorus punched through and through with that Motown magic.

The Copa debut of the Gordy artists touched off an in-person sit-in by Motown dignitaries and artists who loyally ringed the first-level stage. Smokey Robinson, Diana Ross of the Supremes¬† and Berry Gordy presided over a crowd that also included Arthur Prysock and local deejay Hal Jackson. The Vandellas sand “I Can’t Help Myself,” originally by the Four Tops several years back, another stellar Motown act.

Martha Reeves and the Vandellas excited the Rhythm and Blues buffs with three encores with such materials as “Dancing In The Streets,” one of their best sellers, and “I Promise To Wait My Love,” their latest release off the Gordy label.

Miss Reeves, smooth and stylish on with her soulful renditions throughout the evening on stage, also sang a cover of the Ruby & The Romantics hit, “Our Day Will Come,” while accompanied by famed soul guitarist David T. Walker. The solo, which Miss Reeves strung along with vocal agility, suddenly turned into a rock revival as the Vandellas chipped in with the echo/reverb machine on, while drummer Melvin Jones turned up the beat laced with rapid rhythmic brushes and strokes.

“Nobody Knows The Trouble I’ve Seen” and “He Love Me, He Needs Me” also delighted the crowd into frenzied rippling applause and spontaneous standing ovations. END

(Information and news source: Billboard; June 22, 1968)

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Motor City Radio Flashbacks

Memories From the Soundtrack of Your Life

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