If you heard only the NPR news blip on jazz pianist Oscar Peterson's death, you heard that he was "well known for having won many prizes." Not sure what skeleton holiday crew came up with that dismal description. Prizes were hardly the source of Peterson's fame.
Musically, Peterson was in a class by himself--never quite a swing player, never quite a bop player. He didn't have a particular style.
Art Tatum is known for his incredible runs, Dave Brubeck for his inventive use of chords.
Peterson did both, but did them so well that he's not really celebrated for anything.
He's the author of one of the most affecting performances we've ever heard, a version of the Benny Golson lament to trumpter Clifford Brown, who died in a car crash at 25.
Peterson's piano version of I Remember Clifford (which you can hear a sample of here) starts as a ballad, rises to a crescendo, kicks into double-time, and returns to earth with a startlingly touching ending. Peterson's version isn't really about Clifford Brown, it's about life--about the sadness of passing and the joy of being and, like life, it's too short.
North Night view of the New Cass Tech Building that is next to the original building.
Recently, Detroit, my beloved home town was declared the most dangerous city in the U.S. based on last years crime statistics. The city that I grew up in was tough, but it was not the monster that people think of today.
I want to share with all the music lovers on this Web community some of the artist from Detroit that have made contributions to the muse that we all love. The individuals that I will honor from time to time will not represent an exhaustive list of Detroiters that have made positive contributions to society in general and music in particular. The list will only contain members of my High School's Hall of Fame.
Cass Technical High School * The Rock of Detroit * Where Excellence is Expected.
The traditional building (pictured above) has been called everything from "The Big CT" to "The Green Machine" to "The Pickle Factory". Whatever it is affectionately called, Cass Tech can boast that some of the world's most accomplished citizens have graced the halls of green and white
My playlist presently contains a podcast of Ron Carter, a Cass Technical High School hall of fame member.
The next Cass Alumni is Geri Allen, Jazz Pianist.
Dating from her early years at the legendary Cass Technical High School in Detroit, where her mentor was trumpeter Marcus Belgrave, pianist Geri Allen's musical world has always been characterized by collaboration and study. After graduating with a degree in jazz studies from Howard University in Washington, D.C. in 1979, she studied piano with Kenny Barron in New York, accepted jazz educator Nathan Davis's invitation to attend the University of Pittsburgh where she earned a masters in ethnomusicology, and returned to New York City in 1982.
In addition to teaching as an Assistant Professor of Music at Howard and garnering such honors as that university's Distinguished Alumni Award, the SESAE Special Achievement Award, the Eubie Blake Award from Cultural Crossroads, and recognition as the top Talent Deserving Wider Recognition in Down Beat magazine's 1993 and 1994 Critics Polls, Allen has amassed a stunning resume of musical collaborations. Her colleagues have included M-BASE musicians as well as modern greats such as saxophonists Oliver Lake, Julius Hemphill, Arthur Blythe, and Dewey Redman, trumpeter Lester Bowie, flutist James Newton, bassist Charlie Haden, and drummer Paul Motian.
The musician Known as Donald Byrd is also a Cass Tech Hall of Famer.
Donaldson Touissant L'Ouverture Byrd II. Has a nice ring to it doesn't it? That is the full name of trumpeter Donald Byrd who once graced the halls of green and white with his presence. Known for his accomplishments as a jazz musician, Byrd is also a highly educated professor of music. After leaving Cass Tech, he earned a bachelor's degree from Wayne State University, a Master of Arts from the Manhattan School of Music, a Law Degree from Howard University in 1976, and finally a PhD from Columbia Teachers College in 1982. He became a professor of music at Howard, among other schools.
Byrd is noteworthy among staunch jazz fans, but in the 1970s, he became more popular when he formed the band "The Blackbyrds," which was comprised of Howard University students. Their most famous recording was probably "Happy Music" which received considerable air time as part of the genre known as jazz fusion.
Jazz violinist Regina Carter is also a Cass Tech Alumni.
Regina Carter is a grammy nominee and is among the world’s elite jazz violinists. The Cass Tech graduate began studying music at the age of four. In December 2002, Regina became the first African American to play Nicolo Paginini’s legendary violin. Her music ranges from funk and Motown to classical and Cuban.
Carter combines dazzling technical proficiency and profound compositional and improvisational gifts with a fresh, aggressive approach to her instrument and a multicultural perspective. In Carter's hands, the violin reveals both its melodic side and its potential for percussive expression. Regina Carter demonstrates an eagerness to explore musical combinations and contexts both familiar and unexpected.
Her first musical influences was the Motown R 'n' B. Studying classical violin her goal was to become a soloist in one of the major orchestras - until she heard a concert of Jean Luc Ponty, which hooked her on jazz. In the meantime she counts among the leading artists on her instrument.
For a change of pace we can turn to Greg Phillinganes class of 1974.
After graduating from Cass Technical High School in 1974, Greg Phillinganes relocated to Los Angles, where he has been among the city's most prolific session musicians. Stevie Wonder heard some instrumental versions of his songs done by Phillinganes and recruited him for the Wonderlove band, where he remained from 1976 to 1981. He met Quincy Jones and the duo worked together on a song for Billy Eckstine, "The Best Thing," in 1976. Phillinganes eventually was featured on every Michael Jackson Epic session, and wrote songs for Paulinho Da Costa, the Brothers Johnson, and Lionel Richie. He toured with Jackson, Richie, George Benson, Aretha Franklin, Paul McCartney, and Jones. Phillinganes played on recordings by Atlantic Starr, Debarge, Donald Byrd, Patti Austin, Diana Ross, and Patti Labelle, among others. He began doing his own recordings in the early '80s for RCA, though he has yet to enjoy a big hit as a leader. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide.
In the spring of 1962, I skipped track practice to sneak into the "Senior Class Mixer", held in the 7th floor gym. That is when I got to hear the next Hall of famer for the first time. The Cass Tech Senior that preformed that day Diana Ross, Class of 1962.
Superstar. Diva. Household name. These are all tags that fit Diana Ross to a T. Motown lore is filled with stories of The Boss and how she grew up in the Brewster Projects, studied at Cass Tech and worked at Hudson's after school. Hers is the ultimate rags to riches story.
As the highly charismatic lead singer of the '60s girl group The Supremes, Diana was one of the first African American woman of the television era to be considered synonomous with the word "glamorous". Her achievements include several Grammy nominations, platinum and gold record sales and an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Billie Holiday in the motion picture Lady Sings the Blues. Her other acting credits include Mahogany and The Wiz.
Her star has shined for a span covering five decades. The mother of five is truly an American icon. Three thumbs up to, Diana Ross, the most famous member of the Cass Tech Hall of Fame. Diana has demonstrated that she is a survivor, recently making a comeback after battling an addiction to alcohol and prescription drugs. Her recently released CD, I Love You, has received rave reviews. She has made the publicity rounds on behalf of her latest work, including an impressive appearance on Inside the Actors Studio and a concert near her native Detroit.
Diana had company at Hitsville, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Bobby Rodgers classes of 1956 and 1957. They became known by the name of their group, The Miracles. Nominated members to the Cass Tech Hall of Fame.
by Joslyn Layne
Scoring over 40 hits on the R&B Top 40 charts, the Miracles started out as the Five Chimes in the mid-'50s while the members were still in high school. The Detroit vocal group consisted of William "Smokey" Robinson, Warren "Pete" Moore, Clarence "Humble" Dawson, Donald Wicker, and James "Rat" Grice. Not too long after the group formed, Wicker and Grice left and were replaced by cousins Emerson "Sonny" Rogers and Bobby Rogers, who both sang tenor, and baritonist Ronnie White was in Dawson's place. The vocal quintet then changed its name to the Matadors and in 1956 Claudette Rogers joined the band after her brother Sonny was drafted. The Matadors auditioned for Jackie Wilson's manager, Nat Tarnopol, in 1956. Although Tarnopol wasn't interested, finding the group too similar to the Platters, one of Wilson's songwriters, Berry Gordy, Jr., was and he soon began producing the band, who now went by the name the Miracles. Gordy produced their first single, "Got a Job," (an answer to the Silhouettes' "Get a Job") which was issued by the New York label End Records in 1958.
After one more release on this label, the Miracles recorded their first song for Gordy's new Motown/Tamla label, 1959's "Bad Girl" (which was issued nationally on the Chess label). Next came the first hit for both the group and the label, 1960's "Shop Around," which reached number one on the R&B charts and number two pop. The next song by the Miracles to hit the number one R&B spot and reach the pop Top Ten came two years later with "You've Really Got a Hold on Me." Robinson and Claudette Rogers were married in 1963 and she retired from the group a year later. The band's last big hit before they changed their name from the Miracles was "Going to a Go-Go" (1966), which climbed into the Top Five on the R&B charts and the pop Top 20. Later that year, "I'm the One You Need" reached the Top 20. After this, the group's name changed to Smokey Robinson & the Miracles and they scored two more number one songs: "I Second That Emotion" (1967) and "The Tears of a Clown" (1970). Robinson left the group to pursue a solo career in 1972 and 20-year-old Billy Griffin was brought in to replace the lead singer. Once again the Miracles, the band scored several more hits, including "Do It Baby" and "Don't Cha Love It," which both reached the R&B Top Ten. The Miracles experienced a big success in early 1976 with "Love Machine (Part 1)," which reached number one on the pop charts. The multi-million selling single came off of their second album without Robinson, 1975's City of Angels, and stayed on the charts for over six months, making it the longest-running hit the band ever had. Their final album on the Motown label, Power of Music, followed. After this, the Miracles added a new member, Griffin's brother Don, and the band switched over to Columbia Records. Their first CBS release was Love Crazy (1977), which contained a single, "Spy for the Brotherhood," that was pulled off the record after complaints from the FBI. The group's last charting single, "Mean Machine," made the R&B Top 100 in 1978. Griffin pursued a solo career and Moore became a record producer in Detroit. In the late '80s, Bobby Rogers started the New Miracles, and in 1990 the Miracles (including Griffin and Claudette Robinson) reunited to re-record "Love Machine" for the U.K. Motorcity label.
Representing the Classically trained Graduates, is Janet Williams, American Soprano.
American soprano Janet Williams has won international critical acclaim for performances at the Metropolitan Opera, Berlin Staatsoper, Paris Opera, Opera de Lyon, Nice Opera, Théâtre Royal de la Monnaie, Geneva Opera, Frankfurt Opera, Cologne Opera, Leipzig Opera, San Francisco Opera, Washington Opera, Dallas Opera, and Michigan Opera Theatre as well as in concerts throughout Europe, North America, Canada, Israel and Japan with conductors including Vladimir Ashkenazy, Daniel Barenboim, Myung Whung Chung, Phillippe Herreweghe, René Jacobs, Marek Janowski, Neemi Jarvi, Raymond Leppard, Fabio Luisi, Sir Neville Marriner, Nicholas McGegan, Zubin Mehta, Kent Nagano, John Nelson, and Gerard Schwarz.
Janet Williams has enjoyed equal success on the concert stage, with appearances at Carnegie Hall with the Israel Philharmonic and with the Chicago Symphony both under the baton of Zubin Mehta, successive seasons with the Mostly Mozart Festival in New York and Tokyo under conductors Gerard Schwarz, Sir Neville Marriner and Raymond Leppard. In Europe, she has debuted with orchestras in Berlin, Munich, Leipzig, Cologne, Paris, Liverpool, Monte Carlo, Amsterdam, Antwerp, Brussels, Rome, Palermo, Ottawa, Canada and Santiago de Compostela, Spain in repertoire ranging from Bach's St. Matthew Passion and baroque oratorios of Händel to the modern repertoire of Michael Tippet, Wilhelm Killmayer, Samuel Barber, Anthony Davis and John Harbison. In North America she has appeared with the symphony orchestras of Chicago, Detroit, Indianapolis, Minnesota, the New World Symphony as well as the New York, Los Angeles and Santa Fe chamber orchestras. Her interpretations as a recitalist have been critically acclaimed in Berlin, Paris, New York, San Francisco, Washington D.C. and Detroit.
A native of Detroit, Michigan Janet received a Master of Music degree in Vocal Performance from the esteemed Indiana University School of Music where she studied with soprano Camilla Williams. She furthered her vocal training in master classes and coachings with Regine Crespin, Helen Donath, Brigitte Eisenfeld, Reri Grist, and noted New York vocal pedagogue David Jones.
Returning to Jazz , Honorable mention recognition goes to: Sir Roland Hanna 1932-2002 Classical Jazz Pianist Composer and Professor
by Scott Yanow & Wade Kergan
A talented pianist with a style diverse enough to fit into swing, bop, and more adventurous settings, Roland Hanna was one of the last in an impressive line of great pianists who emerged in Detroit after World War II (including Hank Jones, Barry Harris, and Tommy Flanagan). After serving in the Army and studying music at Eastman and Juilliard, Hanna made a strong impression playing with Benny Goodman (1958). He worked with Charles Mingus for a period in 1959, and went on to generally lead his own trios. Hanna was an integral part of the Thad Jones/Mel Lewis orchestra (1967-1974), and in 1974 helped found the New York Jazz Quartet (with Frank Wess). He was given knighthood (thus the "Sir") from the President of Liberia in 1970 in recognition for a series of concerts held to benefit Liberian children. Hanna recorded many solo dates and often with a trio, but also composed many works for groups of varying sizes - both for jazz groups and classical ensembles. His piece "Oasis" for piano and orchestra was performed by the Detroit Symphony Orchestra in 1993. In addition to his busy performing schedule, Hanna was also an active educator and tenured professor at Queens College in New York. After almost half a century of performing and recording, Sir Roland Hanna passed away at the age of 70 on November 13, 2002 after suffering a heart attack.
Next up is Kenny Burrell, Jazz Guitarist.
by Scott Yanow
Kenny Burrell has been a very consistent guitarist throughout his career. Cool-toned and playing in an unchanging style based in bop, Burrell has always been the epitome of good taste and solid swing. Duke Ellington's favorite guitarist (though he never actually recorded with him), Burrell started playing guitar when he was 12, and he debuted on records with Dizzy Gillespie in 1951. Part of the fertile Detroit jazz scene of the early '50s, Burrell moved to New York in 1956. Highly in demand from the start, Burrell appeared on a countless number of records as a leader and as a sideman. Among his more notable associations were dates with Stan Getz, Billie Holiday, Milt Jackson, John Coltrane, Gil Evans, Sonny Rollins, Quincy Jones, Stanley Turrentine, and Jimmy Smith. Starting in the early '70s, Burrell began leading seminars and teaching, often focusing on Duke Ellington's music. He toured with the Phillip Morris Superband during 1985-1986, and led three-guitar quintets, but generally Kenny Burrell plays at the head of a trio/quartet.
This appeared in the Detroit Free Press in honor of 100th anniversity of the founding of Louis Cass Technical High School.
Nominated to the hall of fame, Jazz Harpist Dorthy Ashby.
* Born Dorothy Jeanne Thompson 6 August 1930, Detroit, Michigan * Died 13 April 1986, Santa Monica, California
Although not the first jazz harpist, Dorothy Ashby was clearly the most successful, and contributed some choice recordings in the hard bop and jazz-funk styles. She grew up around music in Detroit, where her father, guitarist Wiley Thompson, often brought fellow jazz musicians home to jazz while Dorothy comped in the background on their piano.
She came to the harp only after a short detour through saxaphone and bass in the band of Cass Technical High School, where she attended alongside future jazz greats Donald Byrd, Gerald Wilson, and Kenny Burrell. She had to share five harps with fourteen other students, however, so she must have quickly discovered an affinity, because she was left with a goal of owning her own harp. As she later commented, "This isn't just a novelty, though that is what you expect. The harp has a clean jazz voice with a resonance and syncopation that turn familiar jazz phrasing inside out."
She attended Wayne State University, studying piano and music education, and after graduation, went to work in the small but lively jazz scene in Detroit. Although she could get hired as a pianist, she wanted to play harp more, and bought one in 1952. She overcame initial resistance to the concept by organizing free shows and playing to dances with her trio.
Ashby's trio, including her husband John Ashby on drums, toured the country and appeared on a variety of jazz labels through the late 1960s. She played with Louis Armstrong, Woody Herman, and other acts, and in 1962, was selected in down beat's annual poll of best jazz performers. She also worked with her husband on a theater company, the Ashby Players, he founded in Detroit.
In the late 1960s, they tired of touring and moved to California, where she broke into the studio system (which already had enough harpists for its needs) with the help of soul singer Bill Withers. Withers recommended her to Stevie Wonder and she ended up with a steady series of session gigs, playing behind such singers as Dionne Warwicke, Diana Ross, Earth, Wind & Fire, and Barry Manilow.
Ashby's Cadet albums have come to be viewed as among the best early examples of acid jazz, and now fetch eye-watering prices among collectors. Breaks and rhythm tracks from the superb Richard Evans arrangements have become favorites for sampling and remix artists.
* Dorothy Ashby--Jazz Harpist, Regent MG-6039 * Hip Harp, Prestige PRLP-7140 * Soft Winds, Jazzland JLP-961 * Dorothy Ashby, Argo LPS-690 * The Fantastic Jazz Harp of Dorothy Ashby, Atlantic SD-1447 * Afro Harping, Cadet LPS-809 * Dorothy's Harp, Cadet LPS-825 * Rubaiyat, Cadet LPS-841 * Music for Beautiful People, Prestige PRST-7639
Although she is not presently a member of the hall of fame you may be familar with her name, Alice Coltrane. Cass Tech Alumni.
Meditations on Alice
The Detroiter who became Swami Turiyasangitananda
by Andy Beta 1/24/2007
Spiritual texts tell us that life is change, and change is its only constant. And while it's difficult to mark just when such a metamorphosis occurs in our lives, a change of name generally indicates such a shift, be it confirmation, marriage, divorce or, in the case of musicians, the adoption of a persona like Bob Dylan or David Bowie. For a Detroit jazz pianist named Alice McLeod, each name change through her life intimated a transformation. She was known most famously as Alice Coltrane, second wife to saxophone avatar John Coltrane, and though in her later years she was called Swami Turiyasangitananda, it's as Coltrane that she has been memorialized, having passed away from respiratory failure on Jan.12.
She was born in the house of Virgo on Aug. 27, 1937; the McLeods were a musical household. Alice began her classical training by the age of 7, but was also attuned to jazz, particularly the soulful playing of local Detroit harpist Dorothy Ashby. Ernie Farrow, Alice's half-brother, gigged on bass for the likes of Stan Getz and Yusef Lateef, and Lateef later gave instruction to young Alice as well. Her studies continued at Cass Tech, and she played organ with the gospel choirs at church every Sunday. Later she backed reedman Lateef, as well as jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell, and toured throughout Europe where she studied with bop piano great Bud Powell. She was briefly married to Kenneth "Pancho" Hagood, a Detroit-born jazz crooner who sang with Thelonious Monk and Dizzy Gillespie, and her earliest recordings with vibist Terry Gibbs list her under both her maiden name and Alice Hagood.
After moving to New York in the early '60s and gigging around town, she met tenor saxophonist John Coltrane. The most powerful and iconoclastic figure in post-war jazz, the recordings he made with his classic quartet remain the apex of the decade. That body of work, rendered by Coltrane with bassist Jimmy Garrison, pianist McCoy Tyner, and propelled by the thunder of drummer Elvin Jones, is some of the most volcanic and spiritually affirming music ever set to record. The resultant decades have done little to abate their brilliance.
Alice McLeod became Alice Coltrane in 1966. And while his classic quartet was the epitome of power, grace and ferocity, John Coltrane's restless spirit led him to venture beyond into something less tethered, more spontaneous, more chaotic, more universal. The new openness (or cacophony to its detractors) slowly dissolved his group, and Alice replaced longtime pianist Tyner on the bandstand. As New York Times jazz critic Ben Ratliff noted recently, while she wasn't Tyner's technical equal, she was "fluid and energetic within the group's freer new language." She backed her husband on his later works, performing with him right up until his death from liver cancer in 1967.
When John Coltrane passed, Alice carried the torch that was his musical message, making that fluidity and energy hallmarks of her own style. She incorporated both harp and Wurlitzer organ into her repertoire. Her earliest recordings were made with her late husband's sidemen, including saxophonist Pharoah Sanders and percussionist Rashied Ali. Albums like Ptah the El Daoud and Journey in Satchidananda (both 1970) echoed her husband's work: Modally-rooted and minor-keyed, these sprawling, cathartic explorations similarly referenced Eastern religious traditions. She even contributed to records by the Rascals, Laura Nyro and Carlos Santana.
Though informed by her late husband's incandescence, Alice grew restless too, and began to move out of his indomitable shadow. Her albums from the early '70s, such as Universal Consciousness, World Galaxy and Lord of Lords, remain some of the most head-swimming and audacious of that or any era. Ancient and futuristic, classically structured yet destabilized, the textures and emotions are quicksilver, dizzying and ever-changing. Whether on harp, piano or Wurlitzer, she moves from the pastoral to nightmarish to the transcendent in the span of a few notes. Nominally jazz, Coltrane made space for Indian music, blues, religious chants and Stravinsky too.
Alice Coltrane's spiritual studies continued, to where she receded from music altogether in the late '70s to concentrate on Vedic scriptures. Intermittently, she would return to play with her son Ravi Coltrane, even releasing Translinear Light in 2004. At her ashram in Woodland Hills near Los Angeles, she became a spiritual teacher, Swami Turiyasangitananda. Translated from Sanskrit, it means "the highest song of God." One could say that her earthly name meant that as well.
I am having a few system problems, but this too will pass. Old School means different things to all people. I am 61 years old, my parents were 36 years old when I was born, so the music that I heard at home was eclectic. I was born and raised in Detroit and the popular music of the 50's and 60's still makes me smile.
Here are some images from my old Home Town.
"Hockey Town" and yes some Black people follow Hockey. My Baby boy played for an aged group National Silver Metal Team.
My Old High School, Cass Technical High School, before the completion of the new building.
I sent myself to college working in the steel mill. United Steel Workers of America. Above is one of my summer jobs spots, Zug Island.
Here is a neighborhood Monument, Westside, West Grand Blvd. Five or six Blocks from the family home.
The history of the Butlers/Raw Soul is dense, but for all of us music nerds, that's normal. It is not totally clear what year the Butlers actually formed but they released their first single in 1963 on Liberty Records. That single was "She Tried To Kiss Me" and another single followed on Guyden entitled "Lovable Girl." After the Guyden single the Butlers took a break not recording another record until the single "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" was released on the Phila label in 1966. The group also backed Charles Earland and Jean Wells on one Phila single ("I Know She Loves Me").
As you might be noticing, the Butlers were doing a fair amount of recording but not achieving much success. The group's recordings sold regionally but never had the promotion to make an impact on the national scene. After the single with Phila, the Butlers moved to the Fairmount label (part of the Cameo-Parkway family) and released a handful of singles, some being reissued singles of the past. The Butlers were with Fairmount for 1966-67 and then moved to Sassy Records. Sassy released the group's greatest single (in my opinion) "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" b/w "If That's What You Wanted." A copy of that 45 sold for just under $500 last summer on eBay. Even though that isn't that much in the world of record collecting--it's still a hefty sum. The Butlers released another single on Sassy ("She's Gone" b/w "Love Is Good") that appears to be even
harder to come by then the "Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" single.
The true history become a bit blurred here as the AMG biography states that the Butlers last record was released on C.R.S. in 1974 (". However, between 1971 and that single, Frankie Beverly formed a group called Raw Soul and released a number of singles. Some of the songs recorded by Beverly during this period are "While I'm Alone," "Open Up Your Heart," (both on the Gregor label) and "Color Blind." "Color Blind" was released by the Eldorado label and rerecorded by Maze. Beverly's big break came when Marvin Gaye asked Raw Soul to back him on a tour. Gaye helped Beverly/Raw Soul get a contract at Capitol. Beverly decided to take the group in a different direction, a name change occurred, and Maze was created.
The above isn't the most complete history of Beverly but hopefully someone will know a way to get in touch with the man or his management because a comprehensive pre-Maze history needs to be done on Frankie Beverly (his real name is Howard, by the way). Below you'll find every Frankie Beverly (pre-Maze) song available to me right now ("Color Blind" will be up soon).
If you have a song that is not included below, shoot it over to funkinsoulman (at) yahoo.com and it will go up in the next Frankie Beverly post (later this week--highlighting Maze). Also, if you have any more information please share your knowledge. The Butlers material has been comp-ed sporadically (usually imports) but the entire Maze catalog has been reissued and is available.
Enjoy. "She Kissed Me" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
"I Want To Feel I'm Wanted" (not sure which label or year) "Laugh, Laugh, Laugh" (Phila, 1966) "Because Of My Heart" (Fairmount, 1966 or 1967)
"Love (Your Pain Goes Deep)" (Sassy, 1967)
"If That's What You Wanted" (Sassy, 1967)
Frankie Beverly is one of those cats that has lasting power. He started in the music business doing a tour with doo wop group the Silhouettes and then formed his own group called the Blenders. The Blenders never recorded a single, Beverly wouldn't appear on wax until forming the Butlers a few years later. Along with Beverly, the Butlers included Jack "Sonny" Nicholson, Joe Collins, John Fitch, and Talmadge Conway.
Beverly would later enjoy great success fronting Maze and Conway would become a
well-known penning Double Exposure's
"Ten Percent" and the Intruders' "Memories Are Here To Stay."
While Maze is a phenomenal group, Beverly's work before that group will always stand out as his best (imo).
The Butlers produced tunes that most Northern Soul fans would kill for and Raw Soul gave the funksters something to pursue. If, by chance, you know of a way to get in touch with Frankie Beverly or his management, please drop me an e-mail. It would be absolutely great to do an interview with him about his pre-Maze work. He's still playing out, most recently doing a New Year's Eve show in Atlanta.