December 6th, 2014

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My first session at Golden World Studios surprised me. One day I got a call from Herman Wheems who worked for Ed Wingate the owner of Gold World Studios and the record labels Golden World and Ric-Tic. Herman asked me if I was available to do a session at Golden World Studios. I was at home babysitting my daughter Jordan who was three. I asked Herman the time and date of the session. He said now. We have already started this session and the guitarists cannot site read the written notes. I knew that back in the day, most guitarists and bass players could maybe read chord names but most of them could not read written notes. I told Herman I would be there and took my daughter Jordan and my gear and headed over to Golden World Studio. Golden World Studio was located on Davison east of Livernois in Detroit. I used to live on Greenlawn between Davison and Schoolcraft across from the railroad tracks.
When I walked into the studio I saw bassist Bob Babbitt was already there. Babbitt and I did a lot of Northern Soul and early sessions together because we both could sight read notes and play funky. I put my daughter Jordan behind me and sat down and read the chart. After that first session I was at Golden World almost every day. There was a small six stool Coney Island on Davison within walking distance from the studio. I used to go over there on our lunch break between sessions and have a Coney made with loose hamburger meat topped with Coney sauce, onions, and cheese. I used to have a bowl of baked beans along with it. You could play some serious funk behind that kind of food! Coney Islands are a big deal in Detroit. A Coney is usually a hot dog covered with a spicy chili sauce, raw onions, and cheese if you prefer. Detroit is known for their Coneys.

Ed Wingate owner of Golden World

Ed Wingate

Ed Wingate was the owner of Golden World Studio and Golden World and Ric-Tic Records. Ed treated me well and always had plenty of cash. He would hand it out to his employees regularly to go to the store or do some job for him. Ed also owned The Twenty Grand Motel close to the Twenty Grand night club in Detroit. During the Detroit Riots of 67, Ed placed two of his employees with pump shotguns on the roof of his motel. No one came near it until the riot was over.
I remember going over to Ed’s house on Edison in Detroit for breakfast and to rehearse with one of his groups “The Fantastic Four”. Ed always provided us with a great breakfast of eggs, grits, and southern fried ham and plenty of coffee. I always looked forward to going there.
Ed was real competition for Motown. He hired baritone sax man and arranger Mike Terry and Funk Brother and tambourine player extraordinaire Jack Ashford to work at Golden World Studios. Funk Brothers Eddie Willis (guitar) and Johnny Griffith (keyboards) were usually there too. Funk Brothers Uriel Jones and Pistol Allen were also playing drums. I even played on a late night session with Funk Brother Benny Benjamin on drums. Golden World also used drummer George McGreggor and guitarist Don Davis. When you add me and Bob Babbitt to the mix, you could see why Golden World was a major competitor for the Motown Sound. A lot of producers like Jimmy Bishop, Luther Dixon, and Labaron Taylor would come there late at night to get that Motown Sound.

Got to Pay the Price by Al Kent

Got to Pay the Price


Al Kent was one of the producers who worked for Ed Wingate. Al recorded a track for a singer called “Got to Pay the Price”. There was a written guitar part that I played on the song. I was surprised when “Got to Pay the Price” was released as a B side minus the singer with me playing the melody. I was even more surprise when it became a hit and a big Northern Soul favorite. I remember playing it at The Frolic Show Bar in Detroit with the Lyman Woodard Trio. The people in the bar would complement me on sounding so much like the record. I would tell them that I am playing the melody on that record. I only wish I gotten credit for it. I also played on “Finders Keepers” for Al. This is me playing the melody on “Got to Pay the Price”.


I played on a lot of records for The Fantastic Four at Golden World such as” The Whole World is a Stage”. “Girl Have Pity”, and “To Share Your Love”. The members of the group were “Sweet” James Epps, Ralph and Joseph Pruitt, and Wallace “Toby” Childs. Later Ralph and Wallace were replaced by Cleveland Horne and Ernest Newsome. “Sweets” was a real soulful singer. Ed Wingate really liked the group and they sold a lot of records for Ric-Tic. Ed even hired me and Mike Theodore to write road arrangements for them. Later I produced a record on “The Fantastic Four” on Westbound Records called “I Got to Have Your Love” that did well in the UK. This is a record I produced on the Fantastic Four.

The Fantasic Four singing group

The Fantastic Four








J. J. Barnes was another soulful singer who worked for Ed. I played on “Day Tripper”, “Real Humdinger”, and “Say It” for J.J. I also played for Edwin Starr on SOS (Stop Her On Site”) at Golden World. I also played for Teresa Lindsey on “Daddy O” and “I’ll Bet You” which was written by George Clinton. One record I remember because it was my first sting arrangement was “I’ll Love You Forever” by the Holidays. I was a music student at Wayne State University in Detroit at the time. Don Davis asked me to put strings on the record after Funk Brother Joe Hunter did the rhythm charts. I hired Wayne State music students to play the violin, viola, and cello parts for the session. Mike Theodore saw me do that session and asked me to join him in arranging the “Dearly Beloved” session on Jack Montgomery for Don Mancha and Scepter Records. We became partners after that. I also got the chance to play on records by the San Remo Strings at Golden World and The Reflections. The Reflections are still doing shows but now along with Tony Micale, Gary Benovetx, and John Dean they include Joey Finazzo from “The Seminoles” and Sal Prado from the “Latin Counts”. If you have any stories about people in my blogs, please add them in the comment section. This is me playing on “Real Humdinger”

J. J. Barnes

J. J. Barnes

Got to Pay the Price by Al Kent

Got to Pay the Price


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Dennis Coffey