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LOTS OF MUSIC TO BE PLAYED, LOTS OF MONEY TO BE MADE IN DETROIT AND AT MOTOWN

dennis

May 2nd, 2015

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LOTS OF MUSIC TO BE PLAYED, LOTS OF MONEY TO BE MADE IN DETROIT AND AT MOTOWN
There were a lot of recording sessions in those days due to the success of Berry Gordy and Motown. This was before Ed Wingate built Golden World Studios and opened Ric Tic records. Funk Brother Bob Babbitt and I used to go from one small recording studio to another. Some of those studios were even located in the back of record stores. We didn’t know it at the time but records such as “Open the Door to your Heart” by Darrell Banks, “Got to Pay the Price” by Al Kent, “Crying Over You” by Duke Browner, and “Lady in Green” by the Magnetics would become popular Northern Soul Records. We also did a lot of sessions at Tera Shirma Studios, Pac-3, and United Sound Systems.

Darrell Banks from Detroit

Darrell Banks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
I was finally doing so many recording sessions in the early sixties that I was able to quit my job in a top forty band and focus on recording, arranging, and producing with Mike Theodore. Most of the record producers in Detroit and small independent labels had no trouble getting deals because of the success of Motown. CBS and RCA wanted to open recording studios in Detroit to get in on the action but soon discovered they could only get Bob Babbitt, and me because the other Funk Brothers were signed exclusively to Motown. That changed their minds about opening up studios and offices here in Detroit.
I often wondered what would have happened if CBS and RCA had established a major presence in Detroit. The amount of work for musicians, recording studios, arrangers, and producers in this town would have tripled.

Co-producers of Rodriguez

Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Motown left an economic vacuum in Detroit when they relocated to LA in 1972. That was also the beginning of the end for The Motown Sound because all the musicians and arrangers Motown used in LA played for every other record label too. Motown never listed the names of the musicians on their albums so outsiders had no idea how Berry was getting the Motown sound that sold millions of records worldwide. When I moved to LA in 1973, Motown paid me union scale plus one half for each session but that didn’t prevent me from recording for other labels and producing with Mike Theodore for Sussex Records. I got bored with the LA scene and moved back to Detroit in 1976. By the mid-1980s Motown had started losing money and Berry Gordy sold his ownership in Motown to MCA Records and Boston Ventures in June 1988 for $61 million

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Dennis Coffey