November 1st, 2014

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Joe Podorsek plays guitar and bass and has been a friend of mine since we both played upright bass in the orchestra at Mackenzie High in Detroit. Joe and his dad also owned Capital Music in Detroit where I bought all of my music equipment back in the day. When the Jackson Five first signed to Motown and the family including Michael Jackson came down to Motown Studio A to see us record some tracks, Joe Jackson asked me what guitar effects I was using. When I explained to him what they were, he then asked me where he could buy them for the Jackson Five. I sent him over to see Joe at Capital Music where he bought a lot of gear. Joe also taught Ted Nugent how to play guitar and played on Scorpio in the Detroit Guitar Band.

Rare Earth - Ray Monette

Ray Monette

Scorpio Detroit Guitar Band

Joe Podorsek 2014

Ray Monette plays guitar and played on Scorpio in the Detroit Guitar Band. Ray is one of the original members of the group Rare Earth. Mike Theodore and I recorded an album on the group when they were called the Sunliners and were playing clubs in Metro Detroit. We got them a deal with Clarence Avant on MGM and MGM released an album called “Dreams and Answers”. I did a lot of sessions with Ray. When the production team of Holland, Dozier, and Holland left Motown to start Invictus and Hot Wax records, Ray and me were the original guitarists on their recording sessions. Later Ray joined Rare Earth and Ray Parker Jr. took his place with me on the sessions.

Funk Brother Bob Babbitt

Bob Babbitt Motown Funk Brother

I first met Bob Babbitt when I was a teenager working in teen clubs. Bob was one of the first bass players I knew to go from upright bass to Fender bass. Bob Babbitt was a great bass player and the bass solo he placed on “Scorpio” was amazing and set the bar high for other bassists. I played with Bob in the Royaltones and we had records out on Twirl for Harry Balk. I did many Northern Soul records with Bob for Harry Balk and his labels Impact and Twirl. We played for The Volumes and Del Shannon. We recorded at Bell Sound in New York. I also played with Babbitt at Golden World Studios, United Sounds Studios, and Motown Studios. He was a Funk Brother and always did a great job. He also went out on the road with me when I was supporting my hit “Scorpio”.

Motown Funk Brother "Bongo" Eddie Brown

“Bongo” Eddie Brown

“Bongo” Eddie Brown was another Funk Brother and one of the best conga players I have ever played with. I played with him all of the time at Motown in Studio A. His funky conga rhythms can be heard on many Motown hits. Bongo also went on the road with me to do a few concerts. He wasn’t really interested in reading music at Motown so he always had girlie magazines on his music stand to read between takes. “Bongo” got that high conga slide effect he used on “Scorpio” by wetting his thumb and rubbing it over the top of his conga drum to the beat. Does anyone else have stories about working with these musicians?


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Dennis Coffey