Thursday, January 15, 2009

50 years of Motown-my top tunes and a free mix!

A lot has been written about the 50th anniversary of Motown this week and the Detroit label has justifiably been lauded as being one of the most influential record labels of all time. Personally i've been a huge fan for many years now and as the birthday co-incides with my own Black on Red Shows seventh birthday, i've decided to dedicate a number of radio shows in January to spreading the Motown vibes further. This will continue this Saturday with a live interview on RedFM with Detroit born Jerome Rimson, a music veteran now living in Cork, and a man who knew many of the big players back in the day. Jerome is still holding it down with the Inner City Blues band and having worked closely with everyone from Van Morrison and Phil Lynott over the years, he is well positioned to talk about the impact of Motown on the wider musical world. Check it out on Saturday; in the meantime, here are ten of my favourite Motown classics. To download a mix of all of my favourites for free, simply go and check out my podcast at

1-Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell-Ain't no mountain high enough
An Ashford and Simpson written tune that perfectly sums up the synergy between the two singers, both of who unfortunately died way too young . This song was later covered really well by Jocelyn Brown and it was also recently sampled by Amy Winehouse on "Tears Dry on their Own"

2-The Supremes-Where did our love go?
More musical perfection on a track produced by Holland, Dozier and Holland. The Supremes enjoyed a string of amazing hits before the group split with Florence Ballard and Diana Ross went solo
3-Stevie Wonder-I don't why I love you
Not the best known Stevie song, and i could easily have chosen somethings like "All I do", "Sir Duke" or even "Hey Love", but another track that shows how the Motown youngster came to be rightly regarded as one of the most important artists of the 20th century
4-Martha Reeves and the Vandellas-Dancing in the Street
"Are you ready for a brand new beat"? was the call to the young people of America, but this resonated all over the world and became another massive anthem as the civil rights movement took hold of imaginations everywhere.
5-The Four Tops-Baby I need your loving
Levi Stubbs and co were one of the great Motown bands, and this tune forms a great tribute to the legend who passed away last year
6-The Temptations-Ball of Confusion
Alongside "Papa was a rolling stone", "Cloud Nine" and many more hits, it showed the psychedelic sound of Norman Whitfield in full effect on this socio-political number
7-Smokey Robinson-Tracks of my tears
The man who Bob Dylan called America's "greatest living poet" in 1967. You can't get higher praise than that; a great singer and song-writer who had big hits with the Miracles and many more Motown acts.
8-Frank Wilson-Do I Love you
Unreleased at the time, but a soul collectors item years later, a stomping tune.
9-The Jackson 5-I want you back
A few minutes of pop perfection that lay the foundations to a legendary career.
10-Marvin Gaye-What's Goin' On
A new era was on the way, and a pop label became even more than that as some of it's biggest talents like Marvin and Stevie took control of their own careers.

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    I'm a DJ from Cork in Ireland. I work with RedFM, presenting Red Drive, The Hitlist and my specialist show, Black on Red. I'm probably best known for being one of the main hip-hop/soul DJ's in Cork and Ireland. I've been DJing in Cork since the early 90's in legendary clubnights such as Sweat in Sir Henrys, Mor Disco, Free La Funk, Yo Latino and also Jam and Jam Junior at the Savoy and the Pavilion. I've also held down long term residencies at clubs around Ireland such as Brown Sugar at the Kitchen in Dublin, U-Turn at Ri Ra in Dublin, Jazz Juice at the GPO in Galway, Thompson Garage in Belfast, the Soul Clinic, Dee-Bop, Meltdown and Mo Bounce in Limerick and i've played abroad in the United States and the U.K. on numerous occasions. I also write a music column for the Evening Echo and i'm a regular contributor to the U.K.'s Blues and Soul, the longest running black music magazine in the world. These days i run the Pavilion, a music venue in Cork, which hosts my Jam night every few Fridays also you can catch me at