With Just A Hint Of Mayhem

Music trivia, useless info, extra added random stuff and the odd rant from me

“We’ll laugh and I’ll tell you the story of love, how it is and the happiness in it baby” December 21, 2011


Just days away from the big day now. It’s nearly Christmas people and I hope you’re still being good or at least hiding your being bad evidence very well. It’s Day 21 of my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar which I believe makes it 21st December and therefore the letter U. So today we’ll be going somewhere where Santa will be very soon; your roof! Yes it’s the delightfully uplifting “Up The Ladder To The Roof” from the Supremes.

The song was the first single showcasing the vocal talents of new lead singer Jean Terrell who had replaced the departing Diana Ross. Which meant it was also the first single to be credited to the Supremes (i.e. minus the ‘Diana Ross and the’ bit) since “The Happening” in 1967. It was released in February 1970 and reached 10 in the US charts and number 5 in the UK. Coincidentally it was the first UK top ten hit for the group since “Reflections” from 1967.

The song was produced by Motown house producer Frank Wilson who featured on this advent calendar himself on December 4th, click here to read that post. Wilson co wrote the song with Vincent DiMarco and once again the music track was provided by those heroes of Motown the Funk Brothers. Mary Wilson and Cindy Birdsong were the other two Supremes. personally I have always thought that this was the best incarnation of the group, much better than the Diana Ross version. I have a liking for some songs that mention my name, not all of them though. But the B Side to “Up The Ladder To The Roof” was a pretty good example of a ‘Bill song’ it was called “Bill When Are You Coming Back”

Jean Terrell the lead vocalist for the song was often thought to be related to another Motown star, Tammi Terrell. But Tammi’s real surname was Montgomery and she was no relation to Jean Terrell. However Jean was related to Ernie Terrell a boxing champion who once went in the ring with Muhammad Ali. Ernie was her brother and he was WBA heavyweight champ, a crown he lost to Ali in 1967. Jean sometimes sang with his group Ernie Terrell and the Heavyweights.

 

“In old Temptations’ rain, I’m duckin’” December 11, 2011


Hasn’t time flown? We’re already at 11th December and we’ve arrived at the letter K in my ABC of Motown Advent Calendar for 2011. We need to truck on for just a little while before Christmas so to help with that journey how about the marvellous “Keep On Truckin’” from the magnificent Mr Eddie Kendricks. The song was an US number one and a UK number 18 in 1973.

Eddie spent a several years with the Temptations and finally left in part because he was allegedly unhappy with the late 60s psychedelic direction the group was taking. The last Temptations hit single that he appeared on was the sublime “Just My Imagination”. It is also alleged that another 1971 hit for the Temptations “Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)” was directed at Kendricks and another former Temptation; David Ruffin.

“Keep On Truckin'” was written by Leonard Caston, Jr, Anita Poree and Frank Wilson. (You may recall that Frank was featured in this Advent Calendar on December 4th. Had he lived he would have been 72 in six days. But sadly he succumbed to lung cancer aged just 52 in 1992.

 

“Here I am on bended knees I lay my heart down at your feet” December 4, 2011


Day 4 of this years advent calendar is upon us and we’re up to D in the ABC of Motown. Todays song is perhaps a little less known than some of the others. It is “Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)” by Frank Wilson. The song became a rare sought after disc on the Northern Soul circuit in the UK. It was originally set to be released in 1965 on Motown’s Soul label in the US. But Wilson decided he would rather be a producer than a singer and supposedly Berry Gordy didn’t rate the vocal very highly.

Only 250 copies were pressed and rumour has it that no more than five of those have survived, including one that is apparently in Berry Gordy’s collection. An original copy sold for more than £25,000 in 2009. Motown reissued the song in 1979 following the interest emanating from Northern Soul clubs. It was reissued again in 2004 after it had been used to (sadly in my opinion) soundtrack a KFC TV advert. Tomorrow is Frank Wilson’s 71st birthday.

 

“Well, here’s a poke at you, you’re gonna choke on it too” October 30, 2010


Almost certainly the world's scariest job

I chanced upon an amazing video the other day. It shows the two guys who make up the maintenance crew for a 1,786 foot radio antenna. If your scared of heights then you might not want to watch it. I can take any height as long as there is a good barrier between me and the drop, this tower doesn’t have that. Much of it is free climb and you have to take your toolbox which weighs 30 pounds with you. Frankly, and I apologise for being a bit crude here, but I could feel my testicles contracting with every step the guy took! I reckon I can live with any problems with public transport on my daily commute, because even the UK rail system is safer and more comfortable than these tower guys!

To be fair though, Batman and Robin always climbed without a safety rope too!

Like I’ve said so many times before this is a music blog, so I couldn’t finish without leaving you with a few very loosely related songs

“Stairway To Heaven” – Rolf Harris – The obvious choice would have been the Led Zep original, but that gets played quite a lot and Rolf’s version really is good fun don’t you think?

I Can See For Miles” – The Who – According to the narrative in the tower video the climbers can see 55 miles to the horizon. The song was written by Pete Townshend and was the only single to be taken from the band’s 1967 album ‘The Who Sell Out

Up The Ladder To The Roof” – Supremes- This song was written by Frank Wilson and Vincent DiMirco. It was the first Supremes single to feature new girl Jean Terrell who replaced Diana Ross. Personally I always thought Diana was the weakest vocalist in the group anyway. It reached the top 10 in the US and the UK. This video is worth watching for the costumes and dance moves even if you don’t like the song! I used to have this on 7 inch vinyl American import and I played it to death, even the B Side which was an ego boost for a young lad, as I was at the time. It was called “Bill, When Are You Coming Back

 

 
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