Monday, July 14, 2008

Marvelous Motown & the Sounds of the Sixties

Photo of David Sea during the Temptations concert.

My husband and I went to see the Temptations Revue with Dennis Edwards Saturday night. Dennis Edwards joined the group in 1968. He's not an original, but awfully close. The Temps are one of the very few groups I did not see live in my youth. I was a Motown lover and managed to see most of the greats: The Four Tops (oh that Levi); The Supremes (before Diana took center stage); Stevie Wonder (at the age of 16, then again 20 yrs later); Ike & Tina & the Ikettes; James Brown (I saw MC Hammer about 20 yrs after James Brown and thought their styles quite similar); Smokey Robinson & the Miracles; Martha & the Vandellas. I'm sure there were more.

I grew up in Los Angeles during the sixties when there were teen nightclubs like the Hullabaloo, not to mention wonderful old venues like the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium where you went to see huge shows with many performers. One could get tickets and they were affordable. I mean, we were teenagers. We didn't have any money! But we managed to go to alot of concerts. 93KHJ put on the Teen Fair each year and we saw many of great performers there. KHJ liked to parade their Top 40 lineup artists on stage. The Teen Fair was all about teens, teen products and music on the radio.

AM Radio. I can hardly believe it. The funny thing is, I work in radio. I have worked in radio since 1981. I actually enjoyed a pretty good heyday the first 8 years, before the big corporations started moving in. But, nothing compared to what it must have been like in the Sixties! It was so innovative: program directors trying something new every day, local bands making it big. Really great talent was everywhere; at least, they were getting air time. Formula radio, the stuff we hear nowadays, was a thing of the future.

But I digress...this started out to be about the Temptations concert the other night. I hesitated to go to this concert. It was being held in a beautiful venue on the shores of a gorgeous lake. I was looking forward to that. It was the fear of seeing an old beloved group, no longer comprised of original members, perform long-cherished music of my youth. I wanted them to measure up. And they did. They were spot-on with their harmony. The distinction of each voice and the idiosyncrasies of each song memorized long ago, were there. If you're wondering if "My Girl sound the same after David Ruffin is dead, well, it does. I'm so glad I attended.

1 comment:

My Left Nut said...

I recently had an argument with a young person traveling in my car. She kept putting rap stations on. I finally told her that if she could sing along with the melody, that she would win the battle of the stations. She couldn't, so I put on my oldies. Amazingly, this 17 year-old could sing along with, and knew all the words to my "oldies". It seems that maybe they are listening when nobody is watching?

We had the BEST music growing up and Motown has stood the test of time. The music still sounds as good today, as it did back then.


by Cole Scott