Sunday, June 20, 2010

"Don't Forget the Motor City"

I spent the weekend in Detroit for the Allied Media Conference. I won't say too much about that here, as it isn't directly music related, but great conference, some very cool things happening.

On saturday I ducked out of the conference to check out the Motown museum. I almost didn't go, but I'm so glad that I did. I don't want to recount the tour step by step, but they've done a great job with the museum, located at the original site of the Motown offices and studio in Detroit.

The highlight of the museum is absolutely the well preserved Studio A, where hundreds of songs were put to tape from 1959-1973. (Folks who've read up on Motown or seen Standing in the Shadows of Motown may recall this space as "the snake pit".) It's one of those total geek moments, just standing there and thinking of all of the other folks who labored in that room putting together some of my favorite music. And even though I listen to a LOT of Motown material, in visiting the museum you're sort of struck by the sheer amount of hits that they churned out in the 1960s. It's pretty incredible. And then of course I spiral into a thought process of Motown being an independent label, the impossibility of that kind of success for an indie today, etc. etc.

I don't want to recount the tour point by point, because it's really something worth seeing for yourself. If you're ever in Detroit, I highly recommend making a point to visit the museum. My own visit was poorly timed. Apparently in four days, they're opening a special exhibit dedicated to these guys:

Ah well.

On the drive back to PA, I wished that I'd packed more Motown music. Instead, I settled for listening to hits collections by the Supremes, Miracles, J5 and Jr. Walker and the All Stars for 6 hours. And singing along. Loudly.

Speaking of Jr. Walker and the All Stars, their version of "Come See About Me" blows my mind.

The visit has thrown me into one of my famous Motown loops. As such, tonight's radio show will be a tribute to Motown. 10pm-midnight EDT on WIUP-FM - 90.1FM in Indiana, PA, streaming to the world at

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