A message from Martha
Motown veteran Martha Reeves is still Dancing In The Street, says Dave Sallis
It is sad to reflect that many artists who were an integral part of the world-changing Motown Sound are no longer with us. The list is depressingly long, and perhaps a damning indictment of the ‘perils’ of the entertainment business. Marvin Gaye, Edwin Starr, Junior Walker, Mary Wells, all but one of the original Temptations and all but one of the original Four Tops, among many, have departed this world before they would have qualified for a bus pass. It is, therefore, reassuring that some Motown heroes live to tell the tale, and help keep the music alive.
Martha Reeves was at Motown from its early days. Born in Alabama before moving to Detroit as a young child, she was raised surrounded by the influence of the Church. Her singing career took off as Martha Lavelle and she started a group called The Del-Phi’s, who secured a one-record deal with Chess Records subsidiary, Checkmate, releasing I’ll Let You Know/It Takes Two in October 1961. The group also secured work as backing singers in recording studios with artists like JJ Barnes, but it was an inauspicious beginning.
Invited to Motown for an audition that never happened (apparently Martha turned up on the wrong day), she ended up in the company’s A&R Department as a receptionist/ typist, but never lost her desire for a musical career. Her group was …
by Dave Sallis
<< Back to Issue 379
You might also like:
- ARTICLE: MERSEY MOTOWN
- ARTICLE: MOTORTOWN REVIEWED
- BOOK REVIEW: Motown From The Background by The Andantes & Vickie Wright
- ARTICLE: MOTOWN MEMORIES
- LETTER: Wells Farago