Calling Out Around the World. A Motown Reader - Ed. Kingsley Abbott
In the sixties, Berry Gordy's Motown label totally revolutionised black music, causing seismic shifts that transformed the entire pop world. With its own studios, in-house producers, in-house songwriting teams and the great house band, the Motown hitmaking machine became synonymous with smooth, melodic soul, what Berry called "The Sound of Young America," and made stars of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder, Smokey Robinson, Michael Jackson and The Supremes. As well as profiles of all the major artists in the Motown roster, and label supremo Gordy himself, Calling Out features in-depth articles on the legendary hit factory songwriting partnerships such as Holland-Dozier-Holland, portraits of key musicians like James Jamerson and new interviews with many behind-the-scenes players. It also includes essays on the sociological impact of the label on sixties' America, Motown and civil rights and the much derided Charm school, where blues and gospel singers learnt to behave in a way that would appeal to "good white folks." Contributors include top critics like Dave Marsh, Geri Hirshey, Richard Williams and John Rockwell. Featuring a foreword by Martha Reeves and a full discography of UK Motown releases, this is the most thorough investigation yet into how a tiny, mafia-funded indie label from middle America could dominate the pop charts of the era - all around the world. Kingsley Abbott is editor of the acclaimed and recently reprinted Back to the Beach: A Brian Wilson and the Beach Boys Reader, described by Mojo as "essential reading" (paperback, new).