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Calling Out Around the World: A Motown Reader (Odyssey Guides) [Paperback]

Kingsley Abbott
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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Book Description

1 May 2001 Odyssey Guides
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." 256 pages/ 8 pages b/w photos / 235 x 156mm

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Helter Skelter Publishing (1 May 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1900924145
  • ISBN-13: 978-1900924146
  • Product Dimensions: 23.4 x 15.7 x 2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,037,118 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all Motown fans 28 July 2002
A collection of interviews from other publications, with some insightful comments and top 10's from some of Motown's most ardent followers but have no doubt though that this book had me gripped from the moment it was given to me as a Christmas present. If you like the "Sound of Young America" then I'm sure it will grip you as it did me. All the greats are featured including Berry himself but also some insightful information on the Funk Brothers, all the labels (VIP, Soul, Mel-o-dy etc) plus plenty on those Motown sounds that played a big part in the UK Northern Soul scene.
It's well put together, interesting and if you listen to some tracks after reading this book, you will pick out more of Jamerson's basslines, Benjamin's drumbeats and even Berry himself on the piano! I had images of the Snakepit, of the behind closed doors meetings (on what was in and out following the non-stop recording sessions) and I feel it has enriched my appreciation of the wonder of Motown.
Highly recommended to avid fans and casual followers alike.
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