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This time to acknowledge the lifetime accomplishments of NORMAN WHITFIELD.  This New York musician writer vocal coach arranger producer was born in 1943, but would not make his mark in his hometown.  Norman started making his mark in Detroit at a small pre-Motown record label.  Thelma Records needed somebody who could do everything in the studio and for awhile Norman was the guy…session musician-percussion - on some sessions coincidentally behind the Distants, who would later become the Temptations.
SOMETIME around 1961 Norman Whitfield wanted to make the move to Motown.  He started by hanging out in the lobby waiting to see somebody in charge, get an appointment, get a job, and so he did - as a songwriter.  But with Norman’s energy and drive, he rapidly developed more areas of responsibility including production, arranging and administration.  One of Norman Whitfield’s unique talents was his ability to get the ear of Berry Gordy, convincing him to try new and different music things that he didn’t even like.
GRAPEVINE was the classic example of the stick to it philosophy that drove Norman Whitfield. HE was given to doing the same song more than one way. I HEARD IT THROUGH THE GRAPEVINE originally a slow romantic song that was re-cut with Marvin Gaye.  Gordy refused to release Grapevine, the song was denied by Mr. Gordy again and again.  So Norman re-cut it with Gladys Knight and the Pips…re-arranging the song to have a lighter almost gospel treatment.  Finally on the radio in 1967, Gladys and the Pips enjoyed number one success with their million selling grape.  Then in ’68 the haunting piano intro of Marvin Gaye’s original mega-hit version hit the nation’s airwaves and more than TWO million copies were sold.  HUGE hit.  Covered by hundreds of various singes and the Rasins.  Norman was right and Berry was right.  No losers, only winners.
NORMAN WHITFIELD was a “junior” at Motown when he started following in the shadow of established producers Harvey Fuqua Mickey Stevenson, Clarance Paul, Smokey Robinson and the hit making team of Holland Dozier Holland during Motown’s heavy creative era.  But to his credit wrote and produced Too Many Fish In The Sea by The Marvalettes, and the Velvelettes singles.  Seen as a driven man with music as his destination, Berry soon gave Norman a chance to work with The Temptations after Smokey’s successful run with the group.  Ain’t Too Proud To Beg, I’m Losing You, and Beauty’s Only Skin Deep were the work of Norman Whitfield.
HERE COME THE SEVENTIES And Norman Whitfield became the spark plug in the Motown engine with the Temptations.  Starting the era with I Wish It Would Rain followed by Cloud Nine, I Can’t Get Next To You, Ball of Confusion, Runaway Child, and Superstar.
The Psychedelic 70s hit Motown through Norman Whitfield.  EDWIN STARR’s WAR was a really big record for Motown thanks to Mr. Whitfield working with arrangers Paul Norman and Frank Wilson.  Frank took on The 4 TOPS with the Whitfield musical strategy and methods.  The new project was The Undisputed Truth with Smiling Faces.  The Truth is they had the first version of Papa was a Rolling Stone.  MASTERPIECE is considered Norman’s greatest work on the Temptations.
DETROIT TO LOS ANGELES 1975 and Whitfield records is born with the new Undisputed Truth on his own label.  Adding Chaka Kahn’s sister, Norman is off and running.  Then he went to the CARWASH. ROSE ROYCE was formerly Edwin Starr’s backup band under the name of Magic Wand, with Gwen Dickey as first lead.  This was a really big hit.  After the WASH Norman was not heard from much starting in the 80s.  But hear about him this he went to the big studio in the SKY.  May He Produce In Peace.

EARL PALMER – ANOTHER GREAT Possibly the worlds GREATEST DRUMMER He spent a lot of time in his home town making his mark in the New Orleans studios that recorded Little Richard, Fats Domino, Ernie K Doe and many others.  About 1929 Earl was tap dancing and learning about rhythm on the streets.  A few years later he would pick up the drum sticks and transfer the beats from his feet to his hands.  Making records starting 1950  Earl worked with Georgia’s Little Richard on Tutti Frutti and most of his hits.  I’m sure that Earl was on 90 percent of the records that came out of the New Orleans studios including Lloyd Price’s Lawdy Miss Clawdy and Shirley and Lee’s Let The Good Times Roll. Frank Sinatra said that Earl was one of his favorite drummers.  Earl’s favorite music was jazz even though his recording career made it’s money in good ole rock and roll.  May EARL PALMER continue to tap that drum in peace.

Did you know that Buddy Guy now owns the building at 700 south State Street.  YEAH!!! >>  Saturday October 11th  there’ll be Jazz In Bronzeville at St. James Catholic Church Hall, 2912 S. Wabash starting at 8pm.  Willie Pickens and the trio appear with Joan Colasso.  The champagne reception starts at 6:30.>> Look for ARETHA on Friday November 14th at the Venue/Horseshoe Casino.>>  I’m still looking to WHPK’s people, to find out who the Sunday morning jazz lady is.  She’s good.>>  Have you UniverSouled yet?

Is Saturday November 1ST at Saint Elizabeth’s, 41st and Michigan.  If you have not been to it NOW is the time.  You WILL have a good time dancing to all your favorite dusties.  There are people who have been to every convention since 1976.  Doors open at 7.

EATANDRUN / Chicken & Fish - 773 429 1812/15 - 1733 W 87th Street - Chicago, IL
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