There's been a great deal of celebrating on behalf of Motown's 60th anniversary this year. But you'll be hard-pressed to find a more festive party than this week's Motown-A-Go-Go.
The five-day event, which runs through Sunday, Oct. 27, follows two previous Detroit A-Go-Go soul music festivals organized by British fan Philip Dick. "It's 60 years, so it seemed obvious to change it to Motown A-Go-Go," notes Dick, 57, who first visited Detroit nearly 35 years ago to hunt for rare R&B vinyl singles and also married his wife at the Motown Museum back in 1997.
"In the U.K. we love Motown music so much that we even talk to each other in song titles," Dick says. "There's a Motown song for every single experience you can have in life. We've all been standing in the shadows of love from time to time. We've all had to wash away the tracks of our tears, I’m sure, and we've all been dancing in the streets.
"Berry Gordy said he wanted to make music that spoke to everybody, and he definitely did."
With 372 fans making the trip from across the pond, Motown A-Go-Go will feature some three dozen live performances, at the Hotel St. Regis and primarily Bert's Entertainment Complex, 2739 Russell Street in Detroit's Eastern Market. Among the artists are Motown stalwarts such as Kim Weston, the Contours, the Velvelettes, the Original Vandellas, Chris Clark and the Former Ladies of the Supremes. DJs will be spinning classic soul in both locations, and there will be party at Gordy's old mansion in the Boston Edison District mid-day Saturday, Oct. 26.
Dick says he's particularly looking forward to hearing original Spinners' lead vocalist G.C. Cameron perform the group's 1970 hit "It's a Shame" with Funk Brothers guitarist Dennis Coffey, who played on the original recording, on Friday night, Oct. 25, at Bert's.
The only sour note in the festivities is that Dick does not expect to produce another event next year. "If it doesn't kill me, my wife probably will," he cracks. But he's not ruling out another A-Go-Go in the future. "Never say never," he notes. "I wouldn't say this is definitely the last one. We all love being together in Detroit, enjoying the music that was made here.
Motown A-Go-Go event tickets range from $15-$125, the latter for the full festival. Visit motownagogo.com for more information.
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