Friday, April 13, 2007

Ian Levine: Frankie Gaye My Brother

Another magic moment from Ian.

Here's what Ian said about the video:

This is easily one of my five all time favourite records, out of all of the Motorcity recordings. When we all first went to Los Angeles, in April 1989, to have a second public reunion there of all the California based former Motown artists, immediately following the one we'd just done in Detroit, Frankie came along, and we were all shocked and numbed by how much he looked like his late brother Marvin. So I had the brilliant idea of teaming him up with Kim Weston for them to re-do "It Takes Two", which of course Kim had originally sung with Marvin. Frankie was Marvin's younger brother , and had been the inspiration for "What's Going On", and indeed Frankie sang on that, alongside Marvin, and if you listen closely you can hear both voices on there. Frankie and his wife Irene were actually in the house when Frankie's father shot Marvin dead, in 1984. Anyway, Frankie seemed such an obvious and necessary addition to Motorcity. After recording an album's worth of solo material with him, I decided I wanted a tribute song to his brother, one with a true, jazzy, lazy, dreamy, fingersnapping Motorcity flavour, and I co-wrote this with Ronnie McNeir and Renaldo (Obie) Benson, of the Four Tops. This was particularly historic because Obie was one of the writers of "What's Going On" for Marvin, therefore lending an amazing amount of credibility to this song. And in fact, Ronnie and Obie are singing the backing vocals here. Later that year, in 1990, Frankie got to perform it to a huge crowd on the rooftop of the enormous Pontchartrain Hotel in Detroit, on a hot humid summer Saturday night, after it had poured down all day. I was sitting next to Berry Gordy's sister, Esther Edwards, and she gasped in shock when Frankie appeared, and said it was like seeing a ghost. I am so glad we can now look at this amazing performance. Sadly Frankie, just like his brother Marvin, has now passed on to that soul concert in the sky, but I shall always be so proud of this wonderful song, "My Brother"

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous9:04 PM

    The track 'My Brother' has been one of my favourites too,since i first heard it when Ian played it at the Vauxhall Holiday Park Weekender many years ago when the 4 Tops appeared there. It took me 15years to actually find a copy of the cd,but it was certainly well worth the wait +++++

    Keith Gunton.