"NIGHTRAIN" SPEAKS ON:
NIGHTRAIN REVIEWS THE SONG "FORK IN THE ROAD"
by: Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
I have always loved "FORK IN THE ROAD" as well
(just in case yall couldn't guess....lol)
But just wait till you hear this LIVE version that just came out!!!
and Smokey is CLEARLY at the...
"TOP OF HIS GAME"
(and OH MY, what a "game" that is, isn't it?)
It's a "game", that clearly...
SMOKEY ROBINSON IS the MASTER OF...
The song starts out with those same, VERY SOFT ever present SOLO guitar tones of Marv Tarplin.
Then Smokey starts going into his damn...
"SEEMS LIKE LOVE SHOULD BE EASIER..."
and then you hear some woman from the audience start...
***SCREAMING OUT HER MIND***
apparently she has fainted, because the SCREAMING stops.....lol
(perhaps she has been ecorted out of the Roostertail, by local medical personel?)
This is simply a MAJESTIC SONG that I can't figure out why I am writing about so much, because the simplicity of it's message and the BRILLIANCE of the musicians and singers allow it to speak for itself.
I dunno if it's the baddest slow jam of ALL TIME?
Maybe I should just leave the answers to questions like that in the hands of "rock critics"?
After all THEY are better qualified to discuss the music of Smokey Robinson and make judgements on his "genuis" than I am?
(but it's gotta be close)
(The Super Badd Azz Mo Fo Smokey Robinson and the Miracles website)
RIP Bobby Rogers of the Miracles: Services Info + Soul-Patrol Audio Tribute
1. Here are the dates/times
Sunday March 10th 2013 9:00am - 9:00pm
Monday March 11th 2013 11:00am
Oh you need more? Well here is something pro-active that all of you Miracles fans can do.
Go to the following link at the site of the Funeral Home:
There you can not only obtain the rest of the details such as the venue/location of the viewing & services, but you can also:
-Light an online "virtual candle"
-Leave a message to Bobby/Family
-Leave a condolences
-View a photo slide show
-Read shared stories
-View shared photos
-You can share the site on Facebook
In other words, they built kind of a "mega site" dedicated to the memory of Bobby Rogers!!! (big ups to whomever put this together!!!)
I would encourage all of you to go here & not only leave a message, but also share this resource with anyone out there who is a Miracles fan. And for the few of yall out there who aren't Miracles fans, just go there anyhow (you might get converted)
2. Just got a call from our friend Nightrain from his jail cell. (Collect of course.....lol)
Quite naturally he was in tears over the passing of Bobby Rogers. After all "Nightrain" is the creator of the
During the course of the conversation he reminded me of his 2002 Soul-Patrol.Net Radio broadcast called; "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 360 Degrees of Love." http://www.soul-patrol.net/going.ram
And he reminded me that the broadcast was:
INTRODUCED BY THE LATE BOBBY ROGERS
And he asked me to post the broadcast and let it play in the blackround of the main page at www.soul-patrol.com (which I just did)
SMOKEY ROBINSON AND THE MIRACLES: "GOING TO A GO-GO/AWAY WE GO-GO"- the choice cuts and the previously unheard gems from the vaults of Motown which are included on the GOING TO A GO-GO/AWAY WE GO-GO, CD reissue, we are going to present the material as a 4 part concept album that I'll call "Smokey Robinson and the Miracles 360 degrees of love".
INTRODUCED BY THE LATE BOBBY ROGERS http://www.soul-patrol.net/going.ram
(Requires RealAudio player, download free at www.real.com)
When I asked "Nightrain" how he found out about Bobby Rogers passing, he told me the following: "They let us have Facebook here in the joint..."
Analysis: Going to the Outer Limits With Smokey Robinson and the Miracles
Obviously given the passing of Bobby Rogers, I have been spending quite a bit of time thinking about the Miracles & their ongoing legacy this week. I know it may sound strange to some of you, but given that my desire to write about the Miracles was one of the 3 main reasons why I started the Soul-Patrol.com site in the first place :)
(Along with Miles Davis & Jimi Hendrix)
Call it my very own "sick little obsession."
I came across this piece I wrote a few years ago that provides a little insight into what I have been thinking about this week.
It's called; Going to the Outer Limits With Smokey Robinson
Please bear with me...
I ask your forgiveness, but I'm just trying to work out a few ideas to help me get to where I need to go, because I have a very specific task that I have to accomplish, that involves me laying out a few ideas and placing a context around things...
(although it might not appear to be so, I am actually trying to get to a very specific thing, it's not just "random conversation about Smokey Robinson")
I've been actually trying to work all of this out in my mind for many years and you can see some of my earlier attempts when the site first began on the following web pages:
Those three web pages are actually incomplete, and left incomplete on purpose. Those 3 pages are very "raw" and they are the result of a "stream of conciousness" which occurred at around 3am one night, with the 3 disc Smokey Robinson and the Miracles "Anthology" blasting in my headphones, back in 1998 when I first decided to actually put something about the Miracles on the web....lol
Since that time I have pretty much left Smokey Robinson alone, in terms of doing anything beyond something superficial.
And now I return to one of my very favorite topics...
Smokey Robinson is truly a unique artist in my eyes.
I first became a fan of his music when I was about 10 years old (1967).
As I have stated many times, the foundation of the Soul-Patrol website is built upon the music & ideas of three artists:
- Miles Davis
- Jimi Hendrix
- Smokey Robinson & the Miracles
Those three are not arbitrary.
There is a specific reason for each of the three.
Smokey Robinson's music has had a big influence on my life. The songs he has written are something that I have analyzed to death, over and over again, every which way from Sunday. Just ask anyone who knows me....lol
And because he is BOTH the "singer" and the "songwritter", the songs are executed EXACTLY as he wants them to be.
The songs themselves are majestic 3 minute parables.
But that's only part of the story.
And understanding the rest of the story means that I had to seek out both the "horizontal" as well as the "vertical".
Like most artists, Smokey Robinson's music is usually presented as a "vertical thing".
- a song
- an album
- an isolated performance
- a chart position
Usually viewed as a singular thing in a vacuum, out of context and therefore outside of the realm of true focus & clarity. Therefore the true value of his artistic contribution is totally misunderstood, even by people who think he is a great artist.
--Even Bob Dylan's famous quote about Smokey is insufficent. Don't simply think of Smokey as a mere "poet". Think of him as a writter/storyteller on the same level as someone like James Joyce. (remember how surprised you were the first time you read "Ulysees" and found that when you reached the end of the book, that you were right back at the beginning?)
--You see it's the music of Smokey Robinson that taught me to look at things in life in a "horizontal fashion" in addition to looking at life in a "vertical fashion".
--That's because all of his songs are connected to each other, not only across albums, but even across decades. There are also no clear answers in his songs. Life is a complex thing. The questions are easy. The answers are elusive.
--In short if you take a close look at the songs of Smokey Robinson, he is actually telling a huge story (a novel if you will) about not only love, but life itself.
--He's laying out the "rules of engagement for life", via the vignettes that comprise the individual songs. Taken individually there are many great songs by Smokey Robinson that we have heard presented to us. However we have never actually seen the complete story laid out for us. In other words the songs of Smokey Robinson actually provide a complete tapestry.
But that complete & complex story is there.
Here is a small example...
Starting with "Bad Girl" ("She wasn't a BAD girl at first....so GOOD at the start now we must part ...oh yes she's BAD....bad girl cuz she's BREAKING MY HEART...)in 1957. Threading it's way thru "You Really Got a Hold On Me" (I don't like you, but I love you") & "Shop Around" ("Before you ask some girl for her hand you betta shop around for as long as you can") in the early 60's. To the late 60's with "The Love I Saw In You was Just a Mirage" ("The promise of LOVE was written on your face. You led me on with UNTRUE kisses. ..You held me CAPTIVE with your FALSE embrace. ....Quicker than I could bat an eye you were tellin me GOODBYE..."). Right to "Quiet Storm".
--All of these songs are connected "horizontally", and in my opinion when taken together Smokey is saying something that is quite dark & sinister about the way some females sometimes behave!!!
--I have no idea if he is talking about the same woman or multiple women thru this entire sequence? I have no idea if he is talking about his own relationships or those of other people he knows?
--We never really find out, because in the songs he never really tells us what his own involvement may or may not be. In the end, that part of it isn't really important, because if it were, then he would have told us.
What is important is his horizontal thought process.
He is delivering a consistent message [even if you disagree with him] that spans decades and he did it within the context of a music industry that only places importance on "vertical thinking" (ex: a single hit record). It's actually easy to see when you "connect the dots" between the songs.
This is only an example of one of these "horizontal threads" that connect the seemingly unconnected songs of Smokey Robinson together. There are in fact many more. Most are not as "dark & sinister" as the "Bad Girl" thread, but they are there.
And on a personal level once I understood this thought process, it changed my life forever...
There is a kind of genius at work here that is comparable to the 1950 - 1951 CCNY Basketball team, which to this day is STILL the ONLY college basketball team to ever win BOTH the NIT & NCAA Championship in the same season. Not only did they will all of their games in BOTH tournaments, but they also covered the "point spread" because every single player had taken a "dive" with gamblers. And like the 1950 - 1951 CCNY Basketball team, the totality of Smokey Robinson's accomplishment on BOTH the "horizontal & vertical tip" is actually difficult to comprehend anyone else duplicating!!!
Once I came to that realization about what Smokey was actually doing, not only did I begin to understand the magnificence of it all, but I also learned that it was important to "connect the dots" together across multiple ideas/concepts in order to gain understanding of people and situations.
And to this day it remains exactly how I think about the world, as a huge and complex matrix of ideas, people, places, events, etc.
In other words, the shortest distance between two points is rarely a "straight line". Instead it's really a "complex matrix (or web)" if interconnected "things" that on the surface seem to be disconnected.
People have asked me why I have never interviewed Smokey Robinson, given the overall importance of his music to the development of the Soul-Patrol.com website. Cuz this topic is what I would want to talk about with him and to discuss it with him in excruciating detail. And I'm afraid that he wouldn't give me enough time to answer my questions....lol
- Maybe when he left the Miracles, he thought that he had completed the entire story?
- Maybe he came back as a solo artist because, he realized that he had more to tell.
- Maybe the reason why his albums have been so inconsistant for the past 20 years or so, is because he doesn't know how to complete the entire story?
- Maybe he will tie it all together for us at some point?
- Maybe he won't?
And of course I would want to write it all down.
All of the questions. All of the answers.
Cuz nobody has ever written down the "the horizontal view" on Smokey. Only the vertical. Perhaps in the end, the "the horizontal view" on Smokey, isn't supposed to be written about. Perhaps it is something that is only learned via the discovery process.
These songs are all very personal to me, because more than anything else, they have given me a framework for thinking. And that is something that you can never thank a person enough for!
Just like the old TV show called the "Outer Limits" said...
"Do not adjust the vertical"
"Do not adjust the horizontal"
"We are in control..."
MORE CORRUPTION: HOLLYWOOD WALK OF FAME F@CKS OVER MOTOWN 50 (& THIS TIME IT'S THE MIRACLES)
Normally I could care less about this insult. I mean who really cares about something so trivial, when the country is faced with such enormous problems. However there is a whole lotta CORRUPTION at the heart of a whole lotta this "award giving business" and we certainly haven't been shy over the years in discussion it.
THIS IS FLAT OUT WRONG!!!!
However in this case I do care, simply because as I have stated many times over:
THE MIRACLES ARE ONE OF THREE CORE ARTISTS THAT ARE AT THE CORE OF THE SOUL-PATROL.COM WEBSITE. (the other two are of course Miles Davis & Jimi Hendrix)
This systematic EXCLUSION of BILLY GRIFFIN and MARV TARPLIN from the legacy of the MIRACLES is nothing short of an attempt to RE-WRITE & DISTORT BLACK HISTORY (probably for someone's financial gain).
2009 sure is a glorious time, for a whole lot of reasons:
1. The mood of optimism sweeping the country in anticipation of the presidency of Barrack Obama. Even the "evil people" like Pat Buchanan & Newt Gingrich are genuinely excited.
2. The year long celebration of the 50th Anniversary of Motown Records, ("the sound of young america")
What could be nicer and more positive the convergence of these two American institutions? Then I get these two announcements.....
First this one
THE HOLLYWOOD CHAMBER OF COMMERCE WALK OF FAME COMMITTEE ANNOUNCES
NEW WALK OF FAME RECIPIENTS FOR 2009
HOLLYWOOD, CA.-A new group of entertainers in motion pictures, television, live theater, and recording have been selected to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, it was announced today by the Walk of Fame Committee of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. These individuals were chosen from among hundreds of nominations to the committee at a meeting held June 12, and ratified by the Chamber's Board of Directors.
The Walk of Fame recipients for the year 2009 are:
MOTION PICTURES: Tinkerbell, Tim Burton, Leslie Caron, Cameron Diaz, Robert Downey, Jr., Charles Durning, Ralph Fiennes, Hugh Jackman, Sir Ben Kingsley and William H. Macy
TELEVISION: Mark Burnett, Felicity Huffman, Chuck Lorre, William Petersen, Kyra Sedgwick, and John Stamos
RECORDING: Kenny "Baby Face" Edmonds, Dave Koz, The Miracles, Doug Morris, RUSH, Shakira and The Village People
RADIO: Bill Handel and Harry Shearer
"After much deliberation, the Walk of Fame committee has selected 25 of our greatest talents! Fans and tourists from all over the world will enjoy seeing their favorite personalities receive this prestigious honor. There was a significant increase of applications received this year and so many deserving celebrities. Our committee worked diligently to select those stars which would appeal to the masses" stated Earl Lestz, Chairman of the Hollywood Walk of Fame Committee.
Then this one
FROM THE MAA
Smokey Robinson has his own star, and now his cohorts (Bobby Rogers, Claudette Robinson, Pete Moore, and Ron White [deceased]) will have their star also. We are very proud of the fact that we were instrumental in getting this group something that is long over due.
Normally I could care less about this insult. I mean who really cares about something so trivial, when the country is faced with such enormous problems. However in this case I do care, simply because as I have stated many times over:
THE MIRACLES ARE ONE OF THREE CORE ARTISTS THAT ARE AT THE CORE
OF THE SOUL-PATROL.COM WEBSITE (the other two are of course Miles Davis & Jimi Hendrix)
SOUL-PATROL'S OFFICIAL POSITION IS THAT WE ARE OPPOSED TO THIS.
THIS ISN'T MY OPINION, THIS HAS BEEN DOCUMENTED
--IT'S BEEN DOCUMENTED BY MOTOWN
--IT'S BEEN DOCUMENTED BY SMOKEY ROBINSON
ALL ONE NEED DO IS LISTEN TO THE ALBUM
"Smokey Robinson & the Miracles 1957-1973": http://www.soul-patrol.net/mir_live.ram
And you will hear Smokey Robinson talking about BILLY GRIFFIN and MARV TARPLIN and their respective roles in the Miracles. One would think that the documentation would speak for itself? But apparently that is NOT THE CASE
CLEARLY BILLY GRIFFIN and MARV TARPLIN DESERVE TO BE HONORED AS MEMBERS OF THE MIRACLES & HISTORY SAYS SO
--Billy Griffin was the lead singer on the Miracles biggest hit song.
--Marv Tarplin performed on ALL of their hits and co-wrote many of them
This systematic EXCLUSION of BILLY GRIFFIN and MARV TARPLIN from the legacy of the MIRACLES is nothing short of an attempt to RE-WRITE & DISTORT BLACK HISTORY (probably for someone's illicit financial gain).
SOUL-PATROL'S OFFICIAL POSITION IS THAT WE ARE OPPOSED TO THIS.
Interview: Marv Tarplin (Miracles Guitarist)
I received a call last April from Sylvia Tarplin. She said, "Zee I'm doing a 3 way with Marv". "Hey Marv, when are you going to do an interview for Soul-Patrol", I asked. Marv was not interested in this conversation at all. I told him how everyone wanted to hear his story, but we could not persuade him to do an interview. I do know that Marv is shy like that. ..No microphones in his face … that's for Smokey.
I think it has something to do with losing a loved one and granting their wishes somehow, so after Sylvia's funeral on September 24, 2004 Marv began to tell me his story.
At an early age Marv had a musical gift. He already played by ear. His mother enrolled him in music school to learn piano. Marv played the piano six months before he started playing the Guitar. I must add that I knew Marv's mother Ruby Tarplin. She used to have us over for the best soul food dinners ever. Marv lost her a few years ago.
Some of the most famous clubs were located in Detroit on Canfield & John R. Among them were The Flame Showbar, The Frolic and Garfield Lounge.
One day as Marv was walking with his guitar down John R near Canfield in Detroit, 3 girls began yelling to him out of an apartment window. It scared him at first and He didn't know if he should run or what. After seeing that it was Diana, Florence and Mary he decided to go up to see what they wanted. He used to go to Northeastern with Mary and Flo. They wanted him to be the guitarists for their group, The Primettes. He accepted and they began rehearsing.
They did amateur and talent shows at schools around Detroit and the Greystone Ballroom. Diana knew Smokey, so she had the hook up for them to go over to Smokeys house so he could listen to them and help them get their big break. Smokey liked them but he seemed to like Marv more and asked Marv if he would play with his group, The Miracles, for a few years. Although Marv agreed, he still continued to play for the Primettes. Diana Ross usually tells the story differently. I've heard her say that Smokey took Marv from them.
This Marv Tarplin, Smokey Robinson blend was really unique. They along with Warren "Pete" Moore collaborated and wrote some of the most famous songs ever. Marv, the melodies and Smokey and Pete Moore, the lyrics. "Tracks of my Tears," is listed as one of the 5 best songs ever. Other songs they collaborated on were, "Crusin", "Going To A Go Go", "The Love I Saw In You was Just a Mirage", "Aint That Peculiar", "You Really Got A Hold On Me" and my favorite "Baby Come Close". . Turn The Lights Down Low, Baby Come Close…Put your hands in mine, Oh please be kind, Let me Touch Your Heart, Let The Fire Start Ooooo so Warm, So Warm…..
Marv played guitar along with The Funk Brothers on "You Really Got A Hold On Me" . Eddie Willis of the Funk Brothers was cording on the backbeat against Marvs simple but eloquent melodic melodies. I did a little research and found that Smokey was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 as a solo artist, even though he made his most famous hits with The Miracles.
Marv Tarplin has continued to play with Smokey until this day. Even after Smokey left The Miracles in 1972 and went solo. Marv is listed in the 100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time. Marv's daughter Talease and wife Sylvia attended the 2003 Soul Patrol Convention. Thanks Marv.. RIP Sylvia I'll always love you, my dear and best friend.
CD Review: Billy Griffin - "Like Water"