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Martha Reeves


The inimitable Martha Reeves possesses not only one of the most angelic voices in our galaxy, but a supple singing style that is a paradigm for the world’s aspiring performers. From an infant in Eufaula, Alabama, to her adolescent and chart-busting years in the Motor City (Detroit), Martha has masterfully woven an elegant musical tapestry. This superstar’s incomparable smash hits awesome and romantic have caused reverberations of such epic proportions that volcanic size rhythmic tremors can still be felt today! decades after their initial release. From Mick Jagger and David Bowie to the Beatles and Linda Ronstadt, generations of artists and music lovers have been influenced by her viscerally undulating vocals, juxtaposed to her pulsating rhythmic eruptions!


Martha’s parents, Ruby and Elijah Reeves, laid the foundation for their famous daughter by singing and playing guitar for the future star and her siblings; thus inculcating in their progeny a deep-rooted appreciation for good music and inciting in Martha the passion to sing. These examples proved to be the groundwork for all of her statuesque accomplishments, including her latest eleven track musical treasure, titled “Home To You” on True Life Entertainment.


From her formative juncture at Detroit’s Russell Elementary School to her vivacious tenure at eastside’s Northeastern High School (where she sung to 4500 at graduation), precocious Martha proved unyielding in relentless pursuit of her musical dreams. Like a singing Nightingale, this provocative songstress, under the guidance of well-qualified instructors, began to sculpt her vocal apparatus into one of the most prolific in the annals of pop music history. Whether “Heat Wave,” “Dancing in the Street,” “My Baby Loves Me,” “Jimmy Mack,”  “Come and Get These Memories,” I’m Ready for Love,” “Honey Chile,” or “Nowhere to Run,” (all top five hits) Martha has quaked the lid off of pop and R&B radio with these indefatigable blasts from the past! And like Motown 25, Motown 45 anniversary demonstrates why Martha Reeves is considered an enduring legend by her fans and peers alike. To this day, her classically unforgettable dance tunes are not only featured in films (“Sister Act Two”), but can be heard from Liverpool, Japan, Johannesburg, and Sydney, all the way to Fox TV’s top-rated American Idol show, where the songs she made famous are performed by future stars and starlets.  These celestial compositions reflect the inseparable link between a superlative voice and ultimate instrumentation.


A quantum leap was feted in a happenstance meeting with Motown Record’s A&R chief, William “Mickey” Stevenson, at a Detroit nightclub. Martha was invited to visit Motown administration offices to audition for a singing deal, and as destiny would have it, Martha was at the right place at the right time. While waiting for the audition, Martha, on her own, helped out in the office since there was no one else qualified to type and deal with musicians and the public. This kept her in the office long enough to get the audition that she had longed for. And aren’t we glad she waited! During this same period, Martha was singing with the Del-Phis, a local group that later became known as the Vels. The Vels recorded briefly on Mel-O-Dy Records, which was a subsidiary of Motown Records. The group’s break came when a need arose for backup singers for a planned studio recording. This led to the chance of a lifetime, backing up the soulful Marvin Gaye on his smash hit “Stubborn Kind of Fellow.” However, Martha got her lead singing-break when Mary Wells was absent for a recording session. The studio was already set up and Martha’s dream would become a joyful reality as she was quickly whisked into action, resulting in the group’s first major recording. After changing their name from the Vels to Martha and the Vandellas in 1963, they (Martha, Annette Beard and Rosalind Holmes) recorded their first single “I’ll Have to Let Him Go.” However, their second single, “Come and Get These Memories,” proved to be a monster-smash, launching all the way to the top five on the R&B charts. This proved to be the beginning of an explosive career that would propel these rising stars, Martha and the Vandellas, to country after far-flung country, performing before dignitaries and the general citizenry alike.


In 1972 Martha opted for a solo run as Motown was relocating their offices from Detroit to Los Angeles. She subsequently signed a deal to record with MCA as a solo artist and eventually went on to sign solo deals with Arista Records and Berkeley, Ca.- based Fantasy Records.


Some of Martha’s memorable albums are: Dance Party, Watch Out, Black Magic, The Rest of My Life, Live Wire, and her newest creation, Home To You an evocative collection of songs symbolizing an amalgamation of styles and genres. The legacy of this multi-talented phenomenon includes a plethora of top-rated TV show appearances, magazine covers, and endless concert tours. Martha’s legacy, her lasting career, and her success with recording projects has been so enduring that she is internationally recognized as one of music’s all-time greats. In 1995 she was joyfully inducted into the prestigious Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.


In a way, Martha Reeves career is just beginning. Why? Because her new disk, titled Home To You, is partnered with one of the most progressive entities around, True Life Entertainment. This new CD will help redefine and redirect the career of one of the planets enduring legends. With eleven eclectic tracks on this groove-filled project, Martha will present to the world ten original selections and two bonus jams. “Home To You,” the albums sweet single, preserves lucid backup harmonies with shouts of vintage Martha’s riveting vocal gymnastics. On the other hand, “Running For Your Love” is up-tempo, funk-filled, and rhythmically fluent. “Good Days Gone” exudes a pulsating gospel feel, which, by the way, is central to Martha’s metamorphosis from inspirational music to succulent soul. The spicy ballad “I Want Your Company,” is not only superbly orchestral, but is flavored with a saucy, soothingly sensuous interpretation. Now, if you thought that the blues was dead, think again! When you hear “Watch Your Back,” you will experience a thumping blues revival; Martha steps into a down-home feel with this bluesy, tempestuous vibe.


Martha’s illustrious career is outlined in her candid autobiography titled Dancing in The Street, (Confessions of a Motown Diva) by Time Warner Publications. Every career has highs and lows and Martha’s is no exception. But the quality of her works is consistent and complete. With Home To You, an impeccable, twenty-first century production, Martha reinforces her supremacy as original Motown’s greatest, active female superstar. Home to you (True Life Entertainment), by vivid contrast, is a winsome welcome to much of the “stuff” bellowing from the airwaves today. Martha’s prolific career has endured the Motown relocation, the English Invasion, the social revolution, and personal adversity; however, through it all, she has managed to outlast many of her contemporaries. Martha Reeves is a national treasure and a musical icon whose noteworthy achievements will continue to be a perpetual benchmark for artistic excellence now and for generations to come.        -Phil C. Brown-