The Detroit Sound that became so synonymous with Northern Soul was steeped in an array of talent that overflowed from the city’s housing projects and high schools. Although Berry Gordy’s dominance of the US Charts is undeniable, there flourished alongside ‘Hitsville’ a plethora of record labels, artists, writers and producers that delivered equally fantastic music through the studios of United Sound, Terra Shirma, GM, and of course Ed Wingate’s Golden World. During the early days of Gordy’s developing empire many other pools of talented people developed and a parallel world of soul music was produced alongside the 4 x 4 beat of Holland – Dozier – Holland.
It’s a group of ladies who contributed to this wonderful sound, that we came to love and respect so well over the years, that we welcome to The Benidorm Internacional Soul Fiesta and who will grace a continental European stage for the very first time.
When the Lewis family moved to Detroit from their native Johnstown Pennsylvania, in 1951 a 5 year old Pat and her younger sibling Diane were placed on the path that would enable them to make the most of Detroit’s burgeoning music scene over a decade later. As Berry Gordy’s hit making machine churned out hit after hit it was to West Grand Boulevard that the city’s young musical talent gravitated. It seemed like the whole of Detroit had the same ambition.
Two other local Detroit sisters Betty and Jackie Winston also had eyes on a musical career and it was when the two sets of siblings decided to combine their talents in 1964, that Ed Wingate of Golden World Records saw enough potential in the girls to sign them to his label. The Adorables’ line-up of Pat and Diane Lewis and Betty and Jackie Winston saw 3 releases, all 6 sides created by part of Ed’s creative team given the task to emulate the success at Hitsvile USA.
The Adorables – Deep Freeze b/w Daddy Please – GW 4/5
The Adorables – School’s All Over b/w Be – GW 10
These early 45s are steeped in the history of Detroit’s Northern Soul legacy. ‘Deep Freeze’ was the first 45 to bear the names of Bob Hamilton who was part of the multitalented Hamilton Brothers and Freddie Gorman who would go on to write a whole slab of songs (including Devil In His eyes), before taking up residence at Motown with the Originals. The girls’ final outing as a group on the logo ‘Oh Boy’ has of course become something of a Northern Soul anthem over the years and is a highly sought after 45. The musical umbilical cord from the ladies to Golden world was severed after Pat’s solitary solo outing : Pat Lewis – “Can’t Shake It Loose b/w Lets Go Together” – GW 42
In 1965 when Berry Gordy bought out Wingate’s Golden World label, the ladies decided to strike out on their own. Betty’s next association was also with a Detroit legend: Richard ‘Popcon’ Wylie who had produced ‘Oh Boy’. It was ‘Popcorn’ and his equally iconic song-writing partner Tony Hestor that produced a number of sides o Betty that would remain in the can until discovered almost a decade later by that erstwhile record dealer extraordinaire John Anderson of UK’s Soul-Bowl Records.
3 of these, at the time unreleased tracks, would gain massive cult status on the UK Norther Scene, all 3 of them are Wylie/Hestor signature classics that Betty delivers it true Detroit femme style and hopefully we will hear all three of them on Saturday Night! ‘Say It Isn’t So’ and ‘Spellbound’ were released in the last 70s albeit the latter on an LP only and ‘My Man Flint’ a parody on the hit film of the era starring James Coburn was finally given its first vinyl release by soul Junction Records a few months ago.
Diane Lewis went on to record as a solo artist under the production skills of Herman Griffin, Mary Well’s husband and her 45s are also very much sought after. Her first solo outing was written and produced by Andrea Henry, (of ‘I Need You Like A Baby’ fame) and carry the Golden World Myto publishing credit Diane Lewis – Please Let Me Help You b/w My Darlin’ – Love 101 but all her other published sides are with Mr Griffin. A revamp of the Love A side and a beltin’ mid tempo tune delivered Diane Lewis – “Please Let Me Help You b/w I Thank You Kindly” – Wand 1188 and her final contemporary release, Diane Lewis – “Without Your Love b/w Giving Up Your Love” – Wand 1191 gave us two fine back to back midtempo sides. Back in the 90s, when Don Davis’s Solid Hitbound masters were made available to Goldmine, amongst the classic soul outings was Diane Lewis – “Keep A Hold Of Me” which they issued on a vinyl 45 backed with a JJ Barnes unissued side on Sevens GS 030. With it’s instant dance appeal, vibes aplenty and groaning sax it’s got to be one of the most ‘Motown’ sounding non Motown songs ever recorded!
Both Pat and Diane Lewis would go on to perform as part of Isaac Hayes’ Hot Buttered Soul and Pat had also backed the likes of Aretha Franklin and performed backing at Motown alongside The Andantes on a number of tracks, notably Stevie Wonder’s ‘Uptight’. Lebaron Taylor and Don Davis were working at Golden World when The Adorables and Pat Lewis’ singles were released. On setting up their new Solid Hitbound Production company they signed Pat to the new logo. Pat’s previous experience with the pair led to a series of releases that would stand the test of time and never be far from Northern Soul DJs playlists since they were first played in the early 70s. They are testament to the adage that ‘Form is Temporary But Class Is Permanent!’ Pat Lewis and the Solid Hitbound team fit each other like a calfskin glove to a manicured hand. We’re pleased to announce that Pat will be singing 2 of these iconic songs as part of the Live Show in the Auditorio on Saturday night.
When I first booked The Adorables, it was for the 2018 Fiesta as Diane had just undergone surgery and was in recovery. The fact that we brought the show forward to this year means that Diane is unable to make the trip this time but it’s something that we will put right at a future date. Standing in for Diane is yet another wonderful voice from D Town, Ms Esther Todd of The Ladeez . All three ladies will take to the stage in The Auditorio de Cristal, backed by Spain’s very own soul band and Fiesta Resident house band, Al Supersonic and the Teenagers. It looks like being a very special night here on the shores of The Mediterranean. See you there!