Following the announcement of the Divas of Motown concert coming up at the HMV Hammersmith Apollo on the 13th November, I have since found out that there will also be a string of intimate dates in the lead-up to the big event.
Jammin' with Jack at the Borderline:
9th November - A Funk Brothers night featuring Jack Ashford and special guests including including Nikki Lamborn & Margo Buchanan jamming the night away in a soul/funk spectacular.
The Borderline, Orange Yard, off Manette Street, London, W1D 4JL
Doors: 7pm. Tickets: £18.50
Motown Sessions at the Jazz Cafe:
10th November - The Funk Brothers featuring special guests Sherrie Payne and Lynda Laurence, formerly of The Supremes
11th November - The Funk Brothers featuring special guests Mable John, Chris Clark and Brenda Holloway
12th November - Thelma Houston and guests
The Jazz Cafe, 5 Parkway, Camden Town, London, NW1 7PG
Doors: 7pm. Tickets: £25 (10th & 11th Nov) / £20 (12th Nov)
Tickets for all of these shows are available from Ticketmaster. Book online at www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by phone on 0844 277 0700.
You can find out more about the artists from the following press release:
"One of the greatest female R&B singers of all time, Thelma Houston will give an intimate solo performance at the Jazz Cafe. The first Motown artist to win a Grammy, Houston received the award for best R&B performance by a female artist. On the eve of the release of a remix of her number 1 hit club anthem 'Don't Leave Me This Way', Houston is not only a true Motown legend but also an icon to the gay community as a disco diva. She recently headlined at Gay Pride New York and is a firm favourite on the club circuit as well as with connoisseurs of Motown's rosta.
"Motown's first recorded female artist Mable John is one of gospel music's luminaries. Discovered and groomed for stardom by Berry himself, she sang alongside Billie Holiday before eventually moving to Stax where her soul singer status was solidified by a career with the Raelettes - Ray Charles's backing singers. A fascinating character, Mable became Dr. Mable John when she earned her Ph.D in counselling.
"At first glance, young 17-year-old Chris Clark - a tall blue-eyed California import - seemed an unlikely candidate for membership in Detroit's closely-knit Motown family. Thanks to Gordy's renowned genius at spotting and developing raw talent, she went on to become not only the first White album artist on the label, but also an integral part of his creative team.
"Multi-award-winning R&B pioneer Brenda Holloway was one of few Motown artists to write her own songs which were tailored to her inimitable voice - gritty, powerful and sassy. Holloway toured the US with the Beatles in their heyday and has become one of the label's most distinguished female artists.
"Jack Ashford's legendary performances on the tambourine and vibes enhanced the majority of the Classic Motown hits from the 1960's through the early 1970's. As a member of the Funk Brothers Band, he played on more number one hits than the Beach Boys, the Rolling Stones, Elvis Presley and the Beatles combined. Also known as 'The Fabulous Tambourine Man' he is the remaining original member of the Funk Brothers Band.
"The Supremes are Motown's most successful female group. Their reign over the music charts was predominant throughout the 60s and 70s and earned them global accolades. The Supremes had eight individual members during this time and each of the eight ladies contributed to the group's recording and performing success. Sherrie Payne & Lynda Laurence are two former members of the Motown signed and recorded Supremes. Freddi Poole, who completes the trio, has toured extensively with the legendary Motown songstress Gladys Knight."