1976 The Originals – Communique

The Originals, often called “Motown’s best-kept secret”, were a successful Motown R&B and soul group during the late 1960s and the 1970s, most notable for the hits “Baby, I’m For Real”, “The Bells” and the disco classic “Down To Love Town”. Formed in 1966, the group originally consisted of bass singer Freddie Gorman, baritone (and the group’s founder) Walter Gaines, and tenors C. P. Spencer and Hank Dixon (and briefly Joe Stubbs). Ty Hunter replaced Spencer when he left to go solo in the early 1970s. They had all previously sung in other Detroit groups, Spencer having been an original member of The (Detroit) Spinners and Hunter having sung with The Supremes member Scherrie Payne in the group Glass House. Spencer, Gaines, Hunter, and Dixon (at one time or another) were also members of The Voice Masters. As a member of the Holland–Dozier–Gorman writing-production team (before Holland–Dozier–Holland), Gorman (as a mailman) was one of the co-writers of Motown’s first number 1 pop hit “Please Mr. Postman”, recorded by The Marvelettes. In 1964 The Beatles released their version and in 1975 The Carpenters took it to number 1 again. This was the second time in pop history that a song had reached number 1 twice as “The Twist” by Chubby Checker, reached number 1 in both 1960 and 1961. In 2006, “Please Mr. Postman” was inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

Alvin Taylor wrote to me about the hit ‘Down to love town’: “We (he and Jeff Porcaro) both played simultaneously at the same time. Two drummers playing live. Like James Brown would do for some of his live shows. Jeff and I both played live on down to love town. We both read and played the identical drum pattern and performed it at the same time.” (thanks to Frédéric Huybens)