MUSIC NEWS, BREAKING STORIES
June 6, 2016
SHOWS & EVENTS
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MOTOWN NEWS & GOSSIP !!
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The Soulful Legend RUBY ANDREWS Coming To Los Angeles in September 2016
NEW MUSIC BOOK - JUST RELEASED
LOVE AND AFFECTION - More Motown Girls from Ace
Pleased to be able to bring you news of the next Ace/Motown CD
Due for release at the end of October.
Here's the track list:
1. Reassure Me That You Love Me - Brenda Holloway
2. Any Girl In Love (Knows What I’m Going Through) - Gladys Knight The Pips
3. My Love Is Your Love (Forever) - Barbara Randolph
4. This Is The Love (I’ve Been Waiting For) - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
5. I Can’t Make It Without You - Debbie Dean
6. Midnight Johnny (Early Version) - Liz Lands
7. Many Good Times - The Lewis Sisters
8. Just Go On Sleeping - LaBrenda Ben *
9. Lonely Teardrops - Brenda Holloway *
10. Now That Love Is Gone - Hattie Littles *
11. Fugitive - LaBrenda Ben *
12. Envious (Fast Version) - Linda Griner
13. Mr Pride And Mr Gloom - Connie Haines
14. Momma Tried To Warn Me - Oma Heard
15. Check Yourself - Chris Clark
16. Come Back Half Way - Barbara McNair
17. Mother Tell Me What To Do - Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
18. Girls Need Love And Affection - The Marvelettes
19. Give Back The Good Things - Rita Wright
20. Go For Yourself - The Lollipops
21. The Good Times Are Gone - Barbara McNair
22. The Things Time Can’t Erase - Gladys Knight & The Pips
23. Close My Crying Eyes - Yvonne Fair
24. Forgotten - Chris Clark
25. Lover Man (Oh Where Can You Be) - Kim Weston *
BONNIE POINTER with JESSICA WILLIAMS
Singer Bonnie Pointer Returns to Hollywood
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
In the mid 70’s, she thrilled us with her singing sisters as part
of the Pointer Sisters with such hits as Bet You Got (a Chick On The Side), Yes We Can Can, before she was spotted and taken away from the group to sign a solo recording record deal with Motown Records as she scored her first r&b hit with Free Me From My Freedom, that put Bonnie Pointer on the charts, but it was her version of the
Elgins 1966 hit, Heaven Must Have Sent You that made Miss Pointer, a disco Queen.
Let’s catch up with Miss Bonnie Pointer, she is bouncing back as the singer made a rare appearance in Hollywood, at Corona Cantina, performing her all time classic dance hit Heaven Must
Have Sent You, with all her fans just adoring the singer who’s beauty has not vanished.
Hosted by Jackie Christie and Mandell Frazier, the Hollywood buzz was on as I spotted the Diva on the Red Carpet with non other
Than disco star Jessica Williams, who went to support her Sister of Song, along with the fans of Bonnie Pointer who she spent a lot of special time with loving them right back. The star made a costume change, with a different color hair before she hit the stage, and as singer Jessica Williams said, “She nailed it.”
Dance floor excitement was provided by DJ Joe Lewis Ortiz of the LA Party Radio.
PHOTO BY SPOOKEY (c) 2015
Visit Spookey's Motown Memories
I got Fanita to pose behind this gate of bars like if she was visiting Phil Spector, Spookey you've too dam funny !!!
MUSIC NEW’S ….CHUBBY TAVARES has a new CD out entitled CAN’T KNOCK ME DOWN produced by PRESTON GLASS…SMOKEY ROBINSON joins the SOUL TRAIN CRUISE with THE WHISPERS, THE O’JAYS, and others…DENISE LaSALLE told her fans that she wants to recorded a Country music CD, which thrilled her many fans…MARY WILSON was one of the many stars at THE HOLLYWOOD SHOW with DONNA LAUREN, THE BATMAN REUNION, and many other great stars of TV and Motion Pictures where fans get a chance to chat with the stars, take pictures with them, and buy autograph pictures. $20 to get in and who knows how much for the photos…26 ANNUAL HAL AWARDS coming around the corner at the end of September with three days of excitement. Visit the Hal Awards website or here at Chicano Magazine’s Shows & Events for more info. The show is produced by the Godmother of Motown, Janie Bradford, the the First Lady of Motown, Claudette Robinson.
We lost a great soul legend recently, PERCY SLEDGE, who’s WHEN A WOMEN LOVES A WOMEN is a classic.
Leading Lady of the Stage: Stephanie Spruill
NEW JAZZ STAR ARRIVES
By Manuel Esparza/Chicano Magazine
The golden days of Lola Falana, have been replaced by new faces in the music world such as singer Stephanie Spuill, who not only sings jazz, but mixes her show with Latin sounds and soul, which she did recently at the E Spot in Studio City, receiving three standing ovations. With a powerful singing voice, sultry looks, a costume fit for a diva, Stephanie rocked the house making it known that she is the new jazz Queen of the stage.
The crowd on its feet, to a “sold out,” audience that included 70’s star Freda Payne “Band of Gold,” singer songwriter Brenda Russell, and Motown singer Scherrie Payne of The Supremes.
“She’s beautiful, great entertainer, reminds you of the great women singers of the 60’s, and 70’s, Lola Falana, Diahann Carroll, true star quality,” says Chicano Magazine’s Manuel Esparza.
HOLLAND DOZIER AND HOLLAND
BETTY KELLY OF MARTHA AND THE VANDELLAS
GOLDEAN WHITE OF LOVE UNLIMITED, EDNA WRIGHT OF HONEY CONE
CLAUDETTE ROBINSON OF THE MIRACLES
MARY WILSON OF THE SUPREMES, STEVIE WONDER AND BERRY GORDY
THE STARS AND LEGENDS ARRIVE AT THE HOLLAND DOZIER & HOLLAND HOLLYWOOD STAR EVENT 2015
Photos by Manuel "Spookey" Esparza (c) 2015 www.chicano-magazine.com
“I was in love with Scherrie Payne, she was the next Diana Ross”
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
June 1, 2014
Motown Records made the right choice when they signed Scherrie Payne as the newest member of The Supremes that was 1975. “I fell in love with Scherrie Payne, she was the next Diana Ross,” says Manuel Esparza of Chicano Magazine. “Not only was she super talented, that girl was foxy and born to be supreme.”
“Scherrie Payne was loaded with all the goodies. She handled her role as lead singer of The Supremes so good that insiders knew at heart that yes she was on her way to be the next Diana Ross and in the minds of fans of the group it didn’t matter because we know that Scherrie Payne is that superstar, I love her,” says Manuel Esparza.
Catch Scherrie Payne in Concert when she joins Susaye Greene in Los Angeles July 5 for a rare Supremes concert. More info 213.494.1291
Ex-Supremes singer Susaye Greene
Joins Scherrie Payne in a Supremes Reunion
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com June 1st, 2014
Super talent Susaye Greene, a former member of the Motown recording trio The Supremes will reunite with ex-Supremes member Scherrie Payne July 5, in Los Angeles. Tickets for this rare performance will be a hit ticket; you can call 213.494.1291.
Susaye Greene known as The Last Supreme was featured in the Academy Award Oscar winner 20 FEET FROM STARDOM along with Merry Clayton, Tata Vega, Mable John, and Darlene Love who accepted the award at the ceremony.
SUPREMES REUNION 2014: SCHERRIE & SUSAYE
Motown’s Supremes Together on Stage !!
By Manuel Esparza
1975, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and Gladys Knight were topping the music charts with hit after hit while The Supremes with Mary Wilson, Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene were delivering music that fans of the Supremes have embraced for years. Such recordings as He’s My Man, I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking, Let Yourself Go, You’re My Driving Wheel were the songs that fans waited for and hoped that the Supremes would all over again top the music charts.
Motown recording artists Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene, former members of The Supremes will reunite for the very first time for a rare concert show appearance without Mary Wilson. The show stars Payne and Greene while insiders say Wilson might stop in the name of love to see her former singing partners.
The Scherrie Payne and Susaye Greene concert is going to be a hot ticket and one fans of The Supremes will not miss. Imagine, the original voices behind I’m Gonna Let My Heart Do The Walking, High Energy, Only You Can Love Me, You’re What’s Missing In My Life, He’s My Man, wow!!
The concert will take place July 5th at 6:00 pm the Sheraton Gateway LAX in Los Angeles.
VALERIE SIMPSON RELEASES NEW SOLO ALBUM
'DINOSAURS ARE COMING BACK AGAIN’
Valerie Simpson CD Review
Nov 15 2013 www.valeriesimpson.net
Valerie Simpson, one half of the beloved and legendary songwriter/producers and performers Ashford & Simpson, has returned to the music scene with her new album “Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again” scheduled for a late May release. The CD will be available on valeriesimpson.net . “Dinosaurs” is Simpson’s first solo album in over four decades and follows the death last year of her husband and longtime musical partner, Nick Ashford. “My honey put his heart and soul and some powerful lyrics into this album for me. I think Nick would be very pleased and proud of how it came out,” commented Simpson. “Dinosaurs”, produced by Ashford & Simpson, includes guest appearances by Roberta Flack and Nina Simone. It also includes the Ashford & Simpson classic, “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” in instrumental form.
Simpson is scheduled to perform at NY’s Beacon Theatre with The Whispers on Saturday, May 19th . She is currently doing a run of solo shows at San Francisco’s Rrazz Room through May 13th. The Rrazz Room in San Francisco where the San Francisco Examiner raved, “Valerie Simpson has got a solid solo act. She sounded strong and sultry”. She is also scheduled to perform at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland on June 2nd. Valerie is also continuing her commitment to nurture and help talent at New York’s Sugar Bar where she sings along with emerging and well-known artists most Thursdays for ‘open mic’ night as well as “Nothin’ But The Blues” nights on Tuesday evenings. Nick and Val opened the Sugar Bar as a famed restaurant and bar on the Upper West Side over ten years ago.
Valerie Simpson and Nick Ashford have written some of the biggest hits of their generation including “Let’s Go Get Stoned”, “Your Precious Love”, “Ain’t Nothing Like The Real Thing”, “You’re All I Need To Get By”, “Reach Out and Touch”, “The Boss”, “I’m Every Woman” and scores of other tunes. They have written and produced for a who’s who of music legends including Diana Ross, Whitney Houston, Chaka Khan, Marvin Gaye and many others. As one of the most famous duos in music, Ashford & Simpson released several of their own albums for Warner Bros. Records and Capital Records where their huge hit “Solid” became their personal anthem.
An Ashford & Simpson’s performance in 2007 at NY’s Feinstein’s at the Regency was filmed and aired on PBS stations across the country and released on DVD simultaneously with the release of “Hits, Remixes and Rarities” – a two-disc set of choice material from their Warner Bros. years.
Ashford & Simpson tunes have remained a constant on the charts. Singer Ryan Shaw was nominated for a 2008 Grammy for his cover of the Motown era A&S penned “I am Your Man”. Method Man and Mary J. Blige’s Grammy-winning medley of “I’ll Be There For You/You’re All I Need To Get By” (1995), 50 Cent sampled “Silly Wasn’t I” on his hit “Best Friend” (2006) and Amy Winehouse’s “Tears Dry On Their Own”, was built on the music from “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough”.
Valerie attended the 2011 Soul Train Awards in Atlanta where she inaugurated a songwriting award in Nick’s name. She also performed with Usher at The Grammy Nominations Concert Live! in a special tribute to the music of Ashford & Simpson.
She did her first real gig last December in Indiana, after attending the annual ASCAP Foundation Awards ceremony at Jazz at Lincoln Center and establishing the "Reach Out And Touch" Award in Nick’s honor, to provide promising songwriters with financial assistance for professional recordings of their original songs.
With the release of the highly anticipated “Dinosaurs Are Coming Back Again”, Valerie Simpson is still creating great music as she enters the next chapter of an extraordinary career.
You can order Valerie’s cd at www.cdbaby.com or visit Val at www.valeriesimpson.net
SHE’S A DIVA: MERRY CLAYTON PRAISES
HOLLYWOOD MAKE UP ARTIST RUDY CALVO
“I Really, really love Rudy and I hope he knows it”
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
Nov 2 2013
The King of the Divas was in the house, Mr. Rudy Calvo professional make up artist and close friend to the great Divas of Soul including the hard hitting Mama herself, Merry Clayton, one of the stars of the movie hit 20 FEET FROM STARDOM came to pay honor to this talented artist. Calvo is a professional make up artist and hard core record collector and good friends to many of the women of soul music including Patti LaBelle, and the late Etta James.
Rudy Calvo is loved by the great soul legends that came this night to celebrate the honor with him when Mable John presented Mr. Calvo with the 2013 Walking in the Shadow award in Westchester, was attended by the great Freda Payne, Merry Clayton, Fanita James, Betty Kelley, and Scherrie Payne.
“He (Rudy Calvo) was the man of the hour and deserved every bit of it,” says Spookey who attended the event. “I was personally invited by Rudy and I wasn’t going to miss this special night, an award for my friend made me so happy and I was just knocked out. It couldn’t happen to a better person but when you are talking about Rudy you got someone very special. He is the King of the Divas.”
Rudy Calvo fell in love with the girl group singers back in the late 60’s, when he was in the audience at the Hollywood Palace and decided as a young teenager to go backstage and meet Diana Ross and The Supremes. Although, he didn’t get a chance to meet the Queens of Motown, Calvo did travel around the world with Patti LaBelle and the late Etta James. He even worked with Smokey Robinson but the real deal is he made friendships with the greatest female soul singers in the world. If I made a list right now they would all get into a big fight!!
“Oh, Spookey you like that Cha Cha music,” he would tell me and he knew my style Mary Wells all the way. The girls just love him. Brenda Holloway gets excited over Rudy but she also was a special place for me but Rudy was the one who make himself a star. He lived that Hollywood life and made a career and a name for himself. I’m so proud of him. I remember the good ole days and the now days. Forever Rudy
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RONNIE SPECTOR LIVE ON STAGE AT THE EL REY
Beyond the Beehive puts Ronnie Spector where she belongs; on Top
Ronnie Spector Review at the El Rey Theatre
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
Oct 29 2013
I was the third person in line at the El Rey Theatre to see the Bad Girl of Rock & Roll, who else? Ronnie Spector. The fans were coming in slowly, each one talking about Ronnie or some other girl group. One fan even mentioned the new movie 20 Feet from Stardom. I said, “Hey, I know Mable John.”
There was valet parking in front of the El Rey theatre; with each car door that opened I was hoping to see Darlene Love or Cher jump out. Wouldn’t it be the bomb if Diana Ross came out to see Ronnie?
This night was a new show for the former lead singer of the Ronettes, who scored hit after hit on Phillies Records with producer then husband now ex Phil Spector. The show was titled BEYOND THE BEE HIVE like the new music musicals that are happening on Broadway, Motown: The Musical, Jersey Boys, Dreamgirls, but this time this was the “real thing,” the original voice behind all those golden hits and she was starring in it and lived to tell her story, Victory.
As I said, the fans were coming slowly but surely, creeping in. At first it looked like a small crowd but as I turned my head back to see what was behind me, the show was getting filled up and the fans did not disappoint the Legend. I was happy to see the fans were rolling in. We had ourselves a great upbeat and heartfelt time.
The band started up, then emerge, a sexy slim and trim sex Goddess with her trademark ratted up, teased beautiful brown hair wearing black bell bottom slakes, and sexy black top that she kept pulling on as she sang some of her sex kitten gems such as BABY I LOVE YOU, THE BEST PART OF BREAKIN’ UP, DO I LOVE YOU, and a great soul version of WHAT I’D SAY.
This was not the girl of 10 years ago who needed a crash diet and looking kinda chubby. This time out Ronnie was sexier, foxier, and looking fine from top to bottom. She was even bustier (Those babies were jumping out) with her new sexy slim look that you knew This was the Ronnie Spector heaven made from above.
She was super fine doing a cha cha and a shimmy that drove the guys crazy and the girls. When she did a forward cha cha, that’s where she looked the greatest where all the power was, she was awesome, a Spanish Harlem tango.
Ronnie had everyone cracking up and even feeling sentimental and sad and real tears fell from her eyes then she shot back with, “I tried to get my sister Estelle to get the Ronettes back together but she wouldn’t and Nedra became a new born Christian. I guess she thought Jesus would get mad if she shook her ass on stage,” everyone was laughing because it was really funny how she said it as I know Jesus is not mad at you.
Ronnie told her story while sitting in a chair, the screen provide photos and rare film clips, and some very rare photographs of the Ronnie and the Ronettes that have never been seen before in any book. Come on Ronnie, how about a picture book on you and the Ronettes?
The Behind the Bee Hive Musical was great from start to finish. Ronnie Spector sang all her hits as leader of the Ronnettes, her solo stuff SAY GOODBYE TO HOLLYWOOD, along with treating her loyal devoted fans that have stayed with her to SHE TALKS TO RAINBOWS, DON’T WORRY BABY, I WISH I NEVER SAW THE SUNSHINE, and YOU CAN’T PUT YOUR ARMS AROUND A MEMORY. Ronnie got down on these songs and the band was really on it and tight as well as the background singers.
Who would have thought she’d be singing these songs but she loves and knows her fans. One fan inside the venue was saying to a friend he had seen Ronnie at the Club Lingerie like in 1984, I tapped him on the arm and said, I was there too. He then said he saw Irma Thomas there, and then I told him I saw Mary Wells there and we were comparing notes.
Then a surprise of the night was when I saw this man who I’ve seen so many times before but it’s been years. I thought he was a girl group fan, or I’d saw him at a Supremes reunion and low and behold, he came right up to where I was at talking to the same man and said, “Hi Spookey,” and I didn’t recognize him, it was Gene Aguilera. I told him, “What’s was name again,” he said, Gene. I was so out of it, Gene is a main player in all the Chicano rock and soul shows, he is a huge record collector but most of all he is a great guy, and works with my favorite singer Lil’ Willie G., lead singer of Thee Midniters. Seeing him again brought back memories when Chicano Magazine was in news print and we all hung out at the La Puente Hop.
The Bad Girl opened her show with WALKING IN THE RAIN, and she closed it with BE MY BABY. After the Beyond the Beehive musical, she came out to do a mini concert and the fans just ate it up. Ronnie tore up the place and the fans rushed the stage everyone was standing on there feet and there was Ronnie Spector, Queen among all her fans.
As left I for home (no I didn’t click my heels three times I should have there was so much traffic getting there from Orange County) I knew that I wasn’t going to be able to say hello to one of my favorite ladies but I remember and cherish times when I was in Ronnie’s presents and she took pictures with me and signed my book BE MY BABY.
Jonathan Greenfield, Ronnie’s manager and husband, I saw him while I was number #3 standing in line and as he walked by me, I said, “Jonathan,” and he kept on stepping but through the grace of God, he turned around and walked back (He was going to pass me up) and said, “Spookey, I’m happy to see you here.” I asked him about a photo pass and like many shows they don’t want cameras there and I didn’t call ahead of time for a press pass so my ass was out. Jonathan told me he couldn’t promise anything he also said, in a very nice New York way, going back stage with Ronnie was not happening.
Beyond the Bee Hive is a smash musical and I am so very happy that I was able in my lifetime to witness the show. I hope great things for Behind the Bee Hive because no one else deserves it than Ronnie Spector, and Jonthan Greenfield who helped create the musical. Jonathan mentioned to me that he had a serious spinal operation and was in great deal of pain. I told him I hope you have a speedy recovery and ever since that night I’ve been keeping Jonathan in my prayers. Goodbye to Hollywood. Spookey
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MOTOWN STARS MOURN JAZZ GREAT GLORIA LYNNE
Scherrie Payne, Claudette Robinson & Freda Payne
Gloria Lynne and Billie Holiday were my two idols when growing up in Detroit. While still in high school, one of the first albums I bought, was Gloria's "I'm Glad there Is You". I absolutely loved her! I would go down in our recreation room, turn on the 3-pole colored light stand, put on one of Gloria Lynne's albums, and then, sing every song along with her as if I were on a stage, performing.
I am truly saddened to hear of her passing. I'm sure millions of jazz fans loved, appreciated and were influenced by her mellifluous voice. I was one of the many! She was a blessing in my life and singing career. Thank you, Gloria Lynne for your unforgettable gift!
Blessings, SCHERRIE PAYNE
Wow!!!! We are losing our fellow soul mates of "song" much too often.. I loved Gloria Lynne and she will live on through her amazing music. May she rest in peace. Lovingly with God's daily "Miracles",
CLAUDETTE ROBINSON ("First Lady of Motown")
Sad to hear of the passing of Gloria Lynne. She was one of my favorite singers, along with Ella Fitzgerald and Sarah Vaughan
MAXINE POWELL REMEMBRED AND LOVED
You will surely be missed you were one of a kind. You are surely amoung the Kings and Queens. Thank you for beinging in your rose garden.
Love You Rosalind Holmes of The Vandellas
Being in the entertainment business, I have always admired Ms. Powell and the contribution she made to Motown, its artists and the industry. When I say they don't make'm like that anymore, Ms. Powell is a prime example of that. What a LADY!
So sorry to hear of the passing of Maxine Powell. Although I was never coached by her, she gave the Motown young ladies invaluable lessons in class and etiquette which they carry through out there lives. She also ran her own modeling school and was one of the most elegant ladies in Detroit. She lived a very long life and will be remembered .
EARLY MOTOWN PIONEER DIES AT 98
Supremes star Mary Wilson Attends Maxine Powells Funeral
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
OCTOBER 19 2013
Sadness and love went out to Maxine Powell, died in Detroit at age 98, was one time the teacher who taught many of the Motown artists how to behave in manners and class that one day they would be performing before Kings and Queens, and they did !!
Miss Powell,you were always a true Lady of Grace and Beauty and Loved by many.
Betty Kelley Martha and The Vandellas
“I remember Miss Powell when I first met her at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland,” says Spookey. “It was at Mary Wilson’s postal stamp event she did for the Girl Group Stamps. I couldn’t believe she was there, the real Maxine Powell who had Diana Ross and Martha Reeves as her students and she was there hanging out with the daughters of Original Supreme Florence Ballard.”
Saying goodbye to the legendary Motown figure included Motown stars Carolyn Street, lead singer of The Velvelettes who along with Motown artist Carolyn Crawford “My Smile Is Just a Frown Turned Upside Down,” were two of the artists that sang at the services held for Miss Powell. Then, there was the Diva herself, Mary Wilson, one of the “Original” members of The Supremes, who also sang at the reception held afterwards for Miss Powell.
Neither Berry Gordy nor Diana Ross got to attend though Diana’s sister Rita Ross was there representing her famous sister and read a letter from Diana. At press time, we could not contact Martha Reeves to see if she attended or not, Miss Reeves was pretty close to Miss Powell.
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Motown Super Legends Blinky, Martha Reeves with Spookey
Blinky Williams finds her way back to Motown
FREE BLINKY FROM THE VAULTS
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
September 29 2013
Without a doubt, Motown Chairmen of the Board Berry Gordy was delighted to see this talented gifted singer Blinky Williams at the 2013 Heroes and Legends HAL Awards gala held in Beverly Hills.
After decades of “hiding out,” where in the heck was Blinky? First the first time Blinky performed on stage and that was just recently at the House of Blues in Hollywood through the Motown powers of Janie Bradford, the Godmother of Motown, Miss Blinky was finally rescued, and that’s what Motown fans all over the world are talking about when mentioning her Motown recordings, is too “Free Blinky From The Vaults.”
“The last time I saw Blinky was at Frankie Karls ("Don't Be Affraid Do As I Say, Baby") funeral. All the golden girls of soul attened that one. I saw Merry Clayton, Edna Wright of the Honey Cone, Miss Brenda Holloway, along with Blinky, and Darlene Love wow,” says Spookey at Chicano Magazine.
But today, here she was at the House of Blues with her dear friend from the Motown golden era Brenda Holloway with a host of friends cheering them on including Claudette Robinson of The Miracles, Janie Bradford, and Sherlie Mathews. A great show of pure soul.
Now, Blinky is back. She tells Chicano Magazine, “I’m happy to be back and thanks for all the encouragement. It means a lot to me,” said the Motown star of the classic “I Wouldn’t Change The Man He Is.”
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CHICANO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE ... WITH MOTOWN'S 1ST FEMALE STAR MABLE JOHN
Evening belonged to Fanita James of the Blossoms
20 FEET FROM STARDOM
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
Oct 5 2013
Legendary soul star Mable John hosted a screening of the new hit 20 Feet From Stardom held at Stage 52 in Los Angeles that was attended by many of the stars from the music film including Susaye Greene of The Raylettes, who later became a strong force when she joined the Supremes in 1976, and became known as The Last Supreme.
As music played by Maestro Delbert Taylor on piano, guest arrived to the showing benefiting the Joy Scholarship Fund spear headed by Doctor Mable John as The Last Supreme was ask to sing a song , Susaye Greene did a wonderful rendition of "My Funny Valentine."
Ms. Greene started her career in the late 60’s, as a soloist, then joining Mable John as one of the Raylettes, the back-up girls group for Ray Charles then later becoming a member of the Stevie Wonder group Wonderlove.
In 1976, Motown Records announced that Cindy Birdsong would be leaving the group a new member was going to be introduced, Motown brought in Susaye, who was becoming a music power house as a songwriter lured her into the group with notions that she would be writing and producing as she did write “Free” on Denise Williams, “I Can’t Help It,” for Michael Jackson. The Holland Brothers were called to produce the next Supremes album and Susaye was left cold as the Supremes could have benefited from her talented songwriting but they were totally supreme when the Mary Scherrie & Susaye album was released. Look for Susaye’s duette album Partners that she did with Scherrie Payne after The Supremes officially broke up now on CD.
Tonight, Susaye Greene, the Last Supreme was looking delicious and supreme (and she knew it !!) along with other guest stars from 20 Feet From Stardom including the Diva herself, Miss Fanita James of the Blossoms, who Rudy Calvo said, “If it wasn’t for this lady. Who started it all for me.” Miss James, looking devine as any Diva could be was a sweet as ever that even made soul star Charles Wright ask her, “Are you always so sweet,” as she hugged the Blossoms star. By the way Fanita tells CM that fans can write the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame to induct the Blossoms !!
Miss James started her career in the late 50’s, with an Los Angeles based group called the Dreamers, and even recorded back up for Jennell Hawkins who was riding high in 1961, with a solid soul hit called “Moments To Remember,” I love that song.
Fanita James and the Dreamers later became the Blossoms and their main star was Darlene Love, when they signed with Phillies Records boss Phil Spector, they hit it all the way to the stop and she became Legend. Yes, she was looking the legend as she lives being a legend of the Wall of Sound. Dressed so elegant this evening Fanita wooed them.
Let’s mention a few other ladies from the film, the lovely Claudia Lennar, some of you saw her in the 60’s, she danced her hot pants off as one of the Ikettes for the Ike and Tina Turner Revue. Talk about being a high energy dancer she would make Beyonce look bad. Tonight, Miss Lennar was looking proud of her work in 20 Feet From Stardom and she was very social able anf friendly. This night she got to meet handsome Charles Wright because he came out in support of all these Divas mainly Fanita James.
Last but not least was this sexy little blonde who put it all together, she might be older than the rest of the ladies but let me tell you she’s wiser; spunky n funky.
Miss John was written three books in the last few years and all three with famed writer David Ritz, and has recorded a new entitled CD Sanctified Blues. Miss John had a part in the movie Honeydripper with Danny Glover playing Bertha Mae. Music was playing as guest were being seated to their seats you could hear the unmistable voice of Mable John, the Stax Recording soul star legend known to her devoted fans as Able Mable, as such classics soul hits were being rolled “Sweet Devil,” “Running Out, “Catch That Man,” “Stay Out Of The Kitchen,” the hit “Able Mable.”
Miss John is known in the soul world for the classic “Your Good Thing Is about Too End.” The Stay out of the Kitchen collection was produced by Issac Hayes and David Porter. Booker T. Jones played on the sessions while Miss John co wrote “Love Tornado,” with Deanie Parker. My favorites are “Sweet Devil,” and “Catch That Man.”
Things were getting pretty exciting; as the movie was shown you could see Tata Vega and Merry Clayton. Everyone cheered when they saw Fanita James on the screen. Coming in at the last moment was Merry Clayton. As the rest of the ladies took the floor to answer questions from the devoted audience Miss Clayton, I think they call her Bad Mama or Mama Something, but Mama decided to stay seated in her away from the floor and didn’t get up as Merry Clayton flew in and flew out; yes that fast.
The ladies on stage listened as the Diva told stories and that Diva was Mable John, who spoke about the time she opened for legendary great Billie Holiday, and later telling Berry Gordy to start his own label. All too good and what a beautiful night for not just all the ladies but for all the fans and friends that attended. They were all 100% devoted including Ron Barrett Jr., his dad Ron Barrett was a member of the 50’s group Don Julian and the Meadowlarks “Heaven and Paradise.” Yes, Ron Senior is the brother of Fanita James, her real name is Fanita Barrett when she started out in her teens; then she got married and became Fanita James, to a wonderful husband who supported her career. By the 80’s, Miss James joined Doris Jackson, original member of the Shirelles and along with former Dreamers member Gloria Jones backed-up Doris Jackson as the Shirelles.
So now you got the scoop as only Spookey can tell it. Rebecca Niles, long time Motown employee who works as a personal assistant to Motown Chairmen of the Board Mr. Gordy was there too to join the fun. I had a wonder time time and enjoyed my self with these musical Icons that you see in concerts, hear in music and TV. These are the Heroes that inspire. The evening was sensational and if Tata Vega would have been there wow it would have been Full Speed Ahead.
Spookey: You can Email this writer at email@example.com
MOTOWN ROYALTY at 2013 Hal Awards
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com September 23 2013
Excitement was in the air from the beginning, Original Supremes member Mary Wilson was at the 2013 Heroes and Legends aka HAL Awards in behalf of her former singing partner and friend Cindy Birdsong. Will Diana Ross will be? Is Jean Terrell coming? Were on the lips (Read my lips) on mostly everyone, at event held at the Beverly Hills Hotel. Let’s wait and see.
The stars and legends started to hit the red carpet, one of the first arrivals was pop and soul singer Billy Vera, who I talked with a few moments as he told me how he loved how Barbara Lewis sang the song he had written “Make Me Belong To You.” Billy told me he was good friends with Miss Lewis back in the day when she made it big and moved to New York. “That’s how I broke into the business with Barbara Lewis singing the song I wrote.”
Divas drum roll please … Martha Reeves, Claudette Robinson, Freda Payne, Thelma Houston, Scherrie Payne of The Supremes, Siedah Garrett, Beverly Todd, then boom strike up the band … Here comes the Supreme Diva Mary Wilson, wearing a long fish tail gown.
If Mary’s here, then Cindy Birdsong is somewhere around; as we waited for the Supreme Diva of the Evening Miss Birdsong; all in-between that, Scherrie Payne and Mary Wilson did stand together and posed for photographs. Miss Payne looking so elegant with a rap around her head looking like her big sister Diana Ross, supremely. Yes I know she’s Freda’s sis, ok. Mary and Scherrie along with Berry Gordy, Janie Bradford and the fans of The Supremes got the ball rolling for Cindy in a big way. Thanks BG.
No Cindy in sight. Maybe Jean Terrell, or Lynda Laurence are already in the Ballroom? Is Susaye Greene here? As a matter of fact I have never seen Linda Laurence attending any of the Hal Awards, what’s up with that? Another story for another time.
Inside the Beverly Hills hotel was Motown star Blinky, and don’t think for one second that she was all forgotten, all the Motown family loves Blinky as Martha Reeves, Berry Gordy, Brenda Holloway all greeted her with a big Welcome Back Home Blinky .
Let’s focus on Claudette Robinson, isn’t she just getting sexier by the minute. This time she was wearing some heavy lashes than ever before and looking just as beautiful as Beyonce, who looks like her mother but really Claudette is way better looking than both of them.
By then, we forgot all about Diana Ross because we had Martha Reeves. The Boss did not show up but hopefully one day Diana Ross will be at the HAL Awards and that would make Janie Bradford and wonderful staff, and me so happy; the Heroes and Legends events never disappoint as Janie told me “Yes, I would love to have Carole King here and honor her with a Heroes and Legends award,” as I added, “And have Shirley Alston Reeves sing to her ‘Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.”
Aretha Franklin, Valerie Simpson, Gladys Knight, Carole King and Diana Ross should help young artists to receive HAL Award Scholarships … come help and join Janie Bradford and Claudette Robinson. Berry Gordy does his best as well as Universal Group Music. Let’s get the Divas to give back!!
Contact Janie Bradford at 310.274.1609
Chaka Khan was the hero of the night as she received the 2013 HAL Icon Award presented to her by Ray Parker, Jr. You can tell Chaka was kinda shy as she did tell the crowd that it was Motown music that got her inspired to sing with people like Martha (Reeves), and how she loved the song “Nathan Jones,” asked who sang it; she knew as Mary Wilson was sitting in the front row it was The Supremes. Just a shout out!!
As the evening end all the stars gathered around each other in every corner of the Ballroom at Beverly Hills Hotel. Berry Gordy in the center, Martha Reeves holding court at the right side of the room as we spoke to the legendary Motown superstar, when is Martha going to get a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Barry White got one and Martha Reeves had more hits in my opinion. Hopefully that will happen soon just like Miss Reeves told me, “I’d love to see that happen while I’m alive.”
The long list of special guest included Berry Gordy, Eddie Holland and his beautiful wife, Iris Gordy-Bristol, Brenda Holloway and her handsome escort Sam, Hazel Gordy, Mickey Stevenson, Dennis Edwards of The Temptations, Betty Kelley of The Vandellas, Beverly Todd, Joyce Vincent of Dawn, Tamla Robinson (Smokey’s daughter), Lisa Dawn Miller (Daughter of Motown writer/producer Ron Miller), Rudy Calvo, Faye Hale, Mrs. Ronnie White (Of the Miracles), Mona Holland, Cornelius Grant, Sherlie Mathews, Marla Gibbs, Ron Brewington, Miller London, Sylvia Smith …
but missing from this wonderful bunch was my dear friend at the HAL Awards whom we laughed a lot, as I told me jokes Cynthia Meadoux, who will be truly missed and I know and cause I seen Janie cry.
Cynthia was so sweet to me and she was a big part of the success at the HAL Awards Heroes and Legends for 24 years. Can you imagine her putting up with Janie and Spookey? Her daughters are will real troopers Errolyn and Lajeune (“Jeunebug”), as they stood strong like a tree and continued in grand fashion as they too are a big part of the success at every years HAL Awards. Spookey
Women of Motown ‘Rock the House of Blues’
Blinky joins Brenda Holloway for Legends of Soul in Hollywood
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com Sept 22 2013
Powerful voices that have lasted the test of time came thru as the Women of Motown performed at the House of Blues in West Hollywood for the 2013 Legends of Soul concert present by the Heroes and Legends, Hal Awards producer Janie Bradford.
In the early 60’s, Brenda Holloway and Blinky Williams were already stars in their Los Angeles – Hollywood area before they both signed recording contacts with Detroit’s Motown Record Corporation. Holloway was first to join Motown, as just in the nick of time as Motown’s biggest star Mary Wells was leaving the company. With Smokey Robinson as her producer and writer, Holloway jumped the record charts and became a star meanwhile her L.A., music friends were in awe.
Blinky Williams simply known as Blinky joined Motown in the late 60’s, as she released the Ashford and Simpson produced gem “I Wouldn’t Change The Man He Is.” Blinky was working with Ashford and Simpson right when they were having giant million sellers on Marvin Gaye and Tammi Terrell. Blinky recorded a duet album with label mate Edwin Starr and she was also featured on the last of The Motor Town Revues. Wow
And, here they were tonight, both of them on stage at the House of Blues, as close friends and fans got a chance to witness a show of a lifetime. Blinky belting out Since I Fell For You and her version of God Bless The Child, she brought the house down throughout her set as Holloway stepped in and gave us all that Motown has to offer, hits. Miss Holloway was dressed in a gold gown and it was Diana Ross and The Supremes style. She opened with What You Won’t Do For Love before she spilled over hit after hit along with a tribute to Motown’s first hitmaker Miss Mary Wells.
Holloway gave the fans a super surprise treat when she did a full version of The Marvelettes Don't Mess With Bill, and the background signers were perfect !!
Sitting in the audience was the beautiful and ever sexy Claudette Robinson of The Miracles, the 1st Lady of Motown. Janie Bradford was there sitting ring side; she's the Godmother of Motown as she stood up went to the stage, grabbed the mic, and told the crowd, “Shut the hell up and give Blinky the respect when she’s singing.” I think Janie was watching Lady Sing’s The Blues the night before or her mini dress was too tight.
By the way, Blinky looked fabulous just as you would imagine a Diva being. Brenda was Supreme, and all the ladies Janie, Betty Kelly of Martha and the Vandellas, Shirley Mathews, Claudette all were looking foxy.
CHICANO MAGAZINE EXCLUSIVE ... All photos By Spookey
70’s music icon Barry White gets His star on Hollywood Blvd.
BRENDA HOLLOWAY AT BARRY WHITE’S STAR CERMONY
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
September 12, 2013
Barry White took over the music scene in the mid-70’s, when he scored a handful of pop and soul hits, one of my favorites was “You See The Trouble With Me.” Starting his career in Los Angeles with Bob Keene, Barry recorded and produced many records that hardly made noise but true classic soul fans will know that “It May Be Winter Outside But In My Heart It’s Spring,” by Felice Taylor, and Viola Willis’ “The Love Of My Guy,” are classic 60’s soul.
In 1972, Barry introduced a girls group LOVE UNLIMTED with a hit sizzling soul platter “Walking In The Rain With The One I Love,” boy Barry sure loved long song titles. He also gave them the smash classic “I Belong To You,” including such gems as “I Should Have Known,” along with the sultry remake of the Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell hit, “If This World Were Mine,” by better than Luther Vandross and Cherlyn Lynn’s later version.
From the beginning Barry White was influenced by the Motown sound, and that is one of the reasons Mr. Berry Gordy, is a special speaker at Whites Hollywood star event, right on Barry’s birthday. “Barry loved Berry Gordy,” said Glodean White, his wife and leadsinger of Love Unlimited, as she spoke at the event with her sister Linda beside her who was also a member of the group.
The sexy songstress Brenda Holloway arrived looking every inch the star that she is; she was friends with Barry way before they both became super legends. They knew each other from the early 60’s Los Angeles music scene.
Miss Holloway was join by the Chairmen of the Board Berry Gordy, who gave Holloway the biggest hug that lasted a lifetime. It was a beautiful moment to see Brenda Holloway in the arms of Berry Gordy. What a precious moment that was as you could see the love in Berry Gordy for the starlet.
Motown legend Claudette Robinson of The Miracles (1st Lady of Motown), The Whispers, Motown Vice President Iris Gordy, the Hal Davis family, Ron Brewington, Karla Bristol, daughter of Motown/MGM soul great Johnny Bristol were all in attendance for the Barry White Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. As for family of Barry White, his son was there who looks just like his father.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY BARRY. Spookey Reporting from Hollywood.
Here are some of the big hits that Barry White gaves us
I’M GONNA LOVE YOU JUST A LITTLE BIT MORE BABY
YOU SEE THE TROUBLE WITH ME
HONEY PLEASE CAN’T YOU SEE
IT’S ECSTASY WHEN YOU LAY DOWN NEXT TO ME
LET THE MUSIC PLAY
I’VE GOT SO MUCH TO GIVE
NEVER NEVER GIVE YOU UP
WHAT AM I GONNA DO WITHOUT YOU
CAN’T GET ENOUGH OF YOUR LOVE BABY
YOU’RE THE FIRST, YOU’RE THE LAST, MY EVERYTHING
HAL AWARDS TO HONOR CHAKA KHAN
Supremes star Mary Wilson Presenter at 2013 Hal Awards
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
Who knows if Diana Ross is going to be there but Mary Wilson surely is as she presents former Supremes member Cindy Birdsong with a 2013 Hal Award. It would be great of both Miss Ross and Miss Wilson would reunite with Miss Birdsong on this night. I will be there to be the first to let you know if that Supremes reunion happens.
This is what's going down at the 2013 Hal Awards. On Saturday, you can join Brenda Holloway along with Blinky Williams. Yes sir, Blinky will be making a rare special performance for the Hal Awards Soul concert, Sept 21st at the House of Blues, West Hollywood. 7pm—10 pm.
Sunday, September 22, is Hollywood’s biggest night because the “real,” stars come out, many of them Motown superstar legends. With Mary Wilson of the Supremes, Claudette Robinson of The Miracles, Janie Bradford, the Godmother of Motown already lined up, along with Ray Parker, Jr., as presenters. The honorees are Cindy Birdsong of Diana Ross and The Supremes, The Flamingos, and Chaka Khan.
This will be a the biggest event of 2013 for Motown, soul and pop music. Insiders have told me (I’m an insiders too) Berry Gordy, Smokey Robinson, Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross are all invited along with The Holland Brothers, Eddie and Brian. Those sexy sisters Freda and Scherrie Payne always make this event a happening. Check out Shows & Events for more info.
Memphis Queen Jean Knight hits the Cerritos Performing Arts
THE BAR KAYS KEPT IT REAL
By Manuel Esparza www.chicano-magazine.com
Can you imagine, Jean Knight in Orange County (August 24, 2013) performing her 70s classic “Mr. Big Stuff,”, the sassy sexy Queen was at the Cerritos Performing Arts laying it down with Stax Records legends Eddie Floyd, William Bell, Booker T., and The Bar Kays.
This is how the show started, Miss Knight took the spotlight taking us back and believe it not, every guy in the house was that “Mr. Big Stuff,” at one time or another or still is. Knight, looking glamours and sexy was no play thing, she told the Cerritos crowd, “Do you wanna have fun? Say hell yeah,” as she finished her million seller Jean Knight went into “Supernatural Thang,” a hit for Ben E. King in the mid 70’s, but also in Knight’s cd release Queen. The singer sounded great as her voice has not changed and “Mr. Big Stuff,” sounded as she were singing it on Soul Train the day it came out. Later came her final number which was “Toot Toot,” a major hit for her in the early 80s. Setting fire on the stage for the next Stax star Knight’s performance was over and done and she exited the stage and went straight to her hotel as she left fans waiting on her at the autograph tables. I was at Jean’s hotel trying to get her to the lobby but as she told me, “Spookey, I’m sleeping,” I guess she was with Mr. Big Stuff. As the excitement died down; the stars of the show were rolling in one by one into the hotel as Eddie Floyd, William Bell and later Booker T., stopped for exclusive photos by Chicano Magazine’s Manuel Esparza aka Spookey for the lovers of soul music.
“The Stax Legends were very nice and greeted me really kool. It was a little strange meeting the Stax stars since this was a very rare moment in time that they were in Orange County, my part of the woods. William told me that Jean would be coming down but she didn’t. Yes I was hurt and disappointed but that’s the way it goes. William also said, The Memphis Fest also featured Mable John at one time. Booker’s wife told me they had a six in the morning wake up and we all called it a night.” I put on my Ashford & Simpson cd and I was off.
Let’s get back to the show. Next on was the smooth and ruff William Bell, looking ten times better than David Ruffin. As Bell got into his 70’s hit “Trying To Love Two,” he was reminding me of David Ruffin, the Temptations star so much that guess what? William Bell broke into Ruffin’s “Walk Away From a Love,” but spoiled it by adding the tired soul standard “Stand By Me,” by the great Ben E. King. Only if Bell would have sung “Walk Away,” to the finish what a site to see and sound to hear.
The rest of the show was coming by us pretty fast, as Booker T. was on stage backed by the Bar Kays band, performed such classics as “Green Onions,” although the following songs sounded just as great, Bookers set was truly amazing and the fans did show respect for this Memphis soul Stax star . Booker T has a new cd out entitled Sound The Alarm. Now I kbnow where Prince got his attitude. Thou it was the Bar Kays who stole the whole show with dynamite covers from such soul legends as the great Wilson Pickett, Isaac Hayes, Sam & Dave, and Otis Redding.
As the show came to an end it was clear that the Cerritos Performing Arts crowd was not ready or didn’t know enough about the stars of Stax Records but the devoted fans here this night showed nothing but love towards these great legendary artists that like the Motown stars inspired us all. I hope this show comes around next year but come one Cerritos Performing Arts get off your lazy ass and promote it right, this same package was a huge hit the night before in Santa Barbara why not here in Orange County? Public tickets for this show went on sale twenty days before the show; what a let down for Eddie Floyd, a true legend, William Bell, Booker T., The Bay Kays. And Jean Knight but they did not let the fans down, they proved that Stax’s lives on !!
Photos by Spookey © 2013
SEXY SUPREME SCHERRIE PAYNE IN THE SPOTLIGHT
September 14, 15, 16th - Donald B Welch Presents...... "It Always Rains On Sunday." The new stage play by SCHERRIE PAYNE. Opens at The Stage 52 Playhouse in Los Angeles, CA. Performances are scheduled for September 14th and 15th at 8:00 pm, and Sept. 16th at 6:00 pm. All seats are $25.00. Tickets go on sale Monday, July 9th at 10:00 am and can only be obtained by purchasing them from Inglewood Tickets at 310-671-6400. Group discounts are only for groups of 20 or more at a $5.00 dollar discount. Call 818-487-5715 for group sales. This number is not for single seats or general questions.
NEW RELEASE FROM THE PAYNE KILLER ... SCHERRIE PAYNE
Are you ready to "Let Yourself Go?" Order Scherrie Payne's new single produced by Rick Gianatos it's available on iTunes and amazon.com.
Claudette Robinson has a new website that is fabulous. Go check it out!
WINE WOMEN AND SONG
Miracles star was Sweet Harmony on Hollywood Boulevard
By Manuel Esparza/Chicano Magazine
The Motown stars were in full action as Mary Wilson of The Supremes joined Eddie Holland, Betty Kelly of Martha and The Vandellas, Stevie Wonder, Scherrie Payne of The Supremes, Brian Holland, Janie Bradford and Berry Gordy for the ceremony of The Miracles onto the Hollywood Walk of Fame on Hollywood Boulevard and La Brea, near the sidewalk stars of The Supremes and The Temptations. Marvin Gaye, Diana Ross and Smokey also have their own stars but today it was time for the 1st Lady of Motown, Claudette Rogers Robinson along with members of The Miracles, Pete Moore, Bobby Rogers, the late Ronnie White, and lead singer Smokey Robinson along with Billy Griffin, who replaced Smokey, was honored. Hundreds of fans turned out for the event (March 20th), as music by The Miracles was being played before the event took place. Limos were park along side of the street as the Motown stars arrived and left for the celebration party that took place after the star ceremony.
It was Sweet Harmony on the Hollywood Boulevard as Smokey Robinson and The Miracles took center. Berry Gordy started the event talking on he first met and signed the group then it was up to the ever lovely Claudette Robinson who thanked the fans leaving time for Stevie Wonder to say some words about The Miracles, fans were waiting to hear words by Mary Wilson of The Supremes as she got wild screams from die-hard fans.
Early Motown star Mable John loses son in Los Angeles
By Manuel Esparza, Chicano Magazine
Singer Mable John, one of the first artists signed to the Motown label by Berry Gordy, recorded several sides for Motown Tamla Records and later left Gordy to join Stax Records where she recorded the soul “Sweet Devil.”
Mable John is the sister to fantastic ‘R’ and ‘B’ soul legend Little Willie John, who’s “Talk To Me,” and “Fever,” became classics.
Miss John lost her son John Taylor this week; cause of death is unknown at press time. Taylor, 65 was a pastor in Los Angeles; he passed away at the Veterans Memorial Hospital in West Los Angeles, on Friday, February 20, 2009 at 11:55 AM.
The Services will be held at the Bible Enrichment Fellowship International Church (see below info) on Wednesday, March 4, 2009 at 11:00 AM. Information, please call (323) 731-9315.
UNTIL WE MEET AGAIN, I CARRY ON
MANUEL SPOOKEY ESPARZA Tel 1-714-538-4080 USA
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