Between Takes: Motown, Armed and Funky In the Deep South

In Episode 001 of Between Takes, a collection of Black pop artists from Detroit travel through the 1960’s south.

Welcome to Between Takes; where artists and musicians tell stories about what happens behind the scenes.

WDET’s Sam Beaubien has been dedicated to making music in Detroit for 20 years, and this series connects you with the stories he has heard on gigs and at recording sessions.

Get a look into Stevie Wonders audition for Motown Records, sessions with funk master George Clinton, renowned hip-hop producer J Dilla’s first days with a drum machine, and many more stories about what shaped the legacy of this musical city. 

Episode 001

“All the windows came up, and the Four Tops, Temptations, all of them had guns. I didn’t have a gun. But all the guys had guns.”

Conor Anderson
Conor Anderson

McKinley Jackson started off as a session musician at Motown when he was in high school, and eventually toured with the Motown Revue along with Four Tops, Temptations, The Velvelettes, The Marvalettes, Stevie Wonder, and more.

He takes us back to the early 1960’s, on a Motown Tour Bus traveling through the deep south, and what African American artists from Detroit experienced.

While African American’s contributions to popular music was loved across the country, segregation and racism made it difficult and painful for many of these artists to live and work. One of the most popular tour routes for African-Americans was called the Chitlin’ Circuit, which was a collection of performance venues throughout the eastern, southern, and upper Midwest areas of the U.S. that provided commercial and cultural acceptance for Black musicians, comedians, and other entertainers. 

Jackson tells the story of one trip down South with the Motown Revue that nearly ended with violence. 

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  • Sam Beaubien
    Sam Beaubien is a musician, composer, producer, and educator in Detroit. He is also the founder and leader of the acclaimed ensemble, Will Sessions.