Soul Serenade: The 8th Day, “She’s Not Just Another Woman”

The 8th DayAfter nine years and well over 400 columns, I’ve decided to change Soul Serenade from a weekly to an occasional column. Obviously, there are more than enough classic soul records to fuel a column like this for a lifetime but the truth is that while the column’s title mentions a specific song what I’ve really been doing is telling the stories of the artists behind the songs. And while many artists had multiple hits, how many times can you tell the same story? Are there artists who I’ve never covered? Of course. The 8th Day is one such group and I’ll certainly find more. But the fact is they’re harder to come by on a weekly basis. I hope you’ll continue to join me on this journey albeit on a bit more infrequent basis.

In 1967, the songwriting and production team of Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Eddie Holland left Motown in an acrimonious dispute with Motown owner Berry Gordy, Jr. The trio formed their own family of record labels that included the Hotwax, Music Merchant, and Invictus imprints. The roster of these labels was mostly made up of groups that were assembled for the occasion. They were either supergroups or lineups that were pieced together for a specific record. Often the members of the groups didn’t even know each other or hadn’t worked together before being called on to record for one of the labels.

The story of the 8th Day begins with another group that was recording for Holland-Dozier-Holland, 100 Proof (Aged in Soul). 100 Proof itself had been assembled by Holland-Dozier-Holland and the lineup included Steve Mancha, Eddie Holiday, and Joe Stubbs (brother of Levi Stubbs). The group had scored an R&B hit with “Too Many Cooks Spoil the Soup” but then scored really big with a crossover smash called “Somebody’s Been Sleeping In My Bed” which reached #8 on the pop chart and sold a million copies of the Hotwax release. The label decided it would be a good idea to release a 100 Proof album to capitalize on the success of the single.

The 8th Day

“She’s Not Just Another Woman” was a cut on the album and anyone with ears could tell that it was a hit. The song was written by Holland-Dozier-Holland but because of their ongoing dispute with Gordy, it was credited to C. Wilson and Ronald Dunbar. DJs started playing the track off the album. The problem was that “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” was still rolling up the charts and the label didn’t want anything, such as a new single by the same group, to get in the way. That’s where the 8th Day came in. It was simply a matter of changing the group’s name on the label of the single and releasing it on Invictus instead of Hotwax. That is 100 Proof’s Steve Mancha singing lead on “She Not Just Another Woman.” Sure enough, it was a hit, reaching #11 on the pop chart in 1971.

There was one little problem: there was no 8th Day. When the second 8th Day single, “You Got to Crawl (Before You Walk)” began to find some chart success, that problem had to be resolved, and quickly. Holland-Dozier-Holland did what they had done so well before and simply assembled a group for the occasion. The lineup included Melvin Davis, Tony Newsome, Lyman Woodard, Larry Hutchison, Ron Bykowski, Michael Anthony, Bruce Nazarian, Jerry Paul, Lynn Harter, Carol Stallings, and Anita Sherman. Now that there was an actual band, 8th Day recorded two more singles for Invictus but while “Eeny-Meeny-Miny-Mo (Three’s a Crowd)” and “If I Could See the Light” both reached the R&B Top 30, it wasn’t enough to keep the band together.

Holland-Dozier-Holland are often credited for their brilliant songwriting and production but it seems that they were also pretty adept at assembling talent and providing songs for their put-together groups to take up the charts.

Soul Serenade: 100 PROOF Aged in Soul, “Somebody’s Been Sleeping”

100 PROOF Aged in SoulHolland-Dozier-Holland was a massively successful songwriting and production team at Motown Records. Their hits for the company are too numerous to mention but include such classics as “Heatwave” by Martha & the Vandellas, “Can I Get a Witness” by Marvin Gaye, the Miracles’ “Mickey’s Monkey,” the Four Tops “Baby I Need Your Loving,” and the Supremes “Stop! In the Name of Love.” But as it’s so often the case in the music (and other) business that the kind of success they had, and the piles of money that it brings in, lead to a dispute with management. And so, Eddie Holland, Lamont Dozier, and Brian Holland went to war with Berry Gordy, Jr. and their relationship with Motown was the first casualty of that war.

The team was hardly done, however. After leaving Motown in early 1968, they formed their own label and called it Hot Wax. The legal fallout from their Motown departure was so restrictive that they couldn’t use their own names on the songs they wrote, instead employing the nom de plume Edythe Wayne for many of them. The Motown artists they worked with didn’t, for the most part, follow them to Hot Wax, so they had to find people to record.

One of the first things that Holland-Dozier-Holland did at Hot Wax was to put together a vocal group that they called 100 PROOF Aged in Soul. The group was led by Joe Stubbs who, in addition to being the brother of Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops, had been a member of Motown groups like the Contours and the Originals, and before that, the Falcons. Sonny Monroe had been the lead singer of the Falcons and he also made the transition to 100 PROOF. Other members included Eddie Holiday and Steve Mancha.

100 PROOF Aged in Soul - Somebody's Been Sleeping

In all, 100 PROOF recorded six singles and two albums for Hot Wax between 1969-1972. It is the second of these singles, “Somebody’s Been Sleeping,” that they are remembered for. The song was written by General Johnson, who sang lead for the Chairmen of the Board, along with Greg Perry and Angelo Bond. Perry produced the record. The song was a tale of infidelity heavily influenced by the fairytale “Goldilocks and the Three Bears.”

Fairytales sometimes do come true and that was the case for 100 PROOF. “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” rose up the charts until it reached the Top 10 on both the pop and R&B charts in 1969. The record sold over one million copies and was awarded a Gold Record. The album that included the single, Somebody’s Been Sleeping in My Bed, made it to #31 on the R&B chart. Several other 100 PROOF singles were Top 40 R&B hits notably the “Somebody’s Been Sleeping” follow-up which made the Top 20.

There was not enough success to sustain the group however and 100 PROOF Aged in Soul broke up in 1973. All of the original members are now deceased.

Soul Serenade: The Originals, “Baby, I’m For Real”

The Originals

I’ve been writing this column for over six years now. There have been well over 300 entries in the series. So every now and then I have to check to see if I’ve featured a certain artist or song previously. A dig through the Popdose archives revealed that I did write about the Originals previously, but it was way back in 2010, it was brief, and it featured another of their hits, “The Bells.” I want to expand on their story today, and feature another one of their great records.

The Originals first got together in Detroit in 1966. The original Originals were Walter Gaines, Freddie Gorman, C.P. Spencer, and Hank Dixon. They were all veterans of the Detroit vocal group scene, and before there was a Holland-Dozier-Holland production and songwriting team, there was a Holland-Dozier-Gorman team. As a member of that team, Gorman was the co-writer of Motown’s first #1 hit, the Marvelette’s “Please Mr. Postman.” Gorman came by the inspiration honestly, as he had actually been a mailman.

The group first made their name in the late ’60s as background singers, appearing on hits like “What Becomes of the Brokenhearted,” by Jimmy Ruffin, “For Once in My Life,” by Stevie Wonder, David Ruffin’s “My Whole World Ended (The Moment You Left Me),” and Edwin Starr’s “War,” and “25 Miles.” The Originals were the male counterparts of the Andantes, Motown’s female house backing group, and neither group was ever properly credited.

The Originals did release records under their own name for Motown, beginning in 1966 with the Leadbelly song “Goodnight Irene,” which featured Joe Stubbs (brother of Levi) on the lead vocal, but didn’t make the charts. Another 1966 release that didn’t chart was “Suspicion,” but in later years the song became a Northern Soul staple. In 1969 neither “We’ve Got A Way Out Of Love” or “Green Grow The Lilacs” managed to find any chart success.

The Originals

One of the Motown artists that the Originals had backed on record was Marvin Gaye. They appeared on his “Chained,” and “Just to Keep You Satisfied.” When Gaye began to work with the group in 1969, they began to find success in their own right. Gaye produced and co-write the Originals two biggest hits, “Baby, I’m For Real,” and “The Bells.” Both records became soul classics.

The Originals had a very good year in 1970 with two album releases, and four Top 20 R&B hits. Things slowed down after that however, and no Originals record made the charts between 1971-1975, despite several album releases for Motown during this time. The disco era brought renewed success for the group though as “Down to Love Town” became a #1 dance hit for the group. They left Motown in 1977 and signed with Columbia Records. They released two albums for the label but didn’t find any success. After one last album for the Phase II label they split up in the early ’80s.

When Ian Levine began seeking out Motown veterans for his Motorcity label, the Originals signed on. They recorded a single for the label called “Take The Only Way Out,” and former member Stubbs, who had been in the group for about six months early on, released some solo recordings for Motorcity. There was also a duet recording with their former Motown labelmates the Supremes, “Back By Popular Demand,” in 1991.

Stubbs, Spencer, Gorman, and Gaines have all passed on. Hank Dixon is the only surviving founding member of the Originals, and he remains active musically.

Soul Serenade: The Falcons, “I Found A Love”

Soul Serenade - The FalconsThe Falcons were a vocal group whose membership at one time or another included such luminaries as Eddie Floyd, Wilson Pickett, Sir Mack Rice, and Joe Stubbs. They formed in Detroit when Floyd and Bob Manardo, who worked together in a jewelry store, decided to put together a group. Manardo brought in his friend Tom Shetler, and Floyd enlisted Arnett Robinson. Eventually bass singer Willie Schofield was added to the lineup.

The year was 1955, and the Falcons were one of the first integrated groups. They played a lot of clubs around Detroit, but would also venture off to the east coast on occasion. In 1956 Mercury Records was holding auditions. Thinking that the auditions were in Chicago, the Falcons headed there only to learn on their arrival that the auditions were being conducted in New York … (more)