name "C. Bell" appears on most of Mike's compositions,
with BMI files crediting a "Clara Belle Williams." But
the co-writer's actual identity remains a mystery and some
people have said it was simply Mike's way of getting
voice is heard on a 45 that's credited to Marco Hammon -
"Me Boy You Girl" - a D-Town single that harks back to
his HOB days. And a couple of "garage" recordings were
released after Dave Leone did a deal with Mike shortly
before forming his own label: Hideout.
key player at D-Town was singer-songwriter, Cody Black, who
joined the fold in '64, soon after arriving from his home
in Cincinnati. He appeared on the company's first review,
held at George Kelly's popular nightclub, where he
undoubtedly plugged his debut D-Town 45: "These Chains of Love."
reminisced about his wonderful stint at D-Town, telling me, "Mike
was straight guy, a good teacher. I became the A & R man
and signed The Precisions. They came up to the door and
auditioned, and I heard them sing and said - yea, you all
get a contact."
The Precisions then made their recording debut with a
self-penned gem titled "My Lover Come Back" - a
beautiful ballad that borders on a cappella, although it's
the flip, "I Wanna Tell My Baby," that's preferred by
Northern Soul fans. Group-member Arthur Ashford told me they
sang the songs in the bathroom of the Pig Pen, where their
voices resonated off the tiled walls and hard fixtures.
Mike was always looking for a different kind of sound, and
sometimes used the large basement in Pampa Lanes Bowling
Alley. This place had the acoustics of an aircraft hangar
and it's probably where Cody Black cut his "Too Many
Irons In The Fire."
D-Town's biggest hit, "I Want You To Have Everything,"
was cut in Mickay's record store on 14th
Street, an enterprise owned by Fred Brown. Frank Bryant
played guitar on the session and told me about it, "It was
cut in the back of the record shop, where we rehearsed. Dave
Hamilton brought a portable thing in (recorder), and the
Magic Tones were on chairs, singing."
Rogers sang the lead vocal in the bathroom and the song sold
so well it entered Billboard's chart in January 1965,
peaking at number 17.
that time Mike also produced a couple of songs on J.J.
Barnes that were released on the Mickay's label:
"Color Green" and "These Chains of Love." When I
asked J.J. about these he told me, "Mike co-produced those
songs with Mr. Brown, who had a big place at the corner of
14th and Grand River. Mike came over one day and
said, 'You can record in this place.' He wanted to do a
session on me - that's how those songs came about."
by the national success of Lee Rogers' hit, Mike decided
to move to a more prominent location and chose a house at
2656 West Grand Boulevard: literally just a couple of doors
east of Motown's Hitsville studio. Berry Gordy wasn't
Notes thanks to Graham
image must not be
reproduced, used or copied photograph
credits at end of webisode