Gloreco Records was housed in one of these apartments at 11558 La Salle Blvd

In 1963, Fred came into contact with Aron Hicks who was operating a small record label called Gloreco at 11558 Lasalle Boulevard. Aron was the brother of Jackie Hicks of the Andantes, who had sung backgrounds on the Versatile track.

"Aron's friend owned a tiny studio on Kipling, which was just off West Grand Boulevard and only a stone's throw from Hitsville.

From the outside, the building looked like a small garage, but the owner had it padded for sound and had in place a two track Ampex mobile recorder.

The garage behind Number 7337 Kipling

The decision was taken to record one of Fred’s songs, "With a smile on my face", along with one of Aron’s songs which was called "We were young".

Once the basics were laid down on Kipling, we had to take the equipment down to this piano sales place at Woodward and Kirby, so that we could add the strings.

We went into the back room of that store and finished it off. I'm not sure which band we used on the songs but it might just have been Aron's kids. He was a school teacher you know."

The song was released under Fred’s middle name, LaVon, and displays his talent as a lyricist to grand effect. A beautiful song recorded in such extraordinary circumstances.

The lure of nearby Hitsville was becoming very strong however.

"There was so much going down at Hitsville and my main man Lawrence Payton was there.

"I just stood around waiting on those Producers to come into the lobby and holler "I need a singer". Then I was in. It was a great way to make extra dollars.

Looking back, though, it was virtually impossible to identify the songs that I got to work on and most didn't even have a name! They were just experimenting all the time and so many of the artists were on the road.

One album that I worked on lives in my memory however, and that was Martin Luther King's.

I also met up with Dale Warren when I was hanging at Motown and he cut two sides on me which we recorded at other premises. I think one of the songs was "Lovely woman" which I had written and got published through Gloreco. Dale liked the song a lot so we cut an acetate, but I don't know what happened after that."


Notes thanks to David Meikle.


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