|"I explained my
predicament to Lawrence " says Fred.
"and straight away he asked me if I'd be interested
in running the Four Tops new studio couple of doors up. I liked the thought
of working with my old friends and jumped at the chance.
Initially the Tops had set up an office, a studio, a rehearsal room and a store next door to
it made sense for them to expand a bit more and take over
this other studio.
So I became the Tops A&R guy, in effect a Mr Fixit,
who managed the studios, auditioned the groups, vetted the
songs and even oversaw the financial transactions of the
Lawrence was the Tops music man and it was great to
link up with him again.
We wrote a
number of songs together during those days. Some of which ended up with ABC Records, like 'Catfish', 'We all gotta
stick together', 'Feel free'. Obie (Renaldo) Benson also
wrote a couple of tunes with me too. There was also an
album called 'Catfish' in 1976.
But we cut other stuff, like Levi singing 'Give me just
a little more time', which remains in the can to this day.
We also cut groups from around town one of which
included singer Belita Woods. Man she was good, real good.
It was a busy place and when the Tops would come back
off the road I would have to find them some studio time to
cut this new material. That became a bit of a problem however,
as George Clinton was block booking United for weeks on
end during the height of his Parliament-Funkadelic thang.
It was tough, but George respected us and we got