Tag Archives: Norman Whitfield

Barrett Strong

On January 29, 2023, Barrett Strong died aged 81. He was singer and songwriter, the performer who had the first hit for Berry Gordy’s label “Tamla Records”, “Money (That’s What I Want)”. Strong was best known for his work as a songwriter, especially in association with the producer Norman Whitfield. In mid 1960s he became “Motown Records” writer lyricist, and together with Whitfield, they wrote some of the best known soul and funk classics of all times, including “I Heard It Through the Grapevine” by Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight & the Pips; “War” by Edwin Starr; “Wherever I Lay My Hat (That’s My Home)” by Marvin Gaye; “Smiling Faces Sometimes” by The Undisputed Truth; “Cloud Nine”, “I Can’t Get Next to You”, “Psychedelic Shack”, “Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)”, and “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”, by The Temptations. In 1973, Strong received “Grammy Award for Best R&B Song” for “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”. As leader, Strong released four albums.

The Isley Brothers: Soul on the Rocks

On January 24, 1967, “Tamla” label released “Soul on the Rocks”, the fifth studio album by Isley Brothers (The). It was recorded in 1966, at “Studio A”, Hitsville, Detroit, and was produced by Norman Whitfield, Smokey Robinson and Ivy Jo Hunter.


  • Ronald Isley – vocals
  • Rudolph Isley – vocals
  • O’Kelly Isley Jr. – vocals

Track listing:

  1. Got to have You Back – Ivy Jo Hunter, Leon ware, Stephen Bowden
  2. That’s the Way Love Is – Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong
  3. Whispers (Getting’ Louder) – David Scott, Barbara Acklin
  4. Tell Me It’s Just a Rumor baby – Harvey Fugua, Johnny Bristol, Vernon Bullock
  5. One Too Many Heartaches – Ivy Jo Hunter
  6. It’s Out of the Question – William “Smokey” Robinson, Berry Gordy
  7. Why When Love Is Gone – Ivy Jo Hunter
  8. Save Me from This Misery – Norman Whitfield, Roger Penzabene, Stephen Bowden
  9. Little Miss Sweetness – William “Smokey” Robinson
  10. Good Things – Robert Bruce, Leroy Kirkland
  11. Catching Up on Time – Clarence Paul, Leon Ware, Morris Broadnax
  12. Behind a Painted Smile – Ivy Jo Hunter, Beatrice Verdi

The Undisputed Truth: Face to Face With the Truth

In January 1972, “Gordy” label released “Face to Face with the Truth”, the second Undisputed Truth (The) album. It was recorded in 1971, and was produced by Norman Whitfield.


  • Joe “Pep” Harris – lead vocals
  • Billie Rae Calvin – additional lead and backing vocals
  • Brenda Joyce Evans – additional lead and backing vocals
  • Dennis Coffey – lead guitar
  • Melvin Ragin, Robert White, Eddie Willis, Joe Messina – guitar
  • Earl Van Dyke – piano
  • Johnny Griffin – organ
  • James Jamerson – bass
  • Aaron Smith, Richard Allen, Andrew Smith – drums
  • Eddie Brown – bongos, congas
  • Jack Ashford – tambourine, maracas, percussion
  • Jack Brokensha – timpani, vibraphone, bells
  • Norman Whitfield – engineer, mastering, art concept

Track listing:

  1. You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth
  2. What It Is
  3. Ungena Za Ulimwengu (Unite the World) / Friendship Train
  4. Superstar (Remember How You Got Where You Are)
  5. Take Me in Your Arms and Love Me
  6. Don’t Let Him take Your Love from Me
  7. What’s Going On

Aretha Franklin: Get It Right

On July 14, 1983, “Arista” label released “Get It Right”, the twenty-ninth Aretha Franklin studio album. It was recorded in 1983, and was produced by Luther Vandross.


  • Aretha Franklin – lead and backing vocals, vocal arrangements
  • Doc Powell – guitar
  • Georg Wadenius – guitar
  • Teddy F. White – guitar
  • Nat Adderley Jr. – keyboards, rhythm arrangements
  • Marcus Miller – synthesizers, bass guitar, rhythm arrangements
  • Yogi Horton – drums
  • Paulinho da Costa – percussion, congas, bongos
  • Steve Kroon – congas, triangle
  • Dave Friedman – vibraphone
  • David Carey – timpani
  • George Young – soprano saxophone
  • Alan Rubin, George Young, Gregory Williams, Jim Pugh, John Clark, Jon Faddis, Lew Soloff, Lou Marini, Peter Gordon, Ronnie Cuber, Tom Malone – horns
  • Alfred Brown, Barry Finclair, Elena Barere, Emanuel Vardi, Guy Lumia, Harold Kohon, Harry Zaratzian, Homer Mensch, Jan Mullen, Jean R. Dane, Jesse Levy, John Beal, John Pintavalle, Jonathan Abramowitz, Joseph Rabushka, Judy Geist, Julien Barber, Kathryn Kienke, Kermit Moore, Lamar Alsop, Lewis Eley, Margaret Ross, Marilyn Wright, Regis Landiorio, Richard Sortomme, Richard Young, Sanford Allen, Sue Pray, Winterton Garvey – strings
  • Rob Mounsey – string arrangements, horn arrangements
  • Paul Riser – string and horn arrangements
  • Luther Vandross – vocal arrangements, backing vocals
  • Michael Love Smith – vocal arrangements, backing vocals
  • Brenda White – backing vocals
  • Fonzi Thornton – backing vocals
  • Michelle Cobbs – backing vocals
  • Phillip Ballou – backing vocals
  • Tawatha Agee – backing vocals
  • Yvonne Lewis – backing vocals
  • Cissy Houston – backing vocals
  • Darlene Love – backing vocals
  • Paulette McWilliams – backing vocals
  • Brenda Corbett – backing vocals
  • Margaret Branch – backing vocals
  • Sandra Richardson – backing vocals
  • Aaron T. Smith – backing vocals
  • Danny Dedusual Smith – backing vocals
  • Myrna Smith – backing vocals
  • Don Cuminale – engineer
  • Paul Brocek, Michael Christopher – additional engineering, engineer assistant
  • Mark Cobrin – engineer assistant
  • Michael H. Brauer – mixing
  • Donn Davenport – art direction
  • Howard Fritzson – design

Track listing:

All tracks written by Luther Vandross and Marcus Miller, except where noted.

  1. Get It Right
  2. Pretender
  3. Every Girl (Wants My Guy)
  4. When You Love Me Like That
  5. I Wish It Would Rain – Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield, Roger Penzabene
  6. Better Friends Than Lovers – Michael Lovesmith
  7. I Got Your Love – Luther Vandross
  8. Giving In – Clarence Franklin

Melvin Ragin

On October 24, 2018, Melvin M. Ragin aka Wah Wah Watson died aged 67. He was musician (guitar), famous for his unique skills with wah-wah pedal. He was member of The Funk Brothers, the studio band for “Motown Records”, recorded and performed with Dizzy Gillespie, John Lee Hooker, Quincy Jones, Stevie Wonder, Vanessa Williams, Thelma Houston, The Four Tops, The Jackson 5, Gladys Knight & The Pips, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes, Michael Jackson, Maxwell, The Beach Boys, George Benson, Bobbi Humphrey, Janet Jackson, Yung Berg, Blondie, Norman Whitfield, The Undisputed Truth, Donald Byrd, Labelle, Love Unlimited, Cher, Meshell Ndegeocello, Gloria Gaynor, The Temptations (his guitar work on “Papa Was a Rollin’ Stone”), Pointer Sisters, Martha Reeves, Rose Royce, Bob Scaggs and Herbie Hancock. As leader, Wah Wah Watson released one solo album (Elementary, 1976).

The Soulful Strings: Groovin’ with the Soulful Strings

In October 1967, “Cadet” label released “Groovin’ with the Soulful Strings”, the second Soulful Strings (The) album. It was recorded June – July 1967, and was produced by Esmond Edwards.


  • Richard Evans – musical arrangements, direction
  • Sol Bobrov – viola
  • David Chausow – viola
  • Arthur Ahlman – violin
  • Harold Kupper – violin
  • Karl B. Fruh – cello
  • Emil Mittermann – cello
  • Theodore Ratzer – cello
  • Charles Stepney – organ, vibraphone
  • Lenny Druss – saxophone, flute
  • Vernice Green – saxophone, flute
  • Ronald Steele – guitar, sitar
  • Phil Upchurch – guitar
  • Cleveland Eaton – bass
  • Louis Satterfield – bass
  • Philip R. Thomas – bongos, congas
  • Morris Jennings – drums

Track listing:

  1. Burning Spear – Richard Evans
  2. All Blues – Miles Davis
  3. What Now My Love – Carl Sigman, Gilbert Bécaud, Pierre Delanoë
  4. Within You Without You – George Harrison
  5. Our Day Will Come – Bob Hilliard, Mort Garson
  6. Soul Prelude – J.S. Bach
  7. Groovin’ – Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati
  8. Alfie – Burt Bacharach, Hal David
  9. Comin’ Home Baby – Ben Tucker, Bob Dorough
  10. (I Know) I’m Losing You – Norman Whitfield, Eddie Holland, Cornelius Grant

Rose Royce: Strikes Again

In August 1978, “Warner Bros” label released “Strikes Again”, the third Rose Royce album. It was recorded in 1978, at “Sound Factory West”, “One Step Up Recording Studio”, “Westlake Studios”, “Fort Knox Recording Studio”, and was produced by Norman Whitfield.


  • Gwen Dickey – lead vocals
  • Kenji Brown – lead vocals, guitar
  • Cornelius Grant – guitar
  • Melvin “Wah Wah” Watson – guitar
  • Mark Davis keyboards
  • Michael Nash – keyboards
  • Walter Downing – organ
  • Lequeint “Duke” Jobe – vocals, bass
  • Mark Kenoly – bass
  • Henry Garner – vocals, drums
  • Jimi Valdezm – drums
  • Jack Ashford – percussion
  • Terral Santiel – congas
  • Michael Moore – saxophone
  • Kenny Copeland – lead vocals, trumpet
  • Freddie Dunn – trumpet
  • Gene Page – orchestration
  • Norman Whitfield – arranger, engineer 
  • Steve Smith engineer
  • Leanard Jackson – recording
  • Steve Smith – recording
  • Pamela Clare – cover illustration
  • Eleven Twenty-Four Design, A.S. – art direction, design
  • Andy Engel – lettering
  • Bobby Holland, Jeffrey Mayer, Rainbow Photography- photography
  • Bill Whitfield – album coordinator

Track listing:

All tracks by Norman Whitfield, except where noted.

  1. Get Up off Your Fat
  2. Do It, Do It
  3. I’m in Love (And I Love the Feeling)
  4. First Come, First Serve
  5. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore – Miles Gregory
  6. Angel in the Sky – Billie Calvin
  7. Help – Robert Daniels
  8. Let Me Be the First To Know – Miles Gregory
  9. That’s What’s Wrong with Me

On January 9, 1967.

On January 9, 1967, “Atlantic” label released “Collections”, the second Young Rascals album. It was recorded May – December 1966, and was produced by Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati, Gene Cornish, and Dino Danelli.


  • Felix Cavaliere – vocals, organ, piano
  • Gene Cornish – vocals, guitar, bass
  • Eddie Brigati – vocals, percussion
  • Dino Danelli – drums

Track listing:

  1. What Is the Reason – Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati
  2. Since I Fell for You – Buddy Johnson
  3. (I’ve Been) Lonely Too Long – Felix Cavaliere
  4. No Love to Give – Gene Cornish
  5. Mickey’s Monkey – Brian Holland, Lamont Dozier, Eddie Holland / Turn On Your Love Light – Deadric Malone, Joseph Scott
  6. Come On Up – Felix Cavaliere
  7. Too Many Fish in the Sea – Eddie Holland, Norman Whitfield
  8. More – Riz Ortolani, Nino Oliviero, Norman Newell, Marcello Ciorciolini
  9. Nineteen Fifty-Six – Gene Cornish
  10. Love Is a Beautiful Thing – Felix Cavaliere, Eddie Brigati
  11. Land of a Thousand Dances – Chris Kenner

On September 15, 2017.

On September 15, 2017, “Okeh” label released “Memphis… Yes, I’m Ready”, the 19th Dee Dee Bridgewater album. It was recorded in September 2016, at “Royal Studios” in  Memphis, TN, and was produced by Dee Dee Bridgewater, Tulani Bridgewater Kowalski, Kirk Whalum and Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell.


  • Dee Dee Bridgewater – vocals, linear notes
  • Kirk Whalum– tenor and baritone saxophone
  • Lannie McMillan, Kirk Smothers – tenor saxophone
  • Marc Franklin – trumpet
  • Kameron Whalum – trombone
  • John Stoddart– keyboards, vocal arrangements
  • Charles Hodges– Hammond organ
  • Garry Goin – guitar
  • Jackie Clark – bass
  • James Sexton – drums
  • Lawrence “Boo” Mitchell– cymbals, electric bongos, tambourine
  • Sharisse Norman, Candise Rayborn-Marshall, Kevin Whalum – background vocals
  • Stax Music Academy– background vocals
  • John Stoddart – associate producer
  • Ted Jensen– engineer
  • Tulani Bridgewater Kowalski – art direction, cover art, photography
  • Thomas Brodin – design

Track listing:

  1. Yes, I’m Ready – Barbara Mason
  2. Giving Up – Van McCoy
  3. I Can’t Get Next to You – Barrett Strong, Norman Whitfield
  4. Going Down Slow – Louis Jimmy Oden
  5. Why (Am I Treated So Bad) – Roebuck Staples
  6. B-A-B-Y – Isaac Hayes, David Porter
  7. The Thrill Is Gone – Rick Ravon Darnell, Roy Hawkins
  8. The Sweeter He Is – Isaac Hayes, David Porter
  9. I Can’t Stand the Rain – Donald Maurice Bryant, Bernard Miller, Ann Peebles
  10. Don’t Be Cruel – Otis Blackwell, Elvis Presley
  11. Hound Dog – Jerry Leiber, Mike Stoller
  12. Try a Little Tenderness – James Campbell, Reginald Connelly, Harry Woods
  13. Take My Hand, Precious Lord – Thomas A. Dorsey, Sobie Frank Frazier, Jeff Majors

On September 13, 2010.

On September 13, 2010, “Atlantic” label released “Going Back”, the eighth solo Phil Collins studio album. It was recorded 2009 – 2010, at Phil Collins studio in Geneva, and was produced by Phil Collins.


  • Phil Collins– lead  and backing vocals, drums, percussion, keyboards, bass, glockenspiel, acoustic and electric piano, harp, handclaps, footstomps, guitar, organ, fingersnaps, mixing
  • Ray Monette– guitar, wah-wah guitar
  • Eddie Willis– guitar
  • Bob Babbitt– bass guitar
  • Ronnie Caryl– acoustic guitar
  • Connie Jackson-Comegys – backing vocals
  • Lynne Fiddmont-Linsey – backing vocals
  • Jason Rebello– vibraphone, acoustic and electric piano
  • John Aram – trombone, handclaps , fingersnaps, horn arrangements and transcriptions
  • Guy Barker– trumpet
  • Tom Rees-Roberts – trumpet
  • Phil Todd – baritone saxophone, flute, piccolo
  • Graeme Blevins – tenor saxophone
  • Celeste-Marie Roy – bassoon
  • Steve Jones – handclaps, fingersnaps
  • Nicholas and Matthew Collins – handclaps, fingersnaps, footstomps, backing vocals
  • Scott Stroman – string arrangements and transcriptions, conductor
  • Menhuin Academy – strings
  • Yvan Bing – engineer
  • Thoraya Binzagar, Thierry Chaunay – assistant engineer
  • Yvan Bing – mixing
  • Kevin Reeves – mastering
  • Mike Hosey – artwork

Track listing:

  1. Girl (Why You Wanna Make Me Blue) – Norman Whitfield, Edward Holland, Jr.
  2. (Love Is Like a) Heatwave – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  3. Uptight (Everything’s Alright) – Stevie Wonder, Sylvia Moy, Henry Cosby
  4. Some of Your Lovin’ – Gerry Goffin, Carole King
  5. In My Lonely Room – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  6. Take Me in Your Arms (Rock Me for a Little While) – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  7. Blame It on the Sun – Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright
  8. Papa Was a Rolling Stone – Norman Whitfield, Barrett Strong
  9. Never Dreamed You’d Leave in Summer – Stevie Wonder, Syreeta Wright
  10. Standing in the Shadows of Love – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  11. Do I Love You – Peter Anders, Phil Spector, Vincent Poncia Jr.
  12. Jimmy Mack – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  13. Something About You – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  14. Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone – Holland-Dozier-Holland
  15. Loving You Is Sweeter Than Ever – Ivy Jo Hunter, Stevie Wonder
  16. Going to a Go-Go – Warren Moore, William Robinson, Jr., Robert Rogers, Marvin Tarplin
  17. Talkin’ About My Baby – Curtis Mayfield
  18. Going Back – Goffin, King