Song Of The Day: Dec. 2, 2017

Filed in Arts and Entertainment by on December 2, 2017

Today’s Motown Underground Week Question: Who was Marvin Taplin?

Well, kids, Taplin was a Motown rarity. A guitar player who was not a member of the Funk Brothers, he was a full-fledged member of the Miracles.  He was responsible for the gorgeous riff that opens and then runs through ‘Tracks Of My Tears’. He also co-wrote quite a few hits, both for Smokey and for other Motown artists, including Marvin Gaye.

He co-wrote this sophisticated hit for the Miracles (and came up with the opening guitar riff), which still remains relatively under the radar. Jerry Grant clued me into it, and he’s right. An understated masterpiece:

Oh, you say you missed that guitar riff on ‘Tracks Of My Tears’?  Who am I to deny you the pleasure?:

About the Author ()

Comments (3)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. puck says:

    My late contribution to Underground Motown week: Sterling Magee. I first saw this cat playing blues guitar live on 125th street in the late ’80s. He’s really a bluesman, now known as “Satan” or “Mr. Satan” but he recorded some R&B singles early on. I’ll try to find some of his blues and post it. As far as I know he is still playing.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the great Sterling Magee:

  2. puck says:

    One day sometime in the late ’80s I was walking along 125th Street in Harlem and I heard the unmistakable sound of raucous, dirty, badass, authentic blues. Mind you the ’80s era was the birth of hip-hop (which wasn’t called hip-hop yet), and it struck me as ironic that the blues was an unfamilar sound on 125th Street. But I followed the music as if drawn by a magnet, my errand forgotten.

    The music was coming from a man seated on a folding chair, playing a guitar into an amp and stomping on a pedal tambourine. All you had to do is look at him to know Sterling Magee is the real deal. He was accompanied by a white guy playing harmonica old-school.

    They stopped for a break and I threw some bills into the guitar case. Someone fetched Magee a bottle of Wild Irish Rose from the nearby liquor store, and apologized for the wine being warm (it was a cool day). Magee said “Warm? I want it HOT! Put it on the STOVE!!”

    Here are some clips of what I heard on 125th Street. Feel free to find some more on YouTube:

  3. El Somnambulo says:

    Oh, yeah, Satan And Adam. Thanks, Puck, my kinda sound.