Martin Bandyke Under Covers for April 2021: Martin interviews Michael Hurtt, co-author of Mind Over Matter: The Myths and Mysteries of Detroit’s Fortune Records.
Mon, 04/05/2021 - 8:50am
When: April 5, 2021
The wife and husband team of Devora and Jack Brown formed Fortune Records in 1946. Much like Sam Phillips did with Sun Records in Memphis, the fiercely independent Browns did everything in-house in Detroit.
The now legendary label self-recorded and released stacks of brilliant records. From its early days of pressing big-band and polka records, through its transition into R&B, blues, gospel, rockabilly and country, Fortune laid the groundwork for Motown and other more prominent Detroit imprints. While its releases sputtered out by the early ‘70s, and the company completely folded in the 1980s, record collectors from across the globe still seek out Fortune’s impressive and wildly eclectic discography of vinyl.
A hefty new book, Mind Over Matter: The Myths & Mysteries of Detroit's Fortune Records, by Michael Hurtt and the late Billy Miller, chronicles the entire history of this blue-collar label and humble storefront studio. Over 576 pages, this deluxe, full-color hardcover tome is essential for anyone interested in obscure but astounding records.
Blues legends like John Lee Hooker, Eddie Kirkland and Dr. Ross recorded a string of singles for Fortune, but its biggest sellers were R&B icons Andre Williams, Nathaniel Mayer and Nolan Strong. Back in the 1950s and early ’60s, they were all local and regional stars who sold plenty of records and performed in front of huge audiences. Through countless interviews and tireless research, this new book — published via Miriam Linna’s Kicks Books — finally tells the story of Detroit’s Fortune Records.
Martin's interview with Michael Hurtt was originally recorded on September 29, 2020.