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Brook Benton - Kim Weston Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra

Brook Benton - Kim Weston Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra image Brook Benton - Kim Weston Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra image
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December 4-15 at Lowman's Westside Club It's already been vikl several times in these pages that i he i e is a very activo, artisticaliy-high music scène happening in certain clubs in this city and u's ;i scène that s been almost uually y nared by the established papers (i.e., Detroit "News ' and "Free Press"). One maior musical event vvhich was typically invisible to the unvn's critics was tlie Brook BentoñKim Weston slu)w prese nted December 415 at the beautiful Westside Club (l.ivemois north man). The city's dailies should be particulariy Sltamea iiy tneir non-coverage ot tuis manco for three very special reasons: ( I ) It feat- ured the "return to the stage" of the acclaimed Kim Weston. a favorite ofDetioiters sincel her Motown hits of the sixties; ( 2) Anotlier current Motor City t'avorite.The Jimmy Wilkins Orchestra, repieV continued on '. 15 Kim Weiion's Detroit ' con tinued from page II fore, so I ust did it real slow. It apparenily went over quite well, so wlien I was recording my next album they asked me tp do "The Star-Spangled Banner.' So. instead. I said no, l'd ratlier record 'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing.' I go back witli the song to Brownson Elementary School in Detroit, where 1 was taught that in kindergarten." SUN: Following your departure from Motown you eerlaiuly nscJ the opportwiity to spread out ven toured, got into network radio and TV, did a musical. And ilierc was the move to California. Why did vou come back to Detroit? "In travelling I have never wanted to live anywhere else. Never. Moving to California was a part of my gig. but Detroit has always been where I wanted to live. "If I had to sum it up in one word, iflt'i possible, l'd have to say the people are what is so attractive about Qetroit. Of eourse there are always some jèckasses, but I feel that Detroit has 80 or 85% really beautiful people. And in travelling, when l'd run into people from Detroit, we'd automatically seem to be drawn to each other. So l've always wanted to be living hete, and to get involvcd in the city, and I j ust decided it was time to do it. "When I started the radio show on WCHB my last record on Stax had been called 'Beautiful People." which expressed an important part of my personal philosophy. and it's what l've been opera t ing off of since l've heen back. My thing is, since we were always being told ahout all the negative things. Ijke the homicide rate going up, people j ust came to have a really negative outlook on what's happening here. So I started dealing with. Hey. we're not as bad as we're made to think we are, you know. We're bad, but we're not all that bad, and if we start emphasizing and working with ome of the positive like all the people and energy that exist in sach beautiful proportions in Detroit -then l'm sure that know, help to bring about a positive change. "Wheu you deal with negative, things all the time and talk about how bad things are and don't deal with any yf the things that are good, the things that are healthy for the mind, then, automatically. that's what you attract. I believe in, you know, what goes around comes around-what you send out is what you get back. So I try to focus on the positive things about Detroit and especially the positive movements in the arts, which are growing all the time - in order to get a positive response from the people, so we can get something going on a really positive level here." SUN: Your work ai the Langston Hughes Tlicatrc with "l.ittle Red " is apparently quite a sucecss. How did you get involved there.' "Well, Val Benson, who is the same young lady who wrote the song 'Detroit' with me, was inspired in the writingby Ron Milner. Ron got the concept ofchildren's matinees at the Langston Hughes together. and Val wrote the play for him. Tliis is actually the third property tliat Val lias done with me in mind. "It's funny, but 'L.ittle Red' reminds me of that play, 'Hallelujah Baby.' Especially the lead role.which is played by Lisa Stone, who's only nine years old. I remember I liad to leave the road to do 'Hallelujah Baby.' I was tquring with Harry Belafonte and was chosen tor the lead in the play only ten days before it was supposed to open I had to get a release trom my contract with Belafonte five weeks early. Well. Lisa Stone and myself, we're bom on the same day (December 2Oth). and I just think about the changes that I went through in my first play, because she's literally-ehanging in the wings, and that's what I had to do." SUN: llow did you gei involved hare at Lowman 's Westside? "One of the girls that I sang with in The Right Specials had a wedding reception here. I cante in and Mr. Lowman found out I was there so he invited me back to his office and we talked. He later asked me to perform in the club, to bring in New Year's lc)75. and that's actually the last time I performed asa singer until now. "Anyway. we got to talking about the club as he came eloser to get t ing his liquor license in May so he could open. and we agreed that what was needed was a talent coördinator. Of course, I don't really know that much about il. although l've learned quite a bit since I got the job. But my thing was, if I went aftet the pros like ferry Butler and Brook Ben ton, I couldn't go too far wrong." SUN: h'liy the return to singing, and why Jid you stap in the finí place? "I left the stage for the purpose of finding out what I really needed to niake me do what 1 need to do as an artist on the stage. And l've found out maiiy of the things I needed to know. so I have to go back on to see il ['m right. l'm really enjoying it too. and l'm ready to start recording again as well." SUN: Are van cnrrcntly iindcr contract to anyhody.' "No, l'm under contract to Kim. I plan to release 'Detroit' as a 45 on my own label, which will be cailed Rah Kim. As far as my singing career is concerned, I would like to do concertó rather than nightclubs. but I must say that Lowman's is the kind of place I enjoy working. And I do intend lo keep working. now that l've made my return." Frank Bach and Edwenna Edwsrdsore associate cd i tors o'Kulchur. Bach'.v writing appears here regtilariy, white the Kim Weston assignincni marks M,s. Edwards" dclnti as au interviewer. Tliev mere assisted in tlicir discussion with Kim by matter asker Ken Kelley. whose work appears frequently in Penthouse, Playboy, and Rolling l, _ Stone. among a greal many otljer publicathms. "Detroit Kim Weston-Val Benson) I could tour the whole wide world See many a flag unfurled Land on many a shore FIy to places I adore Or I could travel everywhere And check out each town with care See all that I could see But my home would still be dear to me And that's Detroit That's my home town Detroit And I tliink I 'II stick around The birthplace of superstars Home ot' the motorcars Cars made with sweat and pride So all the world can ride People of tolerance Involved in renaissance Schools and churches everywhere So many beautiful people ín Detroit That's my home town Detroit And I think III stick around Coming up from the bottom You know it was hard But I made it this far v With the help of God And I'm proud to be part of A city like 'The Big D" And no matter where I roam My heart will always be With Detroit That's my home town Detroit And I think llTstick around V s O Rah Kim Records