Gino Washington

Undiluted Detroit Soul

Listen to Gino Washington on Gino is a Coward

Gino Washington Edward Hamilton and the Arabians. Nolan Strong and the Diablos. Gino Parks. Melvin Davis. Nathaniel Mayer. The Falcons. The names may be obscure to many, but for those who think that Motown was the be-all, end-all of Detroit music, think again! Not to say that the Sound Of Young America doesn't have its many moments of brilliance but the gospel-charged, tough-as-nails, outta-control-yet-always-melodic magic of pure, undiluted Detroit soul in its most raw form simply cannot be touched by anything, anywhere. Leading the charge since '62 is a man whose intensity level and primal power ties him with that of Nathaniel Mayer, the great Gino Washington.

Having the fortitude to befriend a white teenage garage band called Jeff and the Atlantics at the State Fair when he was thirteen, it wasn't long before Gino and company commenced a racket that seemed to run on the fumes of Jackie Wilson and breath fire all the way from across the tracks. While Gordy's stable was producing records that were pop-perfect for the world's consumption, it seemed that Washington and his aforementioned colleagues were doing something far more admirable: they were producing records for their hometown's consumption. And, befitting the streets of Detroit, they were exactly what kids raised on Danny Zella and the Zell-Rocks, Johnny and the Hurricanes and Hank Ballard and the Midnighters demanded: Discs as clangingly raw as the Ford Assembly Line.

The inevitable result was an absolutely insane clutch of songs that included the rockin' "Out Of This World," the torturous "Puppet On A String" and the shatteringly funky "Hey! I'm A Love Bandit," bringing to the table a lost thread of Motor City soul recorded under distinctly more primitive conditions than most of Gordy's acts-barring the Contours and Mary Wells, of course-and one that truly defines the magic of Detroit. It all seems to make sense when Gino names his three heroes, Johnny Mathis, Jackie Wilson and Elvis Presley.

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