Good Monday morning to the fam. I hope wherever you were it was sunny, warm and enjoyable. I want to shout out SF over at The Offside Rules for setting up a personal tour for myself, Dunny over at Bumpy Pitch, and Trey from Real Salt Lake of the new Red Bull Arena. See below for a pic of the progress. Football is alive and well in Harrison, NJ, and I don’t mean the one you kick field goals for. But I digress, as I’m still dreaming about the Portuguese food I had in the Ironbound section of Newark. Let’s get into some psychedelic Soul out of the Motor City. Here’s Lee Rogers and “Sex Appeal” on Diamond Jim Records.
Born Lee Rogers Crayton in 1939 in Mississippi, then relocating to Detroit, Michigan at age three, Lee Rogers was later known as the Prince of Detroit. Starting off as alot of Soul/ Funk singers did in the 60’s, Rogers sang in church and crooned Doo Wop on street corners in the early days. He had a unique voice, and some say that Marvin Gaye modeled his whole act after him when he saw him perform at Detroit’s Twenty Grand Club several times a week in the 60’s. Around 1959, he was a member of The Peppermints, who included Jesse Greer and Duke Browner. It was here he hooked up with legendary Detroit producer Mike Hanks (who was sadly murdered in 1970) on the HOB label. The Peppermints would become the Barons (who also recorded on Carmen Murphy’s Soul label, later sold to Berry Gordy). Getting full credit on “While the Cat’s Away” with the Barons, his first solo 45 would be “Troubles”. Let’s not forget the Detroit successful “Walk on By” on the MAH label. Hank’s D-Town Record was born after 1962 and helped launch Rogers solo career. His “Sad Affair” was released, but was challenged and beat out by Marvin Gaye’s “You’re A Wondeful One”. It would be a few years later that Rogers would find success in ” Want You To Have Everything”, and eventually rode the coat tails of that hit and toured. His next release was “You’re The Cream of The Crop”, which did not even come close to making the splash “Everything” did. Meanwhile the guy who copied his style (Marvin Gaye) was experiencing great success over at Tamla. His 1965 sides “Boss Love” and “You Won’t Have To Wait Until Xmas” didn’t fare any better, and it was shortly after that that D-Town went belly up. His last release on D-Town, “Go-Go Girl” became one of his better known records. From D-Town he switched to Wheelsville, and put out sides “Love & War” ( which came out in ’66) and the B-side, “How Are You Fixed For Love” got put out again re-released with song, “Cracked Up Over You.” He would also do some recording with Hi Records Willie Mitchell, and release “Sock Some Love Power To Me,” on Premium Stuff. “I Need Your Love,” backed with “Jack The Playboy” were the last few on Premium Stuff before he switched to the Diamond Jim label and put out this side and “If I Could Stay Away” for Jim Riley. It was short lived as Riley was shot and killed in front of Club Mozambique in Watts in 1972. His next move was to start his own label, Soul Wheel, where he put out one side “Love Bandit”. This and his move to Los Angeles was short lived as a car accident put him in the hospital for a few months at a time and with one kidney. He was tried out at the West Coast Motown that didn’t work and then his try at another label (D-Town on the West Coast) died on the vine. The glory days with Mike Hanks were no longer, and only remained by name. The 80’s brought out few releases (“Roller Skates”) before Rogers would pass on in 1990.
“Sex Appeal” is a straight up psychedelic sexy Soul. The burning, fuzzy guitar and heavy drums make this not just a tribute to a sexy woman (cue up the Timmy Thomas 45 on Glades), but reiterate the fact that Lee Rogers was the Prince of Detroit. Hands down. Marvin Gaye may have captured the world, but if you listen hard, the man Marvin supposedly wanted to be like was no joke. Find this 45 if you can, because you won’t be sorry. See you midweek. Keep Diggin’!
This stadium is going to be unbelievable. Get your season tix now.