|It's hard to believe it that it was nearly 45 years ago that Martha Reeves
first hit the charts with the bluesy, soulful "Come and Get These Memories."
It is especially hard to believe that four decades have passed when "motown's
ultimate soul diva" hits the stage. With the unmistakable voice that helped
devine "the sound of young America," dancing and strutting with the energy
of a 25 year old, keeping the beat with her trusty tambourine and keeping
audiences on their feet as they dance down Memory Lane, Reeves is a live
wire. Whether performing solo or with the Vandellas (her sisters, Lois
and Delphine), Martha Reeves continues to heat up clubs, the concert stage
and music festivals, thrilling audiences across the globe, and always leaving
|Her hits are the thing of legend: the Grammy - award nominated "Heat
Wave", the gospel-tinged "Nowhere to Run", the classic soul favorite "My
Baby Loves Me", and her signature, "Dancing In The Street". While best
known for up-tempo, hard driving tunes, Reeves' shows are often highlighted
by tender renditions of songs like Burt Bacharach's "The Look of Love",
Billie Holiday's "God Bless The Child" (included in her new CD "Home To
You"), Duke Ellington's "I Got It Bad" and perennial showstopper, "Love
Makes Me Do Foolish Things".
|With her group, the Vandellas, Martha Reeves established an enviable
legacy. They backed Marvin Gaye on his first three hits ("Stubborn Kinda
Fellow", "Pride and Joy" and "Hitch Hike") and gave Holland-Dozier-Holland
their first big hit with "Come and Get These Memories". In fact, it was
listening to Martha singing "Memories" that Berry Gordy came up with Motown
tag line, "the sounds of young America". While the roster of Vandellas
changed frequently, Reeves' soaring soprano was the constant.
|Martha's story is a familiar one to legions of fans.
|Soon after graduating from high school, Martha performed in clubs as
"Martha Lavaille". One night, Motown A&R director Mickey Stevenson heard
her and invited her to audition for the then fledgling label. The highly
motivated Reeves arrived the next morning. Upon learning that auditions
had to be scheduled, she made herself valuable by answering phones and
taking messages. When people say she started Motown as a secretary, Reeves
corrects them, laughing, "I was never a secretary. I was a singer who could
|Reeves soon became an invaluable administrator, interacting with musicians
and performers, scheduling sessions and making sure that business was taken
care of. And she waited her turn to sing. One day, when Mary Wells missed
a session, Martha stepped up to the mike and got noticed and a contract.
She left the A/R department to become one of Motown's most enduring and
|As classics never fade, new and diverse audiences are constantly being
introduced to the Martha Reeves songbook.
|She has counted talents as diverse as James Brown and Beverly Sills among
her duet partners. Robin Williams spun "Nowhere to Run" in Good
Morning, Vietnam. Her version of the Van Morrison rocker, "Wild Night"
was featured on the Thelma and Louise movie soundtrack. The boys
in The Boys In The Band and Whoopi Goldberg in Sister
Act 2 partied
to "Heat Wave". Everyone from Mick Jagger and David Bowie, the Mamas and
the Papas, Laura Nyro and the Grateful Dead have gone "Dancing In The
Street". New British rockers The Doves borrowed heavily from Martha's "Heat
Wave" for their hit "Black and White Town". A couple of years ago, Will
Smith and the producers of the movie Hitch mined Martha's vault of unreleased
recordings to find her sublime "It's Easy (To Fall In Love With A Guy Like
|Moving beyond the confines of the concert stage, Reeves starred in a
US tour of the Tony winning "Ain't Misbehavin", and has performed in road
shows of "The Jackie Wilson Story" and "Good Black Don't Crack". She co-starred
for three seasons in the UK stage review "Dancing In The Street", alongside
Motown peers like the late Edwin Starr, Mary Wilson and Freda Payne. Following
Starr's death in 2003, Reeves held the spotlight alone. That same year,
she made her opera debut singing with the Motor City Lyric Opera.
|Reeves is the recipient of the Dinah Washington Award, a Rhythm n' Blues
Foundation Pioneer Award, a Black Woman Publishing Legends Award and has
been inducted into the Alabama, Soul, Rock and Roll and Vocal Group halls
|Today's Martha Reeves is fully exposed in her self produced and critically
praised True Life Entertainment CD "Home To You". Named by The Asbury Park
Press as one of the best blues/root music albums of 2004, Reeves gives
both new and older fans the kind of no-frills, straightforward soul singing
rarely heard on contemporary radio. From the blues funk of "Watch Your
Back" to the jazzy "God Bless The Child", to "Running For Your Love" recalling
old school Motown, this Motown classic proves that she is still a powerhouse.
The disk also is the first to feature Martha with current Vandellas Delphine
Reeves and Sandra Jackson (ada Lois Reeves, who was also a Motown era Vandella
from 1967 to 1972).
|In November 2005, Ms. Reeves was elected to the Detroit City Council.
While she works for the citizens of that city, she continues to be one
of it's top ambassadors, performing all over the world - in Asia, the UK,
Italy, Slovenia, Canada and throughout the US.
|Martha Reeves has always been and always will be committed to ensuring
that you "can't forget the Motor City".