America, Music

Detroit callin’ out around the world

Here’s Detroit callin’ out around the world… and to us, Scotland’s travel elite, to get back to Motor City and Pure Michigan.

And follow in the Fingertips of Stevland Judkins who 60 years ago next year exploded into our musical consciousness.

We know him best as Stevie Wonder although back in 1963 he was just 12 and was introduced to us as Little Stevie Wonder.

Walking in Stevie’s Fingertips

Candy baby: Stevie’s candy machine

His debut release for Motown label Tamla, the jazzy Fingertips, still stands the test of time.

With Stevie wowing us with his mastery of bongos and harmonica.

Stevie became the youngest artist to reach No.1 in the Billboard charts.

And the world wanted to know more about the boy wonder from Detroit.

Stevland was born in Saginaw near Lake Huron and an hour and a half’s drive south to Detroit.

Where his musical Motown family took him to their hearts.

And to his favourite candy.

Best bar none

The Wonder of you: Stevie

Stevie, who in a different Bluesier age, would probably have gone by the moniker (or harmoniker in his case) of ‘Blind Boy Stevie’, loved a nutty nougat Baby Ruth bar.

And staff at the Hitsville USA House would be sure to leave the bar in the same place in the machine so he could feel for the slot.

And they were even said to leave coins there for him too.

The Hitsville House has undergone major million-dollar changes completed this year to accommodate ever-increasing numbers of visitors.

All of which our friends from Visit Detroit and Pure Michigan updated us on as we renewed our friendships.

At the plush Dakota Hotel in Glasgow.

And where Michigan State’s greatest ambassador Kelly revealed how she would regularly pass the blind school.

Where Stevland would learn to be Little Stevie.

The next generation

Marching to Freedom: Berry Gordy with Martin Luther King

At Hitsville they are still inspiring the youth, the next generation and practically as well as aesthetically.

Founder Berry Gordy is 92 years young and still as wide-eyed about music as ever he was.

And he vowed: ‘Not only will the expanded museum entertain and tell the stories of talented and creative people who succeeded against all odds, but it will also inspire and create opportunities for people to explore their dreams the way I did mine.

‘I couldn’t be prouder to be a part of that.’

And that’s where Hitsville NEXT, the educational center of Motown Museum’s newly expanded campus comes in.

In the Motown Museum‘s words it is the hub of our programming efforts, it is the place in Detroit for talent cultivation, entrepreneurial training and empowerment, music making and professional development for those aspiring to be in the music industry.

Are you ready for a brand new beat? Martha Reeves

I’ve seen first hand on my travels in the States how bringing young musicians from challenging backgrounds and giving them back opportunities can yield huge awards.

And the joy in the young artists’ performance on stage for a group of European travel writers at the Stax Music Academy in South Memphis.

And their euphoria as we broke bread with them afterwards when they were told they were to tour Europe.

The water city: And the Motor City too… Detroit

Just the same glee I feel every time I know I’m going America, every bit of which the Vandellas name check in Dancing in the Streets.

And with Martha Reeves championing the Hitsville reconstruction this year.

And Detroit callin’ out around the world I definitely won’t forget the Motor City.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

America, Countries, Music

Dancing in streets again

Dancing in streets again. In Detroit now with the reopening of the Motown Museum.

Hitsville USA is undergoing a $50m two-phase to transform three Motown-era homes and provide a “new front porch” for Martha Reeves to dance on.

And dance she did just as she and Motown’s finest had done back in their Sixties heyday.

When our favourite singers actually mingled with their fans rather than charging hundreds of quid for meet and greets.

The Motown family

Sweet Stevie: Stevie Wonder

Hitsville’s success was, of course, predicated on great tunes and magical performers but also the priceless family spirit in the studio.

All of which is evidenced by a story oft-told about Stevie Wonder.

Ever wondered how Stevie got that honeyed voice… well it might all come from his sweet tooth.

Stevie had a particular penchant for a Baby Ruth candy bar and he could feel for the button on the machine.

And crew at Hitsville would always make sure the nutty nougat was always in the right place and money was left to be put in the slot.

Sweet Stevie

Candyman can: Stevie’s sweet treat

A real nugget of nostalgia you’d think which you would be dying to share when commissioned to write an article.

Only that passed the twenty-something recipient of my largesse by.

Instead she was dancing in the street to a flashmob.

And now that I’ve calmed down over that writer’s omission I’m thinking Martha might have forgiven her.

Although Rachel would probably have missed out that she was leading the routine.

Summer’s here and the time is right

Everybody gather round: Martha and the Vandellas

So when you’re planning your next US visit, don’t forget the Motor City.

Because they’re.. dancing in the streets again in Detroit.

 

America, Asia, Australasia, Countries, South America

Joby Aviation lost in translation

And how those of us of a Scottish variety sniggered how Joby Aviation got lost in translation.

A jobby, as Glasgow’s second most famous son, Billy Connolly, revealed to the world is the contents of your bottom.

But there is nothing crap about the all-electric aircrafts for commercial use that are coming to Scotland.

Flying by the seat of your pants: The Joby

As we reported in the Daily Record the The Joby is a five-seat, piloted electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) aircraft.

And it has a maximum range of 150 miles and a quiet acoustic profile.

Now we imagine the new aircraft will be s***-hot but perhaps they should rebrand for Scottish fliers.

All of which has us reflecting on the brands which we have seen lost in translation.

C U Next Tuesday

We swear by it: Northern Territory

Northern Territory, Australia: And I’m indebted to the doyen of Irish travel writers Eoghan Corry for clueing me in on this historical brand gaffe.

Now everyone is an expert after the event and the same mistook visited an old, and much-respected, boss.

When he cropped a picture of an England flag for an old newspaper so the ‘S’ and the ‘Horpe’ got cut from sCunTthorpe.

Coors fails sniff test

Colorado cool: But they’re too hip for the Spanish

Golden, Colorado, USA: And the Golden nectar with the taste of the Rockies will slake your thirst like few other beers.

The Coloradans, as anyone who has been out there will tell you, have a lifestyle and language all of their own.

But it doesn’t always translate, and their ‘Turns it loose’ slogan means ‘you will suffer from diarrhoea. Sloppy!

Fly solo

Grounded: Braniff

Braniff International, North America: And one from the vaults here when Braniff ran routes.

Primarily in the midwestern and southwestern United States, Mexico, Central America and South America before expanding into Asia and Europe. 

They ran an advert in Spanish boasting of their leather seats and urging passengers to fly ″en cuero,″ or ″in leather.″

Only the similar ″en cueros″ means ″naked,″ and when pronounced on radio or television, the two terms sound identical.

In the Nip

Wide-eyed and innocent: Kinki Nippon

Kinki Nippon Tourist Company, Japan: Japan‘s second largest tourist agency hadn’t factored in the Western World’s less prudish attitudes.

And they began receiving requests for unusual sex tours.

Upon finding out why, the owners of Kinki Nippon Tourist Company decided to go with KNT in English-speaking countries.

Road tripped

Put the brakes on: Ford’s gaffe

Ford, Detroit, USA: Now many of us love a road trip and Henry can lay claim to changing American society with his Model T which you can see in Motor City.

Alas, again the Iberian languages caught marketers out, this time the Portuguese tongue.

Ford blundered when marketing the Pinto in Brazil, unaware that the term means male genitals in Brazilian Portuguese.

These are brand new too

Black name: The Negro licquorice

Along the road we’ve come across a Wanktunnel in Bavaria, an ISIS chocolate bar in Brussels airport and Negro licquorice in Croatia.

Share with us the brands which you’ve seen that have tickled your fancy, as it were.

Because how Joby Aviation got lost in translation is not an isolated incident.