Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: It's like a Heatwave; Tickets Have Recently Gone on Sale for the Newly-Announced Motown Legends Tour. Barbara Hodgson Talks to the Soul Legend Martha Reeves

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Culture: It's like a Heatwave; Tickets Have Recently Gone on Sale for the Newly-Announced Motown Legends Tour. Barbara Hodgson Talks to the Soul Legend Martha Reeves

Article excerpt

Byline: Barbara Hodgson

IHAVE a strict 15-minute time slot in which to interview Martha Reeves and nearly five of those are gone in trying to connect to Detroit where she lives.

She has just finished some telephone interviews and, when I hang up, she has more lined up. It all sounds exhausting.

Not a bit of it, laughs the 67-year-old Motown star who will be singing with her Vandellas, plus a host of other big names, in Newcastle next summer.

"I enjoy it," she adds. "I'm so happy that I'm still able to come to the UK and perform and that the music isn't getting old. It's stood the test of time and I'm proud to be a part of it."

She's been more than a part of Motown: she's been a driving force behind the music which has been said to have changed the world.

She was last in the UK just last year, in Brighton: "I try, if possible, to come once or twice a year - I love travelling and I feel at home when I'm there.

"And in the North I was part of the Northern Soul experience."

Martha isn't just interested in saying the right things; she seems genuinely happy with her life at present.

She's grateful she got back on her feet in the late 70s - after what's reported as an erratic period of drink and substance abuse - and now she's appreciating a calmness in her life.

There's the satisfaction, for one thing, of doing community work as an adjunct to her still-thriving music career.

We'll be getting a taste of that music next June when the Metro Radio Arena hosts the Motown Legends Live Tour.

Martha and The Vandellas will join The Commodores, Mary Wilson of The Supremes, The Miracles and JR Walker's All-Stars in an impressive line-up.

It's the first time Martha has toured with The Commodores but she is looking forward to sharing a night of musical hits.

Does she have a favourite among her own?

There have been plenty of them, after all, since Martha, with her background in gospel, opera and jazz, arrived in Motown in 1962 and famously started off answering phones for the label which was to bring her fame. "Each song was an experience," she says.

"Each experience would be like giving birth - you'd have nine months learning it, recording it, mixing it, distributing it. …

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