Who knew 12 months could weigh so heavy? One city, one year – twelve months of turmoil and a thrilling ride through 365 days in the life of a soul city.
Detroit 67 is the story – a very real story – of a country, one of that countries major cities and the people who called that city their home under pressure. The escalating war in Vietnam, a souring economic situation, corruption, continued, government sanctioned racism and a determination for progress of the most famous and successful black owned record label of all time appear as its backdrop. Populating its stage are a cast of business men, musicians, singers, political activists, hostile police department foot soldiers and a host of everyday folk striving for striving for survival. All pitting their wits against the shadows of the past as they attempt to fast forward the present and secure their own future. All wrestling with personal demons and agenda’s, hell bent on stoking and fanning the flames of a fire that would burn metaphorically at first and end with the heat of very real flames as the motor city physically burned.
By 1967 Berry Gordys Motown label had pushed its way to the fore, an internationally known recording label that boasted a pool of artists – singers, musicians and song writers – who could collectively claim to have birthed THE sound of soul music, all sharing the responsibility for creating some of the most exhilarating, perfect sounding 45s in the history of recorded music. This also meant it became a business, a big business with all the accompanying goals, bottom line assessments and $ led decisions a business requires.
In line with the fall out of a stuttering nation ensconsed in confusion and somewhere within the debris of Americas cultural and economic implosion of the time Detrtoit 67 centres on the trials and errors surrounding that most perfect of record companies in its most difficult year. Through a cast of characters ensconced in personal agendas, battling with self created demons and blinkered by the hostility that fighting hard for their individual corners brings. Beacause of all this Detroit 67 is rarely a pretty story but it remains a great read.