Friday, September 01, 2006

Who Was Jack Montgomery?

Yesterday's post eventually mentioned the mysterious Jack Montgomery, Detroit soul singer, and his recording of Don't Turn You're Back On Me (visit this post to...), which seemed an appropriate song for the article on Hurricane Katrina. So who is Jack Montgomery?

Trailing around in the Soulful Detroit forums, a poster gave a link to a fascinating article by Dave Rimmer at Soulful Kinda Music, in which he conducts an interview with soul songwriter/producer Don 'Barracuda' Mancha, who suddenly revealed that he knew and worked with Jack, and even suggested his stage name...

Jack Montgomery's real name was Marvin Jones, a draughtsman, who came to Don to audition. Don came up with the name Jack Montgomery based on his business partner Don Montgomery, owner of the Travler Motel. Don't Turn Your Back On Me was the first single, released on Don's own label Barracuda (his nickname as a DJ), written by Don Mancha and Fred Bridges (renowned songwriter at Golden World Studios), and recorded at United Sound Studios on Second Ave, with Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore doing one of their first arrangements together. Interestingly, the b-side was an instrumental track called Never In A Million Years, which doesn't even feature Jack.

They then looked for majors to take an interest, eventually turning to Scepter Records in NYC to release the follow ups, all of which Jack/Marvin had a hand in writing, and were probably recorded at the Tera Shirma Studio. Johnny Terry, then part of The Drifters line-up, had set up the deal with Scepter, but then things went sour, accusations were thrown of skimmed payments, and Johnny took custody of the master to Baby Baby Take A Chance On Me when the two Dons dissolved their partnership with him.

Marvin went on to make one more single under the Jack Montgomery name, this time with new producers and arrangers, then apparently faded from soul history into a new life outside music.

According to Don, Jack Montgomery pased away several years ago, presumably sometime in the late 90s or early 2000s.

GO and read the fascinating interview here. If you know more about Jack, I'd love to hear about it! Dennis Coffey and Mike Theodore provided info on the Soulful Detroit forum boards. Other info from "The Fred Bridges Story" by David and Lowell on Soulful Detroit.

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