Frank Wilson

Frank Wilson (1940 - 2012) was an African American former songwriter and record producer for Motown Records.

Frank Wilson

Northern Soul

Warwick Soul Club.

 

 

Biography

Frank Edward Wilson was born December 5, 1940 in Houston to James Wilson and Samantha Gibbs. While still in his teens, he moved with his family to Los Angeles.

In 1963, Berry Gordy asked producers Hal Davis and Marc Gordon to set up an office of Motown in Los Angeles. Wilson accepted an offer to join the team. In December 1963, "Stevie" by Patrice Holloway (V.I.P. 25001) was the first single released from the West Coast operation and featured Wilson in the songwriting credits. He went on to write and produce hit records for Brenda Holloway, Diana Ross & the Supremes, Marvin Gaye, The Supremes,The Miracles, The Four Tops, Eddie Kendricks, and more. Additionally, Wilson produced a Gold Album on Lenny Williams, former lead singer for Tower of Power.

Wilson also tried his hand at being a recording artist himself, recording the single �Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)" for release on the Motown subsidiary label 'Soul.' Supposedly 250 demo 45s were pressed, but by that time Frank Wilson decided he would rather focus on producing and had the demos trashed. Somehow at least two known copies survived, one of which fetched over �25,000 (aprox. $37,000) in May 2009.

Because of the scarcity of the original single and the high quality of the music (it was one of the most popular records in the Northern Soul movement), it has been championed as one of the rarest and most valuable records in history (along with other "impossible to find" records by such acts as Bessie Smith, Louis Armstrong, and the Five Sharps).

Wilson left Motown in 1976 and became a born-again Christian. He was a minister, traveling and writing books with his wife Bunny Wilson, and was also involved in the production of gospel music as well. In 2004, he founded the New Dawn Christian Village in Los Angeles.

Singles

The World's Rarest Soul Record

1965: Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)/Sweeter As The Days Go By

1965: Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)/Sweeter As The Days Go By -- Soul 35019 (US). Reissued in 1979 Tamla Motown TMG 1170 (UK), twice more in the 1980s with the same catalogue number, then a version with a different vocal take with the number 9821530 in 2004.

In April 2009 one of only two known copies of this Motown / Northern Soul 45 single went to auction in the UK and achieved �25,742 (approx. $38,000). Here's a brief history of the record with links at the bottom of the post to stories from some of the previous owners / players.

The History

1965

Frank Wilson recorded a demo of 'Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)' on Soul 35019 scheduled for release Dec.1965 - 6 copies produced.

Frank Wilson said that the song was recorded in Los Angeles with Carol Kaye on bass and Carol recalls Earl Palmer playing the drums. Motown were cutting lots of stuff in L.A. in the mid 60's and if you listen to this track, you can see why. They could sound just like "Motown" in L.A. and Motown needed the product.

3 copies retained in Motown archives and reputedely 3 retained by pressing plant ARP.

Berry Gordy decided the record was not to be released so Frank could focus on production career.

ARP destroys 2 copies to 'save space' so only a single copy retained in archives.

1972

Motown (and archives) relocates to L.A. only a single copy of Soul 35019 remains in Motown library.

1977

Record discovered by Tom DiePerro at Motown in L.A. a Motown historian who received the single for research purposes.

Simon Soussan acquires the disc from Tom in Los Angeles - some say borrowed, Tim Brown claims 'bought' and sends acetate copies covered up as Eddie Foster to Northern Soul DJs.

Simon Soussan 'presses' 2,000 copies on In (Not Soul Fox as Ian Dewhirst asserts) label as Eddie Foster - Do I Love You.

1978

Simon Soussan sells his record collection (which contains Frank Wilson) to Les McCutcheon where it is discovered that the real record was by Frank Wilson.

Les McCutcheon loans disc to Russ Winstanley (Wigan Casino DJ).

Jonathan Woodcliffe buys disc from Les McCutcheon for �250 - disc has developed an edge warp.

1979

Tamla Motown in UK issues Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do) dubbed from the Eddie Foster bootleg due to 'public demand'.

Kev Roberts (Wigan Casino DJ) exchanges disc with Jonathan Woodcliffe in deal worth �350 in 12", LPs & white demos.

1989

Tim Brown (Anglo American / Goldmine) buys Kev Roberts copy for �5,000.

1990

Martin Koppel (Canadian record dealer) discovers another copy and acquires it from Ron Murphy a Motown record collector, engineer and archivist from Detroit who bought it from presing plant ARP. Koppel eventually sells his copy to his UK partner Tim Brown.

1999

Kenny Burrell (Northern Soul DJ from Edinburgh) buys Ron Murphy's copy via Tim Brown for �15,000.

(Note: Tim Brown still owns the original 'edge-warped' copy acquired from Kev Roberts).

Alledgedly Frank Wilson offered Kenny �30,000 for his copy which Kenny declined.

2001

Frank Wilson performs at Fleetwood Togetherness weekender. Kenny has Frank Wilson sign his copy "To Kenny ..". Apparently Frank expressed surprise that the disc existed.

2009

In April Kenny Burrell's copy is auctioned via Jon Manship and is sold for �25,724 to an unnamed buyer ... some speculate that in may indeed be Frank Wilson himself.

Ian Dewhirst's (Frank) Story

Ian was known as DJ 'Frank' on the Northern Soul circuit and was involved with Simon Soussan producing Shalimar's 'Uptown Festival' in 1976. It was through connections with Tom DiePerro whilst attempting to get a deal with Motown for Uptown Festival that the Frank Wilson disc was unearthed.

Kev Robert's Story

Kev was a Wigan Casino DJ who once owned the first discovered copy.

Tim Brown's Story

Tim is a renown UK rare record dealer / collector who bought, and still owns, Kev Robert's copy and acquired the only other copy to be discovered by Ron Murphy via Toronto based record dealer Martin Koppel. This is the copy bought by Kenny Burrell for �15,000 and the copy subsequently auctioned by Jon Manship for �25,724 in April 2009.

"I suppose the big story has been the hyping of Kenny Burrell�s Frank Wilson 45 by John Manship, the most weary aspect of which was an item on Radio 4 which yet again called into question the validity of any information we gather from the mass media so incorrect was it. Of course much of the misinformation has been created by Manship�s manipulation of the true story in order not to make any mention of myself or Martin Koppel. It has often been said that the 20th century was a victory for style over substance. Sadly, it would seem that the 21st century may well be a victory for fiction over fact sponsored largely by the internet.

As the most-told story in Northern Soul it is still surprising that the �Do I Love You� saga is related inaccurately. Ian Dewhirst got as close as anybody in the March edition of Manifesto but even then is wrong on a few minor counts.

First of all Simon claimed to me that Tom DePierro actually sold him the Frank Wilson 45, not lent it him, but sold it him. This is born out by the fact that Soussan had no other material from Motown�s archive at the time. 14 years later he had a number of unissued Motown acetates but these were from a quite different source.

For sure Simon knew the track was a total winner, but actually his bootleg of the cut as �Eddie Foster� was on In, not Soul Fox (as Ian stated). Soussan once informed me that he never pressed up less than 5000 copies of anything.

As for Simon selling his collection in the early eighties it was actually 1978 and that is when we all found out who �Do I Love You� was really by. Coincidentally in my occasional column in Black Echoes in �77 I remarked that �Do I Love You� sounded like a cross between �My Sugar Baby� and �The Duck� � even as a teenager I had my ears screwed on right! Russ meanwhile in the same publication thought that it sounded like �Get It Baby� (oh dear!)

By 1979 of course it was out on UK Tamla Motown dubbed from the Eddie Foster boot. In the event Motown did have a stereo mastertape it subsequently turned out, but the mono 45 take on the box set recently was dubbed from Kenny Burrell�s copy.

When the said record passed from Jonathan Woodcliffe to Kev Roberts circa 1981 it actually wasn�t sold � it was traded for a pile of twelve inchers (not your best ever decision Jon!) And actually it was 1999 when we sold Kenny Burrell Ron Murphy�s old copy, not 1997. Later we at Goldmine brought Frank Wilson over to the Togetherness Weekender at Fleetwood to sing his song (of course the �experts� on the internet who like to pontificate over Goldmine Soul Supply know nothing of things like that) and Frank expressed his surprise that a 45 or a tape or anything existed! He told me that he had only been aware of the whole scenario for a few years.

Ron Murphy was also the guy responsible for turning up Chris Clark�s version via the original engineer from the old ARP pressing plant. As for my copy of the disc, well, it does have an edge-warp but is not unplayable as Manship has claimed � in fact at the very first �Rarest Of The Rare� all-nighters at the Ritz, I played it � as witnesses can testify.

By the time you read this, the whole event will be over and either a new yardstick will have been created or the hype will have spawned an empty vessel. Personally I�m finding the whole subject rather tedious � I wonder what the winner would pay me to snap my copy in two?"
by Tim Brown

Kenny Burrell's Story

Kenny Burrell is an Edinburgh based Northern Soul DJ / collector who paid a �15,000 to Tim Brown in 1999 for the Ron Murphy copy.

Jon Manship's Story

Jon Manship is another renown UK rare record dealer based in Leicestershire who hosted the auction of Kenny Burrell's copy in April 2009 which achieved �25,724 from an unnamed buyer.

Video: Frank Wilson - Do I Love You (Indeed I Do)