Thursday, January 15, 2009

Sammy Davis Says "Hello Detroit"

Detroit's been taking a lot of crap lately, but it's good to know Sammy will never abandon Motown. Thanks to Grumkin for reminding me of this gem.


  1. I jumped up and started clapping, cheering misty eyed when Sammy sang Hello Detroit. I really identified with him when he mentioned Bar B Q ribs on Hastings St. In 1952 I had met a girl from Detroit who was going with a Flint trumpet player and she invited me to visit Detroit. She took me to Sportrees Bar on Hastings St. It was long and narrow with the combo playing on a stage that was above the bar. It was my first introduction to a whole new world called Bebop. When that band blasted out I was filled with excitement and wondered what I had been doing all my life. I had never heard a sax played like that before and Billy Mitchell was the musician, Ted Sheely on piano, and I think J.C. Herd on drums, maybe Alvin Jackson on bass (Bag's brother), maybe Willy Wells on trumpet.

    Memory is fuzzy but from that moment on I was "with the band" and jazz has been a part of me and my life.

  2. as my esteemed Finnish Friends in da yoop would say:" Holy Waugh!" that's a good thing! God, to have seen the Artists You've seen and had the Privilege of knowing...when I left Flint for the last time, I spent every free moment, and some not so free, in the Jazz clubs. had some great times, met some good folks, but nothing near to Your Trip. my hat's off, Ma'am. sliante! ken

  3. Wow! My folks took me to see him live at Pine Knob in 1975. The thing I remember most was a medley of commerical jingles, most notably Mc Donald's "You Deserve a Break Today"...

  4. Yes, Sammy cast a very wide net when searching for material. To his credit, though, he loathed that Candy Man song.

  5. Sportree's Bar is featured in Elmore Leonard's work.

  6. I =adore= Elmore Leonard (until the late 90s, anyway - but there's plenty of material from before then). I name pets for him: Elmore and Sisco are my two cats. And you better know who Sisco is.

    I worked at a bookstore in Farmington Hills, where our grand opening featured the great EL as a guest. The crowd was so thin, and the staff so ill-informed (even I didn't know his stuff back then), that he swore on the spot that he'd never do a B. Dalton again.

    But I still love him. In Cambridge, MA, I tried to collect a second autograph (he signed a copy of City Primeval for me, trying to be polite, at B. Dalton). But I had purchased the book the minute it came out - a habit that I developed soon after I finished City Primeval - and the store owner, understandably, wanted him to sign only in-store purchases.


Thanks for commenting. I moderate comments, so it may take a while for your comment to appear. You might enjoy my book about Flint called "Teardown: Memoir of a Vanishing City," a Michigan Notable Book for 2014 and a finalist for the 33rd Annual Northern California Book Award for Creative NonFiction. Filmmaker Michael Moore described Teardown as "a brilliant chronicle of the Mad Maxization of a once-great American city." More information about Teardown is available at