July Night Filled With Mo­town Hits At Iron­stone

Escalon Times - - NEWS - BY VIRGINIA STILL vstill@escalon­times.com

Bring­ing their soul and R&B sounds to Iron­stone Am­phithe­atre on Satur­day, July 21 at 8 p.m. with three decades of tracks like “Brick House,” “Easy,” and “Night­shift” the Grammy award win­ning artists The Com­modores along with The Is­ley Broth­ers and The Fam­ily Stone will bring clas­sic Mo­town to Mur­phys.

The Com­modores formed in 1968 af­ter be­ing dis­cov­ered by Berry Gordy, Record Ex­ec­u­tive and Pro­ducer for Mo­town that in­cluded Thomas McClary, Lionel Richie, Wal­ter “Clyde” Orange, Wil­liam King, and Ron­ald LaPread. They have sold 75 mil­lion al­bums world­wide.

As for­tune would have it, the Com­modores drum­mer shipped off to the Navy which left an open­ing that Orange took ad­van­tage of and slid right into the po­si­tion. Be­ing that he played drums in the high school band and could read mu­sic as well as sing this was a great fit for him. The group had also seen him play with other groups and was pleased that Orange was on board.

“Af­ter that (high school) grad­u­at­ing out into the street hood of the world and learn­ing to gig, in other words make money for play­ing the drums,” said Orange. “I bought my first drum set and drove the fam­ily crazy be­cause I wanted to learn to play. It didn’t mat­ter to me at that time. It was just for the love of what I was do­ing.”

In the be­gin­ning af­ter play­ing a few clubs on the East Coast and be­ing asked to per­form for weeks at a time they be­gan to have a fol­low­ing.

The buzz was cre­ated and peo­ple started tak­ing no­tice of The Com­modores. The Jack­son 5 was in need of an open­ing act so they reached out to the group, which be­came their opener off and on for about five years.

“We just pulled to­gether,” ex­pressed Orange about com­ing to­gether as a group. “We were re­ally, re­ally, tight, and we moved to­gether and dressed alike and had a man­ager that wanted to see us suc­ceed. We were a fam­ily and we were go­ing to make it.”

Rem­i­nisc­ing about the ex­pe­ri­ence of tour­ing with the Jack­son 5, Orange re­calls Michael Jack­son when he was around nine or ten years old tap­ping them on the head and run­ning off.

“There were other groups that opened for them but they could not hold their own,” added Orange. “We held our own.”

With the record in­dus­try chang­ing so much through the years The Com­modores have weath­ered the storms and con­tin­ued their legacy tour­ing and en­ter­tain­ing au­di­ences. Al­though the mem­bers have changed through­out the years, orig­i­nal mem­bers Orange and King along with the third mem­ber J.D. Ni­cholas will be bring­ing the clas­sic hits to Iron­stone.

“We re­spect the busi­ness,” ex­pressed Orange. “We be­lieve in be­ing on time, we be­lieve in uni­for­mity in every­thing that we do and it shows. We be­lieve in look­ing cor­rect. We are just one for all and all for one, like the three mus­ke­teers.”

The Com­modores re­ceived their first Grammy in 1986 with the song “Night­shift” which Orange helped write and there was an­other track that he is cer­tainly proud that many know called “Brick House.”

As he sings some lyrics and then per­forms the beat to “Brick House,” Orange shared that the pro­ducer at the time called him Clyde and let him know that he be­lieved he just wrote a hit.

“I thank the Lord for two of the songs that he blessed me to be able to write,” added Orange. “It was just an in­spi­ra­tion and I put the words to it. It was fun. That was a bless­ing from the Lord.”

They do not know how much longer they will be tour­ing and not sure what the fu­ture holds but they do love what they do and love bring­ing their rou­tines and songs to the crowd.

“It is through God’s grace and mercy that we are still to­gether to­day,” stated Orange. “We are like broth­ers. We can’t wait to get in the place to do our thing and get some ya­hoos. You don’t take from the peo­ple; you give to the peo­ple. That is Com­modore Coun­try.”


The Com­modores, from left, Wil­liam King, Wal­ter “Clyde” Orange, and J.D. Ni­cholas will be per­form­ing at Iron­stone Am­phithe­atre on Satur­day, July 21 at 8 p.m. along with the Is­ley Broth­ers and the Fam­ily Stone.

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