Sunday, June 27, 2010

Motown Momma

Carlo is a 72 year old black man in a 20 year old white boy body.

In the more than five years I've known him, he's been a walking encyclopedia about Motown.  From its biggest stars to more modest songwriter, Carlo can tell you who's who and why we should know them.

It's great fun to work with Carlo.  We both have the 25th anniversary of Motown album. Mine's on vinyl and I bought it when it first came out.  We both have Mary Wilson's autobiograpy Dreamgirl:My life as a Supreme. His is autographed.

A couple of weeks ago, we went to see Smokey Robinson in concert.  Smokey's voice has only gained in strength and range over the years. He's added to his songlist, both as a singer and songwriter. He pulled off contemporary pieces that put the original artists to shame. I was deeply moved by his version of "Don't know why."

Watching Carlo at the concert though was its own experience.  He was in his element. Element.  There was nothing awkward or strange about his connection to the music or to the performer.  I felt like I was seeing Carlo where he not only belonged, but thrived. 

He's the poster boy for reincarnation.

His knowledge of Motown is well-known and recognized by other fans, most of them two to three times his age. When Mary Wilson was looking for someone to manage her website, she was given Carlo's name.  He wasn't a complete unknown to her. She'd been looking for specific photographs several years ago, and Carlo had helped her find exactly what she was looking for. He took it out of his own collection. 

I tell you all this,not only because I adore Carlo, but also because as writers it's all too easy to fall into stereotype.  We hope our characters don't become two dimensional or cliche but we rarely look beneath the exterior to see what makes them truly unique. Not only is a Carlo a thoughtful, generous young man, his soul vibrates with the music of another time.  Yet he's fully engaged in the here and now.He's found a way to make his passion contemporary.

Carlo is the webmaster for Mary Wilson.


  1. Motown totally rocks, and those who didn't grow up in its heyday really missed out. Let's hope that there are more Carlos out there to pass the word about what really good music is supposed to sound like.

  2. OMG - Was Smokey here? How did I miss that. Motown is my fave sound, but I didn't know that about you. How could that be? I bought his Don't Know Why as soon as it came out. It gives me chills.

  3. Looks like I'm not the only Motown Momma over here. :D

    Carlo is one of a kind but his enthusiasm and passion for all things Motown give me hope that the sound will not be lost.

    Miz Elen - I just know what we're listening to next time we're together. :)