The wail of a saxophone harmonizing with the reverberating cords of an electric guitar, the jingle of a tambourine accompanying that "call-back" singing style. Since the 1960s, Motown musicians from the Four Tops to The Supremes and The Temptations have been, and will forever be, known for that smooth style of soul music integrated with a distinct pop influence — the Motown Sound.
Dave Revels not only shared a stage with some of these legends, but is dedicated to keeping the Motown Sound alive.
Revels has been a part of the music and entertainment industry for 30 years. As a member of Hall of Fame group The Drifters, he often toured with the Four Tops and The Temptations.
"I idolized (Four Tops lead vocalist) Levi Stubbs; I was enamored with his voice," said Revels. "When I was a teenager, I used to try and hit every note he could hit."
Throughout his career, Revels’ love for Motown music stayed strong, along with the respect and admiration he had for both his fellow and former fellow artists.
"After Levi's passing, I would hear people singing his music, and they never made an attempt to even really try ... I mean, if you're going to do his music, you have to really try to sing it like him," said Revels. "it was upsetting to me. I don't think it's fair to the fans."
Soon after, Revels created a Four Tops tribute band, which he says received rave reviews every time they performed. So he decided to take it even further. Three years and hundreds of auditions later, the Shadows of the Sixties: A Tribute to Motown's Super Groups was born.
The all-star cast of musicians and singers who have worked or still work with legends of the Motown or Rock ‘n’ Roll scene brings their signature blast from the past to the Oxford Performing Arts Center on Thursday. Not altering any songs, the group performs them exactly the way you first heard them on the radio — note for note, same arrangements and choreography. According to Revels, every vocalist has the ability to give you the aura and essence of the original performer.
"I tell people, we've been blessed with the talent to entertain people,” said Revels. “We've been blessed with an opportunity to make a living doing what we love. And we're also blessed with the opportunity to make people feel good when they may not be feeling their best."