Dog-loving Bobby Murray, seen with Kato, will play the Loving Touch in Ferndale tonight. (Linnea Murray)
The place to be tonight at 8 p.m. is the Loving Touch in Ferndale, where primo blues guitarist Bobby Murray will perform with a roster of all-star Detroit singers to celebrate the release of his new album, “I’m Sticking With You.” The disc is made up of songs Murray wrote over 20 years of working as a sideman with the great Etta James, with whom he played until her 2012 death.
“As a songwriter, it’s like John Lee Hooker said — ‘It’s in you, and it has to come out,’ ” said Murray. “Some of these songs wouldn’t go away, like an itch. I knew I had to finish them.” The album was partly inspired by the fiery blues legend James. Murray always wanted to place one of his songs with his boss, but she died before he could accomplish that. “I always admired her songwriting — ‘Something Got a Hold on Me,’ ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’ — even though she was dismissive of it,” Murray said.
“I’m Sticking With You” features several different singers: Barbara Payton (she sings the album’s signature ballad, “Rock My Soul”), Red Redding and Paul Randolph; all three will be at the Loving Touch tonight. “I always liked the idea of a revue, like the Ike and Tina Turner Revue, the Motown Revue, the Stax Revue,” said Murray. “They would come out, you’d say ‘Wow, that was the most amazing act,’ then it’d be on to the next one, nobody would wear their welcome out. I wanted to do a record like that.”
Twenty feet from stardom
There are many Detroit singers who have forged successful careers as backing and session vocalists; one example is Dennis Collins, brother of Detroit DJ/producer John “Jammin” Collins. Dennis, who’s worked with Aretha
Franklin, Beyoncé and Diana Ross,to name a few, is currently a major player in The Rascals’ Once Upon a Dream tour, which opened on Broadway last year and comes to the Fox on Nov. 15. “I’ve been a big fan of The Rascals since I was a kid in Detroit and their music was played regularly on CKLW,” said Dennis. “If ever there was a dream come true, for me this is it.”
On the philanthropy circuit
Philanthropist Florine Ministrelli became emotional at a reception last week celebrating the placement of the Ministrelli name on Beaumont Hospital’s Ministrelli Women’s Heart Center in Royal Oak. “This means so much to Peter and me,” Florine said. She and J. Peter Ministrelli donated millions to fund the center, which treats heart disease in women. Spotted in the crowd: Harriett and Sheldon Fuller, Jack Perlmutter, Dan Clancy, Sally Marx, Mark and Lois Shaevsky.