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Saturday, January 22, 2022

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    Ray Parker Jr. summons his teen days at Motown ahead of film premiere

    On Wednesday, some 52 years after his first Hitsville recording session, Ray Parker Jr. stood in Studio A and pointed to a precise spot along the east wall.

    That’s where, as a 15-year-old guitar phenom, he sat alongside bassist James Jamerson as Motown’s Funk Brothers house band cut a track in 1969.

    Parker, visiting the Motown Museum on Wednesday, said he doesn’t remember the song. He recalls simply that he was “tickled pink” when Motown arranger Paul Riser phoned him for the session — and that his jaw dropped when Smokey Robinson came walking in.

    Ray Parker Jr. takes a selfie with Sheila Spencer, general manager of the Motown Museum.

    Parker’s Motown trip was part of a Detroit homecoming as the documentary “Who You Gonna Call?” makes its U.S. premiere Thursday evening at the Redford Theatre, part of the 2021 Freep Film Festival. The lively film chronicles Parker’s deep career as a session player in Detroit and L.A. before the blossoming of his own time in the limelight.

    More:37 years after ‘Ghostbusters,’ Ray Parker Jr. has a story to tell in new documentary

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