Detroit MoTour connects tourists with music history

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John Milroy believes that pride in the city of Detroit is coming back, and to help remind Detroiters what they ought to be proud of, he and his wife C.J. have established the Detroit MoTour, which is happening this Saturday, September 20th.

The Milroys began showing their musician friends, who were passing through town on tour, the historical sites around the city. Their knowledge of Detroit’s musical past spread by word of mouth and garnered the interest of strangers eager to learn more. In preparation for the Motour, the couple went on over two dozen guided tours in other cities, both musical and otherwise. One advantage over other cities’ tours is that most of Detroit’s sites are still standing.

Some of the highlights from the tour include stops at Baker's Keyboard Lounge, Woodlawn Cemetery, Marvin Gaye's house, and United Sound Systems Recording Studios. Passengers on the MoTour will get a tour through United, which was converted into recording studios in the 1930's. United has had a plethora of legendary artists work within its walls including John Lee Hooker, George Clinton, Miles Davis, MC5 and The Temptations. It is also where Berry Gordy produced what would become the first Motown single, Marv Johnson's "Come to Me."

The Milroy's have a special connection to Johnson; when they learned that the late singer was buried in an unmarked grave, they held a fundraiser to provide him with a headstone. The couple did the same for legendary session drummer Uriel Jones, who is also buried at Woodlawn.

For C.J. and John Milroy, this venture comes from a place of passion and pride. The mission of the tour is to share Detroit's rich musical heritage with whomever is interested. "Motown comes from us, locally," John professed. "I want people to know how closely tied it is to the city."

The tour begins at 1p.m. and will run about four and a half hours. The bus leaves from McShane’s in Corktown. A few seats are still available. Tickets are $46. Since the last stop is a bar, the tour is 21 and older.


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