March 31, 2013

i’m still unable to use my hands so i’m turning over my column today to my long time friend patti dahlstrom and the passing of songwriter producer deke richards…


“Deke Richards was one of those wonderfully creative men, who also happened to be a good man, a kind man. I met Deke in 1970 at Motown, in fact Deke Richards was the sole reason I was signed to Jobete as a staff writer. Herb Eiseman, then head of Motown’s publishing division, Jobete, was listening to a tape of my songs when Deke happened to be passing by his open door and heard “What If” wafting into the hallway. He stopped and listened till the end saying, “Who wrote that?” Herb looked at the tape box and said “Patti Dahlstrom.” Deke answered, “Sign her.” 

Several weeks later signed, sealed and delivered I was a Motown writer! Deke very kindly took me under his wing. He gave me tapes of completed tracks for various artists and asked me to write a lyric. Once he was in the hospital and asked me to come up to see him. There in hospital gown attire, headphones connected to a small tape player, he sat in bed bobbing his head to the beat. I felt very uncomfortable, “Shouldn’t you be resting?” He assured me he was fine and began playing the track for me. “The title is open but here’s the first line.. you can change it. It’s about someone who takes and takes and never gives back until there’s nothing left.. until it’s too late.” The metaphor was about a well running dry. We sat listening over and over and no thought came to me except the hospital room and post- operative Deke. I took the tape home and had a lyric by the time he returned to work. 
The great thing about Deke was that he was always thinking, creating, excited about it all, and he had the most beautiful manners, always a gentleman to me.  Nothing ever came of our efforts together, still it was wonderful trying with him. 
In the last 4 years we renewed our friendship when the UK released a compilation CD of my music. I contacted Deke to let him know, and to share memories and update each other on what had happened since. We stayed in touch until recently when his illness took him from us. I will be forever grateful, as it was Deke Richards who gave me the break I needed just in time. I do not believe in death as a final parting, only as a new beginning. When I cross I’ll see you then, Deke, and we’ll write another song, a heavenly one. Until then, dear friend, thank you for everything.”
He wrote one of my favorite Motown songs, Love Child. 
For a career profile:
Finally. originally written for our friend, Jim Croce on the night of his plane crash dedicated also to Deke Richards “Sending My Good Thoughts To You”written by Patti Dahlstrom and Artie Wayne, performed by Patti Dahlstrom.

To reach Patti Dahlstrom


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