Tera Shirma Recording Studio in Detroit (pic taken in 1990)

Tera Shirma Studio B control room
The Elders began writing and recording material that was to be their first album in 1969. Gordon Neil was now their personal manager as well as producer, and because he was independent of any record label, he was mostly busy trying to secure funding for the album project. With that help of an investment manager from Dayton, OH and a few other friends, the project got under way.

The first sessions took place at Tera Shirma Recording in Detroit. Tera Shirma was an impressive studio built into a converted bank building, and was well-known at the time for a tremendous number of Motown hits that came out of there. The Elders spent two days recording there, with assistance from some of Detroit's finest musicians and engineers, including Dennis Coffy and Bob Babbitt.

Then it was back to Ohio, gigging, and writing. Gordon worked out a deal for studio time with a small studio in Cincinnati called: "Jewel Recording". The band spent the rest of the summer of 1970 recording there regularly, sometimes almost daily, like a "nine-to-five". By the end of the summer, they had nine or ten tracks nearing completion.

The term: "NEARING completion" is important here, because while the band had a number of tracks "in the can", they were un-finished, simply rough, unmixed tracks. Sessions to complete the mixing and mastering of those tracks had yet to be scheduled. And, up to that point, they still had less than 30 minutes of program time in total.

A few months passed, with little fanfare, and the group got a phone call from Mr. George Scheck, an entertainment manager from New York, who reported to the band that he had just bought the group's management contract from Gordon Neal, and "congratulations", the band's first album would be released world-wide within two weeks.

The band then asked: "WHAT album?". The question was not answered either directly or indirectly. The subject was dropped, as were the jaws of the band members. Sure enough though, the Elders' first album: "Looking for the Answer" hit the stores a couple weeks later. It had been released internationally, the proof of which came in the form of a friend of the band from college, who was then studying in Israel, had bought the album in a store there and wrote back to the group about it. The band, however, was not amused.

The album had not been finished, the songs that were released were not ready for "prime time" in the opinion of the band, and the group's contract had been sold off to someone without any input from the band members themselves whatsoever. To say that the band was "uncomfortable" with their new arrangement is a bit like saying the French were "unimpressed" by their royal family in 1789. Fortunately for Msrs. Scheck and Neil, guillotines were in short supply in the Ohio of the 1970's.

Nonetheless, the album was in fact released in the spring of 1971, and can be found HERE





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