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Motor City Cribs 

Briny R&B song-and-dance man Nathaniel Mayer scaled the pop charts in 1962 — as an 18-year-old — with “Village of Love,” a single on Detroit’s now-celebrated Fortune Records. That same year, Nathaniel’s parents purchased this home on the D’s east side, at the corner of Burns and Lambert near Van Dyke and I-94. The swivel-hipped Mayer returned to this house a year and a half ago, after his folks died. The one-story bungalow features a garage in the back and the interior favors his parent’s taste — furniture mostly from the ’60s and ’70s. “I love this place,” the seasoned shouter says. “I know everybody in the neighborhood. It reminds me of my youth and my parents.”

Mayer’s back-to-the-hood move coincided with his triumphant return — the 2004 Fat Possum album, I Just Want to Be Held, re-established his name. What’s more, the 62 year-old just completed a new record for the same label and it’s in the mixing stages at the Black Keys’ studio in Akron, Ohio.

Doug Coombe is an Ann Arbor-based photographer and frequent Metro Times contributor. Send comments and suggestions to

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