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In Memoriam: April 2013

gallery_0413The unsung soul greats keep going. This month we lost Vince Montana (1), founder of the Salsoul Orchestra and member of Philadelphia International Records” houseband MFSB. He played on and/or arranged an endless list of late “60s and “70s classics by the likes of The Delfonics, The O”Jays, Billy Paul, The Stylistics, Wilson Pickett, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, The Intruders, Patti LaBelle, Ronny Dyson, The Whispers, William DeVaughn, Lou Rawls and many more.

I had been playing The Montana Sextet”s Heavy Vibes in my car on the day Montana died, and on a Friday almost two weeks later I played George Jones (2) (the song from the Any Major Telephone mix), who died later that day. I am making myself a car mix consisting of Michael F Bolton, Chris Brown, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit and Ted Nugent as we speak. Jones was, of course, a giant in country music. In a genre that is as much soul music as soul music itself, Jones was as tower of soul. He used his voice to great effect, of course, but it was the interpretation of the emotions which his songs communicated which made him a great of any musical kind.

I take no blame for the other headline death of April: that of Richie Havens (3). I don”t think the man really received the recognition he merited, not as a singer nor as a guitarist. Many people remember him for being the opening act at Woodstock. Those who met him testify that he was also a one of the nicest people you could ever hope to meet. This series by nature tends to emphasise the contributions which recently deceased people have made to music, but I think it is good to sometimes remember a musician not only for his music, but for being a thoroughly decent and nice person. Richie Havens clearly deserves this paragraph on both counts.

Harry J (4) is perhaps best known as the owner of the studio where Bob Marley and the Wailers, and other Island acts, did many of their recordings. His 1969 instrumental The Liquidator served as an inspiration for the British ska movement of the early 1980s “” and was sampled by the Staple Singers for their 1972 hit I”ll Take You There. Chelsea fans will claim the song as their own.

US baby boomers might well have been fans of Annette Funicello (5), one of the original Mouseketeers in The Mickey Mouse Club. But she was also the first female solo artist to have a US top 10 hit, with Tall Paul. The song was written by the Sherman brothers who thereby came to the attention of Walt Disney and proceeded to write the great songs for movies such as Mary Poppins and The Jungle Book.

We rarely pay much mind to the graphic designers of album covers. Storm Thorgerson (6) designed many covers you will know, including one of the most famous of them all: the cover of Pink Floyd”s The Dark Side Of The Moon (and, in fact, the covers of most Floyd albums). He also did the covers of the Led Zeppelin, Peter Gabriel, Genesis, Muse, Phish, 10cc, Black Sabbath, The Scorpions, Styx, The Cult, Ween, Biffy Clyro, Audioslave, The Cranberries, The Mars Volta and many more. He also directed music videos for Pink Floyd, Yes, Nik Kershaw, Paul Young and others. See the gallery below for just some of his album covers.



Johnnie Billington, 77, blues musician, founder of the Delta Blues Education Fund, on April 1

Roy Cox, 64, bass player of psychedelic rock band Bubble Puppy, on April 2
The Bubble Puppy – Hot Smoke & Sassafras (1969)

Harry J, 67, Jamaican musician, producer and studio owner, on April 3
Harry J & The All Stars – The Liquidator (1969)

Chris Bailey, 62, bass player of Australian rock band The Angels (or Angel City), on April 4
The Angels – Take A Long Line (1978)

Andy Johns, 61, British record producer  and engineer (Free, Humble Pie, Led Zeppelin, Rolling Stones), on April 7
The Rolling Stones – Sister Morphine (1971, as engineer)
Television – Prove It (1977, as producer)

Neil Smith, 59, early member of AC/DC, Rose Tattoo, on April 7

Annette Funicello, 70, actress (The Mickey Mouse Club) and singer, on April 8
Annette Funicello – Tall Paul (1957)

Sara Montiel, 85, Spanish actress and singer, on April 8

Emilio Pericoli, 85, Italian singer, on April 9
Emilio Pericoli – Al di là (1961)

Jimmy Dawkins, 76, blues singer and guitarist, on April 10
Jimmy Dawkins – Me, My Gitar And The Blues (2006)

Paul Wilson, 29, drummer of South African rock group Southern Gypsey Queen, on April 10
Southern Gypsey Queen – Radio Revolution (2011)

Don Blackman, 59, jazz-funk pianist and session musician, on April 11
Don Blackman – Holding You, Loving You (1982)

Vincent Montana, 85, percussionist, bandleader, arranger and composer, on April 13
Soul Survivors  – Expressway To Your Heart (1967)
The O’Jays ““ Backstabbers (1972)
Montana Sextet – Heavy Vibes (1982)

Chi Cheng, 42, bassist of alt.rock band The Deftones, after five-year coma on April 13
The Deftones ““ Teenager (2005)

George Jackson, 77, soul singer-songwriter, on April 14
Bob Seger & The Silver Bullet Band – Old Time Rock ‘n Roll (1979, as co-writer)
Otis Clay – The Only Way Is Up (1980, as co-writer)

Dave McArtney, singer and guitarist of New Zealand pop group Hello Sailor, on April 15
Hello Sailor – Gutter Black (1977)

Scott Miller, 53, member of pop groups Game Theory and The Loud Family, on April 15

George Beverly Shea, 104, gospel singer (Bill Graham crusades), on April 16

Rita MacNeil, 68, Canadian country-folk singer and variety show host, on April 16
Rita MacNeil – Working Man (1988)

Jim McCandless, 68, singer-songwriter, on April 16

Gary Biddles, singer of British indie groups Fools Dance and Presence, on April 17
Presence – On Ocean Hill (1993)

Yngve Moe, 55, bass guitarist of Norwegian rock band Dance with a Stranger, on April 17

Storm Thorgerson, 69, English LP cover designer, on April 18
Pink Floyd – Have A Cigar (1975, as cover designer)
Powderfinger – Burn Your Name (2009, as cover designer)

Cordell Mosson, 60, bass player with Parliament/Funkadelic), on April 18
Parliament – Chocolate City (1975)

Artie White, 76, southern soul singer, on April 20
Artie “˜Blues Boy” White – Don’t Pet My Dog (1990)

Chrissy Amphlett, 53, singer of Australian rock band Divinyls, on April 21
The Divinyls – Ring Me Up (1983)

Dani Crivelli, drummer of Swiss heavy metal group Krokus (1987-89), on April 21

Richie Havens, 72, American folk singer and guitarist, on April 22
Richie Havens – Handsome Johnny (1967)
Richie Havens – This Is The Hour (1983)
Richie Havens – Will The Circle Be Unbroken (2012)

Bob Brozman, 59, eclectic guitarist, on April 24

Paulo Emilio Vanzolini, 89, Brazilian samba composer, on April 25

George Jones, 81, country legend, on April 26
George Jones – Why Baby Why (1955)
George Jones – Things Have Gone To Pieces (1966)
George Jones – The One I Loved Back Then (Corvette Song) (1985)

Lillian Leach, 76, member of doo wop band The Mellows, on April 26
The Mellows – Smoke From Your Cigarette (1955)

GET IT or HERE (PW in comments)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    May 2nd, 2013 at 07:28 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Jen.S
    May 2nd, 2013 at 19:40 | #2

    “I am making myself a car mix consisting of Michael F Bolton, Chris Brown, Kid Rock, Limp Bizkit and Ted Nugent as we speak. ” I laughed out loud after reading that; I can give you a few more suggestions for your mix if you need them.

  3. Rhod
    May 4th, 2013 at 01:13 | #3

    Another fine compilation. Sad to see Chrissie Amphlett in there a great singer with real stage craft.

    Thanks for the great effort



  4. Anders F
    May 4th, 2013 at 13:36 | #4

    May they all rest n Peace.
    Sad to see Richie Havens on the list, I’m a fan of his 1978 collaboration with Steve Hackett, “Please Don’t Touch”. Also sad to hear about Storm Thorgerson, he’s the sleeve designer of many of my favourite albums.

  5. dogbreath
    May 6th, 2013 at 21:26 | #5

    Thanks for compiling this month’s roll call of the departed. Always sad to recognise names from your own “indestructible” youth. As a longtime fan of The Angels, sorry to learn of the bass player’s death. I was never a fan of Richie Havens or George Jones, but I do recognise the mark they made on popular music. RIP indeed.

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