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In Memoriam – July 2020

August 4th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

The month started off quite brutally, with July 6 being particularly harsh. Things eased as the month neared its end. I’m still noting where people died of complications from Covid-19, since there are still idiots who think that protecting others from catching this virus is unimportant or incompatible with their screwed ideologies. Not masking up kills people. Be decent. Wear those masks.

The Maestro
You know a musician’s lifework is universally beloved when it is hailed by music fans of every genre, a top football club and the Vatican. The AS Roma football team got it right when it wore on its sleeves the legend “Grazie, Maestro” below the outline of the face of film composer Ennio Morricone by way of tribute. Readers of this blog needn’t be instructed about the genius of Morricone, nor be subjected to a tortured list of my favourite pieces of Morricone compositions — such a list would never end. But should there be anybody left who is uncertain what the Morricone fuss is all about, let me refer them to the exquisite soundtrack of Once Upon A Time In America, a masterpiece which guides you through an emotional journey (one of the featured tacks is from that soundtrack).

The Big Mac
Readers of this corner of the Internet also needn’t be reminded that before Fleetwood Mac were coked-up million-sellers in sunny California, they were a blues-rock band in grimy England (possibly experimenting with a variety of drugs, but more of that in a bit). The first incarnation had at its centre guitarist and songwriter Peter Green, whose blues guitar chops moved BB King to issue highest praise. For Fleetwood Mac, Green wrote Black Magic Woman (later a hit for another gifted guitarist, featured on Any Major Originals – The Classics), the instrumental mega-hit Albatross, Oh Well, The Green Manalishi, and others.

Green wasn’t into the stardom or the money that came with it. His experimentations with LSD also had an effect on his mental state. He was eventually diagnosed with schizophrenia. Green left Fleetwood Mac in 1971. He continued to record here and there, but faded into obscurity (though his 1979 album In The Skies was very good). In 1979 his old pals from Fleetwood Mac included Green, uncredited, on the song Brown Eyes from Tusk.

The Devil’s Competitor
Will there be a rematch for a fiddle after the death of Charlie Daniels? The country-rocker became a sorry example of the hateful culture-warrior that brought the world the Disaster Express that is Donald Trump. But in his younger day, Daniels was a member of the counterculture and a supporter of Jimmy Carter’s presidential campaign. Let us remember that Charlie Daniels objected to the KKK’s use of his poorly-titled Southern Rock anthem The South’s Gonna Do It Again.

Before he broke through as a headliner, Daniels was a session musician, playing for the likes of Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Al Kooper, Flatts & Scruggs, Ringo Starr and, especially, the Marshall Tucker Band.

The Jazz Singer
With the death of Annie Ross, all three of the pioneering jazz vocalese trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross are gone, with Dave Lambert having died already in 1966, and Jon Hendricks in 2017. Ross left the trio in 1962, succeeded by Yolande Bavan, the sole survivor of either line-up. Born in London as Annabelle Short, Ross came to the US as a child. In 1943 she played Judy Garland’s sister in Presenting Lily Mars. A year later she won a songwriting contest, with Johnny Mercer recording her song, Let’s Fly. She joined Lambert and Hendricks in 1957, having earlier worked alongside Lambert. Initially they wanted to record with different female singers, but Ross so impressed them that she was invited to join the group.

While with the trio, she also recorded solo albums, and in 1962 left the group. She went on to found a high-class jazz club in London, and had a good career as a film actress.

The Synth Pioneer
Remember that strange keyboard solo on Del Shannon’s Runaway (a song with so many delightful touches)? That was played on a musitron by its inventor, Max Crook. The musitron was an early type of monophonic synthethiser which, according to Wikipedia, was “a clavioline heavily enhanced with additional resistors, television tubes, and parts from household appliances, old amplifiers, and reel-to-reel tape machines”. It influenced the likes of Berry Gordy, Joe Meek, Ennio Morricone, John Barry and Roy Wood.

Crook was operating his invention on stage as a member of Del Shannon’s backing group when he played a chord-change from A-minor to G. The singer and the keyboardist used that as the basis for Runaway, which turned out to be a million-seller.

The Toto Father
I imagine growing up in the Porcaro household must have been a blast, at least from a music point of view. Joe Porcaro, who has died at 90, was a session drummer and percussionist in the Wrecking Crew, and all three of his sons — Jeff, Steve and Mike (two of whom Joe outlived) — became sought-after session musicians themselves, and founders of the group Toto. Porcaro Sr did percussion work on all Toto albums in their heyday (including percussions and marimabas on their 1982 mega-hit Africa). Joe Porcaro also made it a point to teach budding musicians: he was a co-founder of the Los Angeles College of Music.

Porcaro also played on the scores of films such as Kelly’s Heroes, Enter The Dragon, The Color Purple, E.T., Romancing The Stone, The Right Stuff, Alien Resurrection, Independence Day, Taps, The Abyss, Empire Of The Sun, Die Hard, Joe Versus The Volcano, The Naked Gun, Edward Scissorhands, Dances With Wolves, and many more.

The Soul Singer
The news came too late for inclusion in last month’s In Memoriam, so we pay tribute to Tami Lynn here. The New Orleans soul singer didn’t have the long career her talent deserved. Her only hit, I’m Gonna Run Away From You, came in the UK six years after she first recorded it. Lynn did frequent backing vocals for Dr John as well as for The Rolling Stones.

The Glee Singer
Naya Rivera is the third main cast member of the TV series Glee to die young (a subject she sang about in Season 5 of the show). Preceding her tragic death in a drowning were those of Cory Monleith (of suicide) and Mark Salling (also of suicide, after being convicted of possessing child porn). Even before Rivera’s apparent death, there was talk of the “Curse of Glee”. Rivera died heroically, saving her four-year-old son from drowning in a lake, but not able to save herself. It seems a cruel irony that at the time of her death, Rivera was a star on a TV series titled Step Up: High Water.

The text above and the list below is included as a PDF file.

Tami Lynn, 77, soul singer, on June 26
Tami Lynn – I’m Gonna Run Away From You (1965)
Dr John – Gris-Gris Gumbo Ya Ya (1968, on backing vocals)
Tami Lynn – Wings Upon Your Horn (1972)
The Rolling Stones – Let It Loose (1972, on backing vocals)

Max Crook, 83, American keyboardist and songwriter, on July 1
Del Shannon – Runaway (1961, as co-writer and on musitron)
Maximilian – The Snake (1961, as Maximilian)
Brian Hyland (1970, on keyboards)

Marvin Brown, 66, falsetto singer of soul group The Softones, on July 3
The Softones – Maybe Tomorrow (1977, on lead vocals)

Sebastián Athié, 24, Mexican actor and musician, on July 4

Silvano Silvi, 83, singer of Italian pop group Gli Erranti, on July 4
Silvano Silvi e gli Erranti – Tenendoti per mano (1963)

Cleveland Eaton, 80, jazz bassist, producer, composer, publisher, on July 5
Ramsey Lewis Trio – Wade In The Water (1966, on bass)
Cleveland Eaton – Bama Boogie Woogie (1978)

Tiloun, 53, Réunionese singer, on July 5
Tiloun – Regninay

Ennio Morricone, 91, Italian film composer, on July 6
Ennio Morricone – The Man With The Harmonica (1968)
Ennio Morricone – My Name Is Nobody (1973)
Ennio Morricone – Childhood Memories (1984)
Ennio Morricone – Cinema Paradiso (1988)

Joe Porcaro, 90, session drummer and percussionist, on July 6
Nancy Sinatra – Sugar Town (1966, on percussions)
Boz Scaggs – Lido Shuffle (on drums)
Cheryl Lynn – You’re The One (1978, on percussions)
Toto – Pamela (1988, on percussion)

Charlie Daniels, 83, country singer-songwriter and musician, on July 6
Bob Dylan – Lay Lady Lay (1969, on electric guitar)
Charlie Daniels Band – Long Haired Country Boy (1975)
Charlie Daniels Band – High Lonesome (1976)
Charlie Daniels Band – Drinkin’ My Baby Goodbye (1985)

Lane Tietgen, 74, musician and songwriter, on July 7
The Serfs – Evil Days (1969, on guitar and bass, as writer)

Naya Rivera, 33, actress (Glee), singer and author, drowned on July 8
Naya Rivera – Valerie (2010)
Naya Rivera – If I Die Young (2014)

Patricia Majalisa, 53, South African singer, on July 9

Eddie Gale, 78, jazz trumpeter, on July 10
Eddie Gale – The Rain (1968)
Sun Ra and His Arkestra – Flamingo (1979, on trumpet)

Gordon Stone, 70, bluegrass musician, on July 10
Gordon Stone – Alabama Banjo Dream (1981)

Phil Ashley, 65, session keyboardist, on July 10
Debbie Harry – French Kissin’ In The USA (1986, on keyboards)

Cosmas Magaya, 67, Zimbabwean mbira musician, of Covid-19 on July 10

Rich Priske, 52, Canadian bassist, on July 11
Matthew Good Band – Strange Days (2000, as member)

Lil Marlo, 30, rapper, shot dead on July 11

Benjamin Keough, 27, backup singer and Elvis Presley’s grandson, suicide on July 12

Rod Bernard, 79, swamp pop singer, on July 12
Rod Bernard – This Should Go On Forever (1959)

Jarno Sarkula, 47, member if Finnish avant garde group Alamaailman Vasarat, on July 12

Judy Dyble, 71, English folk singer-songwriter, on July 12
Fairport Convention – I Don’t Know Where I Stand (1968, as member on lead vocals)
The Conspirators with Judy Dyble – One Sure Thing (2008)

Raúl Pagano, Argentinian rock keyboard player, on July 14

J. Lionel, 72, Belgian singer, on July 14

Rudy Palacios, 74 member of Tejano group Sunny & the Sunliners, of Covid-19 on July 14

Jimmy Walker, drummer of 1960s pop group The Knickerbockers, on July 15
The Knickerbockers – Lies (1965)

Jamie Oldaker, 68, session drummer and percussionist (Eric Clapton), on July 16
Eric Clapton – Lay Down Sally (1978, on drums and percussions)

Víctor Víctor, 71, Dominican singer-songwriter, Covid-19 on July 16

Ken Chinn, 57, singer of Canadian punk band SNFU, on July 16
SNFU – She’s Not On The Menu (1986)

Emitt Rhodes, 70, singer-songwriter and musician, on July 19
The Merry-Go-Round – Live (1967, as writer and on lead vocals)

Dobby Dobson, 78, Jamaican reggae singer, producer, of Covid-19 on July 21
Dobby Dobson – Loving Pauper (1970)

Annie Ross, 89, singer jazz trio Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, songwriter, and actress, on July 21
Charlie Parker And His Orchestra – In The Still Of The Night (1957, on vocals)
Lambert, Hendricks & Ross – Twisted (1959, also as co-writer)
Annie Ross with the Gerry Mulligan Quartet – All Of You (1959)

Tim Smith, 59, English rock singer-songwriter, musician, producer, on July 22
Cardiacs – Is This The Life? (1988, as singer and writer)

Dominic Sonic, 55, French rock singer, on July 23
Dominic Sonic – When My Tears Run Cold (1989)

Regis Philbin, 88, TV personality and entertainer, on July 24
Regis Philbin – You Make Me Feel So Young (2004)

CP Lee, 70, English musician, on July 25
Alberto y Lost Trios Paranoias – Gobbing On Life (1977)

Peter Green, 73, English blues rock singer-songwriter and guitarist, on July 25
Fleetwood Mac – The Green Manalishi (1970)
Peter Green – A Fool No More (1979)
Fleetwood Mac – Brown Eyes (1979, uncredited on guitar)

Miss Mercy, 71, singer with Zappa project The GTO’s, on July 27
The GTO’s – Circular Circulation (1969)

Denise Johnson, 56, singer with Scottish rock group Primal Scream, on July 27
Primal Scream – Don’t Fight It, Feel It (1991, on lead vocals)

Richard Wallace, 80, singer and guitarist with The Mighty Clouds of Joy, on July 27
The Mighty Clouds Of Joy – Stoned World (1974)
The Mighty Clouds Of Joy – In These Changing Time (1979)

Bent Fabric, 95, Danish jazz pianist and composer, on July 28
Bent Fabric – The Alleycat (1962, also a writer)

Renato Barros, 76, Brazilian singer and guitarist, on July 28
Renato e seus Blue Caps – Darling (1971, as frontman)

Malik B., 47, rapper with The Roots, on July 29
The Roots – Section (1996, on rap)

Balla Sidibé, 78, bandleader of Senegal’s Orchestra Baobab, on July 29
Orchestra Baobab – Balla Daffe (2001, also as writer)

Juan Ramón, 80, Argentine singer and actor, on July 30

Bill Mack, 88, country singer, songwriter and radio DJ, of Covid-19 on July 31
Bill Mack – Drinking Champagne (1966, also as writer)
LeAnn Rimes – Blue (1996, as writer)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    August 4th, 2020 at 09:49 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Dave Heasman
    August 5th, 2020 at 14:51 | #2

    Hi
    Jamie Oldaker played on Bob Seger records back when he was good.
    And C P Lee left satirical rock n roll and became an academic with sortof standup as a sideline. I saw him doing an act of Lord Buckley monologues in the 80s and it was brilliant.

  3. halfhearteddude
    August 5th, 2020 at 15:09 | #3

    Yeah, so many Seger tracks Oldaker played on that I love.

  4. Dave Berthiaume
    August 6th, 2020 at 17:03 | #4

    Emmitt Rhodes fan over here. There’s a documentary called “The One Man Beatles” which can be streamed somewhere out there and is worth watching

  5. Rhodb
    August 7th, 2020 at 23:10 | #5

    So grateful for the In Memoriams

    Regards

    Rhodb

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