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In Memoriam – November 2011

December 5th, 2011 4 comments

Everybody knows that Ringo Starr left Rory Storm and The Hurricanes to replace Pete Best in The Beatles. This month, Ringo’s replacement in the Hurricanes passed on at the age of 67. As a bandleader, Keef Hartley later played at Woodstock. He died on November 27.

It is not very well known that boxing legend Joe Frazier, my favourite fighter of all time, was also a bit of a soul singer. Some of his stuff cashed in on his boxing background; the song featured here is a straight soul number, and it’s pretty good.

In July we lost song-writer Jerry Ragovoy; this month his sometime writing partner Jimmy Norman died. They wrote Time Is On My Side together.

A bit of spookiness happened on Wednesday: On my way to work, The Soul Children’s All Day Preaching (featured HERE ) came on the iPod, and later at work I played the quite amazing  I’ll Be The Other Woman (feature HERE). A couple of days later I learned that the leader of The Soul Children, J Blackfoot had died on the same day.

It is a pity that most readers of this blog won’t understand the lyrics of Franz-Josef Degenhardt‘s Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern, an indictment of what Germans call the Spiessergesellschaft ““ the squares. As a child, the protagonist from a “better home” likes to play with the working class children (the “Schmuddelkinder” of the title), but is then forced to abandon them. The kids tease him for that, and “for revenge he got rich”, and disciplines his own son for playing with the lower classes. But I’m doing the song injustice: in one passage Degenhardt uses words that actually sound as harsh and bitter as the protagonist feels. The leftist singer, incidentally, was a cousin of a conservative cardinal in the Catholic Church.

Finally, Andrea True‘s fascinating journey from porn-star to disco queen came to an end.


Reese Palmer, 73, member of doo wop group The Marquees (with Marvin Gaye), backing singer for Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry, Billy Stewart, on October 27
The Marquees – Wyatt Earp (1957)
Chuck Berry – Back In The USA (1959, as backing singer)

Beryl Davis, 87, British big band singer and actress, on October 28
Arthur Young And Hatchett”s Swingtette – How Am I To Know (1940, as vocalist)
Jane Russell, Connie Haines, Beryl Davis, and Della Russell – Do Lord (1954)

Liz Anderson, 81, country singer-songwriter and mother of Lynn Anderson, on October 31
Merle Haggard – (My Friends Are Gonna Be) Strangers (1964, as songwriter)

Christiane Legrand, 81, French jazz singer, on November 1
Les Double Six – Ruby (1964)
Christiane Legrand – Maldonne (1968)

Cory Smoot, 34, guitarist of heavy metal  group Gwar, on November 3
Gordon Beck, 75, British jazz pianist and composer, on November 6
The Gordon Beck Quartet – Monday, Monday (1968)

Joe Frazier, 67, World Heavyweight Champion and part-time soul singer, on November 7
Joe Frazier – If You Go, Stay Gone (1971)

Andrea True, 68, porn actress-cum-disco star, on November 7
Andrea True Connection – More More More (1976)

Heavy D (Dwight Arrington Myers), 44, Jamaican-born American rapper and actor, on November 8
Heavy D – Is It Good To You (1991)

Jimmy Norman, 74, soul and jazz musician and songwriter, on November 8
Irma Thomas – Time Is On My Side (1964, as lyricist)
Bill Wells, 84, bluegrass musician, on November 8

Andy Tielman, 75, Dutch Indo-rock pioneer, on November 10
Andy Tielman – If I Only Had Time (2006)

Doyle Bramhall, 62, blues drummer and singer-songwriter, on November 12
Stevie Ray Vaughan – Dirty Pool (1983, as drummer)

Dixie Fasnacht, 101, New Orleans jazz singer, clarinetist and Bourbon Stret club owner, on September 13
Lee Pockriss, 87, songwriter (Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini, Tracy), on September 14
Perry Como – Catch A Falling Star (1957)

Jackie Leven, 61, Scottish folk singer-songwriter, on November 14
Jackie Leven – Hotel Mini Bar (2010)

Franz-Josef Degenhardt, 79, German protest singer-songwriter, satirist and writer, on November 14
Franz-Josef Degenhardt – Spiel nicht mit den Schmuddelkindern (1965)

Laura Kennedy, bassist of punk-funk band Bush Tetras, on November 14
Bush Tetras – Too Many Creeps (1980)
Moogy Klingman, 61, keyboardist with prog-rock band Utopia, on November 15
Utopia – Set Me Free (1980, live)

Gary Garcia, 63, member of novelty duo Buckner & Garcia, on November 17
Buckner & Garcia – Pac-Man Fever (1982)

Paul Yandell, 76, country guitarist, on November 21

Paul Motian, 80, influential jazz drummer, on November 22
Bill Evans Trio – Autumn Leaves (1959)
Barry Llewellyn, 63, founding member of Jamaican ska/reggae group The Heptones, on November 23
The Heptones – Fattie Fattie (1966)

Ludwig Hirsch, 65, Austrian singer-songwriter, of suicide on November 24

Coco Robicheaux, 64, New Orleans blues musician, on November 25
Coco Robicheaux – Shake Down Here

Ross MacManus, 84, English musician and father of Elvis Costello, on November 25

Don DeVito, 72, producer of Bob Dylan in the mid- and late 1970s and record company exec, on November 25
Bob Dylan – Sara (1976, as producer)

Keef Hartley, 67, English blues drummer (with Toots Mayall a.o.) and bandleader, on November 27
Keef Hartley Band – Too Much Thinking (1969)

Thomas Roady, 62, drummer for Ricky Scaggs, James Brown, Art Garfunkel, Dixie Chicks, Lynyrd Synyrd a.o., on November 28
Vince Gill – What The Cowgirls Do (1994, as drummer)

Nelly Byl, 92, prolific Belgian songwriter, on November 30
The Gibson Brothers – Que Sera Mi Vida (1980, as songwriter)

J. Blackfoot, 65, soul singer, on November 30
The Soul Children -  I Want To Be Loved (1972)
J. Blackfoot – Taxi (1983)

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In Memoriam – November/December 2010

January 5th, 2011 8 comments

The Grim Reaper took things easy in November ““ so much so that there was no pressing need for an update “” but he could barely stop himself once he got into the swing of things in the fnal month of 2010 (and, alas, has not wasted time getting going in 2011).

A couple of artists fell victim to violent crime: New Orleans rapper Magnolia $horty died in an apparent drive-by shooting (as for the lyrics of her song…oh my), and jazz rock drummer Billy Maddox was shot dead in a burglary in Austin, Texas.

Also desperately sad was the suicide of Barclay James Harvest’s Woolly Wolstenholme. The prog-rocker apparently had gone through mental suffering for a long time. In 1976 he and his band released a most affecting song titled Suicide (which calls to mind Sailing); my choice of it to mark Wolstenholme’s death is not intended to be ironic.

Australian rock singer James Freud also took his own life, apparently giving up his battle against alcoholism. The anguish of those who commit suicide is unimaginable to those of us who have not been on that edge. It’s not the coward’s way out, as the cliché would have it, for it takes immense courage to go through with suicide. Nor is it selfish, because surely their pain overrides all other considerations.

The Grim Reaper launched an onslaught on the world of R&B in late December, claming on successive days Sweet Inspiration Myrna Smith, Dorothy Jones of the Cookies, Bernard Wilson of Harold Melvin & the Bluenotes, and Teena Marie.

On a personal level, I was sad to learn of the not unexpected death of Cape Town jazz maestro Tony Schilder, who provided me with many hours of top notch jazz entertainment. Tony was an immensely talented musician and a true gentleman. I marked his death over at Star Maker Machine. The guitar solo on the featured song, incidentally, is by Jonathan Butler.

Talking of jazz men, James Moody also passed away; fans of Aretha Franklin, George Benson and Amy Whitehouse will be familiar with the vocal takes on his mood.

Eddie Hazell, 76, American jazz musician guitarist, on November 2

Hotep Idris Galeta, 69, South African jazz pianist, on November 3

Jim Clench, 61, bass guitarist with April Wine and Bachman”“Turner Overdrive, on November 4
April Wine – Tonight Is A Good Time To Fall In Love (1975)

James Freud, 51, Australian rock singer and former member of The Models, of suicide on November 4
James Freud – Modern Girl (1980)

Randy Miller, 39, drummer of Seattle rock band The Myriad, on November 5
The Myriad – A Clean Shot (2008)

Tony West, 72, founder bassist of The Searchers, on November 10

Lee Harper, 65, jazz trumpeter, on November 10

Mimi Perrin, 84, singer and pianist with French jazz vocal group Les Double Six, on November 16
Les Double Six – Let The Good Times Roll By (1964)

Little Smokey Smothers, 71, blues guitarist and singer, on November 20
Howlin’ Wolf – Howlin’ For My Darling (1960, as guitarist)

Peter Christopherson, 55, member of British avant garde group Throbbing Gristle, LP cover designer (Pink Floyd’s Wish You Were Here, Animals; Peter Gabriel’s Melt album) and music video director, on November 24
Throbbing Gristle – Hamburger Lady (1978)

Monty Sunshine, 82, English jazz clarinetist, on November 30
Monty Sunshine – Just A Closer Walk With Thee

Donald Lineberger, 71, banjo player with Bill Monroe and Glen Campbell (on his TV show), on December 5

Trev Thoms, 60, guitarist of British punk groups Inner City Unit and Atom Gods, on December 8

James Moody, 85, jazz saxophonist and flautist, on December 9
James Moody – Moody’s Mood For Love (1950)

Tony Schilder, 73, South African jazz pianist, bandleader and composer, on December 9
Tony Schilder – Madeleine (1985)

Remmy Ongala, 63, Tanzanian singer, on December 13
Remmy Ongala – Inchi Vetu (Our Country) (1991)

Enrique Morente, 67, Spanish flamenco singer, on December 13
Enrique Morente – Tangos de la Plaza

Woolly Wolstenholme, 63, singer and keyboardist of Barclay James Harvest, of suicide on December 13
Barclay James Harvest – Suicide? (1976)

Captain Beefheart (Don Van Vliet), 69, experimental rock musician, On December 17
Captain Beefheart – Ink Mathematics (1982)

Glen Adams, 65, Jamaican reggae musician, producer and co-founder of The Heptones, on December 17.
Glen Adams – I Can’t Help It (1968)

Trudy Pitts, 78, American jazz & R&B keyboard player, on December 19
Trudy Pitts – Take Five (1967)
Magnolia $horty, 28, New Orleans rapper, shot dead on December 20
Magnolia $horty – That’s My Juvie

Myrna Smith, 69, member of the Sweet Inspirations, on December 24
The Sweet Inspirations – Slipped And Tripped (1973)

Dorothy Jones, 76, singer of ’60s girl band The Cookies (also backing singers on Little Eva’s The Locomotion), on December 25
The Cookies – Chains (1962)

Bernard Wilson, 64, singer with Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, on December 26
Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes – Everybody’s Talkin’ (1977)
Teena Marie, 54, soul/funk singer, on December 26
Teena Marie – I Need Your Lovin’ (1980)

Billy Maddox, 54, jazz-rock drummer drummer, shot dead on December 27.

Billy Taylor, 89, jazz pianist and composer, on December 28
Billy Taylor – I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (1957)
Nina Simone – I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free (1967, as composer)

Gene Kelton, 55, rockabilly singer, on December 28

Agathe von Trapp, 97, member of the von Trapp family, on December 28

Nick Santo, 69, singer with doo-wop band The Capris, on December 30
The Capris – There’s A Moon Out Tonight (1957)

Bobby Farrell, 61, dancer with Boney M., on December 30
Boney M – Ma Baker (1977)

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