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In Memoriam – October 2010

November 4th, 2010 4 comments

The Grim Reaper had another busy month. He took from us the soul legend Solomon Burke, who only a few months ago delivered a new album, and the brilliant General Johnson, a wonderful vocalist whose Chairmen of the Board shone in the early “70s, and who wrote such hits as Patches (Clarence Carter), Want Ads (Honey Cone) and Freda Payne’s Bring The Boys Home  (the video for You Got Me Dangling On A String is rather nice). Reggae fans will mourn the soulful Gregory Isaacs, and post-punk fans the passing of The Slits” German-born punster Ari Up.

A handful of artists died young this month, perhaps the saddest of these deaths is that by suicide of Dutch singer Antonie Kamerling. I usually don”t include classical music people, but I am making one exception this month. As always, all songs listed are compiled in one mix.

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Trevor Fleming, guitarist of Northern Irish heavy metal band Sweet Savage, on October 2
Sweet Savage – Killing Time (1981)

Ed Wilson, 65, Brazilian pop star and founder of “60s rock band Renato e Seus Blue Caps, on October 3
Renato e Seus Blue Caps – Fruit Cake (1965)
Ed Wilson – Vou Partir (A Fool Such As I) (1966)

Eddie Platt, 88, pop saxophonist, on October 3
Eddie Platt and his Orchestra ““ Tequila (1958)

Anibal Arias, 88, Argetinian tango guitarist, on October 3
Anibal Arias & Osvaldo Montes – Milonga de mis amores (2000)

Norman Wisdom, 95, British comedian and some-time singer, on October 4
Norman Wisdom – The Wisdom Of A Fool (1957)

William Shakespeare, 61, Australian glam rocker, on October 5

Steve Lee, 47, singer of Swiss hard rock band Gotthard, on October 5
Gotthard ““ Anytime Anywhere (2005)

Jack Berntsen, 69, Norwegian folk singer, on October 5

Colette Renard, 85, French singer and actress, on October 6
Colette Renard – Irma la douce (1956)

Antonie Kamerling, 44, Dutch actor and singer, on October 6

T Lavitz, 54, keyboard player with jazz-rock band The Dixie Dregs and Jazz Is Dead, on October 7
Jazz Is Dead – Scarlet Begonias  (1998)

Ian Morris, 53, guitarist of New Zealand  band Th’ Dudes, on October 7

Albertina Walker, 81, gospel singer and member of The Caravans, on October 8
Albertina Walker with James Cleveland – Lord Keep Me Day By Day (live, 1990)

Reg King, 65, singer of mod band The Action, on October 8

Joan Sutherland, 83, opera soprano, on October 10
Joan Sutherland & Luciano Pavarotti – Perdona, o mia diletta (from Bellini’s La Sonnambula) (1990)

Solomon Burke, 70, soul legend, on October 10
Solomon Burke – Go On Back To Him (1962)

General Norman Johnson, 69, singer of soul group Chairmen of the Board, songwriter and producer, on October 13
Chairmen Of The Board – Everyday’s Tuesday (1970)

Huddy Combs, 33, rapper with Harlem World, on October 13
Harlem World feat Ma$e & Kelly Price – I Really Like It (1999)

Dennis Taylor, 56, American session saxophonist and author, on October 17

Eyedea, 28, hip hop musician, on October 17
Eyedea & Abilities ““ By The Throat (2009)

Marion Brown, 79, jazz saxophonist and John Coltrane collaborator, on October 18

Bino, 57, Italian pop singer, on October 19
Bino ““ Mama Leone (1978)

Ari Up, 48, German-born member of post-punk band The Slits, on October 20
The Slits – I Heard It Through The Grapevine (1979)

José Carbajal “El Sabalaero”, 66, Uruguayan singer, guitarist and composer, on October 21
José Carbajal ‘El Sabalero’ – Borracho pero con flores (1991)

Denis Simpson, 60, singer with Canadian band The Nylons, on October 22
The Nylons ““ Kiss Him Goodbye (1987)

Linda Hargrove (a.k.a. Bartholomew), 61, country singer and songwriter, on October 24
Linda Hargrove – All Alone In Austin (1975)

Gregory Isaacs, 59, reggae legend, on October 25
Gregory Isaacs – Number One (1978)

James Phelps, 78, gospel and R&B singer, on October 26
James Phelps – Love Is A 5- Letter Word (1965)

Jack Brokensha, 84, Australian jazz vibraphonist/percussionist and member of Motown”s Funk Brothers, on October 28
Martha and the Vandellas ““ (Love Is Like A) Heat Wave (1963)

Walter Payton Jr., 68,  New Orleans jazz bassist and sousaphonist, on October 28
Lee Dorsey – Working In The Coal Mine (1967)

DOWNLOAD IN MEMORIAM – OCTOBER 2010

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Twattery in Pop: Michael F. Bolton

June 9th, 2009 20 comments

You are right: Michael Fucking Bolton (as his mother doubtless calls him) is far too easy a target. But that doesn”t mean he shouldn”t be marked out for rank twattery in pop.

For all I know, Bolton is a very nice man. After all, he has given the proceeds of some recording to a children”s charity in Britain. He probably is no Dick Cheney, no matter what his mother calls him (actually, she”d probably call him by his real name, Michael Fucking Bolotin). So I could forgive the chap many things.

And that was a GOOD hair day

And that was a good hair day

I could forgive him his hit How Am I Supposed To Love Without You. It”s not a bad song (not very good either, but not hatefully bad), and his vocal performance on it is not infinitely objectionable, if one is willing to pardon the “soulful” overemoting which comes naturally if one has been exposed to the oeuvre of Patti LaBelle (he once sang with her about the absence of sex in their lives). I can forgive Bolton his mediocre voice, and indeed hold in some regard many singers who have overcome the handicap of even more revolting voices (hello there, Mr Dylan; good morning Mr Waits). Perhaps there is a legitimate market for singers who can successfully emulate the pained groans that emerge from many a toilet occupied by wailing men afflicted with painful constipation.

I could forgive Bolton for working with Kenny G; Mr G seems a perfectly pleasant man who makes music so bland, it would be admirable only as a novelty if he actually were a poodle. I could forgive Bolton for allegedly plagiarising the Isley Brothers” Love Is a Wonderful Thing (unlike the judge in the court case, Tim English in his fine book Sounds Like Teen Spirit reluctantly lets Bolton off the hook). I could even forgive Bolton for that hair, because it happily never gained fashionable ubiquity outside parts of central Europe (and, frankly, to hate somebody on hairstyling grounds alone is just stupid).

What I cannot forgive Michael Fucking Bolton for is his serial rape of other people”s music. I”m down with white MOR artists trying their hand at a little soul music. I won”t necessarily listen to it, but, hey, if you need to do that to express yourself artistically, rock on. But, for the sake of all that is good and holy, don”t fucking release your cut-rate karaoke ejaculations as singles designed for radio airplay! And don”t make albums consisting of sodomised versions of such classics as Reach Out I”ll Be There and Georgia On My Mind, cleverly issued to coincide with the revival of “60s soul two decades ago.

For some impenetrable reason, many people seemed to think that Michael Fucking Bolton had soul, man. That would be true only if one were to rank the jazz stylings of Kenny G on a level with Joe Sample or Joe Zawinul. A studied groan and a calculated scream do not make a soul singer. The obvious question I would pose to those who spend money, time and precious electricity on listening to Bolton”s soul renderings ““ and any album of soul covers ““ is this: why should one listen to pantomine renditions of Sitting On The Dock Of The Bay when Otis Reddings” original is so easily obtainable? The success of Bolton”s soul covers has had a deplorable effect: it lowered the expectation of what soul should sound like “” even among singers who came through the soul tradition. For that you may thank the idiots who awarded Bolton a Grammy for his stool-wrenching cover of When A Man Loves A Woman.

Having stained soul music with his vocal spunk, Bolton turned his malfeasant application to opera. Really. Bolton”s talents may be charitably described as being open to dispute, but nobody can disclaim his cunning knack for spotting a bandwagon. So it was at the height of the Pavarotti and Three Tenors hype that Michael Fucking Bolton recorded an album of opera tunes, with Nessun Dorma as the showpiece, naturally. Because the world would rather have pavarotten Bolton sing Nessun Dorma than Pavarotti. How much more can an ego be inflated before it bursts, pouring forth an erupting volcano”s worth of self-regarding miasma?

opera_singing_twatTouchingly, Bolton gushed about his epic opus: “I hope you will feel the rapture of this classic, timeless music created for all of us to enjoy [even when you sing it, fuckface?]. And I hope you will join me in sharing what has become “” and remained until now “” my secret love, my secret passion.” I share his now no longer concealed passion, but that does not incite me to broadcast to the world my aggressively tuneless bathroom antics involving the subject matter of Spanish hairdressers and weeping clowns.

More recently, Bolton decided that the world does not really need Frank Sinatra when it can have Michael Fucking Bolton. So he recorded an album of standards which Sinatra once sang. And he called it Bolton Swings Sinatra. If I had the fortitude to listen to it, I might propose that it be retitled Bolton Swings A Dead Horse. Or Bolton Swings From A Ceiling Fan As He Lubelessly Defiles Sinatra. There are 200,000 people in the United States who bought that album. If after the electoral triumph of George W Bush in 2004 and the grotesquery of Joe the Plumber and Sarah Palin in 2008 there still exists any doubt about the compulsory disenfranchisement of stupid people, Michael Fucking Bolton has provided us with a most persuasive argument. And for that service to mankind, we ought to thank him.

Some songs raped by Michael Fucking Bolton:
Bill Withers – Lean On Me (live).mp3*
Dobie Gray – Drift Away.mp3
Ann Peebles – I Can”t Stand The Rain.mp3
Al Green – Let’s Stay Together.mp3
Luciano Pavarotti – Nessun Dorma.mp3

* From the great Save The Children concert recorded in 1972. Hear how Withers mis-hits the first note!

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