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In Memoriam – May 2011

June 6th, 2011 4 comments

This series has noted a couple of hundred musicians’ deaths. Not many have caused me so much sadness as that of Gil Scott-Heron. Never mind that the man was a drug addict, and that he once wrote a homophobic song. He was a poet, and he set his poetry to glorious music. He was the Bob Dylan of the ghetto. I hope that with his dying breath, Scott-Heron appreciated the fact that astronauts were just then making a final journey and the US president has introcuded health care reform he was demanding in Whitey On The Moon).

As a soul fan, I noted with particular sadness the passing of jazz-funk guitarist Cornell Dupree, who played that opening riff of Aretha Franklin’s version of Respect, and also backed favourite acts like Bill Withers and Marlena Shaw.

We tend to mourn deaths by suicide, though that of Gramy-winning songwriter, screenplsy writer and director Joseph Brooks, who wrote the much-loathed You Light Up My Life, leaves us at best with mixed feelings: he killed himself while under indictment for a series of “casting couch” rapes (the details of which are nauseating). Not a very nice guy at all, it seems.


David Mason, 85, English trumpeter who played the piccolo solo on The Beatles’ Penny Lane, on April 29
The Beatles – Penny Lane (1967)

Hume Patton, 65, guitarist of Scottish psychedelic rock group The Poets, on April 30

Ernest ‘Shololo’ Mothle, 69, South African jazz bassist and percussionist, and session musician for Robert Hyatt, Hugh Masekela, Mike Oldfield, Jonas Gwangwa a.o., on May 2
Mike Oldfield – In Dulci Jubilo (1975) (as percussionist)

Odell Brown, 70, jazz/soul organist, arranger and songwriter, on May 3
Marvin Gaye – Sexual Healing (1982) (as co-writer)

Nigel Pickering, 81, rhythm guitarist and vocalist of Spanky and the Gang, on May 5
Spanky and Our Gang – Like To Get To Know You (1968)
John Walker, 67, founder of The Walker Brothers, on May 7
The Walker Brothers – Just For A Thrill (1966)

Big George Webley, 53, British composer and arranger of TV themes, including The Office (UK), and radio broadcaster, on May 7
Big George Webley (feat Fin) – Handbags and Gladrags (2001)

Johnny Albino, 93, Puerto Rican bolero singer, on May 7
Johnny Albino – 7 Notas de Amor

Cornell Dupree, 68, soul and jazz-funk guitarist, on May 8
Cornell Dupree – Teasin’ (1974)
Marlena Shaw – Time For Me To Go (1973) (as guitarist)

Dolores Fuller, 88, actress and songwriter for Elvis Presley a.o. (also cult director Ed Woods’ girlfriend, as portrayed in the movie), on May 9
Elvis Presley – Rock-A-Hula Baby (1961) (as composer)
John Carter, 65, producer, songwriter and A&R man, on May 10
Strawberry Alarm Clock – Incense and Peppermints (1967) (as writer)

Norma Zimmer, 87, “Champagne Lady” on The Lawrence Welk Show, backing singer for Frank Sinatra, Bing Crosby, Perry Como a.o., on May 10

Zim Ngqawana, 51, South African jazz saxophonist, on May 10

Snooky Young, 92, jazz trumpeter with Jimmie Lunceford, Count Basie, Lionel Hampton a.o. and with The Band, on May 11
Count Basie Orchestra feat. Tony Bennett – Life Is A Song (1959)
The Band – Rag Mama Tag (1972)

Lloyd Knibb, 80, drummer of Jamaican ska band The Skatalites, on May 12
The Skatalites – Fidel Castro (1964)
Jack Richardson, 81, producer of Guess Who, Bob Seger, Rage Against The Machine a.o., on May 13
Bob Seger – Night Moves (1977) (as producer)

Bob Flanigan, 84, singer of The Four Freshmen, on May 15
The Four Freshmen – It’s A Blue World (1952)

M-Bone, 22, American rapper with Cali Swag District, killed in drive-by shooting on May 15
Cali Swag District – Where You Are (2010)

James ‘Curley’ Cook, 66, blues guitarist and founder member of Steve Miller Band, on May 16

Sean Dunphy, 73, Irish singer (the first to record in Nashville), on May 17
Kathy Kirby, 72, English ’60s pop singer, on May 19
Kathy Kirby – Dance On (1963)

Joseph Brooks, 73, songwriter (You Light Up My Life), suicide on May 22

Jeff Conaway, 60, actor (Kenickie in the movie Grease) and singer of 1960s ban The 3 1/2, on May 27

Gil Scott-Heron, 62, musician and poet, on May 27
Gil Scott-Heron – I Think I’ll Call It Morning (1971)
Gil Scott-Heron – Whitey On The Moon (1974)

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In Memoriam – February 2010

March 5th, 2010 3 comments

After a hyperactive beginning of the year, the Grim Reaper took it mercifully easy on the world of music in February. So featured this month are some musicians who left us during the month past (and one of them died on the last day of January). As always, I don”t claim that this list is complete.

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Herman Dunham, 73, doo wop singer with The Solitaires, the Vocaleers and The Blenders, on January 31
The Solitaires – Walking Along (1958).mp3

Richard Delvy, 67, drummer of the Bel-Airs, songwriter and producer, on February 6
The Bel-Airs – Mr Moto (1962).mp3

John Dankworth, 82, saxophonist and clarinetist, jazz and movie soundtrack composer, on February 6
Johnny Dankworth and his Orchestra – Experiments With Mice (1956).mp3

Pena Branco, 70, Brazilian folk singer, on February 8
Pena Branca & Xavantinho – Cutelinho (2002).mp3

Dale Hawkins, 73, rockabilly singer and songwriter, on February 13
Dale Hawkins – Suzie Q (1957).mp3

Lee Freeman, 60, rhythm guitarist with Strawberry Alarm Clock, on February 14
Strawberry Alarm Clock – Tomorrow (1967).mp3

Lil” Dave Thompson, 40, blues guitarist, on February 14
Dave Thompson – Mississippi Boy (1995).mp3

Doug Fieger, 57, frontman of The Knack, on February 15
The Knack – Good Girls Don”t (1979).mp3

Art Van Damme, 89, jazz accordionist of cool repute, on February 15
Art Van Damme – Autumn In New York.mp3

Kathryn Grayson, 88, musicals actress (Kiss Me Kate, Showboat, Anchors Aweigh etc), on February 17
Kathryn Grayson &  Howard Keel – Make Believe (from Showboat, 1951).mp3

Chilly B, 47, co-founder of influential “80s rap group Newcleus, on February 23
Newcleus – Jam On It (1984).mp3

Tom ‘T-Bone’ Wolk, 58, bassist for Hall & Oates since 1981 (also recorded with Elvis Costello, Carly Simon, Billy Joel a.o.), on February 27
Hall & Oates – Maneater (1982).mp3

Larry Cassidy, 56, singer and bassist of Section 25, on February 27.
Section 25 – Dirty Disco (1981).mp3

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In Memoriam January 2010
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