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In Memoriam – December 2013

January 2nd, 2014 Leave a comment Go to comments

Dec_RIPThe headline death in December was that of Ray Price, whose passing was announced prematurely by a day or so, lending the occasion a sense of drama. Fans of The Originals will be pleased to receive two additions to their collections: the first recordings of “Heartache By Numbers” and Kris Kristofferson”s mighty “For The Good Times”. Price was also the first to record the classic “Make The World Go Away” in 1963, though Timi Yuro”s version was released before his. A decade earlier, Price was also the first to record the much-covered country classic “I”ll Be There (if You Ever Want Me)”, which he had co-written.

Price”s diagnosis of pancreatic cancer in 2012 cut short plans for a long tour of concerts. His hospitalisation in March brought down the curtain on a performing career that spanned 65 years.

Reggae singer Junior Murvin is best known for his hit “Police And Thieves”, which he recorded in 1976, produced by Lee “Scratch” Perry. The same year it provided the soundtrack to the Notting Hill Carnival riots in London (that, kids, was before Notting Hill was toryfied and gentrified). The song became more widely known in its cover on The Clash”s eponymous debut album in 1977 (the original became a UK hit only in 1980). It seems Murvin was not a fan of The Clash”s interpretation. “They have destroyed Jah work”, was his pithy review.

Earlier in 2013 we lost George Duke; on December 23 his frequent drummer, Ricky Lawson, passed away at 59. Lawson, who was also a co-founder of the fusion band Yellow Jackets, played on Duke tracks such as “Brazilian Love Affair”, and did drumming duty for the likes of The Jackson, Whitney Houston, Stevie Wonder, Roy Ayers, Tom Waits, Steely Dan, Anita Baker, The Emotions, Harry Nilsson, Smokey Robinson, Merry Clayton, John Mellencamp, Michael McDonald, Ramsey Lewis, Beyoncé, Bette Middler, Al Jarreau, india.arie, Maze, Pointer Sisters and many more. I”ll post a mix of tracks featuring Lawson”s  drumming next week.

Nominally a jazz tenor saxophonist and flautist, Yusef Lateef (known before his conversion to Islam in 1950 as Bill Evans) drew his inspiration from musical forms round the world. So, aside from the sax and flute, he also played the oboe, the bassoon, the East-Asian bamboo flute, the Indian shanai, the Jewish shofar, the Chinese xun,the Japanese koto, and the Egyptian arghul. He began his jazz career as an 18-year-old in 1938, but his big break came when he joined Dizzy Gillespie”s orchestra in 1949. Within a year he went solo and continued to record and teach until a few months before his death from prostate cancer.

Fans of Queen will mourn the death of David Richards, who produced (or co-produced) the band”s The Miracle, Innuendo and Made In Heaven albums, as well as a bunch of albums by David Bowie (he also engineered his vocals on the Cat People theme, “Putting Out The Fire”), Iggy Pop”s Blah Blah Blah Blah (1986) and Chris Rea”s Wired To The Moon (1984).  He sound engineered Queen”s Live Killers and Live Magic sets, Stan Getz”s 1977 Another World double album, and worked on the Yes album Going For The One, the Rolling Stones” Black And Blue, Culture Club”s From Luxury To Heartache. He also produced or engineered solo albums by Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Richards had chart success with Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballe”s “Barcelona”, Mercury”s “The Great Pretender”, Jimmy Nail”s “Love Don”t Live Here Anymore”, and Feargal Sharkey”s “Lovin” You”. He also played the synth on a number of recordings, including a few tracks on Chaka Khan”s Wat”cha Gonna Do For Me album. In short, if anybody recorded or mixed their albums in Montreaux, Richards was probably involved.

Among December”s dead is an unlikely Oscar-winner: Ricky Dunigan, who was better known as rapper Lord Infamous of rap outfit Three 6 Mafia. The group won their gong from the terminally hip Academy Award for Best Song for “It”s Hard Out Here For A Pimp” from the 2005 movie Hustle And Flow. The song describes the predicaments faced by our age”s most put-upon people, the pimp (we”re talking about the real thang here, not about asshole rappers who merely revel in the glory of imagining of keeping “girls working the changes”).  The modern pimp encounters inequitable difficulties in raising the funds to pay his rent because the money has already been spent on Cadillacs and gas. But our empathy is intensified as we learn of the additional privations caused by “a whole lot of bitches talkin” shit”. Alas, the poor pimp. Of course the Academy Award considered this anthem to social consciousness a worthy winner.

Lord Infamous was notorious for his dark lyrics which dealt with such charming subject matter as the occult, suicide and horrendous violence. His time with Three 6 Mafia ended when he was sent to jail in 2006 for a parole violation. You might expect Lord Infamous to check out dramatically. Fate was gentler: he died in his sleep from a heart attack, at the age of 40.


Richard Coughlan, 66, drummer of English prog- rock group Caravan, on December 1
Caravan – If I Could Do It All Over Again, I’d Do It All Over You (1970)

Martin Sharp, 71, Australian artist and LP sleeve designer (Cream”s Disraeli Gears), on December 1
Cream – Tales Of Brave Ulysses (1967, as co-writer)

Junior Murvin, 64, Jamaican reggae singer, on December 2
Junior Murvin – Police And Thieves (1976)

Andy Pierce, 45, singer of Swedish rock band Nasty Idols, on December 5

Stan Tracey, 86, British jazz pianist, on December 6
Stan Tracey – Starless And Bible Black (1965)

Jack Purcell, 94, jazz trombonist and band leader, on December 6

Chick Willis, 79, blues singer, on December 7
Chick Willis – Stoop-Down Baby Pt 1&2 (1972)

John Wyker, 68, leader of Southern rock band Sailcat, on December 8
Sailcat – Motorcycle Mama (1972)

Lynne Kieran, 53, British-born singer of Austrian pop group Rounder Girls, on December 9

Roger Tillison,72, folk-rock singer and guitarist, on December 9
Roger Tillison ““ Old Cracked Lookin” Glass (1971)

Jim Hall, 83, jazz guitarist, composer and arranger, on December 10
Bill Evans ““ Funkallero (1962, on guitar)

The Child of Lov, 26, Belgian-born Dutch pop musician, on December 10

Tommy Ruger, 67, drummer of garage rock band The Nightcrawlers, on December 11
The Nightcrawlers – The Little Black Egg (1967)

Jerry Steinholtz, 76, jazz fusion percussionist, on December 12
Michael Franks – Monkey See – Monkey Do (1975, on congas)

Kim Ji-hoon, 32, singer with “90s Korean pop group Two Two, suicide on December 12

Ray Price, 87, country singer, on December 16
Ray Price – Crazy Arms (1956)
Ray Price – Heartaches By The Number (1959)
Ray Price – For The Good Times (1970)

Lolita Sevilla, 78, Spanish actress and singer, on December 16

Paul Bäumer, 37, member of Dutch dance production duo Bingo Players, on December 17

Herb Geller, 85, jazz saxophonist, on December 19
Herb Geller Sextet – Crazy She Calls Me (1955)
Mel Torm̩ РNice Work If You Can Get It (1956, on alto saxophone)

Eric “˜Guitar” Davis, 41, Blues guitarist and drummer, shot dead on December 19

David Richards, 57, British record producer (Queen, David Bowie), on December 20
Chaka Khan – Heed The Warning (1981, on Moog synth)
Cactus News World ““ The Bridge (1986, as producer)

Lord Infamous, 40, rapper with Three 6 Mafia, on December 20
Three 6 Mafia – It’s Hard Out Here For A Pimp (2005)

Reginaldo Rossi, 69, Brazilian brega singer-songwriter, on December 20

Dave Higgs, founder and guitarist of English pub rock band Eddie and the Hot Rods, on December 21
Eddie and the Hot Rods – Teenage Depression (1976)
The Rods – Do Anything You Wanna Do (1977)

Trigger Alpert, 97, jazz double-bassist with the Glenn Miller Band, on December 22
Glenn Miller and his Orchestra – The Booglie Wooglie Piggy (1941)

Ricky Lawson, 59, drummer and co-founder of fusion band Yellow Jackets, on December 23
Anita Baker – Sweet Love (1986)
Ricky Lawson feat. Bridgette Bryant – Real Love (1997)

Yusef Lateef, 93, jazz musician and saxophonist, on December 23
Dizzy Gillespie Orchestra – Dizzier And Dizzier (1949, on tenor saxophone)
Yusef Lateef – The Plum Blossom (1961)

Germán Coppini, 52, Spanish pop singer (Siniestro Total, Golpes Bajos), on December 24
Golpes Bajos – Fiesta De Los Maniquies (1984)

Boyd Lee Dunlop, 87, jazz pianist, on December 26
Boyd Lee Dunlop – Boyd’s Mellow Blues (2011)

Doe B, 22, rapper, shot dead on December 28

Dwayne Burno, 43, jazz bassist and composer, on December 28

Benjamin Curtis, 35, alt.rock musician (Tripping Daisy, Secret Machines, School of Seven Bells), on December 29
Secret Machines – Sad And Lonely (2004)

Eiichi Ohtaki, 65, member of influential Japanese folk band Happy End, on December 30

Roberto Ciotti, 60, Italian blues musician, on December 31
Roberto Ciotti – No More Blue (1988)

(PW in comments)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    January 2nd, 2014 at 06:57 | #1


  2. Rhod
    January 3rd, 2014 at 22:13 | #2

    Thanks Amd for the great In memoriam each month even if it has its dark side.



  3. Tim Mahoney
    January 5th, 2014 at 20:33 | #3

    Thank you very much for your dedication with your site but a special thanks to the “In Memoriam” posts every month. I’m not sure where you get your sources but I’m glad that you do, otherwise I wouldn’t have known that the drummer from one of my favorite bands passed away (Richard Coughlan). Keep up the good work and I look forward to every post that comes out. Job well done.

  4. dogbreath
    January 23rd, 2014 at 17:02 | #4

    Many thanks as always for keeping us abreast of the musicians, well-known and not so well-known, whose numbers are up each month.

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