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In Memoriam – November 2015

December 3rd, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

Nov 2015 Gallery 1It isn”t really enough to enumerate the classic songs on which Allen Toussaint had a hand, but let”s do that anyway. As writer, his credits include Lee Dorsey”s Working In A Coalmine and Yes We Can (featured on Any Major Soul 1970 and later covered by the Pointer Sisters), Glen Campbell”s Southern Nights, Dave Clark Five”s I Like It Like That (first released by co-writer Chris Kenner), Ernie K-Doe”s Mother-In-Law, Al Hirt”s Java, Three Dog Night”s Play Something Sweet, among others. As a producer he contributed to LaBelle”s megahit Lady Marmalade, which was recorded in New Orleans” Sea-Saint Studio, owned by Toussaint and Marshall E Sehorn, in which the likes of Dr John, Fats Domino, Taj Mahjal, Aaron Neville, John Mayall, The Meters, Ramsey Lewis and Jean Knights laid down many tracks, as did Paul McCartney for the Wings album Venus And Mars. Toussaint”s songs have a remarkable flexibility. Glen Campbell turned Toussaint”s low key Southern Nights into a country stomper. His wonderful What Do You Want The Girl To Do received three quite distinct treatments in notable covers by Boz Scaggs, Bonnie Raitt and Lowell George.

The subject of a fine Jimmy Webb song (beautifully covered by Rumer), we now know what happened to P.F. Sloan, the singer and songwriter who has died at 70. Sloan was better known for his songwriting, much of which he did in collaboration with Steve Barri, which created US Top 20 hits for the likes of Jan and Dean (I Found A Girl), Herman”s Hermits (A Must to Avoid), Johnny Rivers (Secret Service Man), The Turtles (Let Me Be) and The Grass Roots (Where Were You When I Needed You, Things I Should Have Said), whom they also produced. But his biggest hit was Barry McGuire”s impassioned peace song Eve Of Destruction, a song he described as “a prayer to God in the form of a poem, begging for clarity and understanding about the state of the world, teetering on the edge”. He also collected backing, arranging and producing credits for many of these acts and others.

As a member of the loose collective of LA session musicians, The Wrecking Crew, he also played guitar on many hits. Most notably, Sloan came up with the guitar introduction of the Mamas & the Papas breakthrough hit, California Dreaming. Sloan had recorded it for the prior version by Barry McGuire, the backing track of which was used for the Mamas & Papas version. Sloan”s career faded when he gave up working for other people in order to establish a career as a recording artist. A lovely story precedes his career in music, when Sloan was 13, in 1958, he met Elvis, who went on to give him a music lesson. A year later he released his first single, as “Flip” Sloan.

Sly and the Family Stone were a fiesta of cool and outrageous sartorial styles, never mind the Afros. Sly Stone, of course, was the focal point, but every now and then it would shift to the two female members of the band, one of whom was singer and trumpeter Cynthia Robinson, who has died of cancer at 71. When the Family Stone rolled away in 1975, Robinson was the one member who continued working with Sly. She also worked with Graham Central Station and Funkadelic, as well as with Prince during his Artist Formerly Known As phase.

Nov 2015 Gallery 2Just as The Beatles 1 compilation was being revived, Andy White died. White famously replaced Ringo Starr, at the behest of producer George Martin, on Love Me Do, as well as on its flip side, PS I Love You. A previous version featuring Ringo, which had displeased Martin, was released as the single in the UK; but the Please Please Me album version and 1964 US single release, and most subsequent issues are the one featuring White. An easy way to tell them apart: White”s version features a tambourine (played by Ringo); Ringo”s has no tambourine. In the 1950s White had gone to the US where he backed such acts as Chuck Berry, Bill Haley, and The Platters. Back in the UK, he played on Bill Fury”s 1960 LP The Sound of Fury, often said to be Britain”s first real Rock & Roll album. He reportedly also played on hits such as Tom Jones” It”s Not Unusual and Lulu”s Shout, though other drummers have also been mentioned as having drummed on the former.0

I don”t think I”ve found many more musicians outside the genre of Death Metal whom I”ve found more scary than Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, the drummer of heavy metal legends Motörhead, who has died at 61. Of course, I was going only by his looks, but the guy looked wild and uncompromising. Yet by all accounts, the image deceived. Taylor apparently was an entertaining guy who liked his drinks and drugs, and enjoyed to tell a joke. He was tough as well, to the point of repeatedly drumming on stage with broken bones. And, of course, Taylor could drum. Behold the opening of Motörhead”s Overkill.

Before I even posted the last In Memoriam, the long-time percussionist of Santana died. Paul Rekow played for Santana, on hit LPs such as Festival, Moonflower and Inner Secret. On the mega-comeback Supernatural in 1999 he also co-wrote the hit single Maria Maria. Rekow also played for acts such as Herbie Hancock, Patti Labelle, Rick James, Cerrone, Patti Austin, Brenda Russell, Aretha Franklin, John Lee Hooker, Jason Mraz and Whitney Houston.

So it really was a bad month for those who beat out a rhythm.

Fans of the originals of better known covers will be delighted to find those of California Dreaming and Yeh Yeh (click the links for the stories of these originals) in this lot.


Raul Rekow, 61, percussionist for Santana (1976-2013), on Nov. 1
Santana – Flor D”Luna (Moonflower) (1977)
Whitney Houston – For The Love Of You (1987)

Tommy Overstreet, 78, country singer, on Nov. 2
Tommy Overstreet – Ann (Don”t Go Runnin”) (1971)

Normand L”Amour, 85, Canadian singer-songwriter, on Nov. 3

José Luis Properzi, 48, Argentine drummer and singer, on Nov. 3

Chuck Pyle, 70, American country singer”“songwriter, on Nov. 6
Chuck Pyle – Other Side Of The Hill (1998)

Kjell Öhman, 72, Swedish jazz musician, on Nov. 6

Eddie Hoh, 71, session drummer, on Nov. 7
Donovan – Season Of The Witch (1969)
Flying Burrito Brothers – Sin City (1969)

Brandon Carlisle, 37, drummer of US punk band Teenage Bottlerocket, on Nov. 7

Bogdan Enache, drummer of Goodbye to Gravity, from injuries sustained in Romania’s Colectiv nightclub fire, on Nov. 8

Andy White, 85, Scottish drummer (drummed for The Beatles), on Nov. 9
Billy Fury – That”s Love (1960)
The Beatles – P.S I Love You (1963)

Allen Toussaint, 77, musician, songwriter, producer and arranger, on Nov. 10
Lee Dorsey – Working In The Coal Mine (1967)
Allen Toussaint – Southern Nights (1975)
Allen Toussaint – Lover Of Love (1978)
Lowell George – What Do You Want The Girl To Do (1979)

Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, 61, drummer of Motörhead, on Nov. 11
Motörhead ““ Overkill (1979)

Alexandru Pascu, 33, bassist of Goodbye to Gravity, from injuries sustained in the Colectiv nightclub fire, on Nov. 11

Sister Scully, 57, Jamaican gospel singer, on Nov. 1

PF. Sloan, 70, American singer and songwriter, on Nov. 15
Barry McGuire – California Dreaming (1965, on guitar)
P. F. Sloan – A Melody For You (1966)
P. F. Sloan with Frank Black & Buddy Miller – Eve Of Destruction (2006)

David VanLanding, 51, singer with the Michael Schenker Group, Crimson Glory, on Nov. 17

Al Aarons, 83, jazz trumnpet and flugelhorn player, producer, on Nov. 17
Frank Sinatra & Count Basie – The Best Is Yet To Come (1963, on trumpet)

Ramona Jones, 91, bluegrass musician, widow of Granpa Jones, on Nov. 17

Ron Hynes, 64, Canadian folksinger, on Nov. 18
Ron Hynes – Sonny”s Dream (1976)

Judith Hendricks, 78, jazz singer with Lambert, Hendricks & Ross, on Nov. 18
Lambert, Hendricks & Bavan – Yeh Yeh (1963)

John Theunissen, 66, guitarist of Dutch pop band Pussycat, on Nov. 19
Pussycat ““ Mississippi (1976)

Armand, 69, Dutch protest singer, on Nov. 19

Arthur Brooks, 82, soul singer, early member of The Impressions, on Nov. 22
Jerry Butler and The Impressions – For Your Precious Love (1958)

Cynthia Robinson, 71, trumpeter and singer with Sly and the Family Stone, on Nov. 23
Sly & the Family Stone – Everyday People (1969)
Sly & the Family Stone – Thankful n Thoughtful (1973)

Bengt-Arne Wallin, 89, Swedish jazz trumpeter, on Nov. 23

Ricardo (Groenewald), 43, South African soul singer, on Nov. 25
Ricardo and Friends – I Love You Daddy (1986)

Ronnie Bright, 77, doo wop singer, on Nov. 26
Johnny Cymbal – Mr. Bass Man (1963, on bass vocals)

Buddy Moreno, 103, musician and radio personality (started his career in 1929!), on Nov. 29
Harry James – Mexico City (1942, on lead vocals)

Wayne Bickerton, 74, British songwriter, producer, music executive, on Nov. 29
The Flirtations – Nothing But A Heartache (1968, as co-writer and producer)
The Rubettes – Sugar Baby Love (1974, as co-writer and producer)

(PW in comments)

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  1. halfhearteddude
    December 3rd, 2015 at 06:45 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. boss
    December 3rd, 2015 at 08:27 | #2

    so glad to see you’re still around. i was searching for something about billy paul and discovered by accident that amdwhah is still up. thanks for the comps and your insightful texts.

  3. jozz
    December 3rd, 2015 at 09:52 | #3

    It was sad to hear of the passing of the musical giant Allen Toussaint . I am so pleased you included The Lowell George version of the “What do you want the girl to do”. Lowell’s version was the best I have heard. Thanx for posting

  4. halfhearteddude
    December 3rd, 2015 at 12:59 | #4

    Nice to know you’ve rediscovered this cornber of the Internet, boss. Bookmark it!!!

  5. dogbreath
    December 3rd, 2015 at 14:36 | #5

    Another nice job. Only after his passing did I freshly “discover” how many songs & artists had been touched by Allen Toussaint over the years & the songs above are a fine tribute to him. As for Phil Taylor, what can you say? When I saw him drum for Motorhead before he split, it was like watching/hearing a runaway train coming right for you. The contrast between Taylor and Toussaint couldn’t be wider but they, and the others, will be missed along the way. Cheers!

  6. Rhod
    December 4th, 2015 at 22:10 | #6

    Thank you again for the wonderful series and the time and effort put in to bring the music of these artists to our attention



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