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In Memoriam – January 2020

February 4th, 2020 Leave a comment Go to comments

This month we lost two hugely influential musicians, but also observe the kindest death one could ask for.

The Doorbreaker
In the late 1950s, folk trio The Kingston Singers kicked open the doors for the folk scene (along with the likes of Burl Ives and Pete Seeger’s Weavers), paving the way for the likes of Odetta and later Joan Baez, Bob Dylan and so on to enter the mainstream. They also inspired the Beach Boys, who would even dress like the Kingston Trio. And all that, in turn, had huge influence on the trajectory of popular music. This month we lost the last surviving member of the original trio, Bob Shane, a few days short of his 85th birthday. Dave Guard and Nick Reynolds died in 1991 and 2008 respectively.

A bonus for fans of The Originals is the featured first version of Honey, recorded by Bob Shane before Bobby Goldsboro had a hit with it, and the Kingston Trio version of Sloop John B, which a few years later the Beach Boys covered. Another Kingston Trio original features in an Originals instalment currently in the works.

The Drumming Great
I must confess, at the risk of inviting passionate hate-mail, that Rush has never been my jam, mainly due to the lead singer’s voice, so my awareness of the genius of drummer Neil Peart was acquired through his reputation. If the likes of Dave Grohl and Stewart Copeland were admirers, and countless other rock drummers drew influence from the man, then you needn’t be a Rush fan to acknowledge that genius. The obituaries have revealed things that were even more interesting than Peart’s drumming exploits. Among them is the story, related in is 1996 book, of how in 1988 he went on a bicycle trip through Cameroon, and ending up giving a hand-drumming performance that drew an audience of a whole village.

The Foot Man
Best-known for his million-selling novelty dance number Barefootin’ (great video here), Robert Parker had a previous career as a saxophonist, playing on tracks like Professor Longhair’s 1949 hit Mardi Gras In New Orleans, and backing the likes of Fats Domino, Earl King, Eddie Bo, Joe Tex, Irma Thomas and Huey “Piano” Smith. He had a 1959 hit with the instrumental All Nite Long, on which he collaborated with Dr John, and then turned to vocals with songs, mostly about dance styles, that suggest a podiatric preoccupation with tracks like Happy Feet, Barefootin’, Tip Toeing…

The Country Rock Pioneer
Widely regarded as a pioneer in the rise of country rock, the multi-instrumentalist Chris Darrow might be best remembered for his membership of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band around the time the band appeared in Clint Eastwood’s film Paint Your Wagon. Before that he was a member of the genre-bending band Kaleidoscope; after he left the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band, he founded The Corvettes, who’d become Linda Ronstadt’s backing band. In between, he also worked a session musician, playing bass for Leonard Cohen and violin for James Taylor, among other gigs. And between 1972 and 2006, he released ten solo albums.

The Caballero
As a guitarist with the popular Mexican trio Los Tres Caballeros, Chamín Correa was a million-seller across Latin America. In his long career, he released around 150 records and worked with some of the biggest names in Latin music and beyond, including jazz maestro Dave Brubeck and more recently Gloria Estefan, as a musician or as a producer/arranger. The classically-trained guitarist also designed his own line of guitars.

A Good Death
As we know from this series, there are many ways to go. This month the brain cancer that killed Neil Peart was particularly nasty. But folk singer-songwriter David Olney possibly had the nicest death featured in this decade-old series yet. The 71-year-old was performing the third song of his set at a music festival in Santa Rosa Beach, Florida, when he stopped, said “I’m sorry” to the audience, shut his eyes, and dropped his chin to the chest. It was a heart-attack that killed him, but ever so gently, doing what he loved most, and departing politely with respect for is audience. Musician Scott Miller, who was on stage with Olney, reported: “He never dropped his guitar or fell off his stool. It was as easy and gentle as he was.”


Lexii Alijai, 21, hip hop artist, on Jan. 1
Lexii Alijai – All On Me (2015)

Tommy Hancock, 90, Western swing musician, on Jan. 1
Tommy Hancock – Tacos For Two (1966)

Marty Grebb, 74, keyboardist, saxophonist, guitarist, arranger, on Jan. 2
The Buckinghams – C’mon Home (1968, as member, lead singer, writer)
Fabulous Rhinestones – What A Wonderful Thing We Have (1972, as writer, keyboardist)

Bo Winberg, 80, guitarist of Swedish instrumentalist band The Spotnicks, on Jan. 3
The Spotnicks – Orange Blossom Special (1962)

Martin Griffin, drummer with English rock bands Hawkwind, Hawklords, on Jan. 5
Hawkwind – Rocky Paths (1982)

Pat Collins, Irish rock and jazz fiddler, on Jan. 7

Neil Peart, 67, drummer of Rush, on Jan. 7
Rush – The Spirit Of Radio (1980, also as co-writer)
Rush – Tom Sawyer (1981, also as co-writer)

Edd Byrnes, 87, actor (Vince Fontana in Grease) and recording artist, on Jan. 8
Edd Byrnes & Connie Stevens – Kookie, Kookie Lend Me Your Comb (1959)

5th Ward Weebie, 42, rapper, on Jan. 9

Bobby Comstock, 78, pop singer, on Jan. 9
Bobby Comstock – I Want To Do It (1962)

Wolfgang Dauner, 84, German jazz fusion pianist, on Jan. 10

Marc Morgan, 57, Belgian singer-songwriter, on Jan. 10
Marc Morgan – Notre Mystère nos Retrouvailles (1993)

Tom Alexander, 85, half of Scottish folk duo Alexander Brothers, on Jan. 10

Alana Filippi, 59, French singer-songwriter., on Jan. 11
Alana Filippi – Exactement au Milieu (1993)

Hylda Sims, 87, English folk musician, on Jan. 12
City Ramblers Skiffle Group – Mama Don’t Allow (1957, as member)

Chamín Correa, 90, Mexican guitarist with Los Tres Caballeros, producer, on Jan. 14
Los Tres Caballeros – La Barca (1957)

Steve Martin Caro, 71, singer of The Left Banke, on Jan. 14
The Left Banke – Desiree (1968)
The Left Banke – In The Morning Light (1968)

Barry Mayger, 73, bassist of British pop group Chicory Tip, on Jan. 14
Chicory Tip – Son Of My Father (1972)

Chris Darrow, 75, country rock musician and songwriter, on Jan. 15
Nitty Gritty Dirt Band – Mournin’ Blues (1968, as member)
James Taylor – Sweet Baby James (1970, on violin)
Chris Darrow – Alligator Man (1972)

Claudio Roditi, 73, Brazilian-born jazz trumpeter, on Jan. 17
Claudio Roditi – Vida Nova (2010)

David Olney, 71, singer-songwriter, on Jan. 18
Dave Olney and The X Rays – Going Going Gone (1984)
Linda Ronstadt & Emmylou Harris – 1917 (1999, as writer)
Kim Richey – Love Is (2013, as co-writer)

Steve Fataar, 76, guitarist of South African pop group The Flames, on Jan. 18
The Flames – For Your Precious Love (1968)
Una Valli with The Flames – Satisfaction (1968)

Dennis Garcia, 69, bassist of Filipino rock band Hotdog, on Jan. 18

Robert Parker, 89, R&B singer and saxophonist, on Jan. 19
Professor Longhair – Mardi Gras In New Orleans (1949, on saxophone)
Robert Parker – All Nite Long (Part 1) (1959)
Robert Parker – Barefootin’ (1966)
Robert Parker – Happy Feet (1966)

Jimmy Heath, 93, jazz saxophonist, on Jan. 19
Jimmy Heath – Smilin’ Billy (1973)
Heath Brothers – (There’s) A Time And A Place (1979)

Guy Thomas, 85, Belgian-born French songwriter, on Jan. 19

Norman Amadio, 91, Canadian jazz pianist and bandleader, on Jan. 21

Meritxell Negre, 48, Spanish singer (Peaches #6 in Peaches & Herb), on Jan. 21
Peaches & Herb – Girl You Got A Home (2009)

Sean Reinert, 48, death metal drummer, on Jan. 24

Joe Payne, 35, death metal bassist and guitarist, on Jan. 24

Narciso Parigi, 92, Italian singer and actor, on Jan 25
Narciso Parigi – Firenze sogna (1973)

Bob Gullotti, 70, free jazz drummer with Surrender to the Air, on Jan 25

Antonia Apodaca, 96, Mexican music musician and songwriter, on Jan. 25

Bob Shane, 85, singer-guitarist with folk group The Kingston Trio, on Jan. 26
Kingston Trio – Tom Dooley (1958)
Kingston Trio – Sloop John B (1958)
Kingston Trio – Let’s Get Together (1964)
Bob Shane – Honey (I Miss You) (1968)

Michou, 88, French cabaret singer, on Jan. 26

Alberto Naranjo, 78, Venezuelan musician, on Jan. 27

Reed Mullin, 53, heavy metal drummer, on Jan. 27

Toni (Tonni) Smith, American R&B singer, on Jan. 28
Tom Browne – Funkin’ For Jamaica (1980, on lead vocals & as co-writer)
Toni Smith – (Oo) I Like The Way It Feels (1983)

Bob Nave, 75, keyboardist of The Lemon Pipers, on Jan. 28
Lemon Pipers – Green Tambourine (1968)
Lemon Pipers – Love Beads & Meditation (1968)

Lucien Barbarin, 63, New Orleans jazz trombonist, on Jan. 30
Lucien Barbarin & Henri Chaix Trio – Do You Know What It Means To Miss New Orleans (1988)


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  1. halfhearteddude
    February 4th, 2020 at 09:12 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Rhodb
    February 8th, 2020 at 00:02 | #2

    Thanks once again for a great In memoriam

    Appreciate the work involved



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