Archive for February, 2022

Any Major Sugar

February 24th, 2022 6 comments

Any major health update: recently I’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, so with this collection of songs about sugar, honey, candy and sweet things I’m saying goodbye to sugar, honey, candy and sweet things.

Before you make funeral arrangements for me, however, be reassured that my diabetes is of the more managable Type 2. I’m responding well to medication, and my healthier lifestyle is helping shed a few excess pounds (not that I had been struggling with it, but my body was taking on a decidedly middle-age form). So while I’m not exactly thrilled about the diagnosis — this shit can kill you, as it did one of my siblings — I’m rather upbeat about how this condition has forced me to adapt my diet and exercise regimen, to good effect. Plus, my severe reduction on beer and wine consumption is helping keep the bar fridge filled. And before you ask, I take my coffee without sugar.

The songs here may talk about sugar, honey, candy and sweet things, but in most of them, these things are euphemisms, usually for sex or romance or drugs — even my new national anthem, Sugar Free. In fact, if Sammy Davis’ Candy Man isn’t about drugs — and the jury is out on that — the most innocent metaphor here is the spoonful of sugar that helps the medicine go down. When I asked my doctor if I should take a spoonful of sugar with my diabetes medicine, she humourlessly replied: “No”. Or maybe she laughed; who knows what goes on behind those Covid masks?So here are 24 sweet songs, timed to fit on a standard CD-R with home-xylotoled covers. PW in comments.

1. The Archies – Sugar Sugar (1969)
2. Four Tops – I Can’t Help Myself (Sugar Pie, Honey Bunch) (1965)
3. The Searchers – Sweets For My Sweet (1963)
4. The Strangeloves – I Want Candy (1965)
5. Brian Poole & The Tremeloes – Candy Man (1964)
6. Rodriguez – Sugar Man (1970)
7. Ernie Hines – Sugar Plum (Gimme Some) (1972)
8. Sugar Billy – Sugar Pie (1975)
9. Vivian Reed – Brown Sugar (1976)
10. Luther Vandross – Sugar And Spice (1981)
11. Juicy – Sugar Free (1985)
12. Don Downing – Sugar & Spice (1978)
13. Stevie Wonder – Sugar (1970)
14. The Beach Boys – Wild Honey (1967)
15. Nancy Sinatra – Sugar Town (1966)
16. Lynsey De Paul – Sugar Me (1972)
17. The Jesus & Mary Chain – Just Like Honey (1985)
18. Joseph Arthur – Honey And The Moon (2002)
19. Brandi Carlile – Sugartooth (2018)
20. Leonard Nimoy – Cotton Candy (1968)
21. Nina Simone – I Want A Little Sugar In My Bowl (1967)
22. The Astors – Candy (1965)
23. Sammy Davis Jr. – The Candy Man (1971)
24. Julie Andrews – A Spoonful Of Sugar (1964)

Plus a bunch of sweet bonus tracks by acts like Sam Cooke, The Cure, Mungo Jerry, David Ruffin and more…


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Categories: Mix CD-Rs Tags:

Any Major Carole King Songbook Vol. 1

February 8th, 2022 5 comments


I have a hunch that this will be the year of Any Major Songbooks — and if previous reaction to these is an indicator, Many Major Readers will be pleased with that. I still owe you Vol. 2 of the Barry Gibb Songbook (Volume 1 ran for Barry’s 75th in September), and next month we’ll have Brian Wilson. But today it’s the turn of — and the streetsmart reader will have deduced this already from the header — Carole King, to mark her 80th birthday on February 9.

What an incredible career Carole King has had. Blessed with perfect pitch and prodigious intelligence, Carole Klein (as she was born) first dreamt of being a singer, recording a demo as a 16-yerar-old with her friend Paul Simon. At 17, she married the budding songwriter Gerry Goffin (and had a child with him). At 18, she had written her first hit with Goffin, the classic Will You Love Me Tomorrow for The Shirelles. By 25, she was a stone-cold songwriting legend, even among the illustrious residents of the Brill Building scene. By 30, she had recorded one of the biggest, greatest and commercially successful albums in pop history, with Tapestry.

King has written or co-written 118 Billboard Hot 100 hits, and 61 UK chart hits. Not many people have achieved more chart success.

In all that, King was responsible mainly for the music, though she wrote many lyrics, too, especially after splitting from Goffin. Remarkably, Gerry Goffin was the one who wrote the words from a women’s perspective in songs like (You Make Me Feel Like) A Natural Woman and Will You Love Me Tomorrow. King captured her husband’s empathetic sentiments with perfect melodies.

Goffin also wrote the lyrics for a song that won’t feature: He Hit Me (And It Felt Like A Kiss). The Crystals hit was inspired by the violence their babysitter Little Eva (of Loco-motion game) was suffering at the hand of her boyfriend. Eva justified it by saying that the goon’s abuse was motivated by his love for her. The song is accusatory rather than condoning of domestic violence — though the Crystals version takes on another twist by having been produced by the abuser and convicted killer Phil Spector…

The bulk of the songs here were written with Gerry Goffin (tracks 1-4, 8-9, 14-17, 22-24). Others were written with Toni Stern (12, 18, 19, 21), and the rest were all Carole on her own (5-7, 10-11, 20).

Apart from being one of the great songwriters, Carole King has also been a fine singer. On Tapestry we can hear that at its best on the often underrated Way Over Yonder, covered here to great effect by jazz singer Cami Thompson. On this collection, we have King singing one of her Brill Building-era songs, in live duet with James Taylor from 2010, her vocal powers undiminished.

Another artist covering himself here is Micky Dolenz, singing The Monkees’ gorgeous Sometime In The Morning in 2012. You can grab the Monkees version — possibly my favourite by that group — on the Any Major Morning Vol.2 mix (which with its Volume 1 is still among my all-time favourite mixes). In line with my “no-act-twice” doctrine, The Monkees will feature with another song, on Volume 2.

In the two mixes of Carole King songs, I’ve tried to avoid replicating anything featured on the Tapestry Recovered mix or on the Brill Building Covered mix. I’ve also mixed things up chronologically. Whereas I’ve divided the two Barry Gibb Songbooks into distinct phases, I decided that this wouldn’t work with King. In fact, she decided that herself when she recorded some of her old songs which she had written with Goffin (whom she had divorced by then) on Tapestry.

So, here’s the first lot of Carole King compositions. The lot is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-smackwatered covers and the above text in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. Lady Lee – I’m Into Something Good (1964)
2. Skeeter Davis – I Can’t Stay Mad At You (1963)
3. Ike & Tina Turner – The Locomotion (rel. 1988)
4. Aretha Franklin – Oh No Not My Baby (1970)
5. Martha Reeves – Dixie Highway (1974)
6. Michael Jackson – You’ve Got A Friend (1972)
7. B.J. Thomas – Early Morning Hush (1973)
8. Micky Dolenz – Sometime In The Morning (2012)
9. Carole King & James Taylor – Up On The Roof (Live) (2010)
10. Cami Thompson – Way Over Yonder (1993)
11. Ruth Brown – I Feel The Earth Move (1972)
12. Billy Paul – It’s Too Late (1972)
13. Marlena Shaw – Go Away, Little Boy (1969)
14. The Sweet Inspirations – Crying In The Rain (1969)
15. Blood Sweat & Tears – Hi-De-Ho (1970)
16. The Byrds – Goin’ Back (1968)
17. Cher – Yours Until Tomorrow (1969)
18. Carpenters – It’s Going To Take Some Time (1972)
19. Barbra Streisand – Where You Lead (1971)
20. B.W. Stevenson – Home Again (1972)
21. Kenny Rogers & The First Edition – What Am I Gonna Do (1971)
22. Alan Price Set – On This Side Of Goodbye (1967)
23. Peggy Lipton – It Might As Well Rain Until September (1968)
24. The Shirelles – Make The Night A Little Longer (1962)
Bonus track:
The Beatles – Keep Your Hands Off My Baby (1963)


More Songbooks:
Ashford & Simpson
Barry Gibb Vol. 1
Barry Gibb Vol. 2
Bill Withers
Bob Dylan Volumes 1-5
Brian Wilson
Bruce Springsteen
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 1
Burt Bacharach & Hal David Vol. 2
Burt Bacharach’s Lesser-Known Songbook
Carole Bayer Sager
Carole King Vol. 2
Chuck Berry
Cole Porter Vol. 1
Cole Porter Vol. 2
Elton John & Bernie Taupin
John Prine
Jimmy Webb Vol. 1
Jimmy Webb Vol. 2
Jimmy Webb Vol. 3
Lamont Dozier
Laura Nyro
Leonard Cohen
Neil Diamond
Paul McCartney Vol. 1
Paul McCartney Vol. 2
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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In Memoriam – January 2022

February 2nd, 2022 6 comments

Disaster struck in producing this instalment of the In Memoriam series. Halfway through the month, the document I was working on had magically disappeared. All I had left was a back-up, including exactly one entry, that of jazz-fusion guitarist Nick Collionne. Many hours of work had to be redone. I was tempted to read it as a sign that maybe this was a good time to stop the series, being the start of a new year. The amount of work that goes into these posts could certainly be used profitably elsewhere.

As the alert reader will have detected, I decided to carry on. It seems for some readers, the In Memoriam posts are essential reading, and I don’t think anybody else on the Internet does this kind of thing in the field of popular music.

But the clincher really came a couple of weeks before all the drama happened. A kind reader bought me a few coffees on BuyMeACoffee  (the platform on which you can give this corner of the interblogs a little love), and noted that I once wrote something nice about his late brother. I looked it up, and it concerned an entry in an In Memoriam from 2015, about one of those people who make an impact behind the scenes. I suppose that these write-ups do make a difference; perhaps less so with the headliner deaths, but probably with those people who don’t command much column inches in the obituary pages. And maybe family and friends of such people might stumble on this place and take comfort in the achievements of their loved one being noted. And that makes me feel a bit guilty about not being able to feature even more people, because I suspect that there’s a story behind every musician. But until I get sponsorship to make this my full-time job, there must be limits to that…

So, here we are again, counting down the music deaths of the month and their music… And what a relentlessly ugly month it was, especially for black vocalists from 1950s and ’60s, with members of The Ronettes, The Dixie Cups, The Five Satins, and The Platters dying in the space of three days. We also lost funksters from Parliament, The Ohio Players and Mtume, and 1960s soul singer Freddie Hughes. And within two days, January 29-30, a trio of session legends — two of them of particular interest to Dylanistas —passed away. Seventeen (!) write-ups testify to the grimness of the first month of January. Make yourself a cup of coffee, sit back, and read… (or get the PDF of this whole post in the DLable package, and read it all at your leisure).

The Voice
I doubt that at this point I could add anything new to say about Meat Loaf. So let me note that Bat Out Of Hell was the soundtrack of my puberty — and this, to paraphrase a quote from the film Casablanca, makes me a citizen of the world. I can’t say whether I love that album more than most others because it lodged itself so firmly within me during my formative years, or because it is a masterpiece. I suspect it’s both. I don’t think there’s any song I’d like to sing more at a karaoke than the title track (and I could, you know).

In 1985 I saw Meat Loaf in concert in London (it was a gig just like this one). I was in the first row of the Hammersmith Odeon. Mr Aday put on a great show, of course, even if I didn’t like his swearing at the female singer during Paradise At The Dashboard Light (it was part of the act, and she duly swore back at him, but I found it horrible). In the line of my vision was the lead guitarist, a bald mustachoid chap named Bob Kulick. At one point we made eye contact, and he gave me a wink. For an 18-year-old, it was thrilling to be acknowledged by a member of the band. Kulick died in 2020. Jim Steinman in 2021. Meat Loaf in 2022. I suppose Todd Rundgren and Ellen Foley will enter 2023 with some trepidation.

The Trailblazer
Other than Darlene Love, no other singer represents Phil Spector Wall of Sound more than Ronnie Spector — so much so that she even had his name, after marrying the scumbag in 1968. As the singer of The Ronettes, Yvette Bennett had an unusual voice, an exotic look (she was the daughter of an African-American-Cherokee mother and Irish-American father), and a rebellious image which went against the demure grain of early-1960s America.

In the wake of a string of hits such as Be My Baby, Baby I Love You, The Best Part Of Breakin’ Up or Walking In The Rain, The Ronettes were huge, in the US and in the UK, where they were voted the third-most popular pop group in 1965, after The Beatles and The Rolling Stones. But by 1967 they had broken up.

In 1966 The Ronettes supported The Beatles on their US tour, leading to a friendship with Phil’s special pal John Lennon and George Harrison. The latter wrote and produced the Apple release Try Some Buy Some for her; later recorded by Harrison himself.

Spector sabotaged Ronnie’s career after they divorced in 1974, following years of gross psychological abuse, including Phil pulling a gun on Ronnie. When she escaped from the Spector mansion in 1972, she had not even shoes on. She kept the rotten surname for career purposes, though Phil refused her the right to perform any of her old songs. As a result, Ronnie’s solo career suffered.

With Ronnie’s death, and that of her sister Estelle in 2009, Nedra Talley is the last survivor of the trio.

The Funky Producer
He might be best-known for his 1980s fresh-produce anthem Juicy Fruit, but James Mtume, who has died at 76, was also a great producer and jazz percussionist. The son of jazz saxophonist Jimmy Heath — James received his Swahili name in the 1960s as an activist in a black empowerment group — Mtume released a couple of jazz albums in the late ‘60s and played with McCoy Tyner, Art Farmer and Freddie Hubbard, before joining Miles Davis group. He played the percussions on a series of Davis albums, alongside fellow percussionist Badal Roy, who also died in January.

In the late 1970s, Mtume and fellow Davis alumnus Reggie Lucas turned to songwriting and production in soul and funk. They co-wrote the Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway hits Back Together Again and The Closer I Get To You, Stephanie Mills’ Never Knew Love This Before and Two Hearts, and Phyllis Hymans You Know How To Love Me.  They also formed their own band, named Mtume, and created a series of R&B hits that would be heavily-sampled in hip-hop, such as Juicy Fruit (which, you’ll be shocked to learn, isn’t about fresh produce after all), So You Want To Be A Star, Breathless, and You, Me And He.

The Samba Legend
Musicians can scare the hell out of politicians, and so it was with Brazilian samba superstar Elza Soares, who has died at 91. In 1970, the singer, long already a household name in Brazil, was such a thorn in the side of her country’s right-wing regime that assassins strafed her house with machine gun fire — with her children inside. She and her husband, football legend Garrincha, had to flee to Italy. Her relationship with Garrincha was a media sensation and big scandal in the 1960s, as the footballer was still married and Elza was seen as a homewrecker. It ended in 1977 due to Garrincha’s domestic abuse.

Tragedy was as steady companion in Soares’ life. Her mother died in 1969 in a car accident caused by Garrincha, who was driving drunk. Soares, her daughter and Garrincha were injured in the crash. The son she had with the football player, Garrincha Jr, died in 1986 at the age of 9, also in a car accident. Garrincha Sr died in 1983, broken by his alcoholism. Elza died on the 39the anniversary of his death.

Soares’ career kicked off in 1958 with her first single, the hit Se Acaso Você Chegasse. She helped bring US jazz into the Brazilian samba, and continued to introduce other genres, even as an octogenarian. She remained one the most successful and influential of all Brazilian singers, with the BBC naming her “Singer of the Millennium” in 1999, alongside Tina Turner. She was still planning a new album and live shows at the time of her death.

The Dixie Cup
With the death of Rosa Lee Hawkins, there’s only one original member of The Dixie Cups left. Her cousin Joan Marie Johnson left us in 2016; now only Rosa Lee’s older sister, Barbara Ann Hawkins, remains. The New Orleans trio had a great string of hits in the mid-1960s, such as Chapel Of Love, People Say, You Should Have Seen The Way He Looked At Me, and Iko Iko. The latter, a worldwide hit in 1965 based on a popular New Orleans tune, came about by chance. Barbara recalled: “We were just clowning around with it during a session using drumsticks on ashtrays. We didn’t realise that Jerry [Leiber] and Mike [Stoller] had the tapes running.” The producers simply overdubbed percussion and a bassline, and the recording became a big hit. It was also the trio’s final run at the charts.

The Hawkins sisters continued to perform, with others filling in for Joan, until the end. In 2005, they were among those displaced by Hurricane Katrina. Poignant fact:  Their #1 hit Chapel Of Love was originally written for The Ronettes, whose lead singer we lost a day after the passing of Rosa Lee. The Ronettes’ own version isn’t great.

The Last Venture
With the death at 88 of Don Wilson, all members of the classic line-up of the pioneering guitar band The Ventures are gone. Bassist Bob Bogle, who co-founded the band with rhythm guitarist Wilson, died in 2009; lead guitarist Nokie Edwards in 2018, and drummer Mel Taylor in 1996.

Wilson and Bogle were the only constants in the band’s line-up; after Bogle left in 2005, Wilson carried on for another ten years. The Ventures are still a going concern, with drummer Leon Taylor the longest-serving current member, after he succeeded Mel Taylor upon his death in 1996.

The Songwriting Legend
There have been several successful husband-and-wife songwriting teams: Alan and Marilyn Bergman stand among the best of them. Now Marilyn has died at 93, leaving Alan widowed after 63 years of marriage at the age of 96. Just a few days before Marylin’s death, Sydney Poitier died; the Bergmans had written the lyrics for Quincy Jones’ title track for Poitier’s landmark film In The Heat Of The Night. As lyricists, they had to work with composers; often it was with Michel Legrand, who died in January 2019.

The Bergmans’ classics include Sinatra’s Nice ‘N Easy, The Windmills of Your Mind, What Are You Doing the Rest of Your Life?, Steisand’s The Way We Were, Neil Diamond’s You Don’t Bring Me Flowers, James Ingram & Patti Austin’s How Do You Keep the Music Playing?, Steven Bishop’s It Might Be You, and Michael Jackson’s Someone In the Dark (from the E.T. album).

The Funk Voice
Before there was the Parliament-Funkadelic funk collective, there was the doo wop and soul group The Parliaments, comprising George Clinton, Ray Davis, Grady Thomas, Fuzzy Haskins, and Calvin Simon, who has died at 79. The band had been recording since the late 1960s, though with limited success. Shortly after Simon has to leave the band as he was drafted into the army in 1966 to fight in Vietnam, Clinton lost the right to the name The Parliaments in a record label dispute. Instead he founded Funkadelic, and in 1970 the singular, article-free Parliament. For the latter he roped in his old buddies, including Simon.

They had big success throughout the 1970s, but disputes with Clinton led to Simon, Thomas and Haskins splitting in the early 1980s. After releasing one album under the confusing moniker Funkadelic, the trio settled on being The Original P. Calvin Simon later got involved in gospel music.

The White Motown Man
Among the many Motown chart-toppers there as a white face: R. Dean Taylor, who had a global hit in 1970 with Indiana Wants Me. Three years earlier, the Canadian-born singer and songwriter enjoyed a UK hit with There’s A Ghost In My House, co-written with Holland-Dozier-Holland. Taylor co-wrote a number of songs for other Motown artists, such as the Four Tops’ I Turn To Stone, and was part of the short-lived Motown production team The Clan, whose credits include The Supremes’ Love Child.

The Country Writer
Better known as a songwriter in country music, Dallas Frazier was also a singer of some repute, with his often R&B-inflected style. Still, he wasn’t the first to record his most famous composition, There Goes My Everything. The first version of that was recorded by his pal and mentor Ferlin Husky (see The Originals – 1960s Vol. 2) before it became a hit for Jackie Greene and then for Elvis Presley and Engelbert Humperdinck. He also wrote Son Of Hickory Holler’s Tramp, which was recorded to great effect by soul singer O.C. Smith and Merle Haggard. Other hits the former child-starlet wrote include Alley Oop for the The Hollywood Argyles, Huskey’s Timber I’m Falling, All I Have To Offer You (Is Me) for Charley Pride, Elvira for the Oak Ridge Boys (originally recorded by Frasier in 1966), and Beneath Still Waters for Emmylou Harris. George Jones held Frasier in such high esteem that he recorded an entire album of his compositions — alas, he never recorded There Goes My Everything, a song that would have been perfect for Jones. [Edit: Reader J.Loslo points out that he did, in 2008. It’s not as good as one might have hoped.]

Frasier, who described himself as a “Grapes of Wrath kid”, referring to the dustbowl trek from Oklahoma to California which his family undertook when he was an infant, retired from music in 1988 to become a preacher.

The A-Teamer
As a pianist in the elite Nashville session collective The A-Team, Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins played on countless country hit records over a period of 60 years. These include George Jones’ 1957 breakthrough hit White Lightning, Patsy Cline’s I Fall To Pieces, Roger Miller’s King Of The Road and Dang Me, Porter Wagoner & Dolly Parton’s Last Thing On My Mind, Charley Pride’s Kiss An Angel Good Mornin’, Charlie Rich’s The Most Beautiful Girl, Dolly Parton’s Jolene, I Will Always Love You and Early Morning Breeze, and Kenny Roger’s The Gambler,  She Believes In Me and Coward Of The County, and countless more.

When non-country artists came to Nashville, the blind pianist would play for them too, most notably on Bob Dylan’s Blonde On Blonde album. Other acts he recorded with include Arthur Alexander (including on Anna), Joan Baez, Gordon Lightfoot, J. J. Cale, Elvis Presley, Levon Helm, Don McLean, Sammy Davis Jr., Johnny Hallyday, Ray Charles, Neil Young, k.d. lang, Aaron Neville, Mark Knopfler, Elvis Costello, and others.

Robbins later couldn’t recall much about playing on Dylan’s masterpiece, other than Rainy Day Woman (apparently, and you won’t believe this, everybody did get stoned). He couldn’t remember playing on the sessions for tracks like Just Like A Woman or Stuck Inside Of Mobile…

Dylan’s Electric Drummer
The day before Robbins left us, Bob Dylan lost another musician from those days in blues drummer Sam Lay, who was on the drums when Dylan went electric at the Newport Folk Festival. Lay had played on the title track of his 1965 album Highway 61 Revisited.

By then Lay had already earned himself a reputation by backing blues giants such as Little Walter and Howlin’ Wolf, for whom he drummed on the original version of The Red Rooster (later known as Little Red Rooster) and Goin’ Down Slow. Lay also backed acts like Willie Dixon, Muddy Waters, Paul Butterfield, Lightnin’ Hopkins and Magic Sam.

The Hall of Fame Drummer
The day after Lay, another Hall of Fame drummer departed. The death at 96 by Philip Paul brings to an end a career that started in 1938, when as a 13-year-old he played in his father’s jazz band in New York. In the 1940s he played with jazz greats like Arthur Prysock, Buddy Johnson, Sonny Stitt, Bud Powell, and Dizzy Gillespie, and in the 1950s became a session drummer on King Records.

On King, he played on classics such as Little Willie John’s Fever, Charles Brown’s Please Come Home For Christmas, Tiny Bradshaw’s Train Kept A-Rollin’, Wynonie Harris’ Good Rockin Tonight, Freddie King’s Hide Away and Tore Down, and Hank Ballard’s The Twist, thereby virtually inventing the twist beat (like Fever, its story features in The Originals: Rock & Roll Years). He also backed acts like John Lee Hooker, Albert King, Jimmy Smith, Nat Adderley, and Herbie Mann. And he was part of the Meriwether Trio.

Terry Stewart, president of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, once said of Philip Paul: “If someone were to try to isolate the single heartbeat of the early days of rock and roll, as it transitions from ‘race music’ to ‘rhythm & blues’ to whatever you want to call what early rock and roll is, that heartbeat is Philip. [He is] the thread that runs through so much of the important music of that period.”

The Pop Songwriter
And the day after Dallas Frasier, another hit songwriter signed off in Jon Lind, who co-wrote hits such as Earth, Wind & Fire’s Boogie Wonderland, Madonna’s Crazy For You, Vanessa Williams’ Save The Best For Last, or Mica Paris’ Whisper A Prayer. As a musician, Lind was a member of soft-rock trio Howdy Moon (with the late Valerie Carter) and later The Fifth Avenue Band, in between releasing solo records, though to no great effect. Later he became a record label executive, serving as executive producer for acts like the Jonas Brothers and Selena Gomez.

The BST Arranger
At first, Dick Halligan played the trombone for Blood, Sweat & Tears, but after Al Kooper left following the debut album, he became the group’s keyboardist/pianist. He also arranged many of their songs, and wrote a few, before leaving BST in 1971. He also arranged for others, such as Buckingham Nicks and England Dan & John Ford Coley. He also was a composer of film scores, jazz tracks, and chamber music. As part of BS&T, Halligan also played at Woodstock, which will become a reference point shortly.

The Tabla Player
Born in East-Pakistan (now Bangladesh), Badal Roy was playing the tabla, a pair of Indian twin-hand drums, in a New York City restaurant when he came to Miles Davis’ notice. Roy had been into jazz ever since he had seen Duke Ellington play in his home country in 1963, so when Davis invited him to play on his 1972 album On The Corner (on which James Mtume appeared as well), he knew what to do. He’d play on several more Davis albums and was also part of his live act.

Badal, who also played other percussion instruments, released several albums under his own name, and backed acts such as Ornette Coleman, Herbie Mann, Lonnie Liston Smith, Pharoah Sanders, John McLaughlin, Herbie Hancock, Pat Metheny, Andreas Vollenweider, Charlie Haden, Yoko Ono and Richie Havens.

The Woodstock Man
Concert promoters don’t usually get listed in this series, but Michael Lang, who has died at 77, deserves a mention as the initiator and co-organiser of the Woodstock Music & Art Festival in 1969 (which was treated here on its 50th anniversary). The then-25-year-old had enjoyed success with a previous festival near Miami, the 1968 Pop & Underground Festival, which had included in its line-up Jimi Hendrix, Frank Zappa, Chuck Berry, John Lee Hooker, and others.

After Woodstock, Lang was roped in at an advanced stage by The Rolling Stones to help organise the ill-fated Altamont festival (he can be seen on stage during the Jefferson Starship scuffle in the film Gimme Shelter). He also organised the similarly ill-fated Woodstock ‘99 festival, and the iteration five years earlier.

As always, this post is reproduced in illustrated PDF format in the package, which also includes my personal playlist of the featured tracks. PW in comments.

Stephen J. Lawrence, 82, composer for Sesame Street, on Dec. 30
Sesame Street – Fuzzy And Blue (And Orange) (1981, as co-writer)

Nick Colionne, jazz guitarist, on Jan. 1
Nick Colionne – Slammin’ (2014)

Mighty Bomber, 93, Trinidad and Tobago calypso singer, on Jan. 1
The Mighty Bomber – Gloria (1962)

Traxamillion, 42, hip hop producer, on Jan. 2

Kenny J, 69, Trinidad and Tobago calypso and soca parang singer, on Jan. 2

Ana Bejerano, 60, singer Spanish vocal group Mocedades, on Jan. 2

Jay Weaver, 42, bassist of band Big Daddy Weave, on Jan. 2

María Mérida, 96, Spanish folk singer, on Jan. 4
María Mérida – Camino de Tunte (1955)

Andrzej Nowak, 62, guitarist of Polish rock collective TSA, on Jan. 4

Jessie Daniels, 58, singer with soul band Force MD’s, on Jan. 4
Force M.D.’s – Tender Love (1985, on lead vocals)

Calvin Simon, 79, singer with Parliament-Funkadelic, on Jan. 6
The Parliaments – Party Boys (1959)
The Parliaments – Heart Trouble (1965)
Parliament – Give Up The Funk (Tear The Roof Off The Sucker) (1975)

Yoram Taharlev, 83, Israeli songwriter, on Jan. 6

Clive Zanda, 82, Trinidad and Tobago jazz musician, on Jan. 6

Dean Taylor, 82, Canadian country singer-songwriter and producer, on Jan. 7
R. Dean Taylor – There’s A Ghost In My House (1967)
Diana Ross & The Supremes – Love Child (1969, as co-producer)
R. Dean Taylor – Indiana Wants Me (1970)

Bobby Harrison, 82, English rock drummer and singer, on Jan. 7
The Freedom – Where Will You Be Tonight (1968, as member)

Marc Dé Hugar, 52, guitarist of Australian glam metal band Candy Harlots, on Jan. 7
Candy Harlots – Danger (1990)

Koady Chaisson, 37, banjoist of Canadian roots band The East Pointers, on Jan. 7
The East Pointers – Last Blank Page (2015, also as co-writer)

Harpdog Brown, 59, Canadian blues musician, on Jan. 7

Michael Lang, 77, co-creator of Woodstock, on Jan. 8
Joni Mitchell – Woodstock (1970)

Marilyn Bergman, 93, songwriter, on Jan. 8
Frank Sinatra – Nice n’ Easy (1960, as co-writer)
Quincy Jones feat. Ray Charles – In The Heat Of The Night (1967, as co-writer)
Stephen Bishop – It Might Be You (1982, as co-writers)

James Mtume, 76, soul-funk musician and songwriter, on Jan. 9
Miles Davis – Black Satin (1972, on percussions)
Roberta Flack & Donny Hathaway – Closer I Get To You (1977, as writer)
Mtume – So You Wanna Be A Star (1980)

Garry Bradbury, 62, Australian electronic musician, announced Jan. 10

Khan Jamal, 75, jazz vibraphonist, on Jan. 10
Sounds Of Liberation – New Life (1972, as founder-member)

Gerry Granahan, 89, singer, songwriter and producer, on Jan. 10
Dicky Doo and the Don’ts – Leave Me Alone (Let Me Cry) (1958, as singer and co-writer)

Burke Shelley, 71, Welsh bassist-singer of hard rock band Budgie, on Jan. 10
Budgie – Whisky River (1972)
Budgie – I Turned To Stone (1981)

Bruce Anderson, founder and guitarist of art-rock band MX-80, on Jan. 11
MX-80 – Someday You’ll Be King (1980)

Martin Carrizo, 50, Argentine drummer, on Jan. 11

Vince Fontaine, 60, founder of Canadian First Nations rock group Eagle & Hawk, on Jan. 11
Eagle & Hawk – Sundancer (2004)

Jordi Sabatés, 73, Spanish pianist and film composer, on Jan. 11

Jerry Crutchfield, 87, country songwriter, producer (esp. Tanya Tucker), music exec, on Jan. 11
Brenda Lee – My Whole World Is Falling Down (1963, as co-writer)
Dave Loggins – Please Come To Boston (1974, as producer)

Rosa Lee Hawkins, 77, singer with R&B trio The Dixie Cups, on Jan. 11
The Dixie Cups – You Should Have Seen The Way He Looked At Me (1964)
The Dixie Cups – Iko Iko (1964, also as co-writer)

Ronnie Spector, 78, singer of The Ronettes, on Jan. 12
The Ronettes – Baby I Love You (1963)
Ronnie Spector – Try Some, Buy Some (1971)
Ronnie Spector – Love On A Rooftop (1987)

Peter Welker, 79, jazz-funk musician, on Jan. 12

Fred Parris, 85, lead singer of doo wop group The Five Satins and songwriter, on Jan. 13
The Five Satins – In The Still Of The Night (1956, also as writer)
Fred Parris and The Satins – Let Me Be The Last One (1982)

Sonny Turner, 83, lead singer of The Platters (1959-70), on Jan. 13
The Platters – With This Ring (1966)

Marty Roberts, 89, half of lounge duo Marty & Elayne, on Jan. 13

Fred Van Hove, 84, Belgian jazz musician, on Jan. 13

Vince ‘Lil’ Nation’/’CPO Boss Hogg’ Edwards, 52, rapper, announced Jan. 13
CPO – Ballad Of A Menace (1990, also as co-writer)

Sad Frosty, 24, rapper, on Jan. 14

Greg Webster, 84, drummer of funk band Ohio Players (1963-74), on Jan. 14
The Ohio Players – Neighbors (1967)

Dallas Frazier, 82, American country musician and songwriter, on Jan. 14
Dallas Frazier – Elvira (1965, also as writer)
O.C. Smith – Son Of Hickory Holler’s Tramp (1968, as writer)
The Holmes Brothers – There Goes My Everything (1993, as writer)

Dan Einstein, 61, executive producer, Oh Boy label founder, on Jan. 15

Jon Lind, 73, songwriter, producer, musician, on Jan. 15
Howdy Moon – Cheyenne Autumn (1974, as member and writer)
Earth, Wind & Fire – Sun Goddess (1975, as co-writer)

Rachel Nagy, singer and pianist of garage rock band Detroit Cobras, announced Jan. 15
The Detroit Cobras – Midnight Blues (1998)

Carmela Corren, 83, Israeli-born German-based singer, on Jan. 16

Karim Ouellet, 37, Senegalese- Canadian singer-songwriter, on Jan. 17
Karim Ouellet – Marie-Jo (2012)

Armando Gama, 67, Portuguese singer-songwriter, on Jan. 17

Dick Halligan, 78, keyboardist of Blood, Sweat & Tears, arranger, film composer, on Jan. 18
Blood, Sweat & Tears – Variations On A Theme By Erik Satie (1968, on flute, also as arranger)
Blood, Sweat & Tears – Lisa, Listen To Me (1971, also as writer)
Buckingham Nicks – Crying In The Night (1973, as arranger)

Freddie Hughes, 79, soul singer, on Jan. 18
Freddie Hughes – Send My Baby Back (1968)

Badal Roy, 77, Bangladesh-born tabla player, percussionist, on Jan. 18
Miles Davis – Rated X (1974, on tabla; also featuring James Mtume)
Badal Roy, Geoff Warren, Marcello Sebastiani – Courante (2006)

Héctor “Tito” Matos, 53, Puerto Rican percussionist, on Jan. 18
Viento De Agua – Fiesta De Plena (1998, on lead vocals and congas)

Elza Soares, 91, Brazilian samba singer, on Jan. 20
Elza Soares – Se Acaso Você Chegasse (1958)
Elza Soares – Mulata Assanhada (1968)
Elza Soares – Rainha dos Sete Mares (1976)
Elza Soares – O Que Se Cala (2018)

Tom Smith, 65, avant garde musician (To Live and Shave in L.A.), on Jan. 20

Meat Loaf, 74, rock singer, on Jan. 20
Stoney & Meatloaf – Jimmy Bell (1971)
Meat Loaf – Dead Ringer For Love (1981)
Meat Loaf – Bad For Good (2006)

Emil Mangelsdorff, 96, German jazz musician, on Jan. 20

Piero Parodi, 86, Italian folk singer, on Jan. 21

Don Wilson, 88, guitarist with The Ventures, on Jan. 22
The Ventures – Ram Bunk Shush (1961)
The Ventures – Scat In The Dark (1970)

Clive Robin Sarstedt, 78, English singer, on Jan. 22
Robin Sarstedt – My Resistance Is Low (1976)

Hartmut Becker, 83, German actor and singer-songwriter, on Jan. 22

Beegie Adair, 84, jazz pianist, on Jan. 23
Beegie Adair – Tangerine (2003)

Boris Pfeiffer, 53, piper in German medieval metal band In Extremo, on Jan. 24
In Extremo – Erdbeermund (2003)

Osvaldo Peredo, 91, Argentine tango singer, on Jan. 24

Fredrik Johansson, 47, guitarist of Swedish death metal band Dark Tranquility, on Jan. 25

Janet Mead, 83, Australian singer and nun, on Jan. 26
Sister Janet Mead – The Lord’s Prayer (1973)

Kenneth Wannberg, 91, film composer and sound editor, on Jan. 26

Diego Verdaguer, 70, Argentine singer-songwriter, on Jan. 27

Sam Lay, 86, blues and rock session drummer, on Jan. 29
Howlin’ Wolf – Going Down Slow (1962, on drums)
Sam Lay – Maggie’s Farm (1968)

Philip Paul, 96, session drummer on Jan. 30
Tiny Bradshaw – The Train Kept A-Rollin’ (1951, on drums)
Hank Ballard & The Midnighters – The Twist (1959, on drums)
Philip Paul – We 3 Plus 1 (2003)

Hargus ‘Pig’ Robbins, 84, country pianist, on Jan. 30
Bob Dylan – Rainy Day Women # 12 & 36 (1966, on piano)
Charlie Rich – The Most Beautiful Girl (1974, on piano)
Ween – I’m Holding You (1996, on piano)

Norma Waterson, 82, member of English folk band The Watersons, on Jan. 30
Norma Waterson – God Loves A Drunk (1996)

Alejandro Alonso, 69, Mexican Christian music singer and guitarist, on Jan. 31

Jimmy Johnson, 93, blues & soul singer and guitarist, announced on Jan. 31
Jimmie Johnson – Little By Little (1983)


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