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Any Major Laurel Canyon

August 25th, 2022 5 comments

Rarely, if ever, has so much musical talent been concentrated in one suburb as it was in the decade between the mid-1960s and mid-70s in Laurel Canyon, Los Angeles.

A popular residential area for film stars during the Golden Age of Hollywood, by the late 1960s Laurel Canyon had become a bohemian refuge, a place where hippies did lots of drugs and wore few clothes.

The pioneer denizen was Frank Zappa, but the sounds that came out of Laurel Canyon were mostly folk and rock and folk-rock. Zappa, The Doors and Alice Coopers were musical outliers amid the likes of Joni Mitchell, Cass Elliott or James Taylor, or even popsters like The Monkees’ Peter Tork and Micky Dolenz.

Queen Bee of Laurel Canyon

The queen bee was Cass Elliott of The Mamas and the Papas — whose producer, the legendary Lou Adler, also lived there. Her parties were the place to be, according to virtually every alumnus. At one of these parties, Cass suggested that David Crosby of The Byrds should team up with Stephen Stills of Buffalo Springfield and Graham Nash of The Hollies, believing that their voices would go well together. The idea, as it turned out, was inspired.

Nash would later write a song about life on Laurel Canyon. Our House, on CSN&Y’s Déjà Vu album, was written about his domestic bliss with girlfriend Joni Mitchell. The two even home-recorded a demo of the song. But by the time Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young recorded it, Mitchell had dumped Nash. In fact, during the recording of Déjà Vu, all four members were nursing broken hearts (in Crosby’s case due to a tragic bereavement).

If Cass Elliott was the social locus of Laurel Canyon, with Dolenz’s home running a close second, then Joni Mitchell might have been the artistic leader. She’d even make an album about Laurel Canyon, sensibly called Ladies Of The Canyon.

As word spread about this musical refuge, more musicians moved in. In the 1970s, this was also accompanied by a different kind of drug culture, with cocaine supplanting weed and acid as the favoured form of substance use. The extended Summer of Love was ending in Laurel Canyon as well, with external events like the Manson Murders darkening the good vibes.

Tragic Singer

Not every member of the Canyon set became big stars like Joni Mitchell or James Taylor. Sadly, gifted artists like Judee Sill or Linda Perhacs never broke through and today are widely forgotten, unjustly so. Perhacs debut album in 1970 remained her only one for 44 years.

The extravangantly gifted Judee Sill, perhaps best-known for her song Jesus Was a Cross Maker, might be Laurel Canyon’s most tragic singer. In her young days, she was engaged in criminal activities, including robberies. She mended her ways in reform school, where she picked up an interest in Christianity which would find expression in her songs. Moving to LA, she soon experimented with drugs, picking up a heroin addiction (which led her to a stint in jail in the 1960s).

As a person Sill was troubled, as a musician, however, she excelled. Nash and Crosby appointed her as their opening act on tour, through which she landed a recording contract. She recorded two fine albums, but to no commercial success. Injuries from car accidents, health problems and drug abuse followed her until a drug overdose killed Sill in 1979.

Laurel Canyon on LP Covers

A couple of famous album covers were shot in Laurel Canyon. The cover photo Carole King’s Tapestry was taken in the living room of her house at 8815 Appian Way (the story of that cover is told in the Tapestry Recovered post).

The cover of Crosby, Still & Nash’s eponymous album, the one with the beaten-up sofa on a porch, was taken at a random house Graham Nash had discovered in Palm Avenue (between Sunset and Santa Monica Boulevards). The shoot, by Henry Diltz, was great, but there was a snag: the trio had yet to decide on the order of their names in the supergroup. When they decided on the Crosby-Stills-Nash order, their positions on the couch photo were in the incorrect order. So a couple of days later, they piled into the car to reshoot the image, in which the members would sit in the correct order — but when the group got there, the house had been torn down. In the end, they just went with that perfect shot, sitting order notwithstanding.

Diltz was a major contributor to the excellent 2020 two-part documentary Laurel Canyon, which features rare photo and video material. A great companion piece is the 2019 documentary Echo In The Canyon, which was a project of Jakob Dylan, which connects the Laurel Canyon scene with contemporary musicians.The mix is sequenced to fit on a standard CD-R, if you take tracks 1-25, but there are seven more songs to enjoy. It includes home-smoked covers and the above as an illustrated linernotes PDF. PW in comments.

1. Jackie DeShannon – Laurel Canyon (1969)
2. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968)
3. The Byrds – Eight Miles High (1966)
4. Love – Orange Skies (1966)
5. Buffalo Springfield – Sit Down I Think I Love You (1966)
6. Joni Mitchell – Ladies Of The Canyon (1970)
7. Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young – Our House (1970)
8. Judee Sill – Crayon Angels (1971)
9. Jackson Browne – Jamaica Say You Will (1970)
10. Carole King – Sweet Seasons (1970)
11. Dave Mason – Just A Song (1970)
12. Little Feat – Fool Yourself (1973)
13. Bonnie Raitt – Too Long At The Fair (1971)
14. Carly Simon – The Right Thing To Do (1972)
15. James Taylor – Blossom (1970)
16. Linda Perhacs – Sandy Toes (1972)
17. Poco – Just For Me And You (1971))
18. Eagles – Peaceful Easy Feeling (1972)
19. America – Lonely People (1974)
20. Ned Deheny – On And On (1973)
21. The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band – Border Town (1974)
22. Mama Cass – Make You Own Kind Of Music (1969)
23. Flying Burrito Brothers – Sin City (1969)
24. Judy Henske & Jerry Yester – Charity (1969)
25. The Monkees – For Pete’s Sake (1969)
Bonus Tracks:
26. The Turtles – So Happy Together (1966)
27. Three Dog Night – Never Been To Spain (1971)
28. Linda Ronstadt – Long Long Time (1970)
29. Fleetwood Mac – Landslide (1975)
30. John Mayall & The Bluesbreakers – Laurel Canyon Home (1968)
31. The Doors – Love Street (1968)
32. Alice Cooper – Living (1969)

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Holland-Dozier-Holland Songbook

August 16th, 2022 6 comments

The death on August 8 of Lamont Dozier calls for a retrospective of songs he wrote with Brian and Eddie Holland. Dozier is the first of that trio to leave us.

With the brothers Holland, Lamont Dozier formed a veritable hit-machine for Motown — more than that, they were pivotal in creating the Motown sound of the 1960s.

For Martha And The Vandellas, they wrote and produced hits such as Heat Wave (their first hit in 1963), Nowhere To Run, Come And Get These Memories, and Jimmy Mack.

For the Four Tops, they created Reach Out I’ll Be There, Baby I Need Your Loving, It’s the Same Old Song, Standing In The Shadows of Love, I’ll Turn To Stone, Bernadette, 7 Rooms Of Gloom, and You Keep Running Away.

For Marvin Gaye they wrote How Sweet It Is and Can I Get A Witness; for The Miracles it was Mickey’s Monkey, for Jr. Walker & The All Stars (I’m A) Roadrunner, for The Isley Brothers This Old Heart Of Mine, for The Elgins Heaven Must Have Sent You, and for R. Dean Taylor they wrote There’s A Ghost In My House.

And they made The Supremes. Look at this list: Baby Love, Where Did Our Love Go, You Keep Me Hanging On, Stop In The Name Of Love, Reflections, I Hear A Symphony, Come See About Me, The Happening, Forever Came Today, Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone, and more.

Lamont Dozier, left, with the Holland brothers.

After falling out with Berry Gordy, Holland-Dozier-Holland left Motown in 1968 and founded their own label, Invictus. There their charges included the Freda Payne, Chairmen Of The Board, 100 Proof Aged In Soul, Flaming Embers, Glass House, and Honey Cone, producing and co-writing hits — for contractual reasons as Edith Wayne — such as Band Of Gold, Give Me Just A Little More Time, Everything’s Tuesday, You’ve Got Me Dangling On A String,  Sunday Morning People, Too Many Cooks (Spoil The Soup), or Westbound No. 9.

On that label Dozier also released his biggest solo hit, Why Can’t We Be Lovers, a US #9. In 1973 he split from the Holland brothers, with lawsuits following. Dozier said his legal issues with the Hollands, and with Berry Gordy before that, were not personal, just business.

Of the three, Dozier went on to have the greater success, but divided they never reached such heights as they did together in that decade from 1963-72.

With an eye to my CD-R length rule, this collection covers only the Motown phase. If you ask nicely, I might put together a post-Motown mix of Dozier compositions, with and without the Hollands.

The covers here are quite fascinating, none more so than Dozier’s 2004 interpretation of Baby Love. Here the man who co-wrote the song for three teenage girls wrestled with his composition 40 years later, as a man in his early 60s. He reworked the song to great effect.

Motown let different acts on their roster record the same songs, to see which version would provide the hits. That way, we have The Supremes try their hand at the Four Tops’ I Can’t Help Myself, and The Isley Brothers doing The Supremes’ I Hear A Symphony. The Four Tops’ version of Reflections came later, on 1970’s remarkable Still Waters Run Deep album.

Barry White, meanwhile, took The Four Tops’ Standing In The Shadows Of Love, and gave it a thorough reworking. On the bonus track, Margie Joseph does something similar to Stop! In The Name Of Love.

The most unusual interpretation — other than maybe the great cover of Come See About Me by the Afghan Whigs — might be that by Matt Monro, who took The Happening into the realms of jazz vocals. Which raises the question: Why did Frank Sinatra never sing Holland-Dozier-Holland songs?

Companion mixes to this collection may be Covered With Soul: Motown Edition Vol. 1 and Covered With Soul: Motown Edition Vol. 2. I might also commend to you The Originals: Motown Edition, but that features only one Holland-Dozier-Holland track, which shows how they almost always got it right the first time.

As mentioned, CD-R length, plus home-produced covers. The above text is included in an illustrated PDF. PW in comments.

1. The Jam – (Love is Like A) Heat Wave (1979)
2. Soft Cell – Where Did Our Love Go (1981)
3. The Afghan Whigs – Come See About Me (1992)
4. Fleetwood Mac – (I’m A) Road Runner (1973)
5. Wild Cherry – Nowhere To Run (1976)
6. Z. Z. Hill – Can I Get A Witness (1972)
7. O.C. Smith – Baby I Need Your Loving (1974)
8. Wilson Pickett – You Keep Me Hangin’ On (1969)
9. Tami Lynn – Love Is Here And Now You’re Gone (1972)
10. Barry White – Standing In the Shadows Of Love (1973)
11. Lamont Dozier – Baby Love (2004)
12. Michael McDonald – Reach Out, I’ll Be There (2004)
13. Nicolette Larson – Back In My Arms, Again (1979)
14. James Taylor – How Sweet It Is (To Be Loved By You) (1975)
15. Matt Monro – The Happening (1967)
16. José Feliciano – My World Is Empty Without You (1968)
17. Laura Nyro & Labelle – Jimmy Mack (1971)
18. The Isley Brothers – I Hear A Symphony (1966)
19. Barbara Randolph – I Turn To Stone (1968)
20. Four Tops – Reflections (1970)
21. The Supremes – I Can’t Help Myself (1966)
Bonus Track:
Margie Joseph – Stop! In The Name Of Love (1971)

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More Songbooks:
ABBA
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. 1
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
Rod Temperton
Sly Stone
Steely Dan

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Any Major Party

August 9th, 2022 3 comments

 

Summertime is party time. I was thinking of that when I mused about the best-ever movie about a party. Superbad might the funniest (and one of the best about real friendship), and some people might swear by Belushi comedies or John Hughes films or 1960s beach flicks involving Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello. After due consideration, I regard Dazed And Confused as the greatest film about partying. In fact, I think it’s really a documentary.

But you’re not here to read about my preferences in the domain of films, but for the music. So here is a mix of songs about parties. They must be, or at least pretend to be, about get-togethers. And I limited an endless list by allowing only songs that have the word “party” in the title, and even avoided the one most people will have thought of first, because at my parties, no tears! Not much more to it, so everybody, it’s time to party down.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R, and includes home-boogiedowned covers, and this whole post in PDF. PW in comment.

Marvin Gaye – It’s Party Time (1962)
The Party Vibe: Boogie down with endurance. “We can shake it, we can take it, woo!”

The Show Stoppers – Ain’t Nothing But A Houseparty (1968)
The Party Vibe: Architecturally instructive. “They’re dancing on the ceiling, they’re dancing on the floor.”

Curtis Mayfield – Party Night (1976)
The Party Vibe: Food, dance, possibility of sex. “Having cheese and wine, dancing all the time.”

Dee Dee Sharp Gamble – Let’s Get This Party Started (1980)
The Party Vibe: Expectant. “Don’t you want to get funky?”

Raydio – It’s Time To Party Now (1980)
The Party Vibe: Talking, fronting, man-chasing. “But whatever you’re here for, you’ve got to get on down.

Gloria Gaynor – Anybody Wanna Party? (1978)
The Party Vibe: Prelude to hot lurve. “I could dig some slow dance, I could dig some girl-meets-boy.”

Luther Vandross – Bad Boy/Having A Party (1982)
The Party Vibe: Joyfully destructive. “The chandelier downstairs has fallen.”

Rhinestones – Party Music (1975)
The Party Vibe: Eclectic. “Moving with the masters, Motown to Ravel.”

Jona Lewie – You’ll Always Find Me In The Kitchen At Parties (1980)
The Party Vibe: Dull. “At last I met a pretty girl, she laughed and talked with me. We both walked out of the kitchen and danced in a new way.”

Dar Williams – Party Generation (1997)
The Party Vibe: Nerdy. “And he said, ‘Don’t you know the game Kazaam? It’s a better game’.”

Rick Nelson – Garden Party (1972)
The Party Vibe: Celeb-filled. “Everyone was there, Yoko brought her walrus.”

Don Gibson – Give Myself A Party (1958)
The Party Vibe: Masturbatory. “I’m gonna give myself a party and serve old memories.”

Elvis Presley – Party (1957)
The Party Vibe: Zoological. I’ve never kissed a bear, I’ve never kissed a goon, but I can shake a chicken in the middle of the room.”

Claudine Clark – Party Lights (1962)
The Party Vibe: Lonesome. “Oh, everybody in the crowd is there. Ooh, but you [Mama] won’t let me make the scene.”

The Pixies Three – Birthday Party (1964)
The Party Vibe: Platter-spinning. “I got the latest records we all know and we can dance to the radio.”

Stevie Wonder – The Party At The Beach House (1964)
The Party Vibe: Grammatically incorrect. “You’re gonna see all of your friends you haven’t seen since school begins.”

Tami Lynn – At The Party (1966)
The Party Vibe: Is this a party? “If I show you how to shimmy will you show me how to shout… shake it up and shake it down.”

Jay W. McGee – When We Party (Uptown, Downtown) (1982)
The Party Vibe:
Peaceful. “And there’s never any trouble ’cause we know what we come for.”

Harari – Party (1981)
The Party Vibe: Groovin’. “Everybody was dancing and rocking. My feet got the message too.”

Prince – Partyup (1980)
The Party Vibe: Anti-war. “I don’t want to die, I just want to have a bloody good time.”

The Holmes Brothers – Stayed At The Party (2013)
The Party Vibe: Regretful. “If it was dry, I’d smoke, if it was wet, I’d drink it.”

Alexander O’Neal – When The Party Is Over (1987)
The Party Vibe: Hopeful. “There’s no need to leave when the party’s over.”

Allen Toussaint – When The Party’s Over (1973)
The Party Vibe: Winding down romantically. “When the party’s over and everybody’s gone, we can trip out to a space where we can be alone.”

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In Memoriam – July 2022

August 2nd, 2022 4 comments

There were no real “headline deaths” in July, but there were many fascinating stories — the musician who was stolen from his family; the hip hop artist executed by a military junta; the guy who wrote the James Bond theme and had to fight for that recognition; the hit singer who first helped eradicate polio and later became the first black game show host in the US; the centenarian who once played for both Frank Sinatra and Frank Zappa; the actress who has died while the biggest current film is still on circuit…

The Stolen
At a time when the cultural genocide of indigenous people by colonialists  — and their descendants, right up well into the past century — is in the global spotlight, not least thanks to Pope Francis’ huge apology in Canada for the Catholic Church’s involvement in it, the death of Archie Roach is poignant. Roach, an Aboriginal Australian, wrote a moving and instructive song about cultural genocide in 1988, titled Took The Children Away, and released it in 1990 as his debut single.

He wrote from personal experience, having been part of the “Stolen Generations” who were victims of a racist Australian policy that was implemented from 1905 until the 1970s, whereby indigenous children were forcibly removed from their families and placed in orphanages. Roach was taken from his family at the age of 2. He never saw his mother again, though as an adult he eventually reunited with his family. He spent his life as an activist for the rights of indigenous people. It is to Australia’s shame that this is still necessary.

As a musician, Roach enjoyed a high reputation. Apart from headlining his own tours, he was a support act for Joan Armatrading, Bob Dylan, Billy Bragg, Tracy Chapman, Suzanne Vega and Patti Smith. Between 1990 and 2020, Roach released 10 studio albums, two live album, and a soundtrack.

The Delfonic
With the death of William ‘Poogie’ Hart, both  classic line-ups of the great soul trio The Delfonics are down to just one man standing, Hart’s brother Wilbert. The brothers founded The Orphonics, which would be renamed The Delfonics after they were signed by legendary producer Thom Bell — after Poogie’s talent was spotted in a barber shop.

William Watson co-wrote most of The Delfonics’ songs with Bell, including soul standards such as La-La (Means I Love You), Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time), and Ready Or Not Here I Come. On The Delfonics records, William Hart did the falsetto and high tenor voices.

The Sinatra Favourite
Frank Sinatra’s favourite horn player has died at 101. Vincent DeRosa was one of the few musicians Sinatra ever publicly praised. De Rosa, who started used career as a young teenager in 1935, backed Sinatra for many years, including on that great run of records in the 1950s.

DeRosa played in big bands and as session man for jazz acts in the 1950s like Ella Fitzgerald, Nat ‘King’ Cole, Mel Tormé, Louis Armstrong, Carmen McRae, Peggy Lee, and Julie London, and later fusion artists like David Axelrod, Lalo Schifrin, Chuck Mangione, Stanley Clarke, Horace Silver, Jean-Luc Ponty and Stanley Turrentine.

He played for pop, soul and rock acts such as The Monkees, Fifth Dimension, Harry Nilsson, José Feliciano, Frank Zappa, Tower of Power, Rita Coolidge, The Temptations, Neil Diamond, Boz Scaggs, Minnie Riperton, Earth Wind & Fire, The Emotions, Glen Campbell, Natalie Cole and many others.

DaRosa also played on countless film soundtracks, including many classic ones with Henry Mancini, who composed his Oscar-winning theme to the film Days of Wine and Roses with DeRosa in mind. You’ll have heard DeRosa play in the scores of films such as Carousel, Oklahoma, The Ten Commandments, The Music ManThe Magnificent Seven, My Fair LadyHow The West Was Won, The Sound of Music, Mary Poppins, Doctor Dolittle, Jaws, Rocky, Close Encounters Of The Third Kind, Heaven Can Wait, E.T., Psycho 2, Romancing The Stone, Ghostbusters, The Karate Kid, Empire Of The Sun, Indiana Jones And The Last Crusade, Back To The Future 2, Dances With Wolves, Edward Scissorhands, and more.

The All-Rounder
Few people can boast a resumé that includes having helped to eradicate polio, going on to have charting hits, then become the first black game show host in the US, and a film, TV and stage actor. This was the extraordinary trajectory of Adam Wade. Born in 1935, Wade was first a lab assistant with Dr Jonas Salk on the polio research team before he began a singing career, in which he took Nast King Cole as his inspiration. In 1961, he had three US Top 10, country-flavoured hits: Take Good Care Of Her, As If I Didn’t Know, and The Writing On The Wall.

His music career fizzled out, but in 1975 Wade became the first black host of a TV game show, Musical Chairs. Later he hosted a talk show, Mid-Morning LA. He was a regular on soap operas and sitcoms, appeared in a number of Blaxploitation movies, and had success as a stage actor in musicals. In 1977 he returned to music with a rather good self-titled soul album.

The 007 Composer
You know the tune the moment you hear it. The word “iconic” is these overused and too often criminally misapplied, but the James Bond Theme is just that: iconic. It was written by Monty Norman, who had died at 94. “Hold it right there,” you might exclaim at this point, “the theme was the work of John Barry!” Yes and no. The tune was written by Norman, despite Barry’s protestations to the contrary. Two libel suits have confirmed Norman’s authorship; he had based it on a piece he had written some years earlier for an unproduced musical. Barry arranged the tune to make it so instantly recognisable. See Norman play the theme on his piano.

Born as Monty Noserovitch in London, Norman started out as a big band singer with several orchestras, including Ted Heath’s. in the 1950s and into ’60s, but began composing in the late ’50s. In 1962 he wrote the theme and score for the first Bond film, Dr. No. By then he had written, as lyricist or composer, several stage musicals, including the English version of Irma la Douce and Expresso Bongo, which has been described as the first rock & roll musical. Other musical hits include Songbook (or The Moony Shapiro Songbook in New York) and 1982’s Poppy.

The Hit Writer
If you were going to soundtrack a film about Britain in the 1960s, you might end up using tracks written by Alan Blaikley, who has died at 82. The best-known of these hits, created with Ken Howard, are Have I The Right? for The Honeycombs and The Legend Of Xanadu for Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (both UK #1s), and Me And My Life for The Tremeloes. For Dave Dee and his friends, Blaikley and Howard wrote a string of other Top 10 hits from 1966-68: Hold Tight, Hideaway, Save Me, Okay!, Zabadak, and Last Night In Soho.

Howard and Blaikley were also the first British composers to write for Elvis Presley, including his hit I’ve Lost You. They also wrote and produced The Bay City Roller’s original version of Manana, which appeared on Any Major Hits of 1972 Vol. 2 which I posted last month. They also wrote two West End plays and several TV themes.

Before he became a hitmaker, Blaikley produced radio programmes on BBC, in the course of which he interviewed C. S. Lewis, J. R. R. Tolkien and Enid Blyton. And between 1981 and 2003, Blaikley was a psychotherapist.

The Hayes Pianist
When Isaac Hayes started as a young, aspiring musician, Sidney Kirk was struggling alongside him. It was Kirk, who has died at 78, who spotted the newly-opened American Sound Studio in Memphis, encouraging Ike to audition for owner Chips Moman. Hayes did, and released his first (unsuccessful) record in 1962. Kirk, meanwhile, left Memphis for the US Air Force. One day, Kirk’s sister received a call from a club that wanted Sidney’s services as a pianist for a New Year’s Eve gig. With the piano man being away, his sister arranged for Hayes to get the gig. Despite his limitations as a pianist, Hayes won over the audience, and kicked off a glittering career.

By the time Kirk returned from the Air Force, Hayes had made a name for himself at Stax as a songwriter and producer of note, and he had started his recording recording. As soon as Kirk was available, he was drafted into Ike’s band, playing keyboards and piano on several Hayes albums (including Shaft) and on stage (including the famous Wattstax performance). Kirk also backed acts like Dionne Warwick, Albert King, Rufus Thomas, and Denise LaSalle.

The Happy Monday
With his brother Shaun on lead vocals, bassist Paul Ryder, who has died suddenly at 58, enjoyed cult status with Manchester rock band Happy Mondays. While the band scored only two UK Top 10 hits, both reaching  #5 in 1990, they spearheaded the “Madchester” scene, which drew from rock, psychedelia, funk and Northern soul. By 1993 The Happy Mondays had split, just as their heirs arrived to ride the Brit Pop wave. The group reunited periodically, mostly but not always with Paul Ryder on bass.

The Big Mama
Movie-goers may have seen Shonka Dukureh in the film everybody seems to talk about, Baz Luhrmann’s Elvis. In the film, she played Big Mama Thornton, the blues singer who originally performed Hound Dog. On July 21, Dukureh died suddenly at the age of 44, while the film that promised her breakthrough was still on circuit.

The singer was planning to release her debut album, in the blues genre. Previously she had been a backing singer, on stage with acts like Nick Cave, Mike Farris, Jamie Liddell, and singer-rapper Doja Cat.

The Executed Dissident
In 2000, Phyo Zayar Thaw and his band Acid released Burma’s first hip-hop album, which featured thinly-veiled criticisms of Burma/Myanmar’s regime. 22 Years later, Thaw was executed by the regime, as a dissident.

After co-founding an anti-regime activist youth movement called Generation Wave, Thaw was detained and tortured in 2008, and then sentenced to jail, serving his term until 2011. A year after his release, Thaw, by then 31 years old, won a seat in parliament for Aung San Suu Kyi’s National League for Democracy. The February 2021 coup ended that career.

In November, Thaw and other activists were arrested and in a mock trial in January sentenced to death, on charges of plotting terror acts against civilians. On July 23 it was announced that Thaw and three other activists had been executed by hanging.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.

Irene Fargo, 59, Italian singer and stage actress, on July 1
Irene Fargo – Come una Turandot (1992)

Tristan Goodall, 48, songwriter, guitarist of Australian roots band The Audreys, on July 2
The Audreys – Banjo And Violin (2006, also as co-writer)

Antonio Cripezzi, 76, singer and keyboardist of Italian pop band I Camaleonti, on July 3
I Camaleonti – Applausi (1968)

Alan Blaikley, 82, English songwriter, arranger and producer, on July 4
The Honeycombs – Have I The Right (1964, as co-writer)
Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich – Bend It (1966, as co-writer)
Elvis Presley – I’ve Lost You (1970, as co-writer)

Manny Charlton, 80, lead guitarist of Scottish rock band Nazareth, on July 5
Nazareth – Bad Bad Boy (1973)
Nazareth – Love Hurts (1974)

Van Christian, 62, singer and guitarist of rock band Naked Prey, on July 5
Naked Prey – One Even Stand (1988, also as writer)

Mark Astronaut, singer of British punk band The Astronauts, on July 7
The Astronauts – Back Soon (1981)

Adam Wade, 87, pop singer and game show host, on July 7
Adam Wade – As If I Didn’t Know (1961)
Adam Wade – Keeping Up With The Joneses (1977)

Barbara Thompson, 77, English jazz saxophonist, on July 10
Barbara Thompson – Little Annie-Ooh (1979)
Marti Webb – Take That Look Off Your Face (1980, on saxophone)

Chantal Gallia, 65, Algerian-born French singer, on July 10

Monty Norman, 94, English composer, on July 11
Cliff Richard & The Shadows – The Shrine On The Second Floor (1960, as co-writer)
The John Barry Seven – James Bond Theme (1962, as composer)

David Dalton, 80, British-born founding editor of Rolling Stone, on July 11
The Unfolding – Play Your Game (1967, as vocalist and writer)

Edana Minghella, 63, British jazz singer, on July 13

Michael James Jackson, 65, American music producer, on July 13
Pablo Cruise – Island Woman (1975, as producer)
Kiss – Lick It Up (1983, as producer)

B. Crentsil, 78, Ghanaian high-life singer, composer and guitarist, on July 13

William Hart, 77, singer with soul band The Delfonics and songwriter, on July 14
The Delfonics – Can You Remember (1968, also as co-writer)
The Delfonics – Didn’t I (Blow Your Mind This Time) (1970, also as co-writer)
The Delfonics – Think It Over (1973, also as writer)

Paul Ryder, 58, bassist of English rock band Happy Mondays, on July 15
Happy Mondays – Kinky Afro (1990)
Happy Mondays – Sunshine And Love (1992)

Ruba Say, 56, rock musician, on July 16

Idris Phillips, 64, guitarist, keyboardist and songwriter, on July 16
Dawud Wharnsby feat. Idris Phillips – Let It Go (2011, on guitar and as co-writer)

César ‘Pupy’ Pedroso, 75, Cuban pianist and songwriter, on July 17
Los Van Van – Calla Calla (1988, as member and writer)

Héctor Tricoche, 66, Puerto Rican salsa singer-songwriter, on July 17
Héctor Tricoche – En Cuba No Falta Nada (2007)

Povl Dissing, 84, Danish rock singer and guitarist, on July 18

Dani, 77, French singer, actress and model, on July 18
Dani – Papa vient d’epouser la bonne (1969)

Vincent DeRosa, 101, jazz and soundtrack horn player, on July 18
Harry James and his Orchestra – The Man With The Horn (1947, on French horn)
Ella Fitzgerald – You’re An Old Smoothie (1959, on horns)
The Monkees – Someday Man (1969, on French horn)
Boz Scaggs – What Do You Want The Girl To Do (1976, on horns)

George Kinney, singer of psychedelic rock band Golden Dawn, on July 18
The Golden Dawn – My Time (1968, also as co-writer)

Henkie, 76, Dutch singer, on July 19

Michael Henderson, 71, soul singer and jazz bass guitarist, on July 19
Miles Davis – Black Satin (1972, on bass guitar)
Michael Henderson – Won’t You Be Mine (1977)

Jody Abbott, 55, drummer of rock band Fuel, on July 20
Fuel – Falls On Me (2003)

Frankie Davidson, 88, Australian singer, on July 20

Shonka Dukureh, 44, blues singer and actress (Elvis), on July 21
Ashley Cleveland – Going To Heaven To Meet The King (2009, on backing vocals)
Shonka Dukureh – Hound Dog (2022)

Núria Feliu, 80, Spanish singer and actress, on July 22

Zayar Thaw, 41, Burmese politician and hip hop artist, executed on July 23
Nitric Acid – Generation Driven By Faith (c.2011, as performer and writer)

Vittorio De Scalzi, 72, singer of Italian prog-rock band New Trolls, on July 24
New Trolls – Un’Ora (1970, also on guitar and as co-writer)

Bob Heathcote, 58, bassist of metal band Suicidal Tendencies, on July 24

Sandy Roberton, 80, British record producer, on July 25
Steeleye Span – Fisherman’s Wife (1970, as producer)

Darío Gómez, 71, Colombian Música popular singer, on July 26
Darío Gómez – Mejor Es Que Te Marches (1992)

Sidney Kirk, 78, soul keyboard player, on July 27
Isaac Hayes – Never Gonna Give You Up (1971, on piano)
Isaac Hayes – Theme from Shaft (1973, on keyboard)
Lou Bond – Why Must Our Eyes Always Be Turned Backwards (1974, on organ)

JayDaYoungan, 24, rapper, shot on July 27

John Grenell, 78, New Zealand country singer, on July 27
John Grenell – Dance All Night Down (Otago Way) (1990)

Mick Moloney, 77, Irish folk musician, on July 27

Bernard Cribbins, 93, English actor and novelty song singer, on July 27
Bernard Cribbins – The Hole In The Ground (1962)

Pino d’Olbia, 87, Italian singer, on July 27

Jim Sohns, 75, singer of blues-rock group Shadows of Knight, on July 29
The Shadows of Knight – Oh Yeah (1966)

Ulises Eyherabide, 55, Argentine rock musician, on July 29

Archie Roach, 66, Australian singer-songwriter, on July 30
Archie Roach – Took The Children Away (1990)
Archie Roach – Love In The Morning (1993)
Archie Roach – It’s Not Too Late (2016)

Raymond Raposa, 41, Indie singer-songwriter as Castanets, on July 30
Castanets – No Voice Was Raised (2005)

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