Archive for April, 2023

Any Major Morning Vol. 2

April 27th, 2023 9 comments

Any Major Morning_2

Last week I reposted ago I recycled from August 2013 one of the Any Major CD-R mixes I have listened to more than most other collection of music, Any Major Morning Vol. 1. Likewise, I have have played the present, second morning mix many, many times. It’s that good, and it is high time I re-share it with you, having originally run in August 2014.

The previous mix simply featured songs with the word “morning” in the title, provided the lyrics were set in the morning. The titles in this lot don’t all include the word “morning”, but they abide broadly by the latter rule. So I disqualify songs like Touch Me In The Morning or Angel Of The Morning wherein the singer is anticipating behaviours that still lie ahead. I’ve not been steadfast with that rule; the Crash Test Dummies survived it, as did Hall & Oates.

Obviously I have tried to avoid songs that use the idea of “morning” as a metaphor, so no It’s Morning Britain by Aztec Camera. And, Faron Young: 4 am is hardly “morning”, chum.

I’m surprised by how few songs there are about that great morning activity: breakfasts. The songs included here are not exactly about croissants and flapjacks (unless those can be applied as euphemisms), though the cute and amusing K’s Choice song sort of is.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-yawned covers. PW in comments.

1. The Beatles – Good Morning Good Morning (1967)
2. The Pretty Things – She Says Good Morning (1968)
3. Big Star – Watch The Sunrise (1972)
4. Richie Havens – Morning, Morning (1968)
5. Badfinger – Sweet Tuesday Morning (1971)
6. Daryl Hall & John Oates – When The Morning Comes (1973)
7. Neil Diamond – Deep In The Morning (1969)
8. Jimmy James & The Vagabonds – Good Day Sunshine (1968)
9. Chuck Jackson – I Wake Up Crying (1961)
10. The Rascals – A Beautiful Morning (1968)
11. The Monkees – Sometime In The Morning (1967)
12. Dusty Springfield – Breakfast in Bed (1969)
13. Gil Scott-Heron – I Think I’ll Call It Morning (1971)
14. The Bar Kays – Memphis At Sunrise (1972)
15. Bill Withers – Lovely Day (1977)
16. The Partridge Family – I Woke Up In Love This Morning (1971)
17. Glen Campbell – Sunflower (1977)
18. George Strait – Amarillo By Morning (1982)
19. Cowboy Junkies – Sun Comes Up, It’s Tuesday Morning (1990)
20. Crash Test Dummies – Get You In The Morning (1999)
21. The Boo Radleys – Wake Up Boo! (1995)
22. Eels – Saturday Morning (2003)
23. Richard Hawley – As The Dawn Breaks (2009)
24. Billy Bragg & Wilco – Someday Some Morning Sometime (2000)
25. K’s Choice – Breakfast (1993)
26. Norah Jones – Sunrise (2004)



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Any Major Morning Vol. 1

April 20th, 2023 16 comments

Any Major Morning

[This is a repost from August 2013. This mix and its follow-up are among my all-time Any Major CD-R mixes, so after almost a decade, it’s good to recycle them.]

Here’s a mix I have played more often than perhaps any I have ever done on this site. I dreamed it up, almost literally, when I had to drop my son at the airport for a red-eye flight. Trying to cheer myself up, I sang the Good Morning song from Singin’ In The Rain, Good Day Sunshine by The Beatles, and “It’s Four In The Morning by Faron Young. Funny enough, none of these made it into this eclectic mix.

It kicks off with the full version of the song you’ll know as the theme to The Sopranos, by London band Alabama 3. I hope you’ll have better mornings than the subjects of the song. It’s based on the 1989 killing of English wife-beater Malcolm Thornton by his wife Sarah, who stabbed him 20 times. A trial in 1990 found her guilty of murder; a retrial in 1996 reduced the verdict to manslaughter and Sarah was set free for time served.

The version featured here of Kevin Ayer‘s infectious Religious Experience (Singing A Song In The Morning), the psychedelic rocker”s first single in 1970, is the longer one which remained unreleased until 2003. It has Pink Floyd legend Syd Barrett on guitar, while The Ladybirds, who are best known from The Benny Hill Show, perform the backing vocals.

Perhaps the most obscure track here is Joyce Williams‘ The First Thing I Do In The Morning. This gospel-funk number burns it up, with its hot flutes, sizzling wah-wah guitar and incendiary bass. The only other record Williams seems to have recorded was a single titled Dance The Wrangler Shake (take that, Harlem) six years earlier, in 1966 — for the jeans company.

A few songs here are covers of well-known songs. Harry Nilsson covers Louis Jordan’s 1947 hit Early In The Morning, Paul Weller does Paul Lightfoot’s Early Morning Rain.

And listen to Bernard Purdie’s great drums on the Tim Rose track.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-brewed covers. Volume 2 will follow next week.

1. Alabama 3 – Woke Up This Morning (1997)
2. Velvet Underground – Sunday Morning (1967)
3. Harry Nilsson – Early In The Morning (1971)
4. Tim Rose – Morning Dew (1967)
5. Kevin Ayers – Religious Experience (Singing A Song In The Morning) (1970)
6. The Jesus and Mary Chain – Deep One Perfect Morning (1987)
7. The Lilac Time – This Morning (2001)
8. The Pogues – Tuesday Morning (1993)
9. Paul Weller – Early Morning Rain (2004)
10. Brandi Carlile – Late Morning Lullaby (2007)
11. Lyle Lovett – Just The Morning (1994)
12. Rusty Wier – Texas Morning (1974)
13. Dolly Parton – Early Morning Breeze (1971)
14. Isaac Hayes – Early Sunday Morning (1971)
15. Joyce Williams – The First Thing I Do In The Morning (1972)
16. David Ruffin – Morning Sun Looks Blue (1979)
17. Al Jarreau – Mornin’ (1983)
18. Major Harris – Each Morning I Wake Up (1974)
19. The Temptations – Love Woke Me Up This Morning (1972)
20. Tim Buckley – Morning Glory (1967)
21. Townes Van Zandt – I’ll Be Here In The Morning (1968)
22. Bobbie Gentry – Mornin’ Glory (1968)
23. Joan Baez & Bill Wood – So Soon In The Morning (1959)


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Beatles Recovered: 1967-70

April 11th, 2023 3 comments


In the evening of December 8, 1980, I played the Beatles’ 1967-70 compilation, the Blue Album. On my copy, there was (and still is) a skip on Strawberry Fields Forever. That record was still on my turntable when my radio alarm went off at 7:00 next morning, with the newsreader announcing that John Lennon had been murdered, just a couple of hours earlier. I have associated the Blue Album with Lennon’s assassination ever since.

On April 2, it was 50 years since the red and blue compilations were released. The Red Album was recovered a few days before that anniversary. Both albums served as great introductions to The Beatles for people born just too late to have experienced the band on its run (as it were). I’ve seen the eight sides described as the “gateway drug to The Beatles”, and that is a good metaphor.

As on the Red Album, the 1967-70 set contains a few non-single tracks which would have been big hits in their own right, and which are superior to some of the singles that were hits. The Sgt Pepper’s album, which yielded no singles, is represented four times; the White Album features with three non-single cuts, and Abbey Road with four. Two of these tracks, Obadi-Oblada and With A Little Help From My Friends would become big hits for other artists.

It is incredible to think that tracks like While My Guitar Gently Weeps and Here Comes The Sun were not released as singles, at least in the UK. Inexplicably, the pedestrian and obviously self-referential Ballad Of John And Yoko was, backed by Harrison’s substandard Old Brown Shoe. Both of these songs feature on the Blue Album, on which Harrison gets four tracks (which is four more than George had on the Red Album).

Where the Red Album was almost flawless, the Blue Album includes some songs I can happily live without: Ballad Of John And Yoko, Old Brown Shoe, Obladi-Oblada, Octopus’s Garden…. I think some of the covers on this Recovered mix are better than the originals.

Obladi-Oblada gets the proper ska treatment by Prince Buster, and Octopus’s Garden gets the appropriate Sesame Street treatment. Old Brown Shoe — one of The Beatles’ least covered songs — is interpreted competently by South African rock group The Rising Sons, who were active from 1967-74. The Ballad Of John & Yoko gets a great a capella reworking by The Persuasions, who also featured on the Red Album Recovered set. Penny Lane is also rendered a capella, to fine effect, by Chapter 6, who are highly-regarded exponents of that vocal form.

Elvis Presley released a few Beatles songs, and his take on Hey Jude was shortlisted for this mix. But, truth be told, it’s not very good. Instead we have an out-take cut of Elvis singing Lady Madonna, and having fun doing so, from the sessions for his 1971 album Walk A Mile In My Shoes. Likewise, Aretha Franklin’s version of The Fool On The Hill was recorded during sessions for an LP which would not include it, in this case This Girl’s in Love With You, which was released in January 1970.

Hey Jude gets a soul remake by Jr Walker & The All Stars, which is very enjoyable (great bassline), if not quite in the same class as Wilson Picket’s definitive cover (featured on Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1)

It makes sense that Billy Preston should feature here, and especially with a cover of Get Back, the track on which he was a credited featured artist, the only act thus honoured in The Beatles’ catalogue.

Claudia Lennear is perhaps best known for being the alleged inspiration for The Rolling Stones’ misogynistic and racist anthem Brown Sugar. Here she does Let It Be as a guest on Joe Cocker’s Mad Dogs & Englishmen live set, with producer Leon Russell on keyboards (whom she backed at George Harrison’ Bangladesh concert). Her recording of Let It Be was not on the Cocker album but was released as the b-side of Leon Russell’s Mad Dogs And Englishmen single. Joe Cocker, who had his breakthrough with a cover of a Beatles song, features here in his own right, doing Something.

The mix ends with a cover by another legendary backing singer, Clydie King, who also was part of the Mad Dogs and Englishmen tour.

But the track that really needs to be heard is William Shatner’s Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds. Bizarre doesn’t begin to describe it (“…the GIRL…with kaleidoscope eyes…”). Shatner had a line in rather freaked out spoken-word cover songs. I don’t recommend listening to a whole album of that — at least not without the aid of mind-altering substances, which might make them bearable — but as individual tracks Cap’n Kirk’s records are great novelty fun.

The mixes will fit on two CD-Rs; home-somethinged covers are included, as is this post in PDF format. PW in comments.

Disc 1
1. Todd Rundgren – Strawberry Fields Forever (1976)
2. Chapter 6 – Penny Lane (2011)
3. Big Daddy – Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band (1992)
4. Betty LaVette – A Little Help From My Friends (1969)
5. William Shatner – Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds (1968)
6. The Fall – A Day In The Life (1988)
7. Echo & The Bunnymen – All You Need Is Love (1984)
8. Bud Shank – I Am The Walrus (1968)
9. Milton Nascimento – Hello, Goodbye (1991)
10. Aretha Franklin – The Fool On The Hill (1969)
11. Camel – Magical Mystery Tour (1969)
12. Elvis Presley – Lady Madonna (1971)
13. Jr Walker & The All Stars – Hey Jude (1970)
14. Thompson Twins – Revolution (1985)

Disc 2
1. Ramsey Lewis – Back In The USSR (1969)
2. The Jeff Healey Band – While My Guitar Gently Weeps (1990)
3. Prince Buster and The All Stars – Ob La Di Ob La Da (1969)
4. Billy Preston – Get Back (1974)
5. Dillard & Clark – Don’t Let Me Down (1969)
6. The Persuasions – The Ballad Of John And Yoko (2002)
7. The Rising Sons – Old Brown Shoe (1970)
8. Rumer – Here Comes The Sun (2015)
9. Diana Ross – Come Together (1970)
10. Joe Cocker – Something (1969)
11. Sesame Street – Octopus’s Garden (1976)
12. Claudia Lennear – Let It Be (1971)
13. Colin Hay – Across The Universe (2021)
14. Clydie King – The Long And Winding Road (1971)


Beatles Recovered: Please, Please Me
Beatles Recovered: With The Beatles
Beatles Recovered: A Hard Day’s Night
Beatles Recovered: Beatles For Sale
Beatles Recovered: Help!
Beatles Recovered: Rubber Soul
Beatles Recovered: Revolver
Beatles Recovered: Sgt Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club  Band
Beatles Revovered: Magical Mystery Tour
Beatles Recovered: White Album
Beatles Recovered: Yellow Submarine
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Abbey Road
Beatles Recovered: Let It Be
Beatles Recovered: 1962-1966

Covered With Soul Vol. 14 – Beatles Edition 1
Covered With Soul Vol. 15 – Beatles Edition 2

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1962-66

Any Major Beatles Covers: 1967-68
Any Major Beatles Covers: 1968-70


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In Memoriam – March 2023

April 4th, 2023 15 comments

At the end of March, something died: Zippyshare, the fileserver that served this place so well for eight years. So I’ve spent some time reupping stuff, including almost everything from 2021 onwards, including all Life in Vinyls, Songbooks, Any Major Flute, Recovered albums, and lots of Beatles-related stuff, including the Recovered and Reunited series. The In Memoriams for January and February are also live. If there’s anything you’d like reupped, let me know in comments.

And so to this month’s list. The songs chosen to accompany the monthly In Memoriam list don’t necessarily carry my approval; many are chosen because I like them, and some I might not like but they are representative of the person who has left us. One track here I really can’t figure out whether I utterly despise and totally reject it or whether secretly like it despite myself: Barnes & Barnes’ Party In My Pants. In the chronological playlist, it follows a quite wonderfully titled track, by country supergroup The Notorious Cherry Bombs: It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long, written and sung by Rodney Crowell and Vince Gill.

Of the non-music deaths on March, the one that struck me was the passing of Traute Lafrenz at the age of 103. Traute almost didn’t get to live 77 years of those, for she almost certainly would have been executed by the Nazis but for a few fate-deciding days.

Traute was a member of the White Rose resistant movement, led by the siblings Sophie and Hans Scholl. Traute had a romance with Hans in Munich before she returned to her native Hamburg. There she was arrested by the Gestapo, but was able to talk herself out of the crime of distributing anti-Nazi pamphlets (a crime for which the Scholls and others were executed). Having served a year-long prison-term for knowing about underground activities, Traute was rearrested by the Gestapo and charged with sedition. But three days before her (no doubt short and fatal) trial could commence, the prison in which she was held was liberated by the Allies.

After the war, Traute moved to the US where she completed her medical studies, got married and had four children. Traute Lafrenz was the last surviving member of the White Rose.

The Wrecking Crew Drummer
Wrecking Crew drummer Jim Gordon has died, bringing to a close one of the most fascinating stories in pop. Gordon drummed on a huge amount of classics in the 1960s and ’70s, but his best-known contribution might be the piano coda the drummer wrote for and played on Derek & The Dominoes’ Layla (though Rita Coolidge has claimed lately, credibly, that she actually composed that bit). A few years ago I compiled two collections of tracks Gordon played on, with a bit of background to the man: Vol. 1 and Vol. 2. (Links to both sets are live.)

In the film Goodfellas, in which Scorsese used songs rather than a score, there are four tracks which provide me with a replay of the scenes they scored: Atlantis (Billy Bats gets kicked to death), Sunshine Of Your Love (De Niro plans to kill off his accomplices), Layla (the accomplices’ bodies are found), and Jump Into Into The Fire (the helicopter chase begins). Three of those songs — Atlantis, Layla, Inti The Fire — featured Jim Gordon. And Gordon knew violence.

Gordon spent more than half of his life in a closed psychiatric facility after he bludgeoned his mother to death in 1983. The “voices” told him to. Gordon, normally a kicked-back kind of guy, was schizophrenic and thus given to inexplicable bouts of violence — one of these put an end to his relationship with Coolidge. The longer story of that is told in the notes fir the mixes referred to above.

Some songs Gordon played on: Carly Simon’s You’re So Vain, Steely Dan’s Rikki Don’t You Lose That Number, The Stone Poney’s Different Drum, Hall & Oates’ Sara Smile, John Lennon’s Power To The People, Mason Williams’ Classical Gas, Gordon Lightfoot’s Carefree Highway, Albert Hammond’s Free Electric Band, Maria Muldaur’s Midnight At The Oasis, among many other well-known songs.

He played on Crosby Stills & Nash eponymous debut album, The Beach Boys’ Pet Sounds (on “I’m Waiting For The Day”; Hal Blaine did the rest), The Byrds’ The Notorious Byrd Brothers, George Harrison’s All Things Must Pass, Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmilsson, Lennon’s Imagine, Traffic’s The Low Spark Of High-Heeled Boys, Jackson Browne’s The Pretender, Joe Cockers’ Mad Dogs & Englishmen, Judee Sill’s Heart Food, Traffic’s The Low Spark Of High Heeled Boys. Barbra Streisand’s Barbra Joan Streisand, and loads more.

The Jazz Pioneer
With his group Weather Report, saxophonist Wayne Shorter helped usher in the age of jazz-fusion. Before that, having previously been a member of Art Blakey & The Jazz Messengers, he played in the second of Miles Davis’ Great Quintets, covering the era from 1964-69, for which he also composed. With Herbie Hancock on piano, Davis and Shorter experimented with free jazz, incorporating influences from other genres, especially rock, to lay the foundation for jazz fusion with albums like In A Silent Way and Bitches Brew. All the while, Shorter also recorded his own albums on the Blue Note label.

In the early 1970s Shorter co-founded Weather Report. He and Joe Zawinul were the only constant members until the band broke up in 1986. Shorter continued with side projects and collaborations until his retirement in 2018.

Occasionally Shorter collaborated with non-jazz acts, including on Don Henley’s 1989 hit The End Of The Innocence, on several Joni Mitchell albums in the 1980s, on Steely Dan’s Aja, as well as with Bruce Hornsby, Santana, Salif Keita, and others. In his career, Shorter won 12 Grammies.

A day after Shorter, his successor as saxophonist with Miles Davis (and fellow Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers alumnus) Carlos Garnett died.

The Freebirder
Throughout the various incarnations of Lynyrd Skynyrd, some of which were caused by tragedy, guitarist Gary Rossington was the only constant. With his death, all seven official members the Lynyrd Skynyrd line-up that created tracks like Freebird, Simple Man, Sweet Home Alalabama, Tuesday’s Gone etc are now dead. Of the personnel on Freebird, only producer and organist Al Kooper is still alive (he wasn’t a member); of the famous 1976 live version, only drummer Artimus Pyle is still with us.

While the late Allen Collins played the lead on that staggering Freebird solo, Rossington did the rhythm and slide part. And before the song gets to that, he created the seagull sounds and that prominent and beautiful slide guitar that makes Van Zandt’s vocals sound even sadder.

Rossington has died at 71 but, like the proverbial cat with nine lives, he had a way of cheating death. In 1976, a hit an oak tree with his brand-new Ford Torino while driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs. Lynyrd Skynyrd’s 1977 hit That Smell was inspired by that accident — Rossington gets a royal bollocking there: “Whiskey bottles, and brand new cars/Oak tree you’re in my way/There’s too much coke and too much smoke/Look what’s going on inside you” (and that’s only the start of it).

On October 20, 1977, Rossington survived the plane crash that killed six, including three band members. And in 2015 he survived a serious heart attack.

Asked about the Confederate flag which Lynyrd Skynyrd liked to display, Rossington said it was not intended as a racist statement but as a sign of the band’s Southern identity. He admitted that this view was “naïve”.

The Electric Pioneer
Few people can claim to have made their mark on classical music, synth pop, dance music and hip-hop. Japanese musician, composer and producer Ryuichi Sakamoto exercised his influence widely. His musical career began with the Japanese electronic music group Yellow Magic Orchestra, which he co-founded in 1978. The group’s fusion of pop, rock and electronic music helped to pave the way for the emergence of synthpop in the 1980s.

Sakamoto’s 1980 solo track Riot In Lagos is said to be a pioneering piece in the development of dance music and hip hop. In its series of the 50 key events in the history of dance music, The Guardian in the UK placed the song at #6.

On the classical front, Sakamoto composed scores for several films, including The Last Emperor (1987), The Revenant (2015) and, perhaps most famously, Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence (1983).

Sakamoto has collaborated with many musicians, including David Byrne, Iggy Pop, Roddy Frame, and Alva Noto, among others.

The Blue-Eyed Soul Man
In the Not Feeling Guilty series, Bobby Caldwell has featured four times (on Vol. 1, Vol. 4, Vol. 6 and Vol. 7), which highlights his chops as a top-class AOR artist. Caldwell’s crowning achievement was his first hit, 1978’s What You Won’t Do For Love, an absolute classic of the genre. Like many of his songs of the era, it did very well in the soul charts, and many people thought the singer was black. The record company was thus not keen to advertise the singer’s deficiency of melalin.

His debut album was pure class; subsequent efforts were more patchy. However, his 1996 album of American Songbook numbers was pretty good; among the multitudes of such albums, it stands out.

Caldwell also wrote for many other acts, including some pretty awful stuff like The Next Time I Fall, a Grammy-nominated US #1 hit for Peter Cetera & Amy Grant.

The Funk Vocalist
With the death of singer Clarence ‘Fuzzy’ Haskins, the Parliament-Funkadelic collective still with us has shrunk further. Haskins was with Clinton from the early days, when he joined doo-wop band The Parliaments in the early 1960s as a singer and guitarist. With Parliament-Funkadelic, Haskins was second lead, with his raw soul voice. On stage he was the charismatic, often masked frontman who could work the crowd into a frenzy.

Haskins was also a prolific songwriter, writing such funk classics as I Got A Thing, I Wanna Know If It’s Good To You and Standing On The Verge Of Getting It On. He left the collective in 1977, alongside Calvin Simon (whom we lost in January last year) and Grady Thomas, amid a dispute with George Clinton. He later toured with iterations of Funkadelic and Parliament that didn’t include Clinton, and controversially recorded an album with Simon and Thomas under the name Funkadelic.

Haskins released two solo albums, A Whole Nother Thang in 1976 and Radio Active in 1978. By then he had become a devout Christian, and later even became a preacher.

The Funk Bassist
James Brown credited bassist ‘Sweet’ Charles Sherrell with developing the technique of thumping on the strings, which would be copied by many others. Sherrell initially learned to play guitar from Curtis Mayfield, receiving free lessons in exchange for washing the singer’s Jaguar.

Sherrell joined James Brown’s backing band in 1968, playing on tracks like Say It Loud – I’m Black and I’m Proud, Mother Popcorn, Give It Up Or Turnit Loose, Get Up Offa That Thing, Funky Drummer, The Payback, Funky President (People It’s Bad), and others.

He also released a series of solo soul and funk records, mostly produced by Brown, as Sweet Charles. His vocal style was similar to that of his old mentor Curtis Mayfield.

The Pulp Bassist
In the big Brit Pop wave of the 1990s, Pulp was one of the four big hitters, and possibly the best of the monosyllable-monikered lot (some might say Suede; none might say Oasis). Now bassist Steve Mackey has died at the young age of 56. Mackay joined Pulp in 1988 and stayed with them through the glory days of the 1990s, quitting the band in 2002. He returned in 2011 for a couple of years.

After the Pulp days, he was a record producer and songwriter for acts like Marianne Faithfull, M.I.A., The Long Blondes, Florence & The Machine, and Arcade Fire. He also recorded and toured with Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker in 2006 and 2008. In the early 2000s, Mackey was among those who urged his old friend and Pulp’s touring guitarist Richard Hawley to start a solo career — happily, the wonderful Hawley took that good advice.

Mackey was also part of the fictional wizarding rock band The Weird Sisters in the 2005 film Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, alongside Cocker and two Radiohead members.

The Light Fandango Skipper
It was an unusual arrangement: Keith Reid played no instrument and didn’t sing, yet was considered a full member of Procol Harum. His job was to write lyrics, such as those for A Whiter Shade Of Pale, which even more than 50 years after its release still exercises minds. In fact, he wrote the lyrics for every Procol Harum song until the band split in 1977, including the magnificently haunting A Salty Dog. After Procol Harum, he wrote the lyrics for one more hit, John Farnham’s You’re The Voice.

Four days after Reid’s death, long-time Procol Harum’s manager Barry Sinclair died.

The First Stardust
In 1973 the former Decca label talent scout and producer Peter Shelley co-founded the Magnet label. Its first release was recorded by Shelley himself, a song he had written. My Coo Ca Choo was issued under the moniker Alvin Stardust, with no great expectations. The song, however, became a massive hit, and Shelley performed it as Alvin Stardust on a British TV show. But he didn’t really want to be Alvin Stardust, so a new Alvin Stardust was appointed in the form of journeyman singer Shane Fenton. The new creation became a star, and Shelley went on to write Stardust hits like UK #1 Jealous Mind (Fenton died in 2014).

In 1974 and ’75, Shelley had UK Top 5 hits under his own name, Gee Baby and Love Me Love My Dog. Shelley left Magnet in 1975 and created the animated Robotman character, whom he also voiced. The father of Canadian pop singer-songwriter John Southworth emigrated to Canada in 1980.

Before all that, in the 1960s, Shelley worked at Decca with the famous Dick Rowe (the man who turned down The Beatles). There he discovered acts like The Amen Corner, Ten Years After and the future King Crimson. At Magnet, he gave Chris Rea his start.

The Strings Genius
Just a few days before I learned of the death of multi-instrumentalist David Lindley, I had listened to Warren Zevon’s Mohammed’s Radio, on which Lindley played the slide guitar. And it’s very likely that had Lindley died on any other day, I’d have heard another song he played on, for he backed many acts whose songs I’m liable to play at random. He was best-known for his slide guitar, but Lindley was at home with virtually any stringed instrument, from electric guitar to the zither to the fiddle.

Lindley started his recording career in the 1960s with the psychedelic band Kaleidoscope, which he had co-founded. After the group split in 1970, he joined up with Jackson Browne, playing in his band for eight years until 1980. He also toured and recorded with acts like of Crosby & Nash, Linda Ronstadt and James Taylor. In the 1980s he formed his band El Rayo-X, named after his debut solo album.

Among other acts Lindley backed are Linda Ronstadt, Graham Nash, America, Maria Muldaur, Rod Stewart, Mac Davis, Dan Fogelberg, Curtis Mayfield, James Taylor, David Crosby, Dolly Parton, Herb Pedersen, Leo Sayer, David Gates, Ry Cooder, Little Feat, Toto, Joe Walsh, Patti Austin, John Prine, Marshall Crenshaw, Bob Dylan, Iggy Pop, Bruce Springsteen, Belinda Carlile, Andreas Vollenweider, The Bangles (including Eternal Flame),  Aaron Neville, Kenny Loggins, Shawn Colvin, The Blind Boys Of Alabama, Ziggy Marley, Ben Harper and more…

The Piano Nun
I’m not sure that pianist and composer Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou meets the criteria for inclusion in this series, for her music sounded more like Chopin than Jerry Lee Lewis. Still, there were the influences of jazz and blues in her work, so she may qualify.

Aside from being a musician, she was also a nun in the Ethiopian Orthodox Church. Born in December 1923 to a wealthy family in Addis Ababa, Guèbrou was an accomplished musician who began playing piano at a young age. As a child she studied music in Switzerland. During Italy’s occupation of Ethiopia, she and her family were held as prisoners of war Italy.

Having returned to Ethiopia after the war, she went on to be a civil servant and singer to Emperor Haile Selassie, and went on to teach music, and to compose and perform. She blended Ethiopian and European classical music with the rhythm of blues, and her music often reflects her deep faith as a nun.

Guèbrou lived a reclusive life as a nun and performed rarely, but her recordings attracted worldwide attention.

The French Million Seller
Before he even recorded his first record, French singer Marcel Amont shared a bill at the famed Olympia with Edith Piaf. The same year, in 1956, he released the first of many records, kicking off a career that would go on until 2009. He also recorded in other European languages, especially in German. In the process, Amont sold 300 million records and was one of France’s biggest stars in the 1960s and 1970s.

He featured on the Beatles in French Vol. 2 mix with his version of When I’m Sixty-Four (an age he reached in 1993).

The Singing TV Cop
Given his brilliant performances in TV series like The Wire, Bosch, Fringe or Resident Evil, there was little room in the obits for the brief singing career of Lance Reddick. The actor released only one album, 2007’s Contemplations & Remembrances (I imagine McNulty having a few things to say about Lt Daniels crooning chansons), but his background was more musical than thespian.

Reddick started to study music as a teenager, and earned a degree in classical music composition at University of Rochester’s Eastman School of Music, earning a Bachelor of Music degree in the 1980s. He went on to earn a Masters degree at the Yale School of Drama in 1994.

The Cover Hippie
It’s not a music death but in a way it is. Bobbi Ercoline, whom we see cuddling in a blanket with her boyfriend on the cover of the Woodstock soundtrack album, has died after what seems have been a long illness. Bobbi and then-boyfriend Nick Ercoline — they’d marry in 1971 — had no idea that photographer Burk Uzzle had taken a snapshot of them — until they realised that it was them who starred on the Woodstock album cover, released in 1970. Nick told AARP Magazine in 2019 that he and Bobbi had first recognised an orange and yellow butterfly flag shown in the photo. “Then we saw the blanket. ‘Oh my Lord, that’s us!’”

They were 20 in 1969, and by the time Bobbi died, the retired school nurse and Nick had been together for 54 years. Fifty years after Woodstock they returned to the site to recreate their pose, without the quilt, mud and crowds of hippies. Read more about them.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.


Leon Hughes, 92, founding tenor with The Coasters, on March 1
The Coasters – Down In Mexico (1956)

Wally Fawkes, 98, British jazz clarinettist and cartoonist, on March 1
Humphrey Lyttelton and his Band – Panama (1948, on clarinet)

Wayne Shorter, 89, jazz saxophonist and composer, on March 2
Miles Davis – Nefertiti (1968, as writer and on soprano sax)
Wayne Shorter – Beauty And The Beast (1974, as writer and soprano sax)
Steely Dan – Aja (1977, on tenor sax)
Weather Report – Birdland (1977, as member, on tenor and soprano sax)

Steve Mackey, 56, bassist of English rock band Pulp and producer, on March 2
Pulp – Disco 2000 (1995, also as co-writer)
Pulp – The Trees (2001, also as co-writer)
The Long Blondes – Once And Never Again (2006, as producer)

Calvin Newton, 93, country-gospel singer, on March 3

David Lindley, 78, rock multi-instrumentalist, on March 3
Kaleidoscope – Life Will Pass You By (1968, as member, on vocals and guitar)
Jackson Browne – Running On Empty (1977, on slide guitar)
Warren Zevon – Play It All Night Long (1980, on guitar, lap steel guitar)
Dolly Parton, Emmylou Harris & Linda Ronstadt – The Pain Of Loving You (1987, on mandolin)

Carlos Garnett, 84, Panama-born jazz saxophonist, on March 3
Carlos Garnett – Bolerock (1978)

Sueli Costa, 79, Brazilian singer and songwriter, on March 4
Sueli Costa – Coração ateu (1975)

Michael Rhodes, 69, bassist with country group Notorious Cherry Bombs, on March 4
Notorious Cherry Bombs – It’s Hard To Kiss The Lips At Night That Chew Your Ass Out All Day Long (2004)

Robert Haimer, 69, half of novelty pop duo Barnes & Barnes, on March 4
Barnes & Barnes – Party In My Pants (1980)

Basuki Bala, 75, singer with calypso band Caribbean Allstars, on March 4

Spot, 71, rock, punk and house producer, on March 4
Hüsker Dü – Sunshine Superman (1983, as producer)

Gary Rossington, 71, guitarist of Lynyrd Skynyrd, on March 5
Lynyrd Skynyrd – Tuesday’s Gone (1973)
Lynyrd Skynyrd – That Smell (1977)
Rossington-Collins Band – Don’t Misunderstand Me (1980)

Arif Cooper, Jamaican musician, producer, DJ, on March 5
Sean Paul – Hold My Hand (2009, as producer and co-writer)

Eric Alan Livingston, 38, member of metal group Mamaleek, on March 6

Marcel Amont, 93, French singer, on March 8
Marcel Amont – Les bleuets d’Azur (1960)
Marcel Amont – L’amour ça fait passer le temps (1971)

Josua Madsen, 45, drummer of Danish thrash metal band Artillery, in car accident on March 8

Jim Durkin, 58, guitarist of thrash metal band Dark Angel, on March 8

Chaim Topol, 87, Israeli actor and singer, on March 8
Topol – If I Were A Rich Man (1967)

Robin Lumley, 74, keyboardist of UK jazz fusion band Brand X, on March 9
Brand X – Black Moon (1978)

Phil Titus, 36, bassist of UK alt-rock band Morning Parade, on March 9

Jerold ‘Napoleon XIV’ Samuels, 84, novelty singer, songwriter, producer, on March 10
Napoleon XIV – They’re Coming To Take Me Away HaHaaa! (1966, also as writer)

Junior English, 71 or 72, Jamaican reggae singer, on March 10
Junior English – In Loving You (1978)

Tongo, 65, Peruvian singer and comedian, on March 10

Costa Titch, 27, South African rapper, on March 11
Costa Titch feat. Akon – Big Flexa (Remix) (2023)

Dix Denney, 65, guitarist of punk bands The Weirdos, Thelonious Monster, on March 12
The Weirdos – A Life Of Crime (1980)

Jim Gordon, 77, Wrecking Crew session drummer, on March 13
Donovan – Atlantis (1969, on drums)
Derek & the Dominos – Layla (1980, on drums and piano, writer of piano coda)
Carly Simon – You’re So Vain (1972, on drums)
Harry Nilsson – Jump Into The Fire (1972, on drums)

Canisso, 57, bassist of Brazilian punk band Raimundos, on March 13

Simon Emmerson, 67, English musician, producer and DJ, on March 13
Afro Celt Sound System feat. Peter Gabriel – When You’re Falling (2001, as founder)

Bobby Caldwell, 71, soft-rock singer and songwriter, on March 14
Bobby Caldwell – Can’t Say Goodbye (1978)
Natalie Cole & Peabo Bryson – What You Won’t Do For Love (1979, as writer)
Bobby Caldwell – Sunny Hills (1982)
Bobby Caldwell – Beyond The Sea (1996)

Gloria Bosman, 50, South African jazz singer, on March 14
Gloria Bosman – Play Me The Love Songs (1999)

Théo de Barros, 80, member of Brazilian jazz group Quarteto Novo, on March 15

Tony Coe, 88, English jazz musician, on March 16
The Tony Coe Quartet – Satin Doll (1961)

Emmanuelle Mottaz, 59, French singer and screenwriter, on March 16

Lance Reddick, 60, American actor (The Wire, Fringe,) and singer, on March 17
Lance Reddick – Work Of Art (2007)

Fito Olivares, 75, Mexican cumbia musician, on March 17

Fuzzy Haskins, 81, singer with Parliament-Funkadelic, on May 17
Funkadelic – I Got A Thing (1970, also as writer)
Funkadelic – Can You Get To That (1971, also as co-writer and on drums)
Fuzzy Haskins – Thangs We Used To Do (1978, also as writer)

Mick Slattery, 77, founding guitarist of Hawkwind, on March 17

Bobbi Ercoline, 73, cover star on Woodstock soundtrack album, on March 18
Country Joe McDonald – Feel Like I’m Fixing To Die Rag (1969, live at Woodstock)

Dmitry Nova, 34, member of Russian electronic group Cream Soda, drowned on March 20

Anita Thallaug, 85, Norwegian singer and actress, on March 20

Wayne Swinny, 59, guitarist of rock band Saliva, on March 21
Saliva – Ladies And Gentlemen (2007)

Gunter Nezhoda, 67, rock bassist and Storage Wars presenter, on March 21

Tom Leadon, 70, guitarist of rock band Mudcrutch, on March 22
Mudcrutch – Depot Street (1975; with Tom Petty on vocals)
Mudcrutch – Crystal River (2008)

Keith Reid, 76, lyricist with Procol Harum and songwriter, on March 23
Procol Harum – Homburg (1967, as lyricist)
Procol Harum with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra – A Salty Dog (1972, as lyricist)
John Farnham – You’re The Voice (1986, as lyricist)

Peter Shelley, 80, British singer, songwriter, producer, label founder (Magnet), on March 23
Alvin Stardust – My Coo Ca Choo (1973, as Stardust and writer)
Peter Shelley – Gee Baby (1974, also as writer)

Luca Bergia, 54, drummer of Italian rock band Marlene Kuntz, on March 23
Marlene Kuntz – Nuotando Nell’Aria (1994)

Christopher Gunning, 78, British classical, TV & movie composer, on March 24
Lynsey de Paul – Won’t Somebody Dance With Me (1973, as arranger)

Nick Lloyd Webber, 43, English TV score composer, producer, on March 25

Juca Chaves, 84, Brazilian singer and comedian, on March 25

Care Failure, 36, singer with Canadian alt.rock band Die Mannequin, on March 26
Die Mannequin – Bad Medicine (2008)

Ray Pillow, 85, country singer, on March 26
Jean Shepard & Ray Pillow – I’ll Take The Dog (1966)

Howie Kane, 81, singer with Jay and the Americans, on March 27
Jay & The Americans – Let’s Lock The Door (And Throw Away The Key) (1964)

Peggy Scott-Adams, 74, blues and R&B singer, on March 27
Peggy Scott & Jojo Benson – Lover’s Holiday (1968)

Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou, 99, Ethiopian nun, pianist and composer, on March 27
Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – The Last Tears Of A Deceased (1963)
Emahoy Tsegué-Maryam Guèbrou – Tenkou Why Feel Sorry (1996)

Ryuichi Sakamoto, 71, Japanese musician, composer, and actor, on March 28
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Riot In Lagos (1980)
Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence (1983)
Yellow Magic Orchestra – Be A Superman (1991, as member and co-writer)

Blas Durán, 73, Dominican bachata singer, on March 28
Blas Duran – Abusadora (1971)

‘Sweet’ Charles Sherrell, 80, funk bassist (James Brown) and soul singer, on March 29
James Brown – Give It Up Or Turn It Loose (1969, on bass)
James Brown – Funky President (People It’s Bad) (1974, on bass)
Sweet Charles – Yes, It’s You (1974)

Brian Gillis, 47, founding singer with boy band LFO, on March 29

Alfio Cantarella, 81, drummer of Italian pop band Equipe 84, on March 30
Equipe 84 – 29 Settembre (1967)

Ray Shulman, 73, bassist of UK prog-rock band Gentle Giant, producer, on March 30
Gentle Giant – His Last Voyage (1975)


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