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In Memoriam – October 2023

October 30th, 2023 Leave a comment Go to comments

Due to certain commitments, I’m posting the October In Memoriam before the month is out. Those passings that haven’t made it this month will be listed in the November instalment.

Among the notable deaths outside music was that of the world’s oldest dog. Bobi, a Portuguese Rafeiro do Alentejo dog, reached the biblical old age of 31 and thus had the longest canine life on record. His secret to long life was a cigar with a glass of port a day, and daily sex. The world’s oldest dog is now Spike, a 24-year-old chihuahua from Ohio, who is a celibate tee-total non-smoker.

Actually, Bobi’s owners say that their dog’s longevity was due to a “calm, peaceful environment” and consumption of fresh food rather than conventional dog food. He wasn’t neutered, so the daily sex part might be true…

The Isley Brother
In the Isley Brothers, Ronald usually took the lead, but sometimes Rudy Isley got his turn, as he did on the 1979 hit It’s A Disco Night. Rudy’s backing vocals and harmonies were essential to the Isley sound, as were his songwriting contributions to hits like Shout, It’s Your Thing, That Lady, Harvest For The World, and Fight The Power (on which he shared the lead with Ronald and O’Kelly).

Rudy released only one single outside the Isley Brothers, I’ve Got To Get Myself Together, a duet with backing singer Judy White. It was issued in 1970 and credited to Rudy & Judy.

Rudy, who in the 1970s was easily recognisable by sporting a pimp look, left the music industry in 1989 to become a Christian minister. He married Elaine Jasper (sister of later Isleys member Chris Jasper) in 1958; they remained together till Rudy’s death on October 11.

The Composer
In jazz circles, Carla Bley commanded great respect as an innivative composer, pianist, organist, and bandleader. In 1957, at the age of 21, she married jazz pianist Paul Bley — they met when she was working as a cigarette girl at the famous Birdland jazz club. He encouraged her to pursue a career in jazz. She kept his name even after they divorced in 1967.

Carla saw herself foremost as a composer, and also wrote for others (including then-husband Paul). Above that, she also worked behind the scenes to organise the Jazz Composers Guild. Her most significant work was the triple-LP jazz opera Escalator Over The Hill, released in 1971. She recorded until 2020.

Actor Richard Roundtree was known as the übercool sleuth Shaft in the blaxploitation movies (the Any Major Blaxploitation collection is up again, by the way). While Roundtree has secured his place in movie history, his forays into the world of crooning is mostly forgotten.

Roundtree had a quite good voice with which he seemed to aim for the adult-oriented soul scene occupied by the likes of Grady Tate. Inevitably, there was a Blaxploitation funk track called The Man From Shaft, which isn’t bad. The 1972 album of the same title, Roundtree’s only LP, was produced by Eugene McDaniels, with backing singers including Les McCann, Barbara Massey, Jean DuShon and Debra Laws (whose brother Hubert chips in with flute work).

After that, Roundtree released two more singles, and that was it with the recording career.

The Beatmaster
The 7” single has run out for The 45 King, the beatmaster and hip hop producer known to his mom as Mark James. Born in the Bronx in 1961, The 45 King made his name in the 1980s with his tracks of beats sampled from mainly obscure 45 records.

The most famous of these is The 900 Number from 1987, which looped a piece of saxophone solo from Marva Whitney’s 1968 track Unwind Yourself. The English DJ Chad Jackson sampled The 900 Number on his 1990 UK #3 hit Hear The Drummer (Get Wicked).

The 45 King also produced many hip hop artists, including Rakim, MC Lyte, Gang Starr, Apache, Lakim Shabazz, and King Sun. His biggest hits in that field were Jay-Z’s Hard Knock Life and Eminem’s Stan. He also produced acts like Queen Latifah, including her debut album All Hail The Queen. Jay-Z has called The 45 King one of the most important hip hop producers.

The Keyboardist
Session musician Paul Harris, who has died at 79, has appeared on several songs on Any Major Mixes, such as on Rusty Wier’s Texas Morning on Any Major Morning Vol. 1, Richie Havens’ Morning Morning on Any Major Morning Vol. 2, and Bob Seger’s Against The Wind, on which he plays the piano to such defining effect.

A one-time member of Stephen Stills & Manassas, The Souther-Hillman-Furay Band and King Harvest, the multi-instrumentalist was best-known for his prolific session work. These included the piano on ABBA’s Voulez-Vous (which the band recorded in Miami),B.B. King’s definitive version of The Thrill Is Gone, and Mama Cass’ Dream A Little Dream, .

Other acts he backed were The Doors, Nick Drake, B.B. King, Judy Collins, Al Kooper, John Sebastian, Joe Walsh, Seals & Crofts, Poco, Maria Muldaur, Dan Fogelberg, John Cougar (Mellencamp), Andy Gibb, and Aerosmith, among many others. He was also an arranger (notably on Tim Hardin’s Simple Song Of Freedom), and producer.

The Reggae Founder
Keyboardist Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper had the distinction of having been a founder member of two legendary reggae groups, Inner Circle and Third World. He left the former in 1973 to co-found Third World. With that group, he created a string of classics, such as 1865 (96 Degrees In The Shade), Now That We Found Love (a cover of the O’Jays song), Cool Meditation, Talk To Me, Dancin’ On The Floor, and Try Jah Love.

Cooper also played with acts like Burning Spear, Bob Marley & The Wailers, Barrington Levy and Lenny Kravitz. Cooper also headed the department of Caribbean, Latin American and Jazz in the Popular Music Studies faculty at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts in Kingston, Jamaica.

The Real Voice
Around 1970, there were several studio band projects run by British producers Roger Cook and Rob Greenway. One of them was Edison Lighthouse, another White Plains. The latter had a hit in 1970 with the catchy My Baby Loves Lovin’.

The question who sang the lead on that hit was long unresolved. For a long time, the popular narrative claimed it was session singer Tony Burrows, who also did lead vocals on Love Grows (Where My Rosemary Goes) and other Cook/Greenway hits. Now it is widely acknowledged, and confirmed by Greenway, that the lead singer was the South African Ricky Wolff, who has died at 78, with Burrows doubling him on the chorus.

Wolff left White Plains in 1971 and went on to have a successful career as a musician in South African bands, especially soft rock band City Limits, and as a producer. In the latter capacity, he produced a local pop classic in Marcalex’s 1989 hit Quick Quick.

The Centenarian
Country singer Mervin Shiner did not have a glittering career; his two biggest hits — Peter Cottontail and Why Don’t You Haul Off And Love Me — were 73 years ago. But it is worth noting when a life of over a hundred years ends. Shiner racked up 102 rotations around the sun. In his young days, the Bethlehem Pennsylvania-born singer had some local success as a radio performer, appearing with his mother as a country and gospel duo.

Shiner, a honky-tonk singer and guitarist, started his recording career in 1949, and by 1955 his first (and quite prolific) run of singles, many of them novelty songs for kids, ended. Shiner, who also was a songwriter, returned to release three albums in 1969 and 1970, one of them a children’s Christmas album, the others including covers of songs like In The Ghetto and Teach Your Children, among the more conventional country fare.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.

Ricky Wolff, 78, South African singer of White Plains and producer, on Oct. 1
White Plains – My Baby Loves Lovin’ (1970, on lead or co-lead)
City Limits – Shouldn’t Fall In Love (1980, as member)
Marcalex – Quick Quick (1988, as producer)

Ron Haffkine, 84, producer (all Dr Hook hits), songwriter and manager, on Oct. 1
Cherry People – And Suddenly (1968, as producer)
Dr Hook & The Medicine Show – When You’re In Love With A Beautiful Woman (1979, as producer)

Lutz Wollersen, 68, singer of German band Rudolf Rock & The Schockers, on Oct. 1
Lutz Wollersen – Wenn Engel Trauer tragen (1984)

Julian Bahula, 85, South African drummer, singer, composer, on Oct. 1
Jabula – Jabula Happiness (1975, as writer, bandleader and on drums)

Joy Webb, 91, singer of British Salvation Army pop group Joystrings, on Oct. 1

Dominique ‘Terracota’ Perrier, c.72, French electronic musician and composer, on Oct. 4
Space Art – Speedway (1977, as member and co-writer)

Bruno Filippini, 78, Italian singer, on Oct. 5
Bruno Filippini – L’amore ha i tuoi occhi (1965)

Ritchie Routledge, 73, singer and guitarist of UK pop group Cryin’ Shames, on Oct. 8
The Cryin’ Shames – Please Stay (1966)

Shinji Tanimura, 74, Japanese singer-songwriter, on Oct. 8

Buck Trent, 85, country musician and TV personality (Hee Haw), on Oct. 9
Dolly Parton & Porter Wagoner – The Last Thing On My Mind (1967, on banjo)
Buck Trent – Buck’s Hee Haw Talkin’ Blues (1976)

Kevin Parrott, member of English duo Brian & Michael, songwriter, on Oct. 9
Brian & Michael – Matchstalk Men And Matchstalk Cats And Dogs (1977, as producer)

Hugh Friel, 71, drummer of Irish new wave group The Atrix, on Oct. 9
The Atrix – Procession (1981)

Jeff L’Heureux, 63, heavy metal musician, motorbike accident on Oct. 10

Rudolph Isley, 84, singer with The Isley Brothers and songwriter, on Oct. 11
The Isley Brothers – Shout (1959, also as co-writer)
Rudy & Judy – I’ve Got to Get Myself Together (1970, also as co-writer)
The Isley Brothers – You Still Feel The Need (1976, on lead vocals and as co-writer)

Michael ‘Ibo’ Cooper, 71, keyboardist of Third World, on Oct. 12
Third World – Talk To Me (1979)
Third World – Try Jah Love (1982)
Lenny Kravitz – Eleutheria (1993, on organ)

Aérea Negrot, 43, Venezuelan, Germany-based singer and electronic musician, on Oct. 12
Aérea Negrot – It’s Lover, Love (2011)

Frank Hocker, 66, German rock guitarist and singer, on Oct. 12

Ali Claudi, 80, German jazz, blues and Krautrock musician, on Oct. 12
Ali Claudi & Friends – Time (1975, also as writer)

Garry Mapanzure, 25, Zimbabwean singer, in car crash on Oct. 13

Gary Nuñez, 71, member of Puerto Rican bomba group Plena Libre, on Oct. 14
Plena Libre – Que Bonita Bandera (2012)

Jimmy LaRocca, 83, jazz trumpeter and composer, on Oct. 15

Carla Bley, 87, jazz composer and musician, on Oct. 17
Carla Bley & Paul Haines – Escalator Over The Hill (1971)
Carla Bley & Charlie Haden – The Ballad Of The Fallen
Carla Bley – Lawns (1987)

Dwight Twilley, 72, power-pop singer-songwriter, on Oct. 18
Dwight Twilley Band – I’m On Fire (1975)

Atsushi Sakurai, 57, singer of Japanese rock band Buck-Tick, on Oct. 19
Buck-Tick – Aku no Hana (1990)

Lasse Berghagen, 78, Swedish singer and songwriter, on Oct. 19

The 45 King, 62, hip hop DJ, producer and remixer, on Oct. 19
The 45 King – The King is Here! (1987)
Queen Latifah feat. Monie Love – Ladies First (1988, as producer)
Jay-Z – Hard Knock Life (1998, as producer)

Oscar Valdés, 85, Cuban singer and percussionist, on Oct.19
Irakere – Bacalao Con Pan (1974, as member and singer)

Arni Cheatham, 79, jazz saxophonist and flautist, educator, on Oct. 22

Gregg Sutton, 74, musician and songwriter, on Oct. 22
Sam Brown – Stop (1988, as co-writer)
Maria McKee – Breathe (1990, as co-writer)

Mervin Shiner, 102, country singer-songwriter and guitarist, on Oct. 23
Mervin Shiner – Why Don’t You Haul Off And Love Me (1949)
Mervin Shiner – Peter Cottontail (1950)
Merv Shiner – California Girl And The Tennessee Square (1969)

Angelo Bruschini, 62, English guitarist, on October 23
The Blue Aeroplanes – Angel Words (1991, as member)
Massive Attack – A Prayer For England (2003, as member)

Ricardo Iorio, 61, Argentinian metal singer and bassist, on Oct. 24

Richard Roundtree, 81, actor and soul singer, on Oct. 24
Richard Roundtree – Peace In The Morning (1972)
Richard Roundtree – Goodnight My Love (1973)

Steve Riley, 67, ex-drummer of W.A.S.P. and L.A. Guns, on Oct. 24
L.A. Guns – Ballad Of Jayne (1989, as member)

Paul Harris, 79, rock keyboardist, on Oct. 24
Stephen Stills & Manassas – So Many Times (1973, as member)
ABBA – Voulez-Vous (1979, on piano)
Bob Seger – Against The Wind (1980, on piano)

Goa Gil, 72, electronic musician, DJ, and remixer, on Oct. 26

Rigo Star, 68, Congolese soukous guitarist and composer, on Oct. 26
Rigo Star – Rosalina (1985)


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  1. amdwhah
    October 30th, 2023 at 11:04 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. Hamster
    November 25th, 2023 at 18:01 | #2

    Missed this post originally so catching up now. Again thanks for the continued effort in putting it out there for us. The Isley Bros and White Plains always remind me of those long ago summers. Ah bliss!

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