Posts Tagged ‘Eric Clapton’

In Memoriam – December 2011

January 5th, 2012 14 comments

December”s headline death probably is that of the great Cesária Évora, who emerged from the tiny West African island of Cape Verde, a former Portuguese colony.

But as a soul fan, percussion maestro Ralph MacDonald is my headline departure of the month. He wrote some stone-cold classics and appeared on an impressive catalogue of soul and fusion albums, including those released in their heyday by Bill Withers, George Benson, Donny Hathaway, Ashford & Simpson, Brothers Johnson, Margie Joseph, Patti Austin, Grover Washington, Maynard Ferguson, The Crusaders, Michael Franks,  Eric Gale, Bob James,  Herbie Mann, Earl Klugh, and Sadao Watanabe, as well as on pop albums by the likes of Billy Joel (The Stranger, 52nd Street, Innocent Man) and Paul Simon (Still Crazy”¦, One Trick Pony, Graceland).

The Ragovoy curse struck again. First the great songwriter died in July; then his occasional collaborator Jimmy Norman, with whom he wrote Time Is On My Side, died in November; in December singer Howard Tate, for whom Ragovoy wrote and produced several songs (including Get It While You Can, which Janis Joplin later covered, and 8 Days On The Road) passed away at 72.

Three of the world”s longest-performing artists died in December: Myra Taylor first took to the stage as a 14-year-old in 1931; she made her final performance in a career spanning 70 years on 24 July this year. Fans of The Originals will appreciate the first recording of the great Ink Spots hit I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire, which featured Myra Taylor on vocals (originals fans will also enjoy Ruby and the Romantics” Our Day Will Come, covered by Amy Winehouse on her new posthumous album) .

Johannes Heesters, who died at 108, had been a huge star in Nazi Germany and counted Nazi leaders among his friends ““ a stigma that followed him to his death. Hated in his native Holland, he was still hugely popular in West Germany.  He still toured as a centenarian, and performed to the age of 105.

Bill Tapia, dead at 103, was a ukulele maestro. Check out his version of Stars and Stripes Forever, from just two years ago, which he introduces as having played during World War I ““ the audience laughs, but the guy isn”t joking. He has been performing since 1918.

Among the more bizarre deaths is that of Willie Nelson”s drummer Dan Spears, who fell outside his house and, unable to move, froze to death.

Sadly, this will be the final monthly In Memoriam. Compiling each instalment simply takes up much more time than I can afford to spend, so this is a decision I had to make ““ with much regret, because I don”t think anyone is doing it quite this way on the Internet.

Michal “˜Michal the Girl” Friedman, singer, from complication during the birth of twins on November 25
ATB ““ The Autumn Leaves (2004)
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American Road Trip Vol. 2

March 18th, 2009 5 comments

In the first part of this series, we started our US tour in Albuquerque, moved east to Amarillo, and further east to Oklahoma City. Continuing our musical journey we now leave Oklahoma City and move north-west across the Arkansas river to Tulsa.


Tulsa, Oklahoma

On our way to an appointment in Wichita we pick up a hitchhiker on his way to Tulsa. He tells us that he left his home in Tulsa a while ago to pursue a career in the movies (he even thought Arizona was glamourous, which tells you something about our destination). Well, our boy didn”t cut it in Hollywood (or Phoenix), so he is coming home, to go “livin” on Tulsa time”. We too live on Tulsa time “” for five minutes, and move on.
Eric Clapton ““ Tulsa Time (live, 1980).mp3


Wichita, Kansas

Moving north along the Arkansas we go on to Wichita to ask one of the locals about the offside rule in football (or “soccer”, as the locals call it) which his colleagues can never get right. Well, our new friend don”t know nuthin” about that. Turns out, it was all a misunderstanding hinging on a missing letter. Instead our friend tells us about his adventures as a telephone technician who conducts his romantic liaison from the top of a telephone pole, and how the weather determines when he may take time off.  To be honest, half the time we cannot make out what our pal is on about. Best be on our way.
Glen Campbell ““ Wichita Lineman (1968).mp3


Kansas City, Missouri

American geography is a bastard. Apart from idiosyncrasies in the pronunciation of certain names (Arkinsaw?), you have Kansas City located not in the state of Kansas (not Kinsaw?), but just across the state border in Missouri. Stop confusing us, Americans! Kansas City  has a mayor with a great name: Mark Funkhauser. Anyway, on the corner of 12th Street and Vine we see a strange dude and his girl drinking a bottle of Kansas Wine, the taste and effect of which we prefer to imagine than to experience. But the girl is not his wife, oh no. She”s one of the “crazy little women” the man came to the city for. Hmmm, maybe time to move on before Any Major Dudette gets suspicious.
Wilbert Harrison ““ Kansas City (1959).mp3


We”ll go down south on the Missouri to reach our next destination. If you are going ahead, I”ll meet you there.


Previously on American Road Trip