Soul And / Or Related Artists

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Ahmet Ertegun

Ahmet Ertegun

b. 31st July 1923, Istanbul, Turkey.

d. 15th December 2006, New York, U.S.A.

After a long illness, Ahmet Ertegun has died. He was 83.

'He was in a coma and expired today with his family at his bedside,' said Dr. Howard A. Riina, Ertegun's neurosurgeon at New York Presbyterian Hospital-Weill Cornell Medical Center.

Although he was slowed by triple-bypass surgery in 2001, he still went into his office on a daily basis.

Ertegun was the son of the Turkish Ambassador to Washington, U.S.A.

He moved to New York when his father died in 1944.

He was a philosophy graduate and was drawn towards a musical career via his love of jazz and blues.

With friend and colleague Herb Abramson, he founded two labels, Quality and Jubilee before instigating Atlantic Records in 1947.

His older brother, also a co-founder, Nesuhi Ertegun, died on 15th April 1989.

Early releases featured recordings by jazz artists Errol Garner and Tiny Grimes, however Ertegun adopted a more R & B based sound.

The label enjoyed its first hit with Granville 'Stick' McGhee's 'Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee', which Ertegun produced.

He continued to fufill that role when Jerry Wexler arrived at Atlantic.

The pair were responsible for early releases on Clyde McPhatter and the Drifters, including 'Money Honey' and 'Such A Night'.

Ahmet was also a proficiant songwriter, penning 'Chains Of Love' & Sweet Sixteen', the first two hits for 1949 signing Big Joe Turner.

During the 50's Atlantic signed Ray Charles and Bobby Darin.

Ertegun and Wexler produced Ray Charles together, while Ahmet took sole charge for Darin, notably on his first hit, 'Splish Splash'.

The label was quick to recognise the long-player format and Ertegun passed responsibility for transferring 78's to the new medium, onto his older brother, Neshui.

The Coasters and the Drifters helped Atlantic endure throughout the Fifties.

By 1965 he assisted producer / songwriter Bert Berns in establishing the Bang label.

Although Jerry Wexler is credited with shaping Atlantic's mid-60's policies, in particular its arrangements with Stax and Fame, Ahmet signed white 'southern-styled' acts Dr. John, Delaney And Bonnie and Jessie Davis to the label.

Ahmet was by now broadening the musical appeal of Atlantic, embracing several rock based artists along with the Soulful stalwarts that comprised the base of the label.

Ertegun brought Sonny And Cher to the company, who scored a huge international hit with 'I Got You Babe', which became one of the best selling singles of 1965.

That same year he launched the (Young) Rascals, who accumulated 17 U.S. Top 20 hits until leaving for Columbia in 1969.

Meanwhile, another Ahmet acquisition, Vanilla Fudge, found success with their re-arrangements of popular songs, notably 'You Keep Me Hanging On'.

He introduced Neil Young and Stephen Stills to the public via Buffalo Springfield, who attained a sizeable hit with 'For What It's Worth' and won critical acclaim for three subsequent albums.

When the band went their seperate ways, David Crosby and secured a release for the Hollies' Graham Nash.

A resultant 'supergroup', Crosby, Stills And Nash, became one of the era's leading attractions.

Another Ertegun signing, Iron Butterfly, did not receive the same critical acclaim, but 'In A Gadda Da Vida' was, for a period, the biggest-selling album in history.

Ertegun's vision soon became focussed upon U.K. acts.

A licensing agreement with Polydor ensured Atlantic had first option on its British roster.

He took the Bee Gees and Cream under his wing, as well as the solo careers of the latter's ex-members following their split.

Eric Clapton proved an important recruit.

Ertegun then signed Led Zeppelin directly to U.S. Atlantic.

He then acquired the rights to the soundtrack of the up-and-coming Woodstock Festival, and in 1970, Ahmet persuaded the Rolling Stones that Atlantic was the natural home for their own record label.

Things seemed to be going well, however, in 1967 Ertegun and Wexler allowed Warner Brothers to purchase Atlantic stock in return for an executive position in the new label WEA, with the acquisition of Elektra.

Although Ertegun had remained at his label's helm, he pursued other interests and a passion for soccer led to his becoming a director of the New York Cosmos, to which he attracted such soccer superstars such as Pele and Franz Beckenbauer.

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Tony Sylvester

Tony SylvesterTony SylvesterTony Sylvester

b. 7th October 1941, Panama

d. 26th November 2006, U.S.A.

Tony Sylvester, of the Soul Group, the Main Ingredient, has died.

Details are sketchy at the moment regarding circumstance, place and timings, however, his good friend, Patrick Adams has posted a piece on his website confirming Tony's passing.

The Main Ingredient made their recording debut in 1965.

Their first recordings were for the Red Bird label.

In 1966 the group had an R & B hit with 'She Blew A Good Thing'.

One of several groups using the name 'The Poets', they decided to become the Main Ingredient and signed with producer Bert DeCoteaux.

Lead singer, Donald McPherson died from leukaemia in 1971.

His replacement, Cuba Gooding, sang on the group's million-seller, 'Everybody Plays The Fool'.

Cuba Gooding embarked on a solo career with Motown in 1977, for two albums, one member left to beome a stockbroker, but both reunited with Tony Sylvester in 1979, continuing to record under the Main Ingredient banner into the 80's.

Taken from their 'I Only Have Eyes For You' set in 1981, 'Evening Of Love' proved popular on the U.K. dancefloors and remains highly collectable today.

The group then moved to Polydor Records.

The Main Ingredient also recorded the popular cover of the Daybreak tune 'Everything Man' on the U.K. label Power Exchange.

Cuba Gooding left the group in the early Nineties and recorded one solo album, 'Meant To Be In Love'.

After a 13 year break, the band, now fronted by Carlton Blount, released 'Pure Magic'.

Tony Sylvester is survived by his mother, Jacinta Silvester, and his children, Che & Sarah.

Tony Sylvester

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Ruth Brown (a.k.a Ruth Alston Weston)

Ruth Brown

b. 30th January 1928, Portsmouth, Virginia, U.S.A.

d. 17th November 2006, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.

The Soul and R & B songstress, Ruth Brown, has died. She was 78.

Ruth won Grammy and a Tony awards, died on Friday the 17th of November 2006, of complications from a stroke and heart attack at a Las Vegas-area hospital.

Ruth Brown's musical career began, as with many Black artists of recent generations, with a background based upon singing gospel.

The church choir, she built her musical foundations upon, was led by her father.

In 1948, Ruth found herself singing with a band led by her husband Jimmy in Washington, D.C., when Willis Conover (from the radio show Voice Of America) recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun of the newly formed Atlantic Records imprint.

Turkish born Ertegun signed her, even though there was some interest shown by Capitol Records.Tragically, en route to New York for an appearance at the Apollo Theatre, she was involved in a car crash.

Hospitalized for nine months, her medical bills were paid by Atlantic.

Ruth was to, later, return the compliment and provide Atlantic with one of their first major successes, 'Teardrops From My Eyes', in 1950.

She went on to record the albums, 'Ruth Brown Sings Favorites', in 1952, 'Ruth Brown' in 1957, 'Late Date With Ruth Brown' in 1959, 'Miss Rhythm' in1959, 'Along Comes Ruth' in 1962, and a final album release, 'Gospel Time', the same year.

Ruth Brown hit the charts, with her recordings '5-10-15 Hours', in 1952, and 'Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean' the following year.

Ruth Brown was Atlantic's first real major star, becoming a major figure in 50's R & B, and forging a strong link between that genre and early Rock 'N' Roll.

Ruth developed her own musical style, utilising saxophone solos, initially by Budd Johnson, then later on by Willie Jackson.

Between the years 1949 and 1955 her songs were on the charts for 129 weeks, including five number 1's.

Post 1962, Ruth departed the Atlantic imprint and recorded sides for several labels including, Mainstream and Rhapsody during the Sixties.

Ruth, occasionally, did make a career diversion, musically, into the Jazz field, singing briefly with the Lucky Millinder band.

Ruth also recorded with Jerome Richardson and the Thad Jones-Mel Lewis big band.

She recorded her own take on the standards 'Yes, Sir, That's My Baby', 'Sonny Boy', 'Black Coffee' and 'I Can Dream, Can't I?'.

Throughout the Eighties, Ruth released sides on the Topline, Route 66 and Official labels, before recordng for Fantasy during the Nineties.

In 1989, she won a Tony Award for her performance in the Broadway show 'Black And Blue', and was receiving enthusiastic reviews for her nightclub act in New York, at Michael's Pub and the Blue Note, into the 90's.

In 1993, Ruth broadcasted on a New York radio station, and was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

In 1994, she undertook a European tour, where she performed live at Ronnie Scott's much respected club, in Soho, for an album that appeared on their own Jazzhouse label.

Ruth also fought for the rights of ageing R and B musicians during her long struggle to recoup her share of royalties from Atlantic Records.

Her efforts led to the formation of the Rhythm and Blues Foundation, a Philadelphia-based non-profit organisation, dedicated to providing financial and medical assistance, as well as a vehicle for the historical and cultural preservation of the musical genre.

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Gerald LeVert

Gerald LeVert

b. 13th July 1966, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.

d. 10th November 2006, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.

The Soul singer, Gerald LeVert has died at the youthful age of 40.

He had suffered a heart attack in his home town of Cleveland, Ohio.

Born on the 13th of July 1966, Gerald will, inevitably be remembered as the son of the O'Jays vocal group frontman, Eddie LeVert, however, Gerald was a respected vocalist in his own right.

During the 1980's Gerald was the helmsman of the vocal ensemble LeVert, who scored a major Soul Music hit with the song 'Pop, Pop, Pop Goes My Heart'.

The group also scored another major hit with the song 'Casanova'.

Following his departure from the band, Gerald became a substantial Soul Star in his own right, achieving success with the songs, 'I'd Give Anything (To Fall In Love)' and 'Mr. Too Damn Good To You'.

He also worked with Chris Rock on the song 'No Sex (In The Champagne Room)'.

In 2004, Gerald released 'Do I Speak For The World', a social diatribe that saw a musical maturiy beyond his years.

Gerald LeVertGerald LeVert

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Prentiss Barnes

Prentiss Barnes

b. Prentiss Barnes, 25th April 1925, Magnolia, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 30th September 2006, Magnolia, Mississippi, U.S.A.

Prentiss Barnes, of the vocal ensemble, the Moonglows, has been killed in a traffic accident. He was 81.

His family of fourteen consisted of ten brothers and four sisters.

In his early teens, Prentiss Barnes moved to New Orleans and worked odd jobs.

Later, he relocated to Louisville, Kentucky.

Prentiss met Harvey Fuqua, Bobby Lester, Pete Graves, and Billy Johnson in Kentucky where they started a band called the Crazy Sounds in 1951.

That group was discovered and promoted by Alan Freed,  who eventually changed their name to The Moonglows.

In March 2000, at the 15th Annual Induction Ceremony of the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame in New York, Prentiss received the honor of being inducted.

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Maynard Ferguson

Maynard Ferguson

b. Walter Maynard Ferguson (aka The Boss), 4th May 1928, Verdun, Quebec, Montreal, Canada.

d. 23rd August 2006, Ventura, California, U.S.A.

Trumpeter and band leader, Maynard Ferguson, has died. He was 78.

He passed away at the Community Memorial Hospital, in Ventura, from kidney and liver failure due to an abdominal infection.

Born into a musical family in Montreal, Maynard began playing the piano and violin at the age of 4, took up the trumpet at 9, and performed solo's with the Canadian Broadcasting Co. Orchestra at 11, before leaving school at 15 to pursue a career in music.

Maynard was a member of The Innovations Orchestra, The Birdland Dream Band and Big Bop Nouveau.

He also worked with Count Basie, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Charlie Barnett, Boyd Raeburn, Jimmy Dorsey and Stan Kenton.

Maynard was a Canadian Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

In addition to recording the song 'Gonna Fly Now' (for the 'Rocky' series of movie's), he was also popular in the U.K. for his 1976 album, 'Primal Scream'.

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Sig Shore

Sig Shore

b. 13th May 1919, Harlem, New York, U.S.A.

d. 16th August 2006, Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A.

Producer Sig Shore has died after a lengthy battle with pulmonary complications and respiratory failure due to chronic pneumonia, his family said yesterday. He was 87.

Sig was a a 50 year resident of North Stamford.

He was born in Harlem on 13th May, 1919, and he grew up in the Bronx, N.Y.

Sig attended George Washington University for almost two years on a basketball scholarship, before enlisting in the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941.

He served for four years during World War II as a navigator aboard a bomber and rose to the rank of first lieutenant..

Sig produced the movie, 'Superfly', which Curtis Mayfield recorded and composed the soundtrack for, and was in Los Angeles for discussions with Warner Bros. regarding a remake of the film when he became ill, his family said.

He also produced, 'That's The Way Of The World' with the accompanying musical soundtrack album recorded by Earth, Wind And Fire.

The movie featured Harvey Keitel in one of the actor's earliest performances.

Sig is survived by five children, two sisters, and nine grandchildren.

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Bruce Carter

Bruce Carter bruce carter in 1976

b. Bruce Edward Carter, 28th December 1956

d. 12th August 2006, Portland, Oregan, U.S.A.

The drummer for the group Pleasure, Bruce Edward Carter, has died. He was 49.

The suspected cause of death is a heart attack, however, that has yet to be confirmed.

Bruce also drummed for the group The Franchise, and had worked alongside Kenny G.

Pleasure blended soul, funk and jazz with a tough street edge and became a cult group on the underground black music scene of the late 70's.

Working closely with producer Wayne Henderson in Los Angeles, they signed to Fantasy Records for 'Dust Yourself Off' (1975), including 'Midnight At The Oasis', 'Accept No Substitutes' (1976), including 'Ghettos Of The Mind', 'Joyous' (1977), including 'Sassafras Girl', and 'Get To The Feeling' (1978), including 'Ladies Night Out', before themselves producing 'Future Now' (1979), including 'Glide'.

They later recorded an album for RCA.

In 1976, they recorded with label mate Side Effect on their version of 'Always There'.

The band then went their seperate ways with Marlon McClain releasing a solo project entitled 'Changes'.

Bruce toured with Cameo in 1987 (thanks to DJ Funk-O-Nots for the image and information).

He had recently suffered two heart attacks and had Carpal Tunnel Syndrome.

Bruce Carter Tourbook

Bruce Carter is survived by his wife, Esther, and son, Bruce Jr.

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Milan Williams

Milan Williams

b. 28th March 1948, Okolona, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 9th July 2006, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

Milan Williams has died from cancer at the age of 58.

Milan was a founding member of the Commodores.

He was their keyboardist.

The Commodores were formed at Tuskagee Institute, Alabama, U.S.A., in 1967, when two groups of students merged to form a six-piece band.

He was also a member of The Jays.

Milan was an Alabama Music Hall Of Fame Inductee.

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Arif Mardin

Arif Mardin

b. 15th March 1932, Istanbul, Turkey.

d. 25th June 2006, New York, U.S.A.

Studio manager, arranger and producer Arif Mardin has died from pancreatic cancer. He was 74.

Mardin worked with Aretha Franklin, The Rascals, Dusty Springfield, Patti Labelle, Roberta Flack, Hall & Oates, Average White Band, Anita Baker, George Benson, Diana Ross, Chaka Khan, and Laura Nyro.

Mardin, who started his career in 1963 at Atlantic Records, a company founded by fellow Turks Nasuhi and Ahmet Ertegun.

He retired from Atlantic in 2001 to set up his own label at EMI, Manhattan Records, where he nutured the likes of, newcomer on the scene, Norah Jones.

Mardin produced about 60 golden and platinum albums and won countless awards, 12 of them
Grammys.

Born in 1932, Mardin studied economics at Istanbul University and at the London School of Economics.

Mardin and his wife moved to the United States in 1956 and he graduated from Berklee in 1961, where he taught for one year before moving to New York, which had been his home ever since.

He will be buried in his native Istanbul next week, his family said in a statement.

Arif is survived by his wife Latife, son Joe, and daughters Julie and Nazan.

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Charles Smith

Charles Smith

b. Claydes Charles Smith, (A.K.A. Claydes E.X. Smith), 6th September 1948, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.

d. 20th June 2006, Maplewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.

After a long illness, Charles Smith of the group Kool and the Gang has died. He was 57.

Clay was the guitarist, percussionist, vibes and singer in the group. He wrote, 'Joanna' and co-wrote, 'Jungle Boogie'.

He also wrote 'Light Of Worlds', the title song from the groups 1974 album.

He was the founding member of Kool & The Gang, who also recorded 'Celebration' and 'Ladies Night'.

The band's song 'Summer Madness' has been sampled several times.

Charles Smith

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Freddie Gorman

Originals

b. Freddie Gorman, 11th April 1939, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 13th June 2006, California, U.S.A.

Freddie Gorman, of the group the Originals, has passed away. He was 67.

Freddie sang 'The Day Will Come' and co-wrote, 'Please Mr. Postman'.

He was also a member of The Quailtones , who recorded 'Tears Of Love', The Fideletones, who recorded 'Pretty Girl', as well as The Originals.

The band first recorded as the Originals in 1966.

The Originals recorded the popular songs 'Baby I'm For Real' and 'I'm Someone Who Cares'.

They also were recently featured on Richard Searling's 'Soul Connossieurs' compilation with the song 'Don't Stop Now', recently, and were highly popular with the dancefloor song 'Down To Lovetown' back in the mid Seventies.

Later the group recorded for Ian Levine's Motorcity label.

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Lula Mae Hardaway

Lula Mae Hardaway

b.11th January 1930, Eufaula, Alabama, U.S.A.

d. 31st May 2006, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Lula Mae Hardaway, mother of singer Stevie Wonder, has died. She was 76.

Lula Mae died on the 31st of May in Los Angeles, Stevie Wonder's publicist Shelley Selover related to the media.

She did not know the cause of death.

Lula is credited as a co-writer on several of Stevie Wonder's songs, including the hits 'I Was Made to Love Her' and 'Signed, Sealed, Delivered I'm Yours'.

His mother negotiated his first contract.

The family moved to Los Angeles in 1975.

Lula was born on the 11th of January 1930, to a sharecropper in Eufaula, Alabama.

Her life was marked by poverty and abuse, according to interviews she gave for a 2002 biography, 'Blind Faith'.

On 13th May 1951, Lula Mae Hardaway gave birth to Steveland Morris in Saginaw, Michigan.

Placed on an incubator immediately after his birth, he was reported to have been given too much oxygen, causing Stevie to suffer permanent blindness. This wan't the case, however.

Stevie was suffering from a condition called Retinopathy of Prematurity (R.O.P.).

Consequently, Stevie's mother was too afraid to let him out of the house.

Pretty much housebound, he spent much of his time learning instruments, thus, by the age of seven, Stevie had mastered the piano, and by nine the drums and harmonica.

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Billy Preston

Billy PrestonBilly Preston

b. Billy Preston (William Everett Preston), 9th September 1946, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.

d. 5th June 2006, Scottsdale, Arizona., U.S.A.

Billy Preston has died. He was 59.

Billy died after a long illness from malignant hypertension that resulted in kidney failure.

I went to see Billy play keyboards with the Funk Brothers in London a year or so ago. He was a fabulous keyboard player.

Billy was credited as being the 'fifth Beatle' during the Fab Four's final incarnations.

Billy Preston's musical career began in 1956 when he played organ with gospel singer Mahalia Jackson and appeared in the film 'St Louis Blues' as a young W.C. Handy.

Billy worked with Sam Cooke and Little Richard in his early days.

In 1969 he was a part of the late Ray Charles revue.

George Harrison produced his U.K. hit, 'That's The Way God Planned It', and Billy also contributed keyboards to the Beatles', 'Get Back' and 'Let It Be'.

He subsequently moved to A & M Records, where he had a successful run of hit singles, with 'Outa-Space' (1972), a U.S. number 1 in 1973 with 'Will It Go Round In Circles', 'Space Race' (1973), and another US number 1 in 1974 with 'Nothing From Nothing'.

He also toured with Sly and the Family Stone.

In 1980 he made the charts with Syreeta Wright with the ballad 'With You I'm Born Again'.

In 1984, Billy collaborated with Keni Burke on his 'On The Air' outing.

In 1989, he toured with Ringo Starr's All Star Band and recorded for lan Levine s Motor City label in 1990 and 91, including further collaborations with Syreeta.

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Desmond Dekker

Desmond Dekker

b. Desmond Adolphus Dacres, 16 th July 1941, Kingston, Jamaica.

d. 25th May 2006, London, England.

Desmond Dekker passed away on the 25th of May. He was 64.

Desmond allegedly passed away from a heart attack.

He was famous for several melodies the 'Israelites' and '007 (Shanty Town)' being two fine examples of the reggae genre.

Desmond fronted The Aces and worked with Derrick Morgan, and crossed over to the mainstream of pop music, way before the late great Bob Marley.

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Johnnie Wilder Jnr

Johnnie Wilder JnrJohnnie Wilder Jnr

b. Johnnie James Wilder Jr., July 1949, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.

d. 13th May 2006, Clayton Ohio, U.S.A.

I was informed today that Johnnie Wilder Jnr. passed away at the weekend.

Heatwave were one of the finest U.K. group's of the Seventies and Eighties.

'Always and Forever' is on, literally, any romantic Soul compilation out there, although 'Boogie Nights' will be the song that most Soul fans will remember the band for.

Johnnie suffered in a terrible car crash back in the late Seventies, which meant he was paralysed from the waist down, thus wheelchair bound.

He left secular recording and turned to Gospel in recent years, recording accapella Gospel albums, with the song 'In The Garden', being particularly popular on the Light Records imprint in 1990 (although dated 1988).

Keith Wilder said his brother was given a week to live after the crash 27 years ago. 'He did a lot with his life. He touched a lot of people's hearts.'

Services will be Friday at 11 a.m. at Residence Park Church of Christ on Hoover Avenue, where a younger brother, Gerald Wilder, will officiate.

Burial will be in the VA National Cemetery.

Also surviving are brothers Ernest Wilder of Sacramento, California, and Gregory Wilder of Dayton, wife, Rosalyn, and their daughter, Carla.

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Gracie Mae Ridgeway

The Ridgeways

b. Gracie Mae Ridgeway, June 1957, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 19th April 2006, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Gracie Mae Ridgeway has passed away. She was 49.

She died from a skin condition called Scleroderma, which is a hardening of the skin and affects all affected humans in varying forms.

The Ridgeways were hugely popular following their contribution to Gene Dunlap's 1981 Capitol album 'It's Just The Way I Feel'.

The trio were highly regarded background vocalists, utilised by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Nancy Wilson, Anita Baker, Regina Belle, Keith Washington and Dionne Warwick.

Her sister, Esther Lene Ridgeway, passed away three years ago.

A musical memorial will be held for Gracie Mae Ridgeway at 6 p.m., Thursday 26th 2006 at the Third New Hope Missionary Baptist Church, 12850 Plymouth Road in Detroit, Michigan.

Gracie's homegoing / funeral will be held at 10 a.m. Saturday 28th 2006 at the same church, according to her surviving sister, Gloria Dehaven Ridgeway.

...to find out more about Gracie's condition, check this website...

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Terry Denard Stanton

Terry Denard Stanton

image courtesy of Ismo Tenkanen (Soul Express website)

b. 1957 - 1958

d. 27th March 2006, Los Angeles County, U.S.A.

Terry Denard Stanton, otherwise known as 'Pretty Terry Stanton' was murdered in Los Angeles County on the 27th of March 2006.

Terry was approached and attacked in the street, shot three times in the face, basically losing it. The gunmen then took some of his belongings, from him, for the police to identify his body from, before pouring petrol on him and setting fire to him. They then carefully placed his belongings by the side of him before making their escape. Pure evil. I don't know how a person could do that sort of thing to their fellow man.

There has been a lot of discussion regarding the gun culture and Black On Black violence. I have a recording of the Mayor Of New Orleans after Katrina hit. If you go to the main page at the site, you can download it. It's about quarter of an hour long. In the conversation he talks about the looting and violence that followed the disaster as Bush did what he does best and did nothing to begin with except talk about conserving oil. The man almost looked amused at what was going on. Guess that is his general misdemeanour in a crisis. The Mayor said that, one thing folks weren't talking about, were the huge importing of drugs into the place. Much of the looting of drug stores were by addicts, looking to take, as he put it, 'the edge off their Jones'. The gun culture is part of the Constitution. The right for the individual to defend themselves, families and property. Most folks have a pistol or a 45. Their legal right. It is different here in the U.K. You have to have a special licence, although, if you really want one of these killing machines, you don't have to try too hard to obtain one, so we have our own problems here as well. I, personally, think that the drugs issue and the gun issues are interrelated. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that drugs and guns were encouraged into the Black communities in order that the Brothers policed themselves, by the politicians. Mix this cocktail together and you get scenario's that are unthinkable. I, personally, hate guns. They are something for the individual to hide behind. Easy to pull a trigger, harder to challenge someone you have a beef with and fight with fists. This is why, in the U.K. football hooligans are, basically, what we would call 'chickens'. Can't confront someone on a one to one basis, but can hide behind a crowd. I don't condone violence in any form, however, if someone feels strongly enough to turn to this lousy form of human behaviour, put them in a boxing ring and go the distance.

Terry's death, actually made me feel ill, regarding the behaviour of some of our fellow human beings. Thankfully, these low-lives are few and far between.

Dazz Band Albums

Terry had just signed on to be a regular member of The Dazz Band. He had recorded vocals on 2 Dazz Band LP's, 'Under the Streetlight', 'Here We Go Again', and on Shades of Soul with Jeff Lorber. He performed with both the Dazz Band, and with The United We funk All-Stars. He was also a member of the Polyester Players. At this time no further information on his murder has been released.

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June Pointer

June Pointer

June Antoinette Pointer (b. 30th November 1953, East Oakland, California, U.S.A. d. 11th April 2006, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.)

June Pointer has died. She was 52.

She died of cancer at UCLA Medical Center in Santa Monica, California, with her sisters Ruth and Anita at her bedside.

The Pointer Sisters were all born and raised in Oakland, California, U.S.A., and first sang together in the West Oakland Church of God where their parents were ministers.

Sisters, Bonnie, June and Anita embarked on a secular career that culminated in work as backing singers with several acts including Cold Blood, Taj Mahal, Bruce Willis, Boz Scaggs, Elvin Bishop and Grace Slick.

Ruth joined the group in 1972, a year before their self-named debut album was released.

In their early incarnation, the sisters 40's image was remarkable for that period, and was revolutionary in many ways, musically.

Their repertoire was varied, however, and included versions of Allen Toussaint's 'Yes We Can Can' and Willie Dixon's 'Wang Dang Doodle', as well as original compositions.

One such song, 'Fairytale', won a 1974 Grammy for Best Country Vocal Performance.

They went their seperate ways briefly in 1977, but while Bonnie Pointer embarked on a solo career, the remaining trio regrouped and signed with producer Richard Perry's new label, Planet.

'Fire', wittten by Bruce Springsteen, was a million-selling single in 1979.

The Pointers' progress continued with two further gold discs, 'He's So Shy' (taken from the 1980 album 'Special Things') and 'Slow Hand', while two 1984 releases, 'Jump (For My Love)' and 'Automatic', won further Grammy awards.

June and Anita also recorded solo releases.

June sang solo on their 1975 album 'Steppin', on the song 'Wanting Things'.

She had two brothers Aaron and Fritz Pointer.

Steppin'

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King Floyd

King Floyd

b. King Floyd III, 13th February 1945, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

d. 6th March 2006, California, U.S.A.

King Floyd has died from a stroke and complications with diabetes in California. He was 61.

He was, probably, best remembered for his single 'Groove Me', which hit the number one spot on the R & B charts in 1971.

U.K. fans will remember him for his dancefloor smash 'Body English', a song that was released in 1977.

'Groove Me' first appeared on Jackson-based Malaco Records' Chimneyville Records imprint as the B-side to Floyd's song, 'What Our Love Needs'.

'Groove Me' made Malaco a household name and began to attract artists to their stable, including, Paul Simon, The Pointer Sisters and Rufus Thomas.

Born in New Orleans in 1945, Floyd began singing on a street corner as a teen while befriending local musicians.

He began to play clubs, but took time away from his career to serve in the Army.

Floyd later travelled to New York and then Los Angeles.

'Body English' was released on the Chimneyville imprint in 1977, the parent album containing several of his own compositions, along with input from Frederick Knight and Tommy Tate.

Later, he returned to New Orleans, leaving the music business.

He returned to recording after hooking up with producer Wardell Quezergue, who worked at Malaco Records, on updated versions of 'Groove Me'.

He is survived by three children: Kimberly Floyd Westry, Kawana Floyd and King 'Champ' Michael Floyd.

Floyd's funeral is 10 a.m. 18th March 2006 at First Zion Baptist Church in Jefferson, L.A.

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Ray Barretto

Ray Barretto

b. 29th April 1929, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

d. 17th February 2006, Hackensack, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Percussionist and bandleader Ray Barretto has died. He was 76.

Ray worked with many artists including Gene Ammons, Lou Donaldson, Sonny Stitt, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, Tito Puente, Art Blake, Cannonball Adderley, Red Garland, Dizzy Gillespie, Freddie Hubbard and Cal Tjader.

He recorded, 'El Watusi' and 'Los Cueros', although Soul folks will remember fondly his dancer 'Can You Feel It', recorded for the Atlantic imprint in 1978.

The parent album featured, Prince Phillip Mitchell and Cissy Houston, with Prince Phillip penning 'What Part Of Heaven Do You Come From?' for the set.

Ray was, also, a music director for The Fania All-Stars.

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Lynden David Hall

David Lynden Hall

b. Lynden David Hall, 7th May 1974, Wandsworth, London.

d. 14th February 2006, London.

Tragically, U.K. Soul singer, Lynden David Hall, has passed away at the age of just 31.

He passed away due to Hodgkins Lymphoma, which is a form of cancer that affects children and young people in their 20's.

Lynden was discovered by the manager of U.K. soul group Loose Ends and was signed to Cooltempo Records.

It was there he recorded his debut album 'Medicine 4 My Pain'.

He won the 1998 MOBO (Music of Black Origin) for 'Best Newcomer'.

In 1999, he was the first U.K. artist ever voted 'Best Male Artist' by the readers of Britain's Blues & Soul magazine.

In 2005 he released his third studio album 'In Between Jobs' on the independent label Random Records.

For the last 2 years he had been battling this rare form of cancer. Far too young.

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Bobby Moore

Bobby Moore

b. 1931, New Orleans, U.S.A.

d. 1st February 2006. Montgomery, Alabama, U.S.A.

R & B singer Bobby Moore has passed away at the age of 75.

Bobby Moore died on Wednesday the 1st of February 2006 of kidney failure, the Montgomery Advertiser reported on Tuesday.

The New Orleans native had Top 40 hits in the mid-1960's with 'Searching For My Love' and 'Try My Love Again'.

His son, Bobby Moore Jr., has been playing with his father's group for 40 years and told the newspaper he would continue to keep the name Bobby Moore alive.

'My father didn't just play R & B, he said. He played jazz, rock, country, and I plan to carry on that legacy'.

The younger Moore said one of his father's final performances was opening for country music's Alabama at a benefit for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.

Services were scheduled on Wednesday in Montgomery.

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Dee Edwards

Dee Edwards

b. June 1945, Doris Jean Harrell, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.

d. 25.1.2006, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Dee Edwards has passed away. She was 60.

Dee's real name was Doris Jean Harrell.

Brought up on Lawton, close to the Pig Pen, Dee Edwards was instrumental in the birth of the group The Paragons, along with her brother Albert Harrell.

Her first, but the group's only 45, was recorded in the Pig Pen in early 1963 and was called 'My Time Is Important To Me'.

When The Paragons split up Dee became a solo artist.

Her first tune, 'You Say You Love Me,' b / w 'Tired Of Staying Home,' came out on the local Tuba label.

'Too Careless With My Love', was the third release on the D-Town imprint.

'Oh What a Party' followed in 1964.

'Happiness Is Where You Find It' soon followed and in the spring of 1965, 'His Majesty My Love' was released.

Dee's most popular 45, 'All The Way Home,' was released in 1966.

'All The Way Home' was her last 45 for the label.

Later she recorded two songs that Sonny Sanders produced for Pete Hall's Premium Stuff label.

These were 'I'll Shed No Tears' and 'A Girl Can't Go By What She Hears'.

Dee was then married to arranger Floyd Jones and they collaborated on some songs that Guido Marasco released on his GM and Bumpshop labels in 1970, releasing 'Say It Again With Feeling'.

After one RCA single in 1972, Floyd followed up with the song for the De-To label, 'I Can Deal With That', which was the last of Dee's Detroit recording sessions.

The couple went to New York, finally enjoying Billboard chart action with a Disco hit released on Cotillion in 1979, entitled 'Don't Sit Down', taken from the album 'Heavy Love', which also featured the ballad 'No Love, No World' and her version of Acker Bilk's 'Stranger On The Shore'.

During the Eighties, Dee recorded her own version of the song 'It Comes To My Attention', popular with the U.K. Soul fraternity.

A keen painter, Dee had left the music business to concentrate on her family in Detroit.

The cause of death appears to be a heart attack after a night out.

In addition to her daughter, survivors include her husband, Floyd Jones; her son, Jerry Hall; another daughter, Darlene Rashed; 11 grandchildren; four brothers, and a sister.

Visitation will be 3:30 to 9 p.m. today at the Swanson Funeral Home, 14751 McNichols, Detroit. A family hour will be held at 10 a.m. Tuesday followed by an 11 a.m. funeral at St. Paul A.M.E. Church, 2260 Hunt, Detroit.Burial will follow at Woodlawn Cemetery in Detroit.

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Gene McFadden

Gene McFadden

Gene McFadden (b. 1949, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 27th January 2006, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.)

Gene McFadden has passed away. He was 57.

Gene was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer in 2004 and died at his home in the Mount Airy, Philadelphia section of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on the 27th January 2006 of cancer.

McFadden & Whitehead were former members, as teenagers, of the Epsilons, a group managed by Otis Redding until his untimely death in 1967.

After a short association with Stax Records (where they had a minor hit in 1970 with the song 'The Echo').

McFadden & Whitehead changed their name to 'Talk of the Town' and began working with Gamble & Huff.

The pair then joined the Philadelphia International label.

Acting in a production role extensively, Gene and John were responsible for certain area's of the label's sound.

As songwriters, they wrote 'Back Stabbers,' 'For the Love of Money,' 'I'll Always Love My Mama,' 'Bad Luck,' 'Wake Up Everybody,' 'Where Are All My Friends,' 'Don't Let Love Get You Down,' 'The More I Get, The More I Want,' and 'Cold, Cold World' for the Philadelphia label.

The pinnacle of their own recording success came with 'Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now', which went to No. 1 on the R & B chart and reached No. 13 on the pop chart.

McFadden & Whitehead also worked with Carolyn Crawford and worked with Melba Moore, Gloria Gaynor, Freddie Jackson, Willie Collins, and Beau Williams.

Tragically, John Whitehead was shot dead, whilst working on a vehicle with another man, in Philadelphia on the 11th of May 2004.

The killer fled after shooting John in the neck and then shooting his friend, who was rushed to hospital after the incident.

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Wilson Pickett

Wilson PickettWilson Pickett

b. 18th March 1941, Prattville, Alabama, U.S.A.

d. 19th January 2006, Reston, Virginia, U.S.A.

Wilson Pickett died of a heart attack on Thursday the 19th of January 2006, in a Reston, Virginia, hospital, according to his management company. He was 64.

Chris Tuthill, of the management company Talent Source, said Wilson had been suffering from health problems for the past year.

Wilson began singing gospel music in church.

Raised in Detroit, Wilson Pickett sang in several of the city's R & B groups.

He later joined the Falcons and sang lead on their 1962 hit 'I Found A Love', after which he launched his solo career.

He recorded for the Correctone imprint and released the singles, 'If You Need Me' and 'It's Too Late', recorded for Lloyd Price's Double L outlet.

In 1965, he linked with legendary soul producer Jerry Wexler at the legendary soul label Stax Records in Memphis.

A partnership with guitarist Steve Cropper produced the hit 'In The Midnight Hour', as well as 'Don't Fight It' (both 1965), '634-5789 (Soulsville, USA)', 'Land Of A 1,000 Dances' (written by Chris Kenner), 'Mustang Sally' (all 1966) and 'Funky Broadway' (1967).

A 1968 album, 'The Midnight Mover', contained six songs featuring Bobby Womack's involvement.

Wilson next recorded at Fame's Muscle Shoals studio, releasing a version of 'Hey Jude', with Duane Allman on guitar.

He then worked with producers Gamble And Huff, resulting in two hits, 'Engine Number 9' (1970) and 'Don't Let The Green Grass Fool You' (1971).

He also released 'Don't Knock My Love', his last Top 20 hit for Atlantic.

Wilson relocated to RCA in 1972, before returning to Muscle Shoals for 'Funky Situation' (1978), issued on his own Wicked label.

In 1974, he released 'Pickett In The Pocket' for the RCA label, followed by 'I Want You' for EMI America in 1979.

Later, he worked alongside Joe Tex, Don Covay, Ben E. King and Solomon Burke in a revamped Soul Clan.

Wilson's music also featured in the film 'The Commitments' in 1991.

Still, Pickett suffered through some tough times.

In 1991, he was arrested for allegedly yelling death threats whilst driving a car over the mayor's front lawn in Englewood, New Jersey, and less than a year later was charged with assaulting his girlfriend.

Wilson found life a struggle and had been arrested and charged with various drug offences.

He once stated 'If I wasn't in show business I don't know what I would have been a wanderer or something, you know?'

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Lou Rawls

Lou Rawls

b. Louis Allen Rawls, 1st December 1933, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

d. 6th January 2006, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, U.S.A.

Lou Rawls has died. He was 72 and was suffering from, initially, lung cancer, and later brain cancer.

He will be, probably, be best remembered, by Soul fans, for his output during the Seventies, at the Philadelphia International label, however, his earlier output stands as some of the best of it's kind from that era.

It was lung cancer that took Lou from us, eventually, after a long and optimistic fight by the man.

His estranged wife Nina had said the lung cancer was diagnosed two years ago, and that Lou was informed he had brain cancer last year.

Lou lived in Scottsdale, Arizona, and had said in an interview with the Arizona Republic, last year, that he had received alternative and traditional medical treatment.

He recorded more than 75 albums and won three Grammy awards.

A longtime community activist, he played a major role in the United Negro College Fund telethons in the 1980's, which raised more than $200 million.

In the '60's he often visited schools, playgrounds, and community centre's.

Raised in Chicago by his grandmother, he began singing gospel at age 7 in the choir of his Baptist church.

As a teenager, he began joining doo-wop groups with his classmate Sam Cooke, whose own singing career in the 1950's and 1960's really took off.

Lou served in the Army in the 1950's, and began singing at small clubs in Los Angeles.

He was later talent spotted and joined the Capitol Records imprint.

However, it was in the 1970's, Lou changed record labels and joined the Philadelphia International imprint, where Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff gave him his biggest hit in 1976, namely, 'You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine'.

Lou went on to record for several other labels, including Blue Note.

Apart from his wife, the great man is survived by four children, Louanna Rawls, Lou Rawls Jr., Kendra Smith and Aiden Rawls.

Not a great start to the New Year. Lou will be sorely missed by many folks out there, but not ever forgotten.

Lou Rawls

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David Townsend

b. David Townsend, b. 1955, U.S.A.

d. 26th October 2005, Northridge, California, U.S.A.

David Townsend, from the Soul group Surface has died. He was 50.

Early reports are scarce. He was found by a close friend at his home.

Surface recorded several excellent songs incuding 'Happy', 'A Nice Time For Lovin', 'Closer Than Friends' and 'Shower Me With Your Love'. David's musical activities spread out further than just his work with Surface. He also worked with Sister Sledge, The Isley Brothers, Jermaine Jackson, The New Edition and Aretha Franklin.

Ed Townsend ed townsend

As mentioned, David was the son of the singer and songwriter, Ed Townsend, who co-wrote 'Let's Get It On' for Marvin Gaye.

The group's surviving members, Bernard Jackson and David 'Pic' Conley, released a statement that read, 'We are both shocked and very saddened by our loss of our close friend David. He was a great producer, songwriter and a great friend. We will miss him. We also want to say thank you to all our fans around the world for their love and support during this difficult time.'

Funeral arrangements will be held on:

Thursday, November, 3, 2005 @ 3 p.m.
Inglewood Mortuary
3801 W. Manchester Blvd.
Inglewood, CA
(310) 412-6811

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Shirley Horn

Shirley Horn

b. Shirley Horn, 1st May 1934, Washington D.C., U.S.A.

d. 20th October 2005, U.S.A., Washington D.C., U.S.A.

The Jazz performer Shirley Horn has died. She was 71.

She passed away due to complications with diabetes, reports state, in her hometown of Washington D.C.

Shirley was, originally, offered a place at Juilliard, but turned down the offer for financial reasons.

She later majored in music at Howard University.

By 1954, she formed her first trio.

Her debut single, 'Embers and Ashes', caught the attention of Miles Davis, who asked Shirley to open for him at New York's Village Vanguard in 1960.

Loads Of LoveTravelin' Light

She then signed to Mercury Records and, with Quincy Jones producing, recorded two albums in 1963, 'Loads of Love' and 'Shirley Horn with Horns'.

She left Mercury Records to raise her child and returned to Washington later.

By 1987, Shirley had joined the Verve imprint, as she began somewhat of a comeback.

Shirley recorded with Miles Davis, him backing her on 1991's 'You Won't Forget Me', amongst the final sessions before his death.

She won a Grammy for Best Jazz Vocal Performance in 1998 for her tribute to Miles, 'I Remember Miles'.

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Willie Hutch

Willie HutchWillie Hutch

b. Willie McKinley Hutchison, 6th December 1944, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

d. 19th September 2005, Duncanville, Texas, U.S.A.

Willie Hutch has passed away. He was 60. Willie was born to Frank Allen and Mae Willie Hutchison on the 6th of December 1944.

Details of the cause are sketchy at the moment. News Channel 3 spoke to Willie Hutch's manager, Anthony Voyce, who stated 'I've never met a more generous and caring person to have been around. To have a man to have been around like that, is amazing. We're going to miss him'.

Willie Hutch grew up in Dallas where he sang with The Ambassadors.

He first came to the attention of the music business in 1964 when his debut single 'Love Has Put Me Down' was released by the Soul City Records label.

His songs attracted the attention of The Fifth Dimension who recorded a number of them.

Willie himself recorded with Venture prior to two albums in the early 70's with RCA (including 'Let's Try It Over').

In 1970, he received a phone call from producer Hal Davis who urgently needed a song written to a backing track he had entitled 'I'll Be There'.

By 8 am the next morning, The Jackson 5 were in the studio recording it.

Willie later co-arranged vocals on 'Got To Be There' and 'Never Can Say Goodbye' for the group, impressing Berry Gordy who employed him at Motown on a more permanent basis.

Willie produced the first Smokey Robinson album without The Miracles, and when Sisters Love had a cameo role in 'The Mack', the group's manager suggested Willie record the soundtrack.

The result was 'The Mack', including 'Brother's Gonna Work It Out' and 'Slick', Willie's first album for Motown in 1973. (Willie also worked with Sisters Love on 'Mr Fix-it Man'.)

His other albums at the label included 'The Mark Of The Beast' (1975); 'Concert In Blues' (1976), including 'Party Down'; 'Color Her Sunshine' (1976), including 'I Like Everything About You', 'Havin' A House Party' and 'Fully Exposed' before he joined the Whitfield label for two albums, 'In Tune (1978), including 'Easy Does It', and 'Midnight Dancer'.

In 1982, he wrote 'Keep The Fire Burning' for Gwen McCrae and returned to Motown for three collaborations with Berry Gordy.

The first was a duet for The Four Tops and Aretha Franklin 'What Have We Got To Lose' (1983), the second a song / production for Sammy Davis Jnr, 'Hello Detroit' (1984), and the third a soundtrack album for Berry's film 'The Last Dragon' (1985).

This soundtrack included a Willie Hutch single 'The Glow'.

During this period at Motown he wrote/produced 'Sexy Ways' for The Four Tops and released two albums, 'In And Out' (1985) and 'Making A Game Of Love' (1985), including 'Keep On Jammin'.

Willie has also written and / or produced for The Miracles, The Main Ingredient ('California My Way'), Junior Walker, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye, among others.

Willie released two albums in the Nineties. 'From The Heart' and 'The Mack Is Back'.

Both sets were well received. Rest in peace Soul man.

The postings read:

'Willie enjoyed golfing, fishing, music, and especially his family. He was a graduate of Booker T. Washington High School in Dallas. Mr. Hutchison was a celebrated musician, performer, and
producer. He had received many awards including being a two time Grammy Award Nominee; NAACP Image Award; two time recipient of BMI Writer's Award; two time recipient of ASCAP Writer's Award; two Gold Singles for Vocal Arrangements;one Platinum Single; and nine Gold & Platinum Albums (CD's). Mr. Hutchison was preceded in death by his parents. He is survived by 6 children; 10 grandchildren; 1 great-grandchild; 5 brothers; 8 sisters; numerous nieces, nephews, cousins; and aunt Sammie Lee Henderson.
The family will receive friends at Restland Memorial Chapel from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.Thursday, September 22, 2005. Funeral services will be held at 10:30 a.m. Friday, September 23, 2005 at Restland's Memorial Chapel with Rev. Thomas Spann officiating.
Internment to follow at Lincoln Memorial Park in Dallas, TX. In lieu of flowers the family request any donations in Willie's name be sent to the American Diabetes Association, 4425 W. Airport Fwy., Irving, Texas 75062. Restland 972-238-7111 restlandfuneralhome.com'

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Ernie Johnson

Eddie & Ernie photo courtesy of ace records

Ernest (Ernie) L. Johnson Jnr (b. 22nd October 1945, Grimes County, U.S.A. d. 20th August 2005, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.)

Ernie Johnson was killed on the 20th of August 2005 after he was struck by a car. He was 59.

Eddie and Ernie were two underrated heroes of Soul Music.

During the Sixties and early Seventies they recorded several sides for the Eastern Record label and the Artco label amongst others.

Their solo singles are extreemly rare and change hands for four figure sums today.

Dave Godin (the man who coined the phrase 'Northern Soul') included their 1965 tune 'I'm Going For Myself' for his excellent 'Dave Godin's Deep Soul Treasures Volume 1' for the Kent label in 1997.

That label released a compilation of the duo's recording's entitled 'Lost Friends' in 2002.

Their recordings included 'You Make My Life A Sunny Day', 'Bullets Don't Have Eyes', 'Tell It Like it Is', 'Falling Tears (Indian Drums)' and a fine version of Bob Dylan's 'Lay Lady Lay'.

William Edgar Campbell passed away on the 10th of July 1994 in Los Angeles.

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Francine Hurd Barker (a.k.a 'Peaches' from the duo 'Peaches & Herb')

Francine Hurd BarkerFrancine Hurd Barker

b. Francine Edna Hurd Barker, 28th April 1947, Washington D.C, U.S.A.

d. Saturday 13th August 2005, Maryland, U.S.A..

Francine Hurd Barker, otherwise known as 'Peaches' from the original duo Peaches and Herb, has passed away from a long illness. She was 58.

Francine earned the nickname 'Peaches' as a child, mainly due to her gentle disposition.

The original Peaches and Herb members formed in 1965.

'Peaches' sang in several groups in her teenage years, including the Keynotes and the Darlettes (a group she instigated herself).

The group were later to become known as the Sweet Things.

Teaming up with Van McCoy, Francine along with her new singing partner, one Herb Feemster (later to be known as Herb Fame), began recording such songs as 'We're In This Together' and 'Let's Fall In Love'.

The duo's emerging popularity earned them the nickname of 'the Sweethearts Of Soul'.

Following several other notable sides, Herb left the duo to become a policeman in 1970.

He enlisted a new 'Peaches' to the ranks in 1976, one Linda Greene. They went on to record the chart topper 'Reunited'.

Francine then went into a coma, that lasted 10 years.

For the past 9 years, she was cared for by her husband and daughter.

She suffered, additionally, from a brain aneurysm and stroke, and came out of the condition about a year after the incident in 1996.

She also had several toes amputated recently, not due to diabetes, but due to another ailment.

Francine left two daughters, Shaunte and Shanice, along with 4 Grandchildren, Ellisha, Shanee, Larc and Kayla.

Her funeral was held at Landover, Maryland. Visitation Friday, August 19th, 5 p.m., service 6 p.m. at J.B. JENKINS FUNERAL HOME, 7474 Landover Rd., Landover.

Many thanks to Saundra Simmons and Tony Petty for their invaluable information regarding the sad passing of the original 'Peaches'.

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Little Milton

Little Milton

b. James Milton Campbell Jnr., 7th September 1934, Inverness, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 4th August 2005, Memphis Tennessee, U.S.A.

Singer, Guitarist and Songwriter, Little Milton has passed away from a stroke. He was 71.

Having played guitar from the age of 12, Little Milton (he legally dropped the James when he discovered that he had a brother of the same name on his father's side) made his first public appearances as a teenager in the blues bars and cafes on Greenville's celebrated Nelson Street.

Milton first appeared on record accompanying pianist Willie Love in the early 50's, then appeared under his own name on three singles issued on Sam Phillips' Sun label under the guidance of Ike Turner.

Although their working relationship continued throughout the decade, it was on signing to Chicago's Chess / Checker outlet that Milton's career flourished.

Milton had a hit in 1965 with the optimistic 'We're Gonna Make It', and followed it with other releases, including 'Who's Cheating Who?' in 1965, and 'Grits Ain't Groceries' in 1968.

He remained with Chess until 1971, whereupon he relocated to the Stax imprint.

Milton also worked alongside Sonny Boy Williamson III.

'That's What Love Will Do' returned the singer to the R & B chart after a two-year absence, but despite his appearance in the Wattstax film, Little Milton was unable to maintain a consistent recording career.

In the 90's he was with Delmark Records.

His most recent album 'Think Of Me' was released in May 2005.

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Eugene Record

Eugene Record

b. 23rd December 1940, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

d. 22nd July 2005, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Marshall Thompson of the group, the Chi-Lites, came online tonight to confirm to me that Eugene Record of the band has just died.

He passed away at 2 a.m., today, the 22nd of July 2005 from cancer. He was 64.

Usually, at this point I do a rundown of the artists resume, but in Eugene's case, I think I'll make an exception.

With Soul Music, it is always hard to pin down just exactly what makes one artist or another move you, and which one simply passes you by.

The Chi-Lites are sometimes seen as a sweet Soul group. That they are, but there are many more facets to this amazing group. Think of the man's work with the late Barbara Acklin. Stunning material.

Eugene did his own thing, as did the other guys over the years. One of my favourite songs, by these guys is 'Try My Side Of Love' from 1982. Meant a great deal to me at that time. I was off with friends to Cornwall for a week or so of partying. This song was on the tape player all the time.

Went off to Bournemouth (hold your horses and get your atlas out you U.S. brothers! LOL) to meet up with Julie afterwards, who I was later to marry. Stevie's album title 'Songs In The Key Of Life' was very apt. Whenever I listen to that Chi-Lites song, I am back in 1982. You lot know what I mean, as you will have songs that 'kick in' a memory, and that is what the Chi-Lites are, and were all about.

'Try My Side Of Love' was not their most immediate hit, but this is what music is all about. Memories. A musical life diary.

Whenever I hear 'You Don't Have To Go', it reminds me of sitting on a roof in Putney, in London (atlas again guys! LOL), at lunchbreak, in the long hot summer of 1976, when I was 20, listening to that song on the ghettoblaster (the size of half a house! LOL). No video's, mobiles, CD's etc. Tapes only. We looked at the ladies walk by (hadn't met Julie back then! LOL). What a long hot summer. I am nearly 50 now. 30 years ago. How time flies. Those last few bars of that song are pure heaven.

The Chi-Lites are embedded into this old fool, in the same way a tattoo is. Probably the same for you guys.

Eugene Record made some solo material, of which 'Overdose Of Joy' was a masterpiece. In and out of the Chi-Lites through revolving doors! LOL.

'Homely Girl' was the slow dance at my school disco when I was a kid. Lovely memories.

'Try My Side Of Love' was Soul perfection. This is how I will remember the man. You will have your own stories and recollections.

Go hang with Luther, brother Eugene. You made another brother down here a very happy man.

Much love to the family. All our condolences from here. Eugene will be in my head until the man upstairs moves me into the 'other room' to meet the great man. Just lost another great.

Me & YouChi-Lites

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Shirley Pixley Goodman

Shirley & Lee shirley & lee

b. 19th June 1936, New Orleans, U.S.A.

d. 5th July 2005, Cedar Sinai Hospital, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Shirley Goodman, of the duo Shirley and Lee, later of the group Shirley and Company, has died. She was 69.

Shirley (as part of the duo Shirley and Lee) was probably best remembered as the singer of the song 'Let The Good Times Roll.

Prior to the passing of Leonard Lee in 1976, she formed the group Shirley and Company, who scored with the hit 'Shame, Shame, Shame'.

Shirley was married, and had one son.

Shirley attended school with Leonard and was teased about her vocal delivery, with her father telling her it 'put him on edge'!

Shirley and Lee asked Cosimo Matassa, at his studio in New Orleans, if they might record a song.

Matassa agreed and the duo cut 'I'm Gone'.

The song was later remade and hit the number 2 spot on the U.S. R & B Charts.

The duo also recorded 'Shirley, Come Back to Me', 'Shirley's Back', 'The Proposal', 'Lee's Goofed' and 'Feel So Good'.

They were presumed to be a couple although Shirley was, actually married to a builder in 1955.

'Let the Good Times Roll' turned out to be their biggest success, crossing over to the Pop Charts.

The duo recorded up until 1963, after which Shirley undertook session chores for the likes of Sonny and Cher, Dr John, The Rolling Stones and Jackie DeShannon.

Rolling Stones

shirley's credit on the rolling stones 'exile on main street' album liner notes

Shirley & Lee were briefly reunited in 1972, after Shirley had recorded with several other artistic partners, including Shirley & Jesse, who recorded the song 'Ivory Tower'.

Sylvia Robinson then asked Shirley if she would record 'Shame, Shame, Shame', along with the All Platinum artist Jesus Alvarez.

The song became an international disco hit.

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Raymond 'Stingray' Davis

Raymond Davis

b. 29th March 1940, Sumter, South Carolina, U.S.A.

d. 5th July 2005, Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital, New Brunswick, U.S.A.

Ray Davis, of the groups Parliament and Funkadelic, has passed away from respitory complications. He was 65.

He was born in Sumter, S.C., and lived in Brooklyn, N.Y., before moving to Plainfield in 1958, where he resided until 1968.

Ray was, probably, most famous for providing the bass vocals on Parliament's funk songs 'Give Up The Funk (Tear the Roof Off the Sucka) and 'Flashlight.

He was later to do the same for the funk ensemble Funkadelic on songs such as 'One Nation Under A Groove'.

Ray was a founding member of Parliament, a group that was to influence the whole music scene throughout the Seventies.

Parliament were originally known as 'the Parliaments' and were a doo-wop group back in the 50's.

It was George Clinton who changed the group's name in the Seventies and created the group Funkadelic.

During the early Eighties, he joined the late Roger Troutman's band Zapp.

For a few years, in the late '80's, and early '90's Ray retired from the music industry and moved to Greenville, S.C., and worked as a bus driver.

Parliament and Funkadelic were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, although several legal battles over ownership rights still trouble Clinton today.

Ray Davis lived in Franklin Park, remained active musically in recent years, working with the Temptations after the death of Melvin Franklin in the mid-1990's.

He also toured from 1998 with original P-Funk members Haskins and Thomas.

Ray was a former member of Shiloh Baptist Church in Plainfield when he resided.

He was also a member of the Masonic Lodge in Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A..

Surviving are four daughters, Cynthia Marshall of Plainfield, Kenyada Davis of Detroit, Mich., Ebonie Frazier of Trotwood, Ohio, and Diane Stevens of Linden; three sons, Derrick Davis (Stacy) of Akron, Ohio, Gregory S. Davis of Plainfield and Lacy D. Hamilton of Baltimore, Md.; 24 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren; four sisters, Evelyn Billups of Plainfield, Rosetta Melette of Columbia, S.C., Susan Gregg of Brooklyn, N.Y., and Carolyn Irvine of Richmond, Va.; his companion, Barbi Black of Franklin Park; and a host of nieces, nephews, other relatives and friends.

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Luther Vandross

Luther Vandross

b. Luther Ronzoni Vandross, 20th April 1951, New York City, New York, U.S.A.

d. 1st July 2005, JFK Medical Centre, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Luther Ronzoni Vandross has died. He was 54. Robert Cavanaugh, the hospital spokesman said 'Luther had a peaceful passing under the watchful eye of friends, family and the medical support team'.

This has been a terrible year for losing some of our great soul singers. Luther Vandross, could be, arguably, the greatest loss.

I wrote most of this obituary just over two years ago, after rumours had circulated that Luther had passed away.

The Associated Press announced on 28th April 2003: 'Luther Vandross contracted pneumonia after suffering a stroke and had to undergo a tracheotomy to help him breathe, but the procedure didn't damage his vocal chords, his representatives said that Monday.

The fears of 2003 have now become facts on the 1st July 2005.

That morning (2nd May 2003), I took a call from my friend Tim in Santa Monica. Tim was distraught. He goes regularly to his local skating rink that plays Soul Music as a musical accompaniment to the activity. The music stopped and there was an announcement that Luther had passed. Tim was one of Luther's greatest fans. I know that because, with Tim you don't need to mention any surname. When people say Luther, you just know who people are talking about. They then played 'The Glow Of Love' from the start to end at the place.

At the time, I spoke to the U.K. deejay Chris Hill. We were nattering on about an old Supreme's tune and we spoke about Luther and Chris's involvement with him, and Chris's Mascara project that the great man contributed to. The following morning came, and Luther was rumoured to be no more. What to write? Well you all know Luther's pedigree. You almost don't need to look at his page at the site. He was part of our households. He is on the stereo when we are cooking, working, whatever. Embedded into the fabric that makes up the rich tapestry of this genre we are all prisoners of.

Chris said that Luther was near a deal with Quincy Jones, at the time of that 1979 Mascara album, that fell through. Luther was distraught.

I called a few people and hoped that I was wrong and making another fool of myself to go with the other fools in my fool cupboard right here.

Luther was one of those singers that even the most diehard Northern Soul fan would acknowledge could 'sing a little'. If you have the album 'This Close To You' in your collection...you are a lucky punter.

I called Peter Young here in London (from Jazz FM), at the time, and we spoke about him. I said that if it wasn't for Luther, the 'V' section of the music library here would be pretty sparse. He was, quite simply, THE soul vocalist of the Eighties and Nineties. I thought his penultimate album was a great record. I reviewed it within these pages and showcased 'Grown Thangs' as a classic for the future. Unfortunately we were only to see one more studio album.

One legacy that we could all leave as a testament to the great man is this. In a World where size is everything. Image is the rule of the day. Luther put on a lot of weight and when he did, people said some very disparaging things about his size. Luther was very sensitive about this. I am no size 10 and things are said to me that I ought to lose weight. Not in very kind ways sometimes. The man went on radical diets. Off went 9 stones, then on, then off. No wonder the guy became ill. If Luther leaves one legacy, let it be that we are a little kinder to each other. Costs nothing and people are a little happier.

Spoke to Tashan when we both thought Luther had passed away in 2003. We both agreed that the man's band upstairs has just become that much better. Rest in peace brother Luther. The World has just become a much, much poorer place.

One nice epitaph, was, at the Live 8 concert, Stevie Wonder paid tribute to this great man. From a genius to a genius.

Luther Vandross Luther Vandross

the young photo courtesy of nicolas drosos

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Renaldo Obie Benson

Renaldo Obie Benson

b. 14th June 1936, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 1st July 2005, Harper Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

Renaldo Obie Benson, who for more than half a century sang with the Motown group the Four Tops, died on Friday morning at the Harper Hospital in Detroit. He had just turned 69 on the 14th of June.

He was very much more than just a singer. As a songwriter 'Obie' penned (along with Marvin and Al Cleveland) such classics as Marvin's 'What's Going On'.

He was also the co-founder of the early incarnation of the Four Tops, the Four Aims.

Obie had had several health issues recently. In June, he suffered a heart attack after the amputation of a leg because of circulation problems.

He was then diagnosed with lung cancer, and began chemotherapy last week.

With the Four Tops, the groups Motown output have now become song standards. Songs such as 'Reach Out I'll Be There', 'Standing in the Shadows of Love' and 'Bernadette'.

He was instumental in many of the dance routines, had a great sense of humour as the group members have stated, and continued to contribute his songwriting skills to the groups output after they left Motown and went to the ABC Dunhill imprint.

The group celebrated their 50th anniversary with a concert at the Detroit Opera House last summer.

Obie's last main performance came on the David Letterman show on the 8th of April 2005.

As his condition worsened in recent weeks, Obie was replaced onstage by the late Lawrence Payton's son, Roquel Payton.

Lawrence passed away in 1997.

Obie's passing now leaves only two of the original group members.

Renaldo Obie Benson is survived by two daughters, Eboni Benson and Tobi Benson, and an ex-wife with whom he remained close, Valaida Benson.

Renaldo Obie Benson

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Gerry Osborne

Gerry Osborn

b. 10th September 1952

d. 20th June 2005

Gerry Osborne passed away on the 20th of June 2005 at 10:00 following a very long illness.

Many will know him from his CD Mail Order business, Masters Of Music, which he co-founded and worked from 1991 until 1994.

He then went on to work with Record Corner in Balham until ill health caused him to leave work in 2001.

Gerry was well known and loved by all his customers and some like myself became friends with him.

For me he was a member of our family.

His knowledge of soul music was deep and far reaching, and his passion about soul music was limitless.

He was a unique person and had a marvellous sense of humour.

He will be missed very much, and if they do hand out wings up there I doubt if they would have any big enough for him.

Gerry's funeral was on Tuesday 28th June 2005 at the Main Chapel of South Essex Crematorium, Ockenden Road, Upminster, Essex, RM14 2UY. Telephone number is 01708 434433.

A tribute by Barry Towler 2005

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Ronald Winans

The Winans

b. 30th June 1956, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 17th June 2005, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

The singer and producer, Ronald Winans has passed away.

He was 48 years old.

As an integral part of the family gospel group, The Winans, he was instrumental in some of the most popular songs, of the genre, over the last twenty years.

The song, 'Let My People Go', became a huge dancefloor hit in the Eighties in the United Kingdom and across the World.

Ron released 5 albums as solo projects between 1987 and 2005, which featured new and up and coming artists.

'The whole purpose was to win over young people who might have been on the verge of going into a life of crime or going off track,' he told Billboard magazine in 1995.

In 1997, Ron experienced a massive heart attack.

He was quoted as saying at the time:

'I thank God for the saints that began praying immediately, time was a major factor, and I know it was the prayers of the believers that moved the hand of God on my behalf. I will forever be grateful to the prayer warriors for standing with me, and my family.'

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Oscar Brown Jnr

Oscar Brown Jnr

oscar brown jnr with sivuca and jean pace

b. 10th October 1926, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

D. 29th May 2005, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

Oscar Brown Jnr has died. He was 78.

He passed away quietly on the 29th of May 2005.

He was famous for penning the lyrics to the songs 'Dat Dere,' 'Work Song,' 'Watermelon Man,' and 'The Entertainer'.

He also penned 'Signifyin' Monkey' and 'But I Was Cool'.

As an actor and a playwright he undertook these roles in high school.

Oscar was also a social commentator, and worked in public relations, real estate, ad copy, and ran unsuccessfully for political office.

He was signed to the Columbia imprint in 1960.

In 1962, he was the Master of Ceremonies on the Jazz Scene U.S.A. television series.

Oscar also served as artist-in-residence at several colleges.

In 1970, his play 'Joy' (a collaboration with Sivuca and Jean Pace) contained the Acid Jazz classic 'Nothing But A Fool'.

He took a break from recording between 1975 up until 1994, when he returned with 'Then and Now' for the Weasel Disc label in 1995.

A live album entitled 'Live Every Minute' was released in 1998.

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Theola Kilgore

Theola Kilgore

b. 1926, Shreveport, Louisiana, U.S.A.

d. 15th May 2005, Los Angleles, California, U.S.A.

Theola Kilgore, 79, a 1960's R & B singer, who was best known for her recordings of two Ed Townsend songs, 'The Love of My Man' and 'This Is My Prayer,' died Sunday the 15th of May 2005 at a Los Angeles rehabilitation facility.

A native of Oakland, Theola Kilgore began singing in church and was a gospel singer when she met J.W. Alexander, Sam Cooke's manager.

He introduced her to songwriter / producer Ed Townsend.

With Ed Townsend, Kilgore recorded her first secular track, an answer to Sam Cooke's 'Chain Gang' entitled 'Sounds of My Man Working on the Chain Gang.'

'Love of My Man (her biggest hit) and 'This Is My Prayer' followed.

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Phillip Ballou

Revelation revelation

b. Phillip Demetrius Ballou, 22nd February 1950, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A., d. 19th March 2005, New York, U.S.A.

Phillip Ballou, of the group, Revelation, has died in New York. He was 55.

He had sung back ground vocals for several artists over the years including Luther Vandross, Billy Joel, Tom Jones, George Benson, Billy Ocean, Kashif, Nona Hendryx, Jonathan Butler, Teddy Pendergrass, Melba Moore, Irene Cara, Todd Rundgren, Laurie Anderson, John Hall, James Taylor and Aretha Franklin.

Brooklyn native, Phillip Ballou had suffered a stroke.

Born in Pittsburgh on the 2nd February 1950, his mother, Edith Washington-Ballou-Ghafoor wanted him to become a preacher or a gospel singer.

His father, Roosevelt Payne was a singer in the group the Swan Silvertones, widely credited for originating the line made famous by the duo Simon and Garfunkel on their song 'Bridge Over Troubled Waters'.

Phillip's father left the family set up when the child was very young.

He studied art at Carnegie Mellon University and moved to New York in the early 1970's to become a professional singer.

Phillip founded the group Revelation in 1974 with three friends, Benny Diggs, Arnold McCuller and Arthur Freeman.

Revelation toured as an opening act for the Bee Gees and were signed with RSO Records, resulting in a number of singles, including 'Get Ready for This', 'Where It's Warm' (featured recently on the Expansion Records compilation 'The Spirit Of Philadelphia'), and 'You to Me Are Everything', followed by an album.

Revelation then signed with RCA Records and, accompanied by the New York Community Choir, made the album called 'Make Every Day Count'.

They also sung backgrounds for the late Vickie Sue Robinson in 1979 on her hit RCA album 'Turn the Beat Around'.

Finally, Revelation signed with a smaller company called Handshake Records and made several recordings, after which they disbanded.

Since the beginning of 2004, Phillip was the Minister of Music at Pentecostal House of Prayer in Brooklyn (Bishop Luther Dingle, Senior Pastor).

Services will be held on Thursday, 24th March 2005 (5 to 7:30 p.m. visitation with the family; 7:30 p.m. memorial service) at the Evening Star Baptist Church, 265-267 Gates Avenue at Franklin, Brooklyn, NY 11238.

A memorial will be also held in Pittsburgh with the date to be announced shortly. Donations to cover funeral expenses will be gratefully accepted by the family and may be sent to Faith Ross-Thornton at 2977 Cherry Hill Drive, Antioch, TN 37013.

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Renee Diggs

Renee Diggs

b. Sherlyn Renee Diggs, b. 23rd July 1954, U.S.A..

d. 18th March 2005, Maryland, U.S.A.

Renee Diggs-Phillips, former lead singer of the group Starpoint, has died. She was 50.

Renee met Ernesto Phillips of Annapolis, Maryland and his brothers in the early stages of their musical careers.

Before they were called Starpoint, the group were named Licyndiana (a name constructed from the first few letters of each of the group's sisters Christian names!).

Starpoint were signed to the Polygram imprint, Casablanca / Chocolate City Records in 1980.

They recorded four albums with that label.

In 1985, Starpoint recorded the their seventh Album, 'Restless', for the Elektra / Asylum imprint, a Warner Brothers label.

Starpoint toured exstensively with Luther Vandross and Isley, Jasper, Isley that year.

In the middle of the group's 'Restless' tour, Renee was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis.

Renee fought on despite the increasing severity of her condition, recording three more outings with Starpoint.

Renee decided to record a solo project in 1990.

The U.K. based record company Expansion acquired the rights to the subsequent 1994 recording and released 'Oasis' in late 2000.

She also worked alongside Michael Franks, James Ingram, Bob James, Cliff Dawson, and other recording artists during the Starpoint years.

Renee formed the Renee Diggs Foundation for Multiple Sclerosis.

Her long time companion, Ernesto Phillips, passed away last year.

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Lyn Collins

Lyn Collins

l to r: toby walker, clive clark, lester bachelor, lyn collins, roy power and charles waring

b. Gloria Lavern Collins, 12th June 1948, Lexington, U.S.A.

d. 13th March 2005, Pasadena, California, U.S.A.

Lyn Collins passed away on the 13th of March 2005, at the Huntingdon Memorial Hospital, as a result of complications from a seizure she had suffered the previous Thursday 10th of March. She was 56.

Her friend Martha High was with her. She had choked on some food and was brain dead by the time the Medics had arrived. She had a cardiac arrest on the 13th.

Born in Lexington (not Abilene as some reports state. Lyn told me.), Lyn Collins was discovered by James Brown and later moved, and grew up in Abilene, Texas.

She, actually, began recording at the age of 14, recording a song called 'Unlucky In Love'.

She was given the nickname 'The Female Preacher' by the 'Godfather Of Soul', whilst he toured with her at his Revue's.

Marva Whitney then left the Revue, and Vicki Anderson was re-recruited.

In 1971, she recorded the song 'Wheel Of Life' and officially joined James's Revue in 1972 after Vicki Anderson departed again.

Lyn was one of several James Brown discoveries, including Bootsy Collins and Catfish Collins, who were, actually, not Lyn's relatives.

She sang background vocals on many of James Brown's releases, however she released her own material via the People label (a Polydor offshoot), including 'Think (About It)' in 1972.

Other James Brown produced albums on Polydor include 'Check Me Out If You Don't Know Me By Now' in 1975, including 'Rock Me Again & Again & Again'.

Lyn eventually became backup session vocalist, and appeared on the soundtracks of the film 'Dr. Detroit' and the TV series 'Fame'.

She recorded on Belgium's ARS imprint during the late Eighties and early Nineties, releasing the songs 'Shout' and 'Break Your Heart' (for an Italian label).

Lyn then remade 'Think (About It)' with the singer Patra in 1993.

Lyn & Martha High had performed in Europe recently and was due to return next month.

She is survived by two sons, Anthony and Bobby Jackson.

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Juggy Murray Jones

Juggy Murray Jones

b. Henry 'Juggy' Murray Jr., 24th November 1923, Charleston, South Carolina, U.S.A.

d. 8th February 2005, New York City, U.S.A.

Juggy Murray Jones died at his home in New York on the 8th of February 2005.

Juggy was born in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, New York.

He was highly popular, on the U.K. dancefloors back in 1976, for his dance tune 'Inside America'.

Juggy Murray co-founded the famed Sue Records.

Born Henry Murray, he and partner Bobby Robinson founded Sue in New York City in early 1957.

In 1958, Juggy formed the Symbol Records subsidiary.

By 1972, he issued his first solo LP, 'Built for Speed'.

'Inside America' followed four years later in 1976.

He then released 'Rhythm and Blues' for the Jupiter imprint in 1977.

'Juggy' also continued operating Sue into the new millennium.

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Edward Roy Patten

Gladys Knight & The Pips

b. Edward Roy Patten, 22nd August 1939, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A..

d. 25th February 2005, Livonia, Michigan, U.S.A.

Edward Patten, a member of Gladys Knight and The Pips, died early on Friday the 25th of February at St. Mary's Mercy Hospital in Livonia, Michigan 2005. He was 65.

Originally from Atlanta, Edward became a Detroit resident. He died around 2 a.m. EST from a stroke he had suffered a few days before.

William Guest, another member of the group said 'Edward was my best friend and all through thick and thin, we always stuck together.'

Gladys Knight had been performing for several years when she hired Edward, her cousin, as a backup singer in 1959.

Gladys Knight & the Pips recorded for Motown between 1966 up until 1973 and for Buddah Records from 1973 until 1977.

They later recorded for CBS until breaking up in 1989.

Their hits included 'I Heard It Through the Grapevine,' 'I've Got to Use My Imagination,' 'Make Yours A Happy Home', 'Baby, Don't Change Your Mind', 'You're the Best Thing That Ever Happened to Me' and 'Midnight Train To Georgia.' (a song that was to have been called 'Midnight Plane To Georgia', however the lyrics were changed due to Gladys' fear of flying).

The group won four Grammys and was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.

Edward was one of the founders of Crew Records, based in Detroit and Atlanta, and sang backup for the label's recording artists.

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Tyrone Davis

Tyrone Davis

b. 4th May 1938, Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.A.

d. 9th February 2005, Hinsdale, Illinois, U.S.A.

Tyrone Davis died on Wednesday the 9th of February 2005, at the age of 66.

He had suffered a stroke last September.

Tyrone was taken to the Adventist Hinsdale Hospital and never regained consciousness.

This former Freddie King valet was discovered working in Chicago nightclubs by pianist Harold Burrage.

His hits, included 'Turn Back the Hands of Time' and 'Can I Change My Mind', recorded for the Carl Davis Dakar imprint.

'Can I Change My Mind', recorded in 1968, was his first chart entry, and was originally recorded as a b-side.

He also recorded 'Is It Something You've Got'.

During the 1970's he recorded 'I Had It All The Time', in 1972, and 'Without You In My Life', in 1973.

'There It Is' followed in 1973, followed by 'The Turning Point' in 1975.

For Soul followers, probably his career high point was reached with the album, and title track, 'In The Mood' in 1979.

'Are You Serious' followed in 1982.

Tyrone Davis is survived by his wife, Ann, and numerous children and grandchildren.

Funeral services are pending.

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Jimmy Smith

Jimmy Smith

b. James Oscar Smith Jnr, 8th December 1925, Norristown, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

d. 8th February 2005, Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.A.

The genius of the Hammond B3 organ, Jimmy Smith has died. He was 79.

He passed away during an afternoon sleep.

The Fusion artist Jimmy Ponder worked with Jimmy over the years. He said that Jimmy Smith was way ahead of his time.

Jimmy (Smith) attended the Hamilton School of Music in 1948 and later Philadelphia’s Ornstein School of Music the following year.

In 1951, he switched to the Hammond B3 organ and made a name for himself in Philly as an outstanding live performer.

He eventually moved to New York City, where he debuted at the Café Bohemia.

At a Birdland date that he caught the attention of Alfred Lions and Francis Wolff, founders of Blue Note Records.

During his 10 year stay at Blue Note he released several albums including 'The Sermon' in 1958, 'Prayer Meetin’ in 1960, and 'Back at the Chicken Shack' the same year.

He then left Blue Note for the Verve imprint in 1963.

There he released several albums including 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf' in 1964, 'The Cat' in 1964, and 'Peter and the Wolf' in 1966.

Jimmy then relocated to various imprints including Decca, Milestone and Elektra throughout the late 1970's and ’80's.

His 1976 album 'Sit On It' contained a lovely version of Earth Wind and Fire's, 'Can't Hide Love'.

Over the years, Jimmy performed alongside Tina Brooks, Wes Montgomery, Kenny Burrell, the late Stanley Turrentine, Lee Morgan, Lou Donaldson, Ike Quebec and Jackie McClean.

In recent years, Jimmy performed at the London based Jazz Cafe on a regular basis.

The man is survived by two sisters, Janet Taylor and Anita Jones, and three children, Jia, Connie and Jimmy, Jr.

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Ron 'Have Mercy' Kersey (a.k.a. Tyrone Garfield Kersey)

Harris, Moulton, Sigler & Kersey

Ron Kersey (right), with Norman Harris, Tom Moulton and Bunny Sigler

b. Ron Kersey a.k.a. Tyrone Garfield Kersey, 7th April 1949, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

d. 25th January 2005, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

I received this e-mail from Ron Kersey's friend Aaron Smith this morning.

'This is just a note to let you know that a great songwriter, Grammy winning producer and personal friend, Ron Kersey died this morning, Jan 25 2005. We worked together on many records.

You may also know him as a member of 'The Trammps' and Co-Writer of 'Disco Inferno'. He was also one of the main keyboardists of MFSB, playing on many Philadelphia International hits.

Ron had suffered a stroke in Los Angeles around 1996 and battled various complications ever since. His family returned him to Philadelphia in 1999.'

Thanks Aaron. Ron will be greatly missed. There are tribute's going out in the U.K, on radio, this weekend, the 29th and 30th of January 2005.

Ron was a keyboard player, who worked alongside Vince Montana in the Salsoul Orchestra, as well as being a part of the Trammps line up, a group formed in 1973.

He joined First Corinthian Baptist Church and was baptized at the age of twelve.

Ron grew up in North Philadelphia and graduated from Edison High School.

While at Edison, he majored in music and started lifelong friendships with Norman Harris and Ron Tyson.

He married a woman called Bernice Jones and joined the Air Force for a while.

Ron wrote or produced for the likes of Sweet Thunder, Janice McClain, O'Bryan, Colonel Abrams, Stephanie Mills, Jeffrey Osborne, Stacy Lattisaw, Gladys Knight, Anthony White, First Choice, Gloria Gaynor, Evelyn King, Rockie Robbins, Hot House feat. Heather Small, Imagination, The Right Choice, Tracie Spencer, Shelia Hutchinson (of The Emotions) and Patti LaBelle. Quite a curriculum vitae.

Ron admired the Rock group the Eagles. A woman called Toni was his caretaker after his stroke and took care of him. She was by his side as he passed on.

Ron's family were his mother, Gevoda, two sisters, Antoinette 'Toni' and Karrie Tawana, daughter, Kisha, stepdaughter, Desiree, stepson, Waymon, niece, Ayanna, aunts, Theresa, Kris and Everdine, uncle, CJ, three grandchildren, Nathaniel, A'shalay and Nyheim, godchildren and cousins and friends.

Service held: Wednesday 2nd February 2005
Cemetery: Rolling Green Memorial Park, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Ron Kersey

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Michael Alan Flood

Michael Flood

b. Michael Alan Flood, 30th December 1970, Truro, Cornwall, England.

d. 9th January 2005, Helston, Cornwall, England.

Who is Michael Flood you might want to ask? Well Michael is my wife, Julie's younger brother. On the way back from Penzance, near Helston in Cornwall in England, last night, the 9th of January 2005, Michael's car was in collision with another vehicle on a dark stretch of road. Michael was killed instantly, one of his two co-passengers is currently critical and the third suffered injuries. Apparently, folks say Michael thought his passengers were a little 'worse for wear' and he felt he ought to escort them home. Who knows what the scenario was. One of the people in the other vehicle died, the other three have injuries, some serious. Their own grieving has just begun. I don't know who they are, but I wish their families well.

When Julie and I first got together, Michael was just a kid. He was 34 when he died, just after midnight last night, which, as I said is today, the 9th of January 2005. One strange thing is that my wife's watch stopped at the time he died. She showed it to me this morning.

Julie went off to work with red eyes and I took my daughter round a school friends. I'll get on with the ironing and wait for Julie to get home. She could have stayed home, but it would have served no constructive purpose. Her mind is at least on other things for a while. We are in London. Cornwall is over 350 miles away.

As Michael grew he became curious about all the records I had here. I passed on my clothes to him as well as the music I had here. The T-Shirt he is wearing in the picture above is one I gave to him back in 1987. I made Mike tapes, which he listened to and got him into Soul Music. Mike told me he liked 'Galveston Bay' by Lonnie Hill a great deal. He liked other forms of music as well. I think that keeps the 'Soul' healthy. If the listener gets too polarised, they can miss out on many other good pieces of culture.

Julie is obviously beside herself. Grace is bewhildered and my therapy is in writing. Michael was a very kind person. Kids loved him. He had three boys. Now they will have to wait until it is their time to go into the 'other room' to see their Dad again. All told, the sum total of all of us is how we are remembered by the kit of parts that are our families and friends. In that respect Michael is, and was, a very wealthy man.

Michaels father, Denis, passed away 19 years ago in January. He was a lovely man, who was caring and considerate. Becoming a family tradition, passing away during this month. At his father's funeral, Mike broke down and said he couldn't face the service beforehand. He was only 15 at the time. Harrowing for a child that age. I took him into another room, put my arm around him, and said to Mike that, we all have to grieve in our own ways. He didn't have to go that day and he could go along to his fathers resting place when he felt easy at doing just that. Mike then married a lovely woman called Yvonne. At their wedding I told him his father would have been proud of him. He started to cry.

That relationship had seen good times and bad, but all told, Michael and Yvonne were always there for the kids. That shows character. Now all that is left are the memories for the young ones and that long wait to hook up again in the other room.

Take care Michael and we'll see you again in the years to come. Miss your company, Mike. I'll bring along some CD's and a couple of beers. Rest in peace my friend.

As the gospel singer Dorothy Norwood said:

'When you lay down at night, there's no guarantee that you gonna wake up the next morning. You need to live each day like it's your last day, because one day it will be'.

Michael Flood michael in 2001

Toby Walker 9.1.05

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Freddie Perren

Freddie Perren

b. Frederick J. Perren, 15th May 1943, U.S.A.

d. 16th December 2004, U.S.A.

Freddie Perren had died. He was 61.

Freddie will, probably, be best remembered for penning songs for the 1978, John Travolta movie vehicle 'Saturday Night Fever' ('More Than A Woman' and 'If I Can't Have You')

His back catalogue of work was far more extensive than many folks are aware of.

He penned 'I Will Survive' for Gloria Gaynor and was a member of the Motown collaboration of songwriters, The Corporation.

The Corporation included Motown Records founder Berry Gordy, Deke Richards and Fonce Mizell (later to work alongside Bobbi Humphrey and Donald Byrd).

Freddie had met Fonce whilst attending the Howard University in Washington D.C.

The Corporation wrote and produced the Jackson Five's, 'I Want You Back,' 'A.B.C.' and 'The Love You Save.'

Freddie worked with the Miracles, producing their hits, 'Love Machine' and 'Do It Baby'.

He also worked with Peaches & Herb, G.C. Cameron, The Sylvers and penned many tunes for the group Tavares.

Freddie died after a long illness. His wife Christine Yarian Perren told people.

He had a massive stroke some 11 years previously.

Freddie is survived by a son and a daughter.

Funeral services were held on Wednesday 22nd of December at 1 p.m. at In His Presence Church, 21300 Califa St., Woodland Hills, U.S.A.

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Bert Reid

Bert Reid

b. Bertram Charles Reid Jr., 25th October 1956

d. 12th December 2004, New York, U.S.A.

Bert Reid, from the group the Crown Heights Affair, has passed away on the 12th of December 2004. He was 48.

A good friend of his called Stevie Debe wrote to let me know.

Bert had a rare aggressive form of lung cancer that led to him developing pneumonia in his right lung.

Crown Heights Affair were signed by RCA, for whom they recorded one album and recorded the single 'Super Rod', before relocating to De-Lite Records.

The group recorded four hit singles from their first two albums, 'Dreaming A Dream', 'Every Beat Of My Heart', 'Foxy Lady' and 'Dancin'.

The second album at that imprint ('Do It Your Way') included the popular dancer 'Far Out'.

A collaboration with their label and Polygram saw the release of 'Galaxy Of Love' charting in the U.K. Top 30.

Other songs included 'I'm Gonna Love You Forever' (U.K. Top 50 in 1978), 'Dance Lady Dance' (U.K. Top 50 in 1979) and the double-sider, 'You Gave Me Love' & 'Use Your Body And Soul' (a Top 10 success in 1980).

The Reid brothers, Bert and Ray, along with Williarn Anderson left the group in 1986 to pursue outside production interests.

Bert's viewing (5PM to 7PM) and funeral (at 7 PM) were held on Thursday 16th December at the Christian Cultural Center, 12020 Flatlands Avenue, Brooklyn, New York 11207, phone: (718) 306-1000.

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Lenny Mayes

Lenny Mayes

b. Leonard Cornell Mayes, 5th April 1951, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 7th November 2004, Southfield, Michigan, U.S.A.

Lenny Mayes, of the group the Dramatics, has died.

He originally sang baritone with the Casanovas in 1965.

Lenny then recorded with the Sunrise Movement in 1968.

He joined the Dramatics in 1973, replacing Elbert 'Al' Wilkins.

The first album he performed on, for the Dramatics, was 'A Dramatic Experience' and his first lead vocal chores were on 'You Could Become the Very Heart Of Me', a song in which he shared the lead with L.J. Reynolds.

Most of the songs on the groups 'Dramatic Jackpot' album were performed by Lenny.

When the Dramatics temporarily disbanded in 1982, Lenny pursued a solo career.

Lenny rejoined the Dramatics in 1986 for their 'Somewhere In Time' reuinion album.

On the sleevenotes Lenny stated 'You don't get too many chances in life and I thank God that he has given us that.'

He later worked in real estate and on computer operations.

Lenny suffered a heart attack at the end of the Summer in 2004.

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C.P. Spencer

C.P. Spencer

b. Crathman Plato Spencer (a.k.a. Spencer Craftman), 13th January 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 20th October 2004, Oak Park, Michigan, U.S.A..

C.P. Spencer, the tenor singer from the group the Originals, has died from a heart attack. He was 66.

The Originals were famous for their Marvin Gaye penned 1969 melody 'Baby I'm For Real', which Marvin also produced.

Before becoming part of the Originals, C.P. was a member of the vocal group the Voice Masters, a group that also featured David Ruffin, Melvin Franklin and Lamont Dozier, who was later to contribute to the Originals album, 'California Sunset'.

Crathman first recorded with the 5 Jets for the DeLuxe imprint.

He recorded with several artists including the Jazz Guitarist Earl Klugh, who lent his abilities to C.P.'s initial solo album 'Love Swept Over You', for the A-Zone Records imprint.

As previously mentioned, that Eighties album was C.P.'s first solo album, with C.P. undertaking the production chores.

C.P. Spencer's wife is Joann Spencer.

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Dave Godin

Dave Godin

b. David Edward Godin, 21st June 1936, Lambeth, South London, United Kingdom

d. 15th October 2004, Rotherham, Yorkshire, United Kingdom

Dave Godin passed away in his sleep last week. He was 68.

Writing this piece is as awkward as it was writing Nathan's obituary below. Dave said he had M.E. (a dibilitating illness), however I knew it was something more serious. Dave didn't want people to know. He didn't want to bring any distress to anybody. Very much the man he was and I got to know. He was a very softly spoken man, when I spoke with him, who felt passionately about the downtrodden, politics and had a great concern regarding the welfare of animals.

Politically, Dave and I 'sung from the same songsheet'. He sent me so many petitions to sign and so much material regarding worldly affairs, that I had to open a 'favourites' file just for him in my AOL system here! Whilst Dave and I spoke politically, he also had a great love of the movies. That department I left for him and his close friend Chris Hill to mill over. I spoke to Dave for the last time three weeks ago. He sounded frail and said he couldn't talk for long. I spoke about his fourth Deep Soul Treasures CD and the conversation soon expanded to over half an hour. Even at this late stage, Dave was talking about 'Deep Soul Treasures 5'. I sent him a Michael Moore DVD and said he could keep it. I figured it might keep his mind away from the physical issues that have now sadly taken the man from us.

I had read Dave's writings, in Blues and Soul, since the early Seventies. He was a very articulate and considerate man. His columns were always a 'must read' and in that way, not only are the shelves are full of the magazines here, largely due to Dave, I believe I must have kept Blues and Soul in business for all that time!

Dave's year end best album of 1976 was the Stairsteps '2nd Ressurrection', an album that I had here. One day we spoke about that set and Dave said he couldn't understand why it had never seen a CD release. As I had the album, I CDR'd him my copy and mailed it to him. Dave wrote me back:

'Just a short note to thank you so much for the Stairsteps' CD and the Marvin Gaye track which, as you said, is something else.
I've been trying for ages to get someone interested in reissuing the Stairsteps' album in CD format, and I really do believe that as it was so ahead of its time when new, it would now get some really excellent reviews.
Meanwhile, on a gloomier note, it looks like 'they' are determined to go ahead and have their war no matter what. My e-mail and Internet connection are both down at the moment, which, in some ways perhaps, is no bad thing because I'll not see material and newsletters that will make me even more angry than I presently am.
Maybe there's a double-bluff strategy at work too, in that they intend to steam ahead as a provocative gesture to show the voices of dissent that we, and our opinions, count for nothing in their reckoning.
No matter what though, keep your chin up. The last of all freedoms is one's attitude.
With warm regards and best wishes. Dave'.

As I said, our politics weren't so far apart. The Marvin tune was 'Where are We Going', the war is the current, illegal one continuing in Iraq after, supposedly, being over a year and a half ago.

Dave Godin & Marvin

dave and marvin chatting in new york

Dave, initially, came to the site about 4 years ago. I was still struggling with writing resume's, replying to site visitors and fighting book companies trying to sue me! Dave signed the guestbook and that is when our conversations began.

Dave invented the term 'Northern Soul'. Odd for a grammar school boy from Dartford in Kent (U.K.). The term stuck although, as he once said to me, 'There are really only two types of music. Good and bad', a comment Brother Ray once echoed in an interview I watched regarding the great man. These people are the real music lovers. They speak, or should I now sadly say, spoke, from years of knowledge and wisdom. In some ways they moved onto another level and could just sit back with no musical point to prove to anyone.

Dave was so passionate, regarding his Deep Soul 'babies' (as he described them), that you could not help but get caught up in the whirlpool of enthusiasm that surrounded these fine releases. After I last spoke to the man, he sent me newspaper articles, reviews and anything else that related to, what amounts to a 'must have' celebration of some of the finest and most moving set of Soulful recordings of the last century. Of this, he should be proud....and he was.

In a World of Soul Music purists, train spotters, anoraks, call us all what you will, Dave wasn't afraid to add a song such as 'The Tracks Of My Tears' by the Miracles to his 'treasure chest'. I guess he made the point that, sometimes we don't see the musical wood for the trees.

Dave asked me after the artist Jimmy Robins one time. He wanted to add a song called 'I Made It Over' to his series number 4. Such was his enthusiasm, I found myself sending out a plea on the 'Where Are They?' page here. Jimmy got in touch, and Dave got his tune. He was even kind enough to add a small credit on the CD. I certainly didn't deserve that. That is all down to the efforts of his good friend Ady Croasdell.

It would be nice to see a posthumous 'Deep Soul Treasure 5', releasing of some of the other material he was tracking down before his passing. Stranger things have happened.

The World needs more people like Dave to redress the 'swing to the right', as he described it. A lovely, lovely man, who enriched this old fools life for many years. I will miss our conversations. A part of the 'Soul jigsaw' has just gone missing. Rest in peace Soul Man.

Dave Godin

Here is a lovely message from Bessie Banks:

From: Bessie Banks

'I remember 1963 Kennedy was Assassinated. It was announced over the radio. At the time, I was rehearsing in the office of Leiver and Stoller. We called it a day. Everyone was in tears. “Come back next week and we will be ready to record Go Now”, and we did so. I was happy and excited that maybe this time I’ll make it. Go Now was released and right away it was chosen Pick Hit of the Week on W.I.N.S. Radio. That means your record is played for 7 days. 4 Days went by, I was so thrilled. On day 5, when I heard the first line, I thought it was me but all of a sudden, I realized it wasn’t. At the end of the song it was announced, The Moody Blues singing Go Now. I was too out-done. This was the time of the English Invasion and the end of Bessie Banks’ career, so it thought. Americas D.J. had stopped promoting American artist. Several months passed, all of a sudden I Started getting letters of encouragement from these English Gentleman by the name of Dave Godin who really knew how to express himself. I was very impressed. He really believed that what was happening with American Artist was wrong. Dave started making things happen. He found records that I recorded even before Go Now. I remember 1968 was the beginning of a real friendship. We wrote to each other about everything. All of a sudden, their was hope because Dave believed in me and my late husband Larry. He started his company, Dave Godin’s Deep Soul Treasures. We were always on these C.D.s along with other Artist that he admired. Dave even put me on the cover of “Deep Soul” Magazine with a beautiful write up inside. I use to tell him how great he was with words, “ Why don’t you write a song? I use to say to him. He would laugh. Through him, I started receiving fan mail from England which made me feel wonderful. I couldn’t believe how fast things happened because of Dave. I remember in the 90’s this old lady was still on the scene with “Go Now” being used in a Movie entitled what else “Go Now” Wow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!. (blows my mind). I remember every Christmas I always got a beautiful card from him, Every birthday a long distance call for over 36 years.
I believe that God has a plan and purpose for all of us and he places people in our lives to bring about His Will.
Dave Godin has been a blessing from God, full of love and compassion, and to me, he’s not gone. I’ll always remember and treasure the love and friendship, which will always remain here in my heart.'

...that piece was read out at the service...Dave's funeral programme...

OutsideInside

If you want to send a card of condolence, here is the address. Below there is a charity that Dave thought you might wish to donate some money to.

Dave Godin in memorium, 27 Clifton Crescent South, Rotherham, South Yorks, S65 2AR, United Kingdom.

Dave wished any donations you might want to contribute to, to be sent to:

Dr Elizabeth Svendsen, The Donkey Sanctuary, Sidmouth, Devon, EX10 0NU, United Kingdom.

Cheques payable to 'the Donkey Sanctuary'.

http://www.thedonkeysanctuary.org.uk/site/1/About_Us.html

...here are two very nice obituary columns from the Guardian and Independent Newspapers in the U.K., dated the 20th October 2004. (Click on the images for a larger version).

The IndependentThe Guardian

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Nathan Wayne Heathman

Nathan Heathman

b. 2nd January 1957, Washington D.C., U.S.A.

d. 11th October 2004, Washington D.C., U.S.A.

Nathan Wayne Heathman died on Monday the 11th of October from a massive heart attack. His wife, Ora Sneed, found him dead in bed while trying to wake him up. The couple had been married for 27 years.

Nathan was one of those artists, who is known to many musicians, but only recently had come to the attention of soul music fans.

He had worked with many of the soul greats including Phyllis Hyman, Rachelle Farrell, Norman Connors, Jennifer Holliday, Miki Howard, Angela Bofill and Jean Carne. Nathan said 'I found the piano because in second grade, we couldn't afford to rent the violin.'

By third grade, Nathan knew he loved music after going on a class field trip to see 'The Sound Of Music', then memorizing the leads to every song.

By age 13, he was playing alto clarinet, that is until he heard Dionne Warwick's 'A House Is Not A Home', and fell in love with the saxophone introduction.

He then moved on to that instrument.

Before eleventh grade, he had moved up to first chair saxophone, a highly coveted position in high school bands.

He stumbled upon a piano practice room and started playing the piano.

Nathan taught himself to read and play by ear.

He would often play along with his music collection, trying as best he could to match what he heard.

One time Nathan attended a Jean Carne concert at a Washington D.C. nightclub with some friends.

At the concert Jean left out his favourite tune by her, 'When I Find You Love.'

Nathan asked Jean if he could join her at the piano and Jean invited him to the piano stand.

He played, she sang, and a musical friendship was born.

Nathan soon became and continued to serve as Jean Carne's musical director.

Expansion Records released his debut album in 2001 entitled 'Right Here, Right Now'.

A memorial service was held on Sunday, 17th October 2004.

On a personal note, Nathan got in touch with me around the time the album was released.

He had come to the site and found my review of his album and e-mailed me to say hi and thank me.

Nathan added a link to Soulwalking from his website and I added a page on the man to reciprocate here.

One thing regarding running this site, is it never ceases to amaze me the amount of artists who visit the place.

Syreeta's sister said to me that Syreeta visited the site on occasions. I had to write Syreeta's obituary in June. Now it's my friend Nathan's.

We spoke via the Internet from time to time, mainly Nathan keeping me up to date on what he was doing, whilst I kept nagging him to put out another album.

We met three times on his travels here in London and spoke at length about Phyllis Hyman, with whom Nathan had worked with.

First time I met him was at the Jazz Cafe in London. I arrived with some good friends and we sat having a beer and I noticed the man doing his own thing at the piano way before the act was due to come on.

I went over to Nathan and said to him 'You're starting a little early aren't you?' He said to me 'Just trying to feel the vibe of the place'.

Whenever I met him he was always genuinely pleased to see me and there was 'that smile'!

He had a humorous side as well. I remember taking some albums up for Jean Carne to sign and Nathan whipped them away from under my nose and I ended up chasing him around the guest room at the Cafe, trying to retrieve them!

Nathan was a great singer, a great pianist, a great arranger and I will miss our conversations a great deal.

Nathan Heathman. A lovely man and a gentle giant. Shame I won't be able to buy you a drink again my friend.

Nathan Heathman

• I recently ran obituary on Lamar Thomas here. A Cousin e-mailed me and told me of his passing. I took this to be the Lamar Thomas from the duo Thomas and Taylor as the information suggested that this was the Lamar Thomas who worked alongside Johnnie Taylor. I was wrong. I want to extend my deepest sympathies to Lamar and his family. All I can say is that, is if I am to look like a fool and have Lamar still around, or be correct within my information, I'd choose the fool each time. One La Marr Thomas did pass away (who also worked at Stax and with Johnnie Taylor), thus the confusion. My apologies.

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