b. 15th November 1941, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
d. 30th December 2001, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Marvin Gaye's brother, Frankie Gaye died on 30th December in a Santa Monica Hospital in California, at the age of 60.
Kim Weston, who was at the hospital with Frankie's family was not available for comment on her close friend.
Frankie sang on recordings with his brother Marvin off and on for years. He was recognized more so on the Marvin Gaye album 'Live At The London Palladium' (1977).
Marvin Gaye's hit 'What's Going On' was based on the experience Frankie had during his service in the Vietnam war.
In 1990, Frankie worked in the UK with Motorcity Records owner, Ian Levine. He recorded a tribute record to Marvin entitled 'My Brother'.
Gaye, in recent years, worked upon his own release in 1996 called 'The Very Best Of Frankie Gaye.
Frankie left behind a wife of 23 years Irene Duncan Gaye, his children April, 18 years old, Frankie Marvin, 9 years old, and Fiona, 8 years old.
Frankie Gaye also had children from his first marriage to Judy Gaye, Denise, 25 years old, and Christy, 27 years old.
b. 26th March 1917, Cayce, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 15th December 2001, U.S.A.
Rufus Thomas 'the world's oldest teenager' has died from heart failure. He was 84.
Rufus Thomas learned his trade as a member of the Rabbit's Foot Minstrels, a vaudeville inspired touring group. By the late 40's he was performing in several Memphis nightclubs and organizing local talent shows. B.B. King, Bobby Bland and Little Junior Parker were discovered in this way.When King's career subsequently blossomed, Thomas replaced him as a disc jockey at WDIA and remained there until 1974. He also began recording and several releases appeared on Star Talent, Chess and Meteor before 'Bear Cat' became a Top 3 US R & B hit. An answer to Willie Mae Thornton's 'Hound Dog', it was released on Sun in 1953. Rufus remained a local celebrity until 1960 when he recorded with his daughter, Carla Thomas. Their duet, 'Cause I Love You', was issued on the fledgling Satellite (later Stax) label where it became a regional hit. Thomas strengthened his reputation with a series of infectious singles; 'Walking The Dog' (1963) was a US Top 10 entry, while several of his other recordings, notably 'Jump Back' and 'All Night Worker' (both in 1964), were beloved by aspiring British groups. His later success with novelty numbers - 'Do The Funky Chicken' (1970), '(Do The) Push And Pull, Part V (1970) and 'Do The Funky Penguin' (1971) - has obscured the merits of less brazen recordings. 'Sophisticated Sissy' (1967) and 'Memphis Train' (1968) are prime 60's R & B. Thomas stayed with Stax until its 1975 collapse, from where he moved to AVI. His releases there included 'If There Were No Music' and 'I Ain't Getting Older I'm Gettin' Better'. In 1980, Thomas re-recorded several of his older songs for a self-titled collection on Gusto. In the 80's he abandoned R & B and recorded some rap with 'Rappin' Rufus', on the Ichiban label, and tackled blues with 'That Woman Is Poison', on the Alligator label. Bob Fisher's Sequel Records released a new album from Thomas in 1996. 'Blues Thang' proved to be an unexpected treat from a man celebrating his 79th birthday at the time of release. Rufus Thomas 'the world's oldest teenager' died from heart failure on 15th December 2001.
Valorie Jones (a.k.a. Valorie Denise Jones)
b. 17th April 1956, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 2nd December 2001, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Valorie Jones, the daughter of Detroit based gospel singer Mary Francis Jones, died on Sunday 2nd December 2001.
Together with her sisters, The Jones Girls, Valorie made some of the finest Philadelphia music from the late 1970's and early eighties.
These included 'Nights Over Egypt', 'Life Goes On', 'This Feelings Killing Me' along with many more classics.
Known for harmonies, the Jones Girls provided backup to Motown singers Diana Ross and Aretha Franklin.
Valorie Jones was considered the shy member of the group, she never wanted to sing and decided to go to college and study business.
Manager Myrna Williams, who handles the group's work in Europe, said Valorie's death is 'deeply upsetting'.
'As manager of the Jones Girls, I was at times their surrogate mother, their sister and therefore a member of the family...the fourth Jones Girl.'
Ida Johnson, a family friend, met Valerie Jones and her sisters when they were just little girls.
'Their mother was a gospel singer and one day she brought in these three little girls who had harmony even then,' Johnson said.
'I played the organ with them and soon we were singing at different churches on the weekends. Even then they were something to behold.'
A native Detroiter, Ms. Jones died on Sunday, 2nd December, 2001, at Sinai Grace Hospital.
She was 45.
The cause of her death has not been determined.
Services will be held at 11 a.m. Friday 7th at the Russell Street Baptist Church, 8700 Chrysler Drive, Detroit.
Visitation will be 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursday in the C.W. Morris Funeral Home, 12700 Hamilton, Highland Park.
Survivors include her mother, Mary Frazier Jones; a son, Felton; and her sisters, Shirley and Brenda Jones.
Burial will be at Lincoln Memorial Park, Clinton Township.
b. 25th February, 1943, Liverpool, England.
d. 30th November 2001, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
George Harrison died in Los Angeles after a long battle with cancer. The former Beatle was 58.
This has been a peculiar year at this site, for this page. 2001 began with the loss of James Carr. From there we were all shaken by the events of September 11th. Now the year ends with the passing of another Beatle. So why is George's obituary appearing at a site whose main aim is the promotion of soul music and Black culture?
During my childhood, my parents brought me up on a diet of Nat King Cole, Dave Brubeck and the Beatles. As a child I loved their tunes. Classics, I guess, in their own way. However, many of the bands earlier tunes had their roots in Black Music. There were many covers of soul artists tunes. 'You've Really Got A Hold On Me' (Smokey Robinson), 'Money' (Barrett Strong) and 'Shout' (The Isley Brothers). After the demise of the Beatles, George set up his Dark Horse label. Dark Horse, I guess, a subtle reference his lower profile within his former group. Dark Horse signed several acts, two of which affected soul music and led to some great music during the following decades.
Firstly, and of a lower profile, were the group Attitudes. I remember Robbie Vincent playing the track 'In A Strangers Arms' on his Saturday Soul Show during 1977.
A year earlier, he signed the legendary Stairsteps, whose '2nd Resurrection' album was Dave Godin's (Blues And Soul) 'album of the year' in 1976. The album was produced by one of George's long time friends, Billy Preston. The following year Keni Burke, from the band, released his first solo album, for the label, featuring 'You Are All Mine'. This was George repaying, in his own quiet way, the genre that had influenced him nearly two decades earlier.
George died at a friend's home at 1.30 a.m.. His wife, Olivia, and son, Dhani, were at his side.
In 1998, when Harrison disclosed that he had been treated for throat cancer, he said, 'It reminds you that anything can happen.'
The following year, he survived an attack by an intruder who stabbed him several times at his mansion in Henley on Thames, Oxfordshire.
In July 2001, he released a statement asking fans not to worry about reports that he was still battling cancer.
Longtime family friend Gavin De Becker said: 'He died with one thought in mind.......love one another.' Amen to that.
b. Ocie Lee Smith, 21st June 1932, Mansfield, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 23rd November 2001
O.C. Smith was raised in Los Angeles, where he began singing jazz and standards in clubs at the end of the 40's.
After serving five years in the US Air Force, he signed with Cadence Records in 1956, enjoying some success the following year with the sophisticated 'Lighthouse'.
He remained predominantly a club performer until 1961, when he replaced Joe Williams in the Count Basie Band.
He resumed his solo career in 1963, finally attaining a commercial breakthrough in 1968 with Dallas Frazier's unusual story / song, 'The Son Of Hickory Holler's Tramp', recorded at Fame Studios in Muscle Shoals, and a major hit in Britain.
In the USA, this record was overshadowed by his rendition of Bobby Russell's 'Little Green Apples', which outsold a rival hit version by Roger Miller, although in Britain, it lost out to a homegrown release by Leapy Lee.
'Daddy's Little Man' in 1969 provided Smith's final taste of US Top 40 success, though the soul flavoured 'La La Peace Song' proved popular in 1974 (working alongside Johnny Bristol) , and 'Together' was an unexpected chart entry in 1977.
During the decade in which he was most successful, Smith issued a series of impressive albums that showcased his fluent, soulful vocal style.
During the 80's he released several albums of southern style soul music.
O.C.Smith died on 23rd November 2001
b. 21st October 1950, Wetumpka, Alabama, U.S.A.
d. 23rd October 2001, Wetumpka, Alabama, U.S.A.
Singer and songwriter, Ronnie Lovejoy passed away in his hometown of Wetumpka, Alabama, U.S.A. on 23rd October 2001.
Amongst other artists Ronnie had collaborated with included Leon Haywood.
He was recording and releasing new material right up until his passing.
b. 25th November 1928, Aitken, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 16th October 2001, Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.A.
Jazz singer Etta Jones died Tuesday in Mount Vernon, New York, U.S.A., after a long battle with cancer. She was 72.
She last performed on 25th August at the Charlie Parker Jazz Festival in Harlem's Marcus Garvey Park.
She was born on the 25th November, 1928 in Aiken, South Carolina.
At age three, her family moved to New York City. With encouragement from her family, she entered a talent contest when she was 15 and although she didn't win, Etta got much more, a job as the newest and youngest member of a big band led by pianist Buddy Johnson.
She stayed with the band for a little over a year and in 1944 recorded her first album.
She continued recording with other musicians such as Barney Bigard, J.C. Heard and Earl Hines who she remained with for three years.
In 1952, Etta went out on her own as a singer, but often worked odd jobs as an elevator operator, a seamstress and an album stuffer in order to make ends meet. Her big break came in 1960 with her recording of 'Don't Go To Strangers.' The album was a million-dollar seller and earned her a gold record. 'They told me I was all over the jukeboxes and I couldn't believe it,' recalls Etta. 'So a friend of mine took me to a bar. I couldn't believe it.'
Jones was longtime musical partner of tenor saxophonist Houston Person, with whom she began performing and touring in 1976.
A native of Aiken, South Carolina, she was raised in New York, where she made her first recording in 1944 with Barney Bigard's orchestra.
Jones's funeral will be held at Benta's Funeral Home in Harlem.
A memorial service at St. Peter's Lutheran Church, home of New York's jazz ministry in midtown Manhattan, is scheduled for 25th November 2001 at 7:30 p.m.
U.S. Terrorist Attacks
I make no apologies about including this piece on this page. I had just finished e-mailing some drawings to a contractor I am working with, at around 2 p.m. on Tuesday, and the news came on the radio reporting plane's flying into The World Trade Center in New York. I turned on the T.V. and I couldn't believe what I was looking at. It was like something out of a Hollywood disaster movie, however, this stuff was for real. Although soul music means a great deal to me, it pales into insignificance when something like this transpires. Tuesday was one of those 'What were you doing when Kennedy was shot?' days. These were, everyday, christian, muslim, people from all over the world, going about their daily business in those buildings, who were being subjected to sheer terror. On one of the planes was the writer of the U.S. series 'Frazier'. It was a totally bizarre succession of events that day. It got to a point where nothing would have surprised me. I only hope that George W. gets the 'right' people. Remember, following Oklahoma, the military were going to 'lock and load' and go for the Palestinians when the horrible event turned out to be an inside job. Words seem insignificant in relating how much our thoughts go out to the families of the victims. What a terrible day. These events will affect all of us in some way and I hope that it doesn't take us down a dark road to, well, it doesn't bear thinking about. I know the sight of that second plane flying into the World Trade Center will stay in my grey matter for many years to come. What a way to start the new millennium. We live in a global village and we have just lost some of our neighbours. A real shame.
b. 16th January 1979, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 25th August 2001, Marsh Harbour, Bahama's
R & B singer and actress Aaliyah died when a small plane that was to carry her and eight others back to the United States crashed after takeoff in the Bahamas, authorities said.
Eight were killed in Saturday's crash, and one critically injured man was flown to Florida for treatment, officials said. 'We find it devastating and most unfortunate that after having this world-famous star Aaliyah and her crew select the Bahamas as their choice location for her latest video, the project has climaxed on such a tragic note,' said Minister of Tourism Tommy Turnquest, who happened to be visiting Abaco Island, where the plane went down.
Aaliyah's song 'Try Again' earned her a Grammy nomination for best female R & B vocalist. She made her feature acting debut in the film 'Romeo Must Die.' Bahamian national television quoted the civil aviation department as saying Aaliyah was among nine Americans on board.
The private plane was leaving the Marsh Harbour airport on a trip to Opa-locka, Fla. when it went down Saturday evening, said police spokesman Marvin Dames.
Abaco Island Chief Councilor Silbert Mills said those killed included two women and six men.
Islander Derek Russell, who worked for the group during the video shoot, said he got the artist's autograph before the accident. 'She's a nice girl, a friendly girl,' he said.
The cause of the crash was unclear. Kathleen Bergen, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Federal Aviation Administration in Atlanta, said the plane was a Cessna 402 owned by Skystream, a company based in Pembroke Pines, Fla. She said the plane crashed at the end of the airport's runway at 6:50 p.m.
b. 23rd November 1939, Greenwood Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 19th August 2001, Beloit, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Soul singer Betty Everett, best known for her 1964 hit 'The Shoop Shoop Song (It's In His Kiss) , has died aged 61.
Everett's family discovered her body in her Beloit, Wisconsin, home on Sunday
19th Of August 2001, according to her lawyer, Jay B. Ross. She apparently died either on Friday or Saturday. She had been treated for heart problems and the cause of death was believed to be a heart attack, said her sister Christine Townsend.
Born in Greenwood, Mississippi, on 23rd November, 1939, Everett started playing piano and singing in church at age 9. In 1957, she moved to Chicago, where she made a name for herself on the local scene and recorded for area labels.
Her last public appearance was on the PBS program 'Doo Wop 51', shot in February 2000.
'She was nervous because she hadn't performed in quite a while,' says Ross, who accompanied Everett to the show. 'But once she got into it and saw how much the audience loved her, she just blossomed, and the audience just went nuts.'
Ron Townson (Centre - Front)
b. 29th January 1933, St. Louis, Missourri, U.S.A.
d. 2nd August 2001
Ron Townson, a co-founder of the Grammy-winning pop group the Fifth Dimension, died on Thursday 2nd August at his home. He was 68.
The cause was kidney disease, said his wife, Bobette.
The Fifth Dimension combined the sounds of pop, jazz, gospel and rhythm and blues for 1960's hits like 'Aquarius / Let the Sun Shine In' and the Laura Nyro songs 'Wedding Bell Blues' and 'Stoned Soul Picnic.' The group won four Grammys in 1968 for the Jimmy Webb tune 'Up, Up and Away.'
Mr. Townson was born in St. Louis and began singing at age 6 in school and church choirs. He attended Lincoln University in Jefferson City, Missourri, and moved to Los Angeles in 1957.
In 1965 he and a childhood friend, LaMonte McLemore, formed a singing group called the Versatiles but soon changed its name to the Fifth Dimension at the suggestion of Mr. Townson's wife. Other original members were Florence LaRue, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis.
As various members of the Fifth Dimension left in the 1970's to pursue solo projects, Mr. Townson formed the group Ron Townson and Wild Honey. Later, he reunited with Mr. McLemore and Ms. LaRue in a new version of the Fifth Dimension that included Phyllis Battle and Greg Walker.
He also appeared on television and in films, including the 1992 movie 'The Mambo Kings.' Declining health forced him to retire in 1997.
Mr. Townson is survived by his wife.
Judy Clay a.k.a. Judy Guions (Judith Grace Gatewood)
b. 12th September 1938
d. 19th July 2001
By Billy Vera, Friday 27th July, 2001
'Judy Clay, who has died aged 62, was a hell of a singer. But, apart from two duets with me, 'Storybook Children' (1967) and 'Country Girl-City Man' in 1968, and two records later that year with William Bell, 'Private Number' and 'My Baby Specialises', she had no chart success.
This must have been no small source of frustration. You can't have a voice as good as hers and not know how good you are; she was, arguably, one of the best in her adopted family, which also included Dionne and Dee Dee Warwick, and Cissy and Whitney Houston, as well as her own sister, Sylvia Shemwell.
As an act, Judy and I - Billy Vera and Judy Clay - were notable for being the United States' first racially integrated duo, a fact which, even in the 1960's, prevented us from being seen on national television. Other than an appearance on Hy Lit's show on WKBS in Philadelphia, and one on Robin Seymour's Swingin' Time in Detroit, our little revolution was never televised.
In New York, the Clay Cole Show taped us but, once they knew our racial makeup, our segment was never aired. To add to the indignity, we went on to see our songs performed on network TV by Sammy Davis Jr and Tina Turner, and by Peter Lawford and Minnie Pearl.
We were never taken up as a cause by the limousine liberals of the day. This may have had something to do with the fact that our audience was mostly everyday blacks and working-class whites.
Our music was just plain old soul, so the hippie culture found nothing in us to connect with. We didn't wear leather fringe vests and bell-bottom jeans. Judy went on in floor-length gowns and my outfits were mohair continental suits. We played the Apollo Theatre in Harlem, not the Fillmore East. And that was just fine with the un-chic bridge-and-tunnel crowd and the Harlemites, who gave us standing ovations, even as bloody riots were taking place across the Hudson river in Newark, New Jersey.
Our first Apollo appearance was during those riots, and stage manager Honi Coles, fearing that we might not be well received, put us second on the bill, the spot usually reserved for the weakest acts. After the first house, he came to our dressing room and said, "I'm moving you to right before the star's spot; ain't nobody gonna follow you two."
Given today's unfortunate state of race relations in the US, it is hard to imagine what an act like ours meant to an older generation of black Americans, to whom integration and assimilation were goals. I recall coming off stage one night after we had stopped the show - and been forced to do an encore of Storybook Children - and seeing Judy's "aunt", Cissy Houston, crying tears of joy and hope in the wings, with her four-year-old daughter Whitney in her arms.
Judy was born Judy Guions in St Paul, North Carolina, and soon moved to Fayetteville, where she was raised by her grandmother. She started singing in church as a small child. Moving to Brookyn in the early 1950's, she continued her church singing, indeed her choir featured on Sunday night radio.
By her early teens, she had been adopted by Lee Drinkard, of the famous gospel group, the Drinkard Singers. Lee was Cissy Houston's sister and Dionne Warwick's mother - and Judy was soon involved in the group with them, as well as with Dionne's sister Delia, Dee Dee Warwick.
The Drinkard Singers released three albums in the 1950's which featured Judy - the Newport Spiritual Stars record in 1954, a live album from the Newport jazz festival and a 1958 studio LP. Judy's voice could raise the roof and stir the soul; if you ever run across a copy of that 1958 RCA Victor album, grab it and see what I'm talking about.
In 1961, Judy recorded 'More Than You Know I'd Thought I'd Gotten Over You' as a solo artist. More singles followed, on Ember, Lavette, Scepter and Stax. Then, on Atlantic in 1968, came our 'Story Book Children/ Really Together'.
Many years after Judy and I had performed at the Apollo, the legendary manager of that theatre, Ralph Cooper, pulled me from a crowd, took me in his arms and told a roomful of people how important he felt our act was. It had been seen at the time in Harlem as a giant step forward.
After she had made two singles with William Bell, and a couple more solo singles, Judy and I cut one more duet, Reaching For The Moon, recorded for Atlantic at the Muscle Shoals studio. One solo single she recorded there, 'Greatest Love', made the r & b charts. Subsequently, she worked as a back-up singer, underwent brain surgery at the end of the 1970's, and released 'Stayin' Alive', recorded live in Newark.
In later years, Judy and I would speak by phone once or twice a year. She was back in North Carolina, singing occassionally with Cissy Houston's baptist choir in Newark, and very proud that the baby she was carrying when we first met had grown up to become a West Point graduate. And no one was prouder than she when I finally managed to get a big hit of my own, 'At This Moment', some 20 years after our moment.
She used to tell me, 'Duets are coming back. We ought to make another record.' When I was working as leader of the houseband on a late-night network talk show, I tried, and almost convinced, the powers there to book Judy so we could perform together once more. But, being the whores for ratings TV people tend to be, there was always one more flavour-of-the-week act which took precedence.
With Judy's passing, we have lost a great singer who never got her due. She is survived by two sons, Todd and Leo, a brother, Raymond, and her sister, Sylvia Shemwell, of the Sweet Inspirations.'
Guardian Unlimited © Guardian Newspapers Limited 2001
Ernie K-Doe - b, 22nd February 1936, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 5th July 2001, University Hospital, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A..
Ernie K-Doe, the bluesman who topped the charts with 'Mother-in-Law' in 1961, died on the 5th July in the morning at University Hospital in New Orleans. He was 65.
Hospital spokesman Jerry Romig said K-Doe was 'very sick' when admitted on the Friday before and lapsed into a coma three days before his death.
K-Doe performed numerous times at the famed Apollo Theater in New York, the Uptown Theater in Philadelphia, the Howard Theatre in Washington, D.C., and once in Carnegie Hall.
He found fame in New Orleans' R & B glory days in the 1950's and 1960's along with the Neville Brothers, Little Richard and Fats Domino.
In 1995, he was inducted into the New Orleans Music Hall of Fame and was presented the Rhythm & Blues Foundation's Pioneer Award in 1997 at Radio City Music Hall.
In recent years, the performer had 'been on the path to sobriety after being an alcoholic for years,'. He operated the Mother-in-Law Lounge where he performed with a variety of musicians.
Joe Henderson - b. 24th April 1937, Lima, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 30th June 2001, San Francisco, U.S.A..
Jazz Saxophonist Joe Henderson Dies At 64.
Saxophonist Joe Henderson, whose lyrical style was often said to be
reminiscent of the legendary Stan Getz, passed away on 30th of June 2001 at the age of 64.
Three time Grammy winning tenor saxophonist Joe Henderson, long one of jazz insiders' best-kept secrets, died Saturday of heart failure following a long bout with emphysema. He was 64.
'His heart just failed on him,' said his sister, Phyllis Henderson, from Lima, Ohio.
Henderson stopped playing publicly more than a year ago due to his health
Henderson's lyrical style, often said to be reminiscent of the legendary Stan Getz, brought him critical acclaim.
'He was one of the most inventive saxophone players,' said Sonny Buxton, a former jazz club owner in San Francisco who booked Henderson at Milestones in the mid-1980's.
'You could hear roots coming out of Lester Young, Stan Getz,' Buxton said.
'There was a wailing, a search in his playing. Within just a few notes you knew that it was Henderson.
Henderson played steadily throughout his career, recording albums and performing jazz concerts or low key jams with other jazz elite.
His Verve recordings, after signing with the label in 1992, paid homage to other jazz greats such as Billy Strayhorn on 'Lush Life,' Miles Davis on 'So Near, So Far' and Antonio Carlos Jobim on 'Double Rainbow.' Those recordings landed him three Grammys.
Those close to him nicknamed Henderson 'The Phantom' for his ability to drop out of sight, seeking escape from the emotional demands of his art and profession.
Henderson was born in Lima, Ohio. He studied at Kentucky State College and Wayne State University before spending two years in the U.S. military.
John Lee Hooker - b. 22nd August, 1917, Clarksdale, Missourri, U.S.A.
d. 21st June 2001, Los Altos, California, U.S.A..
Legendary blues guitarist John Lee Hooker died on Thursday in San Francisco. He was 80. 'He passed away peacefully in his sleep this morning,' a spokeswoman at The Rosebud Agency, his San Francisco booking agent, said. Hooker, an influence on several generations of the world's most prominent musicians and a 1991 inductee into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, had maintained a full performing schedule despite his advanced age, according to his manager, Rick Bates. 'This was totally unexpected. He had the audience on their feet three or four times on Saturday night,' Bates said. 'He enjoyed performing and he found joy in sharing his music with people.'
Billy Higgins (drummer) - 11th October 1936, Los Angeles California, U.S.A. - 3rd May 2001
Billy Higgins came to fame playing with Ornette Coleman's Quartet. He started his career playing R & B and rock in the Los Angeles area, then teamed up with Don Cherry and James Clay in an unrecorded group called the Jazz Messiahs. In the mid-'50's Higgins started rehearsing with Ornette Coleman. He was on Ornette's first records, came to New York and played with Coleman during 1959-60 before Ed Blackwell (who was actually his predecessor) replaced him. Higgins and Blackwell were both on Coleman's monumental Free Jazz album and Higgins would participate in occasional reunions with Ornette through the years. He kept busy during the 1960s,'70s and '80s, freelancing with a countless number of major players including recordings with Thelonious Monk, Steve Lacy, Sonny Rollins, Lee Morgan, Donald Byrd, Dexter Gordon, Jackie McLean, Hank Mobley, Mal Waldron, Milt Jackson, Art Pepper, Joe Henderson, Pat Metheny and David Murray's big band. From 1966 on Higgins also often played with Cedar Walton's trio and later with the Timeless All-Stars. Based in Los Angeles during most of the 1980s and '90s, Billy Higgins became an inspiration to younger musicians (including the members of the B Sharp Quartet and Black/Note), opening the World Stage as a performance venue and recording label. In the mid-90s, Higgins underwent a successful liver transplant, but by 2001 was playing out less, hampered again by liver problems. Billy Higgins died from pneumonia on 3rd May 2001.
Glenn Hughes (Village People) 1950 - 2001
Glenn Hughes, member of the disco group The Village People, died of lung cancer on 4th March in his Manhattan, New York, home. He was 51.
Hughes, the original biker of the Village People, lived for the disco group he joined 24 years ago, even requesting to be buried in his leather costume, friends said Tuesday (13th March).
The Village People's manager, Mitch Weiss, said the cancer was in the final stages when it was detected in Hughes, and there was nothing medical experts could do. 'It came as a surprise to everyone,' he said.
The Village People were assembled in 1977 to appeal to the emerging gay and disco scenes. The group had a huge hit a year later with 'Y.M.C.A.,' a novelty tune that remains a dance floor favourite more than two decades after it climbed to number 2 on the Billboard Hot 100.
They had other hits, such as 'Macho Man,' 'In the Navy' and 'Go West,' though the their image, which had members dressed as a biker, policeman, cowboy, GI, construction worker and Indian, often garnered more attention than their talents.
Hughes' funeral was held Friday, and his fellow Village People bandmates served as pallbearers. Alexander Briley, the original and current GI, sang 'Where Do I Go?' from 'Hair' during the ceremony, which Hughes had requested.
Hughes, who auditioned for the Village People on a dare while working as a tollbooth collector at the Holland Tunnel in New Jersey, last performed with the group in 1996 but continued to work with the group's administration until the time of his death. He sported a handlebar mustache and wore leather onstage and off.
Hughes is survived by his parents and sister. He asked that in lieu of flowers, donations be made to the 'God's Love We Deliver' charity.
b. 28th January 1934, Longwood, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 22nd January 2001, Rockville, Maryland, U.S.A.
image courtesy of reverend tim easton
b. 1935, North Carolina, U.S.A. d. 22nd January 2001
Phil John Flowers a Washington area singer and composer who had performed in this country and abroad since the 1950's, died of cancer on 22nd January 2001 at Shady Grove Adventist Hospital, after collapsing at his home in Gaithersburg.
Phil Flowers recorded several albums in the sixties notably 'Our Man In Washington', 'Rhythm And Blues', 'I Am The Greatest' and Phil Flowers Sings A Tribute To Nat King Cole'. He was also described as 'The Black Elvis' and 'Skip Manning'.
Flowers was a member of Jebadiah and worked with Link Wray and Barry Darvell.
Those of you who listen to deejays such as Robbie Vincent, Richard Searling and Bob Jones, will be aware of his single (from the late Eighties) entitled 'Stay A While'. A fine independent release that was manufactured in very small quantities. A sad loss.
Phil Flowers was 66.
Brother Jack McDuff
b.17th September, 1926 in Champaign, Illinois, U.S.A. d. 23rd January 2001 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Jack McDuff, a jazz organist who worked with some of the most famous names in jazz music during a career that began in the 1950's, died Tuesday of an apparent heart attack. He was 74.
A marvelous bandleader and organist as well as capable arranger, 'Brother' Jack McDuff has one of the funkiest, most soulful styles of all time on the Hammond B-3. His rock-solid bass lines and blues-drenched solos are balanced by clever, almost pianistic melodies and interesting progressions and phrases.
McDuff began as a bassist playing with Denny Zeitlin and Joe Farrell. He studied privately in Cinncinnati and worked with Johnny Griffin in Chicago. He taught himself organ and piano in the mid-'50s, and began gaining attention working with Willis Jackson in the late '50s and early '60s, cutting high caliber soul jazz dates for Prestige.
McDuff made his recording debut as a leader for Prestige in 1960, playing in a studio pickup band with Jimmy Forrest. They made a pair of outstanding albums, Tough Duff and The Honeydripper. McDuff organized his own band the next year, featuring Harold Vick and drummer Joe Dukes. Things took off when McDuff hired a young guitarist named George Benson. They were among the most popular combos of the mid-'60's, and made several excellent albums.
McDuff's later groups at Atlantic and Cadet didn't equal the level of The Benson band, while later dates for Verve and Cadet were uneven, though generally good. McDuff experimented with electronic keyboards and fusion during the '70's, then in the '80's got back in the groove with the Muse session Cap'n Jack.
Other musicians McDuff played with in the '60s and '70s include Joe Henderson, Pat Martino, Jimmy Witherspoon, David "Fathead" Newman, Rahsaan Roland Kirk, Sonny Stitt and Gene Ammons. There are only a few McDuff sessions available on CD, though they include the fine sessions with Forrest. His work with Benson has also been reissued on CD.
Bob Tomalski d.15th January 2001
I was sent this e-mail by Alan Champ from Soulies Website (featured on the links page at this site)
'I've heard some sad news regarding Bob Tomalski (aka Roger Tate) of Radio Invicta, who was apparently found dead in his flat in Mitcham on Monday. Roger helped provide me with endless hours of quality Sunday afternoon radio as a teenager, when Invicta's crackly signal on 92.4 was just about the only place to hear decent Soul music. Alan'
James Carr, a singer whose 1966 recording of '(At the) Dark End of the Street' was a masterpiece of Memphis soul, died on Sunday in Memphis. He was 58 and lived in Memphis.The cause was cancer, said his friend and producer Quinton Claunch.
With a robust baritone that embraced both amber-toned purity and desperate growls, Mr. Carr could turn an unhappy love song into three minutes of heartsick drama. But a combination of bad breaks and psychiatric problems limited his career. 'He had a hard life,' Mr. Claunch said. 'He felt the blues, man, that's for sure'.
Mr. Carr was born in Clarksdale, Miss. , in 1942 and grew up in Memphis. The son of a minister, he began performing with gospel groups when he was 9. He married when he was a teenager and had children, working as a day labourer while he sang in local gospel groups, including the Southern Wonders Juniors and the Harmony Echoes. He never learned to read or write.
In the early 1960's Mr. Carr started singing soul music. He was turned down by the fledgling Stax Records, which sent him to Mr. Claunch's label, Goldwax. Mr. Carr made his first single, 'The Word Is Out,' in 1964, and in 1966 he made his two best-selling singles: 'You've Got My Mind Messed Up' and '(At the) Dark End of the Street,' both Top 10 rhythm and blues hits.
His was the first recording of 'Dark End of the Street,' written by Chips Moman and Dan Penn and later performed by Aretha Franklin, Linda Ronstadt and many other singers.
Mr. Carr made a triumphant 1966 appearance at the Apollo Theater in Harlem and toured the South and East. He continued to record for Goldwax through the 1960's, putting out songs like 'Pouring Water on a Drowning Man,' 'I'm a Fool for You', 'Forgetting You' and 'A Man Needs a Woman'. But Mr. Carr was a manic-depressive and could not sustain a career on the soul-music circuit. He grew moody and withdrawn. Mr. Claunch recalled him sitting at a recording session, not saying a word for hours, then singing one song.
In 1970 Mr. Carr recorded four songs for Atlantic Records, two were released as a single in 1971.
For the rest of his life, while he lived with his sister Rose, he made occasional efforts to tour or record. He released a single in 1977 and toured Japan in 1979.
In 1992 Mr. Carr played his first New York engagement in 25 years at Tramps. He was also in and out of psychiatric hospitals, sometimes every few weeks. 'His first priority was a marijuana cigarette, a drink or a woman,' Mr. Claunch said. 'That would take precedence over his music. But he loved to sing.' Mr. Carr made albums with Mr. Claunch in 1991 ('Take Me to the Limit' on Goldwax) and 1994 ('Soul Survivor' on Soul Trax).
A compilation of 13 songs from those albums and 7 other songs is to be released on the Soul Trax label in the next few weeks, Mr. Claunch said. 'The Essential James Carr', a collection of his recordings from 1964 to 1969, was released in 1995 by Razor and Tie Records.
Mr Carr leaves a daughter, Diane Carr of Kankakee, Ill.; 5 sons, Jerome Carr of Cairo, Ill., and James Carr, Kenneth Carr, Benson Carr and Terry Carr, all of Kankakee; 3 sisters, Rosie Carr and Mattie Carr, both of Memphis, and Erma Carr of Milwaukee; 2 brothers, Otis Carr of Memphis and Eugene Carr of Milwaukee, and 14 grandchildren.
Louil Silas, founder and President of Silas Records, died of kidney failure last week. He was 44. Louil was responsible for the careers of New Edition, Jody Watley & Chanté Moore. Silas used to be into promotions. Prior to Silas Records formation, Silas was very instrumental to the success of SOLAR (Sound Of Los Angeles Records) and their artists, including The Whispers, Shalamar, Dynasty, etc.