Mel Cheren (The Godfather Of Disco)
b. 21st January 1933. d. 7th December 2007
Co-founded West End Records which released recordings by Karen Young, The Bombers, Taana Gardner, Raw Silk, NYC Peech Boys and Loose Joints. Worked for ABC/Paramount Records and Scepter Records. Worked with The Mamas And The Papas, Three Dog Night and Richard Harris.
image source: you tube - ian levine
b. Robert Nelson Relf, 10th January 1937, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 20th November 2007, Bakersfield, Kern County, California, U.S.A.
Bobby Relf was an accomplished singer and songwriter. He was also half of a later line-up of the popular singing duo Bob and Earl, famously recording the Soul Classic 'Harlem Shuffle'.
The original incarnation comprised of Bobby Byrd and Earl Nelson (born Earl Lee Nelson, 8th September 1928, Lake Charles, Louisiana).
The duo were both members of the group entitled The Hollywood Flames.
The Flames were a doo-wop ensemble from Los Angeles, California whom achieved some success with the song 'Buzz Buzz Buzz' in 1958.
By 1957, Bobby Byrd left the group and began writing and recording under the pseudonym Bobby Day.
In 1960, he and Earl Nelson began recording together as Bob & Earl.The duo then went their seperate ways and Bobby Relf became recruited to the ranks. Bobby had also utilised his own pseudonym's, Bobby Garrett and Bobby Valentino.
Bobby Relf had previously recorded as part if several acts including the Laurels, the Upfronts, and Valentino and the Lovers.
The Upfronts and Valentino and the lovers also featured a young Barry White playing keyboards and singing. This latest incarnation of Bob and Earl recorded 'Harlem Shuffle' in 1963.
The song was written by Relf and Nelson, released on the Marc imprint, and was arranged by Barry White (with whom Bobby was to write material for the following decade).
Bobby Relf wrote Love Unlimited's 1974 hit 'Walking In The Rain'.
'Harlem Shuffle' saw modest success on it's initial release date, however a subsequent re-release in 1969, saw the song hit the pop charts at number 10.
Bob And Earl continued to record further singles, although 'Baby It's Over', in 1966, was their only further hit.
By 1969, the duo had recorded as individual artists, with Earl Nelson recording under the name of Jackie Lee.
When 'Harlem Shuffle' became successful on reissue, the duo reunited as Bob and Earl to tour. They later were to go their seperate ways in the early 1970's.
Suffering from bouts of athsma during his life, Bobby Relf died on the 20th of November 2007, between 7:00 am and 8:00 a.m. in Bakersfield, California.
Bobby was in hospital when he passed. He had become frail and could not walk very well. 5 unreleased songs by Bobby are yet to see the light of day.
A graveside service was held at 1 p.m. the 27th of November, Evergreen Cemetery, 204 N. Evergreen Ave., Los Angeles, Greenlawn Southwest Mortuary.
andrea and bob relf
Information provided, with many thanks, from Bobby Relf's sister in law, Andrea Relf and the Relf family.
b. Bobby Day, 15th August 1934, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 12th September 2007, Loganville, Georgia, U.S.A.
Bobby Byrd, collaborator with funk legend James Brown for 50 years, off and on, died Wednesday the 12th of September 2007, of cancer at his Loganville home. He was 73.
Bobby Byrd formed the Gospel Starlighters in the late 50's.
He also played in the Gospel group the 3 Swanee's with James Brown and Johnny Terry.
Bobby met James in Toccoa, where he was serving time in a juvenile facility for burglary. James pitched for the prison baseball team, and his team played against Mr. Byrd's team.
During the early '50s, Bobby and his family sponsored James Brown's parole from prison.
Bobby recorded with Earl Nelson as Bob And Earl before forming the group The Avons, a band later to enlist James Brown upon his release from prison.
The Avons then changed their name to The Flames, who became James Brown And The Famous Flames during the '60's.
Bobby's first hit came for the Smash imprint, a duet with Anna King entitled 'Baby Baby Baby', which made number 52 in Billboard's soul chart in 1964.
The following year 'We Are In Love' reached number 14 in the same chart.Bobby later enjoyed a further Top 20 hit, 'I Need Help (I Can't Do It Alone)', for King Records.
His voice can later be heard on James Brown's 'Get Up (I Feel Like Being A) Sex Machine.'
Bobby's Seventies output was fairly low key, however his career enjoyed a renaissance with the onset of sampling, mainly pioneered by the hip hop artists.
The most famous example was Eric B And Rakim's 1987 single 'I Know You Got Soul', which sampled Byrd's 1971 track of the same title.Bobby left the James Brown line up in 1973 and recorded and performed regularly (particularly in Europe).
His first studio album since 1970 was released in 1994, entitled 'On The Move'.
Bobby embarked on several concert tours with his wife, Vicki Anderson, and the family.
As a solo artist Bobby is probably best remembered for the, previously mentioned, James Brown produced, 'I Know You Got Soul' (1971) and 'If You Got A Love You Better Hold On To It' (1972), popular on the U.K. 'rare groove' scene in the mid-'80's.
Bobby's daughter Bonnie Byrd scored an R & B hit with the tune 'Good Girl' in the late 1980's. He is also the stepfather of the U.K. based soul singer Carleen Anderson.
Bobby sang at James Brown's 2006 funeral along with his wife, Vicki Anderson, who was also in James' touring band.
Bobby performed his final show with the Soulpower Allstars in July 2005 at the Supernatural Festival in Holland.Bobby was scheduled to appear at another show on September 29th in Belgrade, Serbia.
Following Bobby's passing, Mrs. Vicki Anderson said that of her husband's songs, "Baby, I Love You" was her favorite.'That was the first song that he wrote for me,' said Vicki.
Joe Zawinul / Willie Tee
joe zawinul and willie tee, performing together
Josef Erich Zawinul
b. 7th July 1932, Vienna, Austria.
d. 11th September 2007, Vienna, Austria.
Jazz musician, Joe Zawinul has died. He was 75.
Joe passed away in his hometown of Vienna on the 11th of September after fighting cancer.
He had been touring with his band, the Zawinul Syndicate as recently as August 2007, whereupon he was admitted to hospital in Vienna.
Born in 1932 in Austria, Joe showed an interest in music at an early age.
In 1959, with a scholarship to the Berklee College of Music, he moved to the United States.Joe played piano for Dinah Washington (1959 - 1961) and, in 1962, he joined Cannonball Adderley's band. Joe penned 'Mercy, Mercy, Mercy', for the man.
He also worked with the late Miles Davis, who named an album 'In a Silent Way' after a composition by Zawinul.
In 1970 he and saxophonist Wayne Shorter founded the modern jazz ensemble Weather Report, along with Miroslav Vitous.
Over a 15 year period the group saw success, especially with the melodies, 'Birdland' and 'Black Market.'
Following the demise of Weather Report in 1985 (although he did experiment with another version of the band called Weather Update), Joe founded his ensemble the Zawinul Syndicate in 1987.
In 2002 he released 'Faces & Places', his first studio album in several years.
He resided for several years in Malibu, California, however, in 2004 he founded his jazz club, Birdland, in Vienna.
Since that time he released a handful of albums including 'Midnight Jam' in 2005 and 'Brown Street' this year.
Joe Zawinul is survived by three son, Erich, Ivan, and Anthony.
Tragically his wife, Maxine, died on the 26th of July this year.
Wilson Turbinton (Willie Tee)
b. 6th February 1944, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 11th September 2007, U.S.A.
Soul and Funk singer Willie Tee has died. He was 63. Willie passed away from colon cancer.
His mid-'60s soul sides are acknowledged as classics on the Carolinas' beach music circuit.
Willie Tee was playing the piano at the age of three, inspired by his older brother Earl's work with the saxophone and flute.
In 1952, the Turbinton family relocated to the city's Calliope Street housing projects.
Whilst at school, Willie's music teacher, Harold Battiste, recruited Turbinton to his jazz combo the AFO Band (All for One).
With the band, he recorded his 1962 debut single, 'Always Accused'. On leaving AFO, Willie formed the Souls with bassist George Davis and drummer David Lee.
Willie signed with the Nola imprint, a new label formed by his cousin, Ulis Gaines, journalist Clint Scott, and producer/arranger Wardell Quezergue.
His 1965 Nola debut, 'Teasin' You,' not only became the label's first local hit, but was recorded by blue-eyed soul singers the Righteous Brothers.
Atlantic licensed his original for national distribution, flipped by 'Walking up a One-Way Street'.
This was followed by 'Thank You John' and 'I Want Somebody (To Show Me the Way Back Home)'.
Atlantic then released Tee from his contract, and his next single, 'Please Don't Go,' appeared on Nola's Hot-Line subsidiary. In 1968 Nola folded and Willie co-founded Gatur Records, releasing 'I Peeped Your Hole Card'.
In 1969 Willie co-wrote Margie Joseph's 'One More Chance' for the Stax subsidiary Volt.
Willie's first-ever LP, 'I'm Only a Man', appeared in 1970 on Capitol, however the Gatur imprint saw a new lease of life, with Willie releasing 'The Man That I Am.'
Follow up songs were 'Your Love and My Love Together' and the instrumental 'Swivel Your Hips'.
In 1973, Willie was approached to assemble a backing band for a session headlined by the Wild Magnolias. The resulting LP was 1973's 'The Wild Magnolias'.
In 1976, Willie Tee signed with United Artists to release his second LP, 'Anticipation'.
In the 1980's, he was rediscovered by the DJs on the Northern soul club scene, and in the mid-'90s began travelling, including an appearance at London's Jazz Café in Camden Town.
He was also courted by the hip-hop community, with the Gaturs' 'Concentrate' sampled by Sean 'Puffy' Combs and the Wild Magnolias' 'Smoke My Peace Pipe' sampled by the Geto Boys.
Willie Tee's classic Nola/Atlantic sides were finally combined in 2002 for the Night Train compilation Teasin' You.
Kipling T. Anderson
b. 24th January 1938, Starr, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 29th August 2007, Anderson, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Singer, pianist, songwriter Kip Anderson has died. He was 69.
Kip worked with Sam Cooke, The Drifters, Jerry Butler and Jackie Wilson.
He was also vice president of Electric City Record's gospel division and recorded for Savoy, Chess, Excello, Fire & Fury, Ichiban, Savoy, Ripete (with Nappy Brown) along with several other imprints.
Kip's mother taught music. His father played guitar.
From childhood he sang and played piano with his church gospel choir.
When he was 13, Kip was discovered by gospel legend Madame Edna Gallman Cooke, whose group he toured with. He then teamed up with WOIC radio DJ and sometimes R&B singer Charles Derrick, who encouraged him to cross over to secular music. Kip's debut 45 was 'I Wanna Be the One,' issued on the DJ's own Derrick label in 1959. He then moved to the Savoy imprint for the follow-up, 'Oh My Linda, and recorded with the session guitarist Mickey Baker. Relocating to the Everlast label, his third single was 1962's 'I Will Cry'. He followed that release in 1963 with 'Here I Am, Try Me,' which was recorded in Chicago at Chess Studios. The 45 was released on Kip Anderson and Charles Derrick's newly-formed Tomorrow label. In 1964 'That's Why the Cryin' Begins' was also released on Tomorrow but was subsequently licensed to ABC-Paramount. The song made the number 79 spot on the Billboard pop charts. Two more Tomorrow releases, 'I'll Get Along' and 'Time Waits for No One,' were released.Kip then traveled to Muscle Shoals, Alabama-based Fame Studios to record 'Woman, How Do You Make Me Love You Like I Do.' The song was released on the Checker label, followed by two further 45's, 'Without a Woman' and 'A Knife and a Fork', which was later covered by several artists.
When his Checker contract expired, Kip relocated to the Excello imprint, returning to the charts one last time with 1968's 'You'll Lose a Good Thing,' (Billboard Top 40). The follow up releases were 'Watch You Work It Out' and 'I Went Off and Cried'. By 1970, Kip had developed a heroin addiction, which led to a decline in his recording career.
In 1977 he was sentenced to 10 years in Columbia, South Carolina's Central Correctional Institution. After his release, he returned to his recording career, recording 'Coulda Been Sleeping' for the Lorma label in 1989.
Moving to Ichiban, he recorded 'A Dog Don't Wear No Shoes' in 1992, followed a year later by 'A Knife and a Fork' in 1996. For many years hosted a daily gospel show on the Anderson radio station WANS AM.
Frank Edward Hayes Snr.
b. 19th August 1942, Caruthersville, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. Sunday 3rd September 2007, Stewartsville, Missouri, U.S.A.
Frank Hayes had become a good friend to this site and myself. He recently signed himself in as a friend on my MySpace web page. Frank had his own page with those folks. I said he could use the images from this site for his page. He was one real nice man. Here is his page.
Frank fought a long battle with prostate cancer.
He was born on the 19th of August 1942, in Caruthersville, Missouri, to Rev. Boston Frank Hayes and James Ella Hayes.
Frank started singing at the early age of three and in the early 60s, he left home and moved to California to pursue a career in music.
In California, Frank sang background vocals for the Isley Bros, Leon Russell and Albert Collins, as well as singing with the groups Toto, the Younghearts, and Sly and the Family Stone. He also was a regular on the Gong Show, which aired back in the 70s.
Frank ended his secular music pursuit in the early 80s, and reverted back to his gospel roots.
He was worship leader at Lighthouse Cathedral, Evangelistic Church of God and Christ, and Alta Loma Assembly of God, all in California. He was worship leader at the Liberty Assembly of God, Liberty, Missouri, and assisted with worship at Grace Fellowship, Cameron, Mo., where he recently attended church.
Frank moved back to Missouri in the late 80's and was employed at Sonny Hill Motors, Platte City, Missouri, Double J and Son Industries, St Joseph, and Snorkel, Elwood, Kan.
Frank fought a courageous battle with prostate cancer for nine years.
On 14th February 1998, he married Marcia Rowe.
The family includes a son, Boston Blake Connor Hayes, stepson, Ryan Meers, daughter, Frankie Burks, Grandview, Missouri, son, Frank Hayes Jr., Stewartsville, son, Greg Whitaker, San Bernardino, California, two sisters, Helen Hood, Kansas City, Missouri and Freddie Fair, Chicago, Illinois, six grandchildren, Courtnee, Stacia, Briana, Tiara, Riah and Tyler; along with nieces and nephews.
He was preceded in death by his father, Rev. Boston Frank Hayes, mother, James Ella Hayes, daughter, Bridgette Hayes, and sisters, Wava Elijah, Lovie Johnson and Vernice Green.
b. Jon Marcus Lucien (real name: Lucien Harrigan), 8th January 1942, Tortola Island, British West Indies, Caribbean.
d. 18th August 2007, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
Jon Lucien has sadly passed away on the 18th of August 2007 from respiratory failure and other complications.
Jon Lucien was born on the island of Tortola in 1942, and raised in St. Thomas by a guitar-playing father and greatly inspired by Nat 'King' Cole.
He relocated to New York in the mid-60's, where he began his musical career.
In 1970, he released his debut album 'I Am Now'.
1973 saw the release of the, much sought after, album 'Rashida', containing the popular tunes 'Would You Believe In Me', Lady Love' and the title track.
For the follow up, 1974's 'Mind's Eye', Lucien collaborated with veteran producer Dave Grusin.
The album contained the rare groove tunes 'Listen Love' and 'World Of Joy'.
The following year, Jon had moved to the CBS label for the album release 'Song For My Lady', followed by 'Premonition', for the same label, in 1976.
Only one release spanned the years between the Seventies and Nineties, which was 1982's, 'Romantico', for the Precision label.
After a long absence, Lucien returned in 1991 with a release that was very much what he'd done in his peak '70's years.
Further releases included 1993's 'Mother Nature's Son'.
A few months after his 17 year-old daughter Dalila was killed on Flight 800 in July of 1996, Jon went into the studio and began recording 'Endless Is Love'.
Jon reflected 'My daughter doesn't want me sitting around being unhappy. I look at her and we communicate. We make music. The music is a special force.'
Having carved himself his own unique niche, within the jazz market, Jon Lucien remains one of the most distinctive vocalists over the last 30 years.
A 'Best Of' compilation of his earlier work was released in 2001.
Max Roach (Maxwell Lemuel Roach)
b. 10th January 1924, New Land, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 16th August 2007, New York, U.S.A.
Max Roach has died in a New York hospital. He was 83.
The cause of death has not yet been provided, although he had suffered for years from a neurological disorder.
Max had three times married, fathering two sons and three daughters.
He led The Max Roach Double Quartet, and worked with Cecil Taylor, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Anthony Braxton, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Stanley Turrentine, George Coleman, Donald Byrd, Oscar Brown Jr., Kenny Dorham and Booker Little.
He was also the co-founder of Debut Records.
Born in North Carolina, Max was brought up in Brooklyn.
His mother was a gospel singer and he began studying piano at their local Baptist church when he was eight.
Later in 1949 he was pivotal in the success of what became known as 'The Birth of the Cool', recording sessions with a 10-piece band led by Miles Davis.
Max had studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music in his early years, and in 1972 he became a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts.
Amongst his lifetime achievements were appointments as a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and two awards of the Grand Prix du Disque in France.
He also had a park called after him in the Lambeth borough of London, eight honorary degrees, innumerable magazine poll victories and the title of Harvard Jazz Master.
...also passed away this month...
...also passed away this month...
Bill Pinkney (The Original Drifters) (b. 15th August 1925, Dalzell, South Carolina, U.S.A. d. 4th July 2007, Florida, U.S.A.).
(possible heart attack)
b. 15th October 1915, Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 8th June 2007, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Nellie Lutcher has died. She was 94.
Nellie was a singer and pianist who was popular in the late 1940's and early 1950's.
She was born in Lake Charles, Louisiana to Isaac and Suzie Lutcher.
Her father was a bass player and she learned to play piano. She was the eldest daughter of 15 children. Her brother was the saxophonist Joe Woodman Lutcher.
Initially, Lutcher played in a big band with her bass-playing father before moving on to join the Clarence Hart band.
She played clubs on the west coast during the late 30's / early 40's and signed to Capitol Records in 1947 following an appearance on a 'March Of Dimes' charity show.
Her first release, the R & B-styled 'Hurry On Down', became a US Top 20 hit that same year and was followed by 'He's A Real Gone Guy', 'The Song Is Ended' and 'Fine Brown Frame'.
The latter was a cover version of an earlier hit by bandleader Buddy Johnson. Nellie left Capitol in 1952.
She later moved on to Decca, Epic and Liberty Records, recording a highly rated album, 'Our New Nellie'.
However, her popularity had faded, and during the late 60's and early 70's she took a staff job with the Hollywood Local Branch of the Musicians' Union, still occasionally playing clubs and, also, raising her son.
Nellie continued to perform occasionally until the 1990's, enjoying a resurgance of popularity at the Hollywood Roosevelt Cinegrill and Michael's Pub in New York.
The Bear Family record company in Germany later issued a box set containing her entire body of work.
b. 24th April 1933, Providence, Rhode Island, U.S.A.
d. 4th June 2007.
Freddie Scott has died. He was 74.
Durning his career he recorded the songs 'Hey, Girl', 'Are You Lonely For Me?' and 'What Do I See In The Girl'.
Freddie Scott was born on the 24th April 1933, in Providence, Rhode Island, and was a member of the groups Sally Jones & The Gospel Keyes and The Swanee Quintet Juniors, during his lifetime.
As a teenager, although he performed with the Sally Jones group, he pursued a career in medicine, working on his Ph.D. at Paine College in Augusta, Georgia.
Whilst studying medicine, Freddie joined the Swanee Quintet Juniors, whose debut he sang lead vocals on their song 'Far Away Places.'
Freddie abandoned his medical aspirations and looked towards a return to the performing arts.
In 1956 he signed to Zell Sanders' J&S label releasing his debut solo single, 'Running Home.'
In late 1956 he was called up for military duty, briefly serving in Korea.
Returning to recording he joined the Bow and Arrow label and recorded 1957's 'Tell Them for Me.' followed by 'Please Call' and 'A Faded Memory.'
Freddie completed his military service, and recorded for the Enrica label for 1959's 'Come On, Honey.'
He then collaborated with Helen Miller to compose for Al Nevins and Don Kirshner's Brill Building company Aldon Music.
In 1961, Freddie recorded 'Baby, You're a Long Time Dead' for the Joy label.
The following year he was approached by Aldon songwriters Gerry Goffin and Carole King who wanted some help with their song 'Hey Girl.'
Freddie recorded the song for the Colpix Records imprint making the Top Ten on both the pop and R&B charts.
Freddie then relocated to Columbia, and recorded 'One Heartache Too Many' in 1965, before relocating to the Shout imprint, where he remained for two years.
He recorded for the Elephant V, ABC's Probe imprint before signing to Vanguard in 1971.
Freddie was now making much of his living writing advertising jingles with his long time colleague Helen Miller.
Freddie also moved into acting, appearing in the films 'Stiletto' and 'No Way Out.'
He maintained a live performance schedule into the 1980's, returning to music recording a version of Van Morrison's 'Brown Eyed Girl' for an Evangeline Records tribute album.
In 2001 he released 'Brand New Man', his first new material in almost a quarter of a century.
...also passed away this month...
Richard 'Kush' Griffith (trumpet - worked with James Brown, Bootsy's Rubber Band, The Brides of Funkenstein, Maceo And All The King's Men, Parliament, Funkadelic and The Horny Horns) (b. 8th August 1948, Louisville, Kentucky, U.S.A. d. 18th June 2007)
Dorothy 'Kim' Tolliver (b. 21st June 1937, Lebanon, Tennessee, U.S.A. d. 6th June 2007, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.)
Funeral service Wednesday, 13th June 2007 at 1:30 p.m. at Cummings and Davis Funeral Home 13201 Euclid Avenue. Family will receive friends one half hour prior to service. Arrangements by Rogers Funeral Service, 216-541-4242.
Tony Thompson (Tony Ulysees Thompson - Hi Five) (b. 2nd September 1975, Waco, Texas, U.S.A. d. 1st June 2007, Waco, Texas, U.S.A.).
...also passed away this month...
Alvin Batiste (Jazz) (b. 7th November 1937, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A. d. 6th May 2007).
...also passed away this month...
Alex Brown (Alexander Brown) (a.k.a. Bud) The Persuaders (b. 3rd June 1950, Perdue Hill, Alabama, U.S.A. d. 29th April 2007).
Zola Taylor (The Platters) (b. 17th March 1938, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. d. 30th April 2007, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.)
Dakota Staton (b. 6th March 1932, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 10th April 2007, New York, U.S.A.)
b. Luther Thomas Ingram, 30th November 1937, Jackson, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 19th March 2007, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
Luther Thomas Ingram has died, after years of kidney troubles and ill health, in St. Louis, Missouri, at the age of 69.
Luther Thomas Ingram's professional career began in New York with work for producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.
Several singles followed, including 'I Spy For The FBI', which was a version of Jamo Thomas's 1966 hit version.
Luther then signed to HIB Records for 'Exus Trek / If It's All The Same To You' before moving on to Koko Records, an independent label later marketed by Stax and owned by his manager and producer, Johnny Baylor.
Here, alongside Mack Rice, he participated on songwriting chores including 'Respect Yourself' for the Staple Singers.
Luther was also releasing his own material with a great deal of success on the R & B charts.
He was, for a time, a member of the group, The Gardenias.
In 1972, he released a recording of the classic Homer Banks, Raymond Jackson and Carl Hampton song, '(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don't Want To Be Right'.
Produced by Johnny Baylor, the song reached number one on Billboard magazine's R & B chart, and peaked at number three on that publication's Hot 100 chart in 1972.
It was was later recorded by Rod Stewart, Millie Jackson and Barbara Mandrell.
The song went on to sell over a million copies and reached number 3 in the U.S. pop charts.
Luther's next release, 'I'll Be Your Shelter (In Time Of Storm)', then followed.
His label, Koko struggled with financial problems.
It took 8 years before Luther returned to the R & B chart in 1986 with 'Baby Don't Go Too Far'.
In 2001, Luther Ingram began battling kidney disease.
Various soul artists performed benefit concerts to help offset his medical expenses.
b. 4th March 1934, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 4th February 2007, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The songstress, Barbara McNair has died. She was 72.
Barbara made many advances, previously unavailable to Black People during the Sixties, in several area's of the performing arts.
She died on Sunday the 4th of February 2007 after a battle with throat cancer in Los Angeles, her sister Jacqueline Gaither said.
Born in Chicago, and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, Barbara McNair signed to the Motown imprint, recording the album 'The Real Barbara McNair' in 1968.
That album featured the song 'It Happens Every Time'. Her final Motown recordings came in 1968, additionally, with 'Where Would I Be Without You' and 'You Could Never Love Him'.
Barbara recorded the original version of the song 'For Once In My Life', later an international hit for Stevie Wonder.
In parrallel with her recording career, she was also a beauty queen, had her own television programme (the Barbara McNair Show), starred in several television shows ('Dr. Kildare', 'I Spy', and 'Hogan's Heroes'), appeared nude in Playboy and became a beauty advisor in several women's magazine's.
Barbara McNair made her Hollywood acting debut in 1969 in the film, 'If He Holler's, Let Him Go'.
She later starred opposite Sydney Poitier in 'They Call Me Mister Tibbs' and with Elvis Presley in 'Change of Habit'.
One of her biggest hits was 'You Could Never Love Him'.
In 1984, she accepted a role on the daytime soap opera 'General Hospital'.
In the late Nineties, she recorded for the U.K. based Motorcity imprint, recording 'Face To Face With Love' in 1990.
In 1996 she returned to feature films, taking on a role in the movie 'Neon Signs'.
'She was very family oriented, her sister Jacqueline said. 'She was more than just a star or a famous personality. She was a person of her own.
Joe Hunter (a.k.a. Joseph E. Hunter)
b. 19th November 1927, Jackson, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 2nd February 2007, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Joe Hunter of the Motown house band, the Funk Brothers, has died. He was 79 years old.
Born 1927 in Jackson, Tennessee, U.S.A. the pianist died whilst he was trying to take some medicine.
Although the cause of death was unknown at press time, Joe was found dead in his Detroit apartment.
He was also diabetic.
Joe had worked with Jackie Wilson, Smokey Robinson And The Miracles, Marvin Gaye ('Pride And Joy'), Martha Reeves And The Vandella's ('Heat Wave') and Hank Ballard And The Midnighters.
Joe Hunter moved to Detroit just before his 12th birthday and started out in the 1950's backing up acts such as Jackie Wilson and Hank Ballard and the Midnighters, however he could play jazz or Professor Longhair and Fats Domino-style New Orleans piano as well.
He was Berry Gordy Jr.'s first hired musician, and backed up acts such as Smokey Robinson and the Miracles on piano in the late '50's.
Joe Hunter also served as Motown's first bandleader at the outset.
After Motown left Detroit in 1972, like many musicians, Joe performed at whatever gigs there were available at the time.
Ex fellow Funk Brother Bob Babbitt stated, 'He will be welcomed in heaven,' whilst Martha Reeves stated 'I just called his name today'.
'Joe was one of a kind,' said Bert Dearing, owner of Bert's in the Marketplace and Bert's on Broadway.
Joe Hunter not only played his clubs, but Bert's in the Marketplace was a favourite hangout.
After the documentary film 'Standing in the Shadows of Motown' was released in 2002, the Funk Brothers' soundtrack album won two Grammys in 2003.
In 2004, Joe Hunter and the Funk Brothers were awarded with a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Grammys, and the group toured for several years.
In addition to his son, Joe Hunter is survived by a daughter, Michelle, and three grandchildren.
...also passed away this month...
Billy Henderson (Detroit Spinners - b. 8th September 1939, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 2nd February 2007, Daytona Beach, Florida, U.S.A.)
(complications caused by diabetes)
young holt trio
Eldee Young (Young Holt Trio) b. 1936. d. 12th February 2007, Thailand.
brecker brothers 1975
b. 29th March 1949, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 13th January 2007, New York City, U.S.A.
Saxophonist, Michael Brecker died from leukaemia on Saturday the 13th of January 2007 in a hospital in New York City of leukemia, according to his manager, Darryl Pitt. He was 57.
Brecker had been suffering with myelodysplastic syndrome, a cancer in which the bone marrow stops producing enough healthy blood cells.
The disease, known as MDS, often progresses to leukaemia.
A highly sought after session musician, his most recently released recording, 'Wide Angles,' appeared on many top jazz lists and won two Grammys in 2004.
Though very unwell, Brecker managed to record a final album, as yet untitled, that was completed a fortnight before he passed away.
Brecker, who had a home in the New York City suburb of Hastings-on-Hudson, was born in 1949 in Philadelphia.
His father would take his two sons to see the likes of Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk and Duke Ellington.
Brecker, who first studied clarinet and alto saxophone, decided to pursue the tenor saxophone in high school after being inspired by the work of John Coltrane
He followed his brother, Randy, a trumpet player, to Indiana University, but he left after a year for New York.
In 1970, he helped found the jazz-rock group Dreams.
He later joined his brother in pianist and composer Horace Silver's quintet.
Michael and Randy also started the successful jazz-rock fusion group the Brecker Brothers, a pairing which saw the release of the popular night club dancer, 'Sneakin' Up Behind You' (taken from the duo's self titled 1975 album on Arista Records).
His solo career began in 1987, when his self-titled debut was voted 'Jazz Album of the Year' in various Jazz publications.
His struggle with the blood disease led him and his family to publicly encourage people to enroll in bone marrow donor programs.
His own search for a donor led to an experimental blood stem cell transplant that did not work as hoped.
Brecker's surviving family include his wife, Susan, his children, Jessica and Sam, his brother, Randy, and his sister, Emily Brecker Greenberg.
Memorial services are being planned.
Paul 'Tubbs' Williams
b. 11th October 1962, Hackney, London, United Kingdom
d. 10th January 2007, Rotterdam, Netherlands
Paul 'Tubbs' Williams, founder and member of the U.K. Soul ensemble, Light Of The World, has died.
Details are scarce right now, however, Paul's passing has been acknowleged by Incognito band member 'Bluey' Maunick (whose band 'Tubbs' was also member of for a while).
Paul was an accomplished Bassist, Percussionist and Vocalist.
Check the updated Light of the World page at the site for a brief history of the group.
...also passed away this month...
Alice Coltrane (Alice Lucille McLeod), (a.k.a. Turiyasangitananda)
b. 27th August 1937, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 12th January 2007, West Hills, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.A.
Pookie Hudson (Thornton James Hudson)
Born 11th June 1934, Des Moines, Iowa, U.S.A.
Died 16th January 2007, Capitol Heights, Maryland, U.S.A.
(Metastatic lung cancer)
b. James Joseph Brown Jnr, 3rd May 1933, Barnwell, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 25th December 2006, Emory Crawford Long Hospital, Atlanta, U.S.A.
2006 was always going to leave another sting within it's tail of great passing artistical Soul ships in the night. It is Christmas morning and I find myself typing onto these pages, news regarding another great loss to the music we all love and follow. All told, if you can't push the proverbial textural boat out for the likes of James Brown, then who can you?
James Brown described himself as the self proclaimed 'Godfather Of Soul' or 'the hardest working man in show business'. To this scribe he was simply 'the Dude who launched a thousand riffs'. All told, if it wasn't for James Brown, Black Music would not be the work of art it has evolved into over the years. He was a massive influence for many a Funk artist. Once the dust settles, the void he will leave will be immeasurable.
Brother James had just visited his dentist, who informed the man that something wasn't quite right and he should seek some medical attention. He was suffering from pneumonia and passed away at 1:45 a.m. (06.45 GMT) at Emory Crawford Long Hospital in Atlanta after being admitted there over the weekend, his agent Frank Copsidas stated.
The man had died of congestive heart failure in Atlanta on Christmas morning, aged 73.
James Brown's hit, 'Say it Loud (I'm Black and I'm Proud)', became a civil rights anthem during the changing 1960's.
He had more than 119 charting singles and recorded over 50 albums, was inducted into the Rock 'n' Roll Hall of Fame and received a lifetime achievement award from the Grammys in 1992.
Age-wise, well the man was reputed to have several versions regarding his date of birth. Some dates state 1928, others are said to favour the 1933 year of birth. All told, this is immaterial now. We may have lost a 'Godfather', however, his body of work is second to none and is bound to be revisited many times over the coming years.
Brother James' career is well documented within his page at this website. Rather than me cutting and pasting the texts, click on his link below. Simply stated, 'James Brown. A huge loss to Soul and Dance music, along with Black Culture in general'.
b. Severino Dias de Oliveira, 26th May 1930 Itabaiana, Paraíba, Brazil.
d. 14th December 2006, João Pessoa, Paraíba, Brasil
Sivuca has passed away. He was 76.
He passed away on the 14th of December 2006, from throat cancer.
Sivuca was an accomplished accordionist, guitarist and composer.
He recorded, 'Adeus Maria Fulo', but will probably be best remembered for his interpretation of the Bill Withers song, 'Ain't No Sunshine'.
During his lifetime he worked with Toots Thielmans, Airto Moreira, Hermeto Pascoal, Oscar Brown Jnr. and Miriam Makeba on 'Pata Pata'.
Sivuca was married to the composer, Gloria Gadelha.