Soul And / Or Related Artists

respect 2009...


january to june 2011 respect page





november 2009

Haydain Neale

Haydain Neale

b. Haydain Neale, 3rd September 1970, Hamilton, Ontario, Canada.

d. 22nd November 2009, Mount Sinai Hospital, Toronto, Canada.

The singer - songwriter, and member of the Soul group Jacksoul, has died. He was 39.

Haydain died of lung cancer at Toronto's Mount Sinai Hospital.

U.K. Soul fans may recall a single entitled 'Unconditional', by the group, which featured on many Soul Shows, including the Robbie Vincent Jazz FM show, during the nineties.

Haydain served on the faculty of the Humber College Summer Songwriting Workshop and as president of the Songwriters Association of Canada.

In 2007 he was involved in a traffic accident on Kennedy Road in Toronto on the 3rd of August that year.

A Honda Civic vehicle collided with his Vespa scooter, whereupon he was taken to hospital and was reported to be in a critical condition.

Haydain remined in a coma for several weeks, before beginning to make a recovery.

He remained in hospital for a year or so, and then announced a new album release.

'SOULmate' was scheduled to be released on the 1st of December 2009.

The album contained 10 new songs written before the accident, with the profits from the album going to the Haydain Neale Family Trust.

A single, entitled 'Lonesome Highway', was released on the 3rd of November 2009.

Hayden is survived by his wife, Michaela and his daughter, Yasmin.

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september 2009

Lucy Ann Vodden

Lucy Vodden

(Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds)

b. Lucy Ann O'Donell, 11th March 1963, Westminster, London, United Kingdom

d. 22nd September 2009

Lucy O'Donell has passed away, whilst on holiday with her husband, Ross, due to complications resulting from an ongoing fight with the illness, Lupus.

Lucy is a family friend, whom I, personally, have been out of touch with since the early nineties, although I did see her a year or so ago, with her husband Ross, whilst they were shopping in the local town here. Lucy looked as if she was relying on Ross a great deal regarding getting around, so I did not trouble her.

So why is Lucy on this page at Soulwalking? In fact Lucy has been at the site (with Ross) for a while now, on the Network page at Soulwalking. Part of a tapestry of friends, whom we have got to know in our lifetimes here. Lucy's sister Fran, we know a little better. Very much into their Soul Music, with Fran helming the Total Record Company back a few years ago, who brought us all those wonderful Mastercuts series.

Lucy was a very unusual woman, as she had one claim to fame, which I never knew about until years after I had got to know her.

Lucy O'Donell wasn't the greatest of self publicists, which made her all the more endearing to most folks out there who knew her. So what was it that made Lucy's disposition so humble? Well it was the fact that she was 'the' 'Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds'.

The Beatles (who all told, were another bunch of old Soul and Blues boys in their early years), called the Sgt Pepper song that title after Julian Lennon had brought this painting home to his Dad. John asked Julian what the picture was called. Julian said 'It's called Lucy In The Sky With Diamond's'. The Lennon's were living in Weybridge at the time, which is where Lucy attended school as a child.

Here's the picture (Lucy is middle left):

Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds

Here is the story as told by George Martin, Paul and Ringo (click here)

I only knew of the Beatles association when Lucy appeared on U.K. Independent television with Anne Diamond and Nick Owen back in 1992 (I think that was the 25 years point since the release of the Sgt Pepper album).

I cannot be that sure, although I do believe that that was the first time I knew of the connection, several years after first getting to know Lucy and Fran in and around the Surbiton area back in the late Eighties. As I said, the lack of self promotion on Lucy's part said a great deal about the woman. I did not get to know Ross as he and Lucy became a couple later on in the following decade. By that time, we had become less 'youthful' in our outlook to evening entertainment, I guess! Sadly, the first conversation I will have with Ross will be after Lucy's passing.

The O'Donell's have always been a very close-knit family unit, so I am aware that they will be feeling a little numb right now. Quite rightly so. I can never understand why we are educated in how to bring life into the World, however, receive no guidance as to how to conduct ourselves, when the time arrives for our own 'leaving doo's'. One thing that is certain is that I know many of Lucy's friends here, whom, on learning of Lucy's passing, will experience a sharp intake of breath. Our love goes out to all the family.

Lucy's Leaving Doo

the service programme - 6th october 2009 (click on the image for a larger version)

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august 2009

Ellie Greenwich

Ellie Greenwich

b. Eleanor Louise Greenwich (aka Ellie Gaye), 23rd October 1939, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.

d. 26th August 2009, St. Luke's Roosevelt Hospital, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.

Singer, pianist, songwriter and producer, Ellie Greenwich, has died. She was 68.

Ellie had suffered a a heart attack following a case of pneumonia.

During her performing career, she was a member of the groups, the Jivettes and the Raindrops.

Throughout her career, Ellie had collaborated with various artists, including Frank Sinatra, Dusty Springfield, Bobby Darin, Lesley Gore, Ella Fitzgerald and Nona Hendryx.

When she was 11 her father, William, an electrical engineer, and mother, Rose, a medical secretary, moved the family to Levittown, on Long Island.

She attended Queens College and graduated from Hofstra University, planning to be a teacher, however, after a few months, she decided on a career writing songs instead.

During her latter years in college, she met Jeff Barry, whom she was to marry and form a songwriting partnership alongside.

In 1962, Ellie began working in the offices of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.

In New York's The Brill Building, she wrote songs with Doc Pomus and Tony Powers penning 'This Is It' (Jay and the Americans), and 'He's Got The Power', (the Exciters).

With Jeff Barry, Ellie formed The Raindrops (performing all of the vocal chores) and releasing 'What A Guy' and 'The Kind Of Boy You Can't Forget'.

She then joined forces with producer Phil Spector, co-writing a string of hits, including 'Be My Baby' (the Ronettes), 'Da Doo Ron Ron' (the Crystals), 'And Then He Kissed Me' (the Crystals), 'Chapel Of Love' (Dixie Cups) and 'River Deep, Mountain High' (Ike and Tina Turner).

With Jeff Barry, she co-wrote further hits, including 'Hanky Panky' (Tommy James and the Shondells), 'Do Wah Diddy' (later a U.K. hit for Manfred Mann) and 'Leader Of The Pack', (co-written with Shadow Morton for the Shangri-La's).

Ellie was also involved in the sessions, re-arranging the background vocals on Aretha Franklin's 'Chain Of Fools' and working with Cissy Houston and the Sweet Inspirations.

In recent years Ellie had worked with Desmond Child, Nona Hendryx, Cyndi Lauper and Paul Shaffer, amongst others.

Ellie Greenwich was inducted into the Songwriters' Hall Of Fame in 1991.

Ellie’s marriage to Jeff Barry ended in divorce.

She is survived by her sister, Laura Weiner of Greenlawn, N.Y.

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Johnny Carter (The Dells and the Flamingo's)

Johnny Carter johnny in 1960

b. John Edward Carter, 2nd June 1934, Chicago, U.S.A.

d. 21st August 2009, John E. Ingalls Memorial Hospital, Harvey, Illinois, U.S.A.

Former lead singer with the groups, the Dells ('Stay In My Corner', 'It's All Up To You' and 'Oh What A Night') and the Flamingo's ('Golden Teardrops' and 'If I Can't Have You'), Johnny Carter has died. He was 75.

Johnny Carter died of lung cancer at Ingalls Memorial Hospital, in Harvey, Illinois, on Friday morning, August 20th.

Johnny formed the Flamingo's at the age of 18 in 1952 with three other members of the choir at the black-Jewish Church of God and Saints in Christ on East 41st Street in Bronzeville.

In Chicago, the group recorded for the Chance, Parrot and Checker Records imprints.

The Flamingo's first charted in 1956 with the song 'I'll Be Home', which reached No. 5 on the R & B chart.

Johnny was then was drafted, and later returned to the U.S. after serving as an Army cook in Germany, however, he found he had been replaced by the other members of the Flamingos.

He then joined The Dells as a replacement for Johnny Funches in 1960, a group formed several years earlier by friends from Thornton Township High School in Harvey.

The Dells biggest hit, 'Oh, What A Night', was inspired by a party thrown for the band and was originally recorded in 1956, before Johnny was recruited.

The Dells were the inspiration for the 1999 movie 'The Five Heartbeats' and they continued to perform into 2008, when Johnny's cancer was diagnosed.

Johnny remained an active member of the group until his death.

During his career, Johnny had collaborated with Dinah Washington (the Dells performing in a backup capacity), Ray Charles and Barbara Lewis.

He was also a Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee and was one of the few artists who have been inducted on two occasions (in 2001 for his work with the Flamingo's, and in 2004, for his contribution within the Dells ranks).

The Dells with the dells in 1977 (right)

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june 2009

Fayette Pinkney (The Three Degrees)

Fayette Pinkney

b. Fayette R. Pinkney, 10th January 1948, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

d. 27th June 2009, Lansdale, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

Fayette Pinkney, of the group The Three Degreees has died. She was 61.

She passed away from acute respiratory failure at the Lansdale Hospital in Philadelphia.

Fayette was one of the original members of the female soul group, who, as teenagers, were brought together by manager Richard Barrett to form The Three Degrees.

She remained with the group until 1976.

Fayette achieved a bachelor's degree in psychology from Temple University and a master's degree from Lincoln University in 1984.

She also worked as a counselor and vocal coach, and traveled with a group called the Intermezzo Choir Ministry.

In 1994, Pinkney gave birth to a daughter, Ayana Alexandria, who died a few days later due to sudden infant death syndrome.

Fayette Pinkney is survived by her brother, nephew Milford Pinkney and niece Michele Pinkney.

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Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson

b. Michael Joseph Jackson, 29th August 1958, Gary, Indiana, U.S.A.

d. 25th June 2009, Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Michael Jackson has died. He was 50.


Paramedics were called to the singer's Beverly Hills home at about midday on Thursday the 25th of June, after he had stopped breathing. He was pronounced dead two hours later at the Ronald Reagan UCLA medical centre. Michael's brother, Jermaine, said he was believed to have suffered a cardiac arrest.

Jermaine Jackson

Recent health problems had been well documented, however, Michael had been due to stage a series of comeback concerts in the UK on the 13th July. Jermaine said doctors had tried to resuscitate the star for more than an hour without success.

Michael Jackson's career has been well documented at the site, so I will not cover those sections, but add links at the bottom of the page here. All I would like to do here is write about the man on the level of my own personal experience.

Michael Jackson was described as 'The King Of Pop', although, in my humble opinion, he was always a Soul singer in my eyes (and ears), who dabbled in Rock from time to time. That title was given to the man by the media, and related to Michael's album sales, missing the point that the music was the presiding overall factor relating to the singers success. Thesedays there are many 'overnight successes' born out of an impatient public demand for the next big thing. This is not a new phenomena. For years Rock Music looked for the 'next Beatles' after the Fab Four went their seperate ways. Whenever Michael Jackson sang Soul, people listened, none more so than the very young. Put on a Michael Jackson record, and watch a child's eyes light up. His voice had a very unique quality which set him aside from the rest of the singers out there. Stevie Wonder has the same gift. Many will aspire to this uniqueness. Many will fail as these abilities are one-off's. Gifts if you like, which can be mimicked, but never repeated.

I was recently talking to a deejay I respect a great deal. We were talking about Michael only a couple of days ago. I had mentioned how good the albums 'Thriller' and 'Off The Wall' actually were. Whether you felt Michael had sold out or not, no-one can deny these albums incredible substance, and the musical genius relating to each melody. People forget that, apart from the ex Heatwave songwriter, Rod Temperton's input, and Quincy Jones undoubted expertees, Michael was a pretty competetent songwriter in his own right.

Whilst I was discussing the merit's of Michael's musical output, (the hits aside), I spoke with my friend about the rest of the material in the Michael Jackson curriculum vitae. I put together a personal compilation of Michael's songs. Looking at 14 songs here on my desktop this morning, couple of unreleased songs, others such as 'Butterflies', 'Even Though You're Gone', 'Blues Away', 'Give It Up' and that brilliant E-Smoove remix of 'Remember The Time', in amongst the selection. He had been described in some circles as 'lacking in Soul', although I would ask anyone to take a listen to Michael sing 'Ben' and then tell me the man didn't have Soul.

The television presenters this morning have had their various experts on their shows, largely representing the entertainment industry as a whole, none with any real understanding of Soul Music, one of whom said Michael had made Black Music acceptable to the larger White audiences out there. These are partial inaccuracies which are, not born through ignorance, but missing the whole Motown experience. At Motown Records, Berry Gordy took the Black artist and made them more accessible the White audiences throughout a hugely prejudiced part of the last century. The Jackson 5 became part of the Motown machinery, which guided the brothers into the Seventies, continuing on Berry's perceptions regarding how the Black performer could better themselves and Black music in a, largely White based situation.

My funny little compilation, I had been archiving here looks a little pathetic, all told, following this mornings news. I even had a title for the compilation yesterday afternoon. 'Blame it on the Bad Publicity'. Sounds like sour grapes, because that is exactly what it was intended to be. Remember the old Blue Mink song 'Melting Pot'? 'Take a pinch of White man etc.....' Well, Michael Jackson's own life 'melting pot', resulted is several sections of everyone else's life experiences, going AWOL in Michael's case. How would we behave if the same events had transpired in our own lives? Sure, on a simplistic basis, there are those who might assert that the man 'had everything'. That would be a misconception however. He had some things. He gravitated towards those who were trying to make sense of their own lives, essentially 'behaving normally in their own abnormal situations'. His family's love and dedication to their sibling cannot be denied, although whether he had a 'normal upbringing' might be something which may become a bit of a learning curve for future performers. Folks who knew him, obviously liked him and wanted to protect him. The operations? Well that was very much his business, in the same way that anyone whom might wish to alter their appearance (lipo-suction, stretch marks etc), ought to be granted the wherewithal to do so in private, and out of the public gaze. I would only have any issue with this point, personally (and speaking very selfishly) if Michael had affected 'that voice' in some way. Selfish on my part, as I said.

It was very strange watching the pictures of a lone ambulance being driven from the Ronald Reagan Medical Centre, without any escort or fanfare. A good reminder to people that Michael was, all told, simply a human being. He was given a gift, which he passed around the planet, and we all indulged ourselves in that gift. Gamble and Huff once wrote that 'music is the healing force of the World'. You can bet that a Michael Jackson album will grace many a home in Tehran, as it would do in California right now. Politicians take note.

Now Michael is a Brother off to meet his maker, probably to ask him 'why now?' One woman spoke about the passing of Michael Jackson as being 'the day the music died'. It certainly isn't that day, however, certainly it is a day that part of the music did pass away. Piece of the jigsaw went missing in June 2009. I will now go off to listen to 'I Can't Help It'. What a tune that is. Rest in peace Soul singer and thank you.

michael jackson resume


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Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor

b. Cora Walton, 28th September 1928, Bartlett, Tennessee, U.S.A.

d. 3rd June 2009, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.

'Queen of the Blues', Koko Taylor has died. She was 80 years old.

Koko passed away as a result of complications, following and operation performed to correct a gastrointestinal bleed.

She had worked with The Blues Machine, B.B. King, Johnnie Johnson, Keb' Mo', Kenny Wayne Shepher and Willie Dixon in her career.

Koko was born Cora Walton on a sharecropper’s farm just outside Memphis, Tennessee, in 1928.

She was nicknamed Koko relating to her love of chocolate.

She began singing the blues with her five brothers and sisters, accompanying themselves on their homemade instruments.

In 1952, Koko and her husband (in later years), the late Robert 'Pops' Taylor, traveled to Chicago, where Robert worked in a packing company and Koko cleaned houses.

By 1962, Koko was approached by arranger/composer Willie Dixon.

Koko then siggned to Chess Records where Willie produced her several singles, two albums and penned her 1965 hit 'Wang Dang Doodle', which would become Taylor’s signature song.

Koko then relocated to Chicago’s Alligator Records in 1975 and released the Grammy-nominated release 'I Got What It Takes'.

She also appeared in the films 'Wild At Heart', 'Mercury Rising' and 'Blues Brothers 2000'.

Koko was honoured, for her services to the Blues genre many times.

Her final performance was on the 7th of May 2009 in Memphis at the Blues Music Awards.

It was there she received her award for Traditional Blues Female Artist Of The Year.

Koko is survived by her husband Hays Harris, daughter Joyce Threatt, son-in-law Lee Threatt, grandchildren Lee, Jr. and Wendy, and three great-grandchildren.

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may 2009

Buddy Montgomery

Buddy Montgomery

b. Charles 'Buddy' Montgomery, 30thy January 1930, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S. A.

d. 14th May 2009, Palmdale, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Pianist and vibraphonist, Buddy Montgomery has died. He was 79.

He passed away from heart failure at his home in Palmdale, north of Los Angeles.

Buddy was the brother of the Jazz Guitarist, Wes Montgomery, and was the youngest of three brothers (Wes, Monk and Buddy).

He became professional in 1948, and toured with Big Joe Turner shortly afterwards.

Buddy played keyboards with Slide Hampton, whilst in Indianapolis.

He served in the military, and worked with the Mastersounds with his brother Monk.

Buddy led the Montgomery - Johnson Quintet with Ray Johnson from 1955 until 1957.

He played with Miles Davis in 1961, before relocating to Milwaukee in 1969.

Buddy moved again, in the eighties, to Oakland, where he worked with the Riverside Reunion Band, Charlie Rouse and the late David Fathead Newman.

Buddy recorded for several labels including World Pacific, Fantasy, Riverside, Milestone, and Impulse, and never could read music, incidentally.

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Wayman Tisdale

Wayman Tisdale

b. Wayman Lawrence Tisdale, 9th June 1964, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A

d. 15th May 2009, St. John's Hospital, Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.A.

Jazz bassist, Wayman Tisdale, has died. He was 44.

Wayman had been suffering from cancer.

Son of a respected pastor, Wayman was a professional basketball player as well as a Smooth Jazz bassist.

Although a professional sportsman, he stated his main interest was within music.

Wayman was a self-taught musician and played bass at his fathers church.

He released the album 'Power Forward' in 1995, and in 2002, he was awarded the Legacy Tribute Award by the Oklahoma Jazz Hall of Fame.

In March 2007, he underwent treatment for cancer in his knee, which came to light after a fall at home, which broke his leg.

The cancer worsened and Wayman had to have part of his leg amputated in an attempt to arrest the growth of the illness.

Wayman had a new limb fitted and he became used to the new limb very quickly, reports stated.

Rebound rebound - 2008

An album was released in 2008, entitled 'Rebound'.

In April 2009, he accepted an award from the Greenwood Cultural Center in Tulsa, and then embarked on a 21 date national concert tour.

Wayman Tisdale died from cancer on the morning of the 15th of May 2009.

He was married to Regina Tisdale and the couple have four children.

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Viola Wills

Viola Wills

b. Viola Mae Wilkerson, a.k.a. Viola Wills, 30th December 1939, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

d. 6th May 2009, Phoenix, Arizona, U.S.A.

Viola Wills has passed away. She died on the 6th of May 2009 following a long illness.

This piece was written for her by her grandson, Jermaine Ivey. Jermaine kindly allowed me to post this piece here.

'Viola Wills passed away in Arizona, USA at the age of 69 on 6th May 2009 after a long batlle with various illnesses.

While never quite gaining the mainstream recognition of some of her peers, Viola Mae Wilkerson managed to gain critical and international acclaim during a career in music that spanned 45 years.

The mother of six emerged from the streets of Watts (Los Angeles) in the 1960s to forge quite a name for herself in the industry - working with the likes of Barry White, Joe Cocker and Smokey Robinson, as well as other high profile artists of the time - culminating in her first self-penned solo album Soft Centers.

Despite being a fan (amongst other genres) of gospel and soul, it was the growing disco/dance scene that provided her greatest recognition.

Her 1979 cover of Gonna Get Along Without You Now (regarded by many artists as one of the greatest disco songs of all-time) and Dare To Dream (which became a template for 80s soul at that time) were part of a trio of songs that saw her entered into the Guinness Book of Records.

Viola Wills had massive international success on the club scene and became a legendary figure to the gay community in particular in the process.

Her later years would see her performing on a number of national UK and european shows; enjoying a residency at Joogleberry’s in Brighton; completing a degree in music therapy; and going back to her roots by forming the band Jazzpel - inovatively mixing gospel and jazz for a new generation.

She leaves behind six children, 21 grandchildren, eight great grandchildren, and an ‘extended family’ of many more. Her love for them all was unquestioned, and she will be missed dearly by all who knew her.'

For further biographical information, click here.

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april 2009

(slightly late inclusion)

David Williams

David Williams

b. 21st November 1950, Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.

d. 6th March 2009, Sentara Careplex, Hampton, Virginia, U.S.A.

Guitarist David Williams passed away on the 6th of March 6, 2009. He was 58. He passed away from a stroke, brought on by high blood pressure issues, a family member stated.

David was born in Newport News in Virginia in 1950.

He graduated from G.W. Carver High School in 1969 and was a U.S. Army veteran where he served in the Vietnam War.

A self educated musician, David worked with a multitude of musicians and performers, including The Mighty Dells, The Temptations, Jessica Simpson, Van Halen, Chaka Khan, Lionel Richie, Bryan Ferry, Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson (on 'Billie Jean')and Madonna.

David a member of the group Chanson, who recorded, 'Don't Hold Back'.

He was an entry in the Guinness World Book of Records as the most prolific guitarist of all time.

At the time of his passing, there were issues regarding the treatment he received at the Careplex, due to a lack of medical insurance, which his family believed affected his final hospitalisation level of care.

He was preceded in death by his parents, Larry and Reatha Williams.

He is survived by four daughters, Kimberly and Michelle Perry of Georgia, Davida and Dana Williams of New York; and one son, Skyler David Williams of California; two brothers, Larry Williams ( Mary) of Hampton, Virginia, and Clarence Williams of Montgomery Village, Maryland. (Patricia); three sisters, Delores Major, Doris Carmichael both of Newport News, and Elaine Patterson.

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Robert Brookins

Robert Brookins

b. Robert F. Brookins Jnr., 7th October 1962, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.

d. 15th April 2009, Elk Grove, California, U.S.A.

Robert Brookins passed away from a heart attack on the 15th of April 2009. He was 46.

Robert was a respected singer, songwriter and producer.

Born in Sacramento, California, Robert began singing at the age of four.

At five years old, he was playing drums and by the time he was nine he was playing keyboards.

By the Eighties he had a good grasp of the bass and lead guitars as well as various horn instruments.

In 1974, he won the Motown Records Soul Search competition with his group Little Robert and the Fondeles.

Robert then joined the group Afterbach, in 1981, along with his brother Michael (guitars), and sang lead vocals on the ARC Columbia album 'Matinee'.

The album was produced by Maurice and Verdine White of Earth Wind And Fire.

As a teenager Robert performed in front of Ronald Reagan at the White House in Washington prior to becoming a prominent producer on both the West and East Coast of America during the mid '80's.

In 1986 he was the featured singer on the George Duke album 'George Duke', following which he signed to MCA as a solo artist where his debut solo album 'In The Night' (1986), included 'Come To Me' and the Stephanie Mills duet 'In The Night (Making Love)'.

'If You Only Knew' proved to be a popular track in the U.K.

'Let It Be Me' followed in 1988, including another Stephanie Mills duet 'Where Is The Love'.

As a writer and / or producer he has worked with The Reddings, Bobby Brown ('Seventeen'), Jackie Jackson, Stephanie Mills, Deniece Williams ('Blind Dating'), Jeffrey Osborne ('All Because Of You') and The Whispers ('Innocent').

Robert has also recorded keyboards with artists including the late George Howard ('A Nice Place To Be'), Ramsey Lewis and Nancy Wilson ('The Two of Us'), Stanley Clarke ('Find Out') and Roy Ayers.

Robert had kept a low artistic profile throughout the Nineties.


Arlen from Amsterdam reminded me that Robert did tour for nine years with Earth, Wind and Fire, and went to the shows that Robert was performing at.

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Randy Cain (of the Delfonics / Blue Magic)

Randy Cain

b. Herbert Randal Cain III, 2nd May 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.

d. 9th April 2009, Maple Shade, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Randy Cain, of the Sweet Soul vocal group, the Delfonics has died. He was 63.

Randy was an original member of the Delfonics and the founder of Blue Magic.

His death was confirmed by Rob O’Neal, an investigator with the Burlington County medical examiner’s office on Thursday the 9th of April 2009.

The cause of death has not yet been determined.

The Delfonics were formed in Philadelphia by Randy, along with William and Wilbert Hart and Ritchie Daniels as the Four Gents and later the Orphonics,.

The group came to the attention of promoter/record shop owner Stan Watson, who introduced them to producer Thom Bell and Moon Shot Records.

They then changed their name to the Delfonics, and scored two regional hits on Moon Shot before Stan created his own Philly Groove imprint.

Ritchie Daniels was then drafted into the military.

The remaining trio achieved 16 pop and 20 R & B hit records, including 'La La Means I Love You' (number 4 pop, number 2 R & B in 1968), 'I'm Sorry', 'Ready Or Not Here I Come' (both 1968) and 'Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)' (number 10 pop, number 3 R & B in 1970).

Randy left the group in 1971 (and was replaced by Major Harris) and two years later joined the group Blue Magic by combining, singer and songwriter, Ted Mills with the quartet group Shades of Love.

Blue Magic had several hits, including, 'Sideshow' (number 8), in 1974.

Randy returned to the Delfonics in the 1980's, (singing with Major Harris, who had left for a solo career in 1974 but returned as well), before leaving for the last time.

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Pop Winans

Pop Winans

b. David Glenn, 20th April 1934, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 8th April 2009, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Pop Winans has died from a heart attack and a stroke in Nashville. He was 74.

Father of the Gospel family singing group, the Winans, Pop Winans died on Wednesday the 8th of April 2009, at a hospice center in Nashville, Tennessee, with his wife, Delores, at his bedside.

Delores and David Winans Snr, had been married for 55 years, mother and father of the Winans, four sons who became the biggest male gospel quartet of the 1980's.

The couple were married on the 21st of November 1953, and first met in 1949 in Detroit whilst in the Lucille Lemon Choir conducted by James Cleveland..

They organized yearly Christmas concerts at Mercy Hall in which their ten children participated.

David Winans, was born and raised in Detroit and began singing with a gospel quartet at the age of 18.

He later worked as a car salesman, taxi driver, custodian, barber and also was a preacher.

After four of his children signed a recording contract, he was their manager for a while.

He also helped start youth groups in Detroit.

Pop relocated to Tennessee to be closer to several of their children after suffering a heart attack and stroke in October 2008.

'If you ever saw a pillar of love, he was it', said his grandson, Marvin Winans, Jr., 29, a member of Winans Phase II and now a solo artist in his own right.

Pop and Delores received a Grammy nomination for their CD 'Mom & Pop Winans' in 1989.

The latest recording, 'Uncensored', by Pop Winans and the Winanaires, was nominated for a Grammy for best traditional gospel album in 2000.

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march 2009

Uriel Jones

Uriel Jones

b. 13th June 1934, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.

d. 24th March 2009, Oakwood Hospital and Medical Center, Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A.

The Funk Brothers drummer, Uriel Jones, died in a Michigan hospital on Tuesday the 24th of March 2009.

Uriel had suffered complications from a heart attack. He was 74.

The Funk Brothers have become a little better known, in recent years, as the in-house Motown group of session players.

Uriel was the last surviving drummer from the Funk Brothers.

He was taken ill in mid-February, had shown signs of improvement, but had a relapse last Tuesday.

He passed away at the Oakwood Hospital & Medical Center in Dearborn.

Uriel was key to many of the driving Motown Funk rhythms inspired by the late Norman Whitfield, at the label.

His versatility allowed him to beat out the Whitfield sound, whilst incorporating a gentler technique in other Motown recordings, epitomised by songs such as 'The Tracks of My Tears', by The Miracles, and 'What Becomes of the Brokenhearted', by Jimmy Ruffin.

Uriel Jones joined Motown in 1964 after touring with Marvin Gaye.

Jamerson & Jones james jamerson and uriel jones

With Marvin, he provided the rhythm for the songs, 'Ain't That Peculiar', 'I Heard it Through the Grapevine' and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'.

Of the three in house drummers, Motown arranger Paul Riser once said 'He had a mixed feel and did a lot of different things well'.

Benny Benjamin was Motown's main drummer, however Uriel and Richard 'Pistol' Allen were more pro-actively used during Benny Benjamin's time spent fighting drug addiction.

Benny Benjamin died in 1969.

'Pistol' Allen succumbed to cancer in 2002, shortly after completing production on the Funk Brothers documentary 'Standing in the Shadows of Motown'.

The biographical movie saw the light of day in 2003, and gave well deserved props to Motown's forgotten session musicians.

The Funk Brothers toured the world (coming to the U.K. in 2004) and won two Grammy awards.

While Motown recordings utilized many musicians, the film focused on 13 players, of whom five had already passed.

Four Funk Brothers are alive (and still performing) thesedays.

Uriel Jones is survived by his wife, June, and three children.

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Morris Broadnax

Motown songwriter Morris Broadnax passed away in February. Check his page here.

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Eddie Bo

Eddie Bo

b. Eddie Bo (Edwin Joseph Bocage) (aka Spider Bocage), 20th September 1930, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

d. 18th March 2009, Outside New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Singer and pianist, Eddie Bo has died. He was 78.

Eddie suffered a sudden heart attack.

An accomplished songwriter, Eddie Bo penned 'I'm Wise', which was made famous by Little Richard when renamed and released in 1956 as 'Slippin' and Slidin'.

He also wrote the 1960 Etta James hit 'My Dearest Darling', along with his own New Orleans funk compositions, 'Hook & Sling', 'Check Your Bucket' and 'Check Mr Popeye'.

Eddie Bo led The Spider Bocage Orchestra and worked with The Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Willy DeVille, The Louisiana Legends, The District Court and The Hoodoo Kings.

He produced and/or arranged records for Art Neville, The Vibrettes, Chris Kenner, The Explosions, Chuck Carbo, Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams, Robert Parker and Mary Jane Hooper

Born Edwin Joseph Bocage, Eddie grew up in Algiers and the 9th Ward of New Orleans.

His first released record was in 1955 for Johnny Vincent’s Ace Records.

In 1961, Eddie recorded 'Check Mr Popeye'.

In 1969, he penned and sang 'Hook and Sling', for Scram Records, which reached No. 13 on the R&B charts in that year.

The next year saw another hit with 'Check Your Bucket' on his own Bo-Sound imprint.

In the 1970's Eddie, absorbed in the renovation business, disappeared from the music scene, but re-appeared at the end of the decade with two albums, 'Another Side of Eddie Bo' and 'Watch for the Coming,' which he produced himself.

In the new millennium Eddie bought a doctor's office and salon on Banks Street which he and his sister converted into an eatery for Bo’s fans called 'Check Your Bucket' after his 1970 hit.

Eddie's home and studio were hit by Hurricane Katrina while Bo was on tour in Paris.

A skilled carpenter and bricklayer he took on the task of completing the hurricane damage repairs himself.

Eddie Bo won many music awards including two Lifetime Achievement awards from the South Louisiana Music Association and Music/Offbeat Best of the Beat and was named New Orleans' music ambassador to Pakistan.

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february 2009

Snooks Eaglin

Snooks Eaglin

b. Fird Eaglin Jnr, 21st January 1936, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

d. 18th February 2009, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.

Snooks Eaglin (Fird Eaglin Jr.) (aka the human jukebox) passed away on the 18th of February 2009, following treatment for prostate cancer.

Born in  New Orleans, guitarist and singer, worked with James 'Sugar Boy' Crawford, The Flamingoes, The Wild Magnolias, James Booker, Henry Butler, Earl King, Tommy Ridgley, Ellis Marsalis, Professor Longhair and Smokey Johnson.

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Estelle Bennett

Estelle Bennett

b. Estelle Dong, 22nd July 1941, New York, New York State, U.S.A.

d. 11th February 2009, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.

Estelle Bennett, of the female singing group the Ronettes, has passed away. She was 67.

Estelle died at her home in Englewood, N.J.

Her brother-in-law, Jonathan Greenfield, said police found her dead in her apartment on Wednesday after relatives had been unable to contact her. The details have not yet been determined.

Mr. Greenfield is the manager and husband of Bennett's sister, Ronettes lead singer Ronnie Spector.

The Ronettes birthdays are as follows:


Estelle was born in 1941, her sister, Ronnie, in 1943, and Nedra Talley in 1945, according to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

They originally began performing as the Darling Sisters and later worked as dancers at New York's Peppermint Lounge.

The Ronettes signed with Phil Spector's Philles Records in 1963.

The same year, the group had a huge hit with the song 'Be My Baby', reaching number 2 in the charts.

The group were also involved in the legendary Christmas album, released by Spector, additionally, in 1963.

Their last Philles single was 'I Can Hear Music' in 1966, and going their seperate ways the following year.

After the group's breakup, Estelle hardly ever made public appearances.

She did have an exhaustive court battle, regarding royalties, with Spector, citing the use of the song 'Be My Baby' in the opening credits of the film 'Dirty Dancing'.

In 2000, Phil Spector was ordered to pay 2.6 million dollars as compensation for the use of the women's music in various media projects.

Two years later, the award was overturned.

The Ronettes were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2007.

In addition to her sister, Estelle is survived by a daughter, Toyin Hunter of Santa Monica, Calif., along with three grandsons.

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january 2009

Mike Francis

Mike Francis

b. Francesco Puccioni, 26th April 1961, Florence, Italy.

d. 30th January 2009, Rome, Italy.

Mike Francis, perhaps best remembered for his penning of the Amii Stewart song 'Friends', has died, following a long fight with cancer, which had stopped him singing. He was 47.

Mike was a voice familiar to many Soul Fans, although he retreated from the limelight, regarding live performances.

He was an accomplished singer, guitarist and pianist, instruments he had begun to get to terms with at the age of 14.

Mike first came to the attention of U.K. audiences via his single 'Features Of Love' in 1984.

Later that year Amii Stewarts song 'Friends' made it's way up the charts. He was also to duet with Amii again with the song 'Together'.

In 1991 he released the 12" single 'Livin' It Up' as part of the ensemble Bros2.

Although popular with the real Soul crowd, the single did not chart.

Mike was prolific musically, as his website indicates, and was a popular live performer in the Phillipines.

Many thanks to Yves Le Page for his informational input regarding Mike's passing.

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Hank Crawford

Hank Crawford

b. Bennie Ross Crawford, Jr, 21st December 1934, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

d. 29th January 2009, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.

Hank Crawford has died. He was 74.

Hank died Thursday the 29th of January, at his home. Delores Crawford said her brother had been in declining health for the past year, dealing with the long-term effects of a stroke he suffered in 2000.

He was born in Memphis, Tennessee and began formal piano studies at age nine and was soon playing for his church choir.

On returning from national service, his father brought Hank back an alto saxophone and when Hank entered high school, he learned how to play the instrument in order to join the band.

In the late Fifties Hank attended the Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee.

Here he majored in music studying theory and composition, as well as playing alto and baritone saxophone in the Tennessee State Jazz Collegians.

At college he formed his own group called Little Hank and the Rhythm Kings.

Hank then met Ray Charles and Ray hired Hank originally as a baritone saxophonist.

Hank later became Ray's musical director up until 1963.

He left Ray Charles in 1963 to form his own ensemble.

Signing to Atlantic, he recorded twelve LPs for the label, many while balancing his earlier duties as Ray’s director.

During the 1970's he recorded several jazz albums with 'I Hear a Symphony' reaching 11 on Billboard (magazine)'s Jazz albums chart.

In 1981, he featured, with fellow horn players Ronnie Cuber and David Newman, on B. B. King's 'There Must Be a Better World Somewhere'.

In 1983 he moved to Milestone Records as an arranger, soloist, and composer.

Then in 1986, he began working with blues-jazz organ master Jimmy McGriff.

In the new millennium Hank released 'The World of Hank Crawford'.

In 2001 he released 'The Best of Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff', and 'Back' in 2007.

Hank is survived by two children, Michael A. Crawford and Sherri L. Crawford and a grandchild, Tiffany M. Crawford.

Hank Crawford

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David Fathead Newman

David Fathead Newman

b. Davis Newman Jnr, 24th February 1933, Corsicana, Texas, U.S.A.

d. 20th January 2009, Kingston, New York, U.S.A.

David Fathead Newman has died. He was 75.

He died from complications of pancreatic cancer on the 20th January 2000, at a hospital in Kingston, New York, according to his wife and manager, Karen Newman.

Born in Corsicana, Texas, his professional career began in 1954 as an original member of Ray Charles' Band.

He was nicknamed 'Fathead', after his music teacher criticised his standard of reading music, disapproving of David's preference in listening to the music instead, tapping him on his head and calling him 'Fathead'.

David, later, relocated to Dallas, where he graduated from Lincoln High School.

After leaving school, he started playing flute and tenor saxophone at local shows.

He received a scholarship to Jarvis Christian College, where he studied theology and music.

David remained in college for two years and then began touring, and it was at one of these gigs he met Ray Charles.

He joined Ray's band in 1954, and remained with the ensemble for a dozen years, performing on some of Ray's most memorable hits ('I Got a Woman', 'What'd I Say' and 'Lonely Avenue').

David later worked for a decade with Herbie Mann

During the Seventies, he recorded some classic fusion albums, including 'Keep The Dream Alive', 'Concrete Jungle' and 'Scratch My Back'.

David became a character in the Ray Charles biopic 'Ray' (featuring Jamie Foxx), although he did not approve of the portrayal of his own character in the film.

On 22nd January 2008, David sat in as a guest with the CBS orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman.

He is survived by his wife, four sons, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

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Freddie Hubbard

Freddie Hubbard

b. Frederick Dewayne Hubbard, 7th April 1938, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.

d. 29th December 2008, Sherman Oaks Hospital, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Freddie Hubbard, died Monday the 29th December 2008, a month after suffering a heart attack. He was 70.

Freddie died at the Sherman Oaks Hospital, said his manager, fellow trumpeter David Weiss of the New Jazz Composers Octet.

He had been in the hospital since having a heart attack in November.

Freddie played on hundreds of recordings in a career dating from 1958, the year he arrived in New York from his hometown Indianapolis, where he had studied at the Arthur Jordan Conservatory of Music and with the Indianapolis Symphony.

Here he worked with such jazz legends as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley and John Coltrane.Freddie played on more than 300 recordings, including his own albums and those of scores of other artists.

In 1961 he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers, but left in 1964 to lead his own group.

He won his Grammy in 1972 for best jazz performance by a group for the album 'First Light.'

Freddie Hubbard love connection

Soul fans will look to his own recording of the song 'Little Sunflower' from 1979, a track embellished by a fine vocal from Al Jarreau, and taken from his 'Love Connection' album.

He was also popular in Soul circles due to his 1981 album release 'Splash', which featured the Jeannie Tracey fronted 'You're Gonna Lose Me'.

Freddie continued playing in recent years despite suffering declining health in recent years and a debilitating split upper lip suffered the early 1990's.

In 2006, he was named a National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Master, the nation's highest jazz honour.

Freddie Hubbard is survived by his wife of 35 years, Briggie Hubbard, and his son, Duane.

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