'What you leave behind is not what is engraved in stone monuments, but what is woven into the lives of others'. Pericles (495 - 429 b.c.)
b. William Franklin Guest, 2nd July 1941, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 24th December 2015, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
William Franklin Guest, a founding member of the group Gladys Knight and the Pips, has died. William was 74.
William died on the 24th of December 2015 of congestive heart failure.
He was born in Atlanta, Georgia, United States and was Gladys Knight's cousin.
Along with fellow member of the Pips, Edward Patten, the duo formed the company Patten and Guest Productions.
Edward passed away in 2005, however, William continued to manage artists though the Crew Entertainment company, which he formed along with members of Edward’s family.
William Guest was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1996.
William Guest's funeral service is set for Saturday, January 9th at 11:00 a.m. at Mount Moriah Baptist Church, 200 Joseph E Lowery Blvd SW, Atlanta, GA 30314.
b. 1934, U.S.A.
d. 2nd December 2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The Godfather of Doo-Wop, Wally Roker, has died. Wally was 78.
He passed away due to complications from surgery.
Wally was a member of the group The Heartbeats.
He was also an accomplished songwriter, penning several hits, including, ‘A Thousand Miles Away’, ‘Down On My Knees’, ‘Crazy for You’, ‘Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool’ & ‘Your Way’.
He was also the Director of Music Marketing for the Los Angeles-based Doo Wop Music Hall of Fame.
The Heartbeats were the first inductees into the Doo Wop Music Hall of Fame in 2012.
In the Sixties, Wally helped set up the Scepter imprint, who were integral in the early career of Dionne Warwick.
Wally, later, became Sceptre’s A&R man, before departing the label in the Seventies, and commencing a career in record promotion.
He worked for Henry Stone’s Florida-based T.K. Records, assisting several artists including K.C. and the Sunshine Band and Bobby Caldwell.
During the Eighties, Wally managed Tower of Power.
The four surviving members of the Heartbeats reunited in December 2003 to celebrate their 50th anniversary.
b. Cynthia Robinson, 12th January 1946, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
d. 23rd November 2015, California, U.S.A.
The singer and trumpeter, Cynthia Robinson, has died. Cynthia was 69.
Cynthia was an integral part of the group, Sly and the Family Stone, and passed away from cancer.
She was one of the first black and female trumpet players, performing in any of the big Rock & R&B band’s of that era.
In 1969, Cynthia performed at Woodstock.
Cynthia continued to collaborate with Sly Stone, after the demise of the group in 1975.
She was also a performed in, fellow Sly and the Family Stone member, Larry Graham’s band, Graham Central Station.
Cynthia was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Sly and the Family Stone.
She leaves two daughters, namely, Laura Marie and Sylvyette Phunne Stone.
b. Al Tousan, 14th January 1938, Gert Town District, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 10th November 2015, The Teatro Lara, Madrid, Spain.
The musician, composer and record producer, Allen Toussaint, has died. He was 77.
Allen passed away at around 2am on the 10th of November, whilst on tour at the Teatro Lara, Madrid, Spain.
He suffered a heart attack at his hotel and was pronounced dead on his arrival at hospital.
Several of his compositions have become R&B standards, including, ‘Working in the Coal Mine’ (Lee Dorsey), ‘Ride Your Pony’ (Lee Dorsey), ‘Fortune Teller’ (Benny Spellman), 'Ruler Of My Heart' (Irma Thomas), 'Sneakin' Through The Alley' (Robert Palmer), 'Hey Pocky A-Way' (The Wild Tchoupitoulas), 'Lady Marmalade' (LaBelle), 'Right Place, Wrong time' (Dr.John), 'Yes We Can Can' (The Pointer Sisters), ‘Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky’ (Lou Donaldson), 'Freedom For The Stallion' (Hues Corporation) 'Cissy Strutt' (The Meters), 'Southern Nights' (Glen Campbell) and ‘Mother-in-Law’ (Ernie K-Doe).
He was born in a shotgun house in Gert Town, New Orleans in 1938.
These dwellings were as described. Storage houses for arms which dated back to the American Civil War.
His family entertained musicians, whilst he was a child, thus a young Allen had plenty of time for practising.
When he was 17 he played with Earl King's band in Alabama.
He initially recorded for RCA Victor (under the name of Al Tousan) and recorded an album of instrumentals in 1964.
During the Sixties, Allen penned hits for Ernie K-Doe (‘A Certain Girl’), Irma Thomas (‘Ruler Of My Heart’), Art and Aaron Neville, The Showmen, Chris Kenner, and Lee Dorsey.
In the Seventies he wrote and produced for The Meters, Dr John, B.J. Thomas, Robert Palmer, Willy DeVille, Sandy Denny, Elkie Brooks, Solomon Burke and the Wild Tchoupitoulas.
Boz Scaggs recorded Allen’s ‘What Do You Want the Girl to Do?’ on his 1976 album ‘Silk Degrees’.
He went on to work with Labelle, producing the album ‘Nightbirds’, (featuring ‘Lady Marmalade’).
Allen collaborated with Paul McCartney and Wings and Glen Campbell.
He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1998.
In 2011 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Allen is survived by his two children and several grandchildren.
b. Diane Charlemagne, 22nd February 1964, Manchester, England
d. 28th October 2015, England
The U.K. Soul songstress, Diane Charlemagne, has died. Diane was only 51.
She had been fighting lung cancer for a while, and passed away with her family around her.
Born in Manchester, Diane Charlemagne came to the attention of U.K. Soul fans, through her group 52nd Street.
The group released two albums in the mid Eighties, which were ‘Children Of The Night
‘ (in 1985) and ‘Something's Going On’ (in 1987).
The latter albums title track was later covered by the U.S. Soul singer, Will Downing.
Diane went on to feature in several other groups including the Cool Down Zone, Nomad Soul, Urban Cookie Collective, Goldie, Moby, D:Ream, S.P.Y. and the Sunburst band.
She was the lead singer with Urban Cookie Collective, who achieved two U.K. Top 10 hits in the Nineties.
In 1990, a reformed 52nd Street changed their name to Cool Down Zone, who released the album ‘New Direction’.
Diane sang vocals on the Goldie album ‘Inner City Life’.
She collaborated with several other artists including Moby, High Contrast, D:Ream, Aquasky, Netsky and S.P.Y.
Her final released track was 2014’s ‘I Am Somebody’ which she worked on with London Elektricity and S.P.Y for the Street Child World Cup album.
b. Hubert Leroy Goins, 21st February 1939, Ocala, Tampa, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 27th October 2015, Italy.
The R&B singer, Herbie Goins has died. He was 76.
The son of a gospel singer, Herbie grew up in Ocala, Florida.
He formed his first group, The Teen Kings, whilst he was in his teens.
Relocating to New York City, Herbie sang background vocals for the likes of B. B. King, Bobby Bland and Sam Cooke.
In the late Fifties he was recruited into the army, and was posted to Germany.
When he left the services, Herbie joined Eric Delaney’s band, which too him to England.
He joined the Chris Barber Band, then joining Alexis Korner's band, Blues Incorporated.
In 1964, he featured on the albums ‘Live At The Cavern’, and ‘Red Hot From Alex’.
In 1965, Herbie joined the Nightimers, who went on to be a favourite group on the Mod Scene.
no. 1 in your heart - 1967
In 1967, the group released the album ’No. 1 In Your Heart’ for the Parlophone imprint.
The group’s line-up featured John McLaughlin on guitar.
They also supported Otis Redding on his U.K. tour at the time.
The Nightimers played at the famous Flamingo and Marquee night clubs, sharing the stage with the likes of Jimi Hendrix and John Lee Hooker.
Later in the decade, the group merged with Mick Weaver's band Wynder K Frog.
The group relocated to Italy where they performed until 1971.
After some equipment was stolen, the band relocated to the U.K. leaving Herbie in Italy.
He continued to perform there as a songwriter and record producer.
During the Eighties Herbie released several singles in Italy, including ‘You Don't Love Me’ and ‘Scrap Rap’ (in 1983), ‘Hold On’ b/w ‘Nice & Slow’ (in 1984), ‘I Feel Good’ (in 1986), and ‘The One I Need Now’ (in 1989).
During the Nineties, Herbie continued to work with Chris Barber and one-time colleague Dick Heckstall-Smith.
In 2009, he toured the U.K with Cliff Bennett, Chris Farlowe and the Norman Beaker Band.
Also that year, several Night-Timers sides were re-released on a compilation CD in England on the Regal Zonophone imprint.
Herbie also fronted a gospel vocal group called Stars of Joy.
b. Winfield G. Scott (a.k.a. Roebie Kirk), 27th November 1920, Bloomfield, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 26th October 2015, Union, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Winfield Scott, has died. Winfield was 94.
Winfield also was known as Roebie Kirk, a name he used as his stage name with the Fifties group, The Cues.
Born in 1920 in Bloomfield, New Jersey, his mother was Lillian Lee Scott.
As a child, he was something of a ‘Jack of all trades’, earning money when and where he could.
He later joined the group The Cues, and became a writer for Elvis Presley, LaVern Baker, Connie Francis and amongst others.
Winfield was a longtime collaborator of Otis Blackwell.
Together they wrote many songs for major artists, including, ‘Tweedle Dee’ (LaVern Baker) and ‘Return to Sender’ (Elvis Presley).
return to sender - elvis presley - 1962 / home in your heart - solomon burke - 1963
The latter song was written for the Elvis movie vehicle, ‘Girls! Girls! Girls!’, and became his biggest hit, selling over 14 million copies in the U.S. alone.
Other Otis Blackwell/Winfield Scott songs included, ’Home In Your Heart’, ‘Burn That Candle’ (for Bill Haley), ‘Bop-Ting-a-Ling’, ‘We’re Comin’ In Loaded’, ‘Easy Question’, ‘One Broken Heart For Sale’, ‘Please Don’t Drag That String Around’, ‘Long Legged Girl’, ‘Many Tears Ago’ (for Connie Francis, the song reached number 7 on the Billboard Hot 100), ‘Stranger in the Crowd’, ‘Comfy'n Cozy’, ‘A Bucket of Tears’ & ’Sweetheart’ (both for Peggy Lee), ‘I'm a Roustabout’ (for Elvis Presley), ’That's Right’ (for the Mills Brothers), ‘Mister Moon’ (for Pat Boone).
In 1957, Winfield married Daisy Tarver, and they had a son named Roebie.
Both Daisy, and his younger brother Joseph, passed away a few years ago.
b. Leroi Marlo Henderson, 31st May 1948, Alamogordo, New Mexico, U.S.A.
d. 25th October 2015, U.S.A.
The guitarist, arranger, producer and songwriter, Marlo Henderson, has died. Marlo was 67. He had been suffering from cancer.
During his career, Marlo has written or performed, for the likes of The Pointer Sisters, Minnie Riperton, Tata Vega, Syreeta, Earth, Wind & Fire, Buddy Miles, Mandre, Booker T Jones, Paulinho Da Costa, Deniece Williams, Michael Jackson, Quincy Jones, The Pointer Sisters, Diana Ross, Marvin Gaye, Cher, Janet Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Van Morrison, The Temptations, Ray Charles, Rufus & Chaka Khan, Frederick Knight, Rodney Franklin, Sylvia St. James, The McCrary’s, Chuck Cissel, Rene & Angela, Teena Marie, Krystol, Glenn Jones, Tom Jones, Gil Scott-Heron, Rita Coolidge, Nancy Wilson, Ramsey Lewis, Patti LaBelle, Seals & Croft, The Jacksons, Gato Barbieri, Dusty Springfield, Brenda Russell, Ahmad Jamal, Joe Sample, Johnny Mathis, Smokey Robinson, The Emotions, D.J. Rogers, Lamont Dozier, Lenny White, Webster Lewis, The Jones Girls, Eddie Henderson, The Gap Band, Sly Stone, Bette Midler, Dr. John, Phyllis Hyman, The Dells, Maxayn and Norman Connors.
He, later went on to work with several hip-hop artists, including Tupac and Snoop Dogg.
In the early Seventies, Marlo was part of the late Buddy Miles group between 1970 and 1971.
In 1972, he was part of the Columbia Records group, High Voltage (featuring Andre Lewis).
Marlo joined the group Maxayn in 1973 as a guitarist and arranger for an album entitled ‘The Answer’.
In 1977, Marlo became the guitarist for Soul Songstress Minnie Riperton, co-penning ‘Wouldn’t Matter Where You Are’, Love Hurts’ and ‘Young, Willing & Able’.
He also played for Deniece Williams, co-penning ‘Time’.
In 1979, Marlo played guitar on the Michael Jackson album ‘Off The Wall’, playing guitar on the tracks, ‘Don't Stop 'Til You Get Enough’, ‘Rock With You’, ‘Off The Wall’, ‘Girlfriend’, ‘It's The Falling In Love’ and ‘Burn This Disco Out’.
b. Mark Murphy, 14th March 1932, Syracuse, New York, U.S.A.
d. 22nd October 2015, The Lillian Booth Actors Home, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The jazz vocalist, Mark Murphy, has died following a lengthy illness that stopped him from performing since 2012. Mark was 83.
He is, probably, best remembered for penning the original lyrics to the jazz classic ‘Stolen Moments’.
Mark was a six-time Grammy Award nominee, who released more than 40 recordings since releasing his debut album 'Meet Mark Murphy' in 1956, followed closely by 'Let Yourself Go' (in 1957).
He worked as an actor in London in the 1960's before returning to the U.S., where he began recording for the Muse label including tributes to Jack Kerouac and Nat King Cole, featuring 'Nat King Cole Songbook Vol. I and II', 'Bop for Kerouac', 'Kerouac Then And Now', 'Living Room', 'Satisfaction Guaranteed', 'Beauty And the Beast' and 'Stolen Moments'.
In 1987, He recorded 'Night Mood', an album of songs by Brazilian composer Ivan Lins, followed by the Grammy-nominated 'September Ballads' on Milestone Records.
b. Bruce C. Nazarian, 1st January 1949, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 9th October 2015, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
The musician, recording artist and music producer, Bruce Nazarian, has died. Bruce was 66.
Bruce had performed in his hometown of Detroit since a very early age.
He studied, firstly, piano and vocals, later becoming interested in the tenor saxophone.
Bruce attended the Mackenzie High School, singing in the Mackenzie High School Choir.
He later attended the Wayne State University.
In the late Sixties, Bruce toured Europe with the Wayne State University Men's Glee Club.
Bruce worked as a studio musician, becoming a sought after guitarist.
He collaborated with the likes of Don Davis, Don Was, George Clinton, Earl Van Dyke, Richard ‘Pistol’ Allen, Uriel Jones, Robert White along with other group members of Motown’s in-house band, the Funk Brothers.
Bruce was a member of the bands, Brownsville, Brownsville Station (1975-1978) and the The Automatix (1983).
He later performed on many major Soul and Jazz artists albums, including Michael Henderson, Houston Pearson, Denise LaSalle, Johnnie Taylor, Jeannie Reynolds, King Erisson, Dennis Coffey, the Dramatics, C.J. & Co., Detroit Emeralds, David Ruffin, Jerry Carr, the Brides Of Funkenstein, L.J. Reynolds, the Temptations, Ron Banks, Barrett Strong, Millie Scott and Regina Belle.
Bruce was an active member of the Contemporary Jazz music scene in Los Angeles and was the presenter of The Digital Guy Radio Show heard weekly on Solar Radio.
b. Larry Rosen, 25th May 1940, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
d. 9th October 2015, Park Ridge, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The producer, musician, and recording engineer, Larry Rosen, has died. Larry was 75.
His passing was confirmed by his publicist, who stated he had been suffering from brain cancer.
Larry Rosen (along with Dave Grusin) was one of the co-founders of the GRP Records imprint.
GRP initially stood for ‘Grusin-Rosen Productions’, however following the departure of fellow co-founder, Dave Grusin in 1995, the letters initials became credited to ‘Great Records Period’.
GRP was founded in 1972.
The imprint was set up, originally as a freelance production company, however, later in 1978, the label merged with the Arista imprint, forming Arista/GRP records.
Dave and Larry stayed at the label, becoming independent in 1982.
GRP’s artistic roster included the likes of Dave Valentin, Tom Browne, Earl Klugh, Bernard Wright, Bobby Broom, Carl Anderson, Angela Bofill, David Benoit, Al Jarreau, Marc Antoine, Acoustic Alchemy, Patti Austin, Diane Schuur, Lee Ritenour, will downing, Jeff Lorber, Joyce Cooling, George Benson, Ramsey Lewis, Michael Brecker, Gerald Albright, Maysa, Chick Corea, Diana Krall, Dr. John, Gary Burton, B.B. King, Arturo Sandoval, Kevin Eubanks and Dave Grusin himself.
GRP was sold to the MCA imprint in 1990.
The label is GRP is now part of The Verve Music Group, (part of the Universal Music Group).
al abrams with the holland brothers in the sixties
b. Al Abrams, 30th May 1941, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 3rd October 2015, Findlay, Ohio, U.S.A.
Al Abrams, the founding press officer and publicist for Motown Records, has died.
He had been fighting cancer, his wife, Nancy Abrams, said. He was 74.
Al was the first employee of Berry Gordy, Jr.’s Motown Record Corporation, and was an employee before the company was originally set up.
He was responsible for the Motown slogan, ‘The Sound of Young America’.
Born in a Jewish section of a Polish community in Detroit, Al later became the Director of Public Relations at Motown between 1964 and 1966.
Al worked in many capacities for Gordy, writing press releases and album notes.
He left Motown in 1967, in order to launch a public relations firm with clients such as Stax Records and James Brown.
Al undertook P.R. work for Florence Ballard (after she left the Supremes), as well as Holland-Dozier-Holland on their independent, post-Motown Invictus label.
He also worked as a journalist, writing for three weekly newspapers, including LaPrensa, a Latino weekly based in Ohio, and the Sojourner's Truth, an African-American weekly.
In addition to his wife, Abrams is survived by a daughter and two grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held Thursday at The Dorfman Chapel in the Detroit suburb of Farmington Hills.
b. Joseph ‘Smokey’ Johnson, 14th November 1936, New Orleans, Louisiana, U. S.A.
d. 6th October 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana, U. S.A.
The multi-talented drummer, Joseph Johnson, has died. Jo was 78.
He passed away following a long illness.
Jo was a session drummer who performed in New Orleans, performing on many of the area’s jazz, funk, blues, soul, and R&B tracks.
Born in 1936, Jo Johnson was raised in Tremé.
Originally, he played trombone before switching to drums at the age of 12.
Jo played drums for Fats Domino in the 1950s and 1960s.
In the early Sixties, he collaborated with Wardell Quezergue, playing on the tune ‘Trick Bag’.
The duo went on to audition for Motown in Detroit, after which, many of the local musicians were not used by Motown, except for Jo who stayed on.
Jo returned to new Orleans after a year or so, however, his techniques were said to have influenced future drummers at the imprint.
In 1964, Nola Records was formed, and Jo became the drummer for label's in house band.
Jo stopped playing drums following a stroke in 1993.
He was forced to leave his home following the effects of Hurricane Katrina in September 2005.
Jo became a resident of Musicians' Village, a Habitat for Humanity project in the Upper Ninth Ward of New Orleans.
b. Wilton Lewis Felder, 31st August 1940, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 27th September 2015, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
Founding Crusaders band member, Wilton Felder has died. Wilton was 75. Wilton had been suffering from cancer.
Word of Wilton’s passing was posted on Ray Parker, Jr.’s Facebook page.
He was a proficient saxophone and bass player for, firstly, The Jazz Crusaders, who later became The Crusaders.
Born in Houston, Texas, Wilton attended high school in Houston.
It was, whilst at high school, he met Wayne Henderson, Joe Sample, and Stix Hooper.
The students formed the Jazz Crusaders, whilst at the same time, Wilton worked as a studio musician.
He became one of the in-house bass players for the Motown imprint.
Wilton played bass on the Jackson 5’s evergreen recordings ‘I Want You Back’ and ‘The Love You Save’.
He went on to play bass for Marvin Gaye, Grant Green, America, Seals and Crofts, John Cale, Billy Joel, Randy Newman, Joan Baez, Joni Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine, Solomon Burke, Shuggie Otis, Merry Clayton, Donald Byrd, Jimmy Smith, Nancy Wilson, Willie Hutch, Jackson Browne, the Four Tops, Bobby Blue Bland, The Hues Corporation, Arthur Adams, Chuck Jackson, Eddie Kendricks, Steely Dan, Tavares, Z.Z. Hill, Ronnie Laws, Anne Murray, Leon Haywood, Dee Dee Bridgewater, Gene Page, Eloise Laws, Donovan, Maxine Nightingale, Brenton Wood, Al Jarreau, Carmen McCrae, Minnie Riperton, Lamont Dozier, The Whispers, Ben E. King, Dizzy Gillespie, B.B. King, Johnny Bristol, Harry Nilsson, Ringo Starr, O'Bryan, Randy Crawford, Tina Turner, Howard Hewett, Michael Franks, James Ingram, Yasuko Agawa, Kirk Whalum, Angela Bofill, Bobby Lyle, Joe Cocker, Rosie Gaines, Dusty Springfield, Burt Bacharach, Carl Graves, Bobby Womack and the Crusaders.
In 1969, Wilton’s debut release was entitled ‘Bullitt’, which featured the soundtrack for the film of the same name.
Wilton’s second release was 1978’s ‘We All Have A Star’, which included ‘Let’s Dance Together’.
In 1980, he released the album ‘Inherit The Wind’, the title track becoming a huge hit on the R&B charts.
The set also featured Wilton’s take on the Donny Hathaway classic ’Someday We’ll All Be Free’.
1983’s release ‘Gentle Fire’ featured the popular ‘Driftin On A Dream’.
His 1985 release, ‘Secrets’, featured another song featuring Bobby Womack on vocals on the track ‘(No Matter How High I Get) I'll Still be Looking Up to You’.
Between 1987 and 2005, Wilton released 5 further releases, which were ‘Love Is A Rush’, ‘Nocturnal Moods’, ‘Forever, Always’, ‘ Three Kings: The Legacy Continues 1’ (with Wayne Henderson and Ronnie Laws) and 2005’s ‘Let's Spend Some Time’.
ben cauley (the barkays)
b. Benjamin Cauley, 3rd October 1947, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 21st September 2015, U.S.A.
The trumpeter, singer, songwriter and arranger, Ben Cauley, has died. Ben was 67.
The official cause of death has not been released at this time.
Ben was an original member of the Bar-Kays in the Sixties.
He was the sole survivor of the 1967 plane crash that killed Otis Redding and four band members.
Ben helped rebuild the band in 1968 with the other remaining member James Alexander.
He, later, recorded with various Stax artists including Isaac Hayes, Rufus Thomas, and The Staples Singers.
In 2015, the Bar-Kays were inducted into the Official Rhythm & Blues Music Hall of Fame in Clarksdale, Mississippi.
b. Roy C. Tyson Jr. (a.k.a. Pee Wee), 20th May 1950, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 6th September 2015, Saginaw, Michigan, U.S.A.
In 1963, Roy recorded his first record, ‘Oh What a Night for Love’ b/w ‘Not Too Young to Sing the Blues’ for the Double-L Records imprint.
‘Not Too Young to Sing the Blues’ was released as an A-Side later that year.
He promoted his record in Boston, Washington D.C., Atlantic City, and New York.
He released the follow up, ‘I Want to be Your Boyfriend’ (and also ‘The Girl I Love’) before relocating to San Francisco to perform with his group, Little Roy Tyson and The Royal Teens.
Roy’s releases are regularly played on satellite radio, including XM's Fifties On Five.
b. Donald Franklin Griffin, 1955, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
d. 3rd September 2015, Denver, Colorado, U.S.A.
The brother of fellow Miracles member, Billy Griffin, Donald Griffin, has died. Donald was 60.
Donald died in a car accident in Colorado.
Apart from his work with The Miracles, Donald also collaborated with the singer Anita Baker.
With his brother, Billy, Donald performed on the group’s double platinum album ‘City Of Angels’, which featured the hit single ‘Love Machine’.
Born in Baltimore, Don attended The Peabody Conservatory of Music as a teenager.
When Smokey Robinson left the Miracles, Don’s brother, Billy, brought him into the group’s line-up.
When hen the Miracles left Motown Records, Don joined the group as a fifth member.
In 1979, the Miracles went their separate ways, with Billy and Don turning their skills to songwriting.
The Griffin Brothers joined ranks with the composer, John Barnes as a writing and production team.
donald in the group madagascar in 1981
Don formed the group Madagascar in 1981, who recorded the popular song ‘Rainbow’ for the Arista imprint, taken from their ‘Spirit Of The Street’ album.
In 1983, Don co-penned the song ‘Hold Me Tighter In The Rain’, for his brother Billy (produced by John Barnes).
In 1986, Anita Baker recruited Don as her new lead and rhythm guitar-man.
In 2015, Don was rehearsing with a new funk band in Denver for a forthcoming Las Vegas engagement.
Donald Griffin is survived by his son, Brandon, brother, Billy Griffin and his sister, Diane Pruitt.
b. Donald Haywoode, 1936, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
d. 9th August 2015, Hammersmith Hospital, London, U.K.
The second tenor for the groups, the Fantastics and the Velours, Donald Haywoode, has died.
Donald passed away on the 9th of August at Hammersmith Hospital in London.
Born in 1936, Donald helped set up the group, the Velours in Brooklyn.
The original members featured Jerome ‘Speedo’ Ramos, John Cheetom, Donald Haywoode, Kenneth Walker and Marvin Holland.
The Velours began recording for the Onyx imprint in June 1956.
They released ‘My Love Come Back’ that year, releasing ‘Can I Come Over Tonight’ in 1957.
The Velours released further singles in that decade, including ‘Blue Velvet’ b/w ‘Tired Of Your Rock & Rolling’, ‘This Could Be the Night’ b/w ‘Hands Across The Table’, ‘Romeo’, ‘Remember’ b/w ‘Can I Walk You Home’, and ‘Crazy Love’ b/w ‘I'll Never Smile Again’.
In 1957, Marvin Holland and Kenneth Walker left the group.
They were replaced by Charles Moffitt and John Pearson (a baritone).
Between 1958 on to 1961, the group switched labels to the Cub imprint.
They brought in Troy Keyes and Keith Williams (as a tenor), transforming the group into a sextet.
The group released one album entitled ‘Remember With the Velours’, recording up until 1961 before disbanding.
In 1968, they reformed as the Fantastics.
Donald’s funeral will take place at Mortlake Crematorium on Monday the 17th of August 2015.
william brown (the mad lads)
b. William C. Brown III, b. 30th June 1946, Perth Amboy, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 24th July 2015, Quince Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, East Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The founder of the group the Mad Lads, William C. Brown III, has died. William was 69.
Modern Soul fans will recall his HCRC Records single, ’Shining’ b/w ‘Come On And Go With Me’ from 1982.
William was one of the last two surviving founding members of the Mad Lads.
He had been in poor health in recent years following suffering a stroke.
The Mad Lads recorded several hits for Stax Records during the 1960s.
Originally going under the name, the Emeralds, they were created at the Booker T. Washington High School in Memphis, comprising, originally of, John Gary Williams, Julius E. Green, William Brown and Robert Phillips.
They signed and recorded for Stax in 1964, releasing ‘The Sidewalk Surf’.
Other singles followed in 1966, including ‘I Want Someone’, ‘I Want A Girl’ and ‘Patch My Heart’.
John Gary Williams and William were then drafted into military service, and sent to Vietnam.
The group released several albums during the career, including ‘In Action’ (in 1966), ‘The Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad Lads’ (in 1969), ‘A New Beginning’ (in 1973), Music For Lovers Only’ (in 1987), ‘Madder Than Ever’ (in 1990) and ‘Love Songs For Lovers’ (in 2011).
William was one of seven siblings, began working off the microphone at Stax, as an engineer.
Stax co-founder, Estelle Axton, later became the group’s promoter.
He later became an engineer at Ardent and at Willie Mitchell’s Studios.
William leaves three children, two adopted children, and a stepdaughter.
b. Curtis Anderson, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
d. 21st July 2015, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
The singer, Curtis Anderson, has died.
He will, probably, be best remembered for his 1980 Brown Bag Records single ‘The Hardest Part’ (a song later covered by the artist Donald Albert in the early Nineties).
Curtis was diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer last year, undergoing chemotherapy during September 2014.
During the late 1970’s, Curtis could be hear on Baltimore’s WWIN station, becoming the Program Director.
Curtis did not have health insurance, and the family have set up a Go Fund Me campaign.
If you wish to donate, please visit this page:
Funeral arrangements are:
Wylie Funeral Home
9200 Liberty Road
Monday, Aug. 3rd 5 to 8pm ...viewing
Tuesday, Aug. 4th 10:00 to 10:30 a.m....wake
Tuesday, Aug. 4th 10:30 a.m. ....Funeral
arthur g. wright
b. Arthur George Wright, 28th May 1937, Dallas Texas, U.S.A.
d. July 2015, U.S.A.
The arranger and songwriter, Arthur G. Wright, has died. Arthur was 78.
He was the son of Melvin Ernest Wright & Evelyn Johnson.
Arthur worked as a guitarist, arranger, producer, songwriter, bandleader, background vocalist.
Throughout his career, Arthur has collaborated with many R&B household names.
He performed on over 5,000 recordings including, guitar session work on songs such as ‘Love Hangover’ (Diana Ross), ‘Don't Leave Me This Way’ (Thelma Houston), along with contributions for other Motown artists, including Smokey Robinson, The Supremes, Dynamic Superiors, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder, 5th Dimension, Marvin Gaye's (‘Let's Get It On’), and The Temptations.
Away from Motown, Arthur’s work was featured on recordings by the likes of Ray Charles, Friends Of Distinction, Jimmy Witherspoon, the Righteous Brothers, Willie Hutch, Dennis Coffey, Raul Da Souza, The Pips, Rare Gems Odyssey, Syreeta, Billy Preston, Bettye Swann, The Emotions, Little Richard, Mary Love, Nolen & Crossley, Leon Haywood, Jerry Butler, Z.Z. Hill, Side Effect, Donna Summer, Jose Feliciano, Ike & Tina Turner, Billy Preston and Little Johnny Taylor.
He worked with the producer Hal Davis and had a career at Motown Records, which spanned some two decades.
wright brothers flying machine
Arthur was part of the group the Wright Bros. Flying Machine, who released a self titled album on Casablanca Records in 1978.
joey robinson jnr.
b. Joseph Roy Robinson Jr., 1962, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 12th July 2015, Tenafly, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Joey Robinson, Jr., the man that headed up the famed Sugar Hill Records legacy, has died.
He was 53.
Joey passed away from cancer, following a struggle with the illness.
Following the passing of his father (Joe Robinson Snr) and his mother, (the Sugarhill artist Sylvia Robinson), Joey was the executor of the Sugarhill Music Publishing estate, keeping the family’s legacy alive.
Joey was the couple’s oldest son.
He was a member of the Sugarhill groups New Guys On The Block and the West Street Mob, becoming a member of the Sugarhill Gang in 1985.
The Sugar Hill Gang hit the charts in 1979, with the evergreen ‘Rapper’s Delight’.
The labels Roster included the likes of Grand Master Flash and the Furious Five, Sequence (which included singer Angie Stone), Phillipe Wynne, Funky Four Plus One, Crash Crew, Treacherous Three, amongst others.
Joey’s brother, Leland, stated that his family had endured several family losses of loved ones.
Youngest sibling, Rhondo, passed away in 2014 at age 43 from multiple organ dysfunction syndrome, after which Joey had become a father figure to his brother.
Joseph Robinson Sr. died in 2000 and Sylvia Robinson died in 2011.
Joey’s wake and funeral are scheduled for Tuesday the 14th of July at the Community Baptist Church in Englewood.
camille bob (a.k.a. lil' bob)
b. Camille Bob (a.k.a. Lil' Bob), 7th November 1937, Arnaudville, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 6th July 2015, Opelousas, Louisiana, U.S.A.
The R&B vocalist and musician, Camille Bob (a.k.a. Lil' Bob), has died. He was 77.
He passed away from cancer in Opelousas General Hospital in Louisiana.
Camille was still active as a performer in Louisiana up until ten years ago.
His popular dance ensemble was known as Lil' Bob and the Lollipops.
During the Fifties, Camille performed as a drummer in a band led by Good Rockin' Bob.
Camille went on to form his own dance band called The Lollipops, )who recorded under the names Lil’ Bob & The Lollipops and Camille Bob & The Lollipops).
His group recorded for several imprints, beginning with Goldband Records in 1958, releasing ‘Take It Easy Katy’ b/w ‘Little One’.
Other featured labels included, Carl, Decca, High-up, Tamm, La Lousianne, Jin, Whit, Soul Unlimited and Master Trak.
Camille sang and drummed in his group, who performed at various venues in Louisiana during the Sixties.
His group became best known for their 1965 single ‘I Got Loaded’ b/w ’Nobody But You’.
In 1966 they recorded the La Louisianne album ‘Nobody But You’.
In 1968, Camille switched to the Jin imprint.
At Jin, he released the album, ‘Sweet Soul Swinger’, remaining at the imprint until 1970.
In the Seventies and Eighties, he recorded under the name of Camille Bob, releasing ‘Brother Brown’ b/w ‘2 Weeks 2 Days Too Long’ in 1972, and ‘Harry Hippy’ b/w ‘Kill That Roach’ in 1980.
In 2004, a compilation CD was released, entitled ‘Little Bob & The Lollipops’.
larry johnson (the artistics)
b. Lawrence Johnson, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. June 2015, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Lawrence ‘Larry’ Johnson, the first tenor for the group the Artistics, has died.
Details are scarce regarding causes and timings, however, Larry’s homegoing service will be held on Saturday the 27th of June, at the Gatling Chapel, 10133 S. Halsted St. Chicago, IL. 60628.
The funeral service will take place between 11:00 a.m. until Mid-day.
The Artistics were attendee’s of the Marshall High School in Chicago.
The group featured Curt Thomas (lead), Jesse Bolian (second tenor), Aaron Floyd (baritone bass) and Larry (first tenor).
The Artistics sang backgrounds for for Major Lance (‘Monkey Time’).
They signed to the OKeh Records imprint in 1963, the line-up, later, to feature Charles Davis and Marvin Smith.
At OKeh their first record for the label was ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’, which reached number 9 on the R&B chart and no. 55 on the pop chart in 1966.
The song was co-penned by Larry, along with Marvin Smith and Jesse Bolian from the group.
Albums followed, including ‘I’m Gonna Miss You’ (in 1967), ‘The Articulate Artistics’ (in 1968) and ‘What Happened’ (in 1969).
b. Harold Raymond Battiste, Jr., 28th October 1931, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 19th June 2015, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Harold Raymond Battiste, Jr., the composer, arranger and performer, has died. Harold was 83.
He had undergone a period of declining health.
Harold will, probably, be best remembered for his arrangements on the late Sam Cooke’s evergreen ‘You Send Me’ in 1957.
Born in New Orleans, Harold attended the Dillard University, where be became accomplished as a saxophonist, pianist, and arranger.
After forming his own group at the time, Harold, in 1961, set up the first African American musician-owned record label.
All For One Records, was also known as AFO Records.
The imprint released Barbara George’s ‘I Know (You Don't Love Me No More)’, and the first album by Ellis Marsalis, ‘The Monkey Puzzle’.
As a producer and arranger, harold’s work included Joe Jones' ‘You Talk Too Much’, Lee Dorsey's ‘Ya Ya’, and Sonny and Cher's ‘I Got You Babe’.
He helped break the career of Mac Rebennack (a.k.a Dr. John), going on to produce the singers initial album releases.
For a long period, Harold resided in Los Angeles, as musical director for Sonny & Cher.
He worked with the artist Tom Waits in the late seventies.
In the late Eighties, Harold had become a lecturer.
He established the AFO Foundation, a non-profit service and educational organization, which documented the heritage of New Orleans music.
In 1998, the City of New Orleans proclaimed his birthday as Harold Battiste Day.
b. Wendell Holmes, 19th December 1943, Christchurch, Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 19th June 2015, Rosedale, Maryland, U.S.A.
Wendell Holmes, the Vocalist, Guitarist, Pianist and Songwriter for The Holmes Brothers, has died. Wendell was 71.
Wendell passed away due to complications relating to pulmonary hypertension.
Recently, Wendell was living in Rosedale, Maryland.
Sherman Holmes resides in Saluda, Virginia, whilst Popsy Dixon died of bladder cancer earlier this year.
Along with his brother, Sherman, and Popsy Dixon, The Holmes Brothers were an American trio originally from Christchurch, Virginia.
The Holmes Brothers sound included several genres, including blues, soul, gospel, country, and rhythm & blues.
The trio had performed alongside the likes of Van Morrison and Phoebe Snow.
They performed for for President Bill Clinton.
Wendell, himself, toured with Inez and Charlie Foxx (who sang the hit ’Mockingbird’) up until 1979.
mighty sam mcclain
b. Samuel McClain, 15th April 1943, Monroe, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 15th June 2015, New Hampshire Nursing Home, Exeter Hospital, Progressive Care Unit, Exeter, New Hampshire, U.S.A.
The Soul and Blues singer, Mighty Sam McClain, has died. Sam was 72.
He had suffered a stroke earlier this year. The cause of death is not yet known.
Born in Monroe, Louisiana, a young Sam McClain began singing in his mother church, at a very early age.
At the start of his tens, Sam left home to tour the Chitlin' circuit, along with the guitarist Melvin Underwood.
Two years later, and Sam had become the lead singer in the group.
In 1966, Sam was discovered by the deejay Papa Don Schroeder in Pensacola, Florida.
Sam recorded a version of the Patsy Cline song ‘Sweet Dreams’.
Further recordings followed at the Muscle Shoals studio’s, including ‘Fannie-May’ and ‘In the Same Old Way’.
When he was not performing, or recording, Sam worked in several labouring jobs.
By 1989, he had began touring and recording in Japan.
During the early Nineties, Sam had relocated to New England.
Collaborating with Joe Harley and AudioQuest Music, Sam releasing ‘Give It Up To Love’ and ‘Keep On Movin'.
He relocated again, this time to New Hampshire, releasing ‘Sledgehammer Soul and Down Home Blues’.
Further releases followed, including ‘Journey’ and ‘Joy & Pain’ for the CrossCut Records imprint.
His final AudioQuest released was ‘Soul Survivor: The Best of Mighty Sam McClain’ in 1999.
Sam signed to the Telarc Blues imprint in 1999, releasing ‘Blues for the Soul’ (in 2000) and ‘Sweet Dreams’ (in 2001).
Sam then set up McClain Productions, and set up his own record label, Mighty Music.
‘One More Bridge To Cross’ was released in February 2003, ‘Betcha Didn't Know’ in 2009, which was nominated by the Blues Association as ‘the Soul/Blues Album of 2010'.
In 2008, Sam set up the 'Give US Your Poor' project, which was designed to help the homeless.
He later co-wrote (with the saxophonist Scott Shetler), ‘Show Me the Way’.
Sam performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York City, and at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.
In 2009, he recorded an album of duets with the Iranian folk singer, Mahsa Vahdat, entitled ‘Scent of Reunion: Love Duets Across Civilizations’.
In 2012, Sam recorded ‘Too Much Jesus (Not Enough Whiskey)’ , the title track penned by Sam and Pat Herlehy.
The song was nominated for a Blues Music Award in the 'Best Song' category.
In 2014, Sam appeared on the compilation ‘Songs from a Stolen Spring’.
b. Randolph Denard Ornette Coleman, 9th March 1930, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 11th June 2015, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The jazz saxophonist, violinist, trumpeter and composer, Ornette Coleman, has died. He was 85.
Ornette passed away following a cardiac arrest in New York City.
Ornette Coleman was an integral part of the free jazz movement of the Sixties.
Hailing from Fort Worth, Texas, Ornette attended the I.M. Terrell High School, after which, in 1949, he toured with a traveling show.
Whilst in Louisiana, Ornette was attacked and his saxophone was destroyed.
He began playing on the alto saxophone, joining the Pee Wee Crayton band.
Ornette worked in a non musical role as an elevator operator.
In 1958, he had began recording his music, which resulted in the album ’Something Else!!!!: The Music of Ornette Coleman’, followed a year later by ‘Tomorrow Is the Question!’.
At the beginning of the Sixties, Ornette signed to the Atlantic Records imprint, releasing ‘The Shape of Jazz to Come’.
He began gigging in New York City, initially at the Five Spot jazz club.
At Atlantic he formed a quartet (featuring: Alto Saxophone-Ornette Coleman, Bass-Charlie Haden, Drums-Billy Higgins and Trumpet-Don Cherry), releasing ‘Change Of The Century’, in 1960.
‘Free Jazz’ was intended, initially, as an album title, but soon became a new genre.
Following his stay at Atlantic Records, Ornette moved into the mid Sixties and early Seventies performing avant garde jazz.
His quartet went their separate ways, and Ornette formed a new trio with David Izenzon on bass, and Charles Moffett on drums.
Between 1965 and 1967, Ornette signed with Blue Note Records.
In 1966, he released ‘The Empty Foxhole’, for the imprint.
Another quartet followed, along with an emerging use of a string section.
In 1969, Ornette was inducted into the Jazz Hall of Fame.
He began experimenting with various styles including free funk and jazz fusion.
In 1976, he released ‘Dancing in Your Head’, which featured the use of electric guitars.
Jerry Garcia later played guitar on three tracks on the 1988 album ‘Virgin Beauty’.
Ornette performed with the Grateful Dead on stage in 1993.
He also collaborated with Pat Metheny in 1985.
In the Nineties, Ornette played in David Cronenberg's ‘Naked Lunch’.
Ornette released four records in 1995 and 1996, and worked with the piano players Geri Allen and Joachim Kühn.
In 2004, Ornette was awarded the Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize.
In 2006 he released the live album ‘Sound Grammar’.
In 2007, Ornette was awarded a Grammy award for lifetime achievement.
He was also awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Music from the University of Michigan.
Ornette married the poet Jayne Cortez in 1954, the couple later divorcing in 1964. They had one son, Denardo, born in 1956, who became a jazz drummer.
b. Mel Waiters, 25th June 1956, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
b. 28th May 2015, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
The blues and R&B singer, Mel Waiters, has died. Mel was 58.
The singer had been battling cancer, his booking agent confirmed.
Mel was born in San Antonio, Texas, where he sang in the church choir.
By the 1970’s he was performing in nightclubs across the region.
Mel became radio DJ, as well as performing at military bases.
In 1995, he released his first album, ‘I’m Serious’, for the Serious Sound imprint.
In 1996 and 1998, he won the Jackson Music Award.
He went on to record for several other labels, including the Waldoxy subsidiary of Malaco Records.
During his career he released several singles, which included, ‘Hole In The Wall’, ‘Man Shoes’, ‘Show You How To Love Again’, ‘How Can I Get Next To You’ and ‘The Smaller The Club’.
The label included the likes of Marvin Sease, Denise LaSalle and Willie Clayton.
Mel’s most recent album was ‘True Love’, on his own Brittney Records label.
His cousin is blues singer Walter Waiters.
Mel is survived by his wife, Portia, and his daughter, Brittney.
b. Marcus Belgrave, 12th June 1936, Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 24th May 2015, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.
The Jazz trumpeter, Marcus Belgrave, has died. Marcus was 78.
He passed away from heart failure, as a result of complications relating to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
Marcus had been hospitalized since April.
He had, throughout his career, performed alongside many famous musicians, bandleaders, and for several record imprints since the Fifties.
When Marcus was young he was was tutored by Clifford Brown before joining the Ray Charles touring band ('Ray Charles At Newport').
The collaboration led to associations with the likes of Max Roach, Ella Fitzgerald, Charles Mingus, Tony Bennett, Sammy Davis Jr., Dizzy Gillespie, McCoy Tyner, Eric Dolphy, Aretha Franklin, Wynton Marsalis and Joe Henderson.
Marcus was a professor of music at Oberlin University, in Oberlin Ohio, and was the co-founder of the Jazz Studies Program at The Detroit Metro Arts Complex, and the Jazz Development Workshop in Detroit.
He was a faculty member at Stanford Jazz Workshop, tutoring various performers, including Kenny Garrett, Regina Carter and Geri Allen.
Marcus is featured in the video series, ‘Ray Charles, Genius’.
b. Louis E. Johnson, 13th April 1955, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 21st May 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The bassist in the Soul and Funk duo the Brothers Johnson, Louis Johnson, has died. Louis was 60.
Louis was found dead on the 21st of May at his home in Las Vegas. He was 60.
His death was confirmed by Jeff Mullen, the Brothers Johnson’s manager, who said the cause had not been determined.
Louis particular style of bass playing earned him the nickname of ‘Thunder-Thumbs’.
As a session bassist, Louis’s contributions can be heard on Michael Jackson’s ‘Thriller’ album.
Louis played bass on on Michael’s ‘Off the Wall’ band Dangerous albums, also contributing to George Benson's evergreen ‘Give Me the Night’ album and played bass on Herb Alpert's 1979 album ‘Rise’.
Other album contributions included Stanley Clarke’s ‘Time Exposure’ album, George Duke’ ‘Guardian of the Light’ and ‘Thief in the Night’ albums, Jeffrey Osborne’s self titled debut and ‘Stay with Me Tonight’ albums and Quincy Jones' ‘Mellow Madness’ album.
Along with his brother, George, the Brothers Johnson scored several hits throughout the Seventies and early Eighties, including ‘Stomp’, ‘Get The Funk Out Ma Face’, ‘I’ll Be Good To You’, ‘Strawberry Letter 23’, ‘Ain’t We Funkin’ Now’ and ‘Streetwave’.
Louis released one solo album in 1985, entitled ‘Evolution’ for the Capitol Records imprint.
He retired from the business to spend more time with his wife and son, for a couple on years.
In 1988 he returned to the recording studio.
Louis set up his own bass academy during the 1990’s.
b. Bruce Lundvall, 13th September 1935, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 19th May 2015, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The recently retired President of Blue Note Records, Bruce Lundvall, has died. He was 79.
Bruce had suffered from complications related to his battle with Parkinson's Disease, and underwent surgery but never regained consciousness.
Bruce was responsible for the signings of Norah Jones, Herbie Hancock and Bobby McFerrin, to the imprint.
He, additionally, signed a multitude of artists throughout his career, including Willie Nelson, Dexter Gordon, Woody Shaw, James Taylor, Stan Getz, Wynton Marsalis, Dianne Reeves, Richard Marx, Natalie Cole, Cassandra Wilson and Anita Baker.
Bruce, initially, began his career in the marketing section of Columbia Records.
He, later, became the President of the domestic division of CBS Records in 1976.
He switched labels, moving to Elektra Records in 1982.
By 1984, he helped create the Manhattan imprint, and then was enlisted to rejuvenate the Blue Note label.
Bruce helped bring back the label's earlier stars, including, Jimmy Smith, McCoy Tyner, Freddie Hubbard, Joe Henderson & Jackie McLean, and the likes of Dianne Reeves, Cassandra Wilson, Michel Petrucciani and John Scofield.
He later stood down as President of Blue Note in 2010.
Bruce is survived by his wife, Kay Lundvall, three sons, and two grand-daughters.
ortheia barnes (a.k.a. ortheia barnes-kennerly)
b. Ortheia Barnes-Kennerly, 1945, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 15th May 2015, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands.
The Soul and Jazz songstress, Ortheia Barnes, has died. She was 70.
Ortheia passed away from congestive heart failure.
She had endured two strokes in the previous two years.
During the Sixties, Ortheia recorded for a few independent Detroit labels, including Mickay Records, Ring Records, and Coral Records.
She later recorded for the 20th Century, Michigan Satellite, and Noteworthy imprints.
Although she was not a labelmate of the Motown roster, she performed on stage with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Marvin Gaye and Gladys Knight.
Her older brother was J.J. Barnes, who released the single ‘Baby Please Come Back Home’.
Ortheia sang alongside her brother in The Halo Gospel Singers (whose members were: J. J. Barnes, Ortheia Barnes, Johnny Starks, Charles Sims, Calvin Southern, and Donald Southern).
She was, also, a member of the group the Freedom Soldiers (whose line-up included, Ortheia, Sandra Feva, and Pat Lewis).
Other groups she featured in were Cut Glass and Hott City (in 1979 and 1980).
As a stage singer, Ortheia performed at events for Pope John Paul II, Bishop Desmond Tutu and Nelson Mandela.
She sang background vocals for Aretha Franklin.
In the 1990’s she worked on the Michigan Council of the Arts.
In later life, Ortheia became a Detroit community activist, and ordained minister.
Her husband, Robert Kennerly (also an ordained minister), broke the news regarding Ortheia’s passing whilst en-route to the U.S.Virgin Islands.
A funeral service has been scheduled for veteran Detroit singer.
A funeral service is set for noon May 26 at Hartford Memorial Baptist Church, 18700 James Couzens in Detroit.
b. Riley B. King, 16th September 1925, Itta Bena, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 14th May 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The Blues guitarist, B.B. King, has died. He was 89.
On the 1st of May 2015, following two hospitalizations caused by complications from high blood pressure and diabetes, B.B. was given hospice care at his home in Las Vegas, Nevada.
B.B. passed away as a result of a series of small strokes.
Rolling Stone magazine ranked him at No. 6 on its 2011 list of the 100 greatest guitarists of all time
He was, also, ranked No. 17 in Gibson's ‘Top 50 Guitarists of All Time’.
B.B. King was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
He was also inducted into 2014 class of the R&B Music Hall of Fame, the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, and into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987.
B.B. was married twice, firstly to Martha Lee Denton, (between 1946 and 1952), and to Sue Carol Hall, (between 1958 and 1966).
Touring schedules led to the failings of both marriages.
B.B. lived with Type II diabetes for over 20 years.
His initials stood for 'Blues Boy'.
b. Guy Hughes Carawan Jr., 28th July 1927, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 2nd May 2015, New Market, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The folk musician, Guy Carawan, has died. Guy was 87.
In recent years, he had suffered from dementia.
Guy was the Musical Director for the Highlander Research and Education Center in New Market, Tennessee.
In 1960, Guy performed in front of a group of Black students in Raleigh, North Carolina, and sang ‘We Shall Overcome’.
The song went on to become an anthem sung at the Selma-to-Montgomery marches of 1965.
It was also used in the apartheid-era South Africa, in international demonstrations in support of the Tiananmen Square protesters, and at the fall of the Berlin Wall.
‘We Shall Overcome’ was originally a black spiritual, appreciated by Zilphia Horton, the wife of the founder of the Highlander Folk School.
Guy reintroduced it at the school when he became its music director in 1959.
The song’s lyrics originated with ‘I’ll Overcome Some Day’, a hymn by a black Methodist minister, Charles Albert Tindley, that was published at the turn of the 20th century.
In 1945, the song became known as ‘We Will Overcome’, and was used at picket lines by striking tobacco workers in Charleston, South Carolina.
‘We Shall Overcome’ is copy-written in the name of Zilphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan and Pete Seeger.
Born in California in 1927, Guy Carawan attended the Occidental College in 1949.
He, initially, visited the Highlander Folk School in 1953, later taking charge of the music program pioneered by Zilphia Horton.
She had founded the school with her husband, Myles, in 1932, in order to train social justice leaders in a racially mixed setting.
Zilphia died in an accident in 1956.
During a student lunch-counter sit-in movement in 1960, Guy taught the students the song ‘We Shall Overcome’.
The song took hold in other places of education, taking on an important role during the Civil Rights Movement.
To this day, royalties from the commercial use of ‘We Shall Overcome’ are donated to a fund that supports social and cultural programs in the South.
b. Lester Errol Brown, b. 12th November 1944, Kingston, Jamaica.
d. 6th May 2015, The Bahamas.
The lead singer, from the group Hot Chocolate, Errol Brown, has died. Errol was 71.
Errol had been suffering from liver cancer.
Born in Kingston, Jamaica, Errol’s family relocated to the U.K. in 1955.
In 1969, he recorded a version of John Lennon's ‘Give Peace a Chance’.
After some early resistance, John’s Apple label gave permission for the version to be released.
Hot Chocolate formed in Brixton, London, England.
Members of the group around Errol Brown included Tony Connor, Larry Ferguson, Harvey Hinsley, Derek Lewis, Pat Olive and Tony Wilson.
The group’s hits included ‘You Could Have Been A Lady’, ‘You Sexy Thing’, ‘Emma’, ‘So You Win Again’ and ‘Brother Louie’.
In the Queen's birthday honours list of June 2003, Errol was awarded an MBE by the Queen for "services to popular music".
In 2004 he received an Ivor Novello Award for outstanding contributions to British music.
ben e. king
b. Benjamin Earl Solomon, 28th September 1938, Sandy Greek, Warren County, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 30th April 2015, Hackensack University Medical Center, Hackensack, New Jersey, U.S.A.
R&B singer, Ben E. King has died. He was 76.
Ben's agent confirmed that the singer died on the 30th of April from natural causes at his home in New Jersey.
His classic evergreen, 'Stand By Me', was covered on many occasions by a multitude of artists, including John Lennon.
As a member of the Drifters, Ben co-wrote and sang the lead on 'There Goes My Baby'.
The Drifters also hit the charts with 'Save the Last Dance for Me' and 'This Magic Moment'.
Ben left the Drifters in 1960 and launched a successful solo career.
The 1961 recording, 'Spanish Harlem', gave him his first solo hit.
'Stand By Me' was selected as one of the Songs of the Century by the Recording Industry Association of America.
Soul fans would look to his 1975 single, 'Supernatural Thing', as a particular career high point.
b. Anthony L. Drake, 19th April 1946, U.S.A.
d. 19th April 2015, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
The guitarist and songwriter, Tony Drake, has died. He was 69.
Tony passed away on his birthday.
Married to the recording artist, Lisa Gay-Drake, Tony performed alongside many performers throughout his career.
These included, Lou Rawls, Cher, Marvin Gaye and Marilyn McCoo & Billy Davis Jr.
More recently, he had played alongside his wife, Lisa Gay-Drake.
Tony began playing professionally at the age of 14, in Los Angeles
When he was 16, he attended the Dawkins Conservatory of Music.
He toured alongside Little Johnny Taylor, Johnnie Taylor, Ronnie Dyson, T-Bone Walker and other artists in the Sixties.
In the Seventies Tony became a staff musician at 20th Century Fox Studios.
He later signed with A&M Records, and began touring with Herb Alpert, Merry Clayton, Cheech & Chong amongst others.
He was also a member of the Count Basie Orchestra and H.B. Barnum’s Band.
Tony joined the Checkmates, later touring with the Fifth Dimension, Gloria Lynne, Little Esther Phillips, Aretha Franklin, Marla Gibbs, Crusaders, The, Jimmy Witherspoon, Cher, Tina Turner, Marvin Gaye, Barry White and The Sylvers.
For a while he became a member of the legendary the Funk Brothers, following the relocation from Detroit.
He recorded with the likes of David T. Walker, Ray Parker Jr., Wah Wah Watson, Bill Upchurch and James Gadson.
In the Nineties, Tony toured with En Vogue.
b. Jonathan Kemp, 2nd August 1959, Nassau, Bahamas.
d. 16th April 2015, Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The Soul singer, Johnny Kemp, has died. Johnny was 55.
According to Jamaica police, Johnny was found floating at a beach in Montego Bay.
One report stated that he was on a cruise organized by the radio host Tom Joyner.
Johnny began his singing career as a teenager in the Bahamas before relocating to New York in 1979, where he became part of the group Kinky Fox (who recorded ’So Different’).
During the mid-Eighties, Johnny recorded hits including ‘Just Another Lover’ and ‘Dancin’ with Myself’, from his 1986 ’Secrets of Flying’ album.
In 1989, Johnny recorded ‘Birthday Suit’, a track from the soundtrack to the movie, ‘Sing’.
He was scheduled to perform for the Tom Joyner Foundation Fantastic Voyage Cruise at this time.
Johnny is survived by a wife and two sons.
b. Cecil Hunt Sr., 27th July 1940, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
d. 12th April 2015, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
Cecil Hunt, Sr., (of the Seventies Funk band, Funk Incorporated), has died. Cecil was 74.
He was Funk Incorporated’s conga player, performing alongside Steve Weakley, Gene Barr, Bobby Watley and Jimmy Munford, in the group.
The group were founded in Indianapolis in 1969 by organist Bobby Watley, who recruited tenor saxman Eugene Barr, guitarist Steve Weakley, drummer Jimmy Munford and Cecil.
Funk Incorporated sent a tape to Prestige's A & R department in March 1971 postmarked 'Indianapolis' along with a note of recommendation from Brother Jack McDuff.
In the early 1970's, the original line-up came to the attention of Bob Porter, a highly regarded producer who signed Funk, Inc. to Prestige and paved the way for the band to record five albums for that label.
The band's line-up included Bobby Watley on organ.
After stressing a looser approach on the first three albums 'Funk Inc.', 'Chicken Lickin' and 'Hangin' Out', the group began to lose their way in the mid-1970's and turned to heavier production, with more arranging and background vocals.
This newer approach led to tension within the group, and Funk Inc. went their separate ways in 1976.
Sadly, the original members Jimmy Munford and Gene Barr passed away a few years earlier.
It was during the 1990's a few of Funk Inc.’s 1970's albums were released on CD.
Cecil was preceded in death by his wife, parents and brothers.
His surviving family members include his children: Cecil Hunt, Jr., Vicki Phillips-Terrell and Corrie Smith (Jerelle); siblings and other loving family and friends.
Cecil’s visitation will be on Friday the 17th of April 2015, 10am - 11am, with the Homegoing Celebration at 11am in Williams & Bluitt Funeral Home Peoples Chapel.
b. Percy Tyrone Sledge, 25th November 1941, Leighton, Alabama, U.S.A.
d. 14th April 2015, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Percy Sledge, probably best remembered for his 1966 evergreen Soul hit, ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’, has died. Percy was 73, and had been suffering from liver cancer.
‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ became a Top 40 hit record.
The hit overshadowed, somewhat unfairly, a fine career spanning the late Sixties and early Seventies.
Born in Leighton, Alabama, his early career covered several roles (in farming and in health), before becoming a touring vocalist in the early Sixties.
He toured with the likes of the Esquires Combo whilst still working in hospital, which was where he was introduced (through the recommendation of a patient at the hospital) to the record producer Quin Ivy.
Percy’s debut single ‘When A Man Loves A Woman’ b/w ‘Love Me Like You Mean It’ was subject to a response record, this time round to another 1966 single from Esther Phillips entitled ‘When A Woman Loves A Man’.
Percy’s single reached number 1 in the U.S.A., and reached number 4 in 1966 and number 2 in 1987 in the U.K.
It was also the first gold record released by Atlantic Records.
In 2004, Percy was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Percy was was the cousin to the Soul singer Jimmy Hughes.
b. William E. Butler, 7th June 1945, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 1st April 2015, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
It has been reported that the singer, Billy Butler has passed away. Billy died in his sleep early in the morning of the 1st of April, at home in Chicago.
Billy is probably best remembered for his Northern Soul hit 'The Right Track', which was released in 1966.
He was part of the groups Billy Butler and the Enchanters, and Billy Butler & Infinity.
Billy recorded for Curtis Mayfield's Curtom Records imprint during the mid Seventies.
His brother is the recording artist Jerry Butler.
Leak & Sons Funeral Home and Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ.
The funeral services for Billy Butler are as follows:
Viewing - Friday - April 3 - 6:00 pm - 9:00 pm
Leak & Sons Funeral Home
7838 S. Cottage Grove Ave.,Chicago, IL., 60619
Prepast - Saturday - April 4 - 10:00 am
Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ
4100 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL. 60653
FUNERAL - Saturday - 11:00 am
Metropolitan Apostolic Community Church of Christ
4100 S. Martin Luther King Jr. Dr., Chicago, IL. 60653
b. Paul Jeffrey, 8th April 8 1933, New York City, U.S.A.
d. 20th March 20 2015, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
The saxophonist, arranger, and teacher, Paul Jeffrey, has died. Paul was 81.
Throughout her career, Paul performed with many performers, including, Thelonious Monk, Charles Mingus, Dizzy Gillespie, Clark Terry, Lionel Hampton and B.B. King.
Born in New York, Paul graduated from Kingston High School in 1951.
He went on to become a Bachelor of Science at Ithaca College in 1955.
In the fifties he toured with several bands, who featured the likes of Illinois Jacquet, Elmo Hope, Big Maybelle, and Wynonie Harris.
He later toured the U.S. with B.B. King, Howard McGhee, Clark Terry, and Dizzy Gillespie.
In 1968, he released the album ‘Electrifying Sounds’ on Savoy Records.
He toured with the Count Basie Orchestra, and collaborated with Thelonious Monk and Charles Mingus.
Paul performed with Thelonious Monk’s band at various shows throughout he US and Japan.
In 1974, he set up a 15-piece band for a tribute concert to Thelonious Monk at Carnegie Hall.
Throughout the seventies, Paul collaborated with Charles Mingus, performing with the Mingus’s big band at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972.
During 1973 and 1974, he released 3 studio recordings on the Mainstream Records label.
As a teacher, he taught saxophone at Columbia University in 1973.
He went on to teach at Jersey City State College in 1974, the University of Hartford between 1975 and 1983), at Livingston College of Rutgers University, between 1978 and 1983, and at Duke University, between 1983 and 2003.
Paul helped organize the NC/Umbria Jazz Festival and the Mary Lou Williams Jazz Festival.
In 2009, he recorded a tribute to Thelonious Monk for the Imago Records imprint.
Up until his passing, Paul lived in Durham, North Carolina.
b. Michael Joseph Porcaro, 29th May 1955, South Windsor, Connecticut, U.S.A.
d. 15th March 2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The bassist, Mike Porcaro, passed away on the 15th of March 2015. Mike was 59.
He had been suffering from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and died in his sleep at his home in Los Angeles.
Probably, best remembered for his role within the group Toto, Mike was active on many a Soul performers tours and albums.
Mike was the middle brother of Toto members Jeff Porcaro and Steve Porcaro.
Mike toured with Michael Franks, Seals & Crofts, Larry Carlton, and Boz Scaggs.
His album C.V. included album collaborations with Harvey Mason (’Til You Take My Love’), Lee Ritenour, The Hues Corporation, Gap Mangione, Deniece Williams (‘When Love Comes Calling’), Aretha Franklin (‘Love Me Forever’), The Pointer Sisters, Dionne Warwick, Syreeta (‘Freedom’), Natalie Cole (‘Good To Be Back’), Donna Summer, Joe Farrell and Michael McDonald.
In 2007, a growing numbness in his fingers that made it increasingly difficult for him to play, and he retired from performing that year.
Former band members of Toto, (including Steve Porcaro), toured Europe in fund raising support of him in 2010.
By 2012, Mike was in a wheelchair as the disease took it’s toll.
b. Willie Mae Taplin, 7th December 1924, Burton, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 12th March 2015, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Civil Rights campaigner, the Reverend Willie Taplin-Barrow, has died. She was 90.
Willie was not only the godmother of the current U.S. President, Barack Obama, she was also the mother of the late Soul Singer, Keith Barrow (who recorded ‘You Know You Want To Be Loved’).
She was nicknamed ‘The Little Warrior’, due to the fact she was only, just, 5 feet in height.
Born in Burton, Texas, to Nelson and Octavia Taplin, Willie was one of a large family.
She had six brothers and sisters.
Willie began her Civil Rights campaigning at a very early age, organising protests regarding the lack of bus transport for black students, who were made to walk to school, whilst the White kids were allowed to ride.
As a teenager, she relocated to Portland, Oregon, in order to study at the Warner-Pacific Theological Seminary.
Willie went on to work with other African American residents in Portland who combined to create one of the first black Churches of God.
In 1943, Willie joined the National Urban League.
In 1945, she joined the National Council of Negro Women.
During World War 2, Willie took on a role as a welder at the Kaiser shipyards in Swan Island, Washington.
It was there where she met, her soon to be, husband Clyde Barrow (the two were married for 56 years).
keith, willie and clyde barrow during the seventies
Willie and Clyde traveled to Chicago in June 1945, where she began working as the youth minister at the Langley Avenue Church of God.
In the 1950’s Willie worked as an organiser with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., and in the 1960’s she worked on Operation Breadbasket with the Rev. Jesse Jackson.
In 1969, she was awarded the Woman Of The Year award in Chicago.
Willie was an active campaigner in the 1963 march on Washington and the 1965 march on Selma, Alabama.
She was also the co-chairman of the Rainbow PUSH Coalition.
Willie was a strong campaigner against the U.S. involvement in the Vietnam War.
She led a delegation to North Vietnam in 1968.
with jesse jackson in 1984
In 1984, Willie worked with Reverend Jesse Jackson as campaign manager for Jesse’s 1984 presidential bid.
In 1997, a street on Chicago's South Side was renamed in Reverend Barrow's honour.
Willie crusaded on issues such as A.I.D.S. in the black community, children's welfare, and domestic violence.
She was a civil rights icon hailed for her unwavering pursuit of justice.
charmayne ' maxee' maxwell
b. Charmayne Maxwell, 11th January 1969, Guyana, South America
d. 27th February 2015, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer with the group Brownstone, Charmayne Maxwell, has died.
Charmayne died as a result of complications, following a recent fall. She was 46.
Brownstone were a Grammy-nominated band, who were best known for their 1995 hit single, ‘If You Love Me’.
Charmayne later released a solo single entitled ‘When I Look Into Your Eyes’ in 2000.
She was a member of Brownstone between 1994 until 1998, later rejoining the group between 2007 and 2015)
Charmayne was married to the Danish producer Soulshock.
b. 14th December 1920, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. 21st February 2015, St. Louis, Missouri, U.S.A.
The Jazz trumpter, Clark Terry, has died. Clark was 94.
Clark died surrounded by his family, students and friends.
Earlier this month, Clark entered hospice care for treatment concerning his advanced diabetes.
Clark had played with some of the great jazz musicians of the last century, including the likes of Charlie Barnett, Count Basie, Duke Ellington, and Quincy Jones.
Hailing from St. Louis, Clark attended the Vashon High School, later becoming a band player in the United States Navy during World War II.
The the Forties and Fifties, he played with Count Basie and Duke Ellington’s bands.
In his early days, Clark had educated a young Miles Davis back in St. Louis.
Clark, later joined NBC, becoming their first African-American staff musician.
Over a ten year period, Clark appeared on ‘The Tonight Show’ as a member of house band.
By the 1980’s he became the featured soloist in that group.
In late 1980, he headlined alongside Anita O'Day, Lionel Hampton and Ramsey Lewis at the Blue Note Lounge at the Marriott O'Hare Hotel near Chicago.
Clark continued collaborating with various musicians including J. J. Johnson, Oscar Peterson, and Bob Brookmeyer.
Up until the 1990s, Clark performed at Carnegie Hall, Town Hall, and Lincoln Center.
In 1998, Clark recorded ‘Let's Call the Whole Thing Off’ for the album ‘Red Hot + Rhapsody’, and in 2001, he contributed to the album ‘Red Hot + Indigo’, (a tribute to Ellington).
Throughout his career, Clark performed for seven U.S. Presidents, and performed with the London Symphony Orchestra, the Dutch Metropole Orchestra, and the Chicago Jazz Orchestra.
Clark’s recording of the ‘Theme To The Flintstones ‘, became a popular novelty hit on the Acid Jazz scene during the Eighties.
Dizzy Gillespie once described Terry as the ‘greatest jazz trumpet player on earth’.
b. Kenneth Bernard Kelley (a.k.a. Kelly), 9th January 1941, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 17th February 2015, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Kenneth ‘Wally’ Kelley, the last surviving founding member of the Manhattans, has died. Kenneth was 72.
Kenneth passed away, only 2 months after the passings of two other group members, Winfred ‘Blue’ Lovett (9th December 2014) and Edward ‘Sonny’ Bivins (3rd December 2014).
Born in Jersey City to Eloise and Lloyd Kelly, the singer had left the group, a few years ago, in order to follow a career as a qualified teacher in biology.
The Manhattans began their recording careers in the early Sixties (Kenneth had attended the Lincoln High School), after group members had been in the armed forces.
They recorded for Carnival Records, and later, Columbia Records.
Gerald Alston joined the group later on, and performed on their number one hit ‘Kiss and Say Goodbye’, in 1976.
Further hits followed, including ‘Hurt’, ‘I Kinda Miss You’, ’Shining Star’ and ’Crazy’.
Gerald departed the group in 1988, and was replaced by Roger Harris.
Services were held on Saturday the 28th of February, 2015, at 1 p.m. at the Perry Funeral Home, 34 Mercer St., Newark, N.J.
b. Lesley Sue Goldstein, 2nd May 1946, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
d. 16th February 2015, the New York-Presbyterian Hospital, Manhattan, New York City, U.S.A.
The blue eyed soul singer and songwriter, Lesley Gore, has died. Lesley was 68.
She had been suffering from cancer, and passed away at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital in Manhattan.
Lesley Gore will, probably, be best remembered for her 1963 pop hit, ‘It’s My Party, however her skills took her into the acting arena and, she later became an equal rights campaigner.
Born in New York City, Lesley attended the Dwight School for Girls, which is where she achieved her number one hit, ‘It's My Party’.
The single was followed by further hit’s, including ‘Judy's Turn to Cry’, ‘She's a Fool’, ‘You Don't Own Me’, ‘That's the Way Boys Are’, ‘Maybe I Know’, ‘Look of Love’ and the Grammy-nominated ‘Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows’.
In 1965, she appeared in the film ‘The Girls on the Beach’, performing the songs, ‘Leave Me Alone’, ‘It's Gotta Be You’ and ‘I Don't Want to Be a Loser’.
with quincy jones and millie small
Quincy Jones, worked with Lesley between 1963 and 1965, also releasing Marvin Hamlisch's first hit composition, ‘Sunshine, Lollipops and Rainbows’.
Quincy was later to cover a Lesley penned song, the title track from Lesley's 1976 album 'Love Me By Name', on his own 1978 project, 'Stuff Like That' (featuring Patti Austin).
Lesley performed on two episodes of the Batman TV series in 1967.
Bob Crewe’s 1967 song ‘California Nights’, reached number 16 that year.
Lesley attended the Sarah Lawrence College, studying literature.
She also composed songs for the soundtrack of the 1980 film ‘Fame’.
Lesley went on to perform in concerts and appeared on television throughout the 1980s and 1990s.
In 2005, she released the album ‘Ever Since’.
In 2004, Lesley hosted the television series ‘In the Life’, which focused on homosexuality issues.
Lesley spoke of her own sexuality, having lived with her female partner for more than 23 years.
It was Lesley’s partner who informed the media that Lesley had passed away from cancer.
b. Donald Randolph, 24th March 1938, Orangeburg, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 30th January 2015, Franklin Square, New York, U.S.A.
The R&B singer and songwriter, Don Covay, has died.
Don's passing has been confirmed by his daughter. He had suffered a stroke. Don was 76.
Don is best remembered for his self penned hits 'See Saw', 'Mercy, Mercy' and 'Sookie Sookie', whilst, as a songwriter for others, he penned 'Chain Of Fools' for Aretha Franklin.
In the 1990's, Don suffered a stroke, however, he recovered to release the album 'Adlib' in 2000.
b. Clifford Alanza Adams Snr., 8th October 1952, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 12th January 2015, Capital Health Regional Medical Center, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The trombonist, Clifford Adams, has died Clifford was 62.
Clifford passed away following a struggle with liver cancer.
Best known for his work within the second incarnation of the group, Kool and the Gang (‘Ladies Night, ‘Too Hot’ etc.), he had been suffering with medical issues for a year or so.
Clifford was without health insurance to cover medical expenses.
In recent weeks, his family and friends held several fundraisers to try to cover the cost of a liver transplant.
Apart from his work with Kool and the Gang, Clifford also collaborated with the likes of The Stylistics, Patti Labelle and the Bluebells and Duke Ellington’s Orchestra during his career.
He released two solo albums, namely, ‘The Master Power’ and ‘I Feel Your Spirit’.
Clifford founded the organisation DRUMM (Developmental Roundtable for the Upward Mobility of Musicians), which was dedicated in bringing music into Trenton schools.
b. Andra Edward Crouch, 1st July 1942, Compton, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 8th January 2015, Northridge Hospital Medical Center, Northridge, California, U.S.A.
The gospel singer, songwriter, arranger, recording artist, record producer, and pastor, Andraé Crouch, has died. Andraé was 72.
Andraé attended hospital in December, due to pneumonia and congestive heart failure.
He returned to hospital this month, following the postponement of a tour, in Los Angeles. Andraé had suffered a heart attack.
Andraé Crouch was born in 1942 in San Francisco, along with his twin sister, Sandra.
When he was 11, Andraé’s father suggested he speak at a local church, during which, Andraé played the piano.
He penned his first Gospel song at the age of 14.
In 1960, Andraé became part of the Church of God in Christ Singers (a.k.a. COGICS).
The singers group included the artist, Billy Preston.
Andraé attended the Valley Junior College in California forming the gospel group, The Disciples in 1965, along with Perry Morgan and Bill Thedford.
He was then introduced to Tim Spencer of Manna Music Publishing, who went on to publish Andraé’s song ‘The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power’.
Tim took the Disciples to the Light Records founder Ralph Carmichael, who released their first album, ‘Take The Message Everywhere’, in 1968.
Andraé began to record his compositions that year, including the aforementioned ‘The Blood Will Never Lose Its Power’, along with ‘Through It All’, ‘Bless His Holy Name’, ‘Soon and Very Soon’, ‘Jesus is the Answer’, and ‘My Tribute’.
The Disciples went their separate ways in 1979.
Andraé pursued his solo career with an ensemble including Howard Smith, Linda McCrary, Táta Vega, and Kristle Murden and The Andraé Crouch Singers.
His recordings featured many major artists, including Joe Sample, Wilton Felder, Dean Parks, David Paich, Phillip Bailey and Stevie Wonder.
Andraé has co-produced projects for The Winans, Danniebelle Hall, and Kristle Murden.
In 2006, Andraé released ‘Mighty Wind’, a 40th anniversary album featuring guest performances by Lauren Evans, Crystal Lewis, Karen Clark Sheard, Táta Vega, and Marvin Winans.
Andraé Crouch helped merge Christian music within various ethnic groups.
In 1987, the Andraé Crouch Choir sang background vocals on Michael Jackson's hit single ‘Man in the Mirror’ from the singers album ‘Bad’.
Andraé, also, became the Senior Pastor at Christ Memorial Church of God in Christ in Pacoima, California, (the church founded by his parents).
b. Jeffrey Golub, 15th April 1955, Copley, Near Akron, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 1st January 2015, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The guitarist and session performer, Jeff Golub, passed away, on New Years Day, at the age of 59.
Jeff’s passing followed a serious of health issues.
In 2011, he suffered the collapse of an optic nerve, leaving him blind.
As a result, Jeff was nearly killed after falling onto some subway tracks.
As a performer, Jeff released 12 solo albums and three CDs as the leader of the instrumental band, Avenue Blue.
His performances saw him collaborating with Rod Stewart, who he worked with between 1988 until 1995.
Jeff studied at Berklee College of Music in Boston, performing with The James Montgomery Band.
He relocated to New York in 1980, where he worked with Billy Squier, (Jeff appeared on all of Billy’s Capitol albums).
Jeff, also, worked alongside Hammond legend Brian Auger and Brian’s guest vocalists Christopher Cross and former Ambrosia leader David Pack.
Jeff released his first solo recording, ‘Unspoken Words’ for Gaia Records in 1988.
As band leader and performer he released ‘Avenue Blue’ in 1994.
He was also a member of Dave Koz & The Kozmos.
In June 2011, Jeff became blind due to collapse of the optic nerve.
In 2012, he fell onto the tracks of a subway train, and was taken to the New York-Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center with minor injuries.
In 2014, Jeff was diagnosed with progressive supranuclear palsy, which, eventually took his life on the 1st of January 2015.
2014...those we fondly remember...