'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. Richard Vince Di Cicco, 16th January 1930, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 15th December 2020, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The arranger & producer, Richie Rome, has died. Richie was 90.
In recent months his health had faded.
Richie Rome worked with several artists, including Sammy Davis, Jr., Lou Rawls, Simon and Garfunkel, and Teddy Pendergrass, amongst others.
From Philadelphia, Richie established himself on the local soul scene during the '60s
In the early 70's he put together a group, The Ritchie Family, with three female backing singers he had worked with at Sigma Sound Studios.
Also at Sigma he arranged 'Nights Over Egypt' for The Jones Girls and produced 'Fallin 'ln Love With You' for Jimmy Ruffin.
He co-wrote 'Giving It Back' for Phill Hurtt (who, in turn, wrote The Ritchie Family's 'Best Disco In Town') and 'Disco Dancing' for the late Stanley Turrentine.
In 1980, Richie released his only solo album to date, entitled 'Deep', for the Elektra Records imprint.
Richie was, also, the arranger on the Fat Larry's Band album 'Breakin' Out’.
Richie is survived by his daughter, Linda (Ray) Patitucci and Marianne (John) Vagnozzi. He was grandfather to Raymond (Karen) Patitucci, Stephanie (Samuel) Cacia, and Lisa (Michael) Shoemaker and great grandfather to Michael, Jr., Joseph, Guilianna, and Giovanna.
b. Stanley Cowell, 5th May 1941, Toledo, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 17th December 2020, Bayhealth Hospital, Dover, Delaware, U.S.A.
The Jazz keyboard player, Stanley Cowell, has died. Stanley was 79.
He died at Bayhealth Hospital in Dover, Delaware from hypovolemic shock.
Stanley was the co-founder of the Strata-East Records label.
Born in Toledo, Ohio, Stanley began playing the piano from the age of four.
Art Tatum was an influence and was a family friend.
Stanley studied at Oberlin College and the University of Michigan.
At college he collaborated with Roland Kirk, alter he relocated to New York in the Sixties.
During his career, Stanley performed with the likes of played with Marion Brown, Max Roach, Bobby Hutcherson, Clifford Jordan, Harold Land, Sonny Rollins, Stan Getz and Charles Moore amongst others.
In the Eighties, Stanley was part of a regular quartet led by J.J. Johnson.
He taught in the Music Department of the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Stanley, who lived in Maryland, leaves behind a wife, Sylvia, and a daughter, Sunny.
Gwendolyn Gardenia Oliver Wesley, b. 21st July 1949, Manning, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 27th November 2020, McLeod Hospice House, Florence, South Carolina, U.S.A.
Founding member of the group, the Ritchie Family, Gwen Oliver, has died. She was 71.
Gwen was the was the wife of Fred Wesley (a.k.a. Fredric 'Fred' Alonzo Wesley Jr.).
She was part of the group Honey and the Bees (around 1970, along with Nadine Felder White, Cassandra Ann Wooten and Jean Davis Sanders).
After Honey And The Bees disbanded, Gwen and Cassandra Wooten joined the Philadelphia School Of Performing Arts where they met Cheryl Mason Jacks.
They met Richie Rome and formed the Ritchie Family, lending his surname and adding the letter ’T’ to the name Richie.
The songs ‘Brazil’ and ‘The Best Disco in Town’ became hits.
Gwen left the group in 1978 and left the music business, preferring to sing in her local church.
b. Leonard Borisoff, 12th June 1942, West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, US.A.
d. 5th November 5, 2020, U.S.A.
The Blue-Eyed Soul singer, Len Barry, has died. Len was 78.
He became famous for the 1965 (and 1966) hits for the Decca Records and Brunswick Records imprints in the U.S., released ‘1-2-3’, ‘Like a Baby’, and ‘I Struck It Rich’.
Born in Philadelphia, Len was drafted, and later, after being discharged from military service, returned to Philadelphia and forming the group the Dovells.
Len was the group’s lead singer, recording the singles ‘Bristol Stomp’, ‘Hully Gully Baby’, and ‘You Can't Sit Down’.
‘I Struck It Rich’ he co-wrote with Leon Huff of the Philadelphia International Records producers, Gamble and Huff.
Later, Len became a major singing star in The United Kingdom.
He performed at the London Palladium and Royal Albert Hall as well as numerous other appearances throughout the British Isles.
b. Rance Lee Allen, 19th November 1948, Monroe, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 31st October 2020, Sylvania, Ohio, U.S.A.
The Gospel artist, Rance Allen, has died. Rance was 71.
Early reliable online reports stated that the cause of his passing was Covid-19, however, this was later clarified to 'complications due to a recent medical procedure'. Apologies for any misunderstanding this may have caused.
Rance died early on Saturday morning, the 31st of October 2020.
He was recovering from a medical procedure, his wife, Ellen Allen, and his manager, Toby Jackson, said in a statement.
He was recovering at the time, at a hospital in Sylvania, Ohio.
Rance was a pastor at New Bethel Church of God in Christ in nearby Toledo, where he spread the word of God since 1985.
He was, also, better remembered as lead singer of The Rance Allen Group and the ‘Father of Contemporary Gospel’.
b. John Lester Nash Jr., 19th August 1940, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 6th October 2020, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
The singer, Johnny Nash, has died. Johnny passed away at home in Houston on the 6th of October, at the age of 80.
Johnny Nash was born in Houston, Texas.
He sang in the choir at Progressive New Hope Baptist Church in South Central Houston as a child.
Between 1953 and 1956, he started out singing R&B hits and made his recording debut in 1957 with the single ‘A Teenager Sings the Blues’.
In the Sixties, Johnny, (and his manager Danny Sims) formed JoDa Records in New York.
After the imprint folded, they began marketing American singers to Jamaica, (where they eventually relocated to).
In 1965, Johnny had a hit with ‘Let's Move and Groove Together’.
Johnny helped pioneer the rocksteady sound in the United States.
He and his manager met up with Bob Marley, Bunny Wailer, Peter Tosh, and Rita Marley.
Johnny signed the four signed all four to Cayman Music for J$50 a week.
They set up a new record label, JAD Records, named after their first names (including Johnny), and recorded their albums at Federal Records in Kingston.[
In 1968, Johnny released his rocksteady single ‘Hold Me Tight’.
The song became a top-five hit in both the U.S. and U.K.
In 1971, Johnny had success with another U.K. hit with his cover of Bob Marley's ‘Stir It Up’.
In 1972 he released one of his biggest records, the reggae influenced single ‘I Can See Clearly Now’.
The song sold over one million copies, and was awarded a gold disc by the R.I.A.A.
Johnny went on to mainstream success with the likes of ‘There Are More Questions Than Answers’ and ‘Tears on My Pillow’ (in 1975).
In 2019, The New York Times Magazine listed Johnny among hundreds of artists whose material was reportedly destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studio’s fire.
francis rocco prestia
b. Francis Rocco Prestia Jr., 7th March 1951, Sonora, California, U.S.A.
d. 29th September 2020, U.S.A.
The bassist, best known for his work with the funk band Tower of Power, Francis Rocco Prestia, has died. Francis was 69.
Francis, originally, auditioned for Emilio Castillo's band, Tower of Power, who suggested he switch instrument to electric bass.
He developed s style called fingerstyle funk, in which he lightly muted the strings with his left hand in order to get a percussive sound.
For the next three decades, he played with the group.
In 2001 he became very ill and his fans and friends created a foundation in order to help pay the artist's medical costs.
Francis underwent successful liver transplant surgery in 2014.
Francis Rocco Prestia came from a generation of players, (including the likes of James Jamerson, Stanley Clarke, Anthony Jackson, Jaco Pastorius and Alphonso Johnson) who have left an indelible mark of all styles of bass playing today.
b. 18th September 1958, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 18th September 2020, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Ex vocalist for the group, the Emotions, Pamela Hutchinson has died. Pamela was 61.
She passed away on Friday the 18th of September, following health battles that she’d been suffering from for several years.
Along with sisters Wanda Hutchinson-Vaughn and Sheila Hutchinson-Witt, Pamela was born in Chicago and toured the Gospel circuit during the Sixties.
b. Roy Charles Hammond, 3rd August 1939, Newington, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 16th September 2020, Allendale County, South Carolina, U.S.A.
The R&B singer and songwriter, Roy C, has died. Roy passed away at his home in Allendale County in South Carolina. He was 81.
Roy is, probably, best remembered for his 1965 hit, ‘Shotgun Wedding’.
He, also, penned the Honey Drippers song 'Impeach The President', which has become one of the most sampled songs in Hip Hop & R&B history.
Services For Soul Blues Legend Roy C. Hammond Will Be Saturday 26th September 2020 at 11:00am in Alllendale, SC.
At the Allendale-Fairfax football field. Please adhere to all social distancing guidelines and everyone who attends must wear a mask. There will be a viewing Friday September 25, 2020 from 4pm-7pm. Please adhere to social distancing guidelines and everyone must wear a mask. The viewing will be at:
B.F. Cave Funeral Home
1521 Razor Road
Allendale, SC 29810
b. Edna A. Wright, (a.k.a. Edna Wright Perry, Sandy Wynns), 2nd February 1945, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 12th September 2020, Encino, California, U.S.A.
The original vocalist and founder member of Honey Cone (between) 1968 - 1973), Edna Wright, has died. She was 76.
Edna was the sister of Darlene Love, wife of Greg Perry and mother of Melodye Perry.
She had, reportedly, suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and suffered a heart attack at a hospital in Encino, California.
At the start of her career, Edna sang background vocals for the likes of the Righteous Brothers and Ray Charles.
Under the stage alias ‘Sandy Wynns’, she recorded the 1964 single ‘The Touch of Venus’ b/w ‘A Lover's Quarrel’.
In 1969, Edna formed Honey Cone, whose lineup also featured Carolyn Willis and Shelly Clark.
In 1971, the group topped the charts with ‘Want Ads’ taken from the group’s album ‘Soulful Tapestry’.
The single spent three weeks at the top of the R&B chart.
Other releases included included 1971's ‘Stick Up’, and 1972's ‘One Monkey Don't Stop No Show’ and ‘The Day I Found Myself’.
The group went heir separate ways in 1973.
In 1976, Edna released her first solo album, ‘Oops! Here I Go Again’.
In the Eighties and Nineties, Edna sang background vocals a varied array of musical artists including U2, Kim Carnes, Aaron Neville and Andraé Crouch.
b. Daniel Webster, 1959, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 11th September 2020, U.S.A.
The lead guitarist with the group Slave, Danny Webster, has died. He was 61.
The rhythm and lead guitar, lead and background vocalist, with the group, performed with Slave between 1976 and 2005.
He co-penned ‘Just A Touch Of Love’, ’Slide’ and ‘Watching You’.
Danny worked on other projects (or had a song sampled) by the likes of Beck, Peter Gabriel, Steve Arrington, De La Soul, Snoop Dogg and Keith Sweat.
His other Slave band members, Mark Leslie Adams sadly passed away on the 5th of March 2011, followed by Mark 'Drac' Hicks on the 14th of June 2011.
Orion 'Bimmy' Wilhoite
b. Orion Wilhloite, 30th January 1957, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 7th March 2020, U.S.A., Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
Orion ‘Bimmy’ Wilhoite, of the group Slave, passed away in March at the age of sixty three.
Born in 1957 to James and Susie Wilhoite, Jimmy was a graduate of Patterson Co-Op (in 1975) and Urbana University (in 1999).
Jimmy was the saxophonist with Slave.
ronald nathan bell
b. Ronald Nathan Bell, 1st November 1951, Youngstown, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 9th September 2020, United States Virgin Islands.
Ronald Nathan Bell, a founding member of the group, Kool & The Gang, has died. He was 68.
The co-founding member of Kool & the Gang, Ronald Nathan Bell, has died.
Ronald died at his home in the United States Virgin Islands on the 9th of September 2020. He was 68.
The cause of his death is, as yet, unknown, however, early reports state his passing was ’sudden’.
Ronald was an American composer, singer, songwriter, arranger, producer, born in Ohio in 1951.
His father was a professional boxer and an amateur boxing winner, and a great lover of Jazz.
Ronald became influenced by Miles Davis, John Coltrane, and Cannonball Adderley.
His family moved to Jersey City, New Jersey, in 1960.
In 1964, Ronald and his brother, Robert "Kool" Bell, joined neighborhood friends Spike Mickens, Dennis Thomas, Ricky Westfield, George Brown, and Charles Smith to create the group, the Jazziacs.
The group underwent various name changes, including, the New Dimensions, the Soul Town Band, and Kool & the Flames before settling on Kool & the Gang in 1969.
Ronald went on to compose, arrange, produce some of the most popular songs in the band’s repertoire.
These included ‘Jungle Boogie’, ‘Summer Madness’, and ‘Open Sesame’.
clarence burke snr.
father & son. clarence burke snr. and his son keni
b. DeWayne Julius Rogers, 9th May 1948, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 22nd August 2020, U.S.A.
b. Sharon McCord, 1953, Black Bottom, West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 5th July 2020, Southwest Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The Philadelphia based Soul Vocalist, Sharon Paige, has died. She was 67.
Sharon passed away at her home in Southwest Philadelphia.
The cause of Sharon’s passing has not yet been disclosed.
She had been suffering from diabetes and had stopped singing professionally recently.
She will, probably, be best remembered for her duet with Teddy Pendergrass on their Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes hit ‘Hope That We Can Be Together Soon’.
She went on to a solo career in the 1980’s.
In that decade, she released a few singles under her own name, including ‘You Don’t Even Know My Name’.
Sharon was born Sharon McCord (Sharon Paige being a stage name).
At Philadelphia International, Gene McFadden discovered Sharon when she was a student at Overbrook High School and introduced her to Harold Melvin, and subsequently, Gamble and Huff.
Sharon is survived by another son, Karneil Brightman, a sister, Linda, a brother, Charles McCord, her father, Charles Joseph McCord, and two granddaughters, Jerlene Rosy and Jerikah Rosy.
A viewing is planned at the Francis Funeral Home, 5201 Whitby Ave. at 10 a.m. on the 20th of July.
b. Cleveland Josephus Eaton II, 31st August 1939, Fairfield, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
d. 5th July 2020, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
The Jazz bassist, producer, arranger and composer, Cleveland Eaton, has died. Cleveland was 80.
He passed away on the 5th July 2020, in Birmingham, Alabama. He had been hospitalized during the last four months of his life.
Cleveland will be best remembered, amongst Soul Music fans, for his funk/fusion period durning the mid Seventies. At this time, his best remembered tracks included, The Birmingham Train, Bama Boogie Woogie and the Chi-Town Theme.
b. Patricia Eva Pointer, 11th July 1950, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
d. 8th June 2020, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer, Bonnie Pointer, has died. Bonnie was 69.
She passed away following a cardiac arrest on the 8th of June 2020.
Bonnie was one of the Pointer Sisters, whose early recordings included Allen Toussaint’s song, ‘Yes We Can Can’.
The group, in their early incarnation, saw the Sisters wearing Forties period dresses, and performing some of their material from that era.
They recorded several singles for Atlantic Records between 1971 and 1972.
Anita and Bonnie co-wrote the group's hit, ‘Fairytale’ in 1974.
In 1977, Bonnie left the group to begin a solo career.
The remaining sisters continued recording into the Eighties.
In 1978, Bonnie signed with Motown and released her version of the Elgin’s evergreen ‘Heaven Must Have Sent You’.
The song reached No. 11 on Billboard Hot 100 chart that year.
Bonnie released three solo albums, including two self-titled albums for Motown.
That year, Bonnie also married Motown Records producer Jeffrey Bowen.
The couple later divorced.
george perry floyd jnr.
b. George Perry Floyd Jr., 14th October 1973, Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 25th May 2020, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
Rest in peace, George.
b. Ronald Matlock, 15th September 1947, Hamtramck, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 1st April 2020, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Ronn Matlock, has died. Ronn was 72.
Further information, see below....
b. Bessie Regina Norris, 21st December 1953, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 10th May 2020, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Betty Wright, has died. Betty was 66.
She had become ill recently, with Chaka Khan asking people to pray for the singer. Betty been fighting cancer.
b. Richard Wayne Penniman, 5th December 1932, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 9th May 2020, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The Rock and Roll icon, Little Richard, has died. Richard died at the age of 87 in Tennessee on the 9th of May 2020.
The cause of death was revealed to be related to bone cancer.
At the time of his passing, he was living with his brother in Nashville, Tennessee.
His brother and son were with him when he passed away.
b. Andre Harrell, 26th September 1960, Harlem, New York, U.S.A.
d. 8th May 2020, West Hollywood, California, U.S.A.
The owner of Uptown Records, and the one time President of Motown Records, Andre Harrell, has died.
Andre died on the 8th May 2020, at his home in West Hollywood, California.
He was 59, and news of his death was first announced on Instagram by D-Nice.
According to Wendy Credle, Harrell's ex-wife, he had been suffering from heart problems in the time leading up to his death.
sweet pea atkinson
b. Hillard ‘Sweet Pea’ Atkinson, 20th September 1945, Oberlin, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 5th May 2020, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The one time lead vocalist for the group Was (Not Was), Sweet Pea Atkinson, has died. He was 74.
Sweet Pea suffered a fatal heart attack in Los Angeles, where he lived.
He was called ‘Sweet Pea’ as he was ‘a sweet gentleman who truly cared about people’, a friend said.
Sweet Pea provided the vocals for several of the Was (Not Was) hits, including
‘Walk The Dinosaur’.
He moved on to a solo career, in 1982, releasing the album ‘Don’t Walk Away’, which featured the song ‘Dance Or Die’.
Sweet Pea, later, worked alongside the Blues guitarist Randy Jacobs.
They formed the band called the Boneshakers, who went on to release 3 albums.
In 2017, Sweet Pea released the album ‘Get What You Deserve’ for the Blue Note imprint.
b. Millicent Dolly May Small, 6th October 1946, Clarendon, Jamaica
d. 5th May 2020, England
The singer, Millie Small, has died. Millie was 73. She had suffered a stroke.
Millie will be best remembered for her hit song ‘My Boy Lollipop’ in 1964.
She was the daughter of a sugar plantation overseer, relocating to live with relatives in Love Lane in Kingston, Jamaica.
Her early recordings included ‘Sugar Plum’ (in 1962) and ‘We'll Meet’.
Millie’s reputation grew and she came to the attention of Chris Blackwell who became her manager in London.
In 1964, she released her version of ‘My Boy Lollipop’.
The song became an international hit, selling over 600,000 copies in the United Kingdom alone.
The song went on to sell more than seven million copies worldwide.
The single was the first major hit for Island Records, and Millie was the first artist to have a hit that was recorded in the bluebeat style.
Millie appeared on the 1964 Beatles TV special ‘Around The Beatles’.
In 1987, during an interview with Thames News, it was revealed that Millie was destitute and had been living in a youth hostel with her daughter.
b. Richard Cole, 29th February 1948, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 2nd May 2020, Carnegie, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The American jazz saxophonist, composer, and arranger, Richie Cole, has died. Richie was 72.
He passed away in his sleep, from natural causes, at home.
For fans of Soul and Jazz music, Richie will be fondly remembered for his version of the song ‘New York Afternoon’ (later covered by Georgie Fame and Mondo Kane).
Richie’s version of the song was vocalised by Eddie Jefferson.
Born in Trenton, New Jersey, Richie was playing alto saxophone when he was ten years old.
He attended Ewing High School, in Ewing Township, New Jersey, later attending the Berklee School of Music in Boston.
In 1969 he joined drummer Buddy Rich's Big Band.
Richie developed the style ‘alto madness’ style in the Seventies, and became popular on the Acid Jazz scene.
He formed the Alto Madness Orchestra in the Nineties.
Richie collaborated with the likes of Eddie Jefferson, Nancy Wilson, Tom Waits, The Manhattan Transfer, Hank Crawford, Freddie Hubbard, Eric Kloss, Bobby Enriquez, Phil Woods, Sonny Stitt, Art Pepper, and Boots Randolph.
b. Robert Alan Lewis, 9th February 1925, Indianapolis, Indiana, U.S.A.
d. 28th April 2020, U.S.A.
The singer, Bobby Lewis, has died. Bobby was 95.
Bobby will be best remembered for his 1961 hit single ‘Tossin' and Turnin’ b/w ‘Oh Yes, I Love You’.
From Indianapolis, Indiana, Bobby was playing the piano at the age of six.
When he was 12, he relocated to a foster home in Detroit, Michigan.
He ran away when he was 14.
Bobby started his career in the Fifties.
He became a singer with the Leo Hines Orchestra in Indianapolis, and recorded ‘Mumbles Blues’ for Chess Records in 1952.
Bobby moved to New York City, and his 1960 recording of ‘Tossin' and Turnin’, became a huge hit.
The song remained at No.1 for seven weeks on the Billboard chart in summer 1961 and sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.
In 1961, Bobby scored a second Top Ten song with ‘One Track Mind’ b/w ‘Are You Ready’, which charted at number 9.
His label (Beltone) went out of business in 1963, with Bobby going on to record for the ABC-Paramount and other imprints.
Bobby lived in Newark, New Jersey since 1980, and had become almost blind.
b. Hamilton Frederick Bohannon, 7th March 1942, Newnan, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 24th April 2020, Newnan, Georgia, U.S.A.
The drummer, songwriter and singer, Hamilton Bohannon, has died. Hamilton was 78.
In his early days, in Louisville, Kentucky, Bohannon watched a young Stevie Wonder practicing his piano in the afternoon before a show. The duo hit it off, and Bohannon became Stevie Wonder’s full-time drummer.
Hamilton travelled to Detroit, where Stevie promised Bohannon he could stay at his mother’s house.
Motown Records, put him on salary as a touring drummer.
'South Africa Man' was released in 1974. Bohannon said the idea behind the song came from his friend Marvin Gaye who inspired the lyrics.
In the Eighties, he struck a life balance between his touring and family.
He said 'I didn’t think it was fair for my wife to be home alone raising a family'.
During his career, Bohannon helped his local community, buying Christmas gifts for low-income families, buying new sound equipment for his church and giving personal assistance to local organizations.
To celebrate his 50th year in music in 2015, members of the city of Newnan began looking for a way to honor Bohannon.
'They asked about renaming the street, and I was blown away,' he said. 'But I give thanks to those who still live on that street and allowed this to happen. It means the world to me'.
'The street where I was born, that same dirt street where my parents worked so hard for us – it’s incredible. It’s a very sacred thing'.
In February 2020, Bohannon released his last single – "Bohannon Combination Gumbo Mix”.
He is survived by son Bohannon II and daughter April, born to his late wife Andrea.
The family have yet to release further information, which will be posted here, when they are ready to do so.
b. Sibel Thrasher, 12th December 1952, Cincinnati, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 9th April 2020, Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.
Sibel Thrasher, the singer , probably, best known for her lead vocals in the group R.A.M.P., has died. She was 68. Sibel passed away from the Covid-19 virus.
Born in Cincinnati, Ohio and raised by her mother, grandmother and grandfather (who were all ministers of the Baptist church), Sibel and her two brothers formed the group The Thrasher Singers.
Sibel went on to perform in several R&B and jazz groups, later being invited to perform alongside the recording artist Roy Ayers.
She joined the group R.A.M.P. (along with John Manuel, Landy Shores, Nate White, Sharon Matthews), releasing the album ‘Come Into Knowledge’ in 1977.
In 1981, she relocated to British Columbia.
In August 2004, Sibel was inducted into the B.C. Entertainment Hall of Fame.
During her career, Sibel had recorded with the likes of Roy Ayers, Long John Baldry, Donna Summer and Etta James.
b. Vaughan Mason, 1951, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 2nd April 2020, New York, U.S.A.
The Singer and songwriter, Vaughn Mason, has died. Vaughn was 69.
He was a victim of the Covid-19 virus.
Vaughan dropped out of Howard University in 1972 after his father died.
He spent his early years growing up in a Jewish and Italian neighbourhood in Yonkers, New York, and was a huge Beatles fan.
He relocated from Chicago to New York, and became an audio engineer, working with the group, B.T. Express.
Vaughan recorded the roller disco song, ‘Bounce, Rock, Skate, Roll’ in 1980.
The song was recorded with his group, Vaughan Mason & Crew, at a time when the roller disco culture was at it’s peak in the United States at the time.
The song would go on to be sampled by artists as diverse as De La Soul and Daft Punk and led to him performing with Prince and Rick James..
In 1981, Vaughan went on to release the song, ‘Jammin’ Big Guitar’, which reached number 65 on the Billboard charts.
He went on to record two charting R&B singles for Salsoul Records with Butch Dayo.
These included ‘You Can Do It’ (in 1982) and ‘Party on the Corner (in 1983).
Vaughan started another group called Raze, who had a Top 24 R&B Columbia single with the dancer ‘Break 4 Love’, in 1988.
More recently, Vaughan had been working at Dream 1st Studios in Baltimore.
b.William Harrison 'Bill' Withers, Jr., 4th July 1938, Slab Fork, West Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 30th March 2020, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Bill Withers has died. Bill was 81.
He passed away from heart complications.
b. John Phillip Baptiste, 14th March 1926, Lake Charles, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 14th March 2020, U.S.A.
The American musician, singer and deejay, Philip ‘Phil Phillips’ Baptiste, has died (news provided by his family). Phil was 94.
Phil will be best remembered for recording and writing his hit tune ‘Sea of Love’ b/w ‘Juella’ for the Mercury imprint in 1959.
Phil Phillips began singing at the age of eight.
He formed a gospel music group with his brothers called The Gateway Quartet.
Phil also sang solos at his local church.
He was also briefly enrolled at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, but later returned to Lake Charles, Louisiana where he worked as a bellhop at the Chateau Charles Hotel.
He later organized a group to sing backup which he named The Twilights.
Phil had also made a demo of his Verdie Mae/“Sea of Love” song.
‘Sea of Love’ went to No. 2 in the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 pop chart and spent 14 weeks in the top 40, as well as reaching No. 1 on the R&B chart.
In 1959, it sold over one million copies and was awarded a gold disc.
In the U.K., Marty Wilde covered the song, and Phil’s version failed to chart there.
The song has been covered by a number of artists since then, most notably by The Honeydrippers, whose version (from their album ‘Volume One’) reached number 3 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart and number 1 on the adult contemporary chart in 1984.
Tom Waits gave the song a different reading for the soundtrack to the 1989 Harold Becker film ‘Sea of Love’ starring Al Pacino and Ellen Barkin.
Tom included it on his 2006 collection ‘Orphans: Brawlers, Bawlers & Bastards’.
‘Sea of Love’ had made the Top 40 just one other time, when Del Shannon took it to number 33 in 1981.
It was the only top 40 chart song for the singer, who never recorded another hit.
Phil was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2007.
One of his last live performances was in April 2005 at the Jazz Fest in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Phil is survived by his wife, Bell, of 60 years, his seven children and grandchildren.
b. Harrison Hoaney, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. March 2020, Washington, D.C., U.S.A.
Harrison Hoaney was born in Philadelphia, and spent his early years in the District of Columbia.
Skip passed away in March 2020.
He became the group leader of Skip Mahoney & The Casuals for nearly 50 years.
The group formed as The Casuals in the late Sixties.
The group enlisted George Norris, Roger Chapman and Billy Jones.
In the Seventies, Skip Mahoney & The Casuals recorded on several small imprints.
Their releases included ‘Wherever You Go’ and ‘Your Funny Moods’, amongst others.
The group them disbanded, however, they later reformed in the Nineties.
They released the album ‘Now, Then & Forever’, a combination of the group's early recordings.
Skip Mahoney & The Casuals continued on the live circuit into the new millennium.
b. Francis P. Flynn, 26th February 1941, The Meadows, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 14th March 2020, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Francis P. Flynn, age 79 a lifelong resident of ‘The Meadows’ section of Southwest Philadelphia, passed peacefully Saturday, the 14th March 2020 at the University of Pennsylvania Hospital.
Francis was born, raised, and raised his own children in the same house in ‘The Meadows’.
He was a graduate of John Bartram High School where he was a classmate of Patti LaBelle.
Francis was a bass singer in the R&B soul group Sons of Robin Stone, whose hits included ‘Got to Get You Back’, ‘Love is Just Around the Corner’, and ‘I Need it Bad’.
The band performed with many groups over the years, including: The Trammps, The Temptations, Teddy Pendergrass and other groups of the ‘Philly Sound’ in the 1970’s.
Due to the federal and state restrictions on public gatherings because of the COVID 19 Virus, The Marvil Funeral Home will be live streaming the Funeral of Francis Flynn for those not able to attend the funeral.
b. Emmanuel N'Djoké Dibango, 12th December 1933, Douala, Cameroon, Africa.
d. 24th March 2020, Paris, France.
Manu DiBango, the Cameroonian musician, probably best remembered for his dance classics ‘Big Blow’ and ’Soul Makossa’, has died. Manu was 86.
He passed away in a Paris hospital after contracting the illness, Covid-19.
Manu was originally trained in classical piano in the Fifties in Brussels and Paris.
In the early Sixties, he was part of the African Jazz group Le Grand Kalle!
After living in Cameroon and Paris during the late Sixties, his international breakthrough came in 1972 with ‘Soul Makossa, which was originally written for the 1972 African Cup of Nations football tournament.
The line ‘mama-say, mama-sa, ma-makossa’ from Michael Jackson’s ‘Wanna Be Startin’ Somethin’ was lifted from Dibango’s chorus on Soul Makossa.
The artist, Angelique Kidjo, said on Twitter: “You’re the original Giant of African Music and a beautiful human being.”
b. Alfred McCoy Tyner, 11th December 1938, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 6th March 2020, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Jazz pianist McCoy Tyner has died.
McCoy was one of John Coltrane’s 1960’s quartet and one of the most influential pianists in jazz history.
He died on Friday the 6th of March at his home in northern New Jersey.
He was 81.
His nephew Colby Tyner confirmed McCoy's passing.
b. Barbara Diane Martin, 1st June 1943, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 4th March 2020, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
One of the original singers with the Supremes, Barbara Martin, has died. Barbara was 76.
The Supremes were, originally, known as the Primettes, and when Betty McGlown left the group, Barbara was recruited in 1960.
Barbara, along with Diana Ross, Mary Wilson and Florence Ballard, were signed to Motown in 1961.
They left the The Primettes name behind, and became the Supremes.
The group released some lesser known group singles, and the four women worked as studio backing singers and a vocal rhythm section.
In late 1961, Barbara became pregnant and left the group in early 1962.
The Supremes continued as a trio.
Barbara sang on many of the group's early singles, along with most of the tracks on the group's first album, ‘Meet The Supremes’, however, she was, by and largely, uncredited.
She refused to talk about her career at Motown, until 2009, when ‘Meet the Supremes: Expanded Edition’ was re-released.
b. Billie Barrett, 28th August 1928, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 28th February 2020, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
One of the members of the Gospel group, the Barrett sisters, has died.
Billie Barrett-GreenBey passed away on the 28th of February 2020. She was 91.
The Barrett Sisters are an American gospel trio from Chicago, Illinois.
The members consisted of sisters DeLois Barrett Campbell, Billie Barrett GreenBey and Rodessa Barrett Porter.
They have been singing together for more than 40 years.
The Barrett Sisters once performed with Curtis Mayfield in support of Harold Washington in his bid to become Chicago’s first African American mayor.
DeLois Barrett Campbell passed away in 2011.
Rodessa is the last living sister.
earl richard johnson jnr.
b. Earl Richard Johnson Jr., 2nd May 1968, York, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 3rd February 2020, Torrance Memorial Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The keyboardist, singer and songwriter, Earl Richard Johnson Jr., has died. He was 51.
Earl passed away on the 3rd of February 2020 at the Torrance Memorial Medical Center in Los Angeles, California, from complications of heart bypass surgery.
During his career, Earl had collaborated and toured with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Patti Austin, Chaka Khan, Gerald Albright, Gladys Knight, Beyoncé, Chante Moore, Kenny Lattimore, Jeffrey Osborne, R. Kelly, The Sounds of Blackness, and Wynton Marsalis.
Born in York in 1968, he was a 1986 graduate of William Penn Senior High School. He attended Penn State University from 1986 to 1988 and played for the football team.
In 1988, he transferred to the prestigious Berklee College of Music in Boston, MA and graduated in 1992 with a bachelor's degree in songwriting for the big screen.
He went on to tour with Brian McKnight and Walter Beasley, playing keyboard and singing backgrounds.
Earl penned several scores for films and television projects and performed at the 80th birthday celebration for Nelson Mandela.
He also performed for President Barack Obama's campaign team, who invited him to play solo piano at a fundraising event for the president.
Earl released his debut CD entitled, ‘Juicy’, in 2009.
lyle with pat metheny
b. Lyle David Mays, 27th November 1953, Wausaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
d. 10th February 2020, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The jazz pianist and composer, Lyle Mays, has died. Lyle was 66.
Reports stated that he had died following a battle with a ‘recurring illness’.
Lyle will, probably, be best remembered as a member of the, Grammy award winning, Pat Metheny Group.
As a youngster, he became interested in chess, mathematics, architecture, and music.
Lyle began to play the instrument in church and he began to take an interest in Jazz Music.
Graduating from the University of North Texas, he composed and arranged for the One O'Clock Lab Band.
He left Texas, and toured with Woody Herman's group meeting Pat Metheny with whom he later founded the Pat Metheny Group.
Lyle provided the arrangements, orchestration, and the harmonic section for the group.
He played trumpet on the songs from the album ‘First Circle’ (in 1984) and composed and recorded music for some children's records.
Lyle also co-composed the instrumental ‘Are You Going With Me’ from the group’s ‘Offramp’ album in 1982 and ‘Letter From Home’ in 1989.
Besides his Jazz performances, he composed classical music including ‘Twelve Days in the Shadow of a Miracle’, (a piece for harp, flute, viola, and synthesizer).
b. Thomassina Carrollyne Smith, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
d. 28th January 2020, U.S.A.
The musician, singer and songwriter, Tonni Smith, has died. Information regarding Tonni's passing is unknown at this moment.
Tonni came to fame as the vocalist on the Tom Browne evergreen 'Funkin' For Jamaica'. Tonni co-wrote the song with Tom.
Check out her page, at the site, below:
"I would not, normally, post information regarding a non-musical artist here, however, I am making an exception in this case. During their lives, some people become much more than the sum of their parts, and rise above their chosen professions. They, simply, occupy a better place in society.
I would wish to extend my deepest sympathies to Kobe’s family. A truly awful time."
To: Vanessa Laine Bryant, Natalia Diamante Bryant, Bianka Bella Bryant and Capri Kobe Bryant
b. Kobe Bean Bryant, 23rd August 1978, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 26th January 2020, Calabasas, California, U.S.A.
Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant
b. Gianna Maria-Onore Bryant, 1st May 2006, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 26th January 2020, Calabasas, California, U.S.A.
ronnie james (late addition)
b. Ronald J. DiStasio, Wednesday 1st December 1943, Philadelphia, Pennsyvania, U.S.A.
d. Friday 29th November 2019, Mantua, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The musician, song writer and producer, Ronald J. DiStasio (‘a.k.a. Ronnie James’) of the Salsoul Orchestra, has died. He was 75.
Ronald was born in Philadelphia and lived in Oak Valley.
He was the guitar player for Louie Prima in the Seventies, a studio musician who played on numerous hits in the 70s and 80s.
Ronnie joined the 'The Salsoul Orchestra', and penned the song 'Run Away’ (later recorded by Nuyorican Soul).
He released one single on the Philadelphia International label, ‘Wonder Girl’ b/w ‘I Must Have Done It Right’, in 1979.
Ronie was also the founder of 'The Jez Hot Swing Club' and Pedicin-James Ltd.
Ronald is survived by his wife Lanora; 3 children, Ronald J. DiStasio Jr. (Helen), Rachelle Niroda (Michael) and Christopher DiStasio (Kim); 8 grandchildren, Nicholaus, Michael, Matthew, Tina, Amanda, Joseph, Nicholas, and Gianna; many great grandchildren, and sister, Denise Keown (Thomas).
b. Robert Parker, 14th October 1930, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 19th January 2020, Roseland, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
The singer-songwriter, Robert Parker, has died. He was 89.
His nephew said that he died on the Sunday the 19th of January from natural causes at his home in Roseland.
Robert had stopped performing in recent years (and retired to Tangipahoa Parish), where he was living at the time of his death.
He scored a national hit with his 1966 song ‘Barefootin’ b/w ‘Let’s Go Baby (Where the Action Is.)’.
In his earlier career, he played saxophone on Professor Longhair’s 1949 classic ‘Mardi Gras in New Orleans’.
He also played on Al Johnson’s ‘Carnival Time’ along with songs by Fats Domino, Irma Thomas, Ernie K-Doe, Frankie Ford and Huey ‘Piano’ Smith.
Robert is survived by his wife, Carolyn, several children and grandchildren.
b. James Edward Heath, 25th October 1926, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 19th January 2020, Loganville, Georgia, U.S.A.
The jazz saxophonist, composer, arranger and big band leader, Jimmy Heath, has died. Jimmy was 93.
He performed at part of the group, the Heath Brothers, and was the brother of bassist Percy Heath and drummer Albert Heath.
The Heath Brothers are best remembered (by Soul fans), for their 1980 and 1981 singles ‘For The Public’ and ‘Dreamin’.
Jimmy originally played alto saxophone, earning the nickname ‘Little Bird’ (after Charlie Parker).
His early groups featured the likes of John Coltrane, Benny Golson and Ray Bryant.
He briefly joined Miles Davis's group in 1959, and worked with Milt Jackson and Art Farmer later on.
In the late 1980s, he became a professor at the Aaron Copland School of Music at Queens College in the City University of New York.
Jimmy was also the father of the R&B songwriter/musician James Mtume.
b. Ermastine Lewis, 29th April 1946, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 2nd January 2020, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Singer, Songwriter & Producer, Lorraine Chandler, has died. Lorraine was 73.
Lorraine attended Northern High School in Detroit.
For a short while, Lorraine was in a group called the Ebonies, whose line-up featured Lorraine Chandler, Emma Nebbins and Effie Ellington.
She began writing songs with Jack Ashford.
She was signed to Jacks’s Pied Piper Productions as a songwriter and performer.
As a solo artist, she released ‘What Can I Do’ b/w ‘Tell Me You're Mine’ in 1966, ‘I Can't Hold On’ b/w ‘She Don't Want You’ in 1966, ‘Oh How I Need Your Love’ b/w ‘I Can't Change’ in 1967, ‘Love You Baby’ b/w ‘What Can I Do’ in 1975 and ‘I Can't Change’ b/w ‘What Can I Do’ in 1976, amongst others.
Many of her songs were released on the Giant, Pied Piper, Ashford, Outta Sight, RCA and Kapp labels.
When Jack relocated to Los Angeles in 1976, Lorraine remained in Detroit.
In the Eighties, Ace Records, Ady Croasdell, released a demo recording of a possible theme for the James Bond movie ‘You Only Live Twice’.
Later, Lorraine went on to perform in Detroit and in the U.K.
...those who left us in 2020...