'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. Maurice White (a.k.a. Reese), 19th December 1941, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 3rd February 2016, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The founder member of the group Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice White, has died. Maurice was 74.
Maurice died in his sleep from the effects of Parkinson's disease at his home in Los Angeles, California.
Maurice was Earth, Wind & Fire’s main songwriter and record producer, retaining executive control of the band.
He won seven Grammys, and was nominated for 21 overall.
As a member of Earth, Wind & Fire, Maurice was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
He was born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1941, relocating to Chicago and working as a session drummer for Chess Records.
Maurice performed with many of the artists at the imprint, including Etta James, Ramsey Lewis, Sonny Stitt, Muddy Waters, The Impressions, The Dells, Betty Everett, Sugar Pie DeSanto and Buddy Guy.
He was the drummer on the Fontella Bass evergreen ‘Rescue Me’ and the Billy Stewart classic ‘Summertime’.
He later joined the Ramsey Lewis Trio, playing on the classic song ’Wade in the Water’ in 1966.
Maurice formed The Salty Peppers, who were later to become Earth, Wind & Fire.
The group went on to win six Grammy Awards and were awarded a star on the Hollywood Boulevard Walk of Fame.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson's Disease in the late 1980s, although he appeared on stage with Earth, Wind & Fire after his retirement from touring.
Maurice collaborated with several major artists including,The Emotions, Deniece Williams, Minnie Riperton, Ramsey Lewis, Jennifer Holliday, Barbra Streisand, Neil Diamond, The Urban Knights, Paulinho Da Costa, Larry Dunn, Bootsy Collins, Larry Graham, Ledisi, Musiq Soulchild, Maceo Parker and Gerald Albright.
b. Yvonne Lowrene Wright, a.k.a. Yvonne Lowrene Wright-Willis, 31st October 1951, Harlem, New York City, U.S.A.
d. 26th January 2016, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
Yvonne Lowrene Wright, the first wife of Stevie Wonder, has died. Yvonne was 65.
She had been suffering from cancer, and passed away last week.
The Jazz musician, Bobbi Humphrey, confirmed her passing.
Yvonne was an accomplished songwriter and lyricist.
She was nominated for a Grammy, as a result of her songwriting collaborations with Stevie Wonder.
Together, Stevie and Yvonne penned the songs ‘Girl Blue’, ‘Evil’, ‘I Believe (When I Fall In Love It Will Be Forever)’, ‘You’ve Got It Bad Girl’, ‘Black Orchid’ and ‘They Won’t Go When I Go’.
The duo also penned ‘Take A Little Trip’ for the late Minnie Riperton, and Yvonne sang background vocals on Minnie’s song ‘Edge Of A Dream’.
Yvonne was also a background vocalist for the group The Invisible Man’s Band, on their debut album release of the same name in 1980.
These songs have been covered by several other artists, including Hugh Montenegro, Frampton’s Camel, Quincy Jones, Josh, Groban, Mario Biondi, Michael McDonald, Lou Rawls, Reuben Howell, Toots Thielmans, Art Garfunkel, Herbie Hancock, George Michael, Richard Groove Holmes and Ivan Boogaloo Jones.
Contrary to many reports, on several websites, Yvonne was not the sister of Syreeta Wright. They just shared the same surname.
many thanks to bobbi humphrey for her help with this information
b. Thomas Joshua Tindall, 1950, Trenton, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 26th January 2016, New Hope, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
An integral part of the M.F.S.B./Philadelphia sound of the Seventies, T.J. Tindall, has died. T.J. was 65.
He had been suffering from cancer. His family removed him from life support on the 26th of January.
T.J. had been keeping his medical problems hidden from his friends and fellow musicians.
T.J. was a member of Salsoul Orchestra and MFSB, the house band for Philadelphia International Records.
His guitar playing can be heard on ‘Enjoy Yourself’ by the Jacksons, 'Backstabbers' by the O'Jays', ‘Drowning In The Sea Of Love’ by Joe Simon, ‘He’s A Friend’ by Eddie Kendricks,'You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine' by Lou Rawls, ‘Ten Percent’ by Double Exposure, ‘Was That All It Was’ by Jean Carn, and ‘Disco Inferno’ by the Trammps.
He has two stars on Philadelphia's Walk of Fame.
Born in Trenton, his early work came with the group, Duke Williams and the Extremes.
T.J. was an original member of The Galaxies IV, and played with the Chambers Brothers.
He also played in the psychedelic rock with the Thomas A. Edison Electric Band at the start of the Seventies.
T.J. took a hiatus from music, running a lighting company in Princeton founded by his father during the Eighties.
In 2012, he returned the studio by David Uosikkinen to record for on a project called ‘In the Pocket’.
In 2013, he was inducted into the Philadelphia Music Alliance Walk of Fame as a member of MFSB and the Salsoul Orchestra.
David Uosikkinen requested he return to record with the group next week to re-record a version of the O'Jays ‘Back Stabbers’.
b. Clarence Henry Reid, 14th February 1939, Miami, Florida, U.S.A.
d. 17th January 2016, Lauderdale Lakes (Miami), Florida, U.S.A.
Clarence Reid has passed away. He Was 76.
Blowfly drummer 'Uncle' Tom Bowker announced in a statement on the Blowfly Facebook page that Clarence was suffering from terminal liver cancer and had been admitted to a hospice facility in Florida.
He also recorded under the name Blowfly.
b. David Robert Jones, 8th January 1947, Brixton, London, United Kingdom
d. 10th January 2016, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
With most societies in the world, when a part of that culture dies, the society becomes diminished. The ‘glue’ which inspired those societies is no longer there, and what we are left with, doesn’t amount to a hill of beans.
I saw David Bowie perform in Earls court in 1978. He was with Carlos Alomar, on his European ‘Heroes’ tour. By that time, he was being swept along behind a ’new wave tsunami’, a new wave he unwittingly had set in motion a few years earlier. ‘Heroes’ had a feel of consolidation, following years of huge transformations, finally realised in his ‘Station To Station’ era, when, truth be told, his excesses had become too much for the man. Perhaps he was in need of rehabilitation. Taking a back seat, if you like. Yes, I think he was doing all of that.
The earlier albums, certainly from the ‘Ziggy Stardust’ era, were only partially about music. When you talk about David Bowie at this time, he was exploring and influencing fashion, art, breaking things apart and reconstructing things, some of which worked, and some did not. Some of Stevie Wonder’s most media-criticised albums, were created by testing bounadries, and eventually seen as his greatest, with the passing of time. Music critics did not know what to do with them, so they panned them. None more so than ‘Innervisions’. You should have read the reviews in some of the papers at the time. Disgusting and heartless, all told.
David was interested in bringing down the established, and reconstructing something or other, whether it would come to anything, or not, that did not matter. One man’s vandalism is another man’s ’new beginning’. He generated the fashions that inspired all area’s of music, whether it was Punk Rock, or LaBelle, Funkadelic or Parliament. Even the person in the street, looked like a version of this singer. Might even have been ourselves! He just showed a way forward, for those who looked for something different in self expression. It was this aspect which is probably why he was unconditionally embraced by a new wave, hell bent on it’s own version of destruction at the time. Truth be told, he was loved in equal measures by male and female.
‘Young Americans’ I found fascinating, as the glam rock and roller became involved with the singers I had grown to love. He worked in Philly, recorded with Lennon and Luther Vandross, and influenced James Brown, who sampled ‘Fame’ heavily on the single ‘Hot’. This era influenced Black music to the point that Bowie’s material would sit comfortably on the Soul Music shelves, as well as within the Rock section in your local store, in the years that followed.
Only last Friday, I went to a Record Store in Kingston (with my good friend Nick Power), and chatted with the younger members of the staff about David Bowie and his new album. The guys put the record on the deck and spoke about the man’s influences on themselves, and the music they had listened to by the singer in recent years. Says a lot about David Bowie, that a 69 year old man can influence those nearly 50 years his junior. This is the legacy of David Bowie. The young are not fooled by what passes as popular music these days. Bowie taught people to question the so called ‘corporate educators’. Look for, and demand, something more.
A huge cultural hole has just opened, and many folks will feel the passing of this singer very personally, and will articulate just that. They are entitled to feel that way. You are entitled to feel that way. This singer has been in our lives for 50 years. Not something anyone can ignore. He influenced the music we listened to, the clothes we wore, the hairstyles we adopted, and, in time, he influenced our children.
The void Bowie leaves will be filled by his own artistic creations, as his legacy will still influence those that follow from this time forward. Where will this man’s death stand in the passing of historical time? Well, Lennon was influential musically, Elvis influential iconically and Michael Jackson as a dancer and all round entertainer. You pays your money, you takes your choice. Whatever your conclusions, we have all just received a huge cultural blow to the solar plexus. I think he is, within the music of the pop era, the most important artist we have witnessed. Do not mistake ‘outrageous’ for ‘inspirational’. Many of todays performers are very much the former. The latter takes style, charisma and the ability to write a good song. David Bowie is the archetypal irreplaceable element in music, so we will have to wait for the next bus to come along (and that could be quite a while).
Although most of the shelves here are packed full of albums by Black artists, the Thin White Duke has a sizeable section here, bought as the singer metamorphasised every couple of years. 11th January 2016. Not the greatest of days.
can you hear me? - from 'young americans' 1975
silly boy blue - from 'david bowie' 1967
who can i be now? - from 'young americans' 1975 (sessions track)
david bowie criticising mtv for lack of black artists on their station in 1983
b. Otis Clay, 11th February 1942, Waxhaw, Bolivar County, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 8th January 2016, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The R&B singer, Otis Clay, has died. Otis was aged 73.
He passed away on the 8th of January from a heart attack.
Otis was born in Bolivar County, Mississippi.
His family relocated to Muncie, Indiana in 1953.
Otis sang with the gospel group, the Voices of Hope, later, relocating back to Mississippi, to join the group the Christian Travelers.
Otis moved on to Chicago in 1957, where he joined, initially, the Golden Jubilaires, before joining the groups, the Famous Blue Jay Singers, the Holy Wonders, and the Pilgrim Harmonizers.
He began a secular solo career in 1962.
Otis recorded some unreleased songs before joining the Gospel Songbirds in Nashville in 1964.
He went on to record for several imprints, including Elka and Rounder and Echo Records.
It was at Echo where he recorded the original version of ‘The Only Way is Up’ in 1980.
In 1965, Otis signed with One-derful! Records in Chicago.
Otis recorded his first hit in 1967, in the shape of ‘That's How It Is (When You're In Love)’, (number 34 on the R&B chart).
The follow up single also charted, entitled ‘A Lasting Love’ (number 48 R&B).
In 1968 the record company folded, which, as a result, took Otis to Atlantic Records.
Atlantic’s subsidiary Cotillion label released his version of the Sir Douglas Quintet hit, ‘She's About A Mover’.
The single reached number 97 on the Hot 100 (number 47 R&B).
Cotillion went on to release further Otis sides, including ‘Hard Working Woman’ and ‘Is It Over?’.
Otis switched labels to Hi Records in 1971, releasing, in 1972, ‘Trying To Live My Life Without You’, (number 24 R&B).
Follow up singles included ‘If I Could Reach Out’, along with an album entitled ‘I Can’t Take It’.
Otis moved on to Kayvette Records, releasing the single ‘All Because Of Your Love’ (number 44 R&B) in 1977.
In the 1990s he recorded two albums for the Bullseye Blues imprint, namely, ‘I’ll Treat You Right’ and ‘This Time Around’.
In 2007, he recorded the gospel album ‘Walk a Mile in My Shoes’.
In 2013, Otis was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.
Visitation Friday Jan 15th 4pm-10pm
Leak & Sons Funeral Chapel
7838 South Cottage Grove Av
Chicago, IL 60619
Family Fellowship Hour 10:00 am -11:00am
Celebration of Life - Home Going Celebration11:00am - Noon
Liberty Baptist Church
4849 King Dr
Oak Woods Cemetery
1035 E 67th St, Chicago, IL 60637
b. Nicholas Caldwell, 5th April 1944, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A.
d. 5th January 2016, Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, U.S.A.
Founding member of The Whispers, Nicholas ‘Nick’ Caldwell, has died. Nick was 71.
He passed away from congestive heart failure at his home in Stockton, California.
Nick had been suffering from heart issues for a while.
More recently, he had been utilising a stool during performances.
He had been attended to by the cardiology team at Stanford University Hospital in California.
...in 2015...those we fondly remember...
b. Natalie Maria Cole, 6th February 1950, Cedars of Lebanon Hospital, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 31st December 2015, Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Daughter of Nat King Cole, cousin of Eddie Cole, niece of Freddy Cole.
Natalie died of congestive heart failure on the 31st of December 2015 at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.
Funeral service is set for Monday, January 11th at 11:00 a.m. at West Angeles Cathedral, 3600 Crenshaw Blvd, LA.
ron ford (parliament/funkadelic/p-funk allstars)
b. Ronald Ford, 1948, U.S.A.
d. 28th December 2015, U.S.A.
Ron Ford, (a.k.a. the 'Prophet') of Parliament, Funkadelic and the group the P-Funk Allstars, has died. Ron was 67.
He passed away on the 28th of December, his family members announced on social media.
Ron co-wrote and sang on several P-Funk songs, including 'Pumping It Up', which was sampled by the Beastie Boys and Beyonce, and on the group Marrs dancer 'Pump Up The Volume'.