'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. Bernard Charles Wright, 16th November 1963, Jamaica, Queens, New York, U.S.A.
d. 19th May 2022, U.S.A.
The American funk and jazz keyboardist and singer, Bernard Wright, has died. He was 58.
Early reports say that the artist died as a result of a traffic accident.
Bernard began his career as a session musician, later releasing four solo albums.
Further details to follow.
charles e. mccormick
b. Charles E. McCormick, 8th May 1946, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. 13th April 2022, U.S.A.
The lead vocalist and bass guitarist for the group, Bloodstone, Charles E. McCormick, has died. Charles was 75.
Born in Kansas City, Missouri, in 1946, he went on to co-create the R&B group in 1962.
The group were originally called the Sinceres and also performed under the name the Soulful Emeralds.
At the end on the Sixties, the Sinceres/the Soulful Emeralds comprised of Melvin Webb, Roger Durham, Charles Love, Harry Williams, Willis Draffen and Charles McCormick.
Charles was the lead vocalist on the groups 1972 hit single ‘Natural High’, and also penned and wrote the group’s, 1974 single ‘My Little Lady’.
b. Joe Messina, 13th December 1928, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 4th April 2022, Northville, Michigan, U.S.A.
The guitarist for the Motown backing band the Funk Brothers, Joe Messina, has died. Joe was 93.
Joe died on the 4th of April 2022 at his son’s home in Northville, Michigan.
His guitar appeared on recordings by Diana Ross and the Supremes, the Four Tops, Marvin Gaye, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, Stevie Wonder amongst others.
Joe was often called ‘the white brother with soul’ and received two Grammys in 2003 for the soundtrack to the documentary ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown’.
He also received a Lifetime Achievement Award, (along with the other Funk Brothers members).
Born in Detroit in 1928, Joe started playing guitar in his teens and by his twenties, playing professionally.
He performed with the likes of Charlie Parker, Stan Getz, Miles Davis and Dizzy Gillespie.
Berry Gordy brought Joe to the Motown in 1958.
At Motown, his guitar could be heard on several hits, including Martha and the Vandellas’ ‘Dancing in the Street’, the Four Tops’ ‘I Can’t Help Myself’, the Temptations’ ‘Ain’t Too Proud to Beg’ and Stevie’s ‘For Once in My Life’.
When Motown relocated to Los Angeles in 1972, Joe stopped playing guitar for 30 years.
He remained in Detroit, throughout his life, until his passing.
b. Timmy Thomas, 13th November 1944, Evansville, Indiana, U.S.A.
d. 11th March 2022, U.S.A.
The soul singer, keyboardist, songwriter and record producer, Timmy Thomas, has died. He was 77. Details will follow shortly.
richard d. pratt
b. Richard D. Pratt, 30th June, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 1st March 2022, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
One of the founding members of the vocal group Blue Magic, Richard Pratt, has died.
At this stage, details regarding Richard’s passing, are unknown. Further details to follow.
In recent years, a couple of versions of the group still toured. Richard was the bass singer in the group.
b. Betty O. Mabry, 16th July 1944, Durham, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 9th February 2022, Homestead, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The Soul singer, Betty Davis, has died. Betty was 77.
She died at her home in Homestead, Pennsylvania, from natural causes.
During her life, she was married to Miles Davis from September 1968 until 1970 (this was Miles’ second marriage).
Famous for her live performances, Betty spent her early years growing in Durham, North Carolina, (her family, later moving to Pittsburgh).
She left Pittsburgh and relocated to New York City where she attended the Fashion Institute of Technology, which led to Betty becoming a model.
In New York, she met Jimi Hendrix and also Sly Stone during this period.
Lou Courtney produced her first single, ‘The Cellar’, which was followed by one of her own compositions ‘Uptown (to Harlem)’ becoming rewarded by the Chambers Brothers.
By 1968, when Betty began recording with Hugh Masekela.
The following year she met Miles Davis, the pair were together for a two year period, after which, the pair went their separate ways and Betty moved to London.
Her run of albums began at this time, beginning with ‘Betty Davis’, in 1973.
‘They Say I'm Different’, (followed in 1974) and ‘Nasty Gal’ (in 1975).
Betty went on to have success in Europe, however, in the U.S. she was barred from performing on television because of the X-rated nature of her stage performances.
Carlos Santana recalled Betty as ‘indomitable’. She also dated Eric Clapton at one stage.
In later life, she later returned to Pittsburgh, where she lived peacefully.
b. Sylvester Thompson, 1st July 1936, Holly Springs, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 6th February 2022, Portland, Oregon, U.S.A.
The Blues & Soul singer and music producer, Syl Johnson, has died. Syl was 85.
In the 1950’s, Syl sang and played with several Blues artists, including Magic Sam, Billy Boy Arnold, Junior Wells and Howlin' Wolf.
Syl’s own recording career began with Jimmy Reed at Vee Jay Records in 1959.
In the Sixties, Syl recorded at Twinight Records in Chicago, where he had his first hit with ‘Come On Sock It to Me’ in 1967.
After he left Hi, Syl recorded two LPs for his own label Shama Records.
These included a surprise hit ‘Ms. Fine Brown Frame’, released on Boardwalk Records in 1982).
The Blues artists, Jimmy Johnson and Mack Thompson are Syl’s brothers.
b. Llewelyn Randolph Kirton, 1948, St Michaels, Barbados, West Indies.
d. 22nd January 2022, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The singer, Lew Kirton, has died. Lew was 74.
At this moment in time, details regarding Lew's passing aren't currently available.
More details will be posted here shortly.
Lew's page at Soulwalking is here:
b. Fred Willie Hughes Jr., 20th August 1943, Berkeley, California, U.S.A.
d. 18th January 2022, Kaiser Oakland Hospital, Oakland, California, U.S.A.
The U.S. American soul singer. Freddie Hughes, has died. Freddie was 79.
Freddie died from leukemia and Covid 19 complications at the Kaiser Oakland Hospital.
He will probably be best remembered for the songs ‘Send My Baby Back’ (co-written, produced, and arranged by Lonnie Hewitt), ‘(a cover of the Carole King song) ‘Natural Man’, ‘Tonight I'm Gonna See My Baby’ and ‘He’s No Good’.
‘Send My Baby Back’ reached number 20 on the R&B charts and number 94 on the pop charts.
During 1965, he achieved two Top 20 R&B singles with ‘Oo Wee Baby, I Love You’ and ‘You Can't Take It Away’.
During his career, Freddie recorded for the Wand, Melotone, Vee Jay, Brunswick, Ifgam and Blues Express Inc. imprints.
He was one of the last successful artists on Vee Jay Records before the label folded in the mid-Sixties.
During his career, Freddie collaborated with many artists, including Aretha Franklin, James Brown, Etta James, and Ike and Tina Turner.
He is the father of the Be4Real recording artist, Derick Hughes, who sang with Tower Of Power.
Freddie is survived by his brother, Wayne Hughes of Oakland; five children, Sonia Hughes Farmah of Hanford, Derick Hughes of Oakland, Derene Hughes Jones of Alameda, Lena Hughes, and Jelani Hughes; 23 grandchildren, and many great-grandchildren.
b. Gregory Allen Webster, 4th January 1938, Dayton/Hamilton, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 14th January 2022, Miami Valley Hospital, Dayton, Ohio, U.S.A.
The American drummer for the Ohio Players, Greg Webster, has died. Greg was 84.
His grandson, Mitchell Webster, confirmed his grandfather died at the Miami Valley Hospital in Dayton.
He said his grandfather’s death was not expected, though he had been in the hospital since New Year’s Eve.
Webster was the Ohio Players’ original drummer from 1964 to 1973.
b. Fredericke Lee Parris, 26th March 1936, New Haven, Connecticut, U.S.A.
d. 13th January 2022, U.S.A.
The lead singer & songwriter for the groups, The Scarlets, The Restless Hearts, The New Yorkers and The Five Satins, Fred Parris, has died. Fred was 85.
He often collaborated on songs alongside with Sam Goldman.
As Fred Parris and the Satins, the group recorded for the imprints, RCA, Buddah and Elektra, between 1958 until 1982.
The group will, probably, be best remembered for their 1956 hit single ‘In the Still of the Night’.
r dean taylor
b. Richard Dean Taylor, 11th May 1939, Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
d. 7th January 2022, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The Motown artist, R Dean Taylor, has died. Richard was 82.
He died at home on the 7th of January 2022 and had been ill since contracting COVID-19 the previous year.
At the time of his death he had been married for 52 years to his wife Janee.
b. Veronica Yvette Bennett, 10th August 1943, Washington Heights, Manhattan, U.S.A.
d. 12th January 2022, U.S.A.
The lead vocalist for the group the Ronettes, Ronnie Spector, has died from cancer. She was 78.
Ronnie was born Veronica Yvette Bennett in Washington Heights, Manhattan, and was the daughter of an African-American-Cherokee mother and Irish–American father.
In 1957 she formed the girl group The Ronettes along with her elder sister Estelle Bennett and cousin Nedra Talley.
The record producer Phil Spector produced the majority of their recording output and were later married in 1968 and separated in 1972. These songs included:
‘Baby, I Love You’, ‘Be My Baby’, ‘Do I Love You’, ‘I Can Hear Music’, ‘Walking In The Rain’, along with their contributions to the Phil Spector, classic, Christmas album ‘Frosty The Snowman’, ‘I Saw Mommy Kissing Santa Claus’ and ‘Sleighride’.
She later married her manager, Jonathan Greenfield.
They lived in Danbury, Connecticut with their two sons, Austin Drew and Jason Charles.
b. James Forman, 3rd January 1946, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 9th January 2022, South Orange, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The songwriter, producer and performer, James Mtume, has died. James was 76.
James died following a long battle with cancer.
James’ father was part of the group The Heath Brothers.
He collaborated with Miles Davis on his album ‘On the Corner’.
James was raised by his stepfather & his mother, James Forman, a jazz pianist who had played with Charlie Parker, and his mother, Bertha Forman.
He was a champion swimmer in high school and attended Pasadena City College on an athletic scholarship.
James joined Miles Davis’s band in 1971 and stayed until 1975.
When Miles stopped performing, James and the guitarist Reggie Lucas, another member of the Miles Davis group, joined Roberta Flack’s band.
Their composition ‘The Closer I Get to You’, which she recorded as a duet with Donny Hathaway, reached No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978.
In 1988, James denounced hip-hop’s reliance on sampling, calling it ‘Memorex music’ and complained that the originators were ignored.
By the 1990s, James had grown dissatisfied with the music business and moved into talk radio.
Mtume will, probably, be best remembered for the Eighties hit song ‘Juicy Fruit’.
Along with his collaborator, Reggie Lucas, (who played in the Miles Davis group), they penned many successful sides, including Stephanie Mills’ ‘I Never Knew Love Like This Before, Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway’s ‘The Closer I Get To You’ & ‘Back Together Again’, Eddie Henderson’s ‘Prance On’, Gary Bartz’s ‘Music’, Phyllis Hyman’s ‘You Know How To Love Me’, The Heath Brothers ‘Dreamin’, Roy Ayers’ ‘Hot’ amongst hundred’s of other tunes.
He is survived by his wife, Kamili Mtume; his brother, Jeffrey Forman; two sons, Faulu Mtume and Richard Johnson; four daughters, Benin Mtume, Eshe King, Ife Mtume and Sanda Lee; and six grandchildren.
...those who left us in 2021...