'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. Reginald Torian Snr., 22nd November 1950, Chicago Heights, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 4th May 2016, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Reginald 'Reggie' Torian Sr., lead singer of The Impressions and the Independents Soul groups, has died. He was 65.
He became ill on the 4th of May, and was taken to a hospital where he passed away.
Shortly before his passing, Reggie had been rehearsing with the group, the Independents, for a Mother’s Day Show.
Reggie was also a solo artist, actor and ordained minister.
His father, Virgil 'V.J.' Torian Jr., played for the Harlem Globetrotters.
Reggie spent his early years in Hopkinsville, Kentucky, later growing up in Chicago Heights and Markham, Illinois.
He attended Thornton Township High School in Harvey, Illinois.
Reggie is survived by his daughters, Tyra and Abrease, two more sons, Seth and Reginald 'Tre' III, three more sisters, Sharon Mance, Denise Daniels and Necole Torian, his brothers, Maurice and Vincent, and 17 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.
Day 1: The Visitation/Viewing will take place on Friday, May 13, 2016 from 4-7pm at the following location:
Woods Funeral Home
1003 S Halsted St
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Phone: (708) 755-2010
Day 2: The Memorial service will be held on Saturday, May 14, 2016 promptly, at 10:00am at the following location:
Christ Universal Temple
11901 S Ashland Ave
Chicago, IL 60643
Phone: (773) 568-1717
Day 2 part II: Family and friends will gather immediately after the memorial service to fellowship and celebrate the life of our father from 1-4pm at the following location:
Bethel Resource Center
1250 Portland Ave
Chicago Heights, IL 60411
Day 3: The Burial will take place on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 10:30am at the following location:
Mt. Glenwood Memory Gardens
18301 Glenwood-Thorton Rd
Glenwood, IL 60425
b. Harrison Roy Calloway Jnr., 6th November 1940, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 30th April 2016, Jackson, Mississippi, U.S.A.
The trumpet player for the Muscle Shoals Horns, Harrison Calloway, has died. He was 75.
Harrison passed away in Jackson, Mississippi, following a stroke.
He had suffered the stroke on the 22nd of April, and never regained consciousness.
More recently he still was active as an arranger and producer at Malaco Records in Jackson, Mississippi.
Harrison was seen as the ‘father of the Muscle Shoals Horns band’, performing on several Sixties and Seventies sides, including 1976’s dancer, ‘Born To Get Down’.
Along with Ronnie Eades, Harvey Thompson and Charles Rose, the group originally met at the Tennessee State University in Nashville.
The group began recording at the end of the Sixties, at the FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals.
Harrison performed with several musicians at the studio’s, including Bob Dylan, Bob Seger, the Osmonds, Joe Tex, Bobby Womack, Candi Staton, Frederick Knight, B.B. King, and Elton John.
As a solo band, the Muscle Shoals Horns group released three albums, which were ‘Born To Get Down’ (in 1976), ‘Doin' It To The Bone’ (in 1977), and ‘Shine On’ (in 1983).
b. Paul Williams, 1st December 1934, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 24th April 2016, Blackwood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The veteran Soul, Jazz & R&B singer, Billy Paul, has died. He was 81.
Billy passed away on the 24th of April 2016 at his home in Blackwood, New Jersey.
He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer.
The singer will, probably, be best remembered for his classic Soul ballad, ‘Me & Mrs Jones’, which reached number one in the charts in 1972.
Billy was part of the Philadelphia International Records family, at which he achieved success with the several of the labels finest songs, including ‘Bring The Family Back’, ‘Brown Baby’, 'Malorie', ‘Am I Black Enough For You?’, ‘Let Em In’ and ‘Thanks For Saving My Life’.
Saturday April 30th at the Deliverance Evangelistic Church, 2001 Lehigh Avenue Philadelphia, PA.
Viewing will be from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. with the services to follow.
b. Prince Rogers Nelson, 7th June 1958, Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.A.
d. 21st April 2016, Chanhassen, Minnesota, U.S.A.
The singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, Prince, has died. He was 57.
The cause of death was due to flu-like symptoms.
He died at home in Minnesota, his publicist has said.
Police attended his Paisley Park estate and an investigation is underway.
In 2004, Prince was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Last week the singer was taken to hospital, but was released after a few hours.
b. Dennis Davis, 28th August 1951, Manhattan, New York, U.S.A.
d. 6th April 2016, New York, U.S.A.
The drummer, Dennis Davis, has died. He had been fighting a battle with cancer.
Dennis played on several major recordings including, Stevie Wonder’s ‘Journey Through the Secret Life of Plants’ (in 1979), ‘Hotter Than July’ (in 1980), ‘Original Musiquarium’ (in 1982 on ‘Do I Do’) and ‘Characters’ (in 1987), Roy Ayers’ ‘Coffy’ (in 1973), ‘Virgo Red’ (in 1973), ‘Red, Black and Green’ (in 1973), ’Tear to a Smile’ (in 1975) and ‘You Send Me’ (in 1978) and David Bowie’s recordings, ‘Young Americans’ (in 1975), ‘Station to Station’ (in 1976), ‘Low’ (in 1977), ‘Heroes’ (in 1977), ‘Lodger’ (in 1979) and ‘Scary Monsters’ (in 1980).
Dennis also worked with George Benson, Ronnie Foster, Jermaine Jackson and Iggy Pop.
He was the son of Alice and "Sugarfoot" Davis, and had two sisters, Denise and Danna, and a brother called Butch.
Dennis’s uncle urged the youngster to take up percussion, under the wing of his drum teacher, George Scott.
He, later studied with the drummers Max Roach and Elvin Jones.
Dennis performed with the Clark Terry Big Band in 1967.
That year he was drafted into national service, and was sent to Vietnam, where he was wounded.
He performed in the the United States Navy, after which he left the military and went on tour with the vibraphonist, Roy Ayers.
Dennis then came to the attention of David Bowie, where he began a collaboration with lasted for a decade or so.
He had, initially, met guitarist Carlos Alomar (Bowie’s guitarist) when they were both were playing with the Roy Ayers group.
He worked with George Benson and Stevie Wonder in 1979 for studio and live performances.
More recently, he had been working on a solo album, entitled ‘The Groovemaster’.
He leaves four children, Darien, Naoto, Erika, and Kaito.
b. Otha Leon Haywood, 11th February 1942, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 5th April 2016, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
The singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer. Leon Haywood, has died. Leon was 74.
According to his godson, Darnell Price, Leon passed away in his sleep.
The singer is, probably, best remembered for his 1975 hit single ‘I Want To Do Something Freaky to You’.
Born in Houston, Leon learned to play the piano as a child, later supporting the Blues musician, Guitar Slim.
He relocated to Los Angeles, and began collaborating with the saxophonist Big Jay McNeely.
Leon went on to work in Sam Cooke’s group, later signing to the Fantasy Records imprint.
In 1967, he released the single ‘It's Got to Be Mellow’, which charted at number 21 (R&B).
He later performed with Dyke & the Blazers, recording solo sides for the Columbia Records and MCA Records labels.
Leon began recording disco sides in the Seventies, which led to the releases of ‘I Want To Do Something Freaky to You’ (in 1975), ‘Strokin' (Pt. II)’ (in 1976) and ‘Party’ (in 1978).
In 1980, he released the single ‘Don't Push It Don't Force It’, which reached number 12 in the U.K.
Leon is credited with writing the Carl Carlton hit ‘She's a Bad Mama Jama’.
His final R&B chart record was ‘Tenderoni’ in 1984.
By the end of the decade he had moved into a production role with the Los Angeles imprint Edge Records.
He produced albums for the likes of Jimmy McCracklin, Clay Hammond, Ronnie Lovejoy and Buddy Ace for his Evejim Records imprint.
During his career he recorded for several labels including, the Imperial, Decca, 20th Century, Columbia, MCA, Casablanca, Modern, Edge and Evejim imprints.
Funeral services for Leon Haywood are as follows:
FRIDAY: APRIL 15, 2016
12 PM - 8 PM
ANGELUS FUNERAL HOME
3875 CRENSHAW BLVD
LOS ANGELES, CA 90008
SATURDAY: APRIL 16, 2016
10:00 AM - 12:00 PM
ANGELUS FUNERAL HOME
3875 CRENSHAW BLVD
LOS ANGELES, CA 90008
BURIAL immediately following the service as directed.
4:00 PM - UNTIL....
3677 CRENSHAW BLVD
ENTER FROM REAR OF THE BLDG.
LOS ANGELES, CA 90016
b. Leandro Barbieri, 28th November 1932, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina.
d. 2nd April 2016, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The Argentine tenor saxophonist, Gato Barbieri, has died. He was 83.
Gato passed away in a New York hospital from pneumonia.
He had recently had bypass surgery to remove a blood clot.
Amongst Soul and fusion fans, he will, probably, be best remembered for his 1976 album ‘Caliente!’, which featured the title track, along with the performers own take on the Marvin Gaye/Leon Ware song ‘I Want You’.
Gato became part of the free jazz movement in the Sixties, moving on to a more Fusion based sound, the following decade, and recorded 35 albums between 1967 and 1982.
He also played the clarinet and the alto saxophone whilst performing with the composer, Lalo Schifrin, during his early career.
Gato wrote the music for the Bernardo Bertolucci film ‘Last Tango in Paris’.
He was awarded a Grammy Award for his efforts.
Gato then signed with Impulse! Records, moving on to the A&M imprint during the Seventies.
Also that decade, Gato worked with his A&M label mate, Herb Alpert, collaborating on the album ‘Ruby Ruby’ in 1977.
During the Eighties, Gato’s wife passed away, and he retired from the public arena for a while.
He returned to recording during the Nineties, where his style had become smooth jazz in format.
Although in poor health, Gato had performed at the Blue Note jazz club, in New York, as recently as November 2015.
Gato received the UNICEF Award at the Argentinian Consulate in 2009.
He married again in 1996 and had a son, Christian, who is 18.
Gato is survived by his wife, Laura, his son Christian, and his sister Raquel Barbieri, who lives in Buenos Aires.
b. Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
d. 20th March 2016, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
Larry Payton, the drummer for the Seventies/Eighties funk band, Brass Construction, has died.
Larry passed away on the 21st of March 2016.
There are few details online at this point.
Larry, and Randy Muller, were students at the George Jr. Gerswhin Junior High School in Brooklyn.
He played in some of the churches of Brooklyn as a teenager.
The duo formed Dynamic Soul with Wade Williamston.
The three teamed up with fellow musicians Maurice Price, Mickey Grudge, Sandy Billups and Jesse Ward.
Larry was performing at the outset of the group, drumming on the dancefloor evergreen’s ‘Movin’, ‘Changin’ and ‘Ha Cha Cha’ amongst others.
Brass Construction’s website stated that Larry had a varied taste in music, appreciating the likes of Billy Cobham, Buddy Rich and Led Zeppelin.
james jamerson jnr.
james (left) with david williams in chanson in 1979
b. James Lee Jamerson Jr., 1958, Detroit City, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 24th March 2016, Detroit City, Michigan, U.S.A.
The son of James Jamerson, the Motown bassist and member of the group the Funk Brothers, James Jamerson Jnr., has died. James was 58.
The cause of death has not been determined, although James was known to have been unwell in recent years.
James was the father of Derrick Jamerson, and played in the Soul group, Chanson.
As a session musician he performed for the likes of the Originals, Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis, Jr., The Crusaders, Tavares, Herb Alpert, Bruce Springsteen, the 5th Dimension, Karen Pree, and Stargard.
In the late Seventies, James and David Williams, formed the group Chanson.
chanson - 1978 / together we stand - 1979
The group recorded two albums in 1978 (‘Chanson’) and 1979 (’Together we Stand’).
1978’s album featured the single ‘Don’t Hold Back’ (which featured the horn section from Earth, Wind & Fire, along with support from Boz Scaggs’ rhythm band).
In the Eighties, James worked with the likes of B.B. King, Bob Dylan, and Teena Marie.
James recently stood in for his father on a recent tour entitled ‘Standing in the Shadows of Motown LIVE!’ (a tenth anniversary tour for the famous film of the same name).
b. Malik Isaac Taylor (a.k.a. ‘Five Foot Assassin’), 20th November 1970, St. Albans, Queens, New York, U.S.A.
d. 22nd March 2016, New York, U.S.A.
The rapper with the group A Tribe Called Quest, Phife Dawg, has died, as a result of complications relating to diabetes. He was 45.
Phife formed the group A Tribe Called Quest in 1985, with his school classmate Q-Tip.
The group were originally known as simply ‘Quest’.
Unlike many of their contemporaries, the group had similarities with the rap ensembles De La Soul and The Jungle Brothers.
Signing with Geffen Records in 1989 (for a demo record), the group eventually landed at the Jive Records imprint, a year later.
The groups debut album was 1990’s ‘People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm’.
the low end theory - 1991
The album was followed, a year later, by ‘The Low End Theory’.
A Tribe Called Quest’s subject matter often involved political issues.
The albums ‘Midnight Marauders’ was released in 1993, ‘Beats, Rhymes and Life’ in 1996, and ‘The Love Movement’ in 1998.
Following the last release, the group disbanded.
Phife was diagnosed with diabetes in May 1990, and received a kidney transplant from his wife in 2008.
He was considered to be one of the most influential rappers in the history of the genre, influencing the likes of Kanye West, Jill Scott, The Roots and Common.
b. Arthur Lee Andrew Thompson, 2nd June 1936, Goldsboro Township, Wayne County, North Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 16th March 2016, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
The Doo-Wop and R&B singer, Lee Andrews has died. He was 79.
Lee was a founder member of the group Lee Andrews & the Hearts, and later became the lead singer in the R&B group, Congress Alley in the early Seventies.
He was also the son of Beachey Thompson of the Dixie Hummingbirds.
Lee Andrews & the Hearts were formed in 1953 in Philadelphia.
The group were managed by the late member of the group, the Silhouettes, Kae Williams, during 1957 and 1958.
Kae’s son went on to front the group Breakwater in the Seventies.
Lee Andrews & the Hearts hits included ‘Teardrops’, ‘Long Lonely Nights’ and ‘Try the Impossible’.
The ensemble consisted of Lee Andrews (lead), Roy Calhoun (first tenor), Thomas "Butch" Curry (second tenor), Ted Weems (baritone) and Wendell Calhoun (bass), releasing material on the on the Gotham, Rainbow, Mainline, Chess, United Artists, Grand and Gowen imprints.
Lee was the husband of the ex. Congress Alley vocalist Jacqui Andrews and was father of Ahmir '?uestlove' Thompson of the group The Roots.
lee andrews with his wife jacqui
Congress Alley released two singles and an album on Avco Embassy in 1973.
b. Daryl Lynn Coley, 30th October 1955, Berkeley, California, U.S.A.
d. 15th March 2016, Fayetteville, North Carolina, U.S.A.
The Gospel singer, Daryl Coley, has died. He was 60.
Daryl passed away on the 15th March 2016, whilst in hospice care surrounded by his family.
Since 1991, Daryl had struggled with juvenile diabetes, (becoming blind temporarily).
More recently he underwent weekly dialysis with only 17% functionality of his kidneys.
As a teenager, Daryl was a vocalist in the Helen Stephens And The Voices Of Christ.
He also sang with the Edwin Hawkins Singers.
Daryl later collaborated with James Cleveland, Tramaine Hawkins, Sylvester and Pete Escovedo.
He grew up in Oakland, California, being raised by his mother, who introduced him to various forms of music.
Following his time with the Helen Stephens And The Voices Of Christ, Daryl began performing with Edwin Hawkins in the Edwin Hawkins Singers.
He remained with the group from 1977 until 1983.
After working as musical director for Tramaine Hawkins, Daryl took an interest in secular music.
He began working with several artists including, Sylvester, Pete Escovedo, Nancy Wilson, Rodney Franklin, and Philip Bailey of Earth, Wind & Fire.
In 1986, Daryl released his solo debut album ‘Just Daryl’.
Further albums followed, including ‘I’ll Be With You’ (in 1988), ‘He's Right On Time: Live From Los Angeles’ (in 1990), ‘When The Music Stops’ (in 1992), ‘In My Dreams’ (in 1994) and ‘Christmas Is Here’ (in 1999).
b. Thomas A. Brown, 27th May 1931, Lumpkin, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 12th March 2016, U.S.A.
The R&B singer, Tommy Brown, has died. Tommy was 84.
During his career, he was also known as Tommy ‘Weepin' and Cryin' Brown, and ‘Little Tommy Brown.
Born in Georgia, Tommy became a drummer in his early years.
Recording for the Regent imprint, he released ‘Atlanta Boogie’ in 1949.
He switched to the Dot imprint in the early Fifties and began a collaboration with the Griffin Brothers, Jimmy and Ernest Griffin, who hailed from Norfolk, Virginia.
The group recorded on the Margie Day hits, ‘Street Walkin' Daddy’ and ‘Little Red Rooster’.
Tommy sang on the R&B Top 10 hit ‘Tra-La-La’, credited to The Griffin Brothers Orchestra featuring Tommy Brown.
He served in the forces during the early Fifties, for a short time, after which he signed to the, Chicago based, United Records imprint.
Tommy performed with Bill Doggett, co-writing the song ’Honky Tonk’.
Tommy recorded and switched labels occasionally, (Regent, Dot, Savoy, United, Groove, Imperial Records), before performing on a cabaret style performing period (which included comedy, during the Sixties and Seventies).
In the latter format, Tommy released the albums, ‘I Ain't Lyin' and I Ain't Lyin' Vol. 2 in 1967.
1977 saw Tommy returning to Atlanta, and running the Landmark Personal Care Center.
He made a musical comeback in 2001, recording and performing at Blues festivals.
Tommy’s back catalogue has recently been reissued on CD.
b. Augustus R. Stevenson, 1928, U.S.A.
d. 10th March 2016, Holbrook, Suffolk County, New York, U.S.A.
The songwriter, Bobby Stevenson, as died. Bobby was 87.
Augustus wrote under the name of Bobby Stevenson during the Fifties.
He penned (or co-penned) songs for several artists, which featured, ‘Hey Little Girl’ (for Dee Clark), ‘So Many Ways’ (for Brook Benton), ‘I Don't Know’ (for Ruth Brown), ‘Please Say You're Fooling’ (for Ray Charles), ‘Start Movin' (In My Direction’ (for Sal Mineo, ‘After All We've Been Through’ (for Maxine Brown, and ‘Shake! Shake! Shake!’ (for Jackie Wilson).
He became songwriter of the year from Billboard Magazine in 1959.
Bobby was the husband of June A. Stevenson, and father of 4 sons and grandfather of 8.
b. Ernestine Irene Anderson, 11th November 1928, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 10th March 2016, Seattle, Washington, U.S.A.
The Jazz singer, Ernestine Anderson, has died. Ernestine was 87.
She died peacefully, surrounded by her family, at home in Seattle.
Ernestine Anderson is a twin to her sister, Josephine.
The siblings were born, in Houston, Texas
As she grew as a vocalist, her godmother entered her in a local talent contest at the age of 12.
Here family relocated to Seattle, Washington in 1944.
Ernestine attended and graduated from Garfield High School there.
When she was eighteen, she joined the Johnny Otis band.
In the early Fifties, she toured with Lionel Hampton's orchestra.
She relocated to New York, appearing on Gigi Gryce's 1955 album ‘Nica's Tempo’.
Ernestine recorded her debut album, ‘Hot Cargo’, in Sweden, releasing the album Stateside on the Mercury Records imprint in 1958.
The following years, she divided her time, touring in the States and Europe.
Following an appearance at the 1976 Concord Jazz Festival, she signed with the label, releasing 20 albums for the imprint.
Ernestine has appeared at the Monterey Jazz Festival regularly, in 1959, 1982, 1984, 1987, 1990 and 2007.
In 1993, she switched labels from Concord, signing to Quincy Jones’ imprint, Qwest.
At the label, she released the albums ‘Now and Then’ (in 1993), and ‘Blues, Dues & Love News’ (in 1996).
At the end of the millennium, Ernestine had signed to the Koch International label.
b. George Henry Martin, 3rd January 1926, Highbury, London, England
d. 8th March 2016 (aged 90), London, England
The producer of all of the Beatles hit singles, George Martin, has died. George was 90.
george and quincy
Quincy Jones posted on Twitter:
‘RIP to my musical brother George Martin. We were friends since 1964, & I am so thankful 4 that gift. Bless u & your precious posse 4ever’.
George Martin was a carpenter’s son from Holloway in London.
Without doubt, George was the ‘sound’ of the Fab Four, honing every track to the feel he was looking for, without ripping out, the heart of the song, and in the early days, that 'heart' was a very Soulful one.
The Beatles early recordings owed a great debt to R&B, showcased by their various songs from that era.
Roll Over Beethoven (Chuck Berry)
Long Tall Sally (Little Richard)
Dizzy Miss Lizzy (Larry Williams)
Boys (The Shirelles)
Money (That's What I Want) (Barrett Strong)
Twist And Shout (The Isley Brothers/Top Notes)
Chains (The Cookies)
Matchbox (Carl Perkins)
Anna (Go To Him) (Arthur Alexander)
Please Mr Postman (The Marvelettes)
You Really Got A Hold On Me (The Miracles)
Devil In His Heart (The Donays)
Honey Don't (Carl Perkins)
Rock And Roll Music (Chuck Berry)
Bad Boy (Larry Williams)
Some Other Guy (Richie Barrett)
Baby It's You (The Shirelles)
Watch Your Step (Bobby Parker)
When the Beatles went their separate ways, George took the soft rock/blue eyed soul group America under his production wing in 1974.
The album ‘Holiday’ featured the song ‘Tin Man’, a track later covered by the Soul singer, John Edwards.
George went on to produce the group up until 1979.
George Martin produced many Soul Jazz and soft rock artists, including, Jimmy Webb, Billy Preston, Humphrey Lyttelton And His Band, Stevie Wonder, Oleta Adams and Burt Bacharach.
we can work it out - maxine brown
The 2011 Ace Records compilation ‘Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney’ is a fine example of the marriage of the Fab Four and Black Music.
Sir George Martin’s contribution to music is immeasurable.
b. Gavin Christopher Wright, 1st May 1949, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 4th March 2016, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Gavin Christopher, has died. He was 66.
His cousin, Tinonda Bradshaw, said:
‘My beloved Uncle Gavin Christopher passed away today from conjestive heart failure’.
During his career, Gavin worked with Rufus and Chaka Khan during the mid-70's.
He penned 'Life Is A Dance' for Chaka who wrote the sleeve notes to his debut album, 'Gavin Christopher' for Island Records in 1976.
In 1979, he released a second album entitled 'Gavin Christopher' for the RSO label (via Polydor).
Taken from that album, 'We're In Love' was produced by Philadelphia man, Bobby Eli.
'One Step Closer' followed in 1986, including 'In The Heat Of Passion', with the album 'Gavin' following on 2 years later.
Other artists benefited from Gavin's songwriting skills including, Charles Jackson (the song 'Gonna Getcha Love') and Cuba Gooding ('Got The Hots').
He has, also, been the featured vocalist on recordings for Herbie Hancock ('Magic Windows' and 'Monster', including 'Stars In Your Eyes'), Jeff Lorber (on 'Best Part Of The Night') and Tyzik (on 'Love Won't Wait').
His sister is the singer, Shawn Christopher.
b. Clarence Lewis (a.k.a. Little Junior Lewis, Junior Lewis), 20th August 1934, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
d. 26th February 2016, Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.A.
The artist, C.L. Blast has died. He was 81.
Clarence will, probably, be best remembered for his deep Soul tune ‘Lay Another Log On The Fire’.
Born in in Birmingham, Alabama, Clarence graduated from Parker High School in 1954.
That year, he recorded for Bobby Robinson's Red Robin label in New York, under the name of Clarence 'Junior' Lewis.
In 1955, he was drafted into the Army and toured military bases for two years, entertaining troops.
When he left the Army, he returned to New York and recorded ‘Cupid's Little Helper’ for Fury Records in 1960.
He recorded two debut singles as ‘Little Junior Lewis’ that year.
Clarence then signed with Columbia Records in 1961 and recorded four singles under the name of ‘Junior Lewis’ between 1961 and 1963.
In the 1960’s he also performed with the Birmingham musician, Erskine Hawkins and his band, at the Minton Playhouse in Harlem.
In 1964, he relocated back to Birmingham and opened a lounge and record store in North Birmingham called ‘The Players Lounge and One-Stop Record Shop’.
Clarence then went on to record under the name ‘C.L. Blast’ from 1967 onwards.
He signed to Atlantic Records, releasing ‘I’ll Take The Case’ b/w ‘If I Could See My Baby's Face Again’ in 1969.
In 1971 he released ‘What Can I Do (When My Thrill Is Gone)’, for the United Records imprint.
Between 1976 and 1984, Clarence worked with the singer Frederick Knight.
In 1980, C.L. Blast released a debut album under that name entitled, ‘Lay Another Log on the Fire’ for the Atlantic Cotillion Records imprint.
Success of the album led to a tour in South Africa, where he toured for several months.
Clarence settled in Birmingham, and sang gospel in local churches.
b. George William Pearson, 27th July 1935, United Kingdom.
d. 24th February 2016, Royal London Hospital, London, United Kingdom.
George Pearson (co-owner of the Jifs Records store in Chadwell Heath) has died. He was 80.
george with his son, tony
He passed away at the Royal London with his partner, Lyn, his son Tony, Gaynor, and his grand children.
George sold soul records for many years from Chadwell Heath, following a period retailing records from a Petrol station in Harold Wood in Essex.
It was through his Soul music store, Jifs Records, where he saw his greatest success, retailing Black Music during the Eighties.
The store was situated at: Jifs Records, 244 High Road, Chadwell Heath, RM6 6AP, and used the catchphrase ‘The One Stop Funk Shop’.
Jifs was frequented by celebrities and the public alike.
Included in their regular customers were, boxer, Frank Bruno and, snooker champion, Steve Davis.
Music producer, Mark Summers, visited Jifs from time to time.
Mark worked with several artists, including Pitbull, Fatboy Slim, and Bob Sinclair.
George went on to appear on Solar Radio, on a couple of occasions, and was a good friend of the stations owner, Tony Monson.
George and his wife Lyn relocated to Southend a few years ago.
b. Denise Katrina Matthews (a.k.a. Denise Matthews–Smith, D.D. Winters), 4th January 1959, Niagara Falls, Ontario, Canada.
d. 15th February 2016, Fremont, California, U.S.A.
Denise Katrina Matthews, the lead singer of the female vocal trio, Vanity 6, has died. Denise was 57.
She was suffering from kidney disease, and died in a Fremont hospital in California.
Between 1981 and 1983, Vanity 6 achieved several hits, including the 1982 R&B hit ‘Nasty Girl’.
She also had a parallel career in films, including ‘The Last Dragon’, and ‘Action Jackson’.
In 1980, Prince renamed her Vanity and asked her to become the lead singer of the group Vanity 6.
‘Nasty Girl’ was produced by Prince, who took the group on his 1999 Tour.
The group later signed with Motown Records in 1984 and recorded two solo albums, namely ‘Wild Animal’ and ‘Skin on Skin’.
Later she signed with Geffen Records.
Sadly, the results of substance abuse led to serious kidney problems, which, in turn, led to her having to undergo dialysis five times a day.
b. Obrey Dean Wilson, 27th February 1942, Montgomery County, Maryland, U.S.A.
d. 6th February 2016, Clarksville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
The R&B singer, Obrey Wilson, has died. He was 73.
Obrey was signed to various imprints, including Liberty, Epic, and Jed Records between the years 1961 until 1982.
He released several sides which included ‘Whipping Boy’ b/w ‘That's Where Lonesome Lives’ (in 1961), ‘A Little Bit of Heart Ache’ (in 1964), ‘Sho Nuff You Can’ (in 1973), ‘Hey There Mountain’ (in 1962), ‘In a Woman's Eyes’ (in 1965) and ‘Laid Back and Easy’ (in 1972).
many thanks to Charles Hunt for the notification
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'.