Soul And / Or Related Artists

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Roebuck 'Pops' Staples

Pops StaplesPops Staples

b. 28th December 1914, Winona, Missourri, U.S.A..

d. 19th December 2000, Dolton Illinois, U.S.A.

By HERBERT G. McCANN, Associated Press Writer

Roebuck 'Pops' Staples, patriarch of the gospel and rhythm-and-blues group the Staple Singers, died Tuesday. He was 84.
Staples had suffered a concussion recently in a fall near his home in suburban Dolton.
He and his group gained fame in the 1960s by singing music that urged social and religious change. He was known for both his songwriting and his guitar playing, in which he fused gospel with the blues.
Born to a poor Winona, Miss., family on 28th December, 1914, Staples dropped out of school after the eighth grade to pick cotton.
Staples sang with a gospel group, the Golden Trumpets, before moving with his wife, Oceala, to Chicago in 1936, where he performed with the Trumpet Jubilees.
Staples said his earliest exposure to music came in the church. It wasn't until he was in his teens that he heard the blues. He listed Bessie Smith, Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson among his favorites.
Staples formed the group bearing his name in 1948. Originally composed of son Pervis and daughters Mavis and Cleotha, the Staple Singers began as a gospel group that performed in Chicago churches, backed by his minimalist playing. Mavis, then 7 years old, sang bass in the group.
Their first recordings came in the 1950's.
It was during the 1960's that the Staple Singers switched to protest, inspirational and contemporary music, reflecting the civil rights and anti-war protests of the time.
'But we just kept on singing and praying, and we let our music carry the message,' Staples said afterward. 'When people realized that our music still had the message of love, our audience grew - old people came back, and new people kept coming.'
The Staple Singers gained a huge audience with their first No. 1 hit 'I'll Take You There' in 1972 and followed with top 40 hits 'Respect Yourself,' 'Heavy Makes You Happy'' and 'If You're Ready (Come Go With Me).'
In 1975 on Curtis Mayfield's Custom label, the Staple Singers released 'Let's Do It Again,' the title track of the film starring Bill Cosby and Sidney Poitier.
While the Staple Singers enjoyed success in the 1980's, 'Pops' Staples began a solo career and tried his hand at acting.
His 1992 'Peace to the Neighborhood' garnered a Grammy nomination, and in 1994 he released 'Father, Father,'' winning a Grammy.
Staples in survived by his children, Cleotha, Pervis, Yvonne - who replaced Pervis in the group - and Mavis. His wife, Oceola, preceded him in death.

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Bobby Sheen

b. 17th May 1941, St. Louis, Missourri, U.S.A.

d. 23rd November 2000, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.

Bobby Sheen

Lead singer who played a key role in the creation of Phil Spector's Wall of Sound.

Whenever he made records under his own name, Bobby Sheen, who has died aged 57, was out of luck. But as Bob B Soxx, the ostensible leader of a group called the Blue Jeans, he briefly became one of the figures identified with the Wall of Sound, the style of pop music devised in the early 60's by the record producer Phil Spector, whose musical innovations and eccentric behaviour also established the archetype of the brilliant and autocratic Svengali of early rock and roll.

Born in St Louis, Missouri, Sheen's family moved to southern California and, like Spector, he grew up in West Hollywood, then a mixed district. His early showbusiness experience came as a member of various touring versions of the Robins and the Coasters, two of the most popular Los Angeles vocal groups of the late 50's.

A tall young man who dressed his hair in a fashionable pompadour, he sang in a high voice heavily influenced by Clyde McPhatter, who was the Drifters' first important lead singer in the early 50s before he embarked on a successful solo career.

In 1962 Sheen hooked up with Spector through a recommendation from Lester Sill, a prominent Hollywood music business figure who had just gone into partnership with the 21-year-old pro ducer to form the Philles label. Spector was also briefly employed as head of A&R for Liberty Records, and his first venture with Sheen was a single for that label titled 'How Many Days', a competent copy of McPhatter's solo records, recorded in New York.

A few months later Spector moved his recording operation to Los Angeles, where he booked time at a studio, Gold Star, located at the corner of Santa Monica Boulevard and Vine Street. The site of many hit recordings, Gold Star was noted for its exceptionally resonant echo chamber, located in the bathroom. It also employed a young engineer, Larry Levine, who was eager to collaborate in Spector's more unorthodox notions. Their first session together produced He's A Rebel, released under the name of the Crystals, even though all the singing was done by session singers - one of whom was Sheen. It was at a second Gold Star session, in the autumn of 1962, that Sheen found himself singing the lead part on a version of 'Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah', a children's song from a 1940 Walt Disney film, 'Song Of The South', which Spector had re-imagined as a mini-epic of avant-garde rhythm and blues.

At the session, Spector had assembled three guitarists, three bass players, at least two pianists, four saxophonists, a drummer and a percussionist. Levine spent almost three hours trying vainly to capture the correct sound balance on the studio's primitive three-track desk. In frustration, he turned off all the microphones. One by one he turned them back on, until Spector shouted: 'That's it! That's the sound!' But one microphone had been inadvertently left off, and the distant, metallic sound of Billy Strange's electric guitar solo leaking into the microphones of the other musicians became the signature of a record also distinguished by the disembodied clanging of its weirdly ponderous rhythm track - a sound unlike anything heard before. A top 10 hit over the Christmas of 1962, it helped prepare the way for the records by the Crystals and the Ronettes which established Philles as the last great phenomenon before the arrival of the Beatles ended pop's age of innocence.

With Darlene Love and Fanita James, two session singers who did duty as the Blue Jeans, Sheen released two more Bob B Soxx singles in 1963, the charming 'Why Do Lovers Break Each Other's Heart?' and the rowdy 'Not Too Young To Get Married', on both of which Love sang the lead part - as she had, uncredited, on 'He's A Rebel' and the Crystals' next hit, 'He's Sure The Boy I Love'.

When neither Bob B Soxx follow-up matched the success of Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah, Spector turned his interest elsewhere. But the group's final appearance, as contributors to the producer's legendary Christmas Album, also permitted Sheen his finest hour, delivering a soaring lead vocal on a magnificently thunderous arrangement of 'The Bells Of St Mary's'. An unlikely vehicle for one of Spector's "little symphonies for the kids", it now seems fully the equal of 'Be My Baby' or 'River Deep - Mountain High', the acknowledged classics of Spector's Wagnerian style.

Sheen signed a contract with Capitol, and in 1966 released an excellent single called 'Dr Love', which failed to make the pop charts but nevertheless found - and continues to find - favour with the dancers of Britain's northern soul scene (an original UK promo copy is currently available on an internet site for £60). Later, he resumed his earlier career as a member of one of several groups trading under the name of the Coasters, and for a while ran a label of his own, Salsa Picante. In later years he continued to take late-night phone calls from Spector in which the First Tycoon of Teen - who, incidentally, celebrates his 60th birthday on Boxing Day - outlined grand plans to revive the splendours of the past.

Sheen will be fondly remembered in the U.K. for his single 'Something New To Do'.

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Dick Morrissey (Morrisey Mullen) a.k.a Richard Edwin Morrissey.

b. 9th May 1940. At Horley, England.

d. 8th November 2000. At Deal, Kent.

Dick Morrissey, who has died aged 60 from cancer, was one of Britain's brightest jazz stars and a man who had a key role in the early fusion between jazz and rock during the 1970's.

As jazz fashions seesawed between freer forms and fusion, Morrissey moved towards the latter, notably during the early years of a much-acclaimed partnership with guitarist Jim Mullen that saw them working with the Average White Band, the Scottish group who became the first British exponents of blue-eyed soul.

Born in Surrey, Morrissey went to school in Sutton and was a self-taught musician. He began as a clarinettist in his early teens, but subsequently learned all the saxophones, plus flute. In his late teens he worked with the bandleader Harry South, first appearing in the London clubs as a tenor saxophonist, the instrument with which he was always most closely identified. John Coltrane's approach to the tenor had yet to make much of an impact in Britain, and Morrissey came up with a startling and warmly appreciated blend of Stan Getz and Sonny Rollins, the phrasing of one allied to the abrasive tones of the other. He was also influenced by the example of Tubby Hayes, whose lightening-quick forays through complex harmonies he was probably the first to emulate.

Morrissey soon established himself as leader of various quartets at Ronnie Scott's club, working with Phil Seaman and Harry South. In 1961 he recorded his first solo album, 'It's Morrissey Man!' He went on to record a live album in 1966 with the blues legend Jimmy Witherspoon. By the mid-60's, though, a newer breed of musician, linked to Ornette Coleman or to various kinds of music inspired, however indirectly, by Coleman, had emerged.

Before his 30th birthday, Morrissey might already have been in danger of dropping off the jazz map, perhaps resigned to a decade or more of studio anonymity. Instead, he adapted his hard, no-nonsense tones to fit various contexts of soul or jazz-rock. By 1970, he was co-leading the group If with guitarist Terry Smith. After the original band split up, in 1973 Morrissey brought in new young musicians, including Geoff Whitehorn, Cliff Davies and Gabriel Magno, and recorded the albums Not Just a Bunch of Pretty Faces and Tea Break Over, Back On Your 'Eads, before touring in America.

In 1975 the group disbanded and Morrissey went on to work with the Average White Band for their Atlantic recordings in New York. It was in that city, in 1976, that he also worked with Herbie Mann. Morrissey was now sufficiently well known and respected in the soul and jazz-rock milieu to be picked for the Blue Note album recorded in London by organist Jack McDuff as a follow-up to his big hit, Theme From the Electric Surfboard.

By the mid-70's, he had also joined up with Jim Mullen to form the historic jazz-rock band Morrissey/Mullen. They recorded six albums between 1977 and 1988, including the critically acclaimed Cape Wrath (1979). Their earlier collaborations often reflected the electric currents of the time, Morrissey sometimes playing soprano saxophone in the kind of glitzy context Weather Report had popularised. On tenor he was no longer tempted to do it all at once: there's a mature relaxation about his best work of that era, exemplified by a recording of the classic Mal Waldron ballad Soul Eyes. Towards the end of its formal existence, the Morrissey/ Mullen band had edged closer to the mainstream without losing its rock-hard edge. A straight-from-the-heart tenor style, with a big sound thrown in, also made Morrissey a natural to front organ trios, and he often joined organist Mike Carr. With Mullen also on hand and Mark Taylor on drums, Good Times & The Blues from 1993 ranks as some of the finest organ jazz recorded outside the US.

Throughout his career Morrissey was always in demand as a saxophonist on the recording circuit. In the 1980's he worked with Peter Gabriel and Roy Harper; with Paul McCartney on The Long and Winding Road; and on the soundtrack of Ridley Scott's Bladerunner.

For some time he lived in Portugal. For Morrissey's last years, cancer confined him to a wheelchair and public appearances were understandably rare. Occasionally, he delighted fans by performing at his local pub in Deal, Kent, sometimes with his son Jasper on drums. A few weeks ago the last Morrissey-Mullen line-up, including vocalist Noel McCalla and Pete Jacobsen on keyboards, was revived for a concert at Deal's Astor Theatre.

courtesy of Guardian Unlimited article - 9th November 2000.

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Stanley Turrentine

b. 5th April, 1934, Pittsburgh, U.S.A.

d. 11th September, 2000, New York City, U.S.A.

Stanley Turrentine

While highly regarded in soul jazz circles, Stanley Turrentine is one of the finest tenor saxophonists in any style in modern times. He excels at uptempo compositions, in jam sessions, interpretating standards, playing the blues or on ballads. His rich, booming and huge tone, with its strong swing influence, is one of the most striking of any tenor stylist, and during the '70s and '80s made otherwise horrendous mood music worth enduring.

To give you an idea where Turrentine is coming from: Early on, he toured with the R&B band of Lowell Fulson (1950-1951) whose featured pianist at the time was a young Ray Charles.

From 1953-1954 he worked with Earl Bostic (perhaps the greatest R&B sax player of all time), where he replaced John Coltrane. He also worked and cut his first albums with Max Roach (1959-1960).

Turrentine started recording as a leader on Blue Note in 1959 and 1960, while also participating in some landmark Jimmy Smith sessions such as Midnight Special, Back at the Chicken Shack and Prayer Meeting.

His decade plus association with Shirley Scott was both professional and personal, as they were married most of the time they were also playing together. They frequently recorded, with the featured leader's name often depending on the session's label affiliation. When they divorced and split musically in the early '70's, Turrentine became a crossover star on CTI.

Several of his CTI, Fantasy, Elektra and Blue Note albums in the '70's and '80's made the charts. Though their jazz content became proportionally lower, Turrentine's playing remained consistently superb.

He returned to straight ahead and soul jazz in the '80s, cutting more albums for Fantasy and Elektra, then returning to Blue Note. He's currently on the Musicmasters label. Almost anything Turrentine's recorded, even albums with Stevie Wonder cover songs, are worth hearing for his solos. Many of his classic dates, as well as recent material, is available on CD.

Turrentine is an original, a one-of-a-kind. He does not fit neatly into ordinary jazz categories. What makes Turrentine great is his deep love of the roots of jazz -- blues and groove music. He never abandoned these roots to join the more cerebral set of jazz soloists. His recording partnership with Jimmy Smith has given us some of the finest funk groove music of all time, a high-water mark for both artists. This man likes to groove and play funky music! He won't be tamed!

"The Turrentine tenor displays none of the weak-kneed and frazzle-buttocked bleatings of many tenor sax deviates, but relies on the truly large tone of the big tenor sounds of the old masters. "

Dudley Williams, reviewer for Bluenote.

Turrentine lived in Fort Washington, outside Washington, D.C., U.S.A.

He died on Tuesday September 11th in 2000, two days after suffering a stroke in a New York hospital. He was 66 years old. A sad loss.

Take a listen to 1981's 'Only You And Me' featuring Dianne Reeves.

His website is at http://www.stanleyturrentine.com/

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Harold Lee Clayton, 53, R&B musician d. 31st August 2000.

Harold Lee Clayton, a soul musician who co-wrote the 1980s R & B hit 'Take Your Time (Do It Right),'' was killed Thursday in a hit-and-run automobile crash. He was 53.

Clayton was pronounced dead at the scene after the collision. Police said a Ford sport utility vehicle struck Clayton's Cadillac at an intersection. The occupants of the other vehicle fled the scene, but were later arrested. A Los Angeles native, Clayton wrote or collaborated on dozens of R&B songs since the 1970s. 'Take Your Time (Do It Right)' was his most enduring hit, selling 2 million singles for The SOS Band and frequently copied by other artists.

During his 30-year career, Clayton has been listed as a writer on albums by such artists as DJ Jazzy Jeff, Salt N Pepa, ex-Fugee Wyclef Jean and the late Eddie Kendricks, former lead singer for The Temptations. Most recently, Clayton had been recording songs with his nephew Darryl Jones for an album on Joclay Records. Jones plans to finish the album.

The Associated Press

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• Jerome Smith - b.Jun 18th, 1953, Miami, Florida, USA. - d.28th July 2000

K.C. & Sunshine Band

Jerome Smith (second row, centre left, seated), rhythm guitarist and founding member of KC & the Sunshine Band, died last Friday (July 28) in a freak construction accident in West Palm Beach, Florida.

Smith, who was working in the building and construction trades as a heavy-equipment operator, fell off a bulldozer he was driving and was crushed by the machine.

Smith, who turned 47 on June 18, will be cremated Saturday (August 5). He is survived by his wife Carolyn, daughter Jenika, and granddaughter Jamouria.

In a statement, KC said, "I am totally shocked by this overwhelming tragedy. I am heartsick and filled with sadness. Jerome Smith was a dear friend and a gifted performer. He influenced future guitarists and many groups with his playing. His memory lives on."

KC is collecting tributes to Smith from fellow musicians and fans, which he plans to have bound into a "musical memory book" that he'll give to Smith's family.

Smith was the rhythm guitarist on KC & the Sunshine Band's Number One hits "Get Down Tonight," "That's The Way (I Like It)," "(Shake, Shake, Shake) Shake Your Booty," "I'm Your Boogie Man," and "Please Don't Go," as well as on "Keep It Comin' Love" and "Boogie Shoes."

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Paul Griffin

b. 6th August 1937, New York City, New York State, U.S.A.

d. 14th June 2000, The Bronx, New York State, U.S.A.

Paul Griffin

Paul Griffin, a pianist and organist whose gospel-charged style made him one of New York City's top studio musicians, died on June 14 at his home in the Bronx. He was 62.

The cause seemed to be a heart attack, said his wife, Mary Beth. Mr.Griffin also suffered from diabetes and was told last year that he needed a liver transplant; he was awaiting one when he died.

Mr. Griffin played for thousands of recording sessions. He was a keyboardist on Bob Dylan's albums 'Highway 61 Revisited' and 'Blonde on Blonde'; Steely Dan's albums 'The Royal Scam,' 'Aja' and 'Gaucho'; Don McLean's 'American Pie'; The Isley Brothers' 'Twist and Shout'; Aretha Franklin's 'Think'; The Shirelles' 'Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?'; and on all the albums Burt Bacharach and Hal David made with Dionne Warwick.

Bacharach & Warwick

Burt Bacharach & Dionne Warwick

His tack piano is heard in 'Raindrops Keep Fallin' on My Head.' "There are some musicians who are hacks," Donald Fagen of Steely Dan once said, "and then there are guys like Paul who can create something so different and unique they make the record." Mr. Griffin was born in Harlem and learned to play by sitting in the first pew at Paradise Baptist Church and watching the hands of the pianist. When the pianist died, he was her replacement.

He studied classical music at the High School of Music and Art and played first viola in the All-City Orchestra; he was also an usher and occasional accompanist at the Apollo Theater. The saxophonist King Curtis heard him there and offered him his first professional tour and recording dates. After a few years of touring with King Curtis, Mr. Griffin and other members of the band turned to New York recording sessions in 1960; he became a member of the house band at Scepter Records. He also worked for the producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller and Bert Berns and Jerry Ragovoy, backing such singers as Solomon Burke, Garnet Mimms and the Enchanters, Erma Franklin, and Van Morrison in his first American sessions. Mr. Griffin became a vital part of folk-rock in his 1965-66 sessions with Mr. Dylan. He also played organ or piano for Paul Simon; Bobbi Humphrey, Peter, Paul and Mary; Ian and Sylvia; Eric Andersen; Tom Rush; Carly Simon; and John Denver.

In the mid-1970's, he began a long association with Steely Dan; he received a writing credit on 'The Fez,' and his voice is heard scat-singing on 'Peg.' During the 1980's, when there was less session work in New York, Mr. Griffin taught, arranged and recorded commercial jingles. He played organ on Mr. Fagen's 1993 solo album, 'Kamakiriad.'

In addition to his wife, he is survived by two daughters, Shannon and Rebecca, and two sons, Kinalla and Loayo.

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• Johnnie Taylor

b. Johnnie Harrison Taylor, 5th May 1937, Crawfordsville, Arkansas, U.S.A.

d. 31st May 2000, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.

Johnnie Taylor

Johnnie Taylor, best known for his 1976 hit, "Disco Lady," passed away in a Dallas-area hospital on Wednesday (May 31) of an apparent heart attack, according to the Associated Press.

He was 63. Taylor had been living in suburban Duncanville, Texas and was transported from there to the Charleton Methodist Medical Center, where he later died.

Johnnie Harrison Taylor was born in Crawford, Ark. on May 5, 1937, and raised in West Memphis, Ark, outside of Memphis, Tenn. Taylor started recording in Memphis in the '50s with a doo-wop group called the Five Echoes, but really got his start when he replaced Sam Cooke in the Soul Stirrers in 1957.

He signed with Stax Records in 1966, and in 1968 he had his first No. 1 on the R&B charts with 'Who's Making Love.' It was the Stax publicity department which gave Taylor his famous title, the 'Philosopher of Soul.'

When Stax folded in 1975, Taylor signed with Columbia Records. In 1976, he hit the top of the disco charts with the aforementioned 'Disco Lady.' Then pigeonholed as a disco artist, Taylor never met with the same level of success again. Leaving Columbia in 1982, Taylor played musical labels, finally landing on Malaco Records, his home since 1984.

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• Tito Puente - April 20, 1923 - June 1st, 2000

Tito Puente

Bandleader and percussionist Tito Puente, who rode to fame on the heels of the 1950s mambo craze and for the next five decades helped define Latin jazz, died today.He was 77.

Puente, who was recently treated for a heart problem, died at NYU Medical Center in New York, said his agent, Eddie Rodriguez. Puente recorded more than 100 albums in his more than 60 years in the business. He won his fifth Grammy in February for best traditional tropical Latin performance for ``Mambo Birdland'' and has been nominated for the award 10 times. Puente brought the timbales, a pair of single-headed drums mounted on stands and played with sticks, from behind the band to the front of the bandstand and played standing up. ``In front of a bandstand you've got to be a showman,'' Puente says. ``Once, I was strictly a musician with a long face and back to the audience. Now I'm a showman, selling what I'm doing, giving the people good vibes.'' He also loved playing vibraphone. ``I have a nice following of people who love my vibe playing,'' he said. Puente joked that he profited off the talent of Santana, whose early hits include Puente's ``Oye Como Va.'' ``Every time he plays 'Oye Como Va,' I get a nice royalty check,'' Puente said. ``The excitement of the rhythms and the beat make people happy,'' he said in a 1997 Associated Press interview. ``We try to get our feelings to the people, so they enjoy it. ``It is not music for a funeral parlor.''

That year, RMM Records released a three-CD, 50-song compilation from Puente's recorded output through 50 years. It's titled ''50 Years of Swing.'' The first cut, ``Que No, Que No,'' is from his ``El Rey del Mambo'' (``The King of the Mambo'') recording of 1946. One of his most successful albums of the '50s was ``Puente Goes Jazz.'' ``Some jazz bands, like Kenton's, had added Latin rhythms,'' Puente told an interviewer in 1957. ``It sounded good to me. So I figured I might as well do the same thing, in reverse. I start off writing a straight jazz arrangement, then I just add a Latin rhythm section.'' ``It's the same reason kids like rock 'n' roll. It has the beat. I think bop, which neglected rhythm and neglected dancers, did a lot to kill big bands.''

The eldest son of Puerto Rican parents, Puente was born Ernest Anthony Puente Jr. in New York City on April 20, 1923. (Some references give other years.) His father, Ernest Sr., was a foreman in a razor-blade factory. His mother called her son Ernestito, Little Ernest, then shortened the name to Tito. It was his mother who first discerned his musical talent and enrolled him in a piano class when he was 7. Puente studied drums for years before switching to timbales. He studied conducting, orchestration and theory at the Juilliard School from 1945 to '47 on the GI Bill. Puente had been released from a San Juan, Puerto Rico, hospital May 2 after two days of treatment for an irregular heartbeat. Puente canceled all his events in May, including three concerts planned with the Symphonic Orchestra of Puerto Rico. ``I play in jazz festivals all over the world,'' he said in 1997. ``Next year I'm going to China and Russia. Our Latin sounds are really spreading out. ``As long as I have my health, I'll continue to work as long as I can,'' he said. ``I may have to slow down next year a little, get to the semiretirement stage. But there are a couple of things I want to do first.''

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• Curtis Mayfield - 3.6.1942 - 26.12.1999

Curtis Mayfield

Curtis Mayfield was born on the 3rd of june 1942 in Chicago, Illinois, where he quickly absorbed the music of that area, which consisted of the local blues, gospel and soul musicians.

He was leading his first group, The Alfatones , before he was a teenager. When the Mayfield family moved to Chicago's north side in 1956, Curtis found himself a new friend in Jerry Butler. Butler wanted Curtis to join him in a group called The Roosters , which consisted of Arthur and Richard Brooks, and Sam Gooden.

The quintet later changed their name to The Impressions , and they had their first hit in 1958, "For your precious love".

In 1961, Mayfield had moved to New York, the group cutted 'Gypsy woman' which re-established the group, after some years of hard feelings between the members and the record company.

Mayfield was now the groups lead singer, utilising his unique vocal style on several Impressions singles. A steady string of soul anthems followed, 'I'm so proud', 'Keep on Pushing', 'People get ready', 'We're a winner', 'Mighty, mighty'. The group had a strong gospel flavour in their sound, although it wasn't purely gospel.

As Mayfield puts it, "They were church songs, the difference was i left the word God out." In 1970 Mayfield left The Impressions for his solo career. His first album, 'Curtis' contained the classic 'Move on up' which was his only UK hit. 'Curtis Live!' followed, which contained some material from The Impressions period.

It was recorded at New York's Bitter End, and later the same year 'Roots' followed. His early records are my favourite ones, especially 'Curtis Live!' which is a wonderful record with lots of warm soul songs, and funky percussion by 'master' Henry Gibson .

In 1972, Curtis released the soundtrack album 'Superfly' which went to sell over a million copies, and it was a really good album in its own right. It recieved four Grammy awards.

By now Mayfield continued to record new albums, at the same time as he was producing with Gladys Knight & The Pips, Aretha Franklin and The Staple Singers.

Curtis also appeared on the big screen when he had a role in the movie 'Short Eyes' , in which he also wrote the soundtrack for. In the 80's, Curtis toured the whole world, and he wasn't releasing much new material.

In 1989 he contributed to the soundtrack of the movie 'I'm gonna git you Sucka', and the following year he made some tunes for the movie 'The Return of Superfly'.

1990 was a truly bad year for Mayfield. While he performed at an outdoor concert in Brooklyn, a lighting rig fell down on him, which caused such severe damage to his spine, leaving him a Quadriplegic. Since then he has kept a low profile. However, in 1996 he released a new album, on which he is only singing, since he couldn't play guitar anymore.

Curtis Mayfield passed away the 26th December 1999.

Take a listen to his early Impressions track, from 1964, 'Never Too Much Love'. You will need Real Player To Hear This.

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• Richard 'Dimples' Fields

Richard 'Dimples' Fields

Here's the obituary as it appeared in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on Monday, January 17th 2000:

Richard 'Dimples' Fields, a singer and musician, died Wednesday of a stroke at Novato California Community Hospital in Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. He was 58.

Mr. Fields was born in New Orleans, and lived in Los Angeles for many years. He attended Greenville Park School in Hammond and Castlemont High School in Oakland, Calif. He was a member of Kingdom Hall Jehovah's Witnesses.

He was known for his album 'Mr. Look So Good' featuring 'If It Ain't One Thing, It's Another.' He also recorded 'Tellin' It Like It Is.' Survivors include his mother, Evelyn Brazil; his stepmother, Melvina Crumes; three brothers, Bobby Earl, Robert and Jeryl Brazil; and two sisters, Beverly B. Robertson and Gwendolyn B. Hart.

A funeral will be held Tuesday at 4 p.m. at Fuller Funeral Home in Oakland, Calif. Another service will be held in Hammond at N.A. James Funeral Home at a later date.

Take a listen to the track 'After I Put My Lovin' On You' from his 1982 set 'Mr Looks So Good'. You will need Real Player To Hear This.

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• Vicki Sue Robinson

Vicki Sue Robinson

Vicki Sue Robinson, best known for her 1976 hit 'Turn The Beat Around', died on the 27th April 2000 after a battle with cancer. She was 46.

Robinson received a Grammy nomination for Best Female Vocalist of 1976 for the single mentioned.

That same year, she won Billboards magazine award for No 1 Pop Album Of The Year.

Her voice could also be heard on jingles for brands such as Maybelline, Downey and CoverGirl.

A Greatest Hits album is due for release this summer on BMG / RCA.

Visit the Official Vicki Sue Robinson Site

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• Roger & Larry Troutman (Zapp)

Roger Troutman

Brothers Roger and Larry Troutman, founding members of seminal '80s funk outfit Zapp, were found dead Sunday (April 25th 1999) morning near their Dayton, Ohio at a recording studio in an apparent murder-suicide.

Roger Troutman, 47, was found just outside the studio with several gunshots to his torso, according to the Associated Press. He died while in surgery at the Good Samaritan Hospital and Health Center.

Roger's brother Larry was found dead in a car a few blocks away with a single gunshot wound to the head.

Investigators believe the wound was self-inflicted, but won't know for a few days whether a handgun found in the vehicle was the same as that responsible for Roger's death.

Roger and Larry Troutman founded Zapp in 1975, along with their brothers Lester and Terry Troutman.

The group became an important part of the funk scene in the early '80s with such hit records as 'More Bounce to the Ounce,' 'Dance Floor,' and 'Doo Wa Ditty.'

Roger, lead singer and guitarist for the group, frequently used a vocoder voice- distortion box for his lead vocals.

The group's future-funk vibe provided the transition between the sloppy grooves of Parliament in the late '70s and the early electro foundations of hip-hop in the early '80's.

Later in the decade, Roger went solo and earned a crossover hit with the record 'I Want To Be Your Man.'

He later rejoined the family group under the moniker Zapp & Roger. After depleting a finite reserve of James Brown and George Clinton samples, hip-hop artists also took a liking to Zapp.

Most recently, Roger Troutman was used by 2Pac and Dr. Dre for their 1996 award-winning collaboration 'California Love.'

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• 1999 -2000 - Other Losses

Michel Petrucciani - January 1999

Gwen Guthrie

Gwen Guthrie - February 3rd 1999 Age 48 Uterine Cancer

'Gwen Guthrie, a singer and songwriter who recorded several dance and R & B hits during the 1980s, died Wednesday of uterine cancer. She was 48.

She got her break in the mid-1970's when she was hired as a background vocalist for Aretha Franklin and later worked with Roberta Flack and Luther Vandross.

She became a popular recording session singer, performing on albums by Kenny Loggins and Steely Dan, among others.

Her biggest solo success came in 1986 with 'Ain't Nothin' Goin' On But the Rent.'. Words from that song 'no romance without finance' became a popular catch-phrase.

She was also among the first recording artists to raise money for the fight against AIDS.

Guthrie's self-titled debut album was released in 1982, featuring the song 'Should Have Been You,' which helped establish her as one of the top club music performers of the period.'

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Dusty Springfield

Dusty Springfield - March 2nd 1999 - From Breast Cancer Age 59

The London Evening Standard reported:

Dusty Springfield has died from breast cancer on the day she should have collected her OBE from the Queen at Buckingham Palace. The 59-year-old singer died at 10.40 last night at her home in Henley-on-Thames, her agent Paul Fenn said today. She was awarded an OBE in the New Year Honours and her investiture had been due to be held yesterday, with a second major accolade - her induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in New York - scheduled for two weeks today. Despite the reclusive life she led at her Henley mansion, she had been eager to meet the Queen, and also to join the traditional jam session at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with fellow inductees including Bruce Springsteen and Sir Paul McCartney.

Born Mary O'Brien in Hampstead in 1939, there is no doubt that Dusty Springfield's place in pop music history had already been assured. One of the top female singers of the Sixties, she had a string of hits on both sides of the Atlantic, of which some of the best known were 'I Only Want To Be With You', 'I Just Don't Know What To Do With Myself', and 'You Don't Have To Say You Love Me'. Lulu, who knew Dusty for more than 30 years and was a close friend, said today: 'I'm terribly, terribly sad at her loss but also at the same time relieved that she is no longer suffering.'

Dusty was initially diagnosed with breast cancer in 1994 and, having thought she had beaten it, learned in the summer of 1996 that it had returned. She spent the next 18 months fighting the disease but a year ago she was too ill to attend the Brit Awards, where she had been due to be a guest of honour.

Just before Christmas she moved out of her converted granary in Oxfordshire to seek more seclusion in the larger house in Henley, with more picturesque views.

Last May, shortly after the death of Linda McCartney from the same disease, Dusty, whose mother Kay had died of lung cancer, sold the rights to her 275 songs to Prudential Insurance for 6.25 million.

She never married and in the early Seventies consolidated her long-held status as a gay icon by finally admitting in the Evening Standard that she was bisexual. With her sensuous, smoky voice, and an ability to sing anything from ballads to soul stompers, Dusty Springfield was one of the few white singers who could match the black Motown stars of the era and thus enjoyed greater musical credibility than her female rivals like Sandie Shaw and Cilla Black.

In the early Seventies, after recording her landmark album Dusty In Memphis, she moved to America but her record sales waned and in the mid-Seventies she took a break from music.

As she battled against drink and drug problems and depression, she became increasingly involved in animal welfare. Various attempts at a musical comeback, in the late Seventies and early Eighties, were unsuccessful, as was another backed by London nightclub king Peter Stringfellow. However, she came back into the public eye - and won over a new generation of fans - when she was invited by chart toppers The Pet Shop Boys to join them on their 1987 hit What Have I Done To Deserve This. Her songs have also been covered by stars including Springsteen, The Byrds, The Tourists and Nils Lofgren. As she fought her lonely battle against what she knew had become untreatable breast cancer, close friends said she was desperate to return to the anonymity of being Mary O'Brien.

Lowell Fulson - March 1999

Leon Thomas - May 1999

Augustus Pablo - May 1999

Mel Tormé - June 1999

Dennis Brown - July 1999

Leroy Vinnegar - August 1999

Art Farmer - October 1999

Milt Jackson - October 1999

Alvin Cash - November 1999

Lester Bowie - November 1999

I Roy - November 1999

Grover Washington Junior

Grover Washington Jnr - December 1999

Billy Davenport - December 1999

Charles Earland

Charles Earland - December 1999

Nat Adderley - January 2000

Gene Harris - January 2000

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