b. Samuel Carthorne Rivers, 25th September 1923, Enid, Oklahoma, U.S.A.
d. 26th December 2011, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
Soprano and tenor saxophonist, bass clarinetist, flautist, harmonica and piano player, Sam Rivers has died. He was 88.
Sam died of complications resulting from pneumonia on the 26th December 2011.
From Oklahoma, Sam Rivers had been involved on the Jazz scene since the early 1950's, relocating to Boston, Massachusetts in 1947, where he studied at the Boston Conservatory.
Sam performed alongside Quincy Jones, Herb Pomeroy and Tadd Dameron amongst others.
He later worked with the drummer Tony Williams and Miles Davis and signed to Blue Note Records, performing the Bebop format of the Jazz genre.
In the Seventies, along with his wife, Bea, Sam ran a Jazz performance loft called Studio Rivbea in New York City's NoHo district.
In recent years, Sam resided near Orlando, Florida.
In 2006, he released a CD featuring compositions for his Rivbea Orchestra and the first CD featuring members of his working orchestra in Orlando.
b. Ralph MacDonald, 15th March 1944, Harlem, New York City, New York State, U.S.A.
d. 18th December 2011, Stamford, Connecticut, U.S.A.
Following a long illness, the percussionist, Ralph MacDonald has passed away. He was 67.
Ralph had previously suffered from a stroke and a long battle with lung cancer.
He was a Grammy-winning songwriter, producer and percussionist, who had worked with many famous artists, including Luther Vandross and Amy Winehouse.
Ralph composed the Soul evergreen songs, 'Where Is the Love' and 'Just the Two of Us'.
His health issues stalled his career a year and a half ago, however, he continued to tour regularly as a member of Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band.
Soul fans will fondly remember his 1976 dance tune 'Calypso Breakdown'.
Ralph is survived by his wife, Grace, and four children, Nefra-Ann, Atiba, Anthony and Giovanni.
b. Lawrence Darrow Brown, a.k.a. Leonard Victor Ainsworth, 26th July 1940, Simontown, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 6th December 2011, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Dobie passed away from cancer in Nashville. Details are posted on his website. His biography is posted at this site. Check the link below.
b. Howard Tate, 14th August 1939, Macon, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 2nd December 2011.
The singer Howard Tate has died. He was 72.
Howard passed away as a result of complications from Multiple Myeloma and Leukaemia.
Born in 1939, Howard relocated to Phildelphia as a child, and as a teenager, was recruited to the Gospel Group, the Gainors, whose line-up included Garnett Mims.
The group recorded for Mercury Records and Cameo Records in the early 1960s.
Garnett was to, later, introduce Howard to the record-producer Jerry Ragovoy, who began recording him at Verve Records.
Jerry produced songs between 1966 to 1968, including 'Ain't Nobody Home' (in 1966), 'Look at Granny Run Run' (in 1966), 'Baby I Love You' (in 1967), and 'Stop' (in 1968).
These 45's were penned by Jerry.
Howard also recorded an album called 'Howard Tate's Reaction', which was released in 1970 on Turntable Records.
Produced by Lloyd Price and Johnny Nash, the album was re-released in 2003.
Jerry and Howard collaborated again in 1972 for the Atlantic Records release 'Howard Tate', which included more songs penned by Jerry.
This album also featured a cover of Bob Dylan's 'Girl from the North Country' and Robbie Robertson's and Levon Helm's 'Jemima Surrender'.
Howard switched labels to the Epic Records imprint for a 45, and a few songs for his own label, before retiring from music in the late 1970s.
He began selling securities in the New Jersey and Philadelphia area, however, his life was beginning to be consumed by drug addiction.
Howard ended up living in a homeless shelter, however in the 1990's he began counselling drug abusers and the mentally ill, and worked as a preacher.
In 2001, a Jersey City disc jockey located Howard, and later that year he played his first date in many years, in New Orleans.
He began working with Jerry Ragovoy again, on an album called 'Rediscovered', in 2003.
At Roskilde Festival 2004 he sang 'Love Will Keep You Warm' with the Danish group, Swan Lee.
In 2006, Shout! Factory released 'Howard Tate Live', which was recorded in Denmark in summer 2004.
'A Portrait of Howard' was released in late 2006 on the independent Solid Ground label.
A year later he recorded 'Blue Day' in Nashville with producer Jon Tiven, which was released in 2008.
Howard was also a judge for the 6th annual Independent Music Awards.
edgar 'chico' edwards
(b. Edgar Edwards, U.S.A. d. 3rd December 2011, U.S.A.)
Edgar 'Chico' Edwards has died. He passed away on the 3rd of December 2011.
Edgar was one of the original vocalists in the early incarnation of the group, the Detroit Spinners.
Details regarding his passing are forthcoming.
The Spinners debut for Motown Records was in released in 1967.
Originally a Tri Phi record compilation, the label was bought out by Motown in 1963, and the Tri Phi album was cancelled until the group relocated to Motown.
The debut album included 'I'll Always Love You', 'Truly Yours' and 'That's What Girls Are Made For'.
the Spinners original line-up consisted of Bobby Smith, Edgar 'Chico' Edwards, Henry Fambrough, Billy Henderson, and Pervis Jackson and George Dixon (although he departed the group before the album release).
Bobby Smith and Edwards were the primary lead singers of the group.
detroit spinners - 1967 (edgar' chico' edwards - bottom left)
The Motown album is the only recording Edgar appeared on with the Spinners.
b. John Colbert, 20th November 1946, Greenville, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 30th November 2011, Methodist Hospital, Germantown, Tennessee, U.S.A.
Memphis soul singer J. Blackfoot, a member of Stax vocal group the Soul Children and a longtime solo artist, died on Wednesday the 30th of November 2011 at the Methodist Hospital in Germantown, Tennessee.
He had been diagnosed with cancer. John was 65.
Born John Colbert in Greenville, Mississippi, his family moved to Bluff City when he was 2 years old and he earned his nickname during his childhood days, when he would walk the Memphis sidewalks barefoot.
John, at times, had dealings with the authorities. When he was 18 he served time at the Tennessee State Penitentiary in Nashville for car theft.
It was there that he happened to share a cell with Johnny Bragg, the founder of the Prisonaires, a '50s-era singing group that had a hit for Sun Records.
John recorded an early single under his own name, John Colbert, his career took off at Stax Records, auditioning for songwriter/producer David Porter in the late '60s.
Initially, David and Isaac Hayes, recorded John as a solo artist, but decided to hook him up with Norman West, Anita Lewis and Shelbra Bennett, to form the Soul Children.
After Stax folded in 1976, the band recorded a pair of albums for the Epic label before going their seperate ways.
In 1983, John launched a solo career, and had a hit with the ballad 'Taxi'.
John, subsequently recorded a dozen solo albums, and performed at various Stax-related functions.
The Soul Children reformed for the 2008 album 'Still Standing', and more recently, John appeared as part of David Porter's musical revue in 2010.
Memorial arrangements are pending.
lee shot williams
b. Henry Lee Williams, 21st May 1938, Lexington, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 25th Novenmber 2011, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Lee Shot Williams has died. He was 73.
Lee moved to Detroit in 1954, and later relocated to Chicago in 1956.
He them worked with his cousin, Little Smokey Smothers, as a vocalist with his band in 1961.
The name 'Shot' was given to him by his mother at a young age, owing to his fondness for wearing suits and dressing up as a 'big shot'.
In 1962, Lee recorded his first singles for the Chicago based Foxy imprint, which were 'Hello Baby' and 'I'm Trying'.
He also recorded for the King/Federal, Palos, Gamma, Shama and Tchula labels during his career.
Lee's 1964 recording 'Welcome to the Club' was a local hit, being covered by Little Milton for Checker Records in 1965.
Another regional hit, 'I Like Your Style', was issued in 1969 and was later covered by Junior Parker.
Several more singles followed included 'Drop Your Laundry Baby'.
His first album release was called 'Country Disco', for the Roots label in 1977.
During the 80's, he released several singles on the Tchula, 4-Way, True & Dis-Muke imprints.
Some of these recordings were released on an album entitled 'I Like Your Style'.
In 1994 the Japanese label Vivid Sound released an album called 'A Shot of Rhythm and Blues'.
'Cold Shot' was then released in 1995 and was voted the Best Blues Album of 1995.
His debut album for the Memphis-based Ecko Records, 'Hot Shot', included the tracks 'Southern Soul Blues' and 'I'll Take The Risk'.
In 2000 Lee released 'She Made A Freak Out Of Me', followed by 'Somebody's After My Freak'.
He left the label again and recorded one disc for Charles Wilson's label called 'Let The Good Times Roll' before returning to Ecko for four more albums.
In 2008 Lee signed with CDS Records recording the songs 'It's Friday (Time To Get Paid)' and 'Wrong Bed'.
Two more albums were released by CDS Records, 'I'm The Man For The Job'& 'The First Rule Of Cheating'.
Funeral Services are as follows:
Monday 5th December 2011. Most Worshipful St. Johns Grand Lodge A.F.& A.M., 7443 S. Ingleside Ave., Chicago, IL. ( 733) 874-4778 Time - Wake & Family Hour 10:00 am - 11:00 am - Services will commence at 11:00 AM All Flowers should be delivered to the Most Worshipful St. Johns Grand Lodge, 7443 S. Ingleside Ave. Chicago, IL. (733) 874-4778 on the Day of the Service.
b. Stephen Paul Motian, 25th March 1931, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 22nd November 2011, Mount Sinai Hospital, New York, U.S.A.
Paul Motian, the drummer and percussionist for Bill Evans piano trio, has died. He was 80.
Paul passed away at New York's Mount Sinai Hospital from complications relating to myelodysplasic syndrome.
From Armenian roots, Paul Motian first emerged during the late 50's as part of the Bill Evans trio.
He was born in Philadelphia and began palying the guitar at an early age, moving to drums as he moved into his teenage years.
He served in the navy during the Korean War before becoming a musician during the mid Fifties.
During his career, Paul played with Thelonius Monk before joing the Bill Evans group, alter performing alongside Paul Bley, Keith Jarrett, Lennie Tristano, Warne Marsh,Lee Konitz, Joe Castro, Arlo Guthrie, Carla Bley, Charlie Haden, and Don Cherry.
In the 70's he recorded for ECM REcords, before recording for several other imprints, subsequently returning to the label during the new millennium.
andrea true connection
b. Andrea Marie Truden, 26th July 1943, Nashville, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 7th November 2011, Kingston, New York, U.S.A.
Andrea Marie Truden, better known as the lead singer of the group Andrea True Connection, has died. She was 68.
Andrea's passing details were released a while after her death, due to her personal wishes to be cremated before the news was broken. The cause of her passing is, as yet, unknown.
Andrea True Connection became a household name, when their 1976 song 'More, More, More' reached number 4 on the Billboard Hot 100.
She was also known as Inger Kissin, Andrea Travis, Catherine Warren, Singh Low, and Singe Low, due to the fact that, she, not only had a recording career, she was additionally an actress.
Born in Nashville, Andrea attended the Saint Cecilia Academy in the town, graduating in 1961.
She relocated to New York as a teenager, looking to a future in the movies, acting in the film 'The Way We Were', although, to make ends meet, she also had a career in a more adult orientated acting environment.
Andrea then moved to Jamaica, where she enlisted the skills of Gregg Diamond, resulting in the hit 1976 record.
In 1977, she released the album 'White Witch', and charted a year later with the song '
What's Your Name, What's Your Number," which peaked at No.34 in the UK.
In 1980, she released 'War Machine', a less Soulful release, after which she returned her acting career.
Unfortunately, Andrea then developed problems with her vocal chords, leaving her unable to record again.
More recently, Andrea has appeared on several VH1 specials including 'Where Are They Now' in 1999, along with further specials in 2001 and 2003.
b. 1952, U.S.A.
d. 2nd November 2011, Chestnut Ridge, Lower Hudson Valley, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
The bassist, Norman Durham, of the group Kleeer, has died tragically from carbon monoxide poisoning at his Chestnut Ridge, New York home emanating from a generator powering his home during a power outage. He was 59.
The details are listed here:
'Police were called to 19 Wilshire Drive and found the man, identified as Norman Durham, 59, after his colleagues from Med World in Chestnut Ridge were sent to check on him because he didn't show up for work, said Sgt. Al Gumbs of the Ramapo police. It appeared Durham had connected his gasoline-powered generator to an electrical panel and was using it inside his garage with the doors closed to heat his home because of the outage, officials said. There were reports of a noxious odor. It was the fifth storm-related death in the Lower Hudson Valley.'
Along as being a proficient bassist, Norman played several other instruments including Electric Piano, Acoustic Piano, Synthesizer, Clavinet, Cowbell and Percussion.
b. Dwight Arrington Myers, 24th May 1967, Mandeville, Jamaica.
d. 8th November 2011, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Heavy D, from the rap group Heavy D and the Boyz, has died. He was 44.
Dwight passed away on the 8th of November 2011 in Los Angeles, California.
He collapsed outside of his Beverly Hills home and was taken to Cedars-Sinai Medical Center.
Dwight was reported to have died due to respiratory issues.
Heavy D & The Boyz were the first group signed to Uptown Records releasing their first album "Living Large" in 1987.
They released 5 albums between 1987 and 1994 and were originally formed in Mount Vernon, New York.
The group were pioneers of the newly termed 'radio-friendly' rap music, recording tunes such as the tongue in cheek 'The Overweight Lovers In The House'.
Heavy D and the Boyz toured with many acts during their existence, including Al B. Sure.
joe with ali - 1972
b. Joseph William Frazier, 12th January 1944, Beaufort, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 7th November 2011, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Former Olympic gold medalist and World Heavyweight Champion in the sport of boxing, 'Smokin' Joe Frazier' passed away from a short battle with liver cancer at his home in Philadelphia on the 7th of November 2011.
Much will be written elsewhere regarding his classic boxing experiences on various sporting websites and in the mainstream media, however, Joe also had a moderately, lesser known, successful recording career on the Soul music circuit, that many of you may remember.
first round knockout b/w looky looky (look at me girl) - 1975
little dog heaven - 1976 / if you go stay gone - 1977
In the mid Seventies, Joe recorded a couple of singles, including Motown releases, penned by Van McCoy and Gamble & Huff.
One of the toughest fighters I have ever seen.
joe with ali - 2003 (courtesy of sports illustrated)
george 'tree' rountree
photo courtesy of Julius 'Juice' Freeman and Millicent George
b. 13th May 1950, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 30th October 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
George 'Tree' Rountree, recently the musical director for the Four Tops, has passed away.
George was an arranger, composer and keyboardist.
The late Curtis Mayfield's musical director, Gil Askey, gave him the opportunity to work with the Four Tops.
George had been unwell for a while, suffering problems with his kidneys (he had had 2 transplants), although recently he had returned to work.
His son had recently suffered a heart attack, following which George became ill again.
George passed away in hospital in Las Vegas.
Incidentally, George was born on the same day Stevie Wonder was born.
Services will be held at
Remnant Ministries 325 East Windmill Las Vegas, Nevada.
Wednesday 9th November 2011
Followed by Celebration Of Life
Then Palm on Eastern at Robindale
Back to Church for Repass
many thanks to beverly roussel and millicent george for their help with this obituary
b. Donald Banks, U.S.A.
d. 7th October 2011, U.S.A.
Donald Banks, the bass singer for the group the Tymes, has died.
Donald suffered from complications of a stroke and cancer.
He was a member of The Latineers who later became The Tymes in 1960.
b. Marvin 'Marv' Tarplin, 13th June 1941, Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 30th September 2011, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Marv Tarplin, long time guitarist for Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, has died. Marv was 70.
He was living in Las Vegas at the time of his death.
Marv was, originally, the guitarist for the Primettes, who later emerged onto the Motown scene as the Supremes.
Following an audition at Motown, presided over by Smokey Robinson, Marv was recruited to the Motown ranks, headhunted by Smokey for his own group, the Miracles.
Marv joined Motown in 1958 and featured on three Miracles albums, namely 'Cookin' with The Miracles' (in 1962), 'I'll Try Something New' (in 1962), and 'The Fabulous Miracles' (in 1963).
As a songwriter, Marv helped co-wrote many of the Miracles' hit singles, including 'The Tracks of My Tears' (in 1965), 'My Girl Has Gone' (in 1965), 'I Like It Like That', (in 1964), 'My Girl' (in 1964), 'Going to a Go-Go' (in 1965), 'The Love I Saw in You Was Just a Mirage' (in 1967), and 'Point It Out' (in 1968).
The system worked that Marv would write the music, hand Smokey the tape, and the group would work on the music. Marv was, essentially, the machinery that kept the group functioning.
He also co-wrote several Smokey produced hits for Marvin Gaye, including 'Ain't That Peculiar' and 'I'll Be Doggone'.
Further extra-curricular work included The Four Tops 1970 Top 20 hit, 'Still Water (Love)', co-written with Smokey.
Marv appeared on several television shows from that period, including The Ed Sullivan Show, The T.A.M.I. Show, Murray The K - It's What's Happening, Baby, and appeared as part of the Motown Revue.
He departed the ranks of the Miracles in 1973, and was replaced by Donald Griffin, brother of Billy Griffin.
Smokey and Marv continued to collaborate on recordings, including the songs 'Cruisin' (in 1979) and 'Being with You' (in 1981).
The duo continued to work together up until as recently as 2008 when Marv retired from touring.
Marv was preceded in death by his wife, Sylvia, (who died in 2004).
The couple have a daughter named Talese.
Smokey stated that, at the time of the group's early successes in the Sixties, only one other guitarist played a guitar in the style that Marv Tarplin played his guitar. That was Curtis Mayfield.
b. Sylvia Vanterpool, 6th March 1936, New Jersey, New York City, U.S.A.
d. 29th September 2011, New Jersey Institute of Neuroscience, Edison, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The singer, songwriter and successful music businesswoman, Sylvia Robinson has died. She was 75.
Sylvia passed away from congestive heart failure in New Jersey.
Her hit single 'Pillow Talk' charted in 1973, and showed no indication of the direction her career would take her along, creating the Sugarhill label with her late husband Joe, propelling rap music into the mainstream.
Sylvia was a Blues singer in the 50's and was part of the singing duo Mickey and Sylvia.
Her page at this website was updated earlier this year. Check this link for a more comprehensive overview of a hugely successful career, from a very impressive woman:
Sylvia is survived by three sons and several grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
b. 12th March 1938, San Antonio, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 26th September 2011, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Gospel, singer, songwriter and pianist, Jessy Dixon has died. Jessy was 73.
Jessy's sister, Miriam, said her brother died on Monday morning at his Chicago home. She said Jessy had been ill for a while.
Jessy sang and played his first song at the age of five.
He later went on to pen songs for the likes of Randy Crawford, James Cleveland (who discovered Jessy), Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.
It was during an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972 (along with his Jessy Dixon Singers) that Jessy first came to the attention of the artist Paul Simon.
Jessy went on to open for the singer at various events in the Staes, along with gigs in several countries including France, Canada, Scandinavia, Israel and Japan.
He toured Europe between four to six months each year, and performed the hit Broadway show, 'Black Nativity' with The Jessy Dixon Theater Group.
Jessy was also an ordained minister with Calvary Ministries International of Fort Wayne, Indiana.
In the United States, Jessy was a long-time composer and singer with Bill Gaither's Gospel Series, on his video concert broadcast on religious oriented cable television stations.
During his career, Jessy produced five gold records and achieved several Grammy nominations.
Jessy Dixon, is survived by his brother and sister.
b. Clarence Johnson, 17th January 1942, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 23rd September 2011, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Clarence Johnson, legendary song composer and producer has died.
Clarence's greatest songwriting era came during the late 60s through to the mid 1970s.
He was a major contributor to the The Chicago Sound, which remained faithful to it's R&B roots.
Clarence was part of an early incarnation of the Chi-Lites.
The group formed in the late 1950's when the Chanteurs (Record, Robert 'Squirrel' Lester, and Clarence) teamed up with Marshall Thompson and Creadel 'Red' Jones of the Desideros to form the Hi-lites.
The group then changed their name to 'Marshall and the Chi-Lites' in 1964.
Clarence left later that year, and their name was subsequently shortened to The Chi-Lites.
Clarence Johnson wrote and produced for several groups, including The Brighter Side of Darkness ('Love Jones'), Patti & The Lovelites ('How Can I Tell My Mom and Dad'), Heaven & Earth ('Guess Who's Back in Town'), Denise Chandler (a.k.a. Deniece Williams), Coffee, Anna Raye, Bobby James, Jimmy Burns, The Original Breed, The Ledgends, The Five Wagers, Jesse James, Morris Jefferson, Dean Williams along with several other artists.
His production work can be heard on the compilation CD 'South Side Soul Survey – Presented By Clarence Johnson' on the Soulscape imprint.
Monument Of Faith
2750 West Columbus Ave. (Columbus Ave. is the diagonal street that begins at 74th & Western Ave. in the suburbs it is know as Southwest Hwy.)
Wake: 10:00 AM To 11:00 AM
Burial: Immediately After Funeral
Cedar Park Cemetery
12700 South Halsted Street
Repast following burial.
b. Mary Vesta Williams, 1st December 1957, Coshocton, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 22nd September 2011, El Segundo, Near Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Vesta Williams has died. She was 53.
Vesta was found dead in a hotel room in El Segundo. She passed away from unknown circumstances, although the coroner speculated 'this could be an accidental drug overdose'.
As a child, her family moved from Ohio to Los Angeles in the '60's, as her father was a disc jockey where he worked for station KGFJ.
Vesta and her sisters once appeared on the television show 'Jack and Jill' as The Williams Sisters.
She returned to Ohio in 1977 and sang in her cousin's band in Dayton, but soon went back to Los Angeles to launch a solo career.
Ron Townsend (of the 5th Dimension) put Vesta in his band Wild Honey, and she also recorded sessions and / or toured with Bobby Womack, Chaka Khan, The Commodores, Jermaine Jackson, Ray Parker Jnr., Ania Baker and Stephanie Mills.
Vesta Williams sang on the original version of Joe Sample's 'The Survivor,' and met producer David Crawford while working with his group Klique.
David took her tapes to A & M, which signed her to a solo contract.
She achieved a Top Ten R & B hit with 'Once Bitten Twice Shy' in 1986.
During the '90's, she dropped her surname from her performing name and recorded only as 'Vesta'.
In 1998, Vesta released the fine 'Relationships' set to excellent reviews.
In recent years, and having confronted her own weight issues, Vesta had become an advocate for the prevention of childhood obesity and juvenile diabetes.
b. Wardell Joseph Quezergue (a.k.a. Creole Beethoven), b. 12th March 1930, New Orleans, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 6th September 2011, East Jefferson Hospital, Metairie, Louisiana, U.S.A.
Producer, arranger and band leader, Wardell Joseph Quezergue has died from congestive heart failure. He was 81.
Wardell led The Royal Dukes Of Rhythm and worked with Dave Bartholomew, Professor Longhair, Dr. John and Fats Domino.
He also founded Nola Records in 1964.
Nola's artist roster included Robert Parker ('Barefootin' reaching number 2 on the R&B chart), Eddie Bo, Willie Tee and Smokey Johnson.
He also recorded the songs 'Iko Iko' and 'Chapel of Love' with the Dixie Cups', 'Groove Me' with King Floyd, Dorothy Moore's 'Misty Blue' and Jean Knight’s 'Mr. Big Stuff'.
Wardell later arranged material for several artists including Stevie Wonder, Paul Simon, Willie Nelson, B. B. King, G.C. Cameron, The Temptations and the Pointer Sisters.
His eyesight began to fail in later years with, in 2005, (and now legally blind due to diabetes), he lost most of his belongings as a result of Hurricane Katrina.
In 2009 he released his own album, 'Music for Children Ages 3 to 103: The St. Agnes Sessions'.
Wardell was the second youngest of three brothers, who were all Jazz musicians.
mckinley 'bug' williams
mckinley with frankie beverly
b. 8th May 1946, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 2nd September 2011, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.
McKinley 'Bug' Williams Of Maze has passed away. He was 65.
Maze's percussionist and vocalist suffered a heart attack whilst the group were on the road for an appearance in Chattanooga, Tennessee.
McKinley provided vocals on all songs..
He was a lifelong friend of Frankie Beverly and was also a co-founder member of the band.
On the Maze website, Frankie Beverly told fans:
'He was a good man and my best friend who stood by me for most of his life and I along with the rest of our Maze family will miss him dearly. May your soul rest in Heavenly peace my friend'.
Services will be held on Monday, September 12, 2011:
9:00-11:00 a.m. - Viewing
11:00 a.m. Funeral Service
New Covenant Church of Philadelphia
7500 Germantown Avenue
Philadelphia, PA 19119
The funeral home is Beckett, Brown & Hodges, 215-438-9170.
Condolence messages can be left on Maze's website in their guestbook,
Cards can be sent to Bug's daughter, Allison at:
c/o Maze Inc
PO Box 8101
LA, CA 90008
Please note: I have been away from home during the last fortnight, therefore the listings at the site are up to date as of the middle of August. I have not yet updated the passing of Nick Ashford and the other recent passings. These will follow during the next week. My apologies, no disrespect intended.
b. Nickolas Ashford, 4th May 1941, Fairfield, South Carolina, U.S.A.
d. 22nd August 2011, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
Nickolas Ashford passed away on the 22nd of August 2011. He was 70.
Nick had been suffering from complications relating to throat cancer and had been undergoing radiation treatment to treat his illness.
Along with his wife, Valerie Simpson, Nick had been one half of one of the most successful songwriting teams spanning the last 50 years or so.
He was born in Fairfield, South Carolina, and raised in Willow Run, Michigan, U.S.A., where his father, Calvin, was a construction worker.
In 1964, whilst homeless, Nick travelled to the White Rock Baptist Church in Harlem, where he met Valerie, who, at the time was a 17-year-old recent high school graduate who was studying music.
During this period the duo were part of the gospel group The Followers, recording the album 'Gospel Meeting' with the ensemble.
He attended Eastern Michigan University for a short period, in Ypsilanti, before relocating to New York, where he tried to forge an unsuccessful career as a dancer.
Originally Nick and Valerie signed to the Scepter/Wand imprint, along with several artists including Joshie Jo Armstead.
As songwriters, their recordings were recorded by many famous musicians around that era, laying the foundations for a very successful partnership, musically and emotionally.
Some early writings included Ronnie Milsap's, 'Never Had It So Good', Maxine Brown's, 'One Step At A Time', The 5th Dimension's, 'California Soul', Aretha Franklin's, 'Cry Like A Baby' and Ray Charles', 'Let's Go Get Stoned'.
Nick and Valerie then joined several major songwriters at the Motown stable.
At Motown, the duo penned many songs that have become classics, including 'Your Precious Love', 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', 'You're All I Need To Get By', 'Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing', and 'Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand)'.
Diana Ross recorded many of the duo's writings including Diana's first solo album 'Diana Ross' (featuring 'Reach Out and Touch (Somebody's Hand' and 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough', along with the album 'Surrender' (including 'Remember Me').
Nick and Valerie collaborated with many other Motown artists, including Diana Ross, (again), on her album 'The Boss', Gladys Knight & The Pips (on 'Didn't You Know You'd Have to Cry Sometime', 'Landlord', 'Bourgie, Bourgie', and 'Taste of Bitter Love'), Smokey Robinson & The Miracles (on 'Who's Gonna Take the Blame'), The Marvelettes (on 'Destination: Anywhere'), The Supremes (on 'Some Things You Never Get Used To'), and The Dynamic Superiors ('Shoe, Shoe Shine').
The duo left the Motown imprint in 1973 and married in 1974. After the Motown era, the duo recorded several excellent solo albums for the Warner Bros. imprint, including 'Gimme Something Real', which was followed by several hit songs, including 'Don't Cost You Nothin' (in 1977), 'It Seems To Hang On' (in 1978), 'Is It Still Good to Ya' (in 1978), 'Found a Cure' (in 1979), 'Street Corner' (in 1982), and their biggest hit, 'Solid', released in 1984.
Other commitments included writing for the likes of Teddy Pendergrass (on 'Is It Still Good to You'), Mitty Collier (on 'I'm Satisfied'), The Lost Generation ('One More Bridge To Cross'), Roberta Flack (on 'Uh Uh Ooh-Ooh Look Out Here It Comes'), Collins and Collins (on 'Top Of The Stairs'), The Brothers Johnson (on 'Ride-O-Rocket'), Chaka Khan, (on 'I'm Every Woman' and 'Clouds'), and with Rufus (on 'Keep It Comin' and 'Ain't Nothin' But a Maybe').
Nick and Valerie were inducted into the Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2002.
As a solo artist, Nick Ashford co-produced the hit 'I'm Gonna Make You Love Me', for Diana Ross & the Supremes and the Temptations in 1968.
Nick also appeared in the movie 'New Jack City' (in 1991), as the Reverend Oates, an ordained minister who was part of Nino Brown's group.
In 1996, Nick and Valerie opened the restaurant and live entertainment venue, the Sugar Bar in New York City.
In 2007, Nick and Valerie, along with Tina Turner, Mary J. Blige, Mariah Carey, Sidney Poitier, director Spike Lee, and Chris Tucker accompanied Oprah Winfrey when she opened her Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
The duo were also credited on the late Amy Winehouse's 2006 CD 'Back to Black', regarding the song 'Tears Dry On Their Own', which sampled their song 'Ain't No Mountain High Enough'.
Nick Ashford is survived by Valerie and his two daughters, Nicole and Asia, along with his brothers Paul, Albert and Frank, and his mother, Alice Ashford.
His funeral was held at the Abyssinian Baptist Church in New York on the 27th of August 2011.
esther gordy edwards
b. Esther Gordy Edwards, 25th April 1920, Oconee County, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 24th August 2011, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Esther Gordy Edwards, the 'pillar of Motown', passed away on the 24th of August 2011. She was 91.
Esther was a Vice President and a chief executive officer for Motown Records, co-founding Hitsville U.S.A , the Motown museum.
She took on an active role in management and booking tours for the label.
Previously, she founded the Gordy Printing Company with two of her brothers in the mid-1940s.
She later served on the board for the Detroit Bank of Commonwealth and the Greater Detroit Chamber of Commerce.
She was the sister of Berry Gordy, and one of her sisters, Anna Gordy Gaye, was Marvin Gaye's first wife.
delois barrett campbell
b. 1926, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 2nd August 2011, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
Gospel vocalist DeLois Barrett Campbell has died. She was 85.
DeLois died at a Chicago hospital following a long illness.
Delois was one of the Gospel family group, the Barrett Sisters, along with Billie Barrett GreenBey and Rodessa Barrett Porter.
The eldest Barrett sister, DeLois Barrett Campbell, began her career as the lead singer of the Roberta Martin Singers while still in high school.
As a member of Roberta Martin Singers, DeLois performed around the United States and the rest of the world, but she soon placed her career on hold to started her family.
DeLois became a mother and a pastor's wife.
More recently she had been wheelchair bound for several years, battling arthritis and other health issues.
DeLois was the widow of the Reverend Frank Campbell, who died in 2000.
The couple had four children.
other august passings:
b. Jerome Leiber, 25th April 1933, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
d. 22nd August 2011, Cedars Sinai Medical Center, Los Angeles, U.S.A.
Jerry passed away from cardio-pulmonary failure on the 22nd of August 2011. He was 78.
A songwriter and producer, Jerry collaborated with Mike Stoller.
Together they penned 'Hound Dog' and 'Stand By Me'.
His writings have been performed by the likes of The Coasters, Big Mama Thornton, The Drifters, Conway Twitty, Joni Mitchell, Count Basie, Dion, Elkie Brooks, The Robins, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, James Brown, The Monkees, Jerry Lee Lewis, The Cheers, Edith Piaf, The Clovers, Stealers Wheel, Johnny Cash, Muddy Waters, The Everly Brothers, John Mellencamp, Ray Charles, John Lennon, Donald Fagen, Ben E. King, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Otis Redding, Peggy Lee, Elvis Presley, Johnny Mathis, Buddy Holly and Bobby Darin.
Jerry was a Songwriters Hall Of Fame Inductee and Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame Inductee.
He was survived by his sons Jed, Oliver and Jake.
b. Frank Michael DiLeo, 23rd October 1947, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 24th August 2011, North Lima, Ohio, U.S.A.
Frank passed away from complications from heart surgery.
He was a music industry executive and actor, and worked for Epic, RCA and Bell Records, managing Michael Jackson, Taylor Dayne, Laura Branigan and Richie Sambora.
He also performed in the films, 'GoodFellas' and 'Wayne's World'.
b. David Edwards (a.k.a. Mr. Honey), 28th June 1915, Shaw, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 29th August 2011, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
David Edwards died at his home, of congestive heart failure, at around 3 a.m. on the 29th of August 2011.
Honeyboy was a singer and guitarist and was the last of the Great Mississippi Delta Bluesmen.
He was one of the last living links to Robert Johnson, and one of the last original acoustic Delta blues players.
He recorded 'Wind Howlin' Blues' and 'The Army Blues'.
Honeyboy collaborated with Robert Johnson, Charley Patton, Tommy Johnson and Johnny Shines.
b. Eugene Booker McDaniels, 12th February 1935, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. 29th July 2011, Maine, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter, Gene McDaniels has died. He was 76.
Gene passed away in his sleep on the 29th of July 2011.
Further details are still to be determined at this time.
He was, probably, most famous for his 1961 hit 'A Hundred Pounds Of Clay' and for his later work including Roberta Flack's 1974 number 1 hit 'Feel Like Makin' Love'.
Gene was reportedly still working up until his passing, collaborating with Mandy Bennett, an upcoming singer-songwriter.
According to his wife, Gene was 'a man full of idea's the night before he passed away'.
The son of the Reverend B.T. McDaniels, Gene was born in Kansas, and grew up in Omaha in Nebraska.
During his career he achieved six Top 40 hits in the Billboard Hot 100 chart, two of which reached the top 5.
1961's 'Tower of Strength' (number 5 on the pop chart) and 'A Hundred Pounds of Clay', (number 3 on the pop chart) both made the top 5, the latter selling over one million records, earning a gold disc.
'Tower of Strength' reached number 49 in the U.K. Singles Chart.
During the latter part of the Sixties, Gene became involved in the Black consciousness movement, penning songs such as 'Compared To What', which was recorded by the likes of Al Jarreau, Robereta Flack, Les McCann and Eddie Harris.
The song was also featured in the films 'Ice Storm' and 'Casino'.
In 1974, penned further material for Roberta Flack, with 'Feel Like Makin' Love' reaching the number 1 position.
He was awarded a Grammy Award for the song, additionally receiving a BMI award for outstanding radio airplay.
Gene penned several other major Soul songs, including the Goffin and King penned 'Point Of No Return' and 'Spanish Lace' (charting at number 38).
By the early 1970s, Gene recorded for the Atlantic label, releasing the albums, 'Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse' and 'Outlaw'.
During the Eighties, Gene recorded an unreleased album with the percussionist Terry Silverlight, and in 2005, he released 'Screams & Whispers' on his own record label.
A new album entitled, 'Evolution's Child', was released in 2009, which featured Ron Carter on bass.
Gene made a few appearances in the movies, including the 1962 film, 'It's Trad, Dad!', which was directed by Richard Lester, 1963's 'The Young Swingers', and the 1974 film, 'Uptown Saturday Night'.
b. Amy Jade Winehouse, 14th September 1983, Southgate, London, England.
d. 23rd July 2011, Camden, North London, England.
Amy Winehouse has died. She was 27.
Reports are still unsure of the cause of her passing, although aspects of her recreational private life, had been the preoccupation of much of the tabloid media in the U.K. over the last 3 years.
Undoubtedly, she possessed a very Soulful vocal delivery, which had been frustrating fans in more recent times, in their desperation that she return to the singer that won her a Grammy Award for her 2006 album release 'Back To Black'.
2003 saw her album debut with the release of the album 'Frank', which was nominated for a Mercury Music Prize.
Amy was the first British singer to win five Grammy awards, a Brit Award, along with the nomination for the Best British album in 2007
She was also a three times winner of the Ivor Novello award with 'Back On Black' receiving the best selling album of the decade accolade.
The past three years have been a hugely turbulant time for this talented singer and songwriter.
Amy and her former husband, Blake Fielder-Civil, were beset by legal troubles that left Blake serving a prison sentence.
From 2008, Amy suffered from several serious health issues, including a lung infection, which became career threatening.
Poor recent stage appearances in Belgrade (Amy conceding herself that she wasn't herself, and offered refunds to her fans) were seen by some as a further descent into the drink and drugs world.
Amy Winehouse had huge potential as a major player on the music circuit, however, the evils that plagued so many of her contemporaries in the past, finally caught up with her at the tender age of just 27 years.
A very great loss, leaving her bereaving fans with an empty feeling of what might have been.
jordan 'jerry' ragovoy
b. 4th September 1930, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 13th July 2011, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
The songwriter and record producer, Jerry Ragovoy has died. He was 80.
Jerry suffered complications from a stroke, his wife, Beverly Matson Ragovoy, confirmed.
He was most famous, in Soul circles, for the evergreen 'Stay With Me', which was superbly conceived by the singer Lorraine Ellison.
Jerry also penned 'Time Is on My Side', a song originally recorded by Kai Winding and Irma Thomas, and later made famous by the The Rolling Stones.
'Stay With Me' was also, later, performed by Mary J. Blige at the 49th Grammy Awards.
He began his career as a music buyer for Tregoobs, a Philadelphia appliance store, which also contained a small record department.
Jerry's music career took off in 1953 with his production work on 'My Girl Awaits Me' by The Castelles, which sold 100,000 copies.
He later worked at Philadelphia's Chancellor Records penning The Majors' single 'A Wonderful Dream'.
The song reached number 22 in the Billboard Hot 100 in 1962, following which he teamed up with the songwriter and producer, Bert Berns.
The duo produced 'Cry Baby' for Garnet Mimms and The Enchanters, which reached number 4 in 1963.
Jerry also co-penned with Bert, 'Piece Of My Heart' for Erma Franklin'.
In the mid Sixties he worked as a producer and songwriter for the Warner Bros subsidiary, Loma Records and penned several songs throughout Janis Joplin's solo career.
He then set up his own recording studio in 1969, (called the Hit Factory).
Jerry also worked with Bonnie Raitt and Milkwood, although, during the Seventies he became less active within the industry.
He did, however, produce the albums 'Keep On Moving' for the Butterfield Blues Band, 'Streetlights' for Bonnie Raitt and 'Then Came You' for Dionne Warwick.
In 2003, he collaborated with Howard Tate on his album 'Howard Tate Rediscovered', a set written, arranged and produced by Ragovoy.
In 2008, Ace Records released a compilation album entitled, 'The Jerry Ragovoy Story: 'Time Is on My Side 1953 - 2003'.
In addition to his wife, he is survived by a sister, Loretta Margulies of Philadelphia, two daughters, Melissa Ragovoy (in Houston) and Gillian Ragovoy Ferguson (in Manhattan), and a granddaughter.
jerry's writing and production c.v.
fonce and larry mizell
b. Alphonso Fonce Mizell, 15th January 1943, Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 5th July 2011, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
Alphonso 'Fonce' Mizell has died. He was 68. The cause of his passing is not yet known.
Fonce was a member of, the Motown in house songwriting team, The Corporation.
Prior to that collaboration, Fonce was a member of the groups, The Nikons and The Vanlords.
The Corporation wrote and produced all of The Jackson 5's early hits in between 1969 through 1971.
These included the hits 'I Want You Back', 'ABC', 'The Love You Save', 'Mama's Pearl' and 'Maybe Tomorrow'.
They also penned the Martha Reeves And The Vandellas hit, 'Bless You'.
Other members of the Corporation included Berry Gordy, Deke Richards, and Freddie Perren (who later worked with the group Tavares, during the mid Seventies).
When Motown relocated to Los Angeles, the Mizell Brothers, Fonce and Larry, began working with several Fusion and Soul artists, including Rance Allen, Donald Byrd, Bobbi Humphrey and a Taste Of Honey.
Donald Byrd's album 'Black Byrd' on the Blue Note label, became a template for their material throughout the Seventies, fusing Soul, Fusion and Jazz influences.
In the early 1970s, Larry and Fonce Mizell followed Motown to the East Coast, forming Sky High Productions, later producing albums for Blue Note Records, including: Donald Byrd's 'Black Byrd' (1972), 'Street Lady' (including 'Lansana's Priestess' in 1973), 'Steppin into Tomorrow' (including 'Think Twice' in 1974), 'Places and Spaces' (including 'Dominoes' and 'Wind Parade' in 1975) and 'Caricatures' (including 'Wild Life' in 1976), Bobbi Humphrey's 'Black & Blues' (including 'Harlem River Drive') and 'Fancy Dancer' (including 'Uno Esta' in 1975), and Johnny Hammond's 'Gambler's Life' (including 'Yesterday Was Cool' in 1974) and 'Gears' (including 'Los Conquistadores Chocolates' in 1975).
Sky High Productions went on to record variations in styles, as trends changed. These included A Taste of Honey's hit 'Boogie Oogie Oogie', L.T.D.'s 'Love Ballad', a number 1 R&B hit in 1976 and the Mary Wells dancer 'Gigolo' in 1982.
The brothers younger sibling, Rodney Mizell, additionally, co-wrote some of their songs.
In the 1980s, the Mizell brothers retired from the record industry, but returned in the new millennium.
Larry Mizell wrote and performed vocals on the song 'Play With The Changes' on a 4Hero album in 2007.
The Mizell Brothers music has been sampled by several hip hop artists including A Tribe Called Quest, Nas, J Dilla, Pete Rock, De La Soul, Tupac, and Ludacris.