'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. Richard David Lawson, 1954, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 23rd December 2013, Long Beach Memorial Medical Center, California, U.S.A.
The drummer and songwriter, Ricky Lawson has died. He was 59.
Ricky was recently diagnosed with a brain aneurysm.
He was being treated at the Long Beach Memorial Medical Center in California, where he passed away on the 23rd of December.
Ricky was was removed from a life support machine following a period of ten days.
He had recently become disoriented whilst performing at the Spaghettini jazz club in Seal Beach, California during December.
A hospital spokesperson stated Ricky’s organs were donated for possible transplant to others at his request.
Born in Detroit, Ricky had worked as a session musician, working with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, Whitney Houston, and Steely Dan.
He was one of the original creators of the group, the Yellowjackets.
Ricky played the drums from his mid teens, later playing in his high school group, and later performing with the group, The Sons of Soul.
He was active in the sports environment, becoming a gifted swimmer.
Ricky later played drums for Stevie Wonder, also playing for Michael Jackson and Whitney Houston (performing on Whitney’s hit ‘I Will Always Love You’.
He later received Grammy Awards for his songwriting skills.
b. William Emanuel Huddleston, 9th October 1920, Chattanooga, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 23rd December 2013, Shutesbury, Massachusetts, U.S.A.
The Jazz multi-instrumentalist, Yusef Lateef, has died. He was 93.
Yusef passed away on the morning of the 23rd of December following a long fight against prostate cancer.
Yusef was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee, although his family relocated, (in 1923), to Lorain, Ohio.
The family relocated again in 1925, to Detroit, upon which his father changed the family's surname to ‘Evans’.
Mixing with many of Detroits jazz musicians, Yusef became an accomplished saxophonist by the time of his graduation from high school at the age of age of 18.
In 1949, Yusef joined Dizzy Gillespie’s orchestra, returning to Detroit the following year to study flute at Wayne State University.
At this time he converted to Islam as a member of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community.
By 1957, Yusef found himself at Savoy Records, where he became a band leader.
He released his first material on Prestige, collaborating with various musicians including Wilbur Harden, bassist Herman Wright and Hugh Lawson.
In 1961, he released ‘Into Something’ and ‘Eastern Sounds’, and by 1962 he became a member of Cannonball Adderley's Quintet.
Yusef’s stylings were said to have been an influence on the later recordings of John Coltrane.
By the late 1960’s his albums had begun to develop several influences, showcased in the recordings ‘Detroit’ and ‘Hush'n'Thunder’.
As with Miles Davis, Yusef criticsed the categories laid down by the record companies, diversifying into genres which went against the genre descriptive titles allocated to artists by the ‘suits’.
In 1987, he released ‘Yusef Lateef's Little Symphony’ winning a Grammy Award for Best New Age Album in the process.
In 1992, Yusef founded YAL Records, his own label, and his final recording imprint.
In 2010 he received lifetime the Jazz Master Fellowship Award from NEA, National Endowment for the Arts.
b. Murvin Junior Smith, 1949, Saint James Parish, Jamaica
d. 2nd December 2013, Port Antonio, Jamaica
The reggae singer, Junior Murvin, has died. He was 64.
Junior died at his home in Port Antonio, Jamaica.
He had been suffering from diabetes.
Junior is best known for the single ‘Police and Thieves’, a song further made famous by the U.K. new wave group, the Clash.
‘Police and Thieves’ was produced by Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry in 1976.
Junior was born in Saint James Parish, Jamaica, in 1949.
He stated that, as a youth, his music was influenced by the late Curtis Mayfield.
He first recorded under the name Junior Soul, later recording for the Crystal label owned by Derrick Harriott.
Junior performed as a member of the Hippy Boys, and later the Mighty Falcons and the Tornadoes, in various venues in Kingston.
‘Police and Thieves’ later became associated with the rioting at London's Notting Hill Carnival in 1976.
Junior continued to record singles with Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, some of which were versions of Curtis Mayfield songs.
b. 24th February 1948, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 29th November 2013, United Kingdom
The singer, Oliver Cheatham, has died. He was 65.
Oliver had suffered a heart attack in his sleep.
In recent years, Oliver had relocated to the United Kingdom to reside, settling in Surrey and recording in Greater London.
He was born in Detroit, Michigan.
He came to the attention of the U.K. Soul Music scene via his 1983 album 'Saturday Night', which featured the popular title track.
Oliver later returned to the charts in 2003, when he was featured in Room 5's U.K. number 1 single, 'Make Luv'.
In the States he released the singles 'S.O.S', 'Celebrate Our Love', and two duets with Jocelyn Brown ('Turn Out the Lights' and 'Mindbuster').
b. Foreststorn Hamilton, 20th September 1921, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 26th November 2013, Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Chico Hamilton, the American jazz drummer and bandleader, has died. Chico was 92.
He died at his New York City home.
The cause has not been determined, however Chico was diagnosed with emphysema late in life.
His brother was Bernie Hamilton, who was an actor, probably best known as a police chief in the 1970’s series Starsky and Hutch.
For Soul music followers, Chico is probably best remembered for his 1980 album ’Nomad’, which featured the tracks ‘Mysterious Maiden’ and ‘Strut’.
Chico was born in Los Angeles, and in his early years, performed in a band alongside Charles Mingus, Illinois Jacquet, Ernie Royal, Dexter Gordon, Buddy Collette and Jack Kelso.
He later became a bandleader in 1955, and formed his own jazz quintet.
The group members varied, and by 1961 featured Charles Lloyd, Gabor Szabo, George Bohanon and Albert Stinson.
Chico later performed at Montreux Jazz Festival in 1972 and 1973, later becoming a faculty member in 1987 of New School University
His 1980 album ‘Nomad’ was released on the Elektra imprint, and was recorded under the wing of Wayne Henderson and his At Home Productions organisation.
Although considered by some pundits as being popular on the Northern soul scene, the album was actually a fusion of jazz and soul music.
He, later, formed a group named Euphoria in 1987, and toured Europe with the group in 1994.
Chico is survived by his daughter, Denise, his brother, Don, one granddaughter and two great-granddaughters.
His wife of 67 years, Helen, passed away in 2008.
His son, Forest Hamilton Jr., (vice president of Stax Records), died in 2000.
His brother, Bernie Hamilton, died in 2008.
b. Robert Lee Parker, 31st August 1937, Lafayette, Louisiana, U.S.A.
d. 1st November 2013, Bowie, Maryland, U.S.A.
The guitarist, (cited as being responsible for the opening guitar riff for the Beatles song ‘I Feel Fine’), Bobby Parker, has died. He was 76.
‘Watch Your Step’ was released in 1961 for the V-Tone Records imprint.
The song was covered by the Beatles in various concerts during 1961 and 1962.
Bobby hailed from Lafayette, Louisiana, but was raised in Los Angeles, California.
In the fifties he taught himself the electric guitar, and performed with several blues and R&B bands.
Bobby played lead guitar with Bo Diddley and performed with Paul Williams, Sam Cooke, Jackie Wilson, LaVern Baker, Clyde McPhatter, and the Everly Brothers.
He later toured with Chuck Berry, Buddy Holly and Little Richard.
Bobby released his first 45 in 1958, a song called ‘Blues Get Off My Shoulder’.
He also performed at the Apollo Theater in Harlem.
‘Watch Your Step’ was released in 1961, and was covered by the Spencer Davis Group, Dr. Feelgood and Santana.
In 2012, ‘Watch Your Step’ became Public Domain in Europe, due to the 50 year copyright law limit in the E.U.
In recent years Bobby performed almost exclusively in the D.C. area.
His debut album was entitled ‘Bent Out of Shape’, for the Black Top Records label in 1993.
Two years alter he released ‘Shine Me Up’.
b. Frank W, Wess, 4th January 1922, Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.A.
d. 30th October 2013, U.S.A.
Saxophonist, flutist, arranger and composer, Frank Wess, has died. He was 91.
Frank was a member of Billy Eckstine's Orchestra between 1946 until 1947.
He was also part of Eddie Haywood's Orchestra in 1947 and Lucky Millinder's Orchestra in 1948.
Frank later worked with Bullmoose Jackson (between 1948 and 1949) and Count Basie (between 1953 and 1964).
In 2007, Frank was named an NEA Jazz Master by the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.
b. Alfred Orlando Johnson, 1948, Newport News, Virginia, U.S.A.
d. 26th October 2013, Capitiol Heights, Maryland, U.S.A.
The singer, Al Johnson, has died. Al was 65. Al passed away peacefully in his sleep, near his home in Capitol Heights, Maryland.
Al Johnson began his career as lead singer with The Unifics in the mid '60's.
In 1968 the group recorded 'Sittin' ln The Court Of Love' for the Kapp label.
Singles 'It's A Groovy World' (1969) and 'Got To Get To You' (1970) were released before they switched to the Fountain label for 'Dawn Of A New Day' in 1971.
In 1978, Al became part of a group called Positive Change, who released one album on Fortress Records, including 'This Is Where I'll Be (Till You Return)'.
Also in 1978, AI recorded his debut solo album 'Peaceful' for the Marina label (including his original version of 'I've Got My Second Wind'), following which he played keyboards on Bobby Thurston's 'You Got What It Takes' and The Main Attraction, and with Gayle Adams on 'Stretchin Out'.
The following year he teamed up with Norman Connors to be lead vocalist on the song 'Your Love' for Norman's album 'Invitation'.
In 1980, Norman produced AI's CBS album 'Back For More' which included the duet with Jean Carne 'I'm Back For More' and a new version of 'I've Got My Second Wind'.
The same year AI sang lead on 'I Don't Need Nobody Else' from a further Norman Connors album 'Take It To The Limit'.
AI co-produced tracks with The Whispers on their album 'Love For Love' (1983), sang lead with CJ's Uptown Crew ('Forever On My Mind'), released by Washington Hit Makers in 1990, worked as arranger for Tata Vega, Bloodstone, Evelyn King, Peabo Bryson and Roberta Flack, while also writing 'We Have Love For You' for Deniece Wilillams and 'Trust Me' for Jean Carn.
In 1998, after an eighteen year break from solo recording, Johnson returned with the highly regarded, 'My Heart Is An Open Book' for the Committee Records label.
al is survived by his wife, Sonja Johnson; mother, Betty A. Cox; three sons, Alfred O. Johnson, III "Trey", Bryan T. Bennett and Anthony S. Bennett; one daughter, Tonia Y. Robinson; five grandchildren, Anantasia D. Johnson, Timothy E. Robinson, Tanea S. Robinson, Tevon Carter and Andrea Boyer; four brothers, Jerome A. Johnson, Larry E. Johnson, Kevin O. Cox and Lionel A. Cox; other relatives and friends.
Mr. Johnson may be viewed at Union Temple Baptist Church, 1225 W St., S.E., Friday, November 1, viewing from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m., Tribute Service from 7:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Interment private.
Al's funeral was held on the 1st of November in Washington, D.C.
There will be a local memorial service for Johnson 5:30 p.m. Friday, 15th November, at the Huntington Middle School auditorium. The school is located at 3401 Orcutt Ave., Newport News. The school's phone number is 928-6846.
ronald shannon jackson
Ronald Shannon Jackson b. 12th January 1940, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 19th October 2013, Fort Worth, Texas, U.S.A.
The American jazz drummer and composer, Ronald Shannon Jackson died from leukemia on the 19th of October 2013. He was 73 years old.
Ronald was a member of The Decoding Society (from 1979), and had worked with many artists and performers, including James Clay, Cecil Taylor, Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Charles Tyler, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, McCoy Tyner, Stanley Turrentine, Ornette Coleman, Prime Time and Albert Ayler.
He was a pioneer of avant-garde jazz and jazz fusion, and was also a bandleader, sideman, arranger, and producer.
Ronald was born in Fort Worth, Texas.
His father set up the only African American-owned record store in the Fort Worth area.
His mother played keyboards at their local church.
In 1966, he received a full music scholarship to New York University, after which he performed with the likes of Charles Mingus, Betty Carter, Jackie McLean, Joe Henderson, Kenny Dorham, McCoy Tyner and Stanley Turrentine.
Ronald formed his own band, The Decoding Society, who developed the style 'new fusion'.
Various band members have included Akbar Ali, Bern Nix, Billy Bang, Byrad Lancaster, Cary Denigris, Charles Brackeen, David Fiuczynski, David Gordon, Dominic Richards, Eric Person, Henry Scott, Jef Lee Johnson, John Moody, Khan Jamal, Lee Rozie, Masujaa, Melvin Gibbs, Onaje Allan Gumbs, Reggie Washington, Reverend Bruce Johnson, Robin Eubanks, Vernon Reid, and Zane Massey.
Up until his death he continued to write music and was working on a new Decoding Society album.
b, Maxine Blair, 30th May 1915, Texarkana, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 14th October 2013, Providence Hospital, Southfield, Michigan, U.S.A.
The Motown executive, Maxine Powell, had died. She was 98.
In May, Maxine suffered a fall.
Her health steadily declined until her death of natural causes on the 14th of October 2013, at the Providence Hospital in Southfield, Michigan.
Maxine was originally responsible for the grooming of the artist roster at Motown Records' during the 1960's.
She passed away of natural causes at a hospital in Southfield, Michigan.
Maxine directed the label's Artists Development Department, working with many artists, including Smokey Robinson and the Miracles, the Jackson Five and the Supremes.
Her work included teaching the artists regarding how they should carry themselves, dress, along with other grooming requirements laid down at the label.
Maxine's passing comes less than two months after she was honoured at the Motown museum by Smokey and other artists at the label.
Born in Texarkana, Texas, she was raised in Chicago, where she began her career as an actress.
She later relocated to Detroit.
There, she opened the Maxine Powell Finishing School, where she trained African-American models.
It was there that Berry Gordy's sister, Gwen, introduced Maxine to Motown.
Maxine taught Marvin Gaye to sing with his eyes open and encouraged other artists to balance books on their heads to improve their posture.
She once stated 'I love all the Motown artists. This has been a blessing. I thank God for allowing me to be here'.
b. Gloria Alleyne, 23rd November 1931, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
d. 15th October 2013, Newark, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The Jazz songstress, Gloria Lynne has died. She was 81.
Gloria spent much of her childhood in Harlem.
Her mother was a gospel singer, whilst Gloria sang with the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church Choir.
When she was 15, she won a talent contest at Harlem's legendary Apollo Theatre.
She later sang with several groups, including the Enchanters and the Dell-Tones in the Fifties.
In 1958, Gloria signed with the Everest imprint.
In the Sixties she had hits with 'June Night', 'Love I Found You', 'I'm Glad There Is You', 'I Wish You Love' and '(You don't have to be a) Tower Of Strength'.
Gloria then left Everest, relocating to the Fontana Records imprint.
At the label she released the albums 'Soul Serenade', 'Love And A Woman', 'Where It's At', and 'Here, There And Everywhere'.
On tour, Gloria shared the stage with the likes of Ray Charles, Billy Eckstine, Johnny Mathis and Ella Fitzgerald.
She later collaborated with several artist and producers, including Quincy Jones, Bobby Timmons and Philly Joe Jones.
Gloria wrote the lyrics for the song 'Watermelon Man' with Herbie Hancock, and 'All Day Long' with Kenny Burrell.
The 25th of July 1995, was a day New York became Gloria Lynne Day.
In 2007, High Note Records released the CD 'From My Heart To Yours''.
She continued to record and write in New York, and in 2008, she was presented with a special award for 'Outstanding Achievement In Jazz' at the New York MAC Awards.
Gloria died from a heart attack in October 2013.
keith sabu crier
b. Keith Raymond Crier, 1955, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
d. 29th September 2013, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
Keith 'Sabu' Crier, bass player for the group's GQ and the Rhythm Makers, has died. He was 58.
Keith passed away on Sunday, the 29th of September 2013. No further details surrounding his death have been released.
Prior to the formation of GQ (a name which stood for 'Good Quality'), Keith was a member of the group the Rhythm Makers, who released the club dancer 'Zone'.
GQ reached No. 1 on the R&B chart with 'Disco Nights (Rock-Freak).'
The song sold a million copies in 1979.
With a sound influenced by the performer, Billy Stewart, their other hits included a version of Billy's evergreen melodies 'Sitting in the Park', along a remake of the singers song 'I Do Love You'.
Keith grew up in the Bronx, and was the son of the R&B singer (and community activist) Arthur Crier.
He was also the uncle of Keith Sweat.
Keith formed his first band in 1968, called Sabu and the Survivors.
The group became the Rhythm Makers in the 1970s, (and featured the group members Emanuel Rahiem Leblanc, Herb Lane and Kenny Banks).
The Rhythm Makers released the album 'Soul on Your Side' in 1976 (which featured 'Zone').
The album's title track performed the basis of the latter chart hit 'Disco Nights'.
GQ disbanded in the Eighties, but later reformed in 1999 releasing the album 'A tribute to Billy Stewart and Marvin Gaye'.
b. James Willis Ponder, 10th May 1946, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 16th September 2013, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
Jazz guitarist, Jimmy ponder, died on the 16th of September 2013. He was 67.
He had been fighting lung cancer for a long time.
Jimmy played the guitar from a very early age.
He was hugely influenced by the likes of Wes Montgomery and Kenny Burrell.
Jimmy played with Charles Earland in his teens.
He released his debut album as a leader, ‘Soul Crib’, in 1969.
That album was followed by a string of releases for labels such as Cadet, Impulse!, Milestone, Muse and HighNote.
He went on to perform with the likes of Lou Donaldson, Houston Person, Donald Byrd, Stanley Turrentine, and Jimmy McGriff.
Jimmy relocated from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia, relocating to New York City in the 1970s.
It was here he recorded the Fusion classic ‘Love Me Right’, which was taken from his LRC Records album ‘All Things Beautiful’.
During the late Eighties, Jimmy returned to Pittburgh to perform with fellow musicians, Roger Humphries and Gene Ludwig.
Jimmy’s most successful album was 2007’s CD ‘Somebody's Child’.
b. Robert L. Martin, 4th May, 1930, Lockland, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 6th September 2013, San Diego, California, U.S.A.
The producer, arranger and composer, Bobby Martin, has died from a sudden illness at a San Diego hospital on Friday the 6th September.
Bobby was 83.
Bobby Martin was known as The Grandfather of R&B and Soul music.
He orchestrated and composed Michael Jacksons 1st platinum record.
For the main part, however, it was Bobby’s association with Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, at the Philadelphia International label, where he will be, perhaps, the most sorely missed.
The team stated:
‘He was the greatest arranger. We were able to work together with him to come up with a fantastic sound. He was part of a group of arrangers with us that included Thom Bell, Norman Harris, and Roland Chambers, and a vital part of the MFSB team who made major contributions. Bobby was tireless. He used to work all night on arrangements for us. Remembering his work ethic, and what it was like to just be around him, reminds us what a great time it was to be in the music business.’
Bobby Martin conducted and composed for MFSB, working with producers Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff for many years as a producer, arranger and songwriter.
They together, along with Thom Bell were able to develop The Sound of Philadelphia.
Bobby Martin won a Grammy award for the song ’T.S.O.P. (The Sound of Philadelphia)’.
The song became the theme song for the television show Soul Train.
The Sound of Philadelphia became the main Soul imprint, taking over the Motown mantle throughout the 1970s.
Several of the Philadelphia Sound hits attributed to Bobby included Billy Paul’s ‘Me and Mrs. Jones’, ‘You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine’ and ‘Cowboys to Girls’.
Prior to the Philadelphia C.V., Bobby had been producing hit records since the late 1950’s.
He previously was a member of the Lynn Hope Orchestra as an arranger and recording artist during the late Fifties.
Over the years Bobby Martin has worked with many producers at various labels, including Capitol Records and Columbia alongside other producers including Quincy Jones and Clive Davis.
He is also credited with giving Patti LaBelle her stage name.
Over the years, Bobby has worked with many artists including Whitney Houston, Lou Rawls, Dusty Springfield, the Bee Gees amongst others.
He is survived by his wife Bessie and their grandson Miguel.
Funeral arrangements have not been announced.
b. Forrest Melville Thomas Jr., 21st April 1953 , Galveston, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 9th September 2013, Tilburg, Netherlands.
The singer Forrest has died. He was 60.
Forrest died of a stroke in a hospital in Tilburg in the
He was born in Galveston, Texas, where he sang in church.
He relocated to Los Angeles, California, later moving again to the Netherlands.
In 1982 he charted with the song, 'Rock the Boat', a cover of the Hues Corporation's 1974 hit.
He followed up the hit with another cover song, this time the Detroit Emeralds track 'Feel the Need in Me'.
A third single, 'One Lover (Don't Stop The Show)', reached number 67 in the UK.
He later married television presenter Manon Thomas.
ralph childs (the admirations)
b. Ralph Hillmans Childs, 13th January 1951, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 17th August 2013, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The singer with the Sixties group the Admirations, Ralph Childs, has died.
Details are scarce at this point in time.
The Admirations were an R&B group formed in Chicago in 1966, only to disband two years later in 1968.
The group comprised of the brothers Kenneth, Bruce, and Ralph Childs who grew up at 862 N. Sedgewick, Cabrini Green, Chicago.
This group are not to be confused with the doo-wop group from New York that recorded on Mercury in the 1950’s.
The Childs Brothers and were managed by Herbert Butler and Tommie Johnson of The Players vocal group.
The group are best remembered for two records recorded for the One-derful imprint in 1968, namely ‘Wait Until I Get to Know You’ and ‘You Left Me’.
my admiration for you b/w heaven in your arms - 1966 / don't leave me b/w all for you - 1967
Their first record was the 45 ‘My Admiration for You’, recorded for the Paree Records imprint in 1966.
They later recorded for the Peaches Records label, releasing ‘You Left Me’.
A further label move took the group to George Leaner's One-der-ful Records, where they released ‘Wait Until I Get to Know You’, and ‘You Left Me’.
A final One-der-ful release, recorded in 1968, was the 45 ‘Don't Leave Me’ b/w ‘All for You’.
One-derful folded later in 1968, leaving the group having never received a royalty payment.
SERVICES FOR RALPH CHILDS WILL BE HELD AT:
ST. JOSEPH CHURCH
1107 N. ORLEANS STREET
CHICAGO, IL 60610
DATE: SATURDAY, AUGUST 24, 2013 / TIME: 1:00PM
b. 28th December 1926, Caruthersville, Missourri, U.S.A.
d. 19th August 2013, Austin, Texas, U.S.A.
The singer and songwriter Donna Hightower has died. She was 86.
Donna is best remembered for her 1972 hit, ‘The World Today is a Mess’, along with the albums ‘Take One!’, and ‘Gee Baby, Ain't I Good To You’.
Prior to that release, Donna had been making records for Decca and RPM during the 1950’s.
During the Seventies, Donna released albums for the Columbia, Metronome, Pink Elephant and Pathe Marconi imprints.
Born in 1926 in Caruthersville, Missouri, Donna was the daughter of sharecroppers.
After having two children, and divorcing the husband she married at an early age, Donna relocated to Chicago and found herself working in a diner kitchen.
She was discovered by a newspaper reporter, and signed to Decca Records in 1951 and releasing her first record, ‘I Ain't In The Mood’.
In the following years, Donna toured the States alongside the likes of Louis Jordon, Johnny Mathis, Tommy Edwards and Della Reese.
In 1959, she toured England and France with Quincy Jones and The Platters, remaining in Europe for the following 30 years, residing in Madrid for over 20 of those years.
In 1970, Donna was signed to Columbia Records, releasing ‘This World Today is a Mess’.
Columbia did not release her records in the United States, which meant her fanbase was localised to Europe.
In 1990, Donna moved to Austin, Texas, where she went into semi-retirement.
She last performed in Spain in 2006 when she was the guest of honor at the IV Festival International de Jazz.
Donna is survived by two children, a son, Bobby Hightower of California, and a daughter, Judy Simms of Gary, Indiana.
b. Cedar Anthony Walton, Jr., 17th January 1934, Dallas, Texas, U.S.A.
d. 19th August 2013, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
The Jazz pianist, Cedar Walton, has died. Cedar was 79.
He passed away at his home in Brooklyn on the 19th of August.
soundscapes - 1980
Cedar is perhaps, best remembered for his 1980 album 'Soundscapes', from which, the fusion classic 'Latin America', was taken.
He, originally, came to the public's attention as a member of drummer Art Blakey's band.
Cedar later became an in demand bandleader and composer.
Born in Texas in 1934, Cedar took up the piano at an early age (Cedar's mother was a concert pianist).
He attended the University of Denver, later relocating to New York in 1955.
Cedar was then drafted into the Army, and was stationed in Germany.
Whilst in the Army, he played with the musicians Leo Wright, Don Ellis, and Eddie Harris.
Upon his discharge, he joined the Jazztet, led by Benny Golson and Art Farmer, playing with this group between 1958 and 1961.
In the early 1960s, he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers (at the same time Freddie Hubbard was enlisted) as a pianist-arranger.
He left the Messengers in 1964 and by the late 1960s was part of the house rhythm section at Prestige Records.
Cedar recorded with the likes of Sonny Criss, Pat Martino, Eric Kloss, Charles McPherson and Abbey Lincoln.
During the mid-1970s, Cedar led the fusion group Mobius.
He released several popular fusion albums, including 'Animation' (in 1978) and 'Soundscapes' (in 1980)
In January 2010, he was inducted as a member of the National Endowment for the Arts Jazz Masters.
b. George 'Mac' Duke (a.k.a. Dawillie Gonga), 12th January 1946, San Rafael, California, U.S.A.
d. 5th August 2013, St. John’s Hospital, Santa Monica, California, U.S.A.
George Duke has died. He was 67.
George passed away at the St. John’s hospital in Los Angeles.
He was being treated for chronic lymphocytic leukemia.
It was only a year ago, that George lost his wife to cancer.
george with frank zappa in 1973
During his career, George appeared on several of Frank Zappa's albums.
He also played in the Don Ellis Orchestra and Cannonball Adderley's band.
George played keyboard on Michael Jackson's 1979 album, 'Off the Wall', and was a producer for Miles Davis, Smokey Robinson, Anita Baker, Gladys Knight, Dionne Warwick and Natalie Cole.
Between 1970 and 2013, George released more than 30 solo albums, 'Dreamweaver' being the most recent.
He is survived by his sons, Rasheed and John.
texas johnny brown
b. John Riley Brown, 22nd February 1928, Ackerman, Choctaw County, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 1st July 2013, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.
The Blues guitarist, singer and songwriter, Texas Johnny Brown has died. He was 85.
Johnny died at his home in Houston, Texas, from lung cancer.
He is, probably, best remembered for the song ‘Two Steps from the Blues’.
During his career, Johnny had worked with the likes of Joe Hinton, Amos Milburn, Ruth Brown, Bobby Blue Bland, Lavelle White, Buddy Aceand Junior Parker.
Born in Mississippi, it was his relocation to Texas, which gave the singer his stage name.
As a child he played guitar with his father, who in turn was blinded whilst working on the railroads.
His family moved to Texas in 1946, where he formed a group called the Aladdin Chickenshackers.
By 1949, Johnny was recording some of his own sides, before joining the military in the early fifties.
He later worked with Lightnin' Hopkins, and performed with Junior Parker throughout that decade.
In the late 1950’s, he penned ‘Two Steps from the Blues’, which was recorded by the late Bobby Bland.
Johnny toured as lead guitarist in Bobby’s own group in the fifties and sixties.
He worked in the music business up until 1963, after which he took regular work, employed as a truck driver, a mechanic, a landscaper and a forklift truck operator.
Later in the Sixties, he returned to the music industry, retiring again in 1991 from the Club Matinee in Houston, and putting together a band of his own.
He made several appreances throughout the nineties, including a stint at the Long Beach Blues Festival.
In 1998, he released the album ‘Nothin' but the Truth’, and was nominated for a W.C. Handy Blues Award in 1999.
By 2002, Johnny has released a second album entitled, ‘Blues Defender’.
In September 2011, he was awarded a historical marker on the Mississippi Blues Trail in Ackerman.
b. Ewanya Johnson, 10th December 1972, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 24th June 2013, Johannesburg, South Africa.
The singer, Puff Johnson, died on the 24th from cervical cancer, at the age of 40.
Born in Detroit, Ewanya is best remembered for her single ‘Forever More’, which was produced by Narada Michael Walden.
Other singles included ‘Over & Over’ which appeared on the soundtrack of the film ‘The First Wives Club’.
In 1996, she released her first album, ‘Miracle’, which was produced by Randy Jackson.
Ewanya also worked with the R&B group, Somethin' for the People; along with Tupac Shakur on his song, ‘Me Against the World’.
In 1997, she toured Europe as an opening act for Michael Jackson and 3T.
She did not release any further solo material, however she was the co-writer on three tracks on the 2005 album ‘A Change Is Gonna Come’ by the Soul singer Leela James.
Ewanya relocated to South Africa in 2009, following a concert in Johannesburg.
bobby 'blue' bland
b. Robert Calvin Brooks, 27th January 1930, Rosemark, Tennessee, U.S.A.
d. 23rd June 2013, Memphis Tennessee, U.S.A.
The blues and soul singer, Bobby Bland, has died. Bobby was 83.
He passed away at his home in Memphis following an illness.
Bobby successfully merged R&B giving his material an additional Gospel flavour.
He was born in Rosemark, Tennessee, later relocating to Memphis, where he began singing with some local gospel groups, including The Miniatures.
Bobby visited Beale Street where hemet the Beale Streeters.
His early recordings saw the light of day in the Fifties, only being interrupted by a stint in the U.S. Army.
He returned to Memphis after serving his national service and, in 1956, he began touring with Junior Parker.
Bobby acted as a chauffeur for a while, for the likes of B. B. King and Rosco Gordon.
He began releasing his own 45’s, including ‘Farther Up the Road’ (in 1957) and ‘Little Boy Blue’ (in 1958).
The latter reached the U.S. R&B Top 10.
His Sixties recordings showcased a maturing style, showcased by several successful sides, including ‘Cry Cry Cry’, ‘I Pity The Fool’ and ‘Turn On Your Love Light’.
Bobby continued to chart during that decade with several R&B chart entries.
‘Ain't Nothing You Can Do’ reached number 20 on the mainstream charts, whilst many of Bobby’s other records mostly sold on the R&B market.
Bobby achieved 23 Top Ten hits on the Billboard R&B charts.
By 1968, Bobby’s group had disbanded and he began suffering from depression.
Bobby began having alcohol issues, which he came to terms with by 1971.
His record imprint, Duke, was sold by it’s owner Don Robey to ABC Records, which in turn resulted in some fine mid Seventies releases, including ‘His California Album’’, Dreamer’ and ‘Reflections in Blue’, which were all recorded in Los Angeles.
The single ‘This Time I'm Gone For Good’ took Bobby into the pop Top 50 for the first time since 1964 and reached the R&B top 10 in late 1973.
The album ‘Dreamer’ showcased one of Bobby’s most enduring songs“, “namely ‘Ain't No Love In the Heart of the City’.
The song is also featured on the soundtrack of the 2011 movie ‘The Lincoln Lawyer’ (which starred Matthew McConaughey).
The single ‘I Wouldn't Treat A Dog’ became his biggest R&B hit in many years, reaching number 3 in 1974.
In 1985, Bobby signed by Malaco Records, where he recorded a series of albums, and continued to tour.
Bobby performed with the likes of the blues singer B. B. King (an artist whom Bobby had produced recorded material the previous decade).
He continued to tour and perform despite age related health issues.
Bobby was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1981.
He was also inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992, and received a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997.
mary love comer
b. Mary Ann Allen, 27th July 1946, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
d. 21st June 2013, Lancaster, California, U.S.A.
The Soul and Gospel singer, Mary Love Comer has died. She was 69.
The news was announced by Ace Records Ady Croasdel on his website. Ady has previously worked with the singer.
Mary Love Comer was a singer, to coin a soccer term, had a career of two halves.
Her Sixties output has become a regular dancefloor diet on the Northern Soul dancefloors.
Her Eighties recordings comprise some of the finest Soul Gospel recordings of that era, most notably her evergreen track, 'Come Out Of The Sandbox'.
Her Sixties sides included 'You Turn My Bitter Into Sweet', I've Got To Get You Back', Let Me Know', 'Lay This Burden Down', 'Baby I'll Come', 'Talking About My Man' and 'Is That you?', all of which are hugely popular amongst Northern fans.
Throughout the Seventies, Mary's recording career went on hold, apart from a couple of single releases, however, the Eighties proved to be a more fertile musical era for her music.
It was at this time she released, arguably, her finest moment 'Come Out Of The Sandbox', which arrived in the form of a Co Love 45, and later appeared on the album 'His Servant Am I', released upon her and her husband, Brad E. Comer's, label Co Love Records.
brad and mary love comer
In recent years, Mary concentrated on her work in the New Judah Christian Fellowship Church, with her husband Brad.
b. William Daron Pulliam, 5th October 1946, Berkley, Caifornia, U.S.A.
d. 9th June 2013, Sacramento, California, U.S.A.
The singer, Darondo, (a.k.a. William Daron Pulliam) died on the 9th of June 2013 from heart failure. He was 66.
Darondo sang Soul and Funk music, during the Seventies, however, success came at a later date.
He was, originally, from the San Francisco Bay Area.
Today his music is held in high regard, mainly by Soul purists.
A particular description (applied in some circles) that he was a ‘pimp’, was a complete inaccuracy stated the singer.
The name ‘Darondo’ was given to him by a waitress as a compliment. She was said to have been fond of his generous habit of tipping her.
In the U.K., his music was originally aired by the deejay Gilles Peterson, who began playing his single ‘Didn’t I’ on his Radio One show.
‘Didn’t I’ b/w ‘Listen To My Song’ was originally released as a 45 on Music City Records in 1972.
The song was later covered by Jack Peñate in 2007 on his ‘Spit At Stars’ EP.
‘Didn’t I’ also featured in televison and movie soundtracks over the following year or so, including ‘Night Catches Us’ and ‘Jack Goes Boating’.
In 2009, Darondo’s song ‘Legs’ (b/w ‘Let My People Go’, Af-Fa World Records 1974) was featured in the U.S. version of the series ‘Life on Mars’.
The success of these songs saw album releases through several outlets, including Luv N Haight, a subsidiary of Ubiquity Records.
His album releases included ‘Let my People Go’ (in 2006) and ‘Listen to my Song, the Music City sessions’ (in 2011).
shelbra bennett (the soul children)
Shelbra Bennett a.k.a. Shelbra Deane (b. Shelby Dene Bennett, 12th February 1947, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. d. 31st May 2013, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A.)
The original members of the Soul Children featured Norman West, John Colbert (aka J. Blackfoot), Anita Louis, and Shelbra Bennett.
b. Calvin Tyrone Brunson (a.k.a Ty Brunson), 22nd March 1956, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
d. 25th May 2013, Washington D.C., U.S.A.
The bassist, singer, songwriter and producer, Tyrone Brunson, has died. He was 57.
Tyrone passed away on Saturday, 25th May 2013.
From Washington, D.C., Tyrone played is several local groups, including the band Osiris (‘War on The Bulls••t’).
In 1982 he was signed to the Believe In A Dream imprint, a subisidiary of Columbia Records.
That year, Tyrone released the ‘The Smurf’ (which reached number 14 on the R&B charts in 1983), an instrumental which showcased a new dance circulating at the time.
Released on the Mercury Records label in the U.K., the single entered the U.K. singles chart on 3rd July 1982.
‘The Smurf’ appeared on Tyrone’s debut album, ‘Sticky Situation’, and the follow-up single was the album's title track, which reached number 25 on the R&B chart.
Tyrone went on to release three albums throughout the 80’s, later performing background vocals for the group Levert.
His second album, (Produced by Russell Timmons Jr.) ‘Fresh’ was released in 1984 (the title track reached number 22 on the R&B chart).
In 1987 he released a third album entitled ‘Love Triangle’.
He, later, went on to become teacher of computer networking.
Tyrone’s memorial service was held at 11 a.m. on Saturday, June 1, 2013 at First Baptist Church of Capitol Heights, 6 Capitol Heights Boulevard, Capitol Heights, Maryland 20743.
marvin junior (the dells)
b. Marvin Junior Sr., 31st January 1936, Harrell, Calhoun County, Arkansas, U.S.A.
d. 29th May 2013, Harvey, Illinois, U.S.A.
Marvin Junior, the lead (baritone singer) of the The Dells, has died. He was 77.
Marvin died from kidney failure and had a weak heart, his son Marvin Junior Jr. said.
His son said his father died surrounded by family in his home in Harvey around 3:15 pm on the 29th of May.
Marvin grew up in Harvey and began singing together with the other members of the Dells while attending Thornton Township High School.
Also known as the El-Rays, the group released one record on the Chess Records label, entitled ‘Darling Dear I Know’, in 1953.
After a name change they recorded ‘Tell The World’ in 1955.
In 1956, they released ‘Oh What A Night' (number 4 R&B chart).
In 1965, the Dells returned to the R&B chart with ‘Stay In My Corner’.
Three years later, under the guidance of producer Bobby Miller, they released ‘Love Is Blue / I Can Sing A Rainbow’, which was their sole UK hit in 1969.
Stateside hits followed, including ‘Open Up My Heart’ (in 1970), ‘Give Your Baby A Standing Ovation’ (in 1973) and ‘I Miss You’ (in 1974).
The Dells enjoyed continued success throughout the 70’s and 80’s, and in the early 90’s they contributed music to the movie ‘The Five Heartbeats’.
The Dells later enjoyed 50 years as a performing group with very few member departures.
Lucius McGill left when they were still known as the El-Rays and the only further change occurred in 1958 when Johnny Funches was replaced by ex-Flamingo Johnny Carter.
Marvin Junior took over as lead and Johnny Carter took first tenor.
The Dells were inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in March 2004.
b. Clarence Newton Burke Jnr., 25th May 1949, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
d. 26th May 2013, Marietta, Georgia, U.S.A.
Clarence Burke, member of the Stairsteps family, and later, the group the Invisible Man’s Band, has died. He was 64.
The cause of Clarence’s passing is, currently, unknown.
Clarence and his siblings attended John Marshall Harlan High School in Chicago.
His brothers and sister are James Burke, Kenneth (Keni) Burke, Dennis Burke and Alohe Jean Burke.
Circa 1968, his 5 year old baby brother Cubie Burke was added to the group, but later left the ensemble during 1969.
His father, Clarence Burke Sr., was a detective in the Chicago Police Department.
The Stairsteps lived nearby Fred Cash of the Impressions, who took them under his wing and brought them to the attention of Curtis Mayfield.
They released 5 albums between 1967 and 1971 on the Windy C and Buddha labels.
In 1976, they signed to the ex-Beatle, George Harrison’s Dark Horse imprint for their ‘2nd Ressurection’ album, before signing to the Mango label in 1980 for a name change to the Invisible Man’s Band.
After one self titled release, the group relocated to the boardwalk imprint, for 1981’s ‘Really Wanna See You’.
One further 12” single was released in 1983, entitled ‘Sunday Afternoon’.
In recent years, their 1980 track ‘Love Can't Come / Love Has Come’ has seen a rise in interest, the track seen as being ahead of it’s time.
More recently, Clarence performed live sets, at various venues.
Clarence Burke Jr., 64, of Marietta died Sunday 26th May 2013.
Services, 29th May 2013, Hanley-Shelton Funeral Directors.
Here is a performance of the song ‘Along The Way’, taken from the Invisible Man’s Band’s 1981 album.
raymond reid (crown heights affair)
b. Raymond S Reid, 30th November 1952, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
d. 21st May 2013, New York, New York State, U.S.A.
A little late with this information. My apologies.
Raymond Reid, trombonist for the group the Crown Heights Affair, has died. He was 60.
Raymond had been fighting cancer, but sadly lost the battle on the 21st of May 2013.
He was an integral part of the Crown Heights Affair throughout the Seventies, and was one of the founder members of the group.
The Crown Heights Affair were formed in Brooklyn and had many hits, including ‘Dreamin a Dream’,’Dancin’, ‘Far Out’, ‘SureShot’ and ‘Say a Prayer for You’.
Raymond was a a song writer and producer, collaborating with many artists, including France Joli, Amii Stewart, Unlimited Touch, Enchantment, Audrey Wheeler, Darnell Williams and Taana Gardner.
Additionally, he taught music and performance to children and young adults.
When he was diagnosed with cancer, a benefit was organised in order to raise funds for his ongoing medical expenses.
In attendance at the event were members of the Crown Heights Affair, Unlimited Touch, and Brass Construction.
b. Richard Pierce Havens, 21st January 1941, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
d. 22nd April 2013, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The singer, who opened the festival at Woodstock in the late sixties, Richie Havens, has died. He was 72.
Richie had suffered a heart attack at his home.
Originally from Brooklyn, Richie was the eldest of nine children.
He sang Doo-Wop as a sixteen year old, as part of the ensemble, The McCrea Gospel Singers.
After leaving Brooklyn in his early twenties, Richie relocated to Greenwich Village.
Here he signed with the Douglas Records imprint and recorded two records for the label, before a move to the Verve Forecast label.
Richie released released the album ‘Mixed Bag’ in 1967 at the label.
Over the next two years, Richie released 5 Verve albums, including ‘Something Else Again’ (in 1968), ‘Electric Havens’ (in 1968) and ‘Richie Havens Record’ (in 1969).
His live performances made Richie an in demand performer, which led to his famous Woodstock appearance.
Richie’s set lasted for nearly three hours, as many of the performers were late in arriving.
During his set he revived the old spiritual ‘Motherless Child’ which he moulded into the song ‘Freedom’.
Richie later appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival in late August 1969.
He then set up his own label, entitled Stormy Forest, releasing ‘Stonehenge’ in 1970.
He also recorded his own version of the Beatles song ‘Here Comes the Sun’ during these sessions.
Richie released further albums for his label, including ‘The Great Blind Degree’ (in 1971), ‘Live On Stage’ (in 1972), ‘Portfolio’ (in 1973) and ‘Mixed Bag II’ (in 1974).
Richie began a creditable acting career at this time, appearing in the original 1972 stage presentation of ‘The Who's Tommy’.
He also appeared in Othello in the 1974 film ‘Catch My Soul’, as well as acting in ‘Greased Lightning’ in 1977, and appeared in the Bob Dylan movie ‘Hearts of Fire’.
In 1980, Richie recorded the album ‘Connections’, which contained his own version of the Lamont Dozier song ‘Going Back To My Roots’. Lamont Dozier said in 2004, that this version was his favourite take on this song.
Throughout the decade and into the Nineties, Richie continued a world touring schedule.
In 1993, he performed at the inauguration of President Bill Clinton and was the twentieth living recipient of the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award in 1991.
In 2000, richie collaborated with Groove Armada for the song, ‘Hands of Time’, which was featured on the soundtrack of the film Collateral starring Tom Cruise and Jamie Foxx.
In 2002, he released ‘Wishing Well’, followed by the 2004 album ‘Grace of the Sun’.
In 2006, Richie was inducted into the Long Island Music Hall of Fame.
In 2008 he performed at the Cannes Film Festival opening ceremony, and released the album ‘Nobody Left To Crown’.
In 2012, Richie announced on his Facebook page that he would stop touring after 45 years due to health concerns.
artie 'blues boy' white
b. 16th April 1937, Vicksburg, Missourri, U.S.A.
d. 20th April 2013, Harvey, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Chicago based Blues singer, Artie White has died. He was 76.
Archie was recently suffering from Parkinson's disease.
He will be best remembered for R&B hit, namely the 1977 single for the Altee imprint, 'Leanin' Tree'.
Artie sang with the Gospel ensemble, the Harps of David, at the age of 11 in Missourri.
Relocating to Chicago in 1956, he joined the ranks of the Full Gospel Wonders.
Artie then began to sing a more secular style of music, charting with the single 'Leanin Tree' in 1977.
He toured Chicago extensively on the success of the single, also running a blues club called 'Bootsy's Lounge'.
In 1985 he released the Ronn Records album 'Blues Boy'.
He signed with Ichiban Records in 1987, releasing 'Thangs Got To Change' in 1989.
In the Nineties, he had switched labels to the Waldoxy imprint, before moving to Gold Circle in the following decade.
cordell 'boogie' mosson
b. Cardell Mosson, 16th October 1952, Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A.
d. 18th April 2013, U.S.A.
The bassist for the groups Funkadelic and Parliament, Cordell Mosson, has died. He was 60.
With Gary Shider, Cordell left New Jersey and traveled to Canada as a teenager.
The pair joined a group called United Soul, who led to an introduction to George Clinton, for the duo.
George produced some of the sides recorded by the group, which were later renamed U.S. Music with Funkadelic.
Gary and Cordell were then invited by George to join his ensembles called Parliament and Funkadelic.
From 1972 onwards, Cordell became an integral part of the groups, remaining with Funkadelic until the group disbanded.
Cordell's name as spelled on his birth certificate is Cardell Mosson.
Thgis led to some confusion regarding album credits on the group's sleeves.
Cordell is a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted in 1997 with fifteen other members of the groups Parliament and Funkadelic.
b. George Henry Jackson, 12th March 1945, Indianola, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 14th April 2013, Ridgeland, Mississippi, U.S.A.
The R&B Southern Soul singer, George Jackson, has died. He was 68.
George was a very talented songwriter, who was much in demand by many major label artists as well as the lesser known performers.
His personal recorded output suffered somewhat, releasing 15 or so releases in a career that spanned over two decades.
More recently, he had undertaken something of a renaissance in his career, with a Kent/Ace retrospective of some 50 unreleased melodies seeing the light of day in 2012 on the double CD ‘Don’t Count Me Out - The Fame Recordings’.
George was born in Mississippi in the mid forties.
In his capacity as a writer, George’s Goldwax and Fame Records output in the 1960’s and Hi and Sounds Of Memphis in the 1970’s, have become legendary on the Soul scene.
George also wrote for the Malaco imprint, which led to his writing manifesting itself in the form of the Osmond Brothers hit ‘One Bad Apple’, ‘Old Time Rock & Roll’ for Bob Seger and the Otis Clay song The Only Way Is Up’, which later became a U.K. number one hit for the group Yazz.
George passed away from cancer on the 14th Of April 2013 in Ridgeland, Mississippi.
b. Vincent Montana Jr, 12th February 1928, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.
d. 13th April 2013, Cherry Hill, New Jersey, U.S.A.
The hugely influential composer, arranger and percussionist, Vince Montana Jnr., has died. He was 85.
During his career, he was a pivotal member of the ensemble M.F.S.B., and was the founder of the Salsoul Orchestra.
Both orchestra’s were based in the legendary Sigma Sound Studio’s in Philadelphia.
Born and raised in South Philadelphia, Vince played in local dance clubs at the age of sixteen.
During the Fifties he performed as a backing musician for the likes of Sarah Vaughn and Charlie Parker.
He relocated to Las Vegas for a short while, before moving back to Philadelphia and commencing work for various imprints, including Cameo Parkway and Chancellor Records.
He later worked with a huge number of Soul artists, including the Delfonics, the Spinners, the Stylistics, the O'Jays, Johnny Mathis, Eddie Kendricks, Billy Paul, Harold Melvin and the Blue Notes, the Intruders, the Trammps, Blue Magic, Lou Rawls, the Whispers, Wilson Pickett, Grace Jones, Charo, Cissie Houston, Deniece Williams, the Jacksons, Brenda and the Tabulations, and Barbara Mason.
In addition to those projects, Vince more recently worked with the House Music group, Masters at Work, who had given the Salsoul sound something of a renaissance in recent years.
His songwriting techniques are considered fundamental in the structure of the Disco Music genre.
In recent years, Vince could be found working on various songs such as 'New York City Boy' by the Pet Shop Boys.
b. Donald Blackman, 1st September 1953, Queens, New York, U.S.A.
d. 11th April 2013, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.
The American pianist, singer, songwriter, producer, Don Blackman has died. He was 59.
Don passed away after a long fight against cancer.
At the beginning of the 1970's, Don played with the likes of Parliament, Funkadelic, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Roy Ayers.
He later became a member of Lenny White's group Twennynine.
Don penned the tracks 'Peanut Butter' and 'Morning Sunrise' for the group.
He released his self-titled debut solo album in 1982 on the Arista Records imprint.
'Don Blackman' contained the songs 'Holding You, Loving You', 'Heart's Desire' and 'Since You've Been Away So Long.
The album later became a rare groove release in the later eighties, with 'Holding You, Loving You', later being sampled on the hip hop track 'Too Complex' by L. The Head Toucha.
Don wrote many tracks as a session musician for the likes of Kurtis Blow, Bernard Wright, Sting, Roy Ayers, Jay-Z, Janet Jackson and Tupac Shakur.
In 2002, Don returned to solo recording with a new single release on Expansion Records entitled 'Coming To You, Coming To Me', a tune that featured Tonni Smith on background vocals.
An album, entitled 'Listen' was released in July 2002 on Expansion Records in the U.K., some 20 years after his debut outing.
The album featured the final recording sessions by the late Weldon Irvine Jnr, a close personal friend of Don's.
deke richards (the corporation)
left: fonce mizell, deke and freddie perren (the corporation)
b. Deke Richards a.k.a. Dennis Lussier and Deke Lussier, 8th April 1944, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A.
d. 24th March 2013, Whatcom Hospice House, Bellingham, Washington, U.S.A.
The songwriter and record producer, Deke Richards, has died. He was 68.
Deke passed away on the 24th of March 2013 following a battle with esophageal cancer.
He was a member of the Motown Records songwriting team, the Corporation during the late Sixties and early Seventies.
The Corporation also included Berry Gordy, Alphonzo Mizell and Freddie Perren.
Deke was also a member of the songwriting team, the Clan (who also featured R. Dean Taylor, Frank Wilson and Pam Sawyer).
The Corporation wrote and produced many of Motown’s most famous songs, including The Jackson 5's ‘I Want You Back’, ‘ABC’, ‘’Goin’ Back To Indiana’, ‘The Love You Save’, ‘Mama's Pearl’, and ‘Maybe Tomorrow’.
Deke also penned ‘Love Child’ for Diana Ross & The Supremes, and Diana Ross’ No. 1 U.K. solo hit, ‘I’m Still Waiting’.
In other endeavours, Deke wrote and produced material for Bobby Darin, Bonnie Bramlett and Martha and the Vandellas.
His father was the Hollywood screenwriter Dane Lussier (Dick Tracy vs. Cueball, The Pilgrim Lady, The Lady Wants Mink).
More recently, Deke was still involved in music, producing the Jackson 5's 2012 release of rareties, ‘Come and Get It: The Rare Pearls’.
Deke is survived buy his wife, Joan Lussier, his brother Dane Lussier, and two nephews, Chris Lussier and Cory Lussier.
floyd 'buddy' mccrae (of the chords)
floyd in 2012
b. Floyd Franklin 'Buddy' McRae Jr., 1st October 1927, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
d. 19th March 2013, The Bronx, New York, U.S.A.
The last survivor, and second tenor, from the doo-wop group the Chords, Floyd McCrae, has died at the Montifiore Medical Center nursing home in the Bronx. He was 85.
Floyd was a member of the group, the Keynotes, who then became the Chords.
Their best remembered song was, originally, a b-side to a 1954 single entitled 'Cross Over The Bridge'.
'Sh-Boom' (Life Could Be A Dream) has become a doo-wop classic, and was credited as one of the songs which brought R&B music from black audiences into the white musical environment in 1954.
The Chords later became the Chordcats, and finally, the Sh-Booms before going their seperate ways in 1959.
Do check the Chords page link below.
bobby smith (of the detroit spinners)
b. Robert Steel Smith (a.k.a. Bobbie Smith), 10th April 1936, Abbeville, Wilcox County, Georgia, U.S.A.
d. 16th March 2013, Orlando, Florida, U.S.A.
The singer with the group, the Spinners (later known as the Motown Spinners and the Detroit Spinners), Bobby Smith has died. He was 76.
Bobby was the lead singer with the group going back to the groups early days.
He was the lead singer on the Spinners initial 1961 hit ’That’s What Girls Are Made For’ b/w 'Heebie Jeebies' for the Tri-Phi imprint, alongside George Dixon, Billy Henderson, Henry Fambrough and Pervis Jackson.
Bobby sang on the third 1962 Tri-Phi 45 'Itching For My Baby, But I Don't Know Where To Scratch' b/w 'What Did She Use?'.
He went on to sing lead vocals for the group throughout the Sixties, including the group’s Motown material, and went on to feature as lead vocalist for the groups Atlantic tenure during the Seventies.
Bobby's vocals are showcased on some of Soul Music’s evergreen songs, including ‘Could It Be I’m Falling In Love’, ‘I’ll Be Around’, ‘Games People Play’, ‘’Then Came You’, It’s A Shame’ and ‘I’ll Always Love You’
He has, at times, been a literally, unsung lead singer of the Spinners, with the late Phillipe Wynne receiving the accolades for several sides fronted by Bobby.
Bobby’s passing, along with fellow Spinners members Billy Henderson in 2007, and bass singer Pervis Jackson in August 2008, now only leaves Henry Fambrough as the last remaining original member of this classic ensemble.
b. Robert Edward Rogers Jr., 18th February 1940, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 3rd March 2013, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
Bobby Rogers of the group, the Miracles, has died. He was 73.
Bobby passed away at his home in Detroit, from an undisclosed illness.
During his career, Bobby was an accomplished songwriter, additionally sharing a partnership with Smokey Robinson and the Miracles for over 5 decades.
He was cosongwriter on the several evergreen Motown classics, including The Temptations' 'The Way You Do the Things You Do', The Contours' 'First I Look at the Purse' and The Miracles''"Going to a Go-Go'.
Bobby formed the Miracles in 1956, along with cousin Claudette Rogers, Pete Moore, Ronnie White and Smokey Robinson.
He sang on several of their classics, including 'Shop Around', 'You've Really Got a Hold on Me', 'The Tracks of My Tears', 'Going to a Go-Go', 'Ooh Baby Baby ', 'I Second That Emotion' and 'The Tears of a Clown'.
Bobby shared his birthday with Smokey Robinson, and later both attended the Detroit Northern High School.
He made an appearance on the Marvin Gaye song 'What's Going On', being heard saying 'It's just a groovy party, man, I can dig it' in the opening bars.
The Miracles were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2012, although Bobby was too ill to attend the ceremony.
Bobby was married to Wanda Young of the Marvelettes in the early 1960's, the marriage ending in divorce in the 1970s.
Bobby is survived by his wife Joan, and four children: Bobbae, Gina, Kimberly & Robert III.
Smokey Robinson said of Bobby Rogers:
'Another soldier in my life has fallen. Bobby Rogers was my brother and a really good friend. He and I were born on the exact same day in the same hospital in Detroit. I am really going to miss him. I loved him very much'.
b. Richard Allen Street, 5th October 1942, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 27th February 2013, Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S.A.
Richard Street, of the groups, the Monitors and the Temptations, has died. He was 70.
He had suffered a pulmonary embolism whilst in hospital.
Richard was was married to The Velvelettes' lead singer Carolyn Gill between 1969 and 1983.
As a youngster, he aspired to become a professional athlete.
In 1955, Richard joined the group the Distants, a group whose line up also included the Temptation members, Otis Williams and Melvin Franklin.
He also vocally coached the Supremes in their early days.
Richard later moved on to sing i the group, the Monitors.
When the Monitors went their separate ways, Richard began working in the quality control group at the Motown label.
He became a key figure in the line up of the Temptations throughout the Seventies and Eighties, leaving the group in 1993.
Richard contributed to many of the Temptations most famous recordings, including 'Papa Was a Rolling Stone', 'Heavenly', 'Aiming At Your Heart' and 'Hey Girl (I Like Your Style)'.
He also toured on occasion with the recently departed Damon Harris and worked with Damon in bringing awareness to cancer diagnosis and treatment.
b. Cleotha ‘Cleedi’ Staples, b. 11th April 1934, Drew, Mississippi, U.S.A.
d. 21st February 2013, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A.
The Staples Singers vocalist Cleotha ‘Cleedi’ Staples has died. She was 78.
One of the founding members of the gospel group, Cleotha had suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for the last decade.
She passed away at home on the 21st of February 2013.
The Staples Singers played a large role in brining the Gospel message into the mainstream of music across the previous 5 decades.
Cleotha was the oldest child of Staple Singers leader Roebuck 'Pops' Staples and Oceola Staples.
She was enrolled into the family group, initially with her sister Mavis and brother Pervis.
Following a successful period during the 1950's, the Staples Singers played a large part in the Civil Rights Movement during the Sixties, performing alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. on many occasions.
In 1968, Cleotha’s sister, Yvonne, replaced Pervis in the group, whilst the group moved into a more secular musical environment.
The Staples released eight top-20 singles, including 'I’ll Take You There' (in 1972) and, the Curtis Mayfield penned, 'Let’s Do It Again' (in 1975).
In 1999, Cleotha was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of The Staple Singers.
The group continued to play concerts until 2000, when Pops Staples died at the age of 85.
Mavis still pursue's a solo career.
b. Otis Robert Harris Jnr., 17th July 1950, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
d. 18th February 2013, Joseph Richey Hospice, 838 N. Eutaw St., Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A.
The former Temptations member Damon Harris has died. Damon was 62.
He had been suffering from prostate cancer.
Damon took the place of Eddie Kendricks, one of the original lead singers of the Temptations group.
He contributed to several albums including 'All Directions' (in 1972), which featured 'Papa Was A Rollin' Stone'.
Damon was the lead singer between the years 1971 to 1975.
He was only 20-years-old when he joined the group in 1971.
Damon, later, formed a Temptations tribute band called The Young Tempts (who were also known as The Young Vandals).
He was also a member of the group Impact.
As a solo artist, Damon released the album ‘Damon Harris: Silk’ in 1978 for the Fantasy Records imprint.
He re-released the album in 1995.
He was diagnosed for cancer whilst making a comeback, and in 1997 the Motown Alumni Association started working with Damon on the creation of the Damon Harris Prostate Cancer Foundation in Canton, Michigan.
DAMON HARRIS FUNERAL INFORMATION:
Wednesday February, 27, 2013
Viewing: 4pm. TO 8pm.
Viewing & Flowers
Vaughn Greene Funeral Home
1515 Baltimore National Pike
Baltimore, Maryland 21229
Thursday February 28, 2013
Wake: 11am/ Funeral 12noon
Emon Baptist Church
601 N. Schroeder
Baltimore, Maryland 21217
many thanks to anthony ligons and beverly roussel for their information here
b. Donaldson Toussaint L'Ouverture Byrd II, 9th December 1932, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.
d. 4th February 2013, Dover, Delaware, U.S.A.
The Jazz trumpeter, band leader and songwriter, Donald Byrd has died. He was 80 years old.
Donald passed away in Delaware on the 4th of February.
Most fondly remembered for a series of classic fusion albums, recorded with Fonce and Larry Mizell, throughout the Seventies, he will, probably be best remembered for the dancers 'Dominoes', and the Seventies chart single 'Change (Makes You Wanna Hustle)'.
In his early years, Donald attended Cass Technical High School.
He performed, at one time, with Lionel Hampton, and earned a bachelor's degree in music from Wayne State University.
Donald later earned a master's degree from Manhattan School of Music, where he joined Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers.
In the mid fifties he recorded with Jackie McLean and Mal Waldron, and also recorded with the likes of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, Thelonious Monk, and Herbie Hancock
In the 1970s, Donald took to jazz fusion and R&B, working with the Mizell Brothers from 1973.
He recorded the hugely regarded albums 'Blackbyrd', 'Street Lady', 'Places and Spaces' and 'Stepping into Tomorrow' for the blue note imprint.
In 1973, Donald created the group The Blackbyrds, an R&B group consisting of his best students.
The Blackbyrds are best remembered for the hits 'Happy Music','Walking In Rhythm', 'Soft and Easy' and 'Rock Creek Park'.
Whilst at the North Carolina Central University during the early 1980s, he formed Donald Byrd & the 125th St NYC Band.
They released the club hit 'Love has Come Around', which moved the performer into a more commercial musical environment.
Donald taught at the Rutgers University, the Hampton Institute, New York University, Howard University, Queens College, Oberlin College, Cornell University, North Carolina Central University and the Delaware State University.
Apart from his master's from Manhattan School of Music, Donald had two master's degrees from Columbia University.
He received a law degree in 1976, and his doctorate from Columbia University Teachers College in 1982.
b. Cecil Dale Womack, (a.k.a. Zekuumba Zekkariyas), 25th September 1947, Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 1st February 2013, Johannesburg, South Arica.
The songwriter and performer, Cecil Womack, has died. He was 65.
Cecil passed away in Johannesburg, South Africa. The causes relate to an ongoing complication to a spinal injury he suffered in 2010.
His injury was caused whilst the family were in transit in the South of France at the time.
Another vehicle, allegedly, intentionally crashed into the rear of their car, with the intention of forcing the vehicle from the road.
Cecil had recently returned to Johannesburg for treatment to the worsening injury, which proved to be fatal in time.
Along with his brothers (Bobby, Harry, Friendly and Curtis), Cecil was a featured vocalist in the family group the Valentino’s, during the early Sixties.
He became a hugely respected songwriter in the following decade, forming his own group (with his wife Linda, the daughter of Sam Cooke) in the Eighties, under the family name Womack and Womack.
Cecil was the husband, at one time, of the former Motown Records artist, Mary Wells.
With Womack and Womack, Cecil and Linda released ‘Love Wars’, their debut release in 1983.
They released several albums over the next decade, the most successful single being ‘Teardrops’ in 1988.
In 1993, along with their seven children, recorded under the name of The House of Zekkariyas (the couple discovered ancestral family ties to that tribe), with Cecil adopting the name Zekuumba Zekkariyas.
Cecil Womack songs have been recorded by many artists, including Boz Scaggs, Teddy Pendergrass, Micheal McDonald, Joss Stone, Eric Clapton, Bonnie Raitt, George Benson, The Dramatics, The Dells, Patti Labelle and his brother Bobby Womack.
b. Jef Lee Johnson, 26th June 1958, Germantown, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
d. 28th January 2013, Roxborough Memorial Hospital, Philadelphia, U.S.A.
Guitarist, singer and songwriter Jef Lee Johnson passed away on the 28th of January, at Philadelphia’s Roxborough Memorial Hospital due to complications from pneumonia and diabetes. He was 54.
Jef was best known as a session musician, collaborating with many well known performers, including, Billy Joel, Teddy Pendergrass, Phyllis Hyman, Jamaaladeen Tacuma, Common, George Duke, the Roots, Melody Gardot, Erykah Badu, Stanley Clarke, Jeff Beck, Aretha Franklin, Al Jarreau, James Carter, Mariah Carey and Esperanza Spalding.
Born in Philadelphia, Jef was raised in a musical family, playing Chicago blues as a teenager, before relocating to New York to perform on sessions and live gigs.
In New York he played in, the drummer, Ronald Shannon Jackson’s group Decoding Society, and performed with McCoy Tyner amongst others.
He was part of Paul Shaffer's World's Most Dangerous Band, as lead guitarist in the house band on the show Late Night With David Letterman.
In the ’90s Jef was a member of the Philadelphia funk band Gutbucket.
Jef recorded his own solo albums, including 'Blue' (in 1996).
His follow up albums included 'Communion' (in 1998), The Singularity (in 2000), and 'Hype Factory' (in 2001).
The same year he participated on the album, 'News From the Jungle', with Sonny Thompson and Michael Bland.Johnson.
Jef was also a member of the Soultronics, a band that backed D'Angelo on his 2000 tour.
In 2008 Jef contributed to the album 'Rediscovering Lonnie Johnson', a tribute to the late bluesman.
In 2009, he released the two-disc set 'Longing Belonging Ongoing', and a tribute to Bob Dylan, 'The Zimmerman Shadow'.
b. Leroy Roosevelt Bonner, 14th March 1943, Hamilton, Ohio, U.S.A.
d. 26th January 2013, Trotwood, Ohio, U.S.A.
Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner, of the group the Ohio Players, has died. He was 69.
Leroy passed away on Saturday the 26th of January, following a battle with cancer in Trotwood, Ohio.
With a career covering some 56 years, he died just before his 70th birthday.
Leroy was the lead singer and guitarist of the Ohio Players since he joined the band in 1971.
The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables.
Based in Dayton, the Ohio Players achieved a huge amount of success throughout the Seventies, with songs including ‘Fire’, ‘Skin Tight’ and ‘Love Rollercoaster’.
Leroy released one solo album, entitled ’Sugar Kiss’ in 1985.
Funeral arrangements have not yet been announced.
left: Sam Pace
b. Sammie L. Pace, b. 22nd September 1944, Kansas City, Missourri, U.S.A.
d. 7th January 2013, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Sam Pace, of the group the Esquires has died. He was 68.
Sam had been suffering from a long illness.
A native of Kansas City, Sam joined the Milwaukee-based group in 1961, four years after the band were formed.
The Esquires scored a major hit in 1967, with the song 'Get On Up'.
Further details of the groups career are linked below.
Sam performed with the group up until the band ceased performing in 2007.
He was married to Patricia Moorer, a younger sister of the Moorer brothers.
Sam is survived by his wife, Patricia Pace, daughters Tammy Pace and Toni Dinkins, son Sam Pace Jr., and brothers Louis Elder, Robert Pace, Cedric Elder and Allen Pace.
b. Louis Wilson, a.k.a 'Sweet Lou' Wilson, Panama.
d. 7th January 2013, Southern California, U.S.A.
Lou Wilson, trumpeter, vocalist and found member of the funk band Mandrill has died. His passing is noted on the band's Facebook page.
Mandrill were formed in Brooklyn, New York City in 1968.
Formed by three brothers: Carlos Wilson (trombone, vocals), Lou Wilson (trumpet, vocals) and Ric Wilson (sax, vocals), the siblings were born in Panama and grew up in Brooklyn.
Their most successful album, ‘Composite Truth’, was released in 1973, and featrued the hit single, ‘Fencewalk’.
Their 1977 song, 'Can You Get It (Suzy Caesar)', became very popular on the U.K. dancefloors, and was produced by Jeff Lane.
Mandrills music has been sampled by many later R&B artists.