Thursday, August 23, 2007

From Ska to Di

***Another of the early pioneers of ska, guitarist Jerome Hines - Jah Jerry - died recently. He was an early member of the Skatalites, and also backed such greats as Prince Buster, Derrick Morgan, Desmond Dekker, Bob Marley and the Wailers, Toots and the Maytals and Millie Small. Whether he played on the first ska single is uncertain, as no one seems to be able to agree just what that record was, but he was certainly there at the beginning, as the obituary in today's Independent makes clear

***Another unsung artist from the early sixties was Timi Yuro, a true blue eyed soul singer, who died three years ago. I have always loved her haunting London 45 'Hurt' and I picked up her second LP the other day, entitled 'Soul', released on the Liberty label. To be honest, it's more Dinah Washington than what we think of as soul these days, but what a voice. Amazing timbre.

***It's nearly ten years since Princess Diana died. I met her once, at Kensington Palace, and she really was stunning and very warm. The day of her death was one of those ' I was there' moments that I and millions of others will never forget. For me, it was at an early morning car boot sale in Barnet. It was still dark and no one even knew for sure that she dead, but we were shocked and couldn't quite take it in. I don't think any death has hit home so hard since then, but of course there were others before then, starting off with Buddy Holly in 1959, and moving on, for me at any rate, with Eddie Cochran in 1960, John F Kennedy in 1963, Sam Cooke in 1964, Otis Redding in 1967, Martin Luther King and Bobby Kennedy in 1968, Elvis in 1977, John Lennon in 1980 and Roy Orbison in 1988. Each, in their own way, made an impact on me, coming as they did, at the height of their powers in some way - even Roy Orbison, who had so recently made a comeback album. They are missed, all of them, even today.


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