Sunday, October 31, 2010

Two more obituaries

A couple more deaths to report - this time of Louisiana musicians who were not especially well-known, but nevertheless important in their own way.

James Phelps was a Shreveport-born gospel and soul singer who sang with the Gospel Songbirds, the Holy Wonders, whose line up included a young Lou Rawls, and the Clefs of Cavalry, before joining Sam Cooke's former gospel group the Soul Stirrers in 1964. The group having signed for the Checker label, he had a US hit with Love is a Five Letter Word and later became a Northern Soul favourite with a UK release entitled Check Yourself on Paramount in 1972. He was 78.

Walter Payton (pictured) was probably best known as the father of New Orleans trumpet player Nicholas Payton, but he was a significant musician in his own right as a bass player over a period of 40 years. He played on Lee Dorsey's Working in a Coalmine and Aaron Neville's Tell It Like It Is, before settling down with New Orleans' own Preservation Hall Jazz Band. He also recorded with Champion Jack Dupree, Chuck Carbo and Harry Connick Jr. Walter was 68.


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