Sunday, October 14, 2012

Two more music deaths

There are a couple more deaths to report I'm afraid.
The first is Memphis native B B Cunningham, aged 70, who is best known in recent years as a member of Jerry Lee Lewis's band, who was shot dead while working as a security guard. The son of Buddy Cunningham, who recorded for Sun, and brother of Bill, a founding member of the Box Tops, BB was a session musician, record producer and songwriter who first recorded Trip To Bandstand and Electrode for his dad's Cover label. He joined the Ronnie and the Daytonas touring band, although he didn't play on their records. The band became the Hombres and had a hit with Let It Out (Let It All Hang Out) in 1967, with B B on vocals and keyboards. When the band broke up B B returned to session work before becoming bass player in Jerry Lee's band in 1997, visiting the UK on several occasions.
The second death (reportedly in August, although I haven't seen it confirmed) is that of southern soul singer Paul Kelly. Originally from Florida he joined the Valadeers before recording a solo record with Clarence Reid for Dade and then being spotted by Buddy Killen of Dial Records and releasing Chills and Fever, a significant US hit also released in the UK, in 1965. After four singles with Philips he moved to New York where his career really took off with the release of the controversial Stealing In The Name Of the Lord, about the hypocrisy of some southern evangelical preachers, which became a hit. He followed this with Dirt, for Happy Tiger, and Hooked, Hogtied and Collared and Stand On The Positive Side for Warner. He released an album called 1984, comprising tracks recorded in that year, last year.


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