Lives to remember
Time to leave behind my memories of gigs of the nineties (about time too, say most readers I suspect!) and catch up on some recent music deaths - and there have been quite a few. There always are in December it seems. It's 46 years tomorrow since the death of Otis Redding in 1967, and 49 years since the shooting of Sam Cooke on December 11, 1964: two of the all time greats.
Chick Willis, who has died aged 79, was the cousin of Chuck Willis and was his chauffeur during his
50s success. Later he played with Elmore James and recorded some blues 45s in the sixties but he became best known for his controversial Stoop Down Baby in 1972. He went on record several excellent albums for Ichiban, including Chick Sings Chuck, Now, Footprints in My Bed, Back to the Blues, Holdin' Hands with the Blues, Nasty Chick and I Got a Big Fat Woman. He continued to record into the 2000s. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PcytN5f72x8
Larry McKinley, 85, was the founder of New Orleans record label Minit along with his partner Joe Banashak and employed Allen Toussaint as arranger, songwriter and producer, recording many of the New Orleans greats including Ernie K-Doe, Chris Kenner, Benny Spellman and Irma Thomas. A local radio personality, Larry was inducted into the Louisiana Music Hall of Fame in 2005.
Although best known as an actor for his role of Bodie in The Professionals, and, before that, in the TV comedy The Cuckoo Waltz, Lewis Collins, who has died aged 67, formed a band called the Renegades in Liverpool and was a one time member of the Mojos, apparently turning down the chance of auditioning for the Beatles. He did, in fact, audition for the role of James Bond, but was rejected because he was too aggressive. Lewis was one of those people whose careers I've followed during my life because his birth date was close to mine (he was born six weeks later than me). Like George Best, another from the same era, he is now no more, which is a sobering thought. I am watching a third contemporary, Joanna Lumley, with interest.
Reggae artist Junior Murvin was another from the same era and was believed to be 67 when he died. Born in St James Parish, Jamaica, he came to fame with Police and Thieves, produced by Lee 'Scratch' Perry in 1976 which was later covered by The Clash. Prior to that he had recorded under the name of Junior Soul and was a member of the Hippy Boys. Later albums included Bad Man Posse, Muggers in The Street and Apartheid. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OID0h7X6hmk
From the jazz world, drummer and band leader Chico Hamilton has died at the age of 92. He played with many of the big bands of the 1940s before recording his first album as leader in 1955. Over the following 56 years he recorded dozens of albums with a variety of artists.
Another jazz man to pass on is British pianist and composer Stan Tracey at the age of 86. Stan played at Ronnie Scott's jazz club for several years, accompanying many of the jazz greats and is best known for his 1967 album Under Milk Wood and for Alice in Jazzland.