Lauren and Robin RIP
There have been a couple of high profile deaths this week of people who, although not musicians,were major stars and definitely worthy of a mention and the raising of a glass on The Vinyl Word.
I was quite a fan of Lauren Bacall, whose early films with Humphrey Bogart showed her at her smouldering best.Her husky voice and sultry good looks meant that she made an unforgettable film debut in To Have And Have Not and followed this with three further movies co-starring with her soon to be husband - The Big Sleep, Dark Passage and Key Largo. Later films included How To Marry A Millionaire, North West Frontier and Murder On The Murder Express and remained a major movie star until her death, aged 89.
Much has been written about the depression suffered by Robin Williams which eventually led to his suicide at the age of 63. He was certainly a funny man and an impressive actor, first in Mork and Mindy and later in such hit films as Good Morning Vietnam, Dead Poets Society, Good Will Hunting and Mrs Doubtfire. Yet there was always a manic edge to his performance which seemed on the verge of exploding into something uncontrollable. He will be missed.
There have been a couple of deaths in the music world which deserve a mention as well.
Henry Stone, who was 93, may not be a household name, but many of the soul and disco acts that he recorded and produced in his Miami recording studio are. His career began in the late 1940s and in 1951 he recorded a young Ray Charles on St Pete Florida Blues, before having success with The
Charms' Hearts Of Stone, released on De-Luxe. His own labels included Dade (with Latimore's early recordings), Alston (co-owned with Steve Alaimo, which had success with Betty Wright's Clean Up Woman) and Glades, which enjoyed success with Timmy Thomas and Latimore's biggest records.. His most successful label was TK which had enormous disco success with former warehouse worker KC and the Sunshine Band. Stone was known as the King of the Transhippers through his Miami-based Tone distribution company and had an arrangement with Jerry Wexler, who wrote a glowing tribute, which is covered in full in John Broven's Record Makers and Breakers.
The Vinyl Word also raises a glass to New Orleans-born drummer Idris Mohammed, who was 74. Although primarily a jazz man, playing with the likes of Lou Donaldson and Pharaoh Sanders, he made his first mark by playing drums on Fats Domino's 1956 hit Blueberry Hill. And, following prompting from my son, comedienne Dora Bryan, whose sole contribution to the world of music was the dire All I Want For Christmas Is A Beatle in 1963.