Final farewells of the year
The Grim Reaper has been busy in the few days since I listed those in the music and entertainment business who have passed away during 2014.
Best known among them is Sheffield born Joe Cocker who will forever be associated with his
version of With A Little Help From My Friends, which was a major hit and which he sang live at Woodstock in 1969. Aged 70, Joe began with a skiffle group, The Cavaliers, before becoming the front man of Vance Arnold and the Avengers in 1960. After one unsuccessful single for Decca (the Beatles song I'll Cry Instead) Joe formed the Grease Band and recorded Marjorine, before taking up a residency at the Marquee Club in London. After hitting number one with 'Friends' in 1968 he followed its US success with the Mad Dogs And Englishmen tour, which included Leon Russell and Rita Coolidge. He made several albums during the seventies and eighties, enjoying great success with Up Where We Belong with Jennifer Warnes in 1982. Always too much of a rock singer for my taste, there's no doubting his place in music history over the last 40 years.
Another recent death, at the age of 76, is that of soul singer Jo Jo Benson, best known for his duets with Peggy Scott on numbers such as Soulshake, Lover's Holiday and Pickin' Wild Mountain Berries, which were produced by Huey Meaux and released on Shelby Singleton's SSS International label. Originally from Alabama, he went on to own a number of night clubs and was seriously injured in a shooting incident in 1979. He recorded two soul albums at the turn of the century - Reminiscing In The Jam Zone and Everybody Loves to Cha Cha Cha. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SLcnyauzuCc
From the world of gospel we have lost Leroy Crume, who was a member of the Soul Stirrers and is credited with introducing the electric guitar into the gospel field. I can do no better than point readers in the direction of Red Kelly's excellent blog, which has a comprehensive item about Leroy's life and career. http://redkelly.blogspot.co.uk/
Another gospel singer, in her later years, who has died is Jamaican Barbara Jones, who is best
known for her smooth reggae recordings in the seventies. Aged 62, she recorded reggae versions of Angel In The Morning, Just When I Needed You Most and Pretty Blue Eyes, among others.
Detroit blues singer Alberta Adams is another who has passed away, at the age of 97. A night club singer and dancer in the 1930s, Alberta won a recording contract with Chess in 1952 and toured with the likes of Louis Jordan, Duke Ellington and T Bone Walker. She enjoyed success late in life when she signed with Cannonball records and released two albums, 1999's Born With the Blues and 2000's Say Baby Say.
It's farewell also to to John Fry, founder of Ardent Records of Memphis. Many Stax artists recorded there, as did Al Green, Bob Dylan, Led Zeppelin, B B King and Stevie Ray Vaughan. Also to Larry Henley, lead singer of the Newbeats, who had hits with Bread And Butter and Run Baby Run in the mid sixties and went on to become a major country songwriter with songs such as Til I get It Right. Also to Nashville country guitarist and producer Chip Young, who played with Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, Skeeter Davis and Waylon Jennings.
The Vinyl Word raises a glass to them all. Happy New Year to all my readers. Let's hope 2015 brings us good health and happiness.