Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Final farewells of 2015

My list of music deaths during 2015 a couple of weeks ago was, as ever, premature, as there have been quite a few more since.
The latest is Lemmy (Kilmister) of Motorhead, who died aged 70 just two days after receiving a
cancer diagnosis. At least it was quick. There have been many reminiscences about Lemmy and his wild life appearing in social media today, including his love of Space Invaders and his penchant for collecting Nazi memorabilia, but I can honestly say that I never met him or attended any concert by him or any of his bands, which, prior to Motorhead, included the Rockin' Vickers and Hawkwind. Heavy metal is not really my scene, although I admit to a soft spot for The Ace Of Spades. Nevertheless, Lemmy personified the rock and roll lifestyle and clearly enjoyed himself over the years, even if he was hardly a role model. May he rest in peace.
A death that has badly affected the Woodies roots music community is that of sax player Sid Phillips, who has been a regular in the Tales From The Woods House Band for several years, playing in many of the British rock and roll shows at the Borderline. Sid (pictured with fellow sax man Alex Bland, and keyboard player Claire Hamlin)  was a member of Cliff Bennett's Rebel Rousers during the sixties and was a true gent, as well as being an excellent tenor sax player.
Another who has 'snuffed' it recently is the aptly named Thomas 'Snuff' Garrett, a record producer who was responsible for many of the classic pop tunes that came out of the Liberty label in the early sixties, including those by Bobby Vee, Johnny Burnette, Gene McDaniels, the Crickets, Del Shannon, Buddy Knox, Walter Brennan and Gary Lewis and the Playboys. Aged 17, he was a disc jockey in Lubbock, where he met Buddy Holly, before joining Liberty in Hollywood.
Stevie Wright, lead singer with Australian band the Easybeats, has also died. The band had a huge hit with Friday On My Mind, produced by Shel Talmy, in 1966 but never reached such heights again. In the seventies Stevie was in the cast of Jesus Christ Superstar and had a solo hit with Evie.
Others who have passed on in the last couple of weeks include William Guest, who was a member of Gladys Knight and the Pips, and John Bradbury, drummer with The Specials.
** A late addition to the 2015 list is sax man Joe Houston, one of the great honkers who made their names in the forties and fifties. He played with Amos Milburn, Joe Turner and Wynonie Harris and had two hits in 1952 - Worry Worry Worry and Hard Times.
The Vinyl Word raises a glass to them all.


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