Friday, March 27, 2009

More RIPs

Some more deaths to catch up on I'm afraid.

Nashville R and B artist Ted Jarrett - best known for the Rolling Stones cover of his You Can Make It If You Try - has died aged 83. His Love Love Love was a country hit for Webb Pierce and he broke through the segregation barriers in 1956 by receiving an award from BMI. His book looks well worth tracking down. //

Motown drummer and member of the Funk Brothers Uriel Jones has died at the age of 74. His distinctive drumming can be heard on many hits, including Ain't Too Proud To Beg, I Heard It On The Gravevine, The Tracks Of My Tears and many more. Obits so far in The Independent and The Times (note the mis-spelling of Mo(w)town).

Carlis 'Sonny' Munro, formerly lead singer of The Falcons, is another to have passed on. Thanks to Dave for digging out this interview:
Another death is that of Mississippi bluesman Willie King, who was born in 1943 but didn't make his recording debut until the 1990s. Here's his obituary on Times Online:
And the first obit that I've seen for Eddie Bo in the UK media has appeared on Times Online:

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Changes at Porretta

As usual, the line up for the Porretta Soul Festival has changed. It seems to evolve during the months leading up to the event, with some acts disappearing from the list and others being added. Out go Carl Sims and David Hudson, but in come Percy Wiggins, Vaneese Thomas, J Blackfoot and Toni Green, who was superb when she appeared a couple of years back (see photo). Overall it's as strong as ever and well worth a look. Full line up as follows: Solomon Burke, Spencer Wiggins, Toni Green, Oscar Toney Jr.,J. Blackfoot, Austin DeLone All Star Band with Sweet Nectar, Percy Wiggins, Jesse Dee,The Diplomats of Solid Sound with The Diplomettes,Vaneese Thomas (sister of Carla - see photo below) with Soul Spinner, Bobby Johnson, CIV Soul Band. Solomon and J Blackfoot (formerly of the Soul Children) are regulars at Porretta and are always good value. The Wiggins brothers haven't appeared before so far as I know (neither has Oscar Toney Jr) and I've never seen Spencer perform, although Percy appeared with the Hi Rhythm Section at last year's Ponderosa Stomp.

Meanwhile, a memorial service for Eddie Bo has been arranged for April 1 at the Mid-City Lanes Rock 'n Bowl from 2 to 5 p.m. I read somewhere that Eddie released more singles than any other New Orleans artist apart from Fats Domino. Listening to a couple of albums I appreciate just how varied - and high quality - his repertoire was. A great loss.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Eddie Bo RIP

This grim year for great New Orleans music just got a whole lot worse with the news that Eddie Bo has died aged 78. Eddie was such a seminal N'Awlins R and B figure that it's hard to take it in. Eddie was everywhere whenever I went to New Orleans - at Jazzfest, the Ponderosa Stomp, at the Rock 'N' Bowl and in little bars in the French Quarter playing to a handful of people. He represented all that was best about the place: great 'junker' style New Orleans piano, strong voice and fantastic personality. He even got a following in the UK and I remember his last gig at the Jazz Cafe a few years ago was a sell out.

Eddie Bocage, as he was originally known, first signed for Johnny Vincent's Ace label in 1955 and shortly afterwards had a hit with I'm Wise for Apollo, better known as Little Richard's Slippin' and Slidin'. In 1959 he signed with the Ric label where his local hits included Check Mr Popeye, Dinky Doo and Tell it like it is (not the Aaron Neville song). He was a good songwriter (eg My Dearest Darling, for Etta James) and also worked on songs and arrangements for other Ric artists such as Irma Thomas, Johnny Adams and Tommy Ridgeley. Later hits included Hook and Sling and something of a soul/funk crossover hit Check Your Bucket in the early 70s. And although he gave up performing for a while to work as a carpenter in the 70s he came back strongly as an excellent live act.

I've seen Eddie many many times but I never tired of him. He was one of the true New Orleans greats and will be sorely missed. Coming so soon after the deaths of Snooks Eaglin and Antoinette K-Doe it's a terrible blow to New Orleans music. RIP Eddie. Here's a report on the WWOZ website and here's the story in the Times-Picayune

Friday, March 13, 2009

Hank Lochlin/Jimmy Boyd

Hank Lochlin has died aged 90. His Please Help Me I'm Falling was a moderate sized UK hit in 1960 - one of fairly few country and western records to make the UK charts back then - and actually reached number one in my personal top ten at the time. He didn't make much of interest after that - although I seem to remember Saturday Night I'm Going Fishin' for Fish wasn't bad.
Also deceased is Jimmy Boyd, who made his name in 1953 at the age of 12 with I saw Mommy kissing Santa Claus. Not sure if he ever had another hit, but at least his one claim to fame was a classic which is wheeled out every Christmas.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ponderosa Stomping

If you were in Austin on March 20 for SXSW you could see a Ponderosa Stomp showcase featuring Barbarba Lynn, Eli Paper Boy Reed, Roy Head, Huelyn Duvall and a host of others. Sadly I won't be there. Nor will I be at the Ponderosa Stomp itself in New Orleans where the line up has been extended and now looks well up to the standard of previous years. Here's how it now lines up:

Night 1 Tuesday, April 28th, 2009:
Classie Ballou, Carl Mann, Dale Hawkins and James Burton, James Blood Ulmer, The Hi Rhythm Section. Otis Clay, The Remains, Howard Tate, Ray Sharpe, The Bo-Keys, Lil Greenwood, Deke Dickerson & the Eccofonics, Texas Johnny Brown, Little Willie Littlefield, Little Joe Washington, Alton Lott, Jack Earls, Johnny Powers, Kenny and the Kasuals, The Legendary Stardust Cowboy

Night 2 Wednesday, April 29th, 2009:
Jerry McCain, Lazy Lester, James Burton, Wanda Jackson, Dan Penn and Bobby Emmons, Robert Parker, Lil Buck and The Top Cats featuring Stanley Buckwheat Dural, The New Orleans Revue(Eddie Bo, Jean Knight, Al "Carnival Time" Johnson, Tony Owens, Rockie Charles, Little Freddie King, Guitar Lightnin Lee, Skip Easterling, Earl Stanley, Joe Clay, Ernie Vincent, and Jay Chevalier), Roy Loney and Cyril Jordan of the Flamin Groovies backed by The A-Bones, Deke Dickerson & the Eccofonics, Question Mark and The Mysterians, Jivin' Gene, L.C. Ulmer, Little Willie Littlefield, Roddy Jackson, Long John Hunter, Wiley and The Checkmates, Bobby Patterson
Wish you were there? I do.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Catch 'em while you can

The steady stream of music deaths comes as a reminder, if one were needed, to catch them performing while they are still around. Over the last few years I've seen James Brown, Bo Diddley, Albert King, Ruth Brown, Ernie K-Doe, Alton Ellis, Ike Turner, Robert Ward and many more who are now no longer with us. It's not always possible to see those who are left of course, but it's no good cursing those missed opportunities once they've passed on.

Sadly it seems that Pinetop Perkins has cancelled his UK shows, including the Ace Cafe. At the age of 95 you have to wonder if we will see him again. The last time I saw him was at the Hopson Plantation in Clarksdale, Mississippi, in 2005. But as it was a Sunday he didn't perform. His pappy told him that he should never play on a Sunday and he always did what his pappy told him. But there a number of blues men appearing at festivals around the UK this year, including a good line up at the Burnley Blues Festival at Easter, and B B King is touring in June. Thanks to Alan for passing this link to me;

Another legend, Solomon Burke, has been added to the already excellent soul bill at Porretta (alongside Spencer Wiggins, Oscar Toney Jr, Carl Sims and David Hudson). I've see Solomon many times - the last time was at the Barbican - and each time I marvel that he's still able to perform despite his vast size. Again, you wonder if this might be the last time.