Tuesday, May 28, 2019

Mad Lad John Gary Williams RIP

Music deaths have come thick and fast in recent weeks, among them some great artists who I have neglected to mention on The Vinyl Word until today. The latest death is that of John Gary Williams of Stax vocal group The Mad Lads. His was the sweet lead voice of the Memphis group which had success with 'Don't Have To Shop Around', 'I Want Someone' and 'Sugar Sugar'. His career was interrupted by a spell in the US army and he was at one time a member of The Invaders, a group inspired by the Black Panthers. I saw John Gary Williams at Porretta in 2012 (pictured above) when he joined the Bar-Kays on stage. I wrote at the time: 'He came across strongly on 'Fever, 'By the Time I Get A Phoenix , 'Closer To Me', a great version of the Mad Lads song 'Don't Have To Shop Around', finishing off with 'I Believe The Whole Damn World Has Gone Crazy (a solo record from 1973). He's right. It was crazy to limit him to just five numbers, as he was worth a whole lot more.' Another sad loss to soul music.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=17UaQ6yV6zI 
Another soul man who passed away recently was Lou Johnson, a singer whose gorgeous voice was perfect for the songs of Bacharach and David. His records included 'If I Never Get To Love You', 'Better Let Him Go', 'Reach Out For Me', the B side of which 'Magic Potion' was a big Northern soul hit. He recorded the first version of '(There's) Always Something There To Remind Me' and  'Message To Martha' and other superb records included 'Please Stop The Wedding' and 'A Time To Love, A Time To Cry'.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=st2mVmy30LA
Yet another soul man who has passed is Chuck Barksdale, bass singer for 50 years with The Dells, whose career spanned doowop in the 50s to soul in the 60s and beyond. Aged 84, Chuck joined the El-Rays after leaving school which, with some personnel changes became the Dells and went on to one of the longest and greatest careers in soul history.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iX3cOtmyyOc
From the world of rockabilly we recently lost Texas singer Huelyn Duvall, whose 1950's records included 'Teen Queen', 'Little Boy Blue' and 'Boom Boom Baby'. Huelyn visited the UK several times and I caught him at Viva Las Vegas in 2015 (pictured above) where his set included 'It's No Wonder', 'Teen Queen', 'Pucker Paint' and 'Three Months To Kill'.    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DDbRimaeD5I
Another fifties artist who has died is Preston Epps, who had a 1959 hit with 'Bongo Rock' He
continued the bongo theme with records such as 'Bongos in Pastel', 'Bongo Boogie', 'Bongo Bongo Bongo' and 'Bongola'.   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FBZJlVeEVeI
Other recent deaths have included Luther Jennings of the Southern Jacksonaires, Scottish singer Jake Black of the Alabama 3, Leon Rausch, lead singer of Bob Wills and the Texas Playboys, and Mike Wilhelm, guitarist and singer with San Francisco band The Charlatans who was later a member of the Flamin' Groovies.
Finally, I must pay tribute to Doris Day who has died aged 97. She was a regular feature of the big movies of my youth, including 'Love Me Or Leave Me', 'The Man Who Knew Too Much' (which included her Oscar winning song 'Que Sera Sera'), 'The Tunnel Of Love', and 'Move Over Darling', which featured perhaps her biggest, and best, record. A true great of the movies, and not a bad singer.
RIP to them all.

Saturday, May 04, 2019

Music photos from Los Angeles

Here is the final batch of photos from my recent US road trip with John Howard, covering some excellent gigs in Los Angeles.
Here is Smokey Hormel, who we saw at McCabe's Guitar Shop in Santa Monica.
The next night at Joe's American Bar and Grill in Burbank we were pleasantly surprised by the energy of Tom Kenny and the High Seas band. Here he is with his band and female singers.
Main act of the night were Los Straitjackets. Here they are, plus a pic of Jaalene 'Queen of the Teens' who sang 'Angel Baby'. 
Next day we went to two South LA venues where local blues acts were on show. The first of these was Bell's Blues Workshop, where artists included Shelley Gibbons, Southside Slim, Lady Renee (with Lester Lands) and Sherry Pruitt.
This is Franklin Bell, the man behind this LA institution.
We moved on to the Pure Pleasure Blues Club, where the excellent acts included Bobby Love, Sir Stan Griggs, Sonny Green, Sammy Lee, Sheryl Monet and Asia Raye.
Our final night in LA was spent at the La Louisiane restaurant, where Hank Carbo put on an entertaining set, backed by Lester Lands and the New Breed Band.
Finally, here's one of Hank Carbo with John Howard and myself.

Friday, May 03, 2019

Viva Las Vegas photos part 2

Continuing some of the photos from this year's Viva Las Vegas, here are a few from the Car Show.
This is Linda Gail Lewis, plus her daughter Annie Marie.
Also starring at the Car Show were The Coasters, featuring original member Leon Hughes.
Playing at the Pool Party, here are surf band Joey and the Showmen.
Back in the main venue here are the Moontones.
This is fifties rockabilly artist Sid King.
Deke Dickerson hosted his Guitar Geek party and Hillbilly Fest.
Here is the UK's Rob Glazebrook who performed solo and with his group the Houserockers.
Appearing in the 'Stars of Rock and Roll' segment here is one hit wonder Hal Schneider of Three Aces and a Joker.
Here are doowop group The Medallions.
This is The Majors.
Here's Chris Casello, formerly Jack Scott's guitarist.
Starring on the main stage, here is Si Cranstoun.
Up and coming R amd B singer Tami Savoy made a good impression.

Thursday, May 02, 2019

Viva Las Vegas photos Part 1

I will be putting some photos of my recent US road trip up over the next few days. Here are some from the first two days of Viva Las Vegas.
Here is one of Kim Lenz.
This is a band called Seatbelt.
Here is Ruby Ann.
Big Sandy introduced many of the acts and had a set of his own as well.
This is British band Restless.
Hong Kong based band the Boogie Playboys were good fun.
This is Wayne 'The Train' Hancock.
Here is the bass player and singer with Russian group Messer Chups.
Kicking off the 'stars of rockabilly' set was Sweden's Jan Svensson.
Here's is 50s rockabilly artist Billy Harlan.
Ray Campi, another veteran rockabilly artist.
And another - Don Woody.
This was the farewell performance for Sugar Ray Ford with his band Big Six.
Here is the lead singer of the Hi-Tones.