Monday, January 19, 2009

I HEAR DEAD PEOPLE : The R&B, Soul, Ska & Rock Stars, Dead in 2008

Time and storage space constraints made it difficult to give a musical sample for every major musician who died in 2008. Omissions reflect the Illfolks taste (or lack of it), since much of what's on the blog simply comes from grabbing what's handy in the archives and shelves of Ill Central.
So without further adieu, at least a mention of some guys who aren't represented in the download below:
The last major musician to evade the Grim Reaper was Freddie Hubbard (70), the great jazz trumpet legend, who died on December 29th. A day earlier, December 28th, Vincent Ford departed. Just how much of a music legend he is, depends on whether he actually wrote Bob Marley's hit "No Woman No Cry." Most say that Ford, who ran a soup kitchen in Jamaica, was generously handed the songwriting credit by Marley so that royalties would go directly to Ford's charity enterprise.
Ray Ellis (85) was a great musician and orchestra leader, Norman Whitfield (68), the Motown songwriter behind "I Heard It Through the Grapevine." Few were as great on sax as Johnny Griffin (80), and Ira Tucker (83) was the lead singer for The Dixie Hummingbirds.
Cliff Nobles (64) may have the oddest credit in Top 10 history: a hit record without being on it. Nobles was a singer, and he thought he had a hit with "Love is All Right." On the flip side was an instrumental arrangement titled "The Horse." Radio stations flipped over the B-side, and it reached #2 in the charts...with the credit going to the man (who played no instrument, only sang) and not his band.
A special mention for a non-singer who is represented below. Jerry Wexler was one of the great music producers, and his range was phenomenal. He sensed what Bob Dylan wanted for "Slow Train Coming" and booked studio time and musicians in Muscle Shoals, the flavor just right for Bob's gospel inspiration. For Big Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle and Roll" Wexler actually sang on the chorus, along with another Atlantic Records legend, Ahmet Ertegun. He brought Dusty Springfield to a comfortable urban studio in New York so she could complete her historic "Memphis" sessions, singing to all the music laid down in Tennessee. And while he didn't have to do much except let Ray Charles sing, and The Drifters drift, quite often Wexler stepped in to coach an artist...notably directing pauses in Wilson Pickett's delivery of "In the Midnight Hour." And representing his diverse work, the download features Professor Longhair's "Tipitina" (Wexler inspired that song by asking his singer to lay down a tune similar to "Tee Nah Nah") and the Dire Straits' "Lady Writer," another example of Wexler's choice of location (the Bahamas) helping him get what he wanted from his this case, a richer, bluesier sound. Wexler also produced Willie Nelson, James Booker, Aretha Franklin, Etta James and many, many more.
In your download:
Bo Diddley (Run Diddley Daddy, Mumblin' Guitar), Nappy Brown (Something Gonna Jump Out the Bushes), Levi Stubbs of the Four Tops ("I Can't Help Myself" sung in Italian, plus In These Changing Times), Isaac Hayes (Never Can Say Goodbye, Out of the Ghetto), Byron Lee (Soul Ska), Alton Ellis (All My Tears Come Rolling, If I Could Rule This World), Bill Coday (60 Minute Teaser), Jeff Healey (While My Guitar Gently Weeps, Someday, Someway), and for producer Jerry Wexler: Professor Longhair's Tipitina and Dire Straits' Lady Writer.
Hear Dead People R&B/Soul/Rock 2008 Update 2011: it died on Rapidshare, resurrected via Box.

No comments: