Tighter than a tight thing, Tom Petty sings ‘Don’t Do Me Like That’ off his 1979 album Damn The Torpedoes. R.I.P. you heartbreaker.
R.I.P. Chuck Berry. Will it be ‘Maybellene’, ‘Roll Over Beethoven’, ‘Sweet Little Sixteen’, ‘Memphis, Tennessee’ or ‘No Particular Place To Go’? No. For the most memorable guitar intro in rock’n’roll, it has to be ‘Johnny B. Goode’ – the song based on the tale of a boy from humble beginnings with a talent for guitar. Have a great week.
It’s a buttery start to the week for I’ve just learned that Al Jarreau died yesterday. His canon of work that so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B, is largely lost on me; mainly because it so seamlessly bridged pop, jazz funk and R&B. However, after much of his most celebrated recordings has passed, he wrote and recorded this Nile Rodgers-produced tune for a TV series that left an indelible feelgood mark on my memory. R.I.P.
This week, the mythic William Onyeabor died at home, in Enugu, southeast Nigeria, aged 70. Onyeabor was a pioneering electronic-funk musician who extraordinarily self-released 9 ground-breaking albums between 1977-1985. He composed, recorded, pressed and printed the work at Wilfilms Limited—his personal pressing plant in Enugu. As David Byrne said this week, wherever he’s gone, it’s sure to be a place with a lot of heart and some killer grooves. RIP William. Have a great weekend.
Before I walk away for Easter, I’ve just read that Malik Taylor has died at the premature age of 45. In 1990, Malik and his crew A Tribe Called Quest released People’s Instinctive Travels And The Paths Of Rhythm, an odd mix of rap, hip hop and jazzy rhymes. It was in the alternative furrow that De La Soul had furrowed the year before with their 3 Feet High And Rising. I recall flipping the vinyl and listening to the start of the B-side: ‘Bonita Applebum’ followed by ‘Can I Kick It?’. Genius. R.I.P. Phife Dawg.
Bandmate Philip Bailey once said that Maurice White’s whole vision was to “sneak a little jazz on people”. Before 1975’s breakthrough album That’s the Way of the World, this had tended to entail White’s masterful production overlaid onto a Sly Stone sounding groove. But with this title track, EW&F found their own jazz funk groove. “Hearts of fire creates love desire.” Maurice White R.I.P.
Natalie Cole was not the only loss to the industry over the last month or so. First, Phil “Philthy Animal” Taylor, Motörhead’s drummer dies in November. And then, more recently, Lemmy spontaneously combusted. Well if he didn’t, I don’t want to think of him that way. ‘The Ace Of Spades’ is the Motörhead track. One critic once said that it “wouldn’t be out of place ushering in the end of the world”. Sir Lemmy, you are dancing with the devil no doubt. Have a great weekend.
I was sad to hear that Natalie Cole passed away last week. With a father like Nat King Cole, she may have always been a be part of the music royalty whether the sound lived up to the billing or not. But to kick off a career with tracks like ‘This Will Be’ and ‘Sophisticated Lady’ was more than the critics could have hoped for. Much like her father, she blended pop and soul effortlessly. I choose Cole’s debut single for its sunny disposition. It featured on her 1975 album Inseparable. Rest in peace.
I learned recently that soul jazz legend Wayne Henderson died this spring. Henderson was the co-founder of The Jazz Crusaders, who later changed their name to The Crusaders as Henderson’s passion to experiment beyond hard-bop trombone progressed with the 1970s. ‘Keep That Same Old Feeling’ was the first ever vocal groove by The Crusaders. It features on the album Those Southern Knights. RIP Wayne.