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PERVIS JACKSON DIES ...

Tuesday, 19 August 2008 05:42 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

PERVIS JACKSON DIES ...

There's more sad news for the soul community with the news that PERVIS JACKSON - one of the founding members of the SPINNERS - had died in Detroit aged 70. JACKSON had last appeared with the legendary group in California in July, but last month he was diagnosed with brain and liver cancer. He was admitted to Detroit's Sinai-Grace Hospital but died there on Monday August 18. Known as "Mr. 12.45" - because of his trademark bass part in the hit 'They Just Can't Stop It (Games People Play)' - Jackson was acknowledged in the business as true professional and was the group's de facto spokesman. He's survived by two original SPINNERS - HENRY FAMBROUGH and BOBBIE SMITH, two daughters, two sons and his wife of 40 years, CLAUDREEN. She said, "I don't know how many people get to live their lives they way they want, but he was one of them."

 

GREENLIGHT FOR JOHN

Tuesday, 19 August 2008 05:10 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

GREENLIGHT FOR JOHN

The ever-busy JOHN LEGEND is set to release his new album in October. The collection's heralded by a single, appropriately called 'Greenlight.' Featuring ANDRE 3000, it does have a touch of OUTKAST about it, though there's also a real drum n bass feel to the main edit. Whatever, it's absolutely infectious and LEGEND'S plaintive voice always does it. Other good mixes come from JOHNNY DOUGLAS and the AFROGANIC team whose tweak offers a great late summer vibe - if we ever get any late summer.

 

CHERRY PICKIN'

Tuesday, 19 August 2008 05:09 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

CHERRY PICKIN'

Collectors' re-issue label group Cherry Red currently have a whole raft of goodies on offer. Top of their pile is a straight reissue of the 5th DIMENSION'S wonderful 'The Magic Garden'. The original LP was released in 1968 and, of course, was a collaboration with JIM WEBB. He provided all the songs and the lush orchestral links and though some of the cuts are always featured on the group's hits albums, it's so good to hear them in their original context. Label, by the way, is Rev-o-La. Sister label Shout can offer DENISE LASALLE'S 'A Little Bit Naughty' - a mix of her best ABC and MCA recordings and McKINLEY "SOUL" MITCHELL'S wonderful 'The Town I Live In'. Over on the Poker imprint there's MAMIE LEE'S' Once In A Lifetime'. LEE was a classy soul-jazz singer who died in the late 70s and this 12 tracker proffers the singer's collectable MGM album on which she sounds like a cross between ESTHER PHILIPS and NANCY WILSON along with a couple of bonuses - one of which is the popular Northern groove, 'I Can Feel Him Slipping Away'… and as ever Cherry Red also offer lots of great sixties pop from outfits like the GRASS ROOTS and the TOKENS (both favourites with ageing mods).

 

LEN BARRY ...IN HIS OWN WRITE

Tuesday, 19 August 2008 05:07 Bill Buckley E-mailPrintPDF

LEN BARRY ...IN HIS OWN WRITE

Most people will remember LEN BARRY as the vocalist on one of blue-eyed soul's most enduring songs - '1-2-3'. Before that solo smash, LEN had been a member of the DOVELLS and even before that he worked around the North Philly area leading a group called the BARRYMORES. Since the sixties BARRY has focused on writing and production. He worked with Philadelphia's legendary WMOT Productions and was responsible for hits like SLICK'S 'Space Bass' and FAT LARRY'S 'Zoom'. Latterly LEN'S turned his hand to writing and his novel 'Black Like Me' has just been published in the UK. A collaboration with his son, SPENCER, the book tells the story of a Caucasian brother and sister thrust into living and loving in the 'hood, and clearly few people are better experienced to write about the ups and owns of that situation than LEN BARRY. His records often led people to assume he was an Afro-American while throughout his career he's collaborated with artists from right across the spectrum. 'Black Like Me' is a great read for anyone interested in soul's history and its social context. It comes with a perceptive foreword from iconic session man BOBBY ELI and is published by Bank House Media … for more information go to www.bankhousebooks.com or www.lenbarry.com - where you can even listen to and download a soundtrack to the book composed and performed by LEN himself.

 

JERRY WEXLER DIES

Saturday, 16 August 2008 05:37 Charles Waring E-mailPrintPDF

JERRY WEXLER DIES

The death of legendary record producer, JERRY WEXLER, was announced yesterday (Friday 15th August). According to his son, Paul, Wexler - who was 91 - died at about 3:45 am as a result of heart disease at his home in Sarasota, Florida.
Born in New York in 1917 to a family of émigré Polish Jews, Gerald Wexler showed few academic inclinations early on in life, preferring to skip school to hang out as a hustler earning money in pool rooms. It was in his teens that he developed an appetite for jazz and blues records and it was his passion for music that eventually spurred him on to study journalism following a wartime stint in the army. In 1948, Wexler got a job writing for the fledgling Billboard music magazine and made a name for himself coining the term 'rhythm and blues' to describe black music, which at that time was referred to in Billboard as 'race music.' It was while working for the magazine that Wexler became friends with Ahmet Ertegun, co-founder of the Atlantic record label, which began in 1947.
In 1953, Wexler quit Billboard to work alongside Ertegun at Atlantic and soon established himself as a major player in aiding the company's rise to fame as the USA's premier independent R&B label. By the end of the '50s Wexler was producing recording sessions for the label, including several classic albums by Ray Charles. Although in 1959 Atlantic reluctantly had to let Charles leave the label to join ABC/Paramount for a better royalties deal, the company found a new singing sensation in Solomon Burke and later, in 1966, the ambitious and enterprising Wexler added another musical genius to the label's roster in the shape of Aretha Franklin. Wexler persuaded Franklin to leave Columbia - where she had struggled to make any real commercial impact - and took her down to Muscle Shoals, where under Wexler's direction, she cut some earthy, gospel-infused soul sides. From those sessions in 1967 emerged the classic 45s 'I Never Loved A Man (The Way I Loved You)' and 'Respect,' which transformed Franklin into an international superstar and also assisted in crowning her the 'Queen Of Soul.'
Around the same time, in his capacity as producer, Wexler also worked with the likes of Dusty Springfield (he co-produced her classic 'Dusty in Memphis' LP alongside fellow Atlantic studio mavens, Arif Mardin and Tom Dowd), Wilson Pickett and Percy Sledge. He also signed Donny Hathaway to Atlantic in 1970 and produced the singer's self-titled 1971 album that featured a classic version of the Leon Russell song 'A Song For You.' In the 1970s, Wexler also branched out musically, working with Delaney & Bonnie, Dr. John, Willie Nelson, Allen Toussaint and Bob Dylan. The '80s saw him toiling in the studio with pop and rock acts like Dire Straits, Santana and George Michael. For his prodigious contribution to popular music, Wexler was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame in 1987.

(CW)

 

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