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Archive for the ‘R&B’ Category

RIP, Charles Bradley (September 23, 2017) American Soul Singer

Posted by themusicsover on September 23, 2017

Charles Bradley
November 5, 1948 – September 23, 2017

2011. Photo by Vince Hans

Charles Bradley, the revered soul singer who found success late in life, died after a his battle with stomach cancer at the age of 68.  Born in Gainesville, Florida, Bradley moved to New York City at the age of eight to live with his mother who had left him with his grandmother when he was a toddler. In 1962, his sister took the young teen to James Brown’s legendary show at the Apollo Theater, and like many kids who saw the Godfather of Soul perform, Bradley immediately took to practicing Brown’s songs and dance moves.  When he was 14, he ran away from home to escape his family’s life of poverty. He spent the first couple of years living on the streets until he found Job Corps who taught him to cook and help him find a job.  The next 25 years or so found Bradley working as a chef mostly along the west coast and into Canada while playing small club gigs along the way.  Bradley moved back to New York to be with his mother in 1996, and finally started making some decent money impersonating James Brown under the stage name, Black Velvet.  It was during one of these shows that he was discovered by up-and-coming soul revival label, Daptone Records.  After releasing a series of 7″ singles by him, Daptone put out Bradley’s debut album, No Time For Dreaming, in  2011. Two more albums followed, including 2016’s Changes, which included his staggering cover of the Black Sabbath song of the same name.  In 2012, the documentary, Soul of America, which told his story and included live performances, was released to critical acclaim.  Label mate and soul great, Sharon Jones lost her battle with cancer on November 18, 2016.

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RIP, Chuck Berry (March 18, 2017) Rock and Roll Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on March 18, 2017

Chuck Berry
October 18, 1926 – March 18, 2017

Photo by David Plastik – Click To Order Quality Prints – Discount code: 10OFF

As one of the founding fathers of rock and roll, Chuck Berry refined the early sounds of rhythm and blues, added catchy teen-centric lyrics, and turned up the volume of his guitar.  By doing so, he became one of the most influential artists pop music has ever known. Launching his recording career during the mid ’50s, Berry created songs that not only became a part of  America’s fabric, but would be played on radios, at parties, in concerts, on television, and in movies for the next 60 years. His remarkable output included such unforgettable songs as  “Johnny B. Goode,” “Maybellene,” “Roll Over Beethoven,” “Sweet Little Sixteen,” and “Rock and Roll Music.”  On stage, he stood head and shoulders above most of his peers by adding a showmanship that included dazzling guitar solos, and of course, that “duck walk” across the stage.  His direct influence is staggering –  the Beatles, the Rolling Stones, the Kinks, the Beach Boys, Michael JacksonBruce Springsteen, U2, Prince, Ted Nugent, Tom Petty, and George Thorogood  (to name just a very few) have all cited him as a significant influence or honored him in some way.  In 1986, Berry was deservedly part of the initial class inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and he went on to receive countless accolades for the rest of his life.  And of course, a pop music-related “Best Of” list that does not include him or one of his records somewhere near the top, should be taken to the shredder.  Chuck Berry was 90 when he passed away in his home on March 18, 2017. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Leon Ware (February 23, 2017) Successful R&B Songwriter & Producer

Posted by themusicsover on February 23, 2017

Leon Ware
February 16, 1940 – February 23, 2017

Photo by David Corio. Source: rollingstone.com

Leon Ware was an American singer, songwriter and producer who was celebrated for the many hits he crafted for others.  Born in Detroit, Ware began writing professionally in 1967.  Later that year, the first recording note of a song he co-wrote was released; “Got To Have You Back,” by the Isley Brothers.  A couple of years later, he hooked up with Ike & Tina Turner to co-write six songs on their album,  Nuff Said.  What followed was nearly four decades of hit songs for the likes of Michael Jackson, Minnie Riperton, Quincy Jones, and Marvin Gaye.  In Gaye’s case, every song on his I Want You album was penned or co-penned by Ware who also produced the landmark album. It sold over a million copies and is considered a must-have for any album collection.  Ware also recorded nearly a dozen albums of his own, the most successful being 1979’s Inside Is Love, and the most recent, 2008’s Moon Ride.  Leon Ware was 77 when he died of prostate cancer on February 23, 2017.

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RIP, Al Jarreau (February 12, 2017) American Jazz Singer

Posted by themusicsover on February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau
March 12, 1940 – February 12, 2017

Al Jarreau was an internationally renowned jazz vocalist who, over the course of his career, earned seven Grammy’s while garnering over a dozen more nominations.  To this day, he’s the only vocalist to win a Grammy in three different categories – in his case, jazz, pop and R&B.  Born in Milwaukee, Jarreau spent much of youth singing at local church and school events.  He continued singing through high school and college where he performed with jazz trio which included George Duke.  By  the early ’70s, Jarreau was performing at top clubs in Los Angeles as well as  on TV shows like The Dinah Shore Show, The Mike Douglas Show, The Merv Griffin Show and The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.  He signed with Warner Bros. Records in 1975 and went on to release 16 studio albums and several more live and compilation albums.  His debut, 1975’s We Got By was released to critical acclaim, and introduced him to new fans the world over.  1981 found Jarreau releasing what would become his best-selling album, Breakin’ Away.  Jarreau continued to record and tour through much of the rest of his life.  On February 8th, 2017, he cancelled his current tour and was hospitalized for exhaustion.  Four days later, February 12th, Al Jarreau, passed away at the hospital surrounded by this family and friends. He was 76. Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Colonel Abrams (November 24, 2016) House Music Pioneer

Posted by themusicsover on November 24, 2016

Colonel Abrams
May 25, 1949 – November 24, 2016

colonel-abramsColonel Abrams was an American R&B singer who launched his career in 1976 and rose to fame during the mid-’80s.  His biggest hit was 1985’s “Trapped,” which cracked the Top 5 in the UK and topped the US Dance single charts. A follow-up single, “I’m Not Gonna Let You” charted on several dance and R&B charts and further helped lay the foundation of House Music.  Abrams’ self-titled debut ultimately reached #75 on the Billboard Top 200, as well as #13 on their R&B Album chart. He went on to release three more albums over the next decade along with several more club and dance hit singles. In 2007 and 2008, Abrams released a handful of new singles on his own Colonel Records.  In more recent years, he could be  seen performing at ’80s revival shows.  Sadly, it has been reported that Abrams was homeless and living in poor health as recently as 2015.  Colonel Abrams was 67 when he passed away on November 24, 2016.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Harold Lepidus for the assist.

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