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Posts Tagged ‘Van Morrison’

Died On This Date (November 15, 2016) Mose Allison / Jazz And Blues Legend

Posted by themusicsover on November 15, 2016

Mose Allison
November 11, 1927 – November 15, 2016

mose-allisonMose Allison was a revered jazz and blues pianist and singer whose influence reached beyond his idioms and into rock and blues.  Over the past four decades his songs have been recorded by the likes of the Clash, the Bangles, Leon Russell, Elvis Costello, Van Morrison, Robert Palmer, Bonnie Raitt, the Yardbirds, and most famously, the Who, whose version of “Young Mans Blues” reached the masses via their classic Live At Leeds album, and remained a concert staple ever since.  Born and raised on his grandfather’s Mississippi farm, Allison spent his formative years picking cotton while learning to play the piano and trumpet.  He was just 13 when he wrote his first song.  After spending a couple of years in the Army, Russell completed college and then moved to New York City to launch his music career.  While performing with such jazz luminaries as Gerry Mulligan and Stan Getz, he recorded his debut album, Black Country Suite, which was released by Prestige in March of 1957. Difficult to classify, one label tried marketing him as a pop artist, while another tried blues, and yet another, jazz.  Regardless of any difficulties they might have had, his fanbase grew with each album. Throughout his career, Allison received countless honors including the prestigious Jazz Master award by the National Endowment For The Arts in 2013.  Mose Allison was 89 when he died of natural causes on November 15, 2016.

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Died On This Date (January 9, 2015) Popsy Dixon / The Holmes Brothers

Posted by themusicsover on January 9, 2015

Willie “Popsy” Dixon
July 26, 1942 – January 9, 2015

popsy-dixonPopsy Dixon was the drummer and harmony vocalist for American Soul/Gospel/Blues group, the Holmes Brothers.  Formed in 1978, the trio built a legion of loyal followers thanks to their heavenly harmonies and overall sound that was once described by the New York Times as “deeply soulful, uplifting and timeless.”  It was Dixon’s impeccable drumming and beautiful falsetto that made the group complete. Formed in Christchurch, Virginia, the Holmes Brothers moved to Harlem during the ’80s to try their luck in the city’s blues clubs.  They signed their first record deal in 1989 and went on to release 12 albums, including three that landed in the top five of the Billboard Blues Album charts.   The list of artists they recorded with includes Joan Osborne, Willie Nelson, Peter Gabriel, and Van Morrison.  In 2014, they received an National Endowment For The Arts National Heritage Fellowship.  Popsy Dixon was 72 when he died of liver cancer on January 9, 2014.

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Died On This Date (June 23, 2013) Bobby Blue Bland / Blues Great

Posted by themusicsover on June 23, 2013

Bobby “Blue” Bland
January 27, 1930 – June 23, 2013

bobby-blue-blandKnown as the “Lion of the Blues” as well as the “Frank Sinatra of the Blues,”  Bobby “Blue” Bland was an influential singer who successfully blurred the lines between soul, Gospel, and R&B, and by doing so, found himself years later resting at #44 of Rolling Stone‘s 100 Greatest Singers of All Time.  Born at the southeastern most tip of Tennessee, Bland eventually moved with his mother to Memphis where he began singing with local Gospel groups.  He soon started hanging out in the storied Beale Street clubs where he joined up with a loose group of local aspiring singers and musicians sometimes referred to as the Beale Streeters who counted B.B. King and Johnny Ace as members.  After an early ’50s stint in the U.S. Army, Bland returned to Memphis and began making records in 1954.  The early ones received little notice, but in the late ’50s and early ’60s, his records like “Farther Up The Road,” “Little Boy Blue,” and “I Pity The Fool” started showing up on the R&B charts.  By the late ’60s, he had no fewer than 23 Top Ten R&B hits and was later listed at #13 on a list of the best-selling R&B artists of all time.  In all, Bland released nearly 30 albums, his most recent being 2003’s Blues At Midnight.  Over the course of his career, Bland recorded or performed with B.B. King, Ray Charles, Sam Cooke, Van Morrison, Junior Parker, and many more.  In 1981, he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame, and in 1992, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.  Bobby “Blue” Bland was 83 when he passed away on June 23, 2013.

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Died On This Date (April 19, 2012) Levon Helm / Drummer & Co-Lead Singer For The Band

Posted by themusicsover on April 19, 2012

Mark “Levon” Helm
May 26, 1940 – April 19, 2012

Levon Helm was a rock musician, singer and songwriter best known for his time spent in the Band, one of Canada’s most celebrated rock bands.   Helm was still a few years shy of his teens when he first took up the guitar.  The drums were soon to follow.  After graduating from high school, he was invited by Ronnie Hawkins to join his back up band, the Hawks.  Hawkins later recruited Canadian musicians, Rick Danko, Robbie RobertsonGarth Hudson and Richard Manuel.  After splitting away from Hawkins in 1963, the group forged on as Levon & The Hawks – touring throughout Canada and the northern U.S. until they got a call from Bob Dylan asking them to support him on the road.   Changing their name to simply the Band by the late ’60s, they secured a deal with Capitol Records and delivered their debut, Music From Big Pink, one of rock music’s true masterpieces.  That was followed by albums like The Band, Stage Fright, and Cahoots which only added more songs to one of rock’s finest catalogs. Helm sang lead on many of the group’s best songs.  On Thanksgiving night of 1976, the Band performed what would be their final show as that unit at San Francisco’s Winterland.  To the surprise of the audience, the Band proved to be the greatest backing band of all times as a cavalcade of the era’s most respected performers showed their own respect by joining them on stage throughout the evening.  That list included Neil Young, Van Morrison, Joni Mitchell, Eric Clapton, Neil Diamond, and Dylan, each arguably giving the single greatest live performance of their careers.  Fortunately, the evening was captured on film by Martin Scorsese, who released it theatrically as The Last Waltz, often noted popular music’s greatest concert film.  Following the band’s break up, Helm continued on as a solo act and participated in later reincarnations of the Band.  In later years, Helm hosted numerous concerts at his home and studio in Woodstock, NY.  These Midnight Rambles, as they became to be known, played host to a veritable who’s who of roots music.  He later took the show on the road, even releasing one such evening, Ramble at the Ryman, on CD in 2011.  During the late ’90s, Helm learned he had throat cancer.  He eventually recovered enough to hit the Ramble stage and record arguably his two best solo albums of his career, 2007’s Dirt Farmer, and 2009’s Electric Dirt.  They earned him Grammys for Best Traditional Folk Album and Best Americana Album, respectively.  Ramble at the Ryman was named Best Americana Album as well.  During the second week of April, 2012, Helm’s family released a statement that he was in the final days of a battle with cancer.  On April 19, 2012, Levon Helm passed away at the age of 71.

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Dirt Farmer - Levon Helm

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RIP, Harry Muskee (September 26, 2011) Popular Dutch Blues Singer; Cuby & The Blizzards

Posted by themusicsover on September 26, 2011

Harry Muskee
June 10, 1941 – September 26, 2011

Harry “Cuby” Muskee was a Dutch blues singer who built a considerable following throughout the Netherlands during the ’60s and ’70s.  Muskee was just 15 when he took up the guitar, and while he was in high school, he was turned on to jazz and Dixieland.  He soon formed his first band, the Mixtures who played jazz primarily at school dances.  Around that time, he began picking up the US Armed Forces Radio which was broadcasting to the American soldiers who were stationed in nearby Germany.  It was on the radio that he began hearing American blues, and in particular, John Lee Hooker, who inspired him to devote the rest of his life to singing the blues.  He formed Cuby & the Blizzards who in 1962, released their first album, Groeten Uit Grolloo to both critical and fan praise.  A groundbreaking album at the time, it propelled the band (which also included Herman Brood and Eelco Gelling), to the top of Dutch music scene.  They released several more albums and toured with likes of Fleetwood Mac and Van Morrison before breaking up in 1972.  Muskee continued to perform in various configurations and record throughout the better part of the life, his most recent album being 2009’s Cats Lost.   Harry Muskee died of cancer on September 26, 2011.  He was 70.

Thanks to Henk de Bruin at 2+ Printing for the assist.


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