When we think of the great producers of Philly soul, the names Gamble, Huff and Bell will readily spring to mind. Not as famous but equally influential was the producer and arranger Bobby Martin, who also was an accomplished pianist, coming from a jazz background.
Martin arranged for many Philadelphia groups, such as The O’Jays (“Love Train”, “For The Love Of Money”), Billy Paul (“Me And Mrs Jones”), Archie Bell & The Drells (“There’s Gonna Be A Showdown”), Lou Rawls (“You’ll Never Find Another Love Like Mine “, “Groovy People”), The Manhattans (“There’s No Me Without You”), Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes (“If You Don’t Know Me By Now”, The Love I Lost”), The Intruders (“I’ll Always Love My Mama “),The Three Degrees (“Dirty Old Man”, “When Will I See You Again”), Teddy Pendergrass (“I Don’t Love You Anymore”) and more. He also arranged Dusty Springfield’s wonderful version of Jerry Butler “Brand New Me”.
In the 1960s it was Martin who encouraged a young singer named Patti Holt to change her name to LaBelle. And it was Martin who did the arrangement for the great theme of Soul Train, which became the Three Degree’s worldwide megahit “T.S.O.P.”.
With the kind of pals he had, one might have expected English rock & soul singer Jackie Lomax to have had a great career. In the event he didn’t, though he did write, record and perform to the end. The landmark album of his career was 1969’s Is This What You Want?, which was released on Apple and featured three Beatles (though not Lennon) as well as Wrecking Crew greats Hal Blaine, Larry Knechtel and Joe Osborn. He also had Eric Clapton and Nicky Hopkin performing for him.
Lomax wrote all songs but one on the LP; maybe I’m being unfair by featuring the one track written by somebody else: George Harrison’s “Sour Milk Sea”. Harrison had previously offered Lomax his composition “Something”, which he also tried to pass on to Joe Cocker before squeezing it on to Abbey Road. Lomax, incidentally, also contributed to the backing vocals of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude” and “Dear Prudence”.
Fans of golden period Elton John will have been saddened to learn of the death of Roger Pope, the drummer on Dwight’s early albums, including Empty Sky, Tumbleweed Connection and Madman Across The Water, as well as on the Elton John-produced Long John Baldry album It Ain’t Easy. In the mid-’70s Pope returned to Elton John’s band, after the sacking of the mighty Nigel Olsson, and appeared on the Rock of the Westies and Blue Moves album, and the hit single “Don’t Go Breaking My Heart”. Pope was a member of the band Hookfoot, and also drummed for Harry Nilsson, Seals & Croft, John Kongos, Kiki Dee, Al Stewart, Hall & Oates and others.
Germany is well known for its easy listening merchants such as James Last and Bert Kaempfert. It was easy to lump in bandleader Paul Kuhn with that lot, but he had a much wider range than leading broadcast orchestras. An accomplished jazz pianist, he was also something of a performer of novelty tunes that caught the West German Zeitgeist of the late 1950s and early 1960s, making him a regular guest on prime TV shows. One of his big hits, featured here, combined the German passion for beer with the culture’s obsession for exotic travel — except in this case Kuhn advises the listener that Hawaii best be avoided for its supposed lack of brew.
For people outside Britain the name Linda Duff is probably meaningless, but for readers of Smash Hits magazine in the ’80s, the Irish journalist was an icon, with her “Get Smart” column. After leaving Smash Hits for the daily press, Duff, who has died at 52, continued a habit of promoting acts that would hit the big time soon, such as the Spice Girls and Take That.
At least until his death you probably had not heard any music by Pavlos Fyssas, unless Greek rap is your thing. And still, he merits a special mention. An anti-fascist rapper, he was stabbed to death at the age of 34 by a member of the right-wing extremist movement Golden Dawn. His death provoked protests around Greece. Not many musicians have been martyred for the politics of their music; Fyssas thus merits a special place in the pantheon of musicians.
John ‘Juke’ Logan, 66, blues harmonica player, on August 30
Theme from Home Improvements (1991, on electric harmonica)
Joe Kelley, blues guitarist, member of garage band Shadows of Knight, on September 1
The Shadows of Knight – Gloria (1966, on bass)
Linda Duff, 53, Irish-born music journalist (Smash Hits), on September 3
Cosmo Cosdon, 69, member of garage rock band Soul, Inc, on September 6
Soul, Inc. – Who Do You Love (1965)
Bobby Martin, 83, soul pianist, arranger and producer, on September 6
Jerry Butler – How Can I Get In Touch With You (1968, as arranger)
Soul Survivor – City Of Brotherly Love (1974, as arranger)
Billy Paul – Let’s Make A Baby (1975, as arranger)
Fred Katz, 94, jazz cellist and composer, on September 7
Fred Katz – Theme from The Sweet Smell Of Success (1957, as composer and conductor)
Forrest, 60, US-born, Netherlands-based soul singer, on September 9
Forrest – Feel The Need In Me (1983)
Jimmy Fontana, 78, Italian singer-songwriter, on September 11
Jimmy Fontana – Che sarà (1971)
Prince Jazzbo, 62, Jamaican dancehall DJ and producer, on September 11
Joan Regan, 85, British singer, on September 12
Joan Regan – Till They’ve All Gone Home (1955)
Ray Dolby, 80, American inventor of Dolby and 5.1 surround sound, on September 12
De La Soul – Eye Know (1989)
Jackie Lomax, 69, English singer-songwriter and guitarist, on September 15
Jackie Lomax – Sour Milk Sea (1969)
Bobby Mansfield, 75, member of doo wop band The Wrens, on September 15
The Wrens – Come Back My Love (1955)
Jimmy Ponder, 67, jazz guitarist, on September 16
Jimmy Ponder – Man Ain’t Got No Thing On Me (1998)
Mac Curtis, 74, rockabilly singer, in car crash on September 16
Mac Curtis – If I Had Me A Woman (1956)
Marvin Rainwater, 88, country and rockabilly singer, on September 17
Marvin Rainwater – Whole Lotta Woman (1958)
Roger Pope, 66, British session drummer (Elton John, Nilsson, Seals & Croft), on September 17
Elton John – Tiny Dancer (1971)
John Kongos – He’s Gonna Step On You Again (1971)
Bernie McGann, 76, Australian jazz saxophonist, on September 17
Kristian Gidlund, 29, member of Swedish rock band Sugarplum Fairy, on September 17
Sugarplum Fairy – In Berlin (2008)
Johnny Laboriel, 71, Mexican rock & roll singer, on September 18
Los Rebeldes del Rock – La hierda Venenosa (1960)
Pavlos Fyssas, 34, Greek anti-fascist rapper, stabbed on September 18
Lindsay Cooper, 62, British rock/jazz bassoonist and oboist, on September 18
Gia Maione, 72, jazz singer, widow of Louis Prima, on September 23
Louis Prima & Gia Maione – Baby, I’m The Greatest (1967)
Paul Kuhn, 85, German jazz pianist, singer and bandleader, on September 23
Paul Kuhn – Es gibt kein Bier auf Hawaii (1963)
Paul Kuhn – Gateway To Crime (2002)
Tommy Wells, 62, country session drummer, on September 24
Ricky Van Shelton – Life Turned Her That Way (1987)
Allan Faull, 63, member of South African rock band Falling Mirror, on September 24
Pat Fear (Bill Bartell), 52, singer and guitarist with punk band White Flag, announced on September 24
White Flag – Face Down (1987)
Lorne Black, bassist of hard rock band Great White, on September 27
Great White – Stick It (1984)
Oscar Castro-Neves, 73, Brazilian bossa nova pioneer, on September 27
Oscar Castro-Neves – Waters Of March (2003)
GET IT (PW in comments)
* * *
Previous In Memoriams
Keep up to date with dead pop stars on Facebook