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Any Major Coffee Vol. 1

June 30th, 2016 10 comments

Any Major Coffee

Here’s a mix that has been brewing for a number of years now — on the subject of coffee. There are surprisingly many songs that are in some way about coffee, enough to fill a few mixes.

As always, I set myself rules. These sort of reflect our relationship with coffee (if we have one). The featured songs must be about coffee or the act or idea of drinking coffee. In some songs the act of drinking coffee is at the centre of the lyrics, in others coffee plays an incidental but not unimportant role.

So, no songs about coffee machines that need fixing, or metaphors about clouds in your coffee or your brew gone cold because the one you love does not love you anymore. I do allow one coffee as a metaphor song, as a bonus track, because I think you might like it: LaVern Baker’s wonderful 1958 version of Bessie Smith’s Empty Bed Blues, recorded 30 years after the original.

If you are a coffee drinker and this mix — or the mere reminder of caffeine — motivates you to go out in search for a fix, please do me a kindness and seek out an independent coffee shop. These independents are being squeezed out by the franchise stores, led by the unaccountably popular Starbucks. Help keep the independent coffeeshops going.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on as standard CD-R and includes home-percolated covers. PW = amdwhah.

1. The Ink Spots – Java Jive (1941)
2. Ella Mae Morse – 40 Cups Of Coffee (1953)
3. Scatman Crothers – Keep That Coffee Hot (1955)
4. Peggy Lee – Black Coffee (1956)
5. Otis Redding – Cigarettes And Coffee (1966)
6. Delbert McClinton – Your Memory, Me, And The Blues (2005)
7. Mighty Mo Rodgers – Black Coffee And Cigarettes (2011)
8. The Jayhawks – Five Cups Of Coffee (1989)
9. Fountains Of Wayne – Yours And Mine (2003)
10. Landon Pigg – Falling In Love At A Coffee Shop (2008)
11. David Bowie – When The Wind Blows (1986)
12. Bob Dylan – One More Cup Of Coffee (1979)
13. Gordon Lightfoot – Second Cup of Coffee (1972)
14. Glen Campbell – Truck Driving Man (1971)
15. Hank Locklin – You’re The Reason (1962)
16. Lefty Frizzell – Cigarettes and Coffee Blues (1958)
17. Kris Kristofferson – Here Comes That Rainbow Again (1981)
18. Guy Clark – Instant Coffee Blues (1975)
19. Lyle Lovett – Just The Morning (1994)
20. Cowboy Junkies – Anniversary Song (1993)
21. Simon & Garfunkel – The Dangling Conversation (live) (1968)
22. Walker Brothers – Where’s The Girl (1966)
23. Natalie Cole – Coffee Time (2008)
24. Frank Sinatra – Same Old Saturday Night (1964)
25. Julie London – Sunday Mornin’ (1969)

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Any Major Beach Vol. 1

June 23rd, 2016 8 comments

Any Major Beach

Summer is on its way, in the northern hemisphere, and for many people that means going to the beach — or dreaming of sun, sand and sea. So, having given you five mixes of Any Major Summer already, let’s go to the beach.

On our way, we give a tip of the hat to reader Rob, who suggested this idea as a sequel to the summer mixes. The idea in the Any Major Beach mixes — yes, there will be more — is that the songs must be set on the beach or at the sea, even if only as an idea or memory.

Obviously many beach songs are cheesy, evoking Elvis in modest bathing shorts on Hawaii. There must be space for such banal fun, and The Supremes provide it here with their ditty from a 1965 movie. But many songs here offer a more sober view of the beach.

Of course, a beach mix must include the Beach Boys. They are represented here twice: with a 1968 song, and an exquisite cover of Surfer Girl by the very fine Dave Alvin. The Beach Boys track is as superb as it is pitiable in Mike Love’s desperate appeal for the Beach Boys to return to the old beach, surf and cars tropes of yesteryear, rather than Brian Wilson’s studio doodling. Wilson was game though. He wrote a fantastic melody for Love’s lyrics, and made an arrangement with Carl that would satisfy both Love’s anachronistic sentiments as well as his creative production values, with loads of overdubs. Wilson calls it his best collaboration with Love.

One man we don’t really associate with beaches is Prince; still, here it is suggesting sex on the beach. The song was credited to “The Artist (Formerly Known As Prince)”.

My new friend Rob suggested the inclusion of The Drifters’ On The Boardwalk. That song may feature in another volume in the form of a cover version (not Bruce Willis’ though!); here The Drifters offer something of a sequel to that great hit.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R to play in your transistor radio and includes home-sunburnt covers. PW  in comments.

And don’t forget apply your sunscreen!

1. The Hollies – Postcard (1967)
2. Blondie – In The Sun (1976)
3. Kirsty MacColl – He’s On The Beach (1985)
4. Martha And The Muffins – Echo Beach (1980)
5. Grace Jones – All On A Summer’s Night (1978)
6. Chairmen Of The Board – Beach Fever (1983)
7. The Dazz Band – Do It Again (1980)
8. The Artist (formerly known etc) – Sex In The Summer (1996)
9. George Duke – Brazilian Love Affair (1979)
10. War – All Day Music (1971)
11. Harry Nilsson – Down By The Sea (1975)
12. The Beach Boys – Do It Again (1968)
13. The Supremes – Beach Ball (1965)
14. The Pleasures – Let’s Have A Beach Party (1965)
15. Pat Boone – Love Letters In The Sand (1957)
16. The Drifters – I’ve Got Sand In My Shoes (1964)
17. Ralph McTell – Summer Girls (1992)
18. Jack Johnson – To The Sea (2010)
19. Zac Brown Band – Toes (2008)
20. Dave Alvin – Surfer Girl (2006)
21. The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band & Linda Ronstadt – An American Dream (1979)
22. Joan Armatrading – Ma-Me-O-Beach (1980)
23. The B-52’s – Theme For A Nude Beach (1986)

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Any Major Summer
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Any Major Fathers Vol. 2

June 16th, 2016 1 comment

Any Major Fathers Vol. 2

In many parts of the world, this Sunday is Father’s Day. Following on from the first Any Major Fathers mix from two years ago, here’s the second volume.

As last time, some songs are from the perspectives of Dad (Ben Folds’ Gracie is the winner among those), others from that of the children. These tend to be more or less positive songs about father-child relationships — except one. The Sweethearts’ Sorry Daddy is an answer record to the The Limelites’ Daddy’s Home. Here the son is saying, “too late to come home; I’m gone”. A cautionary tale for fathers.

As always, the mix is timed to fit on a standard CD-R and includes home-inseminated covers (yuk!) — in case you forgot to get your dad a Father’s Day gift. PW in comments.

1. Creedence Clearwater Revival – Someday Never Comes (1972)
2. Jackson Browne – Daddy’s Tune (1976)
3. Jerry Jeff Walker – My Old Man (1968)
4. Guy Clark – The Randall Knife (1983)
5. Georgette Jones & George Jones – You And Me And Time (2010)
6. The Everly Brothers – That Silver Haired Daddy Of Mine (1958)
7. The Sweethearts – Sorry Daddy (1961)
8. Paul Peterson – My Dad (1962)
9. Dolly Parton – Daddy’s Working Boots (1973)
10. The Bobkatz – The Man In The Picture (2006)
11. Ben Folds – Gracie (2004)
12. Dave Alvin – The Man In The Bed (2004)
13. Eric Clapton – My Father’s Eyes (1998)
14. K’s Choice – Dad (1995)
15. Nina Simone – My Father (1978)
16. Marie ‘Queenie’ Lyons – Daddy’s House (1970)
17. Joe Simon – I Found My Dad (1972)
18. The Whispers – A Mother For My Children (1974)
19. Chaka Khan – Father He Said (1981)
20. Stevie Wonder – Isn’t She Lovely (1976)

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Any Major American Road Trip – 3

June 9th, 2016 4 comments

Any Major American Road Trip - Stage 3

The third leg of our musical road trip through the USA takes us from Texas via New Mexico and Arizona to California, including an extended stop in Los Angeles.

The rules for this journey — which is taking us from the East Coast to the West Coast and back east, beginning in Boston and ending in Miami — demand that the itinerary must be at least notionally plausible. But some zig-zagging is allowed. This is unavoidable in the early part of this leg.

Having left Lubbock, TX in our rear view mirror in last leg, we start off in Amarillo (I knew the way and decided to go with the original of the great George Strait hit, which you can find on the Any Major Morning Vol. 2 mix). We head west via the small town of Tucumcari, mentioned by Little Feat, to Santa Fe and Albuquerque where, after a fast food meal at Los Pollos Hermanos, we must make a decision.

See, I want to go to El Paso (for the dramatic Marty Robbins song), which means a four-hour drive south, but I also want to see the Grand Canyon, a six-hour drive west. So we’ll make a massive detour: first we go to El Paso and from there we take the nine-hour drive via Winslow to the Grand Canyon (I could have had a song about the Grand Canyon but don’t want to include landmarks. So Winslow, pop. 9,479, gets its song).

From there we’ll go to Phoenix and make another detour to Tucson, which allows me to include the rooftop concert version of The Beatles’ Get Back, which sets up our departure from Arizona for some California grass, much as Jo-Jo did in the song.

Any Major American Road Trip 3 - map

Six hours later we arrive in San Diego. And our Californian journey isn’t the most sensible either. Instead of the two-hour drive along the coast to LA, we turn inland, simply because there are few good songs about Carlsbad, none about Irvine and not much about Anaheim either. So we go twice the distance via Palm Springs (from where we can take an imaginary excursion to the Joshua Tree National Park), San Bernardino and Pasadena to enter LA from the north.

Our LA songs cover some of the essential areas — Hollywood, Beverley Hills, Laurel Canyon, Watts & Compton — as well as Randy Newman’s cynical view of the city and the racism encountered there by black people who came from the south in Dorothy Morrison’s song (written by Barry Mann and Cynthia Weill). Also included is Echo Park, which is said to be LA’s nicest neighbourhood.

We then turn to the coast to make our way north, beginning in Santa Monica and Malibu before hitting Ventura Highway. The America song isn’t actually set on the Ventura Highway; the idea of driving on that road is notional, pretty much like this road trip.

Notional or not, the bulk of the fourth leg will keep us in California. I expect there’ll be another three parts to the series after that.

As always: CD-R length, cover, PW in comments.

1. Terry Stafford – Amarillo By Morning (1973  – Amarillo, TX)
2. Little Feat – Willin’ (1972 – Tucumcari, NM)
3. Arthur Crudup – Mean Old Santa Fe (1950 – Santa Fe, NM)
4. Neil Young – Albuquerque (1975 – Albuquerque, NM)
5. Marty Robbins – El Paso (1959 – El Paso, TX)
6. Eagles – Take It Easy (1972 – Winslow, AZ)
7. Gorillaz feat. Bobby Womack – Bobby In Phoenix (2010 – Phoenix, AZ)
8. The Beatles – Get Back (live) (1969 – Tucson, AZ)
9. Ralph McTell – San Diego Serenade (1976 – San Diego, AZ)
10. Slim Gaillard & His Flat Foot Floogie Boys – Palm Springs Jump (1942 – Palm Springs, CA)
11. Christie – San Bernadino (1970 – San Bernardino, CA)
12. Bee Gees – Marley Purt Drive (1969 – Pasadena, CA)
13. Randy Newman – I Love LA (1983 – Los Angeles, CA)
14. Dorothy Morrison – Black California (1970, Los Angeles, CA)
15. 2Pac feat. Dr Dre – California Love (1995, Los Angeles, CA)
16. Weezer – Beverley Hills (2005 – Los Angeles, CA)
17. Joseph Arthur – Echo Park (2002 – Los Angeles, CA)
18. Tim Rose – Goin’ Down In Hollywood (1972 – Los Angeles, CA)
19. The Mamas & The Papas – Twelve-Thirty (Young Girls Are Coming To The Canyon) (1968 – Los Angeles, CA)
20. The Beach Boys – Santa Ana Winds (1980 – Los Angeles, CA)
21. The Sweet – Santa Monica Sunshine (1972 – Santa Monica, CA)
22. Hole – Malibu (1998 – Malibu, CA)
23. America – Ventura Highway (1974 – Ventura, CA)
Bonus track:  Bill Withers – City Of The Angels (1976)

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Previously on American Road Trip

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Muhammad Ali – A music tribute

June 4th, 2016 9 comments

Muhammad Ali - Any Major Tribute

I rarely post special tributes on the death of non-music public figures. The last time I did that was for Nelson Mandela in 2013 (still available), and, as an anti-tribute, Margaret Thatcher. Here is a tribute to the boxer Muhammad Ali, who has died at 74.

Ali was special because he was a great boxer, because he was a giant in the art of self-promotion, because he bore his illness with such dignity. But he was more than any of that. He was, like Mandela, a man of consistent principle, and a man of highest ethics (even if nit in his private affairs, as it also was with Mandela).

His politics were militant at a time when black militancy could get you killed; he converted to Islam when many Americans saw such a thing as a hostile act (and little has changed in that respect), he refused to be drafted into the army to participate in a war he considered unjust when such a refusal was regarded as an act of disloyalty to the flag (but when George W Bush ran for the presidency, draft-dodging became acceptable, provided you dressed it up right).

Ali might have had an easy gig in the US Army, as celebrities often did. He could have been a promo man for the military and a clown for the troops, never seeing a Viet Cong up close or enjoying the smell of napalm in the morning. But he didn’t want to legitimize an unjust war against people with whom he had no quarrel: “Why should they ask me to put on a uniform and go 10,000 miles from home and drop bombs and bullets on brown people while so-called Negro people in Louisville are treated like dogs?”

He was prepared to pay a considerable price for a principled stand, just as he was on top of the world. And he did pay that price. Notably, the greatest trash-talker in sports never trash-talked those who persecuted him, even as he spoke out against the actions and attitudes that were immoral. And by his willingness to make profound sacrifices in uncompromising fidelity his convictions, he was a model of highest ethics.

The songs here don’t meditate much on this side of Muhammad Ali. Their focus is on Ali the pugilist, though a couple do riff on his background and his persecution. A few songs here are not directly about Ali but make reference to him, and a couple are by Ali himself — one with Sam Cooke, the other as part of a n anti-tooth decay drive (true story). One song doesn’t mention Ali at all. Ben Folds’ song is in the voice of a boxer speaking to the famous American sports broadcaster Howard Cozell — Folds has said that this boxer was Muhammad Ali.

R.I.P. The Greatest!

As always, CD-R length, covers, PW in comments.

1. Cassius Clay – ‘Rumble – Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee (1963)
2. The Alcoves – The Ballad Of Cassius Clay (1964)
3. The Best Ever – The People’s Choice (1975)
4. Alvin Cash – Ali Shuffle (1976)
5. Eddie Curtis – The Louisville Lip (1971)
6. Ali and His Gang – Who Knocked A Crack In The Liberty Bell (1976)
7. Sir Mack Rice – Muhammed Ali (1976)
8. Johnny Wakelin – In Zaire (1976)
9. Faithless – Muhammad Ali (2001)
10. LL Cool J – Mama Said Knock You Out (1990)
11. The Fabulous Thunderbirds – Tuff Enuff (1986)
12. Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Muhammad Ali (Tribute to The Greatest) (2010)
13. Jon Hardy & The Public – Cassius Clay (2015)
14. Skeeter Davis – I’m A Lover (Not A Fighter) (1969)
15. Cassius Clay with Sam Cooke – The Gang’s All Here (1964)
16. De Phazz – Something Special (2010)
17. Dennis Alcapone – Cassius Clay (1973)
18. Mark Foggo – The Day I Met Muhammad Ali (2010)
19. Verne Harrell – Muhammed Ali (1971)
20. Nirvana – Watch Out Cassius Clay (1973)
21. Don Covay – Rumble In The Jungle (1974)
22. Mister Calypso – Muhammad Ali (1971)
23. Johnny Wakelin – Black Superman (Muhammad Ali) (1975)
24. Jorge Ben – Cassius Marcelo Clay (1971)
25. Ben Folds – Boxing (live, 2005)
26. Muhammad Ali – ‘I’m the real champion’ (1974)

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In Memoriam – May 2016

June 2nd, 2016 6 comments

IM_1605_1Some musicians wait tables while they try to make it in the business, others make porn movies. The latter was the path Candye Kane took. Born Candace Hogan in 1961, Kane capitalised on her pretty face, large breasts and libertine nature by becoming a star in mostly softcore porn movies with titles like Bra Breakers, Big Melons and Let Me Tell Ya Bout Fat Chicks in the 1980s and ’90s. This allowed her to support a career as a well-respected blues musician who would cross over into other genres. Indeed, she was signed by CBS as a country singer — and quickly dropped when the label learnt about her other career. As a singer she collaborated with acts as diverse as Black Flag, Los Lobos and Dwight Yoakam. She was also a philanthropist and activist in areas such as Down’s syndrome and gay rights. She died from pancreatic cancer, aged only 54.

The country Outlaws are falling one by one. Last month it was Merle Haggard, this month it’s Guy Clark. Clark’s biggest successes were as a songwriter of hits for others, most notably LA Freeway and Desperados Waiting for a Train for Jerry Jeff Walker (and the latter again for Outlaw supergroup The Highwaymen). Clark was very close to Townes van Zandt and Steve Earle; the three recorded the lovely Together At The Bluebird Café in 1995 — it was a fundraising event organised by Clark’s beloved wife Susanna for an inter-faith dental clinic for the poor. One of the tracks from that collection features here. Another track, the title track from his final album in 2013, My Favorite Picture Of You, is about Susanna, who died in 2012 after 40 years of marriage. He held the photo of Susanna about which he sang on the CD cover — it was taken when Susanna was very angry at another one of van Zandt’s alcohol-fuelled escapades at the Clarks’ home.

Perhaps more than any other genre, funk is driven by the bass. With the death at 75 of Marshall “Rock” Jones, one of the great bass players has joined the Great Disco in the Sky. Jones was a founding member of the Ohio Players, and of the group that preceded them, the Ohio Untouchables, of whom the bass player was the last surviving member. In the Ohio Players, Jones’ trademark was the white turban, the headgear he wore long after the band’s demise in 2002.

Why would a French actress who never released a record nor had a history of appearing in musicals feature here? Well, Madeleine Lebeau was seen singing in one of the great music interludes in film history: in Casablanca she played the woman jilted by Rick Blaine who then ostentatiously flirts with German soldiers, but recovers her French nationalism during the Marseillaise vs Wacht am Rhein sing-off (as the camera focuses on her tear-filled eyes, her impassioned voice is amplified). Lebeau, who died at 94, was the last surviving credited actors on possibly the greatest film of the 1940s.IM_1605_2Before the Beastie Boys were a pioneering hip hop trio, they were an average punk quartet comprising Adam Horwitz on bass and Mike Diamond on lead vocals, as well as drummer Kate Schellenbach (later of Luscious Jackson) and guitarist John Berry, who was replaced in 1982 by Adam Horwitz. John Berry died this month at the age of 52. His work with the Beastie Boys is preserved on the tracks that appeared on the group’s debut EP, the eight-track Polly Wog Stew from 1982. That EP is out of print, but the songs were re-released along with other early Beastie Boys work in 1994 as Some Old Bullshit. The band started in 1978 as The Young Aborigines. It was Berry who came up with the name The Beastie Boys.

Just as I revived the Any Major Flute series, jazz-rock flautist Jeremy Steig died — as it happens before I could re-post Vol. 3, on which he featured; though it is his flute that scores the Beastie Boys’ Sure Shot on Any Major Flute Volume 2.  Steig released close to 30 LPS, solo and as collaborations, and played as a sideman on the albums of many others, including Richie Havens, Nat Adderley, Hank Crawford, Art Farmer, Idris Muhammad, Lalo Schiffrin, Johnny Winter, Art Garfunkel, and Yoko Ono. Steig, who had retired to Japan with his Japanese wife, actually died on April 13, but his death was announced only in May.

The German new wave band Trio is now solo. After the death of Gert ‘Kralle’ Krawinkel in 2014, drummer Peter Behrens is now gone, leaving only singer Stephan Remmler. Trio, who had a massive international hit with Da Da  Da in 1982, broke up in 1986. Behrens, who before Trio played for Krautrock band Silberbart and trained as a clown, tried his hand at a solo career, without much success — though he did sing official song for the European Football Championship 1988. He acted in a few movies and when he was not being an artist he did social work.

Don Draper did not, after all, dream up the famous Coca-Cola hilltop commercial while meditating in a hippie commune. The man who did, McCann-Erickson advertising executive Bill Backer had that idea during a long forced layover in Shannon Airport in Ireland. It is perhaps the most famous commercial featuring original music (sort of; the melody had already been used on a record; I told the story in The Originals Vol.  36), which justifies Backer’s inclusion here. Backer also originated the slogans “Things go better with Coke” and “Coke is the real thing”, as well as the term “Miller Time” to indicate the hour at which diluted urine ought to be consumed.

Jeremy Steig, 73, jazz-rock flautist, on April 13 (announced in May)
Richie Havens – Indian Rope Man (1967, on flute)
Jeremy Steig – Up Tempo Thing (1972)

Doug Raney, 59, jazz guitarist, on May 1
Jimmy Raney & Doug Raney – Have You Met Miss Jones (1979)

Madeleine Lebeau, 92, French actress, on May 1
Casablanca – Medley: Die Wacht Am Rhein & La Marseillaise (1942)

Paul Dowell, 84, singer of the Temperance Seven and actor, on May 2
The Temperance Seven – You’re Driving Me Crazy (1961)

Kristian Ealey, 38, English singer (Tramp Attack; Edgar Jones & the Joneses) and TV actor, on May 3

Reggie Torian, 65, lead singer of The Impressions (1973-83), on May 4
The Impressions – Sooner Or Later (1975)

Olle Ljungström, 54, singer and guitarist with Swedish rock band Reeperbahn, on May 4

Isao Tomita, 84, Japanese synthesizer pioneer, on May 5

Candye Kane, 54, blues singer-songwriter and porn actress, on May 6
Candye Kane – All You Can Eat (And You Can Eat It All Night Long)

Paul Brown, jazz bassist and teacher, on May 6

Rickey Smith, 36, singer and American Idol contestant (Season 2), in traffic collision on May 6

John Stabb, 54, singer of hardcore punk brand Government Issue, on May 7

Joe Temperley, 86, Scottish saxophonist, on May 11
Tony Crombie and his Orchestra ‎– Stop It (1954, on baritone sax)

Peter Behrens, 68, drummer of German New Wave group Trio, on May 11
Trio – Halt mich fest, ich werd’ verrückt (1981)
Peter Behrens – Dep De Dö Dep (1990)

Julius La Rosa, 86, pop singer and actor, on May 12
Julius La Rosa – Anywhere I Wander (1953)

Tony Gable, jazz-fusion percussionist, on May 12
Tony Gable & 206 – The Bus Song

Buster Cooper, 87, American jazz trombonist, on May 13

Bill Backer, 89, advertising executive and songwriter, on May 13
Hilltop – I’d Like To Buy The World A Coke (1971)

Tony Barrow, 80, press officer of The Beatles (initiated the term “Fab Four”), on May 14

Paul Smoker, 75, American jazz trumpeter, on May 14

Cauby Peixoto, 85, Brazilian singer, on May 15
Cauby Peixoto – Conceição (1956)

Emilio Navaira, 53, country and Tejano singer, on May 16
Emilio Navaira – Ella Es Asi

Fredrik Norén, 75, Swedish jazz drummer, on May 16

Guy Clark, 74, folk and country singer-songwriter, on May  17
Guy Clark – Desperados Waiting For A Train (1975)
Steve Earle, Townes Van Zandt & Guy Clark – Randall Knife (1995)
Guy Clark – My Favorite Picture Of You (2013)

Marlene Marder, 61, guitarist of Swiss punk rock group Kleenex/ LiLiPUT, on May 17
Kleenex – Ain’t You (1978)

John Berry, 52, guitarist and original member of the Beastie Boys, on May 19
Beastie Boys – Jimi (1982)

James King, 57, bluegrass musician, on May 19
James King – These Old Pictures (1993)

Nick Menza, 51, German-born drummer of Megadeth, on May 21
Megadeth – Countdown To Extinction (1993, also as co-writer)

Marshall Jones, 75, bassist of funk band Ohio Players, on May 27
Ohio Players – A Little Soul Party (1968)
Ohio Players – Skin Tight (1974)

Mike Barnett, 89, co-founder of vocal group The Lettermen (left 1958), on May 27

Jimmy Borges, 80, Hawaiian vocalist, on May 30

Thomas Fekete, 27, guitarist of indie band Surfer Blood, on May 30
Surfer Blood – Swim (2007)

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