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In Memoriam – May 2016

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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  1. halfhearteddude
    June 2nd, 2016 at 07:05 | #1

    PW = amdwhah

  2. dogbreath
    June 2nd, 2016 at 11:50 | #2

    I was recently listening to some Tomita & didn’t realise he’d died or even that he was as old as he was. The music never dies, I suppose, just the artist. Thanks for the fine job in posting the roll call of the departed. cheers!

  3. JohnnyDiego
    June 2nd, 2016 at 12:39 | #3

    Julius La Rosa? I haven’t thought of him since I was a kid. He was all over American TV when I was a youngster in the late 50s, early 60s. A curly haired, swarthy type of Italian-American singer popular at the time.
    And you may get an argument from Orson Wells about Casablanca “possibly” being the best movie of the 1940s. I may give you one too.

  4. halfhearteddude
    June 2nd, 2016 at 13:49 | #4

    Oh, I respect Citizen Kane a lot. It’s technically brilliant — Greg Tolland’s camera work is astonishing even today — and the acting is great, but lacks the wit and the heart of Casablanca. The thing about Casablanca is that in none of its various parts is it the best film of the ’40s, but every one of its parts is close to perfection. There are very few films, if any, of which that can be said.

  5. J. Loslo
    June 4th, 2016 at 14:58 | #5

    Thanks, again, for these. I had missed the passing of James King. I discovered King via his wonderful cover of Fred Eaglesmith’s Thirty Years of Farming. Big loss for the bluegrass world.

  6. Rhod
    June 4th, 2016 at 22:06 | #6

    Thanks Amd

    More good work in getting these artists work together. Candy Kane was a surprise I did not know she passed away.

    Regards

    Rhod

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