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The True TTEOAN Story of Rapper’s Delight (1979-Sugarhill Records). On November 11th, in 2014, one of the most-known Hip Hop biters passed away-Big Bank Hank (Henry ‘Hank’ Lee Jackson). Now, let me mention that he bit the whole verse from Casanova Fly AKA Grandmaster Caz from the infamous Cold Crush Brothers. As far as Caz goes, he took the line: Imp the Dimp, the lady’s pimp’ from the pimp Fun Lovin’ in the movie Five on the Blackhand Side. I guess all is fair in emceeing and biting, just depends on how you look at it.
The truth about Caz & Hank is that both of them use the same cadence, style and rhythm from the person they got their lines from. However, Hank went too far by biting Caz’s whole verse for Rapper’s Delight, he should’ve told Sylvia Robinson that he knew a guy that raps, instead of spitting Caz’s verse to her. But ask yourself, honestly, what would you have done when you were approached by someone willing to give you a record deal and you’re at your current job making pizzas? I can’t condone Hank’s biting, but I can’t condemn him either. It’s all in the game, ya know? Hank was 58 years-old when he died (cause of death is related to kidney cancer).
On November 11th, in 1957, keyboardist, singer, bass guitarist, songwriter, producer and member of Aswad (‘Black’ in Arabic)-Tony Gad Robinson (Dennis Anthony Robinson) was born in London, England. The UK native was a direct descendant of Island people transplanted to Europe. He was not a founding member of Aswad, joining the group after George Oban and Courtney Hemmings left. Robinson was a skilled musician, able to play keys and bass, thus doing two jobs. He was featured on the band’s sophomore effort from 1978-Hulet.
In the late 70s (1976-1979), Aswad was a Roots-Reggae band that used lyrics that depicted the plight of Blacks in the UK, not on the Islands. This gave them a local identity, but also resonated with Reggae fans worldwide-they stayed true to the genre’s culture. However, once Hemmings and Oban left, and the trio of Gad, Brinsley Forde (guitar) and Angus Gaye solidified, they ventured out into the more…well…commercialized sound of Reggae that bands like Third World (Now that We Found Love), Denroy Morgan (I’ll Do Anything For You) and Eddy Grant (Electric Avenue) were doing in the early to mid-80s. This afforded the band more monetary success, but damaged their status level among Roots-Reggae purists. They’ve recorded over 20 LPs. He’s 61 today.
On November 11th, in 1945, guitarists, bandleader, songwriter, singer, producer and co-founding member of Vanilla Fudge-Vince Martell (Vincent James Martellucci) was born in the Bronx, NYC, NY. Martell’s parents were gifted in guitar and introduced him to it as a child. He joined the Navy while he was in his late teens and played his guitar often, building his skills. Once he returned stateside (south Florida), in 1963, he got his professional start gigging with Ricky T & the Satans Three. He was the guitarist for the band. They performed in small venues around the Florida Keys. Three years later, in 1966, he formed his own band called the Pidgeons: Martell on guitar, Mark Stein on keys, Joe Brennan on drums and Tim Bogert on bass.
Brennan would soon leave and be replaced by Carmine Appice (drums), they sign a deal with Jerry Wexler & Abramson owned Atco (subsidiary of Atlantic Records), and the band became Vanilla Fudge. They released their self-titled debut in 1967. They released 4 more records from 1968-1970. Most of their music can be categorized as Psychedelic Rock mixed with some Blues, Prog Rock, and touched up with some Soul. It’s good music, especially their debut and their third release Renaissance (1968). The band split in 1970. Martell continued to perform and tour until they reassembled in 1984. He’s 73 today.
On November 11th, in 1936, seminal Blues vocalist and songwriter-Buddy Ace (Jimmie Lee Land) AKA the Silver Fox of the Blues was born in Jasper, Texas. His family moved to the Houston area when he was still a child. While there, he got started by singing in the church choir with Joe Tex (R&B artist from the 60s-70s). During the late 40s and early 50s, Ace left the church and went secular. He sang with Bluesmen like Bobby Blue Bland and Junior Parker. In 1955, he got signed to Duke Records (Peacock). There was some market contention over his name:
Buddy Ace, as Johnny Ace’s brother also used the name. He released his first single in 1956: Screaming Please b/w What Can I Do. He had a few hits during the late 50s to the late 60s. Four of his most known songs are: Pouring Water Over a Drowning Man, Hold On (To This Old Fool-R&B #33), Root Doctor and Nothing in the World Can Hurt Me (Except You-R&B #25). He got the name Silver Fox from himself. After his hair went silver in his 40s, he billed himself as the Silver Fox of the Blues. He moved out west in the early 70s, continuing to record and perform up until his death. He passed away in 1994 during a performance in Waco, Texas (58 years-old).
On November 11th, in 1927, singer, pianist, trumpeter, songwriter, Jazz & Blues artist, composer, arranger and producer-Mose (John) Allison (Jr.) was born in Tippo, Mississippi. He was a ‘country boy’, being born in the bayou area. He started playing piano at age 5 and would double on trumpet by his teens. Mose was unique from other artists in that, although he loved music, he didn’t pursue a professional career until after he served in the Army (most people are artists first and then are drafted) and graduated from college (Louisiana State University-English & Philosophy). His college majors, and early 20s life in ‘conventional society’ helped him in his playing and songwriting. Simply put, he was more worldly and experienced than most artists when they got in the game. He moved to NYC in 1956 (age 29) at the height of the Post Bop, Cool Jazz era.
He honed his chops playing and jamming with Stan Getz, Phil Woods, Al Cohn, Gerry Mulligan & Zoot Sims to name a few. He made his recording debut in 1957-Back Country Suite on Prestige Records (age 30). He continued to release Jazz LPs, some with sparse vocals, throughout the late 50s. The label wouldn’t allow him to record LPs with vocals until 1963. Prestige then wanted to bill Mose as a Pop singer. He denied that request. He later signed to Columbia, and then Atlantic. Both of these imprints wanted to bill him as a Blues singer. Mose wasn’t any genre though, he was a good musician that wrote good songs, period…All of the marketing schemes and genre promotion didn’t change that fact. His influence is far-reaching among the musically creative crowd, fans of music as well. He’s had a number of his songs covered by others: The Yardbirds, J.J. Cale, The Who, Jimi Hendrix, Georgia Fame and John Mayall. He passed away in South Carolina, he was 89 years old (2016).
Honorable Mention: On November 11th, in 1929, Soul singer and actress-Lavern Baker (Delores LaVern Evans) was born in Chicago, Illinois. She got her professional start singing in nightclubs in Chicago in her teens. Her stage name was Little Miss Sharecropper. She made a recording under this moniker in 1949. Two yeas later, in 1951, she’d change her name again to Bea Baker while recording for Okeh Records. In ’53 she signed to Atlantic and cut several singles that charted for the imprint. She passed away in 1997 (67 years-old).
On November 11th, in 1940, session vocalist, singer, songwriter and former co-founder of the Love Generation (70s commercial Pop band)-John Bahler was born in NYC, NY. John and his brother Tom were members of the Ron Hicklin Singers (the real Partidge Family Singers). Most regard him as one of the most recorded vocalists in music history. His voice has appeared on many recordings: TV Themes, soundtracks, commercials and pop hits from the ‘60s through the ‘80s. He’s 78 today.
On November 11th, in 1984, the father of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Pastor, Minister of the infamous Ebenezer Baptist Church, Civil Rights Activist and Morehouse alumn-Dr. Martin Luther King Sr passed away from complications of the heart in Atlanta, Georgia. His son tends to be more known than King Sr, however, without his father’s influence to go into the ministry, King Jr. would not have become the mogul he turned out to be. King Sr was 84 years-old when he passed.
Lifestyles of the Rich & Shameless Vol. Infinite: On November 11th, in 2004, one of Liza Minnelli's security detail took the singer to court. Her bodyguard-M’hammed Soumayah accused Minnelli of forcing him to have sex with her for job security purposes on several occasions. He was asking for $100 million in damages. He’s quoted stating Minnelli made: many repeated attempts. He went further to state that he: eventually succumbed.
For more information on any musician or event reviewed in posts, or for additional information on the Wandering Eyes Blog overall, use the search bar and search the artist or event using keywords. It’s like a Google search for the site. A myriad of information, covering several topics exists on this site going back to 2013 when it was created. PEACE!