| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
| || || |
On January 7th, 1936, cello player, double bassist, member of The Ramsey Lewis Trio, and founding member of Eldee Young & Company, Eldee Young was born in Chicago, Illinois. Young started playing the upright bass when he was 13 years old. He was a fan of Jazz, Soul & Blues as a child, and played gigs with local bands throughout high school. In the mid 1950s, he joined The Ramsey Lewis Trio; and is the featured bassist on all of The Trio’s recordings from 1956 to 1965. They recorded over 20 LPs during this 9 year stretch. Argo Records capitalized off the popularity of The Ramsey Lewis Trio, and had Young cut the LP Just For Kicks in 1962. (Eldee Young & Company). In 1965, both Young (below-l) & Isaac Redd Holt (below-standing r) left Ramsey Lewis (below-seated r) and started The Young-Holt Trio.
They released their debut LP, Wack Wack, on Kent Records in 1966. In 1967, they changed the band’s name to Young-Holt Unlimited (inset-r). These prolific musicians released nine LPs, between 1967 and 1973, on four different labels (Brunswick, Cotillion, Atlantic, and Paula Records). Most of their music was instrumental Jazz and Soul. They would cover pop tunes making them funky and Jazz-Based. In 1975, Young reunited with Ramsey Lewis (inset-l, glasses) for his Solid Ivory LP on Cadet Records. From 1975 to 1980, he occasionally played with Lewis and other outfits around the Chicago area. Lewis released the LP Reunion on Columbia Records in 1980, which features Young on bass. He recorded with Lewis three more times during the 1990s, but tended to work more with others as a session musician and backing band member (most notably on Priceless Jazz, with James Moody in 1999). He was 71 when he passed away in 2007.
On January, 7th, 1964, Blues harmonica player, guitarist, singer, and co-founding member of Blues Incorporated, Cyril Davies died in London, England. As a child, he was a fan of Folk, R&B, Jazz and especially the Blues. In his late teens (early 1950s), he started singing with Steve Lane’s band Southern Stompers. In the mid 50s he linked up with Alexis Korner, and they started playing as an acoustic duo-with Korner on 12-string guitar and banjo, and Davies on vocals and harmonica. They were a Skiffle band at first-Jazz, Blues and Folk merged together that uses homemade instruments. However, after Cyril heard Little Walter playing harmonica on a Chess Records song, he switched his playing style to match that of The Chicago Blues harpist.
Davies (above-r) started The London Rhythm & Blues Club with Korner which was dubbed "London’s Finest and Bestest Skiffle Club." This later changed to The London Blues & Barrelhouse Club (late 1950s). Memphis Slim, Muddy Waters, Sonny Terry, and Brownie McGhee all performed there. The duo also formed Blues Incorporated, an electric blues band with Art Wood & Long John Baldry on vocals. In the early 1960s, Davies and Korner founded The Ealing Club-which featured performances from artists like Mick Jagger (pre-Rolling Stones) and Eric Burdon (pre-Animals). They released R&B From The Marquee on Decca Records in 1961. In 1963, Davies became terminally ill, and passed away a year later. He was only 31 when he died.
On January 7th, 1980, pianist, singer, songwriter, producer, bandleader, and early Rock ‘n’ Roll-R&B-Funk and Soul pioneer-Larry Williams (Lawrence Eugene Williams) passed away in Los Angeles, California. The NOLA native first started playing piano as a child, and moved to Oakland, California, with his family when he was a teenager. He joined The Lemon Drops in the early 1950s, then moved back to New Orleans in the mid 50s. He did session and performance work for his cousin-R&B singer Lloyd Price. He also worked with Roy Brown and Percy Mayfield. Williams met Little Richard in 1955, and they became friends while recording for Specialty Records. Once Little Richard left Rock ‘n’ Roll, for gospel in 1957, Specialty Records exec Robert Blackwell had to replace him.
He used Williams, who was already a piano virtuoso, to replicate the style that Richard had. This resulted in hits like: Short Fat Fannie, Dizzy-Miss Lizzy, Bony Moronie, and You Bug Me Baby. Others covered his original songs and made them hits too: The Beatles with Bad Boy, and The Rolling Stones with She Said Yeah. He got arrested in 1960, for selling drugs, and did a three year bid. When he got out, he returned to music and linked with Little Richard, who’d returned to the secular world. Williams produced Richard’s 1966 and 1967 LPs for Okeh Records, recorded with a funk band featuring Johnny Guitar Watson, and continued to record through the early to the mid 70s. Once disco moved in, however, he started dealing again. He died from a gunshot wound to the head at the age of 44.
On January 7th, 2001, we lost a seminal Gospel, Blues & Soul vocalist-James (Edward) Carr. He got his start singing in the church choir, after his family moved to Memphis. In his late teens, he joined The Harmony Echoes gospel vocal outfit. He auditioned for Stax Records in the early 1960s, but was turned down. Hurt but still determined, he went on to Goldwax Records which was a Memphis indie label (much smaller than Stax). He started recording in 1964, and had several sides on the market. It took a couple of years before the rest of the world would verify his vocal skills, but in 1966, he had a Top 10 Hit with You Got My Mind Messed Up (US R&B #7). He had three more hits on the Goldwax imprint before it closed in 1969:
The Dark End Of The Street (US R&B #10), Pouring Water On A Drowning Man, and A Man Needs A Woman (US R&B #16). He recorded a couple singles in the 70s for Atlantic and River City Records; and in the late 70s he toured Europe and Japan. Carr had bi-polar disorder, however, and had trouble remaining stable enough to perform. In the mid 1980s he returned to the recording studio, after interest in his music rose agai . In 1991, he recorded Take Me To The Limit, on the reinstated Goldwax imprint. He continued to tour and make appearances up thru the mid 90s, when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. He died six years later, in a nursing home, at the age of 58.
On January 7th, 2013, singer and member of The Esquires, Sam Pace (Sammie L. Pace-l) passed away in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. Pace started singing as a child, before moving to Milwaukee with his family. He continued to sing there during the height of Doo Wop, and joined The Esquires when he was 16 (1961). He remained with the group until they disbanded. Pace (below-l) sang Tenor for the four-man crew that included Gilbert Moorer, Alvis Moorer, and Milard Edwards. They moved to Chicago in 1966, trying to secure a deal with Curtis Mayfield; but got turned down. They got picked up by Bunky Records (a Scepter Records subsidiary) that same year. In 1967, they had their recording debut with Get On Up b/w Listen To Me. Both cuts are great songs, with the former being a Top 20 Hit (US R&B #11).
Scepter released an LP that same year off the success of Get On Up. The vocal quartet also toured the country, making an appearance at The World Famous Apollo Theater. They signed to Scepter in 1968, and continued to record and tour. They didn’t have much success at Scepter, because Doo Wop’s popularity was declining, and the changing political times were not present in their lyrics like it was with other vocal groups in the area (The Impressions). They signed to Capitol in 1970, releasing one single: Reach Out b/w Listen To Me. They continued to cut singles and record for various labels from the 1970s thru the 1990s: Wand, Ju Par, Hotline, B&G, Cigar Man Music, Lamarr, Rocky Ridge, Al Bun, Lasco, and New World Records. Interesting Fact: Pace married Gilbert & Alvis’ little sister Particia. He was 68 when he died.
HONORABLE MENTION: On January 7th, 1891, author, novelist, writer, playwright, and Harlem Renaissance innovator-Zora Neale Hurston was born in Notasulga, Alabama. Her family moved to Eatonville, Florida when she was very young, which was the oldest and first All-Black town to be incorporated in the US. Hurston’s essay How It Feels To Be Colored Me (1928) depicts her life there. She wrote several novels and plays during her lifetime, including more notable works like: Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937), Color Struck (1925), and Mule Bone (co-authored with Langston Hughes in 1930). She was 69 when she died on January 28th, 1969.
On January 7th, 1976 millionaire and record executive Kenneth Moss was sentenced to 120 days in the Los Angeles County Jail, after he plead guilty to involuntary manslaughter of Average White Band drummer Robbie McIntosh. McIntosh died at a party that Moss was having at his home, after the drummer snorted too much heroine and overdosed. He thought it was cocaine. Cher was at the party, and saved the life of Alan Gorrie (keyboardist, vocalist and guitarist for The Average White Band). She kept him conscious, but McIntosh was gone. Moss was indicted for murder, and got off with the plea deal.
On January 7th, 2011, seminal Funk, Blues & Hip Hop producer, and record executive, Bobby Robinson (2nd r) passed away in Harlem, NY. He’s the owner behind Robin, Fury, Fire and Enjoy Records. The South Carolina native was the first person to open a Black-Owned Business on Harlem’s 125th Street (Bobby’s Record Shop AKA Bobby’s Happy House) in 1946. He’s produced for Lee Dorsey, The Treacherous Three, Spoonie Gee, Doug E. Fresh, Gladys Knight & The Pips, King Curtis, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, The Shirelles, and Elmore James, to name a few. He was 93 years-old when he passed away.
On January 7th, 1963, an acting of 'biting' was being settled by two powerhouse performers of the day: Gary U.S. Bonds & Chubby Checker. As the story goes, Bonds was suing Checker for ‘rewriting’ his song Dancing Party, from Bonds' song Quarter To Three. Instead of going through a lengthy trial by disputing Bonds’ claim, Checker agreed to settle out of court. This is a great example of how musicians have been copying others and/or having their music copied, for decades. Blues and Jazz artists in the early 20th century had the same problems. Biting is an American tradition…
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