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Emcees: On November 20th, in 1965, songwriter, legalization of marijuana advocate, vocalist, bandleader, older brother of Mellow Man Ace and the hype man/emcee with Cypress Hill-Sen Dog (Senen Reyes) was born in Pinar del Rio, Cuba. Sen’s family immigrated to Cali when he was a child. Like a lot of pubescence children in the Los Angeles area, Sen was banging in the Blood set called Neighborhood Family in the mid 80s. He put B-Real down with the set around 1988. The two have been childhood friends for ages, along with Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo. B-Real got shot in the lung shortly after he joined the set and the two turned to music instead of banging, but stayed ‘affiliated’. They released their debut LP-Cypress Hill in 1991.
This is their best LP in my opinion. It showcases the best bars Sen spit on the seminal cut Latin Lingo. It’s a bi-lingual cut with a dope DJ Muggs beat behind it. He spits Spanglish really, translating for the English speakers (I learned a lot of Spanish terms and short phrases from the song), and also helped his Latin community understand some English as well. It’s a dope cut, one of my favorites on the LP. Cypress had a good run with Sen throughout the 90s, then the Cube beef hit when they played him a song they wanted him to rhyme on with the chorus: throw ya set in the air…
Cube took this chorus, using it on throw ya hood in the air before Cypress could release their joint. I believe the Cube beef with B-Real, added to the fact that Hip Hop was getting real dangerous for dope emcees in the 90s (the climate changed-Pac & Biggie got murked), provided the push for Sen to leave the group in the late 90s and start his own Rap Latin Rock band-SX-10. They released an LP in 2000 (Mad Dog American), but Sen continued to perform with Cypress and his brother Mellow Man Ace. Sen considers himself Afro-Cuban. He relays this identity in all of his music. He’s 53 today.
On November 20th, songwriter, emcee, producer, musician (keys & drums), vocalist, fashion designer, Punk Rocker and original founding member of the Beastie Boys-Mike D (Michael Louis Diamond) was born in NYC, NY. Mike was a kid growing up in the Big Apple around the time Punk, Hip Hop, Dub & the foundations for House (Disco) were in their infancy. All of these genres shaped and influenced him musically. He started his first band when he was in his early teens-The Young Aborigines 1978. Three years later, MCA (Adam Yauch-bassist) joined the group and they changed their name to the Beastie Boys (1981). They were a Punk band at the core.
In 1983, Ad-Rock joined the group (Adam Horovitz) and they started to focus more on a Hip Hop type of sound. A few years later, they signed with Def Jam and released License to Ill (1986). It’s a classic that needs no further explanation. They left Def Jam, signed to Capitol, started doing their own production (Rick Rubin previously) and released Paul’s Boutique in 1989 (another classic, especially for break heads). This LP is one of the few that caused the death of sampling (De La, Biz Markie, Tribe Called Quest, etc.). It contained the most samples of any Hip Hop LP to date. Mike and the Boys got hip to the industry game. He started the Grand Royal label in 1992. They all agreed to sample less and go back to their roots of playing live instruments instead of sampler/sequencer workstations. However, let me be clear, he never stopped using samplers and sequencers, as both mediums create great music. He’s 53 today.
Musicians: On November 20th, in 1962, an original multi-instrumentalist (clarinet, bass, guitar), singer, songwriter, screenplay writer, composer, bandleader and seminal session musician-Gail Ann Dorsey, was born in the city of Brotherly Love (Philadelphia). She started playing guitar when she was 9, influenced by Hendrix, Nancy Wilson of Heart, and Mark Farmer of Grand Funk Railroad. She moved to bass when she was 14, but didn’t fully view herself as a bassist until 20. She wanted to be a filmmaker, enrolling in post-secondary classes at the California Institute of the Arts. However, she turned to music after a couple semesters, moving to London (22) and joining 20To featuring Pete Stern on Keys.
She’s best known for her work with Boy George, Donny Osmond and her playing at Ronnie Scott's in the early to mid-80s. By 1987, she’d gotten signed to Warner Brothers and released her debut LP-The Corporate World (features Eric Clapton, one of the top 50 UK LPs of the Year). In 1991, she signed to Island Records, releasing her second LP (Rude Blue-featuring the Horny Horns from James Brown and P-Funk: Pee Wee Ellis, Maceo Parker, Fred Wesley). A couple years later, she’d become part of Bowie’s backing band, and even sing duets with him (1993-Bowie’s death). She not only played on the After Outside Tour, she also has songwriting, musician and vocal credits on all of Bowie's LPs from 1997 to 2013. She’s 56 today.
On November 20th, in 1946, singer, producer, songwriter, arranger, guitarist, dobro player, bandleader and co-founding member of the Allman Brothers-Duane Allman was born in Nashville, Tennessee. Allman’s father was murdered when he was 3, being an Army baby, they moved often. His mother sent him and his younger brother Gregg to Castle Heights Military Academy in Lebanon, Tennessee after the murder, and then they all relocated to Daytona Beach, Florida. Duane was left-handed, and unlike Jimi who restrung his guitar in reverse, Allman learned to play right-handed. His younger brother Gregg was the first one to learn to play guitar and purchase one.
He got the foundation from a childhood friend that stayed near his grandmother in Nashville (summer visits). Duane used Gregg’s guitar, then eventually bought one himself. He took his guitar playing more seriously, surpassing his brother’s skills shortly after they attended a B.B. King live show in Nashville. In 1961, the brothers started gigging locally, and eventually opened for the Beach Boys in 1965 under the name-The Escorts, which changed to the Allman Joys, then the Hour Glass (moved to LA, CA-signed to Liberty Records 1967). He learned slide guitar in 1968, jammed with everyone worth jamming with from 1968-1969, and recorded their debut at Muscle Shoals (1969). They’d never played a live gig as the Allman Brothers before they released the LP. He died in a motorcycle accident when he was 24.
On November 20th, in 2003, The Artist, drummer, singer, The Kidd, songwriter, composer, Christopher Tracy, pianist, producer, The Starr Company, actor, filmmaker, guitarist, Jamie Starr, The Purple one-Prince (Rogers Nelson) learned publicly that he’d be getting the recognition he deserved that was long overdue. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Fame inductees’ list was revealed and the Artist was set to be immortalized in Cleveland, Ohio for the 19th annual event. There’s so much to say about Prince, not sure I’ll ever run out of accolades and praises for the art he’s created. He wrote, sang, composed, and produced music for: The Time, The Family, Bananarama, Chaka Khan, Sinead O’Conner, Sheena Easton, Apollonia, Vanity, Mazarati, Shelia E, Cherrelle, Minnie Riperton, Stephanie Mills, Rufus featuring Chaka Khan, Larry Graham and many more.
Not to mention he played all the instruments on his first two LPs, had the Purple Rain movie and Tour in the mid 80s, released a Black & White classic film & soundtrack (Under the Cherry Moon), and scored the Batman Soundtrack all before 1990. In the 90s, a lot of people fell back when it came to Prince, the true admirers of his music and films continued to stick with him. His battle over his masters and Warner Brother’s refusal to release them, coerced him to change his name to an unpronounceable symbol and shave Slave into his beard. His musical and artistic presence is very missed. Glad he got into the H.O.F. though.
Honorable Mention: On November 20th, in 1967, Incense and Peppermints were at the top of the US singles chart. The Southern California band called Strawberry Alarm Clock had their psychedelic song reach the number 1 spot. The band itself was considered a psychedelic Rock band by the general public. However, they were more like The Electric Prunes meet the Turtles-Pop music with some Prog Rock & Psychedelia thrown in (both were popular at the time).
Kieth Moon Goes Wild! On November 20th, in 1974, the beat maker for the Who-Keith Moon was drinking a bit before the show...and maybe some during…somebody slipped him a ‘throwback micky’ (horse tranquilizer)…dude passed out behind his kit mid-performance. A fan in the front at the show-Scott Halpin (19) asked to replace Moon on drums. He played the last 3 songs with the band. A year later in 1975, the band was doing a show in Houston, and attended an after party following their performance. Keith got a disorderly conduct charge, staying in jail for the night.
Three things that happened directly associated with the King of Pop on November 20th in 3 different years (Mike & Stevie Wonder are notorious for this feat-or ‘star alignment’). In 1984, Mike became the 1,793rd person to receive a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (they still loved Mike during this time)…In 1991, some masked men with shotguns stole 30,000 copies of Mike’s Dangerous LP from the Los Angeles International Airport Terminal.
The theft was valued at $400K (them some real fans right there). In 2003, he turned himself in at the Santa Barbara police station. They cuffed Mike, took his fingerprints, mug shot and set him free after he posted $3 million in bail money. There’s no corner of the world where Michael Jackson could hide…Shameful they made him pay that much.
On November 20th, in 2012, we lost a Jazz drummer that most don’t know, but should-Pete La Roca AKA Peter Sims. The Harlem native, and son of a pianist mother and trumpeter father, was discovered by Max Roach after he was playing with Sonny Rollins at a Jam session at the Vanguard Village (1957). He went on to play with: Jackie McLean, Bill Evans, John Coltrane, Freddie Hubbard, Charles Lloyd, Art Farmer and Chick Corea to name a few. He passed away when he was 74 years-old.
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!