| || || |
| || || |
| || || || |
| || || |
| || || |
The Motown Sound: On November 19th, in 1927, one of the original Funk Brothers, the backing band for the Sound of Young America-Hitsville USA AKA Motown Records, keyboardist, pianist and awesome session musician-Joe Hunter (standing c-3rd l) was born in Jackson, Tennessee. His mother was a piano teacher, but she didn’t teach him directly at first. He learned through watching her with her students and one day started playing Stormy Weather on the piano. His grandmother assumed his mother had been teaching him. She hadn’t…When asked he told his mom he knew more than any of her students just by listening to her teach them.
When he was 10, they relocated to Detroit, Michigan. He met Hank Ballard at a club event in Detroit (1954), and started playing with him. He stayed with the band for 2 years, but noted when they were on tour in the Bay Area of California (Fresno, Oakland), the band smoked weed constantly. Hunter (above-r) acted as the cop spotter on the turnpikes. He quit Ballard’s Midnighters and then started playing as house pianist at Little Sam’s club in Detroit (1956). He met Gordy there around 1958-while Gordy was trying to put Motown together. He asked Hunter to join his session band, and the rest is history. He played for everyone on the label, EVERYONE: Marvin, The Supremes, Smokey, Stevie, The Temps, The 4 Tops, Tammi Terrell and numerous others. He passed away in Detroit in 2007. He was 79 years old.
On November 19th, in 1936, The Funk Brothers guitarist, and Motown session musician-Robert (Willie) White was born in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. He was heavily influenced by jazz guitarists Wes Montgomery and Oscar Moore. I’m not sure if White is an original member of the Funk Brothers, but I do know he recorded guitar riffs on several songs during the height of Motown. The Funk Brothers didn’t receive formal song credits for their playing, but everyone knows they laid the rhythms behind the seminal vocalists on the imprint. White is most known for his guitar on:
My Cherie Amour (Stevie Wonder), Can I Get a Witness (Marvin Gaye), It’s a Shame (Spinners), You Keep Me Hangin’ On (The Supremes), My Girl, the Temptations and Something About You (Four Tops). His ‘weapon’ of choice was the Gibson L-5. White (above-l, inset also played the Gibson ES frequently on recordings. The Funk Brothers had a fantastic run in music. They laid the foundation for what would become modern Urban music which is essentially R&B mixed with a little Pop and Jazz. They played on Motown recordings from 1959 to 1972, only disbanding after Motown moved to California shortly after Diana Ross introduced the world to the Jackson 5. White passed away in Los Angeles, California while he was having open heart surgery. He was 57 years-old.
On November 19th, in 1954, one of the original vocalist in the Deep House trio called First Choice-Annette Guest was born. The Philly native began singing in High School with classmates Wardell Piper and Rochelle Fleming. They played school events and nightclubs around the city. Local radio DJ Georgie Woods caught wind of their momentum and introduced them to future MFSB guitarist and producer-Norman Harris. He acted as producer for their first single-This is the House Where Love Died. They followed this up with Armed & Extremely Dangerous in 1973 which was a US & UK Top 20 R&B hit.
Wardell winded up leaving the group before she could be pictured with the group (pursued a solo career). She was replaced by Joyce Jones. During this time, Annette appeared on Soul Train and American Bandstand with the group. They released The Player during this run which became one of their biggest hits of the time (R&B #7). Joyce Jones left the group in 1976 and Ursala Herring joined. Shortly after, they released the Deep House classics-Let’s No Man Put Asunder & Doctor Love on the Delusions LP (1977). They followed this up with Hold Your Horses which has Love Thang and Double Cross (1979). These two albums are some of their best work. They’ve been sampled by many genres and laid the foundation for House music and Techno. She’s 64 years-old.
On November 19th, in 1985, one of the first well-known Black actors and comedians-Lincoln Theodore Monroe Andrew Perry (above-r, inset-l), better known as Stepin Fetchit passed away in Woodland Hills, California. His parents were West Indian immigrants that made roots in Key West, Florida (his birthplace). His early history is largely unknown, but it’s been commonly said that he was adopted by a dentist and moved to Montgomery, Alabama. He got his start on stage being a comedic character in Vaudeville plays. The name Stepin Fetchit originates from an act he and a partner did on the Vaudeville stages where one person was Step and the other was Fetch it. However, when he went full-time professional, he’d combine the names and make it his own. Now, there’s no question that Stepin Fetchit played stereotypical roles in films once his career got started.
Many people would coin him a ‘sell-out’ for his depictions of Blacks in America…he was even coined: ‘The Laziest Man in the World’. However, he wrote constantly for the Chicago Defender. This paper can be better summarized as a throwback Final Call (Nation of Islam publication) or Black Panther Party newspaper. He would uplift the Black communities in America by taking his earnings back to the community and spread the love. Stepin Fetchit was the guy that broke down the doors of Hollywood in the late 20s so that actors like Denzel Washington could have a chance to depict the wide ranged realness of the Black experience in America. He was the first Black man to receive a Hollywood credit in a film. The first, marinate on that. He also was a millionaire and 83 years-old when he passed.
On November 19th, in 2001, a fight broke out between husband & wife…The Lead singer and songwriter of Stone Temple Pilots-Scott Weiland was doing a live show with his band at the Hard Rock Café & Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada. As the story goes, Weiland finished his performance, his wife was there, she was angry, he was angry, Weiland got physical with his anger, committing an illegal domestic battery offense. The cops took him in and charged him with one count of D.B. He posted bail and was released less than 24 hours later.
There are a lot of things I have questions about when it comes to this incident…First, I wonder why his wife was heated at him in the first place. Maybe it was groupies, lack of attention, something that was unresolved before the show occurred, who knows? Also, why’d it get physical? What did his wife say or do to make Weiland go Domestic Batterer on her? Third, what happened after the incident, did he eat crow, did she, did both of them eat it? All I do know is that the Stone Temple Pilots make some good music, music that has feeling, soul, and substance. I ain’t condoning woman beating at all, but I can’t front on their front man’s voice, lyrics or choice of subjects to write about. If you’re not ‘hip’ to the Pilots, you need to be…
Honorable Mention: On November 19th, in 1973, one of the ‘artistic’ descendants of the Nicholas Brothers, Sammy Davis Jr. & The Hines Brothers, actor, tap dancer and choreographer-Savion Glover was born in Newark, New Jersey. Interesting facts about Savion: his father is White, his mother is Black and his uncle was Dick (King Richard) Lundy who played shortstop in the Negro Leagues. He has appeared in Broadway plays, on LPs for Hip Hop musicians like Talib Kweli, and in movies like Bamboozled (Spike Lee). He’s 45 today.
On November 19th, in 1979, seminal rock ‘n’ Roll innovator, guitarist, songwriter, singer, the originator of the ‘Duck Walk’-Chuck Berry got out of prison. The IRS had charged and found the musician guilty of Federal Tax Evasion. He served a four-month sentence, got out, and never looked back. Rock ‘n’ Roll, as a genre, was shaped by greats like Chuck Berry that, as Leonard Chess put it: sped up the Blues. S.O. to Berry for being a founding father of the genre.
November 19th proved to be a bad day for the King of Pop in 2002 and in 2003. First, in 2002, a lot of people went in on Mike for dangling his nine-month old baby over the balcony of a third-floor hotel room to show the world (Berlin, Germany). In 2003, the cops issued a warrant for his arrest related to an incident with a 12 year-old boy that claimed Mike had sexually abused him. Mike was on a video shoot in Vegas, but turned himself in once he got back to California.
On November 19th, in 2004, exactly a year after Mike turned himself in, Music City USA native (Nashville, Tennessee), rapper David Darnell Brown AKA Young Buck was arrested for stabbing a man. The incident occurred at the Vibe Hip Hop Awards show in Los Angeles, California. Buck supposedly stabbed a guy that stole on Dr. Dre. He turned himself in and was released on $500K bail.
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!