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On November 27th, in 1942, Rolling Stones Magazine’s Greatest Rock Guitarist of All Time: Jimi Hendrix (Johnny Allen Hendrix, James Marshall Hendrix) was born in Seattle, Washington. TOV has covered many stories on Jimi. For this one, I’m going to focus on his Pre-Experience period (birth to 1966). Hendrix got his first ‘real’ guitar when he was 15 years-old (1958). By the time he got it, he was already pretty good. He watched others perform and learned by ear mostly. In 1959, the guitarist for Hank Ballard & the Midnighters-Billy Davis showed Hendrix some riffs and got him a short gig with the band. His pops bought him his first electric guitar that same year. Jimi formed his first band the Velvetones. They did gigs around Seattle.
He continued to play and get into teen-aged mischief. By 1961 (19 years-old), he had gotten in some trouble with the law and was given the choice between the Army and jail. He enlisted and met Billy Cox (bassist) on base in Fort Campbell, KY. He & Cox did gigs together under the name:The Casuals. He was more interested in music than the Army and was granted an Honorable Discharge in 1962. Shortly after, He & Cox moved to Nashville and started performing around Jefferson Street under the name the King Kasuals. He played the Chitlin’ Circuit with Sam Cooke, Ike & Tina Turner, Wilson Pickett, Little Richard, Slim Harpo, Jackie Wilson, The Isley Brothers and Don Covay. The latter two would be where he made his first recordings (Testify 1964-Isley’s & Mercy Mercy-Don Covay 1964). In 1966, he moved to England and the rest, as they say, is history…
On November 27th, in 1964, actress, former girlfriend of Brad Pitt, and ex-wife of Mike Tyson-Robin (Simone) Givens was born in NYC, NY. She’s acted in plays, TV shows, films and done some modeling. Growing up in Money Earnin’ Mount Vernon, Givens would get her first role on The Cosby Show in 1985, followed by an appearance on Different Strokes that same year. She appeared in the made for TV film Beverly Hills Madam starring Faye Dunaway in 1986. A few months later, she appeared on Head of the Class & The Women of Brewster Place. She continued to act on TV shows mostly throughout the late 80s, by the 90s, she appeared regularly on the silver screen in leading roles.
She was the sultry and sexy Imabelle in A Rage in Harlem (1991-Forest Whitaker, Gregory Hines, Danny Glover), she was the same type of role, but more updated in social times in the film Boomerang (1992-Eddie Murphy, Halle Berry, Martin Lawrence). She played April in Foreign Student (1994), and was Kimberly Jonz in Blankman (1994-Damon Wayans). In 1995 she appeared in Dangerous Intentions as Kaye Ferrar. She did most of her film work during the 2000s (over 20 films from 2000-to the current date), but her 1988 marriage to Mike Tyson & the films she did in the 90s, brought her worldwide recognition. She’s viewed as a scandalous lady by a lot of people after the 20/20 Barbara Walters Episode with Tyson, but her acting skills can’t be denied...literally…She's 54 today.
On November 27th, in 1998, we lost an original female Soul vocalist-Barbara (Jean) Acklin. The Oakland native moved with her family to Chicago at a young age. She got her start singing in the church. She was a soloist in the choir by age 11. She continued to sing in the choir all through her teens, simultaneously dabbling in the secular music world while attending Dunbar High School. Her cousin was the seminal Jazz saxophonist Monk Higgins, and once she graduated, he produced her first recording under the name Barbara Allen-I’m not Mad Anymore (1966).
She was doing backup work for Chess Records at the same time, singing for artists like Etta James, Fontella Bass & Koko Taylor, not to mention other artists that needed vocals that her cousin Higgins was producing. Eager to get her foot in the door, she worked as a receptionist at Brunswick Records in Chicago. While there, she slipped in-house producer Carl Davis a demo tape. He liked it, using her Whispers (Getting’ Louder) for Jackie Wilson (she & David Scott had written the song). This got her a record deal with Brunswick and she released four singles in 1968, one as a duet with Gene Chandler (singer known for Duke of Earl). All four of her singles charted in the top 40 of the US R&B chart. Her career was off and running at that point. She went on to record 6 LPs between 1968-1975. She passed away in Omaha, Nebraska when she was 55.
Reggae: On November 27th, in 1999, we lost a seminal Champion Sound Dee Jay, producer, dub innovator, Hip Hop Emcee inspiration, songwriter, singer and Dancehall specialist: I-Roy (Roy Samuel Reid). I-Roy was born in Saint Thomas Paris, Jamaica. He graduated from Dinthill Technical College and started his musical career shortly after. Being adept on electronic equipment, he used his skill to structure his sound system and music. He played every Wednesday on Victoria Peir starting in 1968. He called it the Soul Bunny Sound System. When he was spinning with Son’s Junior Sound System, the Jamaican producer Harry Mudie took notice of him, renaming him I-Roy.
Mudie and others in the Jamaica music game thought I-Roy’s style was a lot like U-Roy’s in a complimentary way, not biting at all. He wound up recording 4 singles with Mudie (Let Me Tell You Boy, Heart Don’t Leap, The Drifter, Musical Pleasure). He moved on and worked with King Tubby, Lee Scratch Perry, Bunny Lee, Byron Lee, Rupie Edwards, Derrick Harriott and Keith Hudson (late 60s early 70s). In 1973, he released his Gussie Clarke co-produced debut LP-Presenting I Roy. He went on to release over 20 LPs from 1973 to 1990. He passed away when he was 55.
On November 27th, in 2001, African Reggae artist, and Malawi native, Evison Matafale passed away while in the confines of Babylon (police custody). They didn’t get him adequate medical attention in time and he died due to a bout with pneumonia. He was well-known as a respected elder in the Rastafarian community, as well as a spokesman for the greater public in Malawi. His 1999 debut LP-Kuyimba Vol. 1, brought him much fame as he became one of the most liked musical artists of 2000. He was the Fela of reggae for the Malawian people, and put a lot of political and social commentary into his music. Most people in the country called him the Prophet and his stance on Peace, Love and Unity enraged the people in power.
He was a political activist that constantly bashed the political policies of then president Bakili Muluzi. He even wrote personal letters to the President denouncing his government. Muluzi had him arrested for his ‘insubordination’ in 2001. They detained Matafale at Maula Prison. They told his people that it was just a routine questioning thing, but instead locked him up. He was the type of person that could mobilize the people on a grassroots level, one that was willing to die for the cause and that lived up to the sentiments he delivered in his lyrics. He has this to say about death: "I don’t fear death because my bible tells me that I should fear the one that kills both body and spirit, not the body alone." He was 32 when he died.
Honorable Mention: On November 27th, we lost a pioneering female-singer and actress-Evelyn Jarvis (Evelyn Preer). She passed away in L.A., CA when she was 36. She acted in her first film in 1919 (Oscar Micheaux’s The Homesteader). She appeared in over a dozen films from the 20s to the early 30s, performing a wide scope of roles ranging from school teacher to conjure woman. She was well-known within the Black community, and is one of the few Black women that played non-stereotypical roles in Hollywood films.
On November 27th, in 1961, members of the Crusaders, Led Zeppelin and Neil Christian gave back to the women of London, England. Jimmy Page, the Crusaders, and Christian all played a show at the Women’s Prison in London. The ladies got all decked out for the event-wearing homemade mascara made from burnt matches and colorful floral print dresses. Page would go on to to be lead guitarist for Led Zeppelin.
On November 27th, in 1993, at the age of 18, Jamaican born and Miss Jamaica-Lisa (Rene) Hanna, won The 43rd Miss World crown. The African and Lebanese descendant is a member of the People’s National Party, currently serving as a Member of Parliament for the Saint Ann South East Parish. She also served as Minister of Youth Culture and appeared in the film-How Stella Got Her Groove Back.
On November 27th, in 2005, a very wealthy David H. Brooks spared no expense for his daughter Elizabeth’s Bat Mitzvah. He spent about $10 million on her party, hiring Aerosmith, Stevie Nicks, Tom Petty, Joe Walsh, Don Henley and 50 Cent as the musical performers for the night. True story: 50 got paid about $500K for the appearance and sang the chorus like: we gon’ party like it’s ya bat mitzvah…It was held at the Rainbow Room in NYC.
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!