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On October 3rd, in 1947, the last man standing, the sole survivor after Otis Redding’s plane crash, vocalist, songwriter, trumpeter and original founding member of the Bar-Kays-Ben Cauley (Ben S. Cauley Jr) was born in Memphis, Tennessee. Cauley was an intricate component of the Bar-Kays, who were one of three studio backing bands at the Stax label (other two bands were: Booker T & the MGs and the Mar-Keys). The Bar-Kays had a soulful and gritty sound pre-Otis Redding’s death (Jimmy King-Guitar, Ronnie Caldwell-keyboards, Phalon Jones-sax, Carl Cunningham-drums, & James Alexander-Bass).
It was captured best on their hit Soul Finger that came out the same year of the crash (1967). It’s unclear whether the crash had a transforming effect on the type of music Cauley (seated left) would have the ‘New’ Bar-Kays play, but they definitely changed in sound, evoking more of a darker, funky feel, with the same amount of grit Stax was known for. They came with their own hits, were the backing band for Isaac Hayes (Shaft-Joy-Black Moses etc), and they performed at the WattStax which is considered the Black Woodstock (1972). During the early 70s, Cauley (far rt) & bassist James Alexander (he was on a different flight) reformed the Bar Kays into a ‘Black Rock’ sensation.
They were heavily involved in the Psychedelic Soul movement of the time like similar bands: Ohio Players, Funkadelic and the Undisputed Truth. In the mid-70s the band ventured into more solo work as Stax had folded and Mercury had picked them up. They did Funk and Disco mostly on the Mercury imprint. In the late 70s and early 80s, the band solidified themselves through the Hip Hop Culture with having sample thick LPs from the 60s-70s and providing their current hits like Freak Show, which was featured in B-Boy Ciphers worldwide. Ben Cauley (standing far left) performed up to his death in 2015. He was just shy of reaching his 66th Birthday.
…‘Friends & Strangers’…On October 3rd in 1950, session and solo saxophonist, arranger, composer, producer and band leader-Ronnie Laws (Ronald Wayne Laws) was born in Houston, Texas (The Crusaders home town). Ronnie came from a family of accomplished musicians. His siblings were very talented: older brother Hubert-Jazz flautist, older sister Eloise-singer. His younger sister Debra is also a vocalist (Ronnie co-produced and sang back up on Very Special). After attending college for music, Ronnie got his professional start with Earth Wind & Fire on their 1972 Last Days & Time LP. He left the group before they got worldwide notoriety. A few years later, the Houston native hooked up with fellow Houston Native, Jazz Crusaders member, ‘At-Home’ Producer and Jazz Trombonist-Wayne Henderson to make his debut LP on Blue Note in 1975 (Pressure Sensitive).
This LP contained the 70s Dance, Funk & Jazz classic-Always There which has been covered by many and is considered a Fusion Jazz Standard (Side Effect made this a Dancefloor Classic, another group produced by Wayne Henderson). The other notable cut on the LP, sampled by Evil Dee of Blackmoon & the Beatminerz is Tidal Wave. It’s a great, and very affordable used LP (no more than $5). He went on to release over 20 LPs from 1975-2009, nearly one every year. He also worked with other notables like Ramsey Lewis, Alphonse Mouzon, Howard Hewett, Sister Sledge, Hugh Masekela, Arthur Adams, Jeff Lorber and numerous others. He’s 68 today.
On October 3rd, in 1962, one of the original sex-tape makers (with Bay Watch’s Pamela Anderson), the crowd mooner, actor, reality TV star, co-founder and drummer for Motley Crue-the controversial Tommy Lee (Thomas Lee Bass) was born in Athens, Greece. His father was a US Army Sergeant, and his mother was a former Miss Greece. He started drumming at 4 years old and was playing on a full kit by his teens. Tommy migrated to Hollywood and started playing drums for his band Suite 19 around the area (mid to late 70s). He met Nikki Sixx, who was putting together a Heavy Metal band, and Tommy joined.
He suggested vocalist Vince Neil and Nikki added guitarist Mark Mars. Motley Crue had formed. Their first LP was released by them (no major label) in 1981 (Too Fast for Love). They got signed quickly by Elektra because of their hustle and large fanbase. In 1983, they released their first LP on the major label: Shout at the Devil. They put out 3 more LPs in the 80s, thus holding it down on the Metal tip. Tommy Lee got into acting, DJing and songwriting more once Motley Crue disbanded. He put together a Rap-Metal band called Methods of Mayhem (2000s), appeared on reality TV shows and made appearances in movies, shows and videos. He’s 56 today.
On October 3rd, in 1970, actress Nia (Talita) Long was born in Brooklyn, New York. Nia Long started her television acting career on the soap opera Guiding Light as ‘Kat’ (1991-1994). She got her first movie role as Brandi in the John Singleton film Boyz ‘n’ the Hood (1991). Most people know her from this film, as we were at school when Guiding Light was on TV. She was Will Smith’s fiancé Lisa on the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air from 1994-1995. Ironically enough, Jada was supposed to play Lisa, but she was too short for TV (Will is over 6 feet tall, but he still married Jada in real life…producers).
That same year she’d be Debbie in Cube’s Friday, Felicia’s sister (1995). From 1997 to 2000 she was in over 10 films costarring alongside Omar Epps (In Too Deep), Martin Lawrence (Big Momma’s House), Vanessa Williams (Soul Food) and Larenz Tate (Love Jones) to name a few. From 1986 to the current date, Nia has been in over 25 reappearing TV roles. Currently she is on NCSI: Los Angeles as Shay Mosley. Other notable shows she’s appeared on are: Empire, The Cleveland Show, House of Lies, Judging Amy, Boston Legal, Uncle Buck, Moesha & Third Watch. Nia has won several awards for her acting skills: 2 NAACP Image Awards, and a Black Reel Award. She’s 48 today.
...‘so tell the people like that y’all, and it sounds so nice, Hip Hop you the love of my life, we bout to take ya to the top and’…On October 3rd, in 1971, the Legendary Roots Crew Emcee, actor and the Emcee for the Jimmy Kimmel Show-Black Thought (Tariq Luqmaan Trotter) was born in the Illadelph (Philadelphia, Pennsylvania). Both of his parents were in the NOI (Nation of Islam), and both were murdered. Around the time of his father’s murder (1972ish), The Philly Black Mob (see: American Gangsters BET miniseries by Ving Rhames) was running the streets. His mother was murdered when he was a teen. Black Thought studied the Nation of Gods & Earths 120 Lessons in high school.
He joined up with Questlove and others, making the Roots Crew Debut LP Organix (1993). In 1995 they hit the scene big with Do You Want More? This is one of their best, if not their best LP in my opinion. They have Malik B as accompanying Emcee at this point, and he adds a nice balance to Black Thought’s more lyrically swift cadence and cerebral punchlines. It was like the reverse of A Tribe Called Quest with Tip (Malik B) and Phife (Black Thought). The Roots released over 10 LPs from 1993-2014 (about one every 2 years). Thought did some solo work, most notably his recent LP with 9th Wonder, he also wrote and memorized about 10 minutes worth of bars for the Funk Master Flex radio show. His acting skills were showcased in the HBO miniseries The Deuce, and over 12 other movies dating back to 2000 (Bamboozled-Roots are the Band). He’s 47 today.
Honorable Mentions: On October 3rd, in 1954, infamous Rock Guitarist Stevie Ray Vaughn was born in Dallas, Texas. He played with everyone, and is regarded as one of the greatest Rock Guitarists by Rolling Stones Magazine. Vaughn died in a helicopter crash in Wisconsin (August 27th, 1990). His family sued and won $2 million dollars for the helicopter company allowing an unexperienced pilot to fly the mogul. He was 33 when he died. Sidebar: Vaughn played guitar on David Bowies Let’s Dance LP.
On October 3rd, in 1978, Aerosmith showed just how down they were for their fans when they bailed 30 of them out of jail for getting arrested at their concert in Fort Wayne, Texas. All the fans were doing was smoking weed. I’m glad that the cops never ran up in a Cypress Hill concert like that. Hell, the cops are even smoking at the Cypress Hill concerts…
The Catholic Church is under much scrutiny by the public right now for child molestation sex scandal coverups. However, this is no new news as they say. On October 3rd, in 1992,-the singer that made Prince’s Nothing Compares to You a worldwide hit-Sinead O’Connor ripped the Pope a new one, literally. Sinead was performing on Saturday Night Live, she had a picture of then Pope-John Paul the II, and she ripped it up mid-performance. There was an awkward silence, followed by a quick commercial break…The FCC fined NBC $2.5 million for the incident…Way to go Sinead, F em!
On October 3rd, in 1995: Orenthal James Simpson was acquitted of killing Nicole & Ron Goldman. This case here…I tell ya…This case, in my opinion, has a lot to do with why Trump is currently in office. Let it go y’all, let it go…we know he did it, we don’t care though…Blacks been getting the long hard shaft of the American Criminal Justice System since before America was even America…Furthermore, the whole Criminal justice System was created to house Blacks and keep slave labor intact…We were just glad to see a Brother beat them at their own game…if it doesn’t fit, you must acquit…
…‘Suicidal Tendencies’…On October 3rd, in 2008-the producer of Tupac’s seminal fresh out of jail LP-All Eyez on Me-Johnny Jackson AKA Johnny J killed himself in a Los Angeles County Jail. He jumped from the tier while he was detained for a DUI. Johnny J also produced Pac’s Me Against the World LP and most of the Death Row Records posthumous Pac LPs that came after (all the cutting floor stuff). Johnny also produced Candyman. He was a singer and songwriter as well.
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!