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On September 10th, in 1898, the man that invented Vinyl-Waldo Semon was born in Demopolis, Alabama. Without Semon’s invention, I wouldn’t be writing this daily blog on Vinyl, or have my Vinyl collection, so an extra special thanks goes out to him for his work with polyvinyl chloride, the chemical compound used to manufacture Vinyl. Vinyl is the world’s second most used form of plastic. Like most great inventions, polyvinyl was essentially a mistake.
Semon worked for B.F. Goodrich and was trying to come up with a compound that made tires more pliable and last longer. Essentially, he was trying to improve rubber manufacturing. He did later on, coming up with Ameripol (American Polymer). Semon has 116 patents and was inducted into the Inventors Hall of Fame in 1995. He passed away in 1998. He was 100 years-old.
On September 10th, in 1925 (some say 1920)-former amateur boxer & one of the Godfather’s of Rock ‘n’ Roll: Roy Brown was born in Kinder, Louisiana. Brown quit boxing and embarked on a pop singing career. He eventually started writing and performing Blues based songs around the New Orleans region. He was influenced by the music he heard in the Big Easy-Jazz, Brass Bands, Blues, Soul, Funk & Zydeco mostly, not to mention the cultural music of the region such as French influenced polyrhythms and African drumming.
He wrote and recorded, what many consider to be the first Rock ‘n’ Roll song-Good Rockin’ Tonight (1948). Ike Turner would argue differently, thinking his ‘Rocket 88’ was the first Rock ‘n’ Roll song to be recorded (1951). Either way, both songs are undisputably the foundations of Rock ‘n’ Roll. Brown passed away in 1981. Some records say he was 60, others claim he was 55.
… ‘My Life, My Life, My Life My Life, in the Sunshine…Everybody loves the Sunshine’…On September 10th in 1940, Seminal Fusion Jazz Vibraphonist, band leader and composer-Roy Ayers was born When Ayers was around 5 years-old, legendary Vibraphonist Lionel Hampton gave Roy his first pair of mallets. It was off to the races after that. Ayers honed his chops working on the Atlantic imprint with Herbie Mann, and then he went solo. His earlier Albums on Atlantic are more Post-Bop straight ahead Westcoast Jazz.
However, he formed his Ubiquity band in 1969/1970, and Moved to Polydor. This is where his work gets heavy and extra funky, thanks to collaborations with Edwin Birdsong and to a lesser extent, Harry Whitaker. Both men brought the funk and vocals with meaning to Roy’s talented composing and mallet playing. Roy also produced acts like Sylvia Striplin, the 80’s Ladies, Ethel Beatty, Ramp, Ubiquity and more. He’s reworked and came up with some new funk with artists like Erykah Badu, Masters At Work and 4-Hero. He’s 78 today!
Two significant, and for the most part, unrelated things happened today in 1963. First: An All-Star Soul Review Tour had its first opening night. Artists on the bill included: Jimmy Reed, James Brown, Marvin Gaye, Inez Fox, Major Lance, Martha & The Vandellas, Doris Troy, Ruby & the Romantics and the Crystals. This, at the time, was the most chart-topping Soul artists showcase that any one concertgoer could witness.
The second thing that happened on the same day was when the twenty Africans displaced in the USA integrated public schools in Alabama. Much like the Little Rock 9, there was much opposition to the movement towards integration and the students were verbally harassed. A lot of all Black primary and secondary schools would see their demise slowly start to appear, as well as the positions of all Black educators, administrators and support staff. Numerous Black businesses and social structures crumble after integration, but the Displaced African was never fully accepted as an American citizen, and it's still true to this day.
…‘flow and go to a slow tempo, and ya know’…On September 10th, in 1968-One of the Juice Crew’s finest Emcees, actor, public speaker, Representative of the Nation of God's & Earths (ALLAH's 5%) and Grammy-Award winning recording artist-Big Daddy Kane (Antonio Hardy) was born in Do or Die Bedstuy (Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, New York). Kane got his start with the Juice Crew by way of Biz Markie. His rhyme style was smooth, with complex metaphors and punchlines.
He stood out amongst the Juice Crew Emcees (Biz, Craig G, Shante, Masta Ace, Kool G, M.C. Shan, TJ Swann), and held his own as a solo artist as well. He’s appeared on songs with Patti LaBelle and Quincy Jones. He’s done songs for soundtracks (Juice-Lean on Me), and he’s also acted in movies (Posse). Kane became a star in his own right, even dated some celebrities, like Madonna for a short spell. Currently, he still tours with his live band that play his classics and his newer material. Kane turns POWER CIPHER all being BORN to POWER today (50)!
On September 10th, in 2005, Louisiana lost one of its musical Suns, Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown (Clarence Brown Jr). He returned home in Orange, Texas at 81 years of age. He is a Grammy-Award winning musician that does a little bit of everything. He plays: piano, guitar, viola, drums, mandolin, violin and harmonica-a one man band indeed. He also sings and writes music on which he’s recorded for at least 9 different labels, most notably: Verve, Alligator, Rounder & Peacock.
He’s done a lot of work with other well-known musicians as well like: Eric Clapton, Frank Zappa & Ry Cooder. Brown has over 20 solo LPs over a 40 year period (1972-2004). That’s an LP every 2 years on average! Brown’s sound was a ‘gumbo’ of genres, with Blues and Jazz at the roots, much like the music of his birth state. He passed away shortly after being evacuated from Louisiana during Hurricane Katrina. He was 81 years-old.
Honorable Mentions:…‘Tell me what you want, tell me what you need’…On September 10th, in 1976, Former Dru Hill band member, songwriter, musician and singer-Woody Rock (James Green) was born in Baltimore, Maryland (Wire Country). He was raised with conservative and highly religious Christian parents. He was only allowed to sing and listen to Gospel. Dru Hill’s music is a far cry from Gospel. He’s 42 today!
…‘She’s a maniac, maniac, for sure’…On September 10th, in 1983 Stevie Wonder’s former guitar player turned solo artist and male vocalist-Michael Sembello’s song ‘Maniac’ hit number 1 on the US singles chart. It would remain there for the next two-weeks. Sembello had gotten the opportunity to put his song on the soundtrack for the film Flash Dance, which was a big hit at the box office. This helped propel Sembello’s song up the charts as well. However, the song barely cracked the top 50 in the UK (43).
… ‘Ready on the right…ready on the left…CLEAR!’…On September 10th, in 1997, an official electric chair that was used at Alcatraz, and that was owned by Andy Warhol, was sold at an auction for a little over $5,500. As the story goes, Warhol enjoyed sitting in the chair while watching horror films…pause…I mean, I respect Andy for his unconventional views and artistic expression, but c’mon. Andy was wild.
…‘Say I’m gonna jump back, stand back, and use my earthly power’…On September 10th, in 2001, Jay Kay-lead singer for the band Jamiroquai copped a not guilty plea to assaulting a photographer, and destroying his equipment. The victim-Dennis Gill claimed that Jay Kay stole on him and broke his camera in front of the Attica Nightclub in London’s infamous West-End. They adjourned Gill’s complaint until the 22nd of October that same year. Stay tuned to TOV posts to see what the ruling was...