Tuesday, 18 August 2009

RIPs to more Rock n Roll heros

Les Paul was not only one of the first electric guitar heroes, he also made all subsequent guitar heroes possible. He invented or perfected a number of inventions including the iconic Les Paul Guitar, as well as pioneering such modern recording practices as multi-tracking, overdubbing, phase delay effects, echo effects, and feedback, in some cases inventing sound tools to make use of these techniques. He also scored a series of hits as a duo with his wife Mary Ford in the early 1950's which, while not exactly rockin' did feature some spectacular guitar work that would influence future generations of Rock, Jazz and Country guitarists. He also hosted (again with Mary Ford) hit radio and TV shows in the mid-to-late 50's. He was inducted in to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as an "architect" and has a stand alone exhibit, an honour given as well only so far to Sam Phillips and Alan Freed. He was 94.

Les Paul Trio ~ "Dark eyes"

Mike Seeger was less well known than his famous older half-brother Pete but he was still an important fonder of the folk revival of the late 1950's & early 1960's. He played virtually every stringed insturment used in North American folk and blues music including guitar, banjo, mandolin, dulcimer, autoharp, and fiddle as well as harmonica. Since 1959 he played on or produced at least a hundred recordings, mostly for Smithsonian/Folkways Records first with his band The New Lost City Ramblers or solo and with artists such as; Pop Stoneman, Hazel Dickens, Kilby Snow and Cousin Emmy. He was also an important historian, song collector and folklorist. Still active as of last year, he died of cancer at 75.

James Luther Dickenson Dickenson was a behind-the-scenes producer and songwriter from Memphis who started as a session musician playing guitar and piano for the likes of Aretha Franklin, The Rolling Stones (on "Wild Horses"), and The Flaming Groovies ("Teenage Head") then producing albums for Big Star, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Willy DeVille, Tav Falco, The Replacements, Green on Red, Mojo Nixon and Mudhoney. He also worked with Bob Dylan and Ry Cooder as well as recording some solo albums.

One of Dickenson's collaborators, Willy DeVille also died this month. Deville was the founder of Mink DeVille a fixture CBGB' era scene that also spawned The Ramones, Blondie, Suicide, Talking Heads, Richard Hell, Television and Robert Gordon. Like Gordon, DeVille's sound was closer to traditional Rock and Roll than punk and he later moved to New Orleans where he continued his career scoring an academy award nomination in 1987. Sometime after that I saw him do a drunken gig at the Diamond Club in Toronto where I stole one of his harmonicas after he fell off stage, which I still have.

Willy Deville ~ "Hey Joe"

Ellie Greenwhich never actually sang or played on a hit record but the Brill Building songwriter was responsible for more than her quota; "Be My Baby","River Deep Mountain High","Da Doo Ron Ron","The Leader of The Pack", dies at 68

The Shangri Las ~ "The Leader of the pack";

Sun Records Rockabilly great Billy Lee Riley who recorded the classic versions of "Red Hot" and "Flying Saucers Rock and Roll" dies at 75.

Billy Lee Riley ~ "Flying saucers rock and roll";

Deake Levin; Guitarist with Classic 1960's Seattle garage rockers Paul Revere and the Raiders, played on classics "Kicks", "Steppin Stone"," Just like me" dies at 62.

Paul Revere and the Raiders ~ "Kicks";

Doo Wop singer Johnny Carter, co-founder of 1950's The Flamingos ("I only have eyes for you"), later in the Dells after 1960 ("Oh what a night" & "There is") dies at 75.

The Flamingos (w/Alan Freed intro) ~ "Would I be crying";

Huey Long (not to be confused with the Kingfish), the last remaining member of the Ink Spots, a hugely influencial vocal pre-doo wop group of the 1930's & 40's died recently at age 104. Seriously.

The Ink Spots ~ "If I didn't care";

Jazz drummer Rashied Ali who played on the final recordings of John Cotrane as well as Alice Coltrane, Pharoah Sanders and James Blood Ullmer dies at 75.

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