Let's give it up for the memory of Eugene Record! This legendary song-writer, singer and lead-vocalist of The Chi-Lites, between 1953 and 1979, and 1980 and 1988, who also released solo-albums, was born in Chicago on Decemner 23, 1940.
It is an obligation, frankly, to expose the young generation growing up now to the amazing sounds of "Have You See Her?" and "Oh Girl". Let's play them both...
Oh, what a sad day it was when Dr. John left us, and oh how the world has turned since.
Our beloved Malcolm Rebennack was...a New Orleans native and a student of Doctor Longhair. Carrying and embodying the great traditions of Nola, encompassing wisdom, wit and class - and living his very own story - a true gift to music.
That rolling piano grew quiet, but we can still hear the echo.
There Must Be A Better World Somewhere
MALCOLM REBENNACK, November 20, 1941 – June 6, 2019
Trumpet-player Wilbur Dorsey "Buck" Clayton was a Kansas native, who after having briefly worked with Duke Ellington's Orchestra, and living in Shanghai for a while to avoid racism, became a member of Count Basie's Orchestra, and played on recordings with Billie Holliday. Buck Clayton was drafted for the II:n WW, and was discharged with honors from the army in 1946, after which he worked with Count Basie, Benny Goodman, Harry James, Lester Young, Coleman Hawkins and Charlie Parker. Buck Clayton was a legendary bandleader and arranger. Problems with his lips forced Clayton to take a break from playing in the 70s, while he continued to work as an arranger into the 80s. The book "Buck Clayton's Jazz World", co-authored by Nancy Miller Elliot, spans 70 years of music history and American social history in general.
Two hours and thirty-one minutes of Buck Clayton
BUCK CLAYTON, November 12, 1911 – December 8, 1991
Stone Temple Pilot, Velvet Revolver and solo performer Scott Weiland brought his own personality to the live stages for three decades. A very talented singer indeed left us at the age of 48, on December 3, 2015.
SCOTT WEILAND, October 27, 1967 – December 3, 2015
The Dramatics featuring Willie Ford made some recordings in 2017. And, that Willie Ford had the intention of releasing these was made clear, among other things in this interview.
After Willie Ford had made his transition last year, we connected with Tony Green, who was hired to do these recordings, to ask how they are kept safe.
Perhaps we hadn’t expected Mr. Green to respond, but he indeed did, and was most jovial and patient with us in a very long conversation, that included many a thing and also lead to a nice article here, suggested by Green, but the information about the Dramatics recordings never fell out during any of all this.
We do understand. Green – a long time member of The Dramatics' backing band, in the 70s and 80s, has been helping many out with a lot in Detroit, and was a given individual for Willie Ford to turn to with recording ambitions. Green also has a very large ‘’vault’’ with a lot of music. But. But! Very little of it is probably with an act with a fifty year long career and thirty-five something hits. The Dramatics however is such an act! And Willie Ford was an original member of The Dramatics, who was part of their massive breakthrough, with their hits "What You See Is What You Get" and "In The Rain". Willie Ford was part of this act for five full decades! And these Dramatics recordings are in the vault of Tony Green. As we also understand it, someone who hires someone else for recordings is the legal owner of the recordings (see the 6th paragraph). So, maybe "old" compadres don't think about the legalese too much, at times, between each other, but now that Willie Ford is no longer here, and this is work that he in fact left behind, his rights concerning work that he did is a thing. And further, where it comes to The Dramatics specifically, legally working out what is what in terms of rights is not of unknown importance to anyone involved with this act. There are different sides here.
Tony Green has put Dramatics’ sounds to collages of clips from the internet on YouTube. It is definitely our opinion that these recordings are too important to be handled like that.
Yes, it is a challenge to release music in this day and age. But these recordings deserve their proper release, probably after some editing by a top-notch producer and editor. There would no doubt be an interest in Dramatics’ recordings, and for people to finally, for example, at long last hear Willie Ford sing longer solos, which he does on some of these cuts. It is unbelievable that Willie Ford didn’t lead on more songs than he did with The Dramatics. He had a unique bass voice, that truly was something few other acts could begin to match, and if you are shrewd as a music maker you sometimes go with what you have that no one else can top.
What was a little worrying during our conversations with Tony Green, was, that at one point we sent him a clip where The Dramatics featuring Willie Ford performed the single that they did release, a couple of years prior, ‘’Victoria’’, which was on a link on Fox2 (fox2detroit.com/mornings/54099142-video) – and that this clip disappeared from the link the day after we had sent it to Green. It was the most peculiar coincidence. It had obviously been up for a couple of years. It was a couple of years old. We asked about this, but there was no reply as to this.
Our original sending of the clip, inside our getting back to it for the clip disappearing
What that link looks since
There is little doubt that the loyal soul music fans out there would cherish the recordings with The Dramatics featuring Willie Ford.
We have reached out to Tony Green again, before writing this piece, asking for his comments if he cared to share them, but Green has chosen not to respond.
Living off people is a big business. One side of this is the autograph "market’’. We have all seen the men in sweaty t-shirts waiting to try to get what they have in their hands signed by a famous artist.
The idea to do something of the kind for a living might be seen as rather strange by many. This might even be the tier beneath paparazzi. People scavenging off other people, who have achieved a lot in life.
Then this market has the problem of forgeries being sold, in abundance, no doubt. So authentication of these scribblings has become a market as well. People have become "experts’’ at the above.
A few days ago we put two signatures up on auction, and what happened after was a sight to see. We were of course very confident about saying to people to check the signatures out a bit before placing a bid, as we know that they are real and had every reason to assume that whoever checked them out would run into people who would be able to tell them so, or at the very least say there was a good chance they are real. We just assumed that would happen.
Our two signatures were swiftly posted on a platform called Autograph Live, by an anonymous poster with a clown face for profile picture, who asked if the signatures were real, something which was as quickly deemed as a "no’’ by another user. We tried to join the forum to comment, making it clear in the application to join that this was what we intended to do, and were denied access to comment. Our auction of these signatures didn’t take place on eBay, which this platform is affiliated to, a strange choice for an autograph authentication public service platform. But perhaps for this reason, these two signatures weren’t commented on further or linked to, as this platform had nothing to gain from sending its users to another auction platform, where it’s not affiliated (and where, btw, we have the highest possible user score, for selling other things, mind). Generally posts seems to spark more commenting, if it is to do with dismissing signatures claimed to be by the same artist, on eBay. So 1) Our signatures were quickly dismissed 2) We weren’t allowed to comment 3) There was no discussion about the signatures.
There is no one to contact on this platform, so we wrote its supervisor on Facebook, and had no comment as to this.
What is this Autograph Live? Is it a public service where people are being spared the misfortune of buying a forged signature? Certainly that must have happened frequently, that is, that this platform spotted fakes and had no reason why not to help people? But, is it a platform sponsored by autograph selling companies – that protects these companies' interests? Say, by perhaps dismissing anything that doesn’t look like what they happen to have or have had at some point – real or fake? Say, by perhaps getting that which is real off the market, so that it doesn’t lower the value of their clients' purchases, by being accessible in higher numbers than ideal for a high valuation of a rarity? Say, by…? In any case, this platform is sponsored by a few autograph selling companies. And companies have their interests, and certainly wouldn't sponsor something that didn't benefit them.
The supervisor can't explain why we haven't been approved by the platform and says we are. When shown an image of what the platform looks like as we write this piece he is quick to say that he isn't liable for what people express on the platform. Of course he isn't! There is absolutely no way for someone who runs a big platform like this to be everywhere, and incidentally, this chap seems like a nice enough fella and we like him, so we will throw no shade in this man's direction. The autograph world perhaps is a bit of high chaparral and paved with good intentions at times. Tread carefully - everywhere - seems to be the best advice, and, if you have a few signatures of value, only ever sell them to people you know if you are selling them at some point. That way you spare yourself grief.
This is an experience that replicates a previous experience, years ago, when we tried to sell a rare promotion single and were told that we couldn't have that single. Yes we could, we are music journalists here. Before and in between these instances we haven't tried to sell any music memorabilia, and this teaches us to never try again. So - to you who might want to buy an autograph one day - maybe think about not deterring everyone anywhere who has one from selling, because they might be given such a hard time. The only thing that has happened to us for putting these up for sale is we have been insulted. Apart from what we have mentioned already there has been a number of insinuating messages about our signatures. It has been outright nasty. They are no longer on the market, and we recommend anyone with music memorabilia to NOT offer it for sale, ever, to the general public.
And, we, who for example have run a non-profit music platform for seven years (with original material from a long list of some of the most successful and amazing instrumentalists in the industry), have now promptly been deemed as dodgy by a few who do the above for a living.
Remembering Sir Miles Davis, seen here on stage at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in the summer of 1987 (photo: KG Asplund)
What can we say about remembering Sir Miles? Music has not been the same since he left. It lost a whole lot of something something, that was in fact about him.
We can all wonder what he would have been doing, had he been here today. And we all know that we can't quite know what that would have been. And that is even one of the things that are so special with Miles Davis. People just had to see where he was going to know where he was going. They couldn't go some place and wait for him there artistically, because there was no way of knowing if he would show up there. And, alongside his leaving a mighty musical journey behind as he left, he left a world of wise things he said, which is a bit strange indeed, as he wasn't always so talkative. "It can take a lifetime to learn to play like yourself". Quote Miles Davis. You can so often interpret some things he said in wider terms, and you often even must. At any height of his legendary career he was still searching for his tone. Knowing what he wanted from others, and from himself too, in the nano moment, what he uttered wasn't something fluffy for an article, but a real thing. And that is so it. Miles Davis was so cool. And it was a real cool, not a pose. "It can take a lifetime to learn to play like yourself" really means It can take a lifetime to learn to be yourself.
Those ears... One of the most magical pairs of ears in music. They could tie so much together with two notes. The way Miles Davis HEARD music... We can only leave that to silence.
BET has started a relief fund in collaboration with the NAACP and United Way Worldwide to provide help to the Black communities in the USA hit the hardest by the ongoing crisis. There will be a special broadcast, SavingOurSelves: A BET COVID-19Relief Effort, on April 22 at 8pm ET, which will feature many celebrities, and aims to raise funds and provide current information.
Thinking of that special voice. In a world full of singers, imagine that a voice can be as unique and as easily recognizable...
What can we say?
He spoke for himself, and he only needed a note to do that.
The king of covers, Luther Vandross, would make any song his own. Starting out as backup to another velvety voice, Roberta Flack, and becoming an in-demand backup singer, before he went on to being the much loved and heavily Grammy-decorated lead that he was, after the breakthrough with his group Change, Vandross also penned hit songs. He further found himself in many duet collabs.
One of us recalls seeing him at Royal Albert Hall, where he had a residence for a few shows, one of the many highlights in the career of a very talented performer indeed.
The hashtag #TogetherAtHome has quickly become one to look for, for live streams of music in this covid-19 crisis, and to use for artists who intend on doing live streams, perhaps adding their own hashtag to differentiate, as this hashtag will be seen a lot.
We don't know much about the shape of jazz to come, today. But we remember the Pulitzer Prize winner and Doctor of music, Ornette Coleman, around the time of the 90th birthday, which he celebrates up high.
The 1st part of an interview with Coleman from Bonnaroo.
The reports about Covid-19, the coronavirus, will affect society in many ways. One of them will be the cancellation of many public events. Several artists have canceled their planned tours in Asia, and the South By Southwest festival in Texas, that was going to take place in March, has been canceled. The calling off of several more events is bound to follow, and where shows are to take place it's likely that ticket sales might drop.
As we are in a crisis and don't know for how long this will continue, we need for artists and venues to consider the situation. Musicians' Corner is the last to want to see the live scene go... Live music is what counts to us. That's where it happens. And people need to gather and experience live music. It's an important element in the well-being and quality of life. However, right now... Right now, and given that we are all agreed that we go back to normal in every sense of the word, that is to the live format to a hundred percent once this is over, so that we don't propel ourselves into an Orwellian state here...where many are sitting at home and there is little human contact, we need to call upon the possibilities that modern technology offers, and have artists, venues and festivals for example consider a pay-per-view live stream option for their shows in the second half of 2020. People need to move quickly here. The technologies are there and available. And maybe we can't ask for the best quality everything in the haste with which this option should ideally be put in place. The truth is we might be in a hurry here. We do hope that Musicians' Corner isn't one of few who see this, but that many have realized this and are working on it. If this isn't happening, if measures aren't being taken, many many performers might, in a worst-case scenario, lose a lot of income this year. And they still might with this plan B. Perhaps people won't buy streamings if we need them and if there are any. Still, if events are forced to cancel, and if the customers aren't buying tickets to what will go ahead, this solution offers at least the chance to try and do shows, perhaps to empty rooms and to cameras in some places. We don't know.
This development is hazardous to many people's livelihood, but artists are especially vulnerable in what is transpiring. For many who might be forced to stay at home from work there will be insurances and societal benefits alleviating some of the financial burdens of that. Artists generally don't have the kind of safety-net required for this extreme type of force majeure. And if this situation takes years to sort out, and if festivals won't be booking further as they don't plan on running and concert venues will be prevented from staying open, etcetera, you realize that measures need to be taken.
Hopefully we are wrong in thinking this could be an outlook. But before we know that we are wrong and can all say that this is over, we need for this industry and its artists and players to try to prepare with backup plans.
Very much hoping that the new decade has begun in a splendid way for our visitors and friends here at Musicians' Corner, Musicians On Music - we are currently doing a bit of reorganizing behind the scenes, and look forward to being back with you in March!
In the meantime there is a lot - A LOT - of material without any kind of use by-date here to look at, listen to, read and enjoy!
Born on The Isle of Man in The UK, brothers Maurice and Robin later made the move to Australia with the Gibb family. Forming the successful trio The Bee Gees with their older sibbling Barry, they would go on to achieving chart toppers and careers with longevity in the music industry.
Remembering these musical twins on their heavenly birthday with a fan-made video:
MAURICE GIBB & ROBIN GIBB, 22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003 & 22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012
It’s a rock in my life, and the place where I can express myself and not make sense – if that makes sense!
It’s like a love affair – the one thing that keeps me going.
It frustrates me at times. I want to write from the heart and be true to myself, and not try to please others or a record company – and sometimes it’s a process to get there. It’s the creation process that is not always fun. Writing songs is my favorite process all the same because I ask God what does He want the song to say. It's not about me. It can be challenging, but in the end I've grown.
I have my new single, Today Is My Day, out. It’s part of a forthcoming full project. It is about my journey becoming a singer-songwriter. In the beginning doors were closed in my face and I heard ‘No’ a lot. People told me I had something special but that I wasn’t ready. I had daggers in my back and moments of rejection. Nine years later doors once closed are now open. And things are even better now because of the perspective.
Money is not my purpose. I want to minister the heart of God. I want people to smile, laugh and dance. So I must stay focused.
Javon Inman live Redeemer
Gospel is my backbone. I couldn’t get away from it if I wanted to. But songwriting is my gift, and not just in one particular style, but across genres. And I need to use my gift.
My family has really been my greatest support. I have a wife and two teenage boys. I’m so grateful for my wife, and thankful every day for that woman.
JAVON INMAN is an award-winning gospel artist based in Maryland. With two albums behind him he has recently released the new single Today Is My Day.
Jazz has somehow found its way into the 21st century.
I was talking to some Juilliard students the other day, and I said that the only thing that is new is you guys.
We have handed you something. You are standing on the shoulders of those who have been in music. They have given you so much.
When you turned on the radio in 1985 you didn’t hear Scott Joplin. So much has happened. The 20th century was the most prolific in music, and the music sustained, but now the 20th century is gone.
Our job is to carry the torch on our own merits. We want the listeners to open their windows to artists embracing their now. You can listen to somebody’s umpteenth version of whatever, but this is not 16th century music. It’s not classical music. We have to create new music and music has to earn being called a standard.
I am asking the audience to please listen to this jazz vocalist who is the granddaughter of Ella Fitzgerald.
On my new album the musicians are playing themselves. They have forty years in this game. They are not new to this game. Julius and Andrew are new and learning.
We express how we feel about music. There are no tricks in music. You have got to put the time in.
I try not to second-guess things. There were songs left over from the latest project and I kept working them.
I sometimes imagine myself performing a certain song. I try this rhythm, that phrasing, I go with the interpretations from the musicians.
With the recording of one of the songs I was thinking that the scat singers have pidgeonholed us – why don’t I try something different? I sang with the keyboard to see what arrived from that. It is true to what happened in the live moment.
Another example from the album was I wanted to reinterpret a song from the 80s, but I brought it through the deep sounds of the chord-progressions from jazz. I applied them to something that was very pop.
I had the suggestion from Elisabeth Oei to write something about what I was always saying – that there is no jazz on tv. I went “ - What? Why not?”. I simply improvised it. I built it on a radio-jingle. The song is a point of view, but you have to turn a point of view into a form.
Another one was that my family was about to get bombarded by a storm in Florida and I wrote my own stress over that.
Photos: Janet Van Ham
I really want to see jazz on tv. The world deserves it. I would like to have this kind of conversation with the cameras rolling. I want to help facilitate bringing jazz back to the mass media.
The record companies have been dumbing down the listeners by having the publishing rights to music and having new artists record it to take the earnings.
The record companies got a little bit behind and have been trying to catch up.
We do an album and it’s a massive project, and then someone downloads a synopsis of that project called a download of a track.
CARMEN LUNDY has just released an important new album, Modern Ancestors. Perhaps we have been wondering what we do in and with music now that so many, who made the immortal music, have left us. Seeing them as though they lived a long time ago --- as much as just a 'few months' ago, firmly turns them into the rock that we stand on, instead of a galaxy we might aim for but never reach - a setup for creating the copy of the copy of the copy in music --- is a way forward. This is the statement that this album makes, turning theory into reality in musical format, as it does. We had to have a talk with Carmen Lundy about this album, which is one that people order in the physical format too, not settling for the download, which indicates that many are fully aware of the significance of this production.
Gospel artist Kirk Franklin was censored - twice - by TBN (the Trinity Broadcasting Network) as he was accepting awards for his work. He brings attention to this in a video clip.
We here at Musicians' Corner regard it as serious when artists are censored, and in this case we find it particularly sad with regards to what Franklin brought up in his acceptance speeches. We hope that this was an isolated occurence, and that media outlets take what happened here as a springboard to putting principles in place that prevent censorship of this nature this from being repeated.
We encourage you to listen to and spread what Kirk Franklin has to say about his experience, and to stand by artists if and where they are being silenced.
Musicians' Corner remembers the beautiful and talented Natasja Saad (Dou T, Little T), the Danish native with a Sudanese background, whose promising career and young life was cut short by a car accident in 2007.
Here she is performing live hours before her passing
When you break it down, to me music is a special way to generate love, and share that love and good memories with people. Everybody has a song in their heart, and music is a universal language shared by all. Sometimes you can get through to people so easy and efficiently through good positive music, and how it’s delivered.
People told me as I was growing up in church: – “You have a beautiful voice. The world needs to hear you, and we think they will!”. There must have been some powerful prayers for me, because their wish for me has actually happened, as I’ve performed for 10’s of thousands of people all over the world for the past 15 years. My gift became a vehicle that I could use to bring happiness to people. To take them back to a positive and happy place in their lives, sometimes reliving good memories through songs.
Larry Johnson's Essence of Motown perform "My Girl"
Larry Johnson live at B.B. King's
Detroit is always in my heart. I grew up in a Detroit suburb called Inkster, and that’s where I went to school and where my family lived. I love Detroit and always want to represent the D, and I still always cheer for and support the Detroit sports teams – like the Lions and the Pistons. Detroit is coming back. My brother & sister still live Downtown, and it is amazing now. I’m very proud of my city.
I wound up in Florida as my ex-wife was offered the Spanish speaking market as a trainer with General Motors back in 2003. We discussed it and together we thought it was a good move for our family to relocate. I was touring with Ali Woodson’s Temptations group at the time, and I knew they could fly me in for our shows from here just as well. Plus we have 80 degrees at Christmas!!
The many revues that Larry Johnson contributed his voice and performances to, including Theo People's Temps & Tops Revue
There has been twenty-four members in The Temptations altogether over the years. When the former members leave the group, sometimes they go on to form their own Temptations styled group. The legend Otis Williams has the name rights, so they can’t call it The Temptations, but it becomes a more of a Temptations Revue. A Temptations Revue has to have a former Temptations' member in the group. If there isn’t an actual former member in the group, then it’s a tribute group.
I got started in my 1st Temptations Revue group in 2004 with Ali Ollie Woodson, who sang lead on Treat Her Like A Lady and many other songs. He taught me the ropes and gave me my badge – and my very first stamp in my passport. Then Harold “Beans” Bowles introduced me to Richard Street in 2005, and I was in his group until he passed on, and through it continuing with Barrington Bo Henderson, and then Theo Peoples.
Larry Johnson performing with Theo Peoples
Right now I’m doing my project The Essence of Motown, and I am also involved with two other Motown projects – The Magic of Motown and Motown In Motion. I work with four fabulous singers/performers here in Florida: Michael White, originally from the Bronx, NY and Greg Woods, originally from Springfield, MA, as well as the very talented Didi McFadden and Stephani Grace. We are all pretty versatile and sing many genres of music. They are my family. I am also involved in a very successful Earth, Wind, & Fire tribute band called Elements, and we are currently getting booked for a lot of shows all over the country. I work with Garry Samms in our Motown in Motion show, and Candi Rivers in our Magic of Motown show. I also want to give a shout-out to my producers Joey Dale for Motown In Motion, and Michael Yorkell with Magic of Motown and The Elements EWF show.
When you are performing Motown, I feel you need to as closely as possible stay true to the genre. I grew up in Detroit, I have a close connection to The Motown sound. It’s deep in my heart & soul, and being actually from Detroit, I like to think of myself as a true and legitimate Motown artist. So I really care about how this music is presented. People want to hear this music as close to the way they hear it at home on their record players. You also have to present strong choreography and give people something to look at as well as listen to. You have to bring nice show wardrobe, and present an all-round great experience, which is what we strive to do every time we hit the stage.
People can see your heart, and that’s contagious and memorable. That is the formula for getting called back for repeat performances.
Elements doing Earth, Wind & Fire's "Reasons", with Larry Johnson on lead vocals
LARRY JOHNSON is a singer from Inkster/Detroit, Michigan, now based in West Palm Beach, Florida. As a former member of several of the Temptations Revues, Johnson these days continues to fly the flag for Motown in several projects - with his excellent tenor voice, pleasant stage persona, and with his management skills - as well as also representing “Elements, The Ultimate Earth Wind & Fire tribute”.