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RIH Willie Ford



There is little doubt that The Dramatics is one of the greatest groups that ever worked in the music industry. Thirty plus something top ten hits, more appearances than anyone on Soul Train, went on for 48 something years, you can't even sum it up if you try - there is so much to find out about this group. And although it is in fact often times about numbers when we look at things, with music the proof is in the pudding too - and it can't even be fully described where the most deep and rich music is concerned. You could attempt to, and assign music theorists and poets for the task of describing the harmonic, melodic, rythmical, blended, rich, vast, deep sounds of the Dramatics, and they would be coming up short. The best music is indescribable. We don't have the faculties. We can wave about a bit and say SOMETHING about the music, but it will only ever be something in the midst of it ALL that could have been said had we had the vocabulary.


The Dramatics original members were Ron Banks, Larry Squirrel Demps, William Wee Gee Howard, Elbert Wilkins - and Willie Ford. The group was formed in the 60s and a trillion gazillion things happened since. And two weeks ago we had the news that Willie Ford has passed over, and as these words are written this great contributor to music is returned home.



At the end of the road something happened that no one talks about. That is not to be the case, no. The great Mr. Willie Ford is not going to be sent off having given all of his life to The Dramatics and to music without being shown the basic respect of the truth being told. Not here, no way. Willie Ford is one of the original members of this group, and he will forever be just that to the fans. Willie Ford was also always there through The Dramatics' entire journey, including the creation of this group and its massive breakthrough - which is what most people associate with The Dramatics, while others started in this group when their success was already established - and sometimes came and went. Just briefly we need to flip to this:

  

https://www.facebook.com/thedramaticsofficial/photos/a.1904471516535599/2099915476991201/?type=3&theater

(More...

more & more & Normally how it works, Mr. Reynolds, is that if an original member says that someone is in the band they are in the band...It's how it worked with say...The O'Jays...or...your own joining this act...and further...you took quite a long break from this act...and...  )


How this happened? Does it matter? The legal system may have the control over letters and trademarks. It doesn't write the history of music, and it doesn't boss over our ears or hearts! Mr. Willie Ford was part of the start of The Dramatics and will always be one of the true and original Dramatics - to the fans, hearts, minds, souls, ears, universe and the forever. And it doesn't matter that this happened OR that the persons' who did this now actually pretend it didn't happen like Willie never continued the band that he founded, elsewhere

- not anymore. (Wow! And we will never hear what they could have done...) The original member of this act perhaps wanted to get away from something, clearly had another visionWe don't have to pretend here. We will be outlaws at Musicians' Corner, in this sense. To us The Dramatics have dissolved and disbanded. That was some great 48 year something run, and we truly love and respect ALL of the Dramatics, and want to thank ALL of the Dramatics for their outstanding - outstanding! - contributions to the art of music. But to us this is over now, unless of course some recorded music we haven't heard yet from this unit should turn up or something. Someone was prepared to grab an entirely unimagninable affidavit, but it doesn't matter how hard anyone works or how much of a business-person anybody is - they don't write about themselves in the history books. Future generations will sing 'Some people are made of plastic, and you know some people are made of wood...' though it just may be the case that some people will wind up owning a whole lot of nothing where there was something to take loving care of and not only count. And we're sorry that we won't be paying attention to any 'future-plans' that this venture (The family business now called The Dramatics, one man show with cast that got a 5th man and changed the show somewhat because Mr. Ford did this) might have, as we will be too busy listening to The Dramatics' first million-selling album from here on.


Now we said what someone needed to say, we can just go back to smiling over the great legacy left by this man, Willie Ford, and his compadres in this amazing group, from here on, here at Musicians' Corner - and he did leave a legacy that is so easily smiled upon.


The beginning...


The end... All genuine smiles there... :) Something sounding, looking and feeling like the dignified & matured thing this legacy and five part harmony concept deserved. And you just look at that...it had a young customer base. Well done!!! 


Thank you sooo much, Willie Ford, for what you have done for a world of music fans, and enjoy that Heaven that loves to have you! 



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Honoring Rudy Copeland

 




For example... For anyone who went to see Solomon Burke in latter years this is so well known...


There was a man up there, behind the keys of an organ, in constant conversation with King Sol throughout. This man was the fire in the belly of the band, feeding the music with his performances, living the music with every fiber, reaching for the sky in between and sometimes during his playing. An outstanding instrumentalist, who also played the organ for preacher Burke in church and worked with many other luminairies in music.

His name: Rudy Copeland.

Remember that name.


His story is of course so much longer and you will be well advised to go explore HERE


Here he is being excellent solo:


And here he is laying the foundation to a very memorable cut:


Us here at Musicians' Corner are great fans of this artist's contributions to music.

Thank you for the music, Mr. Copeland.



For a little more reading about Solomon Burke's band we recommend the articles with Kenneth Meredith a.k.a. 'the love man', that are featured here. 


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Remembering Ma Rainey



"Prove It On Me Blues" Ma Rainey


Ma Rainey's biography from the RRHOF




Ma Rainey (perhaps born April 26, 1886 – December 22, 1939)

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Remembering Bobby Womack


Musicians' Corner remembers Bobby Womack





BOBBY WOMACK, March 4, 1944 – June 27, 2014

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Remembering Didier Lockwood

Musicians' Corner remembers Didier Lockwood

Didier Lockwood


Remembering Didier Lockwood. Monsieur Lockwood did an article with us in 2014, and it didn't take many moments into our talk with him before we realized that we had set up way too little time for the article. A man of great depths! The article became a flicker of something, as we faced the fact that we had in fact missed an opportunity to dive deeper. But the subtext speaks volumes. We always intended on getting back to him, and we especially wanted for someone to do an artist-to-artist interview with him to really get in there, into the conversation on the inside of music. Sadly this never happened, and it is without a doubt one of our biggest regrets here on Musicians' Corner.


A quartet that blows our minds: Didier Lockwood, Mike Stern, Tom Kennedy, Dave Weckl




Didier Lockwood, 11 February 1956 – 18 February 2018


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Remembering Warren Zevon


Warren Zevon

Musicians' Corner remembers Warren Zevon






Warren Zevon, January 24, 1947 – September 7, 2003

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Michael Ray remembers Clifford Adams

Michael Ray remembers Clifford Adams

 

Clifford Adams



He was my closest and best friend on the planet. 

We played together in our neighborhood band the VSQs, we played together, with The Stylistics and with Kool & the Gang. He was such an energetic player.

I stay in touch with his sisters. 

I still grief for him.



Mike Ray and Cliff Adams

They don't stand still, do they? Trenton natives Mike and Cliff perform together.





Clifford Adams, October 8, 1952-January 12, 2015





Enjoy the New Jersey heroes!


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Remembering Cleo Brown

Musicians' Corner remembers Cleo Brown


 

  Cleo Brown>

Musicians' Corner remembers Cleo Brown



Cleo Brown, the first female instrumentalist who was honored with the NEA Jazz Masters Fellowship.






Cleo Brown, December 8, 1909 - April 15, 1995

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Remembering Clifford Brown

Musicians' Corner remembers Clifford Brown


Clifford Brown

Musicians' Corner remembers Clifford Brown


Max Roach talks vividly about Clifford Brown



Clifford Brown, October 30, 1930-June 26, 1956 

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Remembering John Coltrane

Musicians' Corner remembers John Coltrane

John Coltrane

Musicians' Corner remembers John Coltrane


An interview with John Coltrane from 1965




John Coltrane, September 23, 1926 – July 17, 1967

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Remembering Barry White

Musicians' Corner remembers Barry White

Barry White

Musicians' Corner remembers Barry White


"Let The Music Play"


A VH1-documentary about and interview with Barry White




Barry White, September 12, 1944 – July 3, 2003



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Remembering Tiny Grimes

Musicians' Corner remembers Tiny Grimes





Musicians' Corner remembers Tiny Grimes



Lloyd Tiny Grimes, July 7, 1916 – March 4, 1989

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Remembering Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy

Eric Dolphy, The Last Date:






Eric Dolphy, June 20, 1928 – June 29, 1964

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Remembering Prince

The Symbol
Musicians' Corner remembers Prince



Classic Prince interview:





A conversation with Kim Berry, Prince' hair stylist:



NPG members who have spoken here on Musicians' Corner so far:


KAT DYSON


PHILIP LASSITER


LIV WARFIELD



PRINCE ROGERS NELSON, June 7, 1958 – April 21, 2016. Rest in Power. We miss you.

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Remembering Fats Waller

Musicians' Corner remembers Fats Waller

Fats Waller


Yass, yass, yass - remembering Fats Waller.





Thomas Wright Fats Waller, May 21, 1904 – December 15, 1943

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Remembering Jimmy Ruffin


Jimmy Ruffin
Musicians' Corner remembers Jimmy Ruffin



What becomes of the broken hearted missing the many, many - many people in music whom we have lost?





Jimmy Ruffin, May 7, 1936 – November 17, 2014

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Remembering Bernie Worrell

Musicians' Corner remembers Bernie Worrell



Bernie Worrell
Musicians' Corner remembers Bernie Worrell


An interview with Bernie Worrell



Bernie Worrell, April 19, 1944 – June 24, 2016

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Major congrats to Pulitzer Prize Winner Kendrick Lamar!

Musicians' Corner congratulate Kendrick Lamar


Kendrick Lamar has won the Pulitzer Prize for "Damn", and makes history, as this heavy award generally goes to contemporary classical music and jazz music.


Pulitzer Prize-winning music:


A bit more info on the award:

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Remembering Don Myrick

Musicians' Corner remembers Don Myrick

Don Myrick

Musicians' Corner remembers Don Myrick


Remembering Don Myrick's wonderful contribution to music and tragic passing over at the hands of a police officer.







Donald Myrick, April 6, 1940 – July 30, 1993

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Remembering Lightnin' Hopkins

Musicians' Corner remembers Lightnin' Hopkins



Lightnin Hopkins album cover, fragment
Musicians' Corner remembers Lightnin' Hopkins


Lightnin' (Sam) Hopkins answering a question



Lightnin' Hopkins, March 15, 1912 – January 30, 1982

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Remembering James Reese Europe

James Reese Europe

Musicians' Corner remembers James Reese Europe


A few of the reasons why we need to remember James Reese Europe, presented in this excellent video:



James Reese Europe, February 22, 1881–May 10, 1919

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Remembering Natalie Cole

Musicians' Corner remembers Natalie Cole

Natalie Cole
Musicians' Corner remembers Natalie Cole


Natalie Cole talks about music important to her.



Natalie Cole, February 6, 1950 – December 31, 2015

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Remembering William Powell

William Powell

Musicians' Corner remembers William Powell


"How Time Flies" - The O'Jays


Classic O'Jays "Back Stabbers"


The O'Jays inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2005 - William Powell posthumously.



William Powell, January 20, 1942 – May 26, 1977

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Remembering David Bowie

Musicians' Corner remembers David Bowie

David Bowie
Musicians' Corber remembers David Bowie



David Bowie gets philosophical in this interview from French tv.



David Bowie, 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

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Remembering June Pointer

Musicians' Corner remembers June Pointer

June Pointer

Musicians' Corner remembers June Pointer



The Pointer Sisters live 1975, opening with their rendition of "Salt Peanuts", and taking the audience on a small tour around a music universe.



June Pointer, November 30, 1953 – April 11, 2006

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Remembering Ray Collins

Ray Collins remembered

Musicians' Corner remembers Ray Collins


A nice tribute video to the Mothers of Invention - singer



Ray Collins, November 19, 1936 – December 24, 2012

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Remembering Mack Rice

Mack Rice

"Respect Yourself" and remember Mack Rice...  :-)



Mack Rice, November 10, 1933 – June 27, 2016

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Remembering Dizzy Gillespie - 100

Musicians' Corner remembers Dizzy Gillespie

Dizzie Gillespie


Remembering the great Dizzy Gillespie on his 100d birthday.




Dizzy Gillespie, October 21, 1917 – January 6, 1993

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Remembering Melvin Franklin

Musicians' Corner remembers Melvin Franklin

Melvin Franklin

Musicians' Corner remembers Melvin Franklin





Melvin Franklin, October 12, 1942 – February 23, 1995

Remembering Robert Brookins

Robert Brookins

Musicians' Corner remembers Robert Brookins





Robert Brookins, October 7, 1962 – April 15, 2009

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