Sunday, December 31, 2006

Kool & The Gang - Caribbean Festival (De-Lite 1573)

Caribbean Festival

Hey, everybody. Here is the year end post I was planning before The Godfather left the building...

Most of the records we've been listening to together here over the past year or so were recorded some 30, 40, or even 50 years ago. Just as we've been doing with our 'greatest generation' World War II veterans, we can only bow our heads in remembrance and appreciation as the people behind this wonderful music pass on before our eyes.

As you know, I have attempted to pay tribute here on the B side to these legendary performers, producers, and 'record men' who died in the past year:

Wilson Pickett
Lou Rawls
Billy Preston
King Floyd
Little Buster
Irving Green
Arif Mardin
Barbara George
Ruth Brown
Buddy Killen
Marshall Sehorn
Ahmet Ertegun

Rather than being sad and mournful, however, my goal here is to provide a space where we can join together and celebrate a life well lived. All of these folks have contributed something that helped to make the world a better place. This is my way of saying Thank You.

Claydes E.X. Smith was a jazz trained musician who became a founding member of Kool & The Gang. As the co-author of songs like Hollywood Swinging and Jungle Boogie his seminal guitar work helped lay the foundation for the Funk Revolution. Today's B side 'disco version' is taken from the 1975 album Spirit Of The Boogie, and has this sort of NOLA Brass Band 'second-line' feel to it that I just love... check out that smokin' guitar work!

Smith remained a major player in the 'new era' ushered in by the arrival of vocalist 'JT' Taylor and producer Eumir Deodato, co-writing big hits like Celebration, Joanna and Get Down On It. He passed after a long illness this past June.

As you groove along with Kool, please take a moment to remember these other greats who have gone on before us in 2006:

Johnny Jenkins - Macon Guitar Legend
Desmond Dekker - Ska Pioneer
Gene McFadden - Ain't No Stoppin' Us Now
Ray Barretto - King Of The Hard Hands
June Pointer - Soul Sister
Phil Walden - Otis Redding Manager
Floyd Dixon - Hey Bartender
Freddy Fender - Texas Tornado
Gerald Levert - Ohio Soul's Heir Apparent
Jay McShann - Kansas City Piano Man
Sam Meyers - Sleeping In The Ground
Homesick James - Robert Johnson Contemporary
Robert 'Junior' Lockwood - Another One
Ali Farka Touré - From Mali to Memphis
Bennie Smith - Dean of St. Louis Guitar
Allen 'Catroy' Broussard - King of the Zydeco Sax
Timothea Beckerman - New Orleans Siren
Tina Mayfield - Percy's Widow, 'Mama Tina'
Jessie Mae Hemphill - Delta Blues Queen
H-Bomb Ferguson - I Dig Your Wig
John Pepper - WDIA Founder
Freddie Gorman - Original Original
Tony Sylvester - A Main Ingredient
Milan Williams - The Brick House Man
Rudy Taylor - Gap Band Producer
Emanuel Lasky - Welfare Cheese
Walter Ward - Olympics Lead Vocalist
Joe Weaver - Seminal Detroit Bandleader
Joe Shamwell - Soul Ranger
Barbara Hall - Drop My Heart Off At The Door
Jennell Hawkins - Moments To Remember
Stanley Mitchell - Domino and Tornado
Herman Wallace Lott - Shreveport's Buzzard

My condolences to the loved ones they leave behind. They will be missed.

I'll talk to you next year!


Blogger Keeping Soul Alive said...

Hi Red

Well said - I toast them all with a glass of Chateauneuf Du Pape in hand - my life would have been an emptier place without them - some I met, some I saw perform - others were names on records but they all added up to giving us the music we love - thank you and your memories live on inside of us!


4:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Robert Lockwood was one of a kind and Robert Johnson's only protégé. You can learn more about him by visiting or check out this awesome video we shot of him:

12:00 PM  
Blogger TravelingMermaid said...

Happy New Year, Red, and thanks for all the good times. I'm so glad to have found ya!

11:26 PM  

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