Wycliffe Johnson, Boisterous Reggae Producer and Musician, Dies at 47

September 6, 2009


Wycliffe Johnson, an innovative composer and producer known as Steely, who held sway over two decades of reggae music, died on Tuesday in East Patchogue, N.Y. He was 47 and lived in Kingston, Jamaica.

The cause was a heart attack following pneumonia, said his daughter Kerry Johnson. He had moved to Brooklyn this summer for treatment of kidney problems related to hypertension and diabetes, she said, and died at Brookhaven Memorial Hospital several weeks after surgery for a blood clot in the brain.

The reggae world knew Mr. Johnson as Steely, a boisterous producer with a larger-than-life personality and a belly to match. Best known for his role in the team Steely & Clevie, he was equally influential in his early work as a sideman, and helped to transform reggae at several stages, from roots to dancehall to digital.

An expert keyboardist who worked with Bob Marley and Bunny Wailer, Mr. Johnson worked at seminal Jamaican recording studios like Coxsone Dodd’s Studio One, Lee (Scratch) Perry’s Black Ark and Sugar Minott’s Youth Promotion. By some estimates he participated in more sessions than anyone else in the history of reggae.

This Obituary continues at  THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Published in: on September 6, 2009 at 11:19 am  Leave a Comment  
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Marie Knight, Rich-Voiced Gospel Singer, Dies at 89

Published September 2, 2009

Marie Knight, whose rich, room-filling contralto voice provided the ideal counterweight to Sister Rosetta Tharpe’s more penetrating higher register on some of the most popular gospel records of the 1940s, died Sunday in Manhattan. She was 89.

The cause was complications of pneumonia, said Mark Carpentieri, her manager and the owner of M.C. Records.

Mrs. Knight, began singing gospel music as a child in the Church of God in Christ, a Pentecostal denomination that produced some of the most potent voices in gospel music, including that of Rosetta Tharpe, who died in 1973.

Obituary continues at THE NEW YORK TIMES.

Published in: on September 3, 2009 at 12:44 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Patriarch of the musical DeBarge Family has passed

A young Robert Louis DeBarge, Sr.

A young Robert Louis DeBarge, Sr.

I  just opened my first email of the day to find this sad news …

A message to all members of The DeBarge Network

The DeBarge Network sorrowfully  announces the passing of Robert Louis DeBarge Sr.  He was the Patriarch of the world reknown DeBarge family that we love.
To the the family, You are in our prayers today.  We ask that God send his blessings to you during this difficult time. Please know that our loving thoughts are with you; may the peace which comes from the cherished memories of your father comfort you.  Words alone can not express enough our heartfelt sorrow at your loss. We pray that the peace of God be with you during your time of sorrow and that somehow  it help to comfort you to know that we deeply share your sorrow,
and are thinking of you and praying for you.

The DeBarge Network family

Visit The DeBarge Network at: http://www.debargenetwork.com

Published in: on August 30, 2009 at 12:03 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Ellie Greenwich, ‘Chapel of Love’ co-writer, dies

56 mins ago

NEW YORK – Ellie Greenwich, who co-wrote some of pop music’s most enduring songs, including “Chapel of Love,” “Be My Baby” and “Leader of the Pack,” died Wednesday, according to her niece. She was 68.

Greenwich died of a heart attack at St. Luke’s Roosevelt Hospital, where she had been admitted a few days earlier for treatment of pneumonia, according to her niece, Jessica Weiner.

Greenwich, a member of the Songwriters Hall of Fame, was considered one of pop’s most successful songwriters. She had a rich musical partnership with the legendary Phil Spector, whose “wall of sound” technique changed rock music. With Spector, she wrote some of pop’s most memorable songs, including “Da Doo Ron Ron” and “River Deep, Mountain High.” But Spector wasn’t her only collaborator.

She also had key hits with her ex-husband Jeff Barry, including the dynamic song “Leader of the Pack” (years later, Broadway would stage a Tony-nominated musical with the same name based on her life).

“He was the first male I could actually harmonize with,” she once said.

The AP Obit Continues here at Yahoo news.

Gosh! How many more icons can we possibly say goodbye to like this? This has just been much too much this entire year! One musical and/or political and/or pop cultural icon leaves us just far too often of late.

Published in: on August 26, 2009 at 3:26 pm  Leave a Comment  
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R&B singer and Harvey-native John E. Carter dead at 75

August 21, 2009


Lead tenor John E. Carter, who was twice inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his work with two separate Chicago-based vocal groups, has died at age 75.

Associates said Carter died Thursday in his native Harvey after a long battle with lung cancer.

Obituary continued here at  CHICAGO SUN- TIMES.

Published in: on August 22, 2009 at 12:47 pm  Comments (1)  
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Johnnie Carter of The Flamingos & The Dells passed this morning

This photo came from the Marv Goldeberg Dells article. Here is the link: http://home.att.net/~marvart/Dells/dells.html

This photo came from the Marv Goldeberg Dells article. Here is the link: http://home.att.net/~marvart/Dells/dells.html

All of the members of “classicsoulmusic70sstyle@yahoogroups.com,” myself included, just received the following email:

Hello everyone, sorry to have to post this very sad news, but Mr.
Johnnie Carter (the world’s best tenor) of The Dells, passed away this morning! He had cancer,it took its toll,  please pray for his family and for  The Dells, they are heartbroken!  And might I ask, please go and see our music legends, support them, give them thier [sic] props, time is running out fast!

Johnnie Carter

What a sad, sad note to start the weekend on. More to come. Stay tuned.

Update 8/27/09

Funeral information from this link can be found in the comments below.

Published in: on August 21, 2009 at 3:33 pm  Comments (7)  
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Rashied Ali, Free-Jazz Drummer, Dies at 76


Published: August 14, 2009

Rashied Ali, whose expressionistic, free-jazz drumming helped define the experimental style of John Coltrane’s final years, died Wednesday in Manhattan. He was 76.

The cause was a heart attack, said his wife, Patricia Ali.

Mr. Ali, who first encountered Coltrane in their Philadelphia neighborhood in the late 1950s, made the leap from admiration to collaboration in the mid-1960s, when he joined Elvin Jones as a second drummer with Coltrane’s ensemble at the Village Gate in November 1965.

Mr. Ali recorded with Coltrane and Jones on the 1965 album “Meditations” and, after replacing Jones as Coltrane’s drummer, on the duet album “Interstellar Space” (1967), one of the purest expressions of the free-jazz movement.

“I didn’t know what it was, but he called it multidirectional rhythms,” Mr. Ali said of his drumming in an interview for the documentary “The World According to John Coltrane” (1990). On Mr. Ali’s Web site, rashiedali.org, Rashid Ali’s Web site his playing is described as “a multirhythmic, polytonal propellant, helping fuel Coltrane’s flights of free-jazz fancy.”

The obituary continues here at THE NEW YORK TIMES ONLINE.

Published in: on August 15, 2009 at 7:30 pm  Comments (2)  
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