DONALD BYRD: RIP

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I decided, in late 2012, I really didn’t want to write RIP pieces anymore. I meant, absolutely, no disrespect to the likes of Marva Whitney or Inez Andrews or Fontella Bass or Ravi Shankar, et. al. But it is depressing when your site begins to resemble a roll call of the dead and as I’ve said in the past, for people like me, in love with music of the 1960s and ’70s, we are definitely entering into a time when a lot of our heroes and heroines will be passing away.

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PEACEFUL JOURNEY, MATTHEW

It seems wrong to say I had a “great time” at a memorial but I will say: if the goal of this Sunday’s public memorial for Matthew Africa was to partake in the kind of joyous socializing and good cheer that accompanied his gigs and parties, then it did everything you could want and more. At the end, a second line band lead people through the streets of Oakland, giving Matthew a proper musician’s send-off.

FOR MATTHEW AFRICA

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Matthew Africa is gone. I’m having trouble accepting this.

I probably first met him around ’91 or ’92, when I started volunteering at KALX FM in Berkeley. I admit: Matthew intimidated the hell out of me at first. He wasn’t unfriendly but he carried himself with a certain, serious countenance. He didn’t seem like the type to suffer fools lightly and I guess I thought myself a fool, or close enough to one. What trips me out to realize is that, for the longest time, I just thought of Matthew [...]

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FOR HAL (AND BURT)

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I originally meant to write this as a dedication to Burt Bacharach, having recently prepped a mix for the Burt Bacharach Tribute night at Devil’s Pie. I was running behind (as I often do these days) but today, Hal David died.

I’m sure someone far more learned in the great American songbook can explain why, between the two partners, Burt Bacharach has seemed to draw more praise than David. It’s extraordinarily difficult to find a song that one man worked on that the other did not as well; as far as writing [...]

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…THEN SOFTLY LEAVE

Maurice Gibb passed away before I had really begun Soul Sides so I never paid due respect to the Bee Gees. As a ’70s baby, some of my earliest memories of music revolved around hearing The Bee Gees – who were inescapable in the late ’70s – on the radio, at malls, etc. A bit milquetoast and cheesy? Sure. But I still love listening to this ballad in particular.

Robin Gibb, who passed away today, is that high falsetto you hear. Thanks for all the music.