RIP TO AARON ANDERSON

jelly.jpg
Ten years ago, when I first began to get to know folks in my generation of record collectors, we were all mostly in our 20s. One of the nicest, classiest dudes in the game was Aaron Anderson, a DJ/collector out in Detroit. For many years, Aaron had been dealing with a rare form of brain cancer that for a long, blessed while, had gone into remission. However, earlier this year, it returned in an inoperable form and I am extremely saddened to report that Aaron passed away last night.

I didn’t […]

Continue reading RIP TO AARON ANDERSON

REMEMBERING WARDELL QUEZERGUE

wq.jpg
Wardell Quezergue died today, at the age of 81. Amongst the giants of NOLA’s R&B/funk community, Wardell wasn’t necessarily as influential as Allen Toussaint nor as prolific as Eddie Bo but he was as quintessential a shaper of NOLA’s R&B sound as anyone, and easily one of the most successful, based on a handful of mega-hits he had his hand in.1

Some of my favorite songs out of NOLA have the Wardell touch upon them, so much so that it was ridiculously easy to just pull them immediately out of my mental […]

Continue reading REMEMBERING WARDELL QUEZERGUE

REMEMBERING ASHFORD AND LEIBER

val nick.jpglove po.jpg

I can’t do proper justice to the legacy and accomplishments of the late Nickolas Ashford and Jerry Lieber, two of America’s great songwriters, both of whom passed yesterday. Jay Smooth has a great Ashford tribute post up while Funky 16 Corners hooked one up for Leiber, including a few of the songs I was going to include on my site.

I will say this much: the amount that songwriters contribute to the world is almost never, ever repaid back in the recognition we give them. […]

Continue reading REMEMBERING ASHFORD AND LEIBER

EUGENE MCDANIELS: DANCE FOR FREEDOM

eugene-mcdaniels-456cm080111.jpg

Eugene McDaniels passed away this past Saturday, at the age of 72. I can’t do his long and illustrious career proper justice – most of what I know of his catalog constitutes a small fraction of the total number of songs he wrote and recorded. However, the few McDaniels songs I’m most familiar with rank among some of the most interesting and socially relevant I know of.

I’ve written about him in the past and here’s what I had to say:

Eugene McDaniels: Cherrystones
From Outlaw (Atlantic, 1970)

This song is so […]

Continue reading EUGENE MCDANIELS: DANCE FOR FREEDOM

AMY WINEHOUSE, RIP

amy_winehouse_lialg-thumb-473x355.jpg
As I’m sure some corner of the interweb has already informed you, Amy Winehouse is dead. I’m not even sure what to say though I think the spectrum of reactions is somewhere between “damn, that’s sad” and “well, it’s not like we didn’t see this coming.”1 There’s also the grim coincidence that she’s the latest to join the 27 Club.

I’ve written a lot about Amy Winehouse over the years. In fact, I think the most commented post I’ve ever had on Soul SIdes was about her first L.A. performance, at […]

Continue reading AMY WINEHOUSE, RIP

JERRY RAGOVOY: RIP

obit1.jpg
Sad news I just learned about; Jerry Ragovoy has passed away at age 80. I wrote about Ragovoy in 2009, after the release of an anthology of his best-known collaborations; please do check that out since it has more on his background and other songs.

I alluded to this in that post but Ragovoy was an incredibly prolific force in R&B who didn’t always get the recognition he deserved. I was amazed at how many incredible songs he touched, including a few of my all-time favorite soul songs by the likes […]

Continue reading JERRY RAGOVOY: RIP

FONCE MIZELL: RIP

Fonce Mizell HELL UP IN HARLEM.jpg
Fonce Mizell passed away yesterday. He was one-half of one of the distinctive and beloved production duos of the 1970s (and via sampling, of the 1990s, you might say).

Check out Jeff Chang’s interview with the Mizell Brothers, at the Red Bull Music Academy, from a few years back.

And most definitely check out Matthew Africa’s 2010 tribute to the Mizells.

A POET WITH SOUL: THE BALLADS OF GIL SCOTT-HERON

I wrote a short piece on GSH that I thought hadn’t run yet but, dope as I am, it actually came out on the 2nd. It builds on what I wrote in this post, and tries to go beyond just Scott-Heron’s cultural legacy and get into what he meant as a singer and musician (along with Brian Jackson).

“A poet with soul: The ballads of Gil Scott-Heron” (Los Angeles Times, June 2, 2011)

WELDON IRVINE PLAYING “HERE’S WHERE I CAME IN”

This is from a relatively new documentary about the late jazz composer/leader, The Edification of Weldon Irvine.

It’s Weldon performing, live, his “Here’s Where I Came In.” It’s probably my favorite composition of his, a song filled with both ineffable sadness and beauty and the clip above both captures the deep melancholy I always hear in the song (and always associate with Weldon) as well as the creative energy he had, literally, at his fingertips.

Here’s my favorite version of the song:

Weldon Irvine: Here’s Where I Came In
From Sinbad (RCA, 1976)

I love […]

Continue reading WELDON IRVINE PLAYING “HERE’S WHERE I CAME IN”

GIL SCOTT-HERON: THE VOICE


However ravaged by addiction his body may have been, Gil Scott-Heron was a remarkably handsome man until the end. He always was, even with his slightly gawky, lanky frame. It’s all about that light smirk, that crease of his lip that could frown into a “I’m serious as cancer” gaze on the cover of The Revolution Will Not Be Televised but most of time, was more playful, what should rightfully be called “swagger” instead of the ridiculous posturing that tries to pass for it these days.

Maybe it’s because that Manning Marable book came […]

Continue reading GIL SCOTT-HERON: THE VOICE