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January 23, 2007


Greg's List 2006: Obituaries

Greg supplied so much information for his list this year, we couldn't fit it all in one post. Here are his obituaries for some notable artists who died last year.

Syd Barrett

Acid-gobbler extraordinaire who masterminded Pink Floyd's first album, the goofy-demented-kaleidoscopic The Piper at the Gates of Dawn. 3 years later he released 2 druggy solo records and then basically disappered, but he'd cemented his reputation as one of rock's most eccentric and mysterious voyagers.

Watch a performance of "Jugband Blues" link

James Brown

Here's one of his finest moments from an on-air interview w/ Sonya. Amazing. link

Here's a live performance from '67. Without question one of the greatest performers ever. link

Ruth Brown

Rock & Roll Hall of Famer "Miss Rhythm" was a sensation for Atlantic in the '50s and, along with Etta James, helped bridge the gap from Billie Holiday and Sarah Vaughan to Aretha Franklin.

Here's a live perforrmance of "Mama He Treats Your Daughter Mean." What a voice. link

Desmond Dekker

Iconic Jamaican singer who began recording in the ska era, though some of his best work was rocksteady. He also had a comeback during the late '70s ska revival in Britain, where he had first enjoyed the adoration of mods a decade before.

Here's the hilarious video for "Please Don't Bend" link

Arthur Lee

Leader of '60s L.A. cult band Love, whose masterpiece Forever Changes consistently shows up in the top 20 or 30 in "Best Albums of All-Time" lists. Love's sound was psychedelic but also relied on sophisticated song structures, with elaborate horn and string parts and fuzzy guitars, in contrast to the spacy, jam-oriented aesthetic of NorCal psych bands Jefferson Airplane and The Grateful Dead. Lee's weird, weird lyrics were way ahead of their time and way cooler than fellow L.A. "poet" Jim Morrison's.

Here's a vintage video for "Your Mind and We Belong Together" link

Grant McLennan

One half of the songwriting team for The Go-Betweens, the Australian R.E.M. McLennan also lead a solid solo career in the '90s.

Here's the video for "Easy Come, Easy Go." Perfect pop song. link

Wilson Pickett

Southern soul singer, a contemporary of Otis Redding and Solomon Burke in the '60s. Never really a critical favorite but a great singer nonetheless. Here's a live performance of "Everybody Needs Somebody." Now this is feel-good music. If you're not wearing Wilson's smile by the end of the song, you've got a heart o' stone. link

Gene Pitney

'60s teen idol with an absolutely heartrending voice, best known for bringing more than a few Bacharach/David songs to life. Not the genius that Orbison was, but certainly better looking.

Here's some TV performance of "I'm Gonna Be Strong" link

Ali Farka Toure

Malian blues guitarist whose instantly recognizable style was one of the signature sounds of West African music in the '90s.

Here's some live performance. "King of the desert blues." link

James Yancey (J Dilla a.k.a. Jay Dee)

Detroit beatmaker J Dilla was one of hip-hop's greatest producers, fashioning a style as unique and progressive as those of Dre, RZA and Timbaland. Dilla supplied beats for the likes of Common, Q-Tip, Erykah Badu, Ghostface, and D'Angelo, but his 2 solo albums, this year's Donuts and the incredible Welcome 2 Detroit, really showcased his best work. Like The Meters, he could do more with a simple beat and some bass (maybe a little guitar, a little organ) than most producers could do with 24 tracks, and his beats thus had a loose, live, spontaneous feel (it's no wonder The Roots worshipped him). But as many others have noted, it's really all about the drums, often played by Dilla himself, which always seem to dance right around the pocket.

Here's the video for "McNasty Filth" (Dilla in the Astros hat) link

categories: Music
posted by adm at 5:38 PM | #

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