Zephaniah OHora: This Highway

February 20th, 2018

Brilliant evocation of Merle Haggard’s pathos

“Zephaniah OHora” isn’t the sort of name you normally expect to see on a country record. But this New England-to-Brooklyn transplant has obviously steeped in the classics, from the album cover’s allusion to Merle Haggard’s debut, to gently sung, pedal steel-lined songs that evoke the wistful, beaten-down-yet-still-faithful mood of the Hag’s classic Capitol albums. Eleven originals and a cover of Frank & Nancy Sinatra’s “Somethin’ Stupid” flow easily as OHora wistfully remembers lost soulmates, longs for lovers who are now out of reach, and is beaten down by the city. When he sings the New York City lyric “I was holding down a job, just south of Houston, for a while, serving time, making someone else a dime,” he mates the grit of big city life to the personal struggles that have always been at the root of country music.

The production puts the twang up-front alongside OHora, with electric guitar riffs that echo Roy Nichols, acoustic leads that have the gut-stringed tone of Grady Martin, and steel and fiddle that add potent emotion. But what really distinguishes the album is OHora’s ability to conjure honest, humble and tearful pathos. He leaves the door open for a love who’s moved on in “Take Your Love Out of Town” and patiently waits for a “High Class City Girl from the Country” with a gentle shuffle that might have graced records by Glen Campbell or Bobby Goldsboro in the 1960s. OHora’s protagonists find themselves looking out the door as someone leaves, hung up between accepting fate and begging a second chance. The emotions eventually turn dire as tears turn to threats with the dark lyrics and Ray Price beat of “I Can’t Let Go (Even Though I Set You Free).”

The album’s title track gives voice to the philosophical thoughts that rattle around a long-haul driver’s head, the highway continuously unspooling ahead as memories recede in the rearview mirror. And the closing “For a Moment of Two” is likewise contemplative, as OHora pairs his misery with a bottle that untangles the lies he’s told himself. Even the album’s cover of “Somethin’ Stupid,” sung as a duet with Dori Freeman, fits the album’s theme with its hesitant seduction. OHara is supported by Jim Campilongo and from Brooklyn’s Skinny Dennis scene, Luca Benedetti, Jon Graboff, Alex Hargreaves and Roy Williams, and their shared affinity for a time when country music surfaced in the mainstream without losing its hillbred soul has paid tremendous dividends here. A real sleeper. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Zephaniah OHora’s Home Page

The Choir: Artifact – The Unreleased Album

February 17th, 2018

Cleveland garage rock legends’ stellar unreleased 1969 album

Many rock ‘n’ roll fans were introduced The Choir through the appearance of their 1966 single “It’s Cold Outside” on Pebbles, Vol. 2. In those pre-Internet days, fans learned from the album’s liner notes of the band’s Cleveland roots (and teased Stiv Bators’ 1979 cover), but failed to learn of the connection between the Choir and Cleveland’s greatest-ever pop export, Raspberries. What many found out later is that the Choir’s Wally Bryson, Jim Bonfanti and Dave Smalley would join with Eric Carmen (who’d unsuccessfully auditioned to sing with the Choir) to form Raspberries. Even less known was that after the Choir initially disbanded in 1968, they reformed a few months later with three new members, including organist Phil Giallombardo, joining keyboard player Kenny Margolis and drummer Jim Bonfanti.

This latter lineup recorded ten tracks in 1969, unsuccessfully shopped the results to labels, released a cover of the Easybeats’ “Gonna Have a Good Time Tonight,” and broke up for good in 1970. Although the title track of this collection was included on a 1976 Bomp EP, and three more turned up on Sundazed’s 1994 collection Choir Practice, the rest of the 1969 project was only recently rediscovered by the studio owner’s son, and is issued here for the very first time. By this point in the Choir’s history their sound was heavier than the garage rock of 1966, anchored by Hammond organ and hard rock, psychedelic guitars. Touches of pop-jazz (ala BS&T) and progressive rock mingled in, but the band retained their melodic roots in the British Invasion, as evidenced here by a cover of the Kinks’ “David Watts.”

Phil Giallombardo cites Procol Harum as a primary influence, but you can also hear the Left Bank’s baroque pop in “Anyway I Can,” Steppenwolf’s roar in “If These Are Men,” Robin Gibb’s fragility in “Have I No Love to Offer,” Santana’s organ magic in the instrumental “For Eric,” and the Lovin’ Spoonful’s good-timey vibes in “Mummer Band.” What’s most bewitching about this material is that three years on from “It’s Cold Outside,” the new lineup touches on the band’s earlier pop roots while seamlessly transitioning to a new, heavier direction that includes explosive drumming, heavy organ and blistering guitar solos. These are finished stereo productions, packaged with a 12-page booklet that includes period photos and a band family tree. It’s hard to imagine how no one took a commercial interest in these tapes at the time, but it’s great to have them now! [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Various Artist: The Ru-Jac Records Story, Volumes 3 & 4

February 8th, 2018

The history of a 1960s should’ve-been soul powerhouse

The Baltimore-based Ru-Jac label, a long-time favorite of in-the-know collectors, is finally getting its historical due. Omnivore began digging the Ru-Jac vault with 2016 titles on Winfield Parker and Gene & Eddie, and now traces the length of the label’s entire story with four expertly curated, smartly illustrated and knowledgeably notated volumes [1 2 3 4]. Ru-Jac was born from the unlikely confluence of a numbers-running real estate investor and a dry cleaner with a sideline as a promoter. The latter, Rufus Mitchell, gained a spot managing the operations of the summer resort Carr’s Beach, and developed a nexus of musical acts, managers and disc jockeys that provided a foundation for a booking agency, a song publishing concern, and finally, the Ru-Jac record label.

Volumes 1 and 2 highlighted the beginnings of Ru-Jac, chronicling singles from 1963 to 1966. Volume 3 picks up in that latter year with a pair of singles by Rita Doryse. As Kevin Coombe’s liner notes explain, Rufus Mitchell’s busy schedule managing Carr’s and the flourishing of his dry cleaning business drew him away from his record label, and Doryse’s singles, alongside the Mask Man & The Cap-Tans’ “Love Can Do Wonders” (included on Volume 2), were Ru-Jac slate for 1966. The first of Doryse’s singles, recorded with backing by the Shyndells, is top-notch soul, with moody horns and emotional vocals of loneliness and longing. The B-side, “When I’m Alone,” previously recorded by Winfield Parker (and included on Volume 1), trades the original’s gospel style for a terrific Stax style.

Doryse’s second single, backed by the organ-based Bob Craig Combo, is more supper club than urban soul, with a B-side cover of “Goodie Goodie,” a Johnny Mercer song that was a hit for Benny Goodman in 1936 and Frankie Lyman in 1957. Neither the top side’s torch singing nor the flip’s bouncy pop played to Doryse’s strengths; more fetching is the Brill Building pop of the previously unreleased “Born to Be Loved.” 1967 kicked off memorably with Kitty Lane’s funky “It’s Love I Need” and it’s mid-tempo B-side “Sweetheart.” Lane was a fiery vocalist who briefly backed Otis Redding; here she’s backed by a hot horn section, and on the A-side, a terrific organ player.

1967 also saw the reappearance of label stalwart Winfield Parker, featured here on an alternate take of the Arthur Conley-written “Go Away Playgirl” (for the master take, see Mr. Clean: Winfield Parker At Ru-Jac), as well as the single “Sweet Little Girl” and a pair of demos. The year also welcomed the first Ru-Jac release by Gene & Eddie, whose early sides suggest both the mournfulness of Otis Redding and the bouncy duets of Sam & Dave. The duo’s songwriter and producer, Joe Quarterman, performing as Sir Joe, is also heard here on the effervescent “Nobody Beats My Love.” Fans can find their extensive singles catalog anthologized separately on True Enough: Gene & Eddie With Sir Joe At Ru-Jac.

Volume 3 is filled out with a pair of previously unissued instrumentals from the house band, the Shyndells, Leon Gibson’s invitation to dance, “Do the Roller,” it’s Bo Diddley inspired B-side “Working Hard,” and four previously unissued sides by unknown artists. Among the latter are a demo of Arthur Conley’s “Sweet Little Girl” (which plays back-to-back here with Winfield Parker’s finished single), the gospel soul “Finally Together,” the stage-ready showpiece “Searching” and the ballad “Never Never Leave Me.” After the low output of 1966, 1967 was a strong year artistically, if not commercially. Mitchell’s ear for talent continued to shine, and the continuing presence of Winfield Parker and arrival of Gene & Joe gave the Ru-Jac stable a strong lineup.

Volume 4 closes out the highly productive year of 1967 (essayed in the main on Volume 3) with Winfield Parker’s original “She’s So Pretty.” Parker shows off the sort of high-energy soul coined by Wilson Pickett and Arthur Conley, and is complemented on this volume by the up-tempo instrumental “Tighten Up” (credited to Archie Bell as writer, but not his 1968 hit), Sir Joe’s impassioned “Every Day (I’ll Be Needing With You),” Ru-Jac staff arranger Paul Johns’ socially-charged soul-psych “Changes, Part 1,” and Willie Mason’s energetic “I Loved You Once.” There were several ballads waxed by the Fred Martin Revue in 1968, including the open-hearted “I’m the One (Who Loves You)” and lonely plea “When I’m Alone,” as well as the crisply drummed, organ-and-guitar instrumental “Contagious.”

The Dynamic Corvettes’ 1971 single “Keep Off the Grass” and its B-side “It’s a Trap” offer social messages, with falsetto vocals that suggest Curtis Mayfield. Mitchell wound Ru-Jac down by the end of 1972, though it popped back up in 1980 with Jimmy Dotson’s cover of Stevie Wonder’s “Think of Me as Your Soldier.” The single’s stereo production, smooth sax and backing vocals are modern; the breezier B-side, “To Be Your Lover” more closely fits the Ru-Jac mould. Kevin Coombe’s liner notes provide tremendous detail on these little-known artists, and explain Rufus Mitchell’s decision to quiesce Ru-Jac to focus on his clothing-related businesses. All four volumes are essential, as are Omnivore’s releases on Winfield Parker, Eddie & Joe and an upcoming volume of Arthur Conley demos. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark: The Punishment of Luxury

January 29th, 2018

They’re back – with catchy, intellectually-stimulating electronic pop

The bottom-heavy digital beats of today have all but obliterated the analog pop synthesis that sparked in the late-70s. OMD’s first single, “Electricity” (and its politically-conscious B-side “Enola Gay”) had many antecedents, but the mix of cool synthesizers and warm vocals sounded revolutionary in 1979. Even as the pre-programmed sounds of cheap Casio keyboards became hackneyed, OMD’s combination of analog and electronic instruments gave a modern edge to the former without letting the latter sap the music’s humanity. Although their early music combined intellectual subject matter with pop hooks and experimental sounds, they reached the zenith of their popularity in America in 1986 with the straightforward commercial ballad “If You Leave.”

The shift into the mainstream caused a rift between the band’s founders, with Andy McCluskey leaving in 1988, and co-founder Paul Humphreys carrying on with a varied cast until 1996. It would be ten more years until Humphreys and McCluskey rejoined under the OMD banner, returning to the band’s roots with a tour that included 1981’s seminal Architecture and Morality, a celebration of 1983’s avant-garde Dazzle Ships, and new material that began with History of Modern. 2017’s The Punishment of Luxury is the third album since the reformation, and the group’s first in four years. The title, derived from a nineteenth century painting by Giovanni Segantini, evokes the illusory value of luxury and the oppression of manufactured demand.

The reformed OMD has continued to explore the combination of industrial-inflected electronics, found sounds, intellectual subjects and catchy melodies with which they started. They wrap their dire warnings in bewitchingly catchy melodies, airing the tension between advancement and subversion that’s inherent in machine-based modernity. The cheeriness of the album’s title track obscures its analysis of a first-world so bathed in convenience, that the spark of its now lukewarm embrace no longer creates sensation. Numbed isolation found in the banality of commoditized information and the inevitability of decay is played in counterpoint to the human thirst for renewal.

The search for redemption reaches its zenith on “Ghost Star,” which poetically weaves together longing, lost chances, existentialism and hope. The magic of OMD is their ability to dress heady topics and synthesized, at times mechanical, backings in warm vocals and major keys. The mechanical overlord of “La Mitrailleuse” is illuminated by vocal effects and percussive backings that hang between snare drumming, typewriting and automatic gun fire – both horrific and danceable at the same time. The album closes with an invitation to face the challenges of modern life, suggesting that whether or not they’re surmountable, the journey may be worth failure. Those whose interest in OMD dates back to their earliest years will be delighted by this new album, and those who’ve yet to indulge can jump in right here. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark’s Home Page

Epic: Sunshine State

January 23rd, 2018

Revolver meets the Hollies in 2003

This 2003 UK release is so deeply indebted to the Beatles’ Revolver, the early harmonies of the Hollies, and other touchstones of the mid-60s, that it transcends the flagrancy of its lifts. “I’m Only Bleeding” opens with sitar-like sounds, backwards guitars and a bass riff that’s almost as indebted to “Taxman” as was the Jam’s “Start!” And that’s a compliment, as there’s no shame in being this good at borrowing, synthesizing and repurposing. Epic was Gordon Elsmore on drums and Michael Gagliano on vocals and everything else, with the latter having been not-too-coincidentally involved in bands called the Counterfeit Beatles and Beatlez. This is a wonderful, underdiscovered gem of an album. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Big Star: Live At Lafayette’s Music Room – Memphis, TN

January 20th, 2018

Regrouping between #1 Record and Radio City

Over the past thirty years, the size of Big Star’s posthumously released catalog (including reissues, a box set, archival dig, biography, documentary and tribute concert), has grown to match their stature as a key influence in rock music. What’s remained dear, are recordings of the band as a live act. With their debut having been stillborn commercially, the band played relatively few shows, and recorded even fewer. The scant live material known to exist includes rehearsals and a board tape from the Overton Park band shell in Memphis, an in-studio appearance on New York radio station WLIR-FM, and a widely bootlegged set opening for Badfinger in Cambridge.

The 2009 box set Keep An Eye on the Sky introduced another live performance, recorded in January 1973 in Memphis. Those same tracks are presented here in a standalone volume, with new restoration and mastering by Michael Graves, augmented by new liner note from Bud Scoppa, and a download of a previously unreleased 1972 radio interview with Alex Chilton and Andy Hummel. Recorded as a trio, after the departure of Chris Bell, the set list includes material from the debut, #1 Record, the yet-to-be-recorded follow-up Radio City, and covers of the Kinks, T-Rex, Todd Rundgren and Flying Burrito Brothers.

The fallout of #1 Record’s commercial failure, and Bell’s subsequent departure, left Big Star as more of a concept than a working band. The trio lineup had Chilton singing Bell’s leads (e.g., “My Life is Right”), and Stephens doing his best to fill in the harmonies. For a band that’s a man down, with no wind at their backs, an uncertain future ahead, and a passive crowd waiting to see Archie Bell & The Drells, they still muster plenty of emotion and energy. Chilton shows off his solo guitar skills on several tunes, including “She’s a Mover” and “Don’t Lie to Me,” and strums a mini-acoustic set that leads off with “Thirteen” and closes with “Watch the Sunrise.”

The stereo room recording isn’t as nuanced as their carefully crafted studio work, but it’s balanced and full, and Stephens and Hummel’s rhythm work comes across as both melodic and powerful. The audience, which to be fair, had likely never heard of Big Star, is oblivious to what’s happening in front of them and offers smatterings of polite applause. The trio could easily have taken the lack of response as a negative comment on their performance, but the set actually picks up steam several times, and after covers of Todd Rundgren’s “Slut” and the Kinks’ “Come on Now,” the band closes with the fiery take on the song that would open Radio City’s, “O My Soul.” The performance is sparse and raw compared to the finesse of the album’s layered productions, casting the set’s best-known songs in new light. Robert Gordon captured the effect perfectly in his 1992 liner notes for the original issue of Big Star Live:

“You find an old picture of your lover. It dates from before you’d met, and though you’d heard about this period in his or her life, seeing it adds a whole new dimension to the person who sits across from you at the breakfast table. You study the photograph and its wrinkles, looking for clues that might tell you more about this friend you know so well–can you see anything in the pockets of that jacket, can you read any book titles on the shelf in the background. You think about an archaeologist’s work. When you next see your lover, you’re struck by things you’d never noticed. The skin tone, the facial radiance–though the lamps in your house are all the same and the sun does not appear to be undergoing a supernova, he or she carries a different light. As strikingly similar as the way your lover has always appeared, he or she is also that different. You shrug and smile. Whatever has happened, you like it. That’s what this recording is about.”

Chilton and Hummel’s laid-back, 14-minute 1972 interview covers the creation of #1 Record, group dynamics, Chilton’s musical tastes, touring and allusions to future recording. It’s an interesting peek into the mindset of musicians that don’t yet realize their first album isn’t going to be vested as an icon until several decades after its release. The interviewer asked, “Is the album out yet in the stores?” and Andy Hummel presciently replies, “Yeah, the album should have hit the stores today. I believe. That’s what they told us, but, you know, you never can tell when they’re actually gonna get there.” That reality-tinged optimism is a microcosm of the bridge this set constructs from the euphoria of the debut to the grief of its failure to the renewal that was still ahead. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Big Star’s Home Page

Various Artist: The Ru-Jac Records Story, Volumes 1 & 2

January 19th, 2018

The history of a 1960s should’ve-been soul powerhouse

The Baltimore-based Ru-Jac label, a long-time favorite of in-the-know collectors, is finally getting its historical due. Omnivore began digging the Ru-Jac vault with 2016 titles on Winfield Parker and Gene & Eddie, and now traces the length of the label’s entire story with four expertly curated, smartly illustrated and knowledgeably notated volumes [1 2 3 4]. Ru-Jac was born from the unlikely confluence of a numbers-running real estate investor and a dry cleaner with a sideline as a promoter. The latter, Rufus Mitchell, gained a spot managing the operations of the summer resort Carr’s Beach, and developed a nexus of musical acts, managers and disc jockeys that provided a foundation for a booking agency, a song publishing concern, and finally, the Ru-Jac record label.

Mitchell drew his acts primarily from Baltimore and D.C., releasing a string of excellent singles that began with Jesse Crawford’s dramatic plea “Please Don’t Go” and it’s sorrowful B-side “I Love You So.” A distribution deal with a larger label wasn’t enough to garner any commercial action, but Mitchell was undeterred, and doubled-down with a second pair of soul laments by Sonny Daye. The A-side, “A Woman Just Like You,” is a deeply wounded mid-tempo number with a fetching sax hook and a Latin undercurrent; the flipside pairs a raw blues guitar with a soul croon. As with the initial release, the single’s lack of commercial success barely slowed Mitchell down, as he continued to capture magic on tape, whether or not the stars aligned to lift his singles onto the charts.

The first two years of Ru-Jac were filled with terrific records, and even more impressively, a few A-side-worthy tracks that never made it out of the vault. The set opens with the wicked soul jam “Fatback,” a tune that should be the fondly remembered closing theme of an early-60s Baltimore TV dance show; something John Waters could have reintroduced to the world in Hairspray. In that same fictional history, the slower “Cross Track” would have replaced “Fatback” mid-way through the second season (after a single episode in which “Trash Can” was used) when the show’s producer and the record label had a falling out, and fans would argue to this day which was the better show closer. Those same kids likely would have spent their summer time at Carr’s Beach, making the resignation and renewal of Brenda Jones’ “Let’s Go Back to School” someone’s very fond memory.

Baltimore native (and former carnival pitchman) Winfield Parker first appeared on Ru-Jac with the moody, Stax-influenced 1964 ballad “When I’m Alone,” backed with the mid-tempo “One of These Mornings.” The latter is presented here in a previously unissued horn-lined alternate that some will find bests the master found on Omvnivore’s Mr. Clean: Winfield Parker At Ru-Jac. Winfield would turn out to be one of the label’s most prolific artists, and perhaps even more importantly, the caretaker of the label’s legacy. With Mitchell’s passing in 2003, the label’s riches – which included tapes, promotional material and business records – passed to Parker, who has now passed that archive on to Omnivore, while serving as the executive producer for these releases.

Volume one is filled out with numerous little-known, or in the case of the ten previously unreleased tracks, unknown gems. Jeanne Dee roars through a vault recording of the blues standard “Every Day I Have the Blues,” Tiny Tim’s “Saving All My Love” suggests Clyde McPhatter, and Celestine’s B-side “You Won” borrows its hook and New Orleans roll from Barbara Lewis’ “I Know (You Don’t Love Me No More).” Mitchell tried out gospel with the Fruitland Harmonizers, torch-singing with Marcie Allen’s “All Over Again,” soul-jazz with its flip “Crying Won’t Help You,” fast-talking jive with Rockin’ Robin’s “Don’t Bit Mo,” and numerous deep-groove instrumentals, including the Jolly Sax’s “The Monkey Cha-Cha.”

Volume Two picks up the story in 1964 with Brenda Jones’ second Ru-Jac release “It Must Be Love,” its flipside, and the previously unreleased 50s-styled ballad “So Alone.” The year finished out with singles by D.C. native Shirley Grant and Harrisburg organist Butch Cornell. The latter pair of sides are particularly fine, as Cornell offers up Hammond B-3 licks in a trio setting with a jazz-chording rhythm guitarist and a hard-swinging drummer. A previously unreleased alternate take of Cornell’s “Goose Pimples” gives the song an entirely different feel from the single, with a full horn section and dance-friendly go-go beat. 1965 brought the legendary Arthur Conley to Ru-Jac as the songwriter and vocalist on Harold Holt’s “Where You Lead Me” and its flipside “I’m a Stranger.” Conley’s songs graced other Ru-Jac artists records, and Conley self-recorded several piano-and-voice demos, two of which are included here.

1965 also brought a sharper focus on DC acts, including The Neltones and Bobby Sax, and in 1966, The Mask Man & The Cap-Tans with The Paul Earle Orchestra. Like many of Mitchell’s signings, all three were one-off Ru-Jac artists, and though there was some regional action, like the rest of the Ru-Jac roster, there was no national breakthrough. The durable Winfield Parker is represented here by two previously unreleased recordings of “I Love You Just the Same,” one a demo with Parker singing slightly off mic, the other a finished studio alternate of the original single. Two garage rock bands borrowed talent agent Lillian Claiborne, The Reekers and The Henchmen, are omitted here, leaving the door open for Bear Family to render the Complete Ru-Jac box set.

Track after track it’s hard to imagine how this music failed to break; but the business of hit singles has never been strictly meritorious, and Mitchell’s Baltimore-based connections apparently didn’t have the juice to gain the national attention his productions deserved. Other labels, such as Lieber & Stoller’s Daisy/Tiger imprints, suffered the same fate, but it still remains stupefying in retrospect. Each of the four volumes in this series is illustrated with vintage photos and ephemera, and the history of the label and its artists is given detail by Kevin Coombe’s studious liner notes. Volumes 3 & 4 are due in March, and a set of Arthur Conley’s demos in May, but these first two collections are ready to take you to Charm City. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Sam Marine: Big Dark City

January 3rd, 2018

Hard-charging, guitar-driven roots rock

There’s a delirious feeling you get at the end of the night when exhaustion, alcohol and dawn combine into a euphoric feeling of opportunity. You can sense this in Sam Marine’s roots rock stories of late nights that blend into mornings after. His rhythms echo the heartland pulse of John Mellencamp, with drummer Mitch Marine (Brave Combo, Smash Mouth, Dwight Yoakam) and bassist Aaron Stern providing the muscle behind hard-charging electric guitars. Marine’s vocals have a raspy edge that suggests Springsteen and Mellencamp, but on “Freeze ‘em Out” he sings with the sort of urgency Robin Wilson brought to the Gin Blossoms. At only five songs, the EP is packed with memorable songs in which Marine explores the anonymity, rootlessness, connections and friendships one can find in the heart of a big, dark city. [©2018 Hyperbolium]

Sam Marine’s Home Page

In Memoriam: 2017

December 31st, 2017

Chuck Berry, 1926-2017

Some of the musicians, songwriters, producers, engineers, managers, agents, broadcasters, journalists, industry executives, and studio and club owners who passed away in 2017.

January
Stuart Hamilton, Canadian pianist, broadcaster (CBC) and vocal coach
Memo Morales, Venezuelan singer
Auriel Andrew, Australian country musician
Sam Lovullo, television producer (Hee Haw)
Joe M. Wright, country guitarist and songwriter
Hayward Bishop Jr., Nashville session drummer
Mike Garborno, punk rock singer (Cadillac Tramps)
Abdul Halim Jaffer Khan, Indian sitar player
Ustad Bade Fateh Ali Khan, Pakistani singer
Bart Prater, radio broadcaster (WROV, K92, WVTF)
Dave Franklin, punk rock singer (Vision)
Johnny Dick, Australian drummer (Billy Thorpe and the Aztecs)
Sylvester Potts, soul singer (The Contours)
Nat Hentoff, critic and journalist (Village Voice, Wall Street Journal)
Eddie Kamae, ukulele player and singer (Sons of Hawaii)
Jerzy Kossela, Polish guitarist, singer and songwriter
Buddy Bregman, arranger, producer, composer and orchestrator
Peter Sarstedt, British pop singer and songwriter
Crazy Toones, hip-hop producer and DJ
Travis Peterson, music video producer
Buddy Greco, jazz and pop singer and pianist (“The Lady is a Tramp”)
Tommy Allsup, western swing and rock ‘n’ roll guitarist (Buddy Holly)
Tony Booth, British poster artist (The Beatles)
Meir Banai, Israeli singer
Larry Steinbachek, keyboardist (Bronski Beat)
Muhammad Fachroni, Indonesian singer (Project Pop)
Dick Gautier, actor and singer (Bye Bye Birdie, Get Smart)
Mark Fisher, cultural theorist and writer (K-Punk)
Horacio Guarany, Argentinian folklorist and singer
Richie Ingui, rock and soul singer (The Soul Survivors)
Alan Jabbour, fiddler and folklorist
Yanni Alexis “Magic Alex” Mardas, artist and Apple Corp. employee
Yama Buddha, Nepalese rapper
Terry Cryer, jazz and blues photographer
Thandi Klaasen, African jazz singer
Greg Trooper, singer, songwriter and guitarist
William Onyeabor, Nigerian funk musician
Charles “Bobo” Shaw, jazz drummer (Human Arts Ensemble)
Steve Wright, rock bassist and songwriter (The Greg Kihn Band)
Roberta Peters, coloratura soprano
Marilyn Petrone, music industry executive (Dick Clark Productions)
Darci Rossi, Brazilian composer
Loalwa Braz, Brazilian singer and songwriter (“Lambada”)
Ramón Cordero, Dominican singer
Howard Kaufman, artist manager (Eagles, Aerosmith, Jimmy Buffett)
Mike Kellie, rock drummer (Spooky Tooth, The Only Ones)
Hans Breukhoven, Dutch businessman (Free Record Shop)
Ronald “Bingo” Mundy, doo-wop singer (The Marcels)
Joey Powers, singer and songwriter (“Midnight Mary”)
Chuck Stewart, jazz photographer
Frank Thomas, French songwriter
Karl Hendricks, indie rock musician and record store owner (Sound Cat)
Walter “Junie” Morrison, funk keyboardist and songwriter (P-Funk)
Maggie Roche, singer and songwriter (The Roches)
Dan Caspi, Romanian-born Israeli media theorist
Jean Karakos, producer, label owner and manager
Jaki Liebezeit, rock drummer (Can)
Naqsh Lyallpuri, Urdu poet and lyricist
Pete Overend Watts, English rock bassist (Mott the Hoople)
Bimba Bosé, Italian-born Spanish singer and television personality
Lee O’Denat, internet entrepreneur (WorldStarHipHop)
Marvell Thomas, soul keyboardist, son of Rufus Thomas
Tom Edwards, guitarist and band leader (Adam Ant)
Gil Ray, drummer (Game Theory, Loud Family)
Björn Thelin, rock bassist (The Spotnicks)
Butch Trucks, drummer (The Allman Brothers Band)
Ronnie Davis, Jamaican reggae singer (The Tennors, The Itals)
Don Grilley, Broadway actor and singer
Jack Mendelsohn, artist and screenwriter (Yellow Submarine)
Benny Collins, production and tour manager (Journey, Rolling Stones)
Henry-Louis de La Grange, French musicologist
Bruce Hathaway, South African radio broadcaster
Bobby Freeman, singer and songwriter (“Do You Want to Dance”)
Geoff Nicholls, British rock keyboardist (Black Sabbath)
Gabriel “Guitar Cable” Perrodin, blues musician
Alexander Tikhanovich, Belarusian pop singer
Elkin Ramírez, Colombian rock singer and songwriter (Kraken)
Brian Tabor, country songwriter
Edward Blau, entertainment attorney (Johnny Mathis)
Deke Leonard, Welsh rock guitarist (Man)
Carsten Mohren, German keyboardist (Rockhaus)
John Schroeder, British songwriter and producer (Sounds Orchestral)
John Wetton, British bassist, singer and songwriter (King Crimson, Asia)

February
Desmond Carrington, British actor and radio broadcaster
Robert Dahlqvist, Swedish rock guitarist and singer (The Hellacopters)
Danny Lee Jones, bluegrass musician
Steve Lang, Canadian rock bassist (April Wine)
Noel “Scully” Simms, Jamaican reggae and ska percussionist
Marc Spitz, music author and journalist (Spin)
David Axelrod, producer, composer and arranger
Sonny Geraci, pop singer (The Outsiders, Climax)
Tommy Flint, guitarist, author, instructor and journalist
Ritchie Yorke, Australian-born music author and journalist
Svend Asmussen, Danish jazz violinist
Charles E. Justice, country fiddler
Loukianos Kilaidonis, Greek singer and songwriter
Gianfranco Plenizio, Italian soundtrack composer, conductor and pianist
José Luis Pérez de Arteaga, Spanish music critic and announcer
Kitty Moon Emery, music industry executive
Tony Davis, British folk musician (The Spinners)
Barbara Carroll, jazz pianist, singer and composer
Jarmila Šuláková, Czech folk singer
Damian, British pop singer
Robert Fisher, singer and songwriter (Willard Grant Conspiracy)
Al Jarreau, jazz and R&B singer
Alice Ludes, singer (Bing Crosby’s Music Maids)
Giusto Pio, Italian songwriter (“I treni di Tozeur”), violinist and producer
Trish Doan, metal bassist (Kittie)
Marty Lacker, record industry executive (American Sound)
Carol Lloyd, Australian rock singer (“A Matter of Time”)
Tony Särkkä, Swedish metal guitarist, bassist and drummer
E-Dubble, rapper
Tibério Gaspar, Brazilian composer and musician
Braxton Dixon, home builder (Fred Foster, Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash)
Pericoma Okoye, Nigerian singer
Maurice Vander, French jazz pianist
Phil Williams, co-founder of the Seattle Folklife festival
Alan Aldridge, graphic designer (A Quick One, Captain Fantastic)
Peter Skellern, British singer, songwriter and pianist (“You’re a Lady”)
Clyde Stubblefield, funk drummer (James Brown)
Larry Coryell, jazz guitarist
Ilene Berns, record company executive (Bang Records)
Leah Adler, concert pianist and mother of Steven Spielberg
Enzo Carella, Italian singer and songwriter
Steve Clark, tap dancer (The Clark Brothers)
Horace Parlan, jazz pianist
Leon Ware, soul songwriter, producer and singer
Fumio Karashima, Japanese jazz pianist
Don Markham, saxophonist and trumpeter (The Strangers)
Rich Chavez, metal guitarist (Drive)
Eric Miller, jazz producer (Pablo Records)
Toshio Nakanishi, Japanese musician (Plastics) and graphic designer
Ronnie Allen, bluegrass musician (Allen Brothers)
G.C. McCoury, bluegrass musician and brother of Del McCoury
Ric Marlow, songwriter (“A Taste of Honey”)

March
Mike Barhorst, concert promoter (Country Concert in the Hills)
Chisai Childs, entertainer, broadcaster and talent scout (Branson, MO)
Hiroshi Kamayatsu, Japanese rock guitarist and singer (The Spiders)
Gustav Metzger, artist and mentor to Pete Townshend
Wally Pikal, trumpeter and band leader
Paul Abler, jazz guitarist
Roberta Alloisio, Italian singer and songwriter
Jim Fuller, rock guitarist (The Surfaries)
Misha Mengelberg, Dutch jazz pianist
Tommy Page, singer and songwriter (“I’ll Be Your Everything” “The Shag”)
Lyle Ritz, bassist (The Wrecking Crew) and ukulelist
Valerie Carter, singer and backing singer (James Taylor)
Edi Fitzroy, Jamaican reggae singer
Winfried Schrammek, German organist and musicologist
Fiora Corradetti Contino, opera maestro
Ante Perković, Croation music critic
Fred Weintraub, club owner (The Bitter End), film and television producer
Lars Diedricson, Swedish singer (Snowstorm) and songwriter
Robbie Hoddinott, rock guitarist (Kingfish)
Hurshel Wiginton, session singer (The Nashville Edition)
Kalika Prasad Bhattacharya, Indian folk singer
Jonathan Strasser, violinist, educator and actor (Fame)
Dave Valentin, jazz flutist
Junior Barber, resonator guitarist
Barbara Helsingius, Finnish folk singer
Tony Lorenzo, death metal guitarist
Joni Sledge, R&B singer (Sister Sledge)
Evan Johns, roots-rock guitarist (The LeRoi Brothers)
Ángel Parra, Chilean singer and songwriter
Ray Sponaugle, bluegrass fiddler
Don Warden, steel guitarist (Porter Wagoner) and manager (Dolly Parton)
Joey Alves, rock guitarist (Y&T)
Maxx Kidd, soul singer, producer and promoter
John Lever, British rock drummer (The Chameleons)
Tommy LiPuma, producer and label executive
Ileana Ciuculete, Romanian folk singer
Phil Garland, New Zealand folk musician
Aloysius “Lucky” Gordon, Jamaican jazz singer
Wojciech Młynarski, Polish poet, singer and songwriter
James Cotton, blues harmonica player
Roberta Knie, operatic soprano
Vernon McQueen, bluegrass musician and singer (Blue Grass Boys)
Faye McGinnis, radio broadcaster & head of the Stanley Brothers fan club
Chuck Berry, rock ‘n’ roll singer, guitarist and songwriter
Clarece Candamio, church organist
Don Hunstein, photographer (The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan)
Buck Hill, jazz saxophonist
Tony Terran, trumpeter (Desi Arnaz Orchestra, The Wrecking Crew)
Chuck Barris, television producer and host, songwriter (“Palisades Park”)
Roy Fisher, British poet and jazz pianist
Inao Jiro, Indonesian artist manager (JKT48)
Gabriel Mafa, Romanian folk-metal drummer (Negură Bunget)
Sib Hashian, rock drummer (Boston)
Sven-Erik Magnusson, Swedish singer (Sven-Ingvars)
VIncent Falcone, pianist and music director (Frank Sinatra)
André Larson, musicologist and founder of the National Music Museum
Buddy Pendleton, bluegrass fiddler (Greenbriar Boys, Blue Grass Boys)
Peter Shotton, washboard player (The Quarrymen) and Apple Corps exec
Mary Tortorich, voice teacher
Avo Uvezian, jazz pianist and cigar maker
Hovie Walker, gospel singer
Allan Weiss, screenwriter (Roustabout, Blue Hawaii)
Alessandro Alessandroni, composer, multi-instrumentalist and whistler
Jimmy Dotson, blues singer, guitarist and drummer
Věra Špinarová, Czech singer
Endrik Wottrich, German tenor
Arthur Blythe, jazz saxophonist
Clem Curtis, British pop singer (“Now That I’ve Found You”)
Edward Grimes, post-rock drummer (Rachel’s)
Aldo Guibovich, Peruvian pop singer (Los Pasteles Verdes)
Rosie Hamlin, pop singer (Rosie and the Originals)

April
Lonnie Brooks, blues guitarist and singer
Bob Cunningham, jazz bassist
Ikutaro Kakehashi, Japanese engineer and entrepreneur (Roland)
Louis Sarno, musicologist
Vivienne de Silva Boralessa, Sri Lankan singer
Warren “Rhubarb” Jones, radio broadcaster (WYAY-FM)
Kishori Amonkar, Indian classical singer
L.A. Dre, hip-hop producer, keyboardist and sound engineer
Brenda Jones, R&B singer (The Jones Girls)
Leo J. Baroi, Bangladeshi singer
Ryo Kagawa, Japanese folk singer
Paul O’Neill, rock producer and songwriter (Trans-Siberian Orchestra)
David Peel, rock singer and political activist
Joseph Rascoff, business manager and tour producer (Rolling Stones)
Glenn O’Brien, writer and editor (Interview, Rolling Stone, GQ, Spin)
Ben Speer, gospel singer, pianist, producer, publisher and educator
Yuushi Matsuyama, film composer
Brian Matthew, British radio and television broadcaster (Saturday Club)
Kim Plainfield, jazz drummer
Keni Richards, rock drummer (Autograph)
Jan Elliott, tour manager and lighting director
Alan Henderson, Northen Irish bassist (Them)
Stan Robinson, British jazz saxophonist and flautist
Bob Wootton, country guitarist (Johnny Cash’s Tennessee Three)
David Angel, British violinist (Maggini Quartet, London Mozart Players)
Banner Thomas, rock bassist (Molly Hatchet)
Eric Cook, artist manager (Venom)
Eddy Fondo, Kenyan radio broadcaster
J. Geils, rock guitarist
Scotty Miller, funk drummer (Instant Funk)
Toby Smith, keyboardist (Jamiroquai)
Kathleen Cassello, operatic soprano
Tom Coyne, Grammy-winning mastering engineer
Peggy Hayama, Japanese singer
Barry Smith, rock drummer (Lee Michaels, Sweathog, Soulhat)
Mika Vainio, Finnish electronic musician (Pan Sonic)
José Miguel Class, Puerto Rican singer
Martín Elías, Colombian vallenato singer and songwriter
Bruce Langhorne, folk guitarist and tambourine man
Allan Holdsworth, British guitarist (Soft Machine, U.K., Gong)
Matt Holt, heavy metal singer (Nothingface, Kingdom of Snakes)
Sylvia Moy, songwriter (“My Cherie Amour”) and producer
Willy Cruz, Filipino songwriter and music producer
Frank Dostal, German rock singer (The Rattles), songwriter and producer
Gordon Langford, English pianist, composer and arranger
Nona Liddell, British violinist
Dick Contino, accordionist
Pat Fitzpatrick, Irish keyboardist (Aslan)
Cuba Gooding Sr., soul singer (The Main Ingredient)
Trustin Howard, singer, actor and writer
Tammy Sullivan, bluegrass singer and bassist
Bill Tolley, death metal drummer (Internal Bleeding)
Lucky Akhand, Bangladeshi singer and composer
Sandy Gallin, talent agent (Barbra Streisand) and producer
Kristine Jepson, mezzo-soprano
Jerry Adriani, Brazilian singer and actor
Calep Emphrey Jr., blues drummer (B.B. King)
Erik Martin, German songwriter (“When the Evening Approaches”)
Eduard Brunner, Swiss clarinetist
John Shifflett, jazz double bassist and teacher
Zoe Realla, rapper
Andrew Tyler, rock journalist (NME) an animal rights activist
Belchior, Brazilian singer and composer
Bill Bryson, bassist and singer (The Desert Rose Band)
June LeBell, classical radio broadcaster (WQXR-FM)
Gil Wright, country and pop singer (Anita Kerr Singers)

May
Katy Bødtger, Danish singer
Bruce Hampton, guitarist, singer and songwriter (Hampton Grease Band)
Erkki Kurenniemi, Finnish electronic musician
Tony Alamo, convicted child abuser, singer and costumer (Dolly Parton)
Kevin Garcia, alt-rock bassist (Grandaddy)
Péter Komlós, Hungarian violinist
Grigori Zhislin, Russian violinist and teacher
Charles Hoffer, music educator and author
C’el Revuelta, rock bassist (Black Flag)
Saxa, Jamaican saxophonist (The Beat)
Mario Maglieri, nightclub owner (Rainbow, Roxy, Whisky A Go Go)
Clive Brooks, British drummer (Egg) and drum technician (Pink Floyd)
Almir Guineto, Brazilian sambista, singer and instrumentalist
Dave Pell, jazz saxophonist, bandleader and label executive (Liberty)
Dr. Benjamin Caldwell, preservationist (Ryman Auditorium)
Kelley Sallee Snead, country songwriter and singer
Mary Tsoni, Greek actress and singer (Mary and the Boy)
Gerry Lacoursiere, record company executive (A&M Canada, Polygram)
Robert Miles, Swiss DJ, composer and producer (“Children”)
Michael Parks, actor and singer
Joy Byers, country and pop songwriter (“What’s A Matter Baby”)
William David Brohn, music arranger and orchestrator (Miss Saigon)
Corki Casey, session guitarist (“The Fool” “Rebel Rouser”)
İbrahim Erkal, Turkish singer and songwriter
Bob Forshee, country songwriter
Joachim Kaiser, German musicologist and editor
Corki Casey O’Dell, rock ‘n’ roll guitarist (Duane Eddy)
Bill Dowdy, jazz drummer (The Three Sounds)
Jimmy Copley, English session drummer
Earl Sinks, singer, songwriter, guitarist, actor and producer
Steve Sutton, bluegrass banjo player
Daniel Brewbaker, composer and poet
Tom McClung, jazz pianist
Keith Mitchell, drummer (Mazzy Star)
Derek Poindexter, bassist (The Waynes)
Rosa Nell Speer, gospel singer (Speer Family)
Kevin Stanton, New Zealand rock guitarist and songwriter (Mi-Sex)
Chris Cornell, singer and songwriter (Soundgarden, Audioslave)
Frankie Paul, Jamaican reggae singer
Kid Vinil, Brazilian rock singer, songwriter and radio broadcaster
Natalia Shakhovskaya, Russian cellist
Kenny Cordray, blues-rock guitarist and songwriter
Wendell Goodman, songwriter, manager and husband of Wanda Jackson
Leo Kristi, Indonesian singer
Jimmy LaFave, singer, songwriter and guitarist
George Reiff, bassist and record producer
Curtis Womack, soul singer (The Valentinos)
Barbara Smith Conrad, opera singer
Mickey Roker, jazz drummer
Zbigniew Wodecki, Polish singer and songwriter
Irio De Paula, Brazilian guitarist and composer
Saucy Silvia, Canadian comedian, singer and pianist
Wajahat Attre, Pakistani film composer
Gregg Allman, singer, songwriter and musician
Ken Ackerman, radio broadcaster (KFBK, KCBS)
Elisabeth Chojnacka, Polish harpsichordist
Marcus Intalex, British disc jockey, radio broadcaster and producer
David Lewiston, British field recordist and world music collector
Naomi Martin, country songwriter (“My Eyes Can Only See As Far As You”)

June
James Watson, clawhammer banjo player
Aamir Zaki, Pakistani rock guitarist and songwriter
Educated Rapper, rapper (UTFO)
Blake Johnson, bluegrass vocalist and multi-instrumentalist
Skipp Pearson, jazz saxophonist, educator and band director
Vin Garbutt, British folk singer and songwriter
Sandra Reemer, Indo-Dutch singer
Paul Zukofsky, violinist and conductor
Jan Høiland, Norwegian singer
Prince Udaya Priyantha, Sri Lankan singer and songwriter
Norro Wilson, country music songwriter, producer and industry executive
Nigel Grainge, British music industry executive (Phonogram, Ensign)
Corneliu Stroe, Romanian jazz drummer and percussionist
Rosalie Sorrels, folk singer
Ben Eyestone, rock drummer (The Lonely H)
Philip Gossett, musicologist
Luis Abanto Morales, Peruvian singer and songwriter
Sheila Raye Charles, singer, songwriter and daughter of Ray Charles
Jacques Charpentier, French composer and organist
Kyla Greenbaum, British pianist
Harry Prime, big band singer
Howard Stark, record industry executive (ABC Records, MTM Records)
Eliza Clívia, Brazilian singer
Thara Memory, jazz trumpeter, bandleader and educator
Chris Murrell, jazz singer
Bob Heatherly, record industry executive
Prodigy, rapper (Mobb Deep)
Ludger Rémy, German harpsichordist and conductor
Belton Richard, Cajun accordionist
Gunter Gabriel, German singer, musician, songwriter and producer
Jimmy Nalls, rock guitarist (Sea Level)
A.J. Nelson, country guitarist (Smokey Mountain Boys)
Donna Darlene, country singer
Dave Evans, bluegrass singer
Jimmy Chi, Australian playwright, composer and singer
Geri Allen, jazz pianist, composer and educator
Sudhin Das, Bangladeshi Nazrul Sangeet singer and teacher
Ruth Pearson, British dancer (Pan’s People)
Dave Rosser, rock guitarist (Afghan Whigs, Gutter Twins)
Phil Cohran, jazz composer and multi-instrumentalist
Gary DeCarlo, singer & songwriter (“Na Na Hey Hey Kiss Him Goodbye”)
Sabita Chowdhury, Indian singer
Yu Lun, Chinese film composer and songwriter
Karunamaya Goswami, Bangladeshi musicologist
M. Dung, radio broadcaster (KFOG)

July
Chris Roberts, German pop singer
Zdeněk Juračka, Czech rock guitarist
Rudy Rotta, Italian blues guitarist
John Blackwell, funk and jazz drummer (Prince)
Pierre Henry, French composer and musique concrète pioneer
Paul Hollingdale, British radio broadcaster (CNBC, Radio Luxembourg)
Melvyn “Deacon” Jones, blues organist & band director (John Lee Hooker)
Earl Clark, country songwriter (“Can’t Break It to My Heart”)
Claude Hall, editor for Billboard, creator of the term “easy listening”
Daniel Lewis, conductor (USC Thornton Symphony) and educator
Egil Monn-Iversen, Norwegian composer and pianist
Seiji Yokoyama, Japanese radio, television and anime composer
Paquita Rico, Spanish actress and singer
Sylvia Mobley, country singer
Luigi Ferdinando Tagliavini, Italian classical organist and educator
Imran Usmanov, Chechen folk singer
David Kapralik, A&R executive (Columbia, Epic)
Tamara Miansarova, Russian pop singer
Ray Phiri, South African jazz singer and guitarist
John Dalby, English composer, singer and musician
Fresh Kid Ice, rapper (2 Live Crew)
Simon Holmes, Australian singer and guitarist (The Hummingbirds)
Bill Hudson, pop and country guitarist (Light Crust Doughboys)
Giannis Kalatzis, Greek singer
Egil Kapstad, Norwegian jazz pianist, arranger and composer
Kayton Roberts, steel guitarist (Rainbow Ranch Boys)
Mahi Beamer, Hawaiian singer, pianist and organist
Bill Collings, luthier
Cookie Inman, country bassist (The All American Bluegrass Band)
Clara (Cuqui) Nicola, Cuban guitarist and educator
David Zablidowsky, bassist (Adrenaline Mob, Trans Siberian Orchestra)
Warrick L. Carter, music educator and college president
Roland Cazimero, Hawaiian guitarist, singer and songwriter
Régis Gizavo, Malagasy accordionist
Thor Lindsay, label founder (Tim/Kerr)
Wilfried, Austrian singer (“Lisa Mona Lisa“)
José Bragato, Italian-born Argentine cellist and composer
Red West, actor, songwriter & member of Elvis Presley’s Memphis Mafia
Peter Principle Dachert, American bassist
Blaoui Houari, Algerian singer and songwriter
Fenwick Smith, flutist (Boston Symphony Orchestra)
Barbara Weldens, French singer
Graham Wood, Australian jazz pianist
Chester Bennington, singer and songwriter (Linkin Park)
Wilindoro Cacique, Peruvian Amazonian cumbia musician
Andrea Jürgens, German schlager singer
Errol Dyers, South African jazz guitarist and composer
Cune Gojković, Serbian singer
Geoff Mack, Australian singer and songwriter (“I’ve Been Everywhere”)
Kenny Shields, Canadian rock singer (Streetheart)
Paapa Yankson, Ghanaian highlife musician
Polo Hofer, Swiss rock singer and songwriter
Kommanduri Krishnamachari, Indian violinist
Ernst Ottensamer, Austrian clarinetist
Jan Stulen, Dutch conductor
Bobby Taylor, Canadian soul singer & Motown producer (The Jackson 5)
Thomas Füri, Swiss violinist and educator
Amir Fryszer Guttman, Israeli singer
Abby Nicole, country singer
Zoi Fitoussi, Greek actress and singer
Michael Johnson, pop and country singer, songwriter and guitarist
Ivana Loudová, Czech composer
Barbara Sinatra, model and fourth wife of Frank Sinatra
Billy Joe Walker Jr., country songwriter, guitarist and record producer
Geoffrey Yunupingu, Australian indigenous singer and songwriter
Paul Angerer, Austrian violist, composer and conductor
D.L. Menard, Cajun musician
Gilles Tremblay, Canadian composer and educator
Steve Chapman, bluegrass and country guitarist
H. Sayeeduddin Dagar, Indian Dhrupad singer
Chuck Loeb, jazz guitarist and composer (Fourplay, Steps Ahead)

August
Goldy McJohn, Canadian keyboardist (Steppenwolf)
Skapti Ólafsson,Icelandic rock and jazz musician
Raiman Rai, Nepalese singer
Patrick Thomas, Australian conductor
Tony Cohen, Australian record producer (Nick Cave, Bad Seeds)
Daniel Licht, television and film composer (Dexter)
Luiz Melodia, Brazilian singer and songwriter
Jessy Serrata, Tejano musician
Lee Blakeley, opera and theatre director
Ralph Lewis, bluegrass musician (Blue Grass Boys)
Tim Homer, New Zealander radio broadcaster
Walter Levin, classical violinist (LaSalle Quartet)
David Maslanka, composer
Arleta, Greek folk singer, songwriter and illustrator
Glen Campbell, singer, guitarist, television host and film actor
Barbara Cook, singer and actress (The Music Man)
Pēteris Plakidis, Latvian composer and pianist
Janet Seidel, Australian cabaret singer and pianist
Ed Greene, Emmy-winning sound mixer
Marián Varga, Slovak organist and composer
Xavier Benguerel Godó, Spanish composer
Segun Bucknor, Nigerian afro-pop musician and journalist
Daisy Sweeney, Canadian music educator
Ivo Pavlík, Czech composer, keyboardist and clarinetist
Benard Ighner, jazz and pop singer, songwriter and producer
Robert Yancy, drummer and son of Natalie Cole
Zhu Jian’er, Chinese composer
Pavel Egorov, Russian classical pianist and educator
Jo Walker-Meador, former exec director of the Country Music Association
Jesse Boyce, R&B and gospel musician (FAME Gang)
Sonny Burgess, rockabilly guitarist, singer and songwriter
Leon Douglas, country singer (Grand Ol’ Opry, Wheeling Jamboree)
Concha Valdes Miranda, Cuban composer
Bea Wain, big band singer
Dave Wheeler, record company executive (RCA)
Margot Hielscher, German singer and film actress
Wilhelm Killmayer, German composer and conductor
Fredell Lack, violinist and educator
Jerry Lewis, comedian, actor, humanitarian and singer
Nati Mistral, Spanish actress and singer
Seija Simola, 73, Finnish singer
John Abercrombie, jazz guitarist
Aloys Kontarsky, German pianist
Pete Kuykendall, bluegrass banjoist, songwriter, producer and journalist
Winston Samuels, Jamaican ska musician (The Aces)
Enzo Dara, Italian opera singer
Nathan Condon, Canadian fiddler
Wilson das Neves, Brazilian percussionist and singer
René Tuček, Czech opera singer and educator
Melissa Bell, English R&B singer (Soul II Soul)
Denis Richard, Canadian singer and songwriter
Dmitri Kogan, Russian violinist
Larry Elgart, saxophonist and bandleader (“American Bandstand Theme”)
Abdul Jabbar, Bangladeshi singer
Skip Prokop, Canadian drummer (Lighthouse) and radio broadcaster
L.N. Shastri, Indian playback singer and composer
Norman Maclean, Scottish comedian, singer and piper

September
Hedley Jones, Jamaican musician, audio engineer and inventor
Novella Nelson, actress and singer
Mick Softley, British singer, songwriter and guitarist
Halim El-Dabh, Egyptian-born composer and ethnomusicologist
Murray Lerner, documentary filmmaker
Harry Sandler, tour manager and photographer
Walter Becker, bassist, guitarist, songwriter and producer (Steely Dan)
John Byrne Cooke, author and musician (Charles River Valley Boys)
Dave Hlubek, rock guitarist and songwriter (Molly Hatchet)
Earl Lindo, Jamaican reggae musician (The Wailers)
Leo Cuypers, Dutch jazz pianist and composer
Holger Czukay, German multi-instrumentalist (Can)
Rick Stevens, R&B singer (Tower of Power)
Derek Bourgeois, English composer
Rosa Judge, Maltese musician
Jim Rollins, bluegrass banjo player
Troy Gentry, country singer (Montgomery Gentry)
Josh Schwartz, singer, guitarist and songwriter (Beachwood Sparks)
Don Williams, country singer and songwriter
Michael Friedman, composer and lyricist (Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson)
Xavier Atencio, animator, lyricist and Imagineer (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Sir Peter Hall, British theatre, opera and film director
Virgil Howe, British drummer (Little Barrie)
Frank Capp, jazz drummer
Riem de Wolff, Dutch-Indonesian singer (The Blue Diamonds)
Siegfried Köhler, German conductor
Jessi Zazu, singer, guitarist and songwriter (Those Darlins)
Alla Tarán, Ukrainian violinist and educator
Lil Ameer, Nigerian hip-hop singer and songwriter
Grant Hart, drummer and songwriter (Hüsker Dü), guitarist and singer
Judy Parker Gaudio, songwriter (“December 1963 (Oh What a Night)”)
Ben Dorcy, roadie (Hank Thompson, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash)
Brenda Lewis, operatic soprano and actress
Laudir de Oliveira, Brazilian musician (Sérgio Mendes) and producer
Mark Selby, singer, songwriter (“There’s Your Trouble”) and guitarist
André Van den Meersschaut, Belgian singer and guitarist (The Cousins)
Speedy Tolliver, banjo and fiddle player
Leonid Kharitonov, Russian opera singer
Reggie Lavong, radio broadcaster and record industry executive
Johnny Sandlin, engineer, producer (Allman Brothers Band) and drummer
Cees Bergman, Dutch rock singer (Catapult) and producer
Johnny Burke, Canadian country singer
Guy Villari, American singer (The Regents, “Barbara Ann”)
Mike Carr, English jazz keyboard player
Eric Eycke, rock singer (Corrosion of Conformity)
Harold Pendleton, British club owner (Marquee) and festival organizer
Rick Shaw, radio broadcaster (WQAM)
Ammon Tharp, soul and pop drummer (Bill Deal and the Rhondels)
Charles Bradley, soul singer
Seth Firkins, audio engineer (Future, Jay-Z, Young Thug)
Caesar Giovannini, composer and pianist
Tsisana Tatishvili, Georgian opera singer
Jack Good, British producer (Shindig!), musician and manager
Ken Stilts, artist manager (The Judds) and record label founder
Gérard Palaprat, French singer and songwriter
Folke Rabe, Swedish composer and trombonist
Elaine Hoffman Watts, klezmer drummer
Barry Dennen, actor and singer (Jesus Christ Superstar)
Paul Rodriguez, sound industry executive
CeDell Davis, blues singer and guitarist
Joy Fleming, German singer (Eurovision Song Contest 1975)
Zuzana Růžičková, Czech harpsichordist
Alan Thompson, British broadcaster (BBC Radio Wales)
Dmitry Smolsky, Belarusian composer and teacher
Rob “Apex” Dickeson, drum’n’bass producer and DJ
Tom Paley, folk singer and musician (New Lost City Ramblers)

October
Kenny Beard, country songwriter, manager and producer
Skip Haynes, musician and songwriter (“Lake Shore Drive”)
Klaus Huber, Swiss composer and academic
Azra Kolaković, Bosnian pop singer
Tom Petty, rock singer, guitarist and songwriter
Janis Hansen, singer (Brasil ‘66) and author
Jerry Ross, producer, songwriter and record label executive
Alvin DeGuzman, post-hardcore guitarist (The Icarus Line)
Aubrey Holt, bluegrass singer, songwriter and guitarist
Borislav Oslovčan, Serbian bassist (Pekinška Patka)
Monojit Datta, Indian Latin percussionist, composer and lyricist
Lou Gare, English jazz saxophonist
Walter “Bunny” Sigler, songwriter and record producer (O’Jays)
Jimmy Beaumont, singer and songwriter (The Skyliners)
Jan Arvid Johansen, Norwegian musician
Coriún Aharonián, Uruguayan composer and musicologist
László Aradszky, Hungarian pop singer
Grady Tate, jazz drummer and singer
Chester R. Green, food company executive (Kraft Music Hall)
Vincent La Selva, conductor and founder of the New York Grand Opera
Reggie Joseph “Mac” McLaughlin, booking agent
Terry Elam, artist manager (Roy Orbison, Vince Gill)
Andy McGhee, jazz saxophonist
Richard Adam, Czech swing singer
Dave Bry, music journalist and editor (Vibe, Spin, The Awl)
Fedor Glushchenko, Russian conductor and violinist
Antonín Matzner, Czech music historian, publisher and producer
Augustin Mawangu Mingiedi, Congolese bandleader and likembist
Iain Shedden, Scottish-Australian musician (The Saints) and journalist
Heather Slade-Lipkin, English pianist, harpsichordist and teacher
Howard Carroll, gospel guitarist (Dixie Hummingbirds)
Harshita Dahiya, Indian singer
Gord Downie, Canadian singer and songwriter (The Tragically Hip)
Ingvar Lidholm, Swedish composer
Eamonn Campbell, Irish guitarist and singer (The Dubliners)
Phil Miller, English rock guitarist (Matching Mole, Hatfield and the North)
Boris Lindqvist, Swedish rock singer
Martin Eric Ain, heavy metal bassist (Hellhammer, Celtic Frost)
Atle Hammer, Norwegian jazz musician
Al Hurricane, singer and songwriter
Emu Lehtinen, Finnish record dealer
Scott Putesky, rock guitarist (Marilyn Manson)
George Young, Australian musician (Easybeats), songwriter and producer
Girija Devi, Indian thumri singer
Fats Domino, pianist, singer and songwriter
Robert Guillaume, actor and singer
Larry Ray, rock guitarist (Outrageous Cherry)
Juliette, Canadian singer and television host
Shea Norman, gospel singer
Brian Galliford, British opera singer
Mike Hudson, punk rock guitarist and singer (The Pagans) and journalist
Dick Noel, band and jingle singer
Rob Potts, Australian country music promoter
Bruce Black, metal drummer (Meliah Rage)
Landy Gardner, choir director (Christ Church Choir)
Billy Mize, steel guitarist, band leader and singer
Mitchell Peters, timpanist, composer and teacher
Gert Timmerman, Dutch singer
Orville Almon, Jr., music and entertainment attorney
Muhal Richard Abrams, jazz pianist and composer
Metin Ersoy, Turkish singer
Raúl García Zárate, Peruvian guitarist
Frank Holder, Guyanese jazz singer and percussionist
Keith Wilder, funk and disco singer (Heatwave)
Theo Bophela, South African jazz pianist, composer and pianist
Lajos Som, Hungarian rock bassist (Piramis)
Daniel Viglietti, Uruguayan folk singer, guitarist and songwriter
Papi Oviedo, Cuban tresero

November
Katie Lee, folk singer
Roland Verlooven, Belgian producer
María Martha Serra Lima, Argentine ballad and bolero singer
Gaetano Bardini, Italian opera singer,
Václav Riedlbauch, Czech composer, pedagogue and manager
Isabel Granada, Filipino actress and singer
Dudley Simpson, Australian composer (Doctor Who) and conductor
Danny Anaya, heavy metal drummer (XM Machine, Abbatoir)
Robert Knight, R&B singer (“Everlasting Love”, “Love on a Mountain Top”)
Louis Roney, opera singer
Wim Brussen, Dutch bandleader
Paul Buckmaster, English arranger (David Bowie, Elton John)
Robert De Cormier, singer and composer (Belafonte Folk Singers)
Wendell Eugene, jazz trombonist
Pentti Glan, Finnish-Canadian drummer (Alice Cooper, Lou Reed)
Karel Štědrý, Czech singer, actor, screenwriter and presenter
Gilbert Rouget, French ethnomusicologist
Fred Cole, rock singer and guitarist (The Lollipop Shoppe, Dead Moon)
Chuck Mosley, rock singer (Faith No More, Bad Brains) and songwriter
Hans Vermeulen, Dutch singer, guitarist and producer (Sandy Coast)
Chiquito de la Calzada, Spanish singer, actor and comedian
Frank Corsaro, opera director and actor
Helen Borgers, jazz disc jockey
Michel Chapuis, French classical organist
Chad Hanks, rock bassist (American Head Charge)
Eric Salzman, composer, producer and critic
Luis Bacalov, Argentine-born Italian composer (Il Postino, Kill Bill)
Bonnie Flower, rock singer, songwriter and drummer (Wendy and Bonnie)
Lil Peep, rapper
Wabi Daněk, Czech folk musician
MIchael “Dik Mik” Davies, English keyboard player (Hawkwind)
Al Neil, Canadian jazz pianist and club founder (Cellar Jazz Club)
William Mayer, composer
Joey Scinta, 69, bassist and Las Vegas entertainer (The Scintas)
Ben Riley, jazz drummer (Thelonious Monk, Kenny Barron, Sphere)
Malcolm Young, Scottish-born Australian guitarist & songwriter (AC/DC)
Claudio Báez, Mexican actor and singer
Ronnie Butler, Bahamian singer and entertainer
Aleksandër Lalo, Albanian composer
Warren “Pete” Moore, singer (The Miracles) and songwriter
Della Reese, actress and singer
Mel Tillis, country singer and songwriter
Laila Sari, Indonesian singer and actress
David Cassidy, singer, guitarist, songwriter and actor
Wayne Cochran, soul singer and songwriter
John Preston, record industry executive (EMI, Decca, Polydor, RCA, BMG)
George Avakian, record producer and executive
John Coates Jr., jazz pianist
Jon Hendricks, jazz singer and songwriter (Lambert, Hendricks & Ross)
Dmitri Hvorostovsky, Siberian opera singer
Shawn Jones, gospel singer
Tommy Keene, rock singer, guitarist and songwriter
Carol Neblett, operatic soprano
Bari Siddiqui, Bangladeshi singer, flautist and songwriter
Dimitri Sjöberg, Finnish tango singer
A.D. Washington, record industry executive (MCA, Warner Brothers)
Mitch Margo, singer and songwriter (The Tokens)
Clotilde Rosa, Portuguese harpist
Enrico Boccadoro, Italian singer and songwriter
Oscar Alem, Argentine pianist and composer
Patrick Bourgeois, Canadian musician (Les B.B.)
Narayanrao Bodas, Indian singer
Robert “Pops” Popwell, bassist (The Young Rascals, The Crusaders)
Magín Díaz, Colombian folk singer and songwriter
Shadia, Egyptian actress and singer
Robert Walker, blues musician
Jim Nabors, actor, comedian and singer
Zé Pedro, Portuguese guitarist (Xutos & Pontapés)

December
Maelé, Equatorial Guinean singer
William Blankenship, operatic tenor
Norihiko Hashida, Japanese folk singer and songwriter
Mundell Lowe, jazz guitarist and composer
Kalachand Darbesh, Indian singer
Cherry Taketani, Brazilian singer and guitarist
Purabi Mukhopadhyay, Indian singer
Carles Santos, Spanish pianist and composer
Adithyan, Indian composer
Ted Simons, composer, arranger and musical director
Johnny Hallyday, French rock singer
Magnus Bergdahl, Swedish guitarist (Thorleifs)
Žermēna Heine-Vāgnere, Latvian opera singer
Sunny Murray, jazz drummer (Cecil Taylor, Albert Ayler)
Sir Christus, Finnish rock guitarist (Negative)
Kuno Areng, Estonian choir director
Vincent Nguini, Cameroonian guitarist (Paul Simon)
Lando Fiorini, Italian actor and singer
Heitaro Nakajima, Japanese digital audio pioneer
Leon Rhodes, country guitarist
Manno Charlemagne, Haitian singer, songwriter, guitarist and politician
Bill Hearn, record industry executive (Capitol Christian Music Group)
Pat DiNizio, rock singer, guitarist and songwriter (The Smithereens)
Harry Sparnaay, Dutch bass clarinetist
Warrel Dane, rock singer (Sanctuary, Nevermore)
Rory O’Donoghue, Australian singer, songwriter, guitarist and actor
Willie Pickens, jazz pianist
Jack Boyle, concert promoter (Cellar Door Concerts) and club owner
Dave Christenson, pop singer and songwriter (Stabilizers)
John Critchinson, English jazz pianist
Ralph Carney, saxophonist (Tin Huey, Tom Waits) and composer
Richard Dobson, country singer and songwriter (“Baby Ride Easy”)
Juli Fábián, Hungarian singer and songwriter
Randy Hongo, Christian musician and minister
Michael Prophet, Jamaican reggae singer
Keely Smith, jazz and pop singer (“That Old Black Magic”)
Z’EV, percussionist and poet
Virginia Da Brescia, Italian actress and singer
Margaret Locicero, radio and record industry veteran
Kevin Mahogany, jazz singer
Rod Dibble, pianist and piano bar host (The Alley)
Jim Forrester, bass guitarist (Sixty Watt Shaman, Foghound)
Larry Harris, record label executive (Casablanca Records)
Kim Jong-hyun, South Korean singer, songwriter and radio host
Manuel Moneo, Spanish singer.
Leo Welch, blues musician
Reggie “Combat Jack” Ossé, music journalist (The Source) and attorney
Dominic Frontiere, composer (The Outer Limits, Hang ‘Em High)
Halvard Kausland, Norwegian jazz guitarist
Jatileswar Mukhopadhyay, Indian singer
Roswell Rudd, jazz trombonist
Marilyn Tyler, opera singer
Pam the Funkstress, hip hop DJ (The Coup, Prince)
Jim Burns, television executive (MTV Unplugged)
Jordan Feldstein, artist manager (Maroon 5)
George Maida, radio broadcaster (WCVE)
André Di Cesare, Canadian music producer
Robbie Malinga, South African musician and producer
Vladimir Shainsky, Russian composer
Curly Seckler, bluegrass musician (Foggy Mountain Boys, Nashville Grass)
Rose Marie, actress, comedienne and singer
Melton Mustafa, jazz trumpeter (Count Basie Orchestra, Duke Ellington)
Chingiz Sadykhov, Azerbaijani pianist

Chris Bell: Looking Forward / I Am the Cosmos / Complete

December 30th, 2017

The most detailed look yet at Chris Bell before and after Big Star

Chris Bell’s untimely death in 1978 not only robbed the world of his musical greatness, but also froze his artistic assets. A full appraisal of his art was retarded by the paucity of available recorded material that lingered for many years after his passing. Big Star’s debut, #1 Record, despite the contemporaneous critical praise and retrospective glory lavished upon it, had been poorly distributed at the time of its 1972 release. Reissued in 1978, apparently to Bell’s delight, it’s imported manufacture delegated it to specialty shops. That same year, Bell’s solo single, “I Am the Cosmos,” was released on Chris Stamey’s Car label, but it would be fourteen more years until Ryko’s 1992 full-length I Am the Cosmos really started to flesh out the Chris Bell story. By then, Big Star had become an iconic reference among 1980s indie pop bands, and with Alex Chilton’s new Big Star formation in 1993, interest in Bell continued to grow.

The next cache of Bell material to turn up were pre-Big Star recordings by The Jynx, Rock City, Christmas Future and Icewater on collections dedicated to Big Star and the Ardent label. In 2009, Rhino Handmade provided further insight into Bell’s post-Big Star period with an expanded edition of I Am the Cosmos. Omnivore now pulls this all together, expanding upon what’s been excavated before with three new releases. First is the single CD Looking Forward: The Roots of Big Star, which adds six previously unissued tracks to the existing corpus of pre-Big Star material. Second is a deluxe reissue of I Am the Cosmos that adds eight tracks to the 2009 Rhino Handmade reissue. Third is an omnibus vinyl-only box set, The Complete Chris Bell, which collects the material from the first two sets, and adds an excerpt from Rich Tupica’s forthcoming biography, There Was a Light: The Cosmic History of Big Star Founder Chris Bell.

What’s immediately striking about the material on Looking Forward: The Roots of Big Star is how good it sounds. Ardent studio owner John Fry had the presence of mind to train a handful of musicians on recording technique, and let them practice in the studio’s down time. These sessions were free from the pressure of a studio clock or a label’s budget, and they allowed the musicians to explore their craft as players, engineers and producers. The six previously unreleased tracks include recordings by The Wallabys (“The Reason”) and Icewater (“A Chance to Live”) and four backing tracks. Big Star fans drawn to the backing track “Oh My Soul” will find it unrelated to the Chilton song of the same name, but the chugging groove is infectious and Bell’s guitar work superb. The unfinished “Germany” has fine vocal overdubs, and the gritty guitar on the alternate of “Feeling High” is terrific.

What shines through the early Ardent sessions is everyone’s unbridled enthusiasm, and for Chris Bell in particular, an optimism that had yet to be crushed under the weight of #1 Record’s commercial failure. From the earliest track, “Psychedelic Stuff,” through the British Invasion tones of the Wallabys, breakthrough compositions like “All I See is You,” and material that would be re-recorded by Big Star, everything rings with a sense of musicians chasing their muse, unencumbered by commercial considerations and with a growing sense that they could make music as meaningful and moving as their idols. Alec Palao’s liner notes include insightful interviews with John Fry, Steve Rhea, Terry Manning, Alan Palmore, Jody Stephens, Tom Eubanks, providing detail on the scene, sessions and tracks.

The eight tracks added to I Am the Cosmos include alternate versions, backing tracks and mixes that provide the final clues as to the journey Bell’s songs took throughout his lifetime. As Alec Palao notes, “unless some new studio sessions come to light in the future, [this set] is essentially the last word on the work of this quixotic talent.” Omnivore relocates the Icewater and Rock City tracks Rhino added in 2009 to a more natural spot on Looking Forward, and adds several mixes from the Big Star documentary Nothing Can Hurt Me. Bob Mehr’s liner notes tell of Bell’s spiritual, musical and geographical odysseys to record, overdub, mix and find a record deal. Alec Palao’s track notes further dissect Bell’s artistic restlessness by piecing together details of his intercontinental quest for perfection.

The avalanche of material that’s been posthumously released on Big Star, Chris Bell and Alex Chilton might feel Elvis- or Jimi-like, had the band not been so thoroughly ignored in their prime. The drive to learn how these artists came to produce #1 Record, Radio City and Third, and what became of them afterwards is delayed discovery rather than morbid curiosity. The books, documentary, reissues, best-ofs, box sets, archival artifacts, resurrections, reunions, and tribute performances might overwhelm lesser artists. But in the case of Chris Bell, the before and after provide a surround that magnifies the all-too-brief artistic flame. Those new to the Big Star canon should start with their albums, those who’ve already imbibed will want to dig the roots and the afterwards, and those who’ve already thoroughly explored the periphery will find something of value in upgrading. [©2017 Hyperbolium]