Good news! Randy Newman is set to release his first album in about a decade sometime early next year. That’s worth celebrating. Here’s a taste of what’s to come.
Here’s a video dedicated to a great world leader. I hope all of you like it. I know he will. —Randy Newman
C’mon, 2016. Enough’s enough.
Sharon Jones, the soul singer and powerful voice of the band the Dap-Kings, died on Friday of pancreatic cancer that had been in remission but returned last year. She was 60.
Ms. Jones’s death was confirmed by Judy Miller Silverman, her publicist. She said Ms. Jones was surrounded by members of the Dap-Kings and other loved ones when she died.
She continued performing throughout the summer, even while undergoing chemotherapy that she said caused neuropathy in her feet and legs and restricted her movements onstage. But Ms. Jones remained undeterred.
“Getting out on that stage, that’s my therapy,” Ms. Jones said in a New York Times interview published in July. “You have to look at life the way it is. No one knows how long I have. But I have the strength now, and I want to continue.”
The summer tour promoted “I’m Still Here,” a single with the Dap-Kings that detailed Ms. Jones’s birth in a brutally segregated South, a childhood in the burned-out Bronx, and a career hampered by record executives who considered her “too short, too fat, too black and too old.”
Ms. Jones was that rare music star who found fame in middle age, when she was in her 40s.
In addition to working as a correction officer at Rikers Island and an armed guard for Wells Fargo, Ms. Jones, who had grown up singing gospel in church choirs, initially dabbled in professional music as a session singer and the vocalist in a wedding band, Good N Plenty.
My favorite of hers, “100 Days, 100 Nights”:
Sigh. This dying shit’s for the birds.
A couple of folks in my tailgating group are absolutely obsessed with this song by a Washington, DC area drummer/singer named Joe Maher, so I though I’d share “Layin’ In The Alley” with you guys. Enjoy a little jump blues this morning.
RIP, Mose Allison, The Who’s favorite jazz musician.
I really hate this year.
Leon Russell, the longhaired, scratchy-voiced pianist, guitarist, songwriter and bandleader who moved from playing countless recording sessions to making hits on his own, died on Saturday in Nashville, Tenn. He was 74.
His death was announced on his website, which said that he had died in his sleep but gave no specific cause.
If you don’t know much about Russell except for a couple of hits, his career was remarkable.
With a top hat on his head, hair well past his shoulders, a long beard, an Oklahoma drawl in his voice and his fingers splashing two-fisted barrelhouse piano chords, Mr. Russell cut a flamboyant figure in the early 1970s. He led Joe Cocker’s band Mad Dogs & Englishmen, appeared at George Harrison’s 1971 Concert for Bangladesh and had hits of his own, including “Tight Rope.” His songs also became hits for others, among them “Superstar” (written with Bonnie Bramlett) for the Carpenters, “Delta Lady” for Joe Cocker and “This Masquerade” for George Benson. More than 100 acts have recorded “A Song for You,” a song Mr. Russell said he wrote in 10 minutes.
By the time Mr. Russell released his first solo album in 1970, he had already played on hundreds of songs as one of the top studio musicians in Los Angeles. Mr. Russell was in Phil Spector’s Wall of Sound Orchestra, and he played sessions for Frank Sinatra, Sam Cooke, Aretha Franklin, the Ventures and the Monkees, among many others. He is heard on “Mr. Tambourine Man” by the Byrds, “A Taste of Honey” by Herb Alpert, “Live With Me” by the Rolling Stones and all of the Beach Boys’ early albums, including “Pet Sounds.”
My favorite performance of his was from the aforementioned Concert for Bangladesh, where he delivered a rollicking version of “Jumping Jack Flash/Youngblood”.
Vaya con Dios, my man.
It seems kind of fitting that this birthday tribute to Roy Wood got his age wrong. While his Move and ELO cohort Jeff Lynne went on to fame and fortune, Wood never caught on similarly, despite the fact that he’s a pop genius.
The Move was one of those groups that should have been a much bigger deal than they ever were, at least in the states. (They had a few big hits in England.) If you never paid attention to them, here’s a clip of a song Cheap Trick covered, “California Man”.
There’s also the heavy, heavy “Brontosaurus”, from 1970.
And one more, from The Move’s last bit before Wood and Lynne went on to start Electric Light Orchestra, from 1971, “Tonight”.
Make sure you check out some of the clips in the linked article, too.
Cleveland in the World Series has gotten “Cleveland Rocks” back into rotation, but that song is actually a remake by Ian Hunter of his 1977 single, “England Rocks” (of which I am the proud possessor of the original 45), which… does.
I dare you to sit still while listening to that. Can’t be done.