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Archive for the ‘R&B’ Category

RIP, Cornell Dupree (May 8, 2011) Jazz and R&B Guitar Great

Posted by on May 8, 2011

Cornell Dupree
December 19, 1942 – May 8, 2011

Cornell Dupree was a respected jazz and R&B guitarist who, over the course of his career, played on records by the likes of Aretha Franklin, Miles Davis, Joe Cocker, and Brook Benton.  In his early years, Dupree could be found playing in the legendary Atlantic Records house band, with whom he played on such iconic records as Benton’s “Rainy Night In Georgia,” and Franklin’s “Respect” on which he provided the instantly recognizable opening guitar riff.  He was also a founding member of the much respected jazz funk combo, Stuff.  Dupree also released several of his own albums throughout the years, his most popular being 1994’s Bop ‘n’ Blues.  Cornell Dupree had been suffering from emphysema and had been waiting for a lung transplant when he passed away on May 8, 2011.  He was 68.

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RIP, Odell Brown (May 3, 2011) Jazz Musician; Wrote Marvin Gaye’s “Sexual Healing”

Posted by on May 3, 2011

Odell Brown Jr.
1938 – May 3, 2011

Odell Brown was a jazz organist who is best remembered for penning the Marvin Gaye hit, “Sexual Healing.”  Brown was just 4 years old when he began playing the keyboards – mostly old classical pieces – until he found his groove with jazz.  By the mid ’60s, he had settled in Chicago where he formed Odell Brown & the Organizers which was touted by no less than Billboard magazine as the Best New Group in 1966.  He built a sizable following during the late ’60s and early ’70s for his live performances at which he played what could be classified as soul-jazz or jazz-funk.   One such audience member was Gaye who couldn’t get one of his numbers out of his head, so he put some words to it, and “Sexual Healing” was born.  Released in 1982, the single was a Top 5 hit around the world and has since been covered by the likes of Michael Bolton, Phish, Soul Asylum, and Sarah Connor.  Sadly however, Brown was bottoming out at the time – he watched his song win a Grammy at a Skid Row bar in Los Angeles.   He eventually got his life and career back on track and moved to the Minneapolis area where he continued to record and perform.  Over the course of his career, Brown worked with Johnny Nash, Minnie Riperton, and Curtis Mayfield.  Odell Brown was 70 when he passed away on May 3, 2011.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Loleatta Holloway (March 21, 2011) R&B and Disco Star

Posted by on March 21, 2011

Loleatta Holloway
November 5, 1946 – March 21, 2011

Loleatta Holloway was a beloved soul and disco singer who, over the course of a career that spanned more than 40 years, landed numerous singles on the pop, R&B and dance charts.  Her hits included such dance floor fillers as “Love Sensation” and “Hit and Run,” as well as the soulful ballad, “Cry To Me.”  But it might have been her powerful vocal parts (sampled) in Marky Mark & the Funky Bunch’s 1991 #1 smash “Good Vibrations”  that she is most often associated with.  The song would signal a comeback for Holloway and help propel Marky Mark (aka Mark Wahlberg) to an eventual world class film career.   It was Holloway’s original recording of “Love Sensation” that is predominantly featured on the record.  Holloway began her career as a Gospel singer in Chicago, at one time even singing with the great Albertina Walker.  In the ’70s she began making soul records and by the end of the decade she was delivering disco hits.  That continued until disco took a back seat to new wave and hair metal during the mid to late ’80s.  And then as hip-hop and sampling took hold in the ’90s, Holloway was back in vogue.  She continued recording and performing live well into the 2000s.  On March 21, 2011 Loleatta Holloway passed away following a brief illness.  She was 64.

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RIP, Nate Dogg (March 15, 2011) Popular West Coast Rapper

Posted by on March 15, 2011

Nate Dogg (Born Nathaniel Hall)
August 19, 1969 – March 15, 2011

Nathaniel Hall, who was more commonly known by his stage name, Nate Dogg, was a popular rapper and singerwho got his start on the same Long Beach, California streets as Snoop Dogg and Warren G.  His smooth voice was one of the greatest to come out of the G-Funk era of hip-hop.  Hall began singing in his church choir when he was a child, then dropped out of high school to join the U.S. Marines where he served for three years.  After his return to the Long Beach area, Hall joined up with fellow Rollin 20 Crips gang members, Snoop Dogg and Warren G to form a rap group, 213.  Together they recorded their first demo at a local record store, and when Dr. Dre heard it, he offered Hall a slot to sing on his now legendary The Chronic album.  From there, Hall got signed to Dre and Suge Knight’s Death Row Records.  Over the next several years, he released a handful of albums and was nominated for four Grammys.   Either singing on his own records or guesting on others, Hall appeared on the Singles chart over 40 times.   In December of 2007, Hall suffered a stroke which reportedly left the left side of his body paralyzed.  He suffered a second stroke in September of 2008 but was expected to make at least a partial recovery with physical therapy.  On March 15, 2011, Nate Dogg suffered yet another stroke and died.  He was 41.

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RIP, Herman Ernest (March 6, 2011) Drummer For Dr. John

Posted by on March 6, 2011

Herman Ernest
DOB Unknown – March 6, 2011

Herman Ernest was a respected New Orleans drummer who, over the course of his career appeared on countless records including those with the likes of Kermit Ruffins, Shemekia Copeland, Jeremy Davenport, and Dr. John.   Ernest, who was also known as “Roscoe” to friends and fans, called his hard-hitting style of drumming, “diesel funk.”  He spent many years playing with Dr. John – appearing an numerous albums over the past two decades as well as on stage as part of his Lower 911 Band.    His last appearance with him was on December 30, 2010.    Herman Ernest died on March 6, 2011 following a long battle with cancer.  He was 59.


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RIP, Marvin Sease (February 8, 2011) American R&B Singer

Posted by on February 8, 2011

Marvin Sease
February 16, 1946 – February 8, 2011

Born in South Carolina, Marvin Sease initially considered himself a gospel singer, performing in area gospel groups while still in his teens.  At the age of 20, he moved to New York City where he joined the Gospel Crowns.  He soon left them to form his own R&B group, Sease, along with his three brothers. After knocking around with them for a few years, Sease went off on his own.  In 1986, he released his self-titled debut which included “Ghetto Man,” a song that helped grow his profile along the “chitlin circuit” of the southern states.   Within a year, he was signed to Polygram Records, who re-released the album with the bonus track of “Candy Licker,” which quickly became a crowd and jukebox favorite thanks to its racy lyrics.  He released several more albums over the next ten years or so, charting on the Billboard blues and pop charts here and there.  Marvin Sease was 64 when he passed away on February 8, 2011.   Cause of death was not immediately released.

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RIP, Gladys Horton (January 26, 2011) The Marvelettes

Posted by on January 26, 2011

Gladys Horton
1944 – January 26, 2011

Gladys Horton was the founding lead singer of influential Motown girl group, the Marvelettes.  Formed in Detroit in 1960, the Marvelettes would go on to have 21 R&B charting hits and 23 to make Billboard’s Hot 100 singles chart.  Their most popular songs were “Beechwood 4-5789,” “Too Many Fish In The Sea,” and of course, “Please, Mr. Postman,” which was Motown’s first #1 pop hit.   They were the blueprint for future hit makers like Martha Reeves & The Vandellas and the Supremes.  Horton left the group in 1967 but reunited with the group during the late ’80s.  Gladys Horton was 66 when she passed away in a Los Angeles nursing home on January 26, 2011.  She had be recuperating from a previous stroke.  Co-founding member, Georgeanna Tillman passed away in 1980.

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RIP, Bobby Robinson (January 7, 2011) Prolific R&B Producer & Harlem Record Store Owner

Posted by on January 7, 2011

Bobby Robinson
April 16, 1917 – January 7, 2011

Bobby Robinson was a pioneering R&B and later, hip-hop record producer, as well as a longtime record store owner.  He opened Bobby’s Record Shop in 1946, making it the first Black-owned business on Harlem’s famous 125th Street.  The store and cultural landmark remained open until he was forced to close in 2008 due to his landlord’s desire to raze and rebuild at that spot.  As a producer, Robinson had a hand in creating a string of R&B and hip-hop hits that stretched from the early ’50s through the mid ’80s.  The list of greats that he enjoyed success with includes Gladys Knight & The Pips, Lee Dorsey, The Shirelles, Elmore James, Grandmaster Flash & The Furious Five, Kool Moe Dee, and Doug E. Fresh.  Bobby Robinson was 93 when he passed away on January 7, 2010.

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RIP, Teena Marie (December 26, 2010) Had Several R&B Hits

Posted by on December 26, 2010

Teena Marie
March 5, 1956 – December 26, 2010

Teena Marie was a singer, songwriter, and producer who had a string of R&B hits throughout the ’80s and ’90s.  By all accounts, she was one of the most successful white female R&B performers in history.  Born and raised in Los Angeles, Marie landed a job at Motown Records in the late ’70s.  It was there that she met Rick James who took her under his wing and helped her sculpt an image and sound that would take her to the top of the R&B and pop charts.  Her hits included “I’m a Sucker For Your Love,” I Need Your Lovin’,” and of course, 1984’s “Lovergirl,” which hit #4 on the US singles charts.   Marie was still making great music through 2009 and was headlining in Las Vegas up until the time of her passing.  Teena Marie was 54 when she died on December 26, 2010.  Cause of death was not immediately released.

Thanks to Jill Wheeler for the help

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RIP, Bernie Wilson (December 26, 2010) Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes

Posted by on December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson
DOB Unknown – December 26, 2010

Bernie Wilson was a member of the great R&B singing group, Harold Melvin & The Blue Notes for many years, including those that gave us such soul staples as “If You Don’t Know Me By Now,” “Bad Luck,” and “The Love I Lost.”  It was the Blue Notes that helped define a popular style of R&B known as The Sound Of Philadelphia or Philly Soul, which soon begat disco and later, smooth jazz and quiet storm.  Other notables of the genre are/were The O’Jays, The Spinners, and McFadden & Whitehead.  After signing their first record deal in 1972, Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes enjoyed several years of hits, television appearances, and sold-out concerts thanks in part to the instantly recognizable hefty lead vocals of Teddy Pendergrass.  But when Pendergrass left for a solo career in 1976, the group’s reign at the top of the heap came to an end.  They DID enjoy a handful of hits throughout the rest of the ’70s and continued performing in one form or another through the ’90s – the later years were without Melvin, who passed away in 1997.  It was Wilson who was a constant throughout the group’s various incarnations.  Bernie Wilson was 64 when he died of undisclosed illness on December 26, 2010.

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