Thursday, 1 January 2015

2014: The year (some of the people who made some of) the music died :(

Another year gone, lots more people with it, including...

Ronny Jordan

If you were around during the 90s 'Acid Jazz' renaissance (and didn't actively avoid hearing it) then you probably heard some of Ronny Jordan's understatedly cool, George Benson-meets-Grant Green-ish guitar playing. It was good.

Remembered by me for: the great, very Grant Green-esque 'Blues Grinder' from his 1992 debut The Antidote

Bob Casale

As a member of Devo, Bob Casale was secondary to the organism he was part of; but it wouldn't have been the same without his contribution

Remembered by me for: Q: Are We Not Men? A: We are DEVO! I love that album

Velma Smith

To this day, female guitar players tend to be overlooked, especially if their gender isn't marketed as part of their appeal. It's all the more impressive then, that Velma Smith was a session player in the very masculine world (singers apart) of the Nashville music scene back in the 50s.

Remembered by me for: I mostly avoid country music, so don't know much of her work, but she played on Skeeter Davis' 'The End of the World', by far the best version of a pretty iconic song.

Frankie Knuckles

I probably disliked far more Frankie Knuckles stuff than I liked, but a cool guy and important figure nonetheless.

Remembered by me for: 'It's a Cold World' Dated enough to be nostalgic about; I don't hate it.

Scott Asheton

As the drummer in The Stooges Scott Asheton will forever have a place in rock history. If you think the band was as primitive as its reputation suggests listen to their debut again; despite the toughness of the sound, Scott Asheton was a proper percussionist.

Remembered by me for: everything the original Stooges lineup recorded but let's say 'No Fun', where the drums and handclaps stop the song from being just a brutal anthem and make it, ironically, fun.

Billy Mundi

If Frank Zappa let you in his band you were probably pretty good; Billy Mundi played the drums on some of the Mothers of Invention's most inventive albums; he was pretty good.

Remembered by me for: We're Only In It For The Money. The band's insane adaptability is at its most eclectic on this (still quite hippyish) masterpiece satirising the flower power era. 

Maria Kolokouri

As Tristessa, Maria Kolokouri had been active in the Greek metal scene since the mid 90s, and was pretty much the creative force behind successful black metal band Astarte

Remembered by me for: Astarte's Doomed Dark Years. Classic Greek black metal, they did more good stuff after this, but never as good.

Bobby Womack

Bobby Womack worked with everybody, and has had lots of proper obituaries; he deserved them.

Remembered by me for: Across 110th Street. An obvious one but it is a classic

Horace Silver

A lot of his stuff is a bit swingy/easy for my taste, but Horace Silver was a jazz great, and his body of work is ridiculously big and varied.

Remembered by me for: It's Got To Be Funky more modern and Dave Brubeck-ish than a lot of his earlier work

Tommy Ramone

The last original Ramone gone; SAD.

Remembered by me for: Playing drums on the first three (possibly best three) Ramones albums

Johnny Winter


I am not a huge fan of Johnny Winter's music, but he was a great guitar player as well as a pivotal figure in the US rock scene of the 70s and an albino too!

Remembered by me for: 'Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo; Classic 'Dazed and Confused' soundtrack type music.

Dick Wagner

Great guitar player, worked with tons of people including Alice Cooper a lot but best known to me for his stuff with Lou Reed

Remembered by me for: Lou Reed Live. Often overlooked in favour of the live Rock and Roll Animal album, this is GREAT and has the best version of 'Sad Song'  (from Berlin) on it. Dick Wagner is superb throughout

Jean Redpath

Some kinds of folk music will never be cool; Jean Redpath mainly sang that kind of folk music, but her voice was amazingly pure and expressive, best heard unaccompanied.

Remembered by me for: a haunting version of  'Skippin' Barfit Through The Heather' from 1962. Far more similar to the kind of Scandinavian folk music I like than the usual Scottish folk music which I don't like:

Jack Bruce

On the whole, Jack Bruce's music was not for me; but Cream made some great stuff, didn't they?

Remembered by me for: actually, playing on 'Strange Brew', by far my favourite Cream song, but he didn't write that, so let's say 'Sunshine of Your Love', which is definitely a classic anyway.

Ian McLagan

Ubiquitous keyboard player among bands/performers of his generation, including the Small Faces, Faces, Rod Stewart, Rolling Stones, plus later people like Billy Bragg etc etc He was on tons of good records.

Remembered by me for: for me you can't beat the first, 1966 Small Faces album, before they became silly music hall hippy nonsense.


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