Remembering Clarence Burke Jr

Clarence Burke

Clarence Burke Jr passed away on May 25th, he was 62.  He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist with 1970’s family band “The Five Stairsteps“.  The band was best known for it’s hit “O-o-h Child“, a song rated at 392 on Rolling Stone’s Top 500 of All time.  The video below is the band on “Soul Train“.

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Remembering Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee

Alvin Lee (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

March 6th was a tough day.  The world also lost Alvin Lee, guitarist, leader and singer of Ten Years After.  This band is one of those bands that etched a big place in the soundtrack of my life, this song in particular. “I’d Love To Change The World“.  It has a short interview at the beginning and gets cut off at the end, Oh well.

 

 

The band hit its stride at Woodstock, and contributed to the idealism of the 60’s and early 70’s.  Terrific player, great band, he will be missed, Alvin Lee, dead at 69.

 

 

Remembering Stompin’ Tom Connors

Stompin tom connors in 2002 crop

Stompin tom connors in 2002 crop (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Canadian legend and troubadour Stompin’ Tom Connors passed way on March 6, 2013.  He was 77.  While he has had a long and great career, Canadians will always remember him for his classic “The Hockey Song“.  Give it a listen, it can’t help but put a smile on your face.

 

 

He got the nickname from his habit of stomping the heel of his boot while he played.  He was a staple on Canadian TV, not only having his own shows, but also by supplying theme songs for various shows and his talent for creating anthems, such as The Hockey Song.  Here is another fine example of his populist song writing skills, “Bud The Spud“.

 

 

In his later years, he pushed away from the limelight.  He had a few disputes with such institutions as the Juno Awards (he returned all his Juno’s to protest their qualification guidelines) and the CBC who would not air a music special about him.  In response to their refusal, he simply stated:

 

“As far as I’m concerned, if the CBC, our own public network, will not reconsider their refusal to air a Stompin’ Tom special, they can take their wonderful offer of letting me sing a song as a guest on some other program and shove it.”.

 

Rest in Peace Stompin’ Tom.

 

 

Remembering Donald Byrd

Cover of "Places & Spaces"

Cover of Places & Spaces

On our recent trip to Spain, we were sitting in a small tapas bar in the Born area of Barcelona.  We were enjoying some great food, and some excellent wine, when a song came on that made us both go, “Who in the heck is that”.  We asked our server who it was and he went to find out for us.  Turns out that it was Donald Byrd, who, unfortunately, passed away on February 4, 2013 at he age of 80.  Having just discovered him (where was he hiding), I was quite saddened by this news,  A great trumpet player, his career spanned 7 decades and included, besides his solo work, stints and recordings with a who’s who of the jazz and blues world.  John Coltrane, Thelonius Monk, Sonny Rollins and Herbie Hancock may ring a few bells with you.

He recorded over 40 albums on his own and many more as a sideman.  An outstanding career.  The song I have chosen in memorial, is the one we heard in Barcelona, “Falling (like dominoes)” of his Places and Spaces album, which was recorded in 1975.

Remembering Von Freeman

von freeman have no fear

von freeman have no fear (Photo credit: cultchas)

 

Tenor jazz saxophone player Von Feeman died on August 11, 2012 at 88.  I love Saxophone and jazz, together a deadly combination.  Von was one of the great innovators and creators of this sound in, what is known as, the Chicago School.  I have attached 2 videos, one is live in Chicago in 1988, the second is Von playing last year at almost 90.  Incredible sound, great player.

 

 

and the second