here's the first post of a few that celebrate those we must leave behind with the year known as 2005...
I stayed out way too late on new years eve, missed getting to the East Bay for a chuck prophet gig, but saw the Supersuckers rock the party, and shoulda gone to bed hours ago...here's the first post of a tally of some folks that left the scene this past year...
Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown the Louisiana based musician had a 50 year career playing blues , country and cajun styled music and was considered an influence on Albert Colllins and reportedly was Frank Zappa's fave guitarist. He was already suffering from Lung Cancer, Emphysema and heart disease before dying after the stress of relocating from his home Slidell LA during Hurricane Katrina.
Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown - Got My Mojo Working
R.L Burnside - one of the last great Mississippi bluesmen, his music career finally got some momentum in his later years via a hook up with Fat Possum records. R.L toured extensively with the Jon Spencer Blues Explosion and brought his authentic rural blues style to a new generation. R.L died at age 78 in September, leaving behind a musical legacy, and 12 children and too many grandchildren to count.
R.L Burnside - Hobo Blues
R.L Burnside - Little Babe (1968)
R.L Burnside - Rollin' Tumblin' ( Remix)
Barry Cowsill - while he's not officially dead , Barry went missing shortly after Hurricane Katrina in New orleans, and leaves behind his family, a clan that actually was the inspiration for the Partridge Family. The Cowsills in their heyday had 4 Billboard top ten hits between 1967 & 1970, and over 100 gold records. Barry was their bass player, getting his start on the frat party circuit around Rhode Island's Brown U in the mid sixties. They were 'discovered’ by Johnny Nash’s all black R&B label, JODA, and Nash protege' Bob Marley is known to have covered Cowsill material. Eventually they turned down an offer to be the leads on a TV series with Shirley Jones, but the producers kept the Cowsill family member names Keith & Susan for lead characters on the Partridge Family. The band were the American Dairy Association's spokespeople, and Barry soon was a show biz "has been" by age 15. In the 80's, Barry went on to form a band with Waddy Wachtel, had troubles with booze and drugs, and had recently relocated to New Orleans before dissapearing in the horrendous aftermath of the storm.He left his sister a voicemail Sept. 2, saying he was in the midst of "a lot of 'lootin' and a lot of shootin'" and never called back.
The Cowsills - The Rain, The Park & Other Things
Bob Denver was Maynard G Krebs, tv's first beatnik on Dobie Gillis and later known as Gilligan who had his own island he shared with cute castaways, Bob Denver was a classic perpetually youthful figure of a more innocent era. He died in September at age 70
Mitch Hedberg The caustic stoner comedian who had been on Letterman 10x and had two CDs out, died in a Jersey motel last March with a mixed cocktail of substances including coke and heroin coarsing through his bloodstream.
Chet Helms - the goofy hippie with a heart of gold, but a liver that had seen better days after partying through the 60s with cohorts like The Dead & Janis Joplin. Helms pioneered the modern rock concert experience, bringing tripppy posters, liquid lights shows and festival vibes to the old Fillmore Auditorium and Avalon Ballroom before Bill Graham made the scene about the $cent of money. Helms died in june at age 62.
Richard Pryor - a comedian extraordinaire who should need no introduction, born in 1940, Richard Franklin Lennox Thomas Pryor III arose from humble but perverse beginnings as the scion of a family who ran a low rent brothel in Peoria Illinois. He was expelled from school by 14 and worked as a janitor in strip club before joining the Army for a stint in the late 50's. By the early 60's he had become adept at telling jokes, and moved to NY to try his had at live comedy. At first he was compared to Bill Cosby, but after awhile tired of tame material that was contrived but comfortable to white audiences. Eventually, after making inroads on TV variety shows, he walked offstage at an engagement opening for Bobby Darin at The Aladdin in Las Vegas in 1969 and never looked back. He moved to Berkeley and began hanging with radicals and Black Panthers. He grew his hair out of a process and into an afro, began telling it like he saw it, and was blitzed on coke during a role in the low budget Oakland dope & pimp flick The Mack. His stand up routine evolved into rollicking rants that used real life incidents, racial epithets and a crazed raw confrontational comedic style fearlessly fueled by his powdered drug of choice. His comedy albums on Laff records began to sell in numbers comparable to label mate Redd Foxx. Two award winning Lily Tomlin specials in 1973 and witing gigs with Sanford & Son and Flip Wilson started earning him real money and acclaim . Mel Brooks offered him the sheriff role in Blazing Saddles, but the studio, supposedly wary of Pryor's controversial reputation and drug use would not finance the film if he was more than a writer . He soon scored an important dramatic role in the 1974 Diana Ross vehicle Lady Sings The Blues, and the suits of Hollywood took serious notice. Eventually he was the highest paid actor in Hollywood, pulling $4 million in just for a few minutes of screen time in Superman II, and was the first African American wih his own production deal with a studio. I, along with any conscious comedy attuned head on the planet eagerly awaited his film and television appearances, which broke taboos and box office records with equal ease.
Pryor, to casual observers was a sad story, to others a mythical and ominous figure. A bright diamond of many facets, yet if you looked too closely you saw a deeply flawed jewel as time and temptation had eaten at it's hard exterior.
I got to see the more vulnerable Pryor, and even light his cigarette while he was onstage awhile back. It was at The Comedy Store, the joint owned by Pauly Shore's Mom on The Sunset Strip. He was a far cry from the slick & sly mad cat that prowled the stage in the landmark 1982 film "Rihard Pryor : Live On The Sunset Strip", this older Pryor had his onstage savagery being ravaged by a more than 10 year battle with MS. Yet, even with his physical presence weakend and timing of the delivery disrupted, his wit was possibly just as sharp, and as terrifyingly funny as ever. His material about Annette Funicello that night was worth retelling, but I doubt I could rewrite the snickering delivery enough to translate it via the limited vibe of the blogosphere...
I was surprised to see him there with Jennifer Lee, a woman whose tales as a cocaine groupie lovedoll warranted her own biography "Fallen Angel", which is a juicy gossip, drug & BJ filled read. Her life took her from Max's Kansas City onto her goodtimes & hard living in the arms of Wilie Nelson & Waylon Jennings and into into the shaking grip of Hollywood's Sir Richard at the height of his freebasing fever. She had been to hell and back with him, restablishing domesticity with him in the late 90's and remarrying him after leaving him at the height of his 80's downard spiral.
Richard Pryor was married 7 times ( twice to Miss Lee ), and fathered 7 children. Dec 10th he died in an Encino hospital near his home from complications of his long running battle with MS. He's buried at Church of The Hills, Forest Lawn Cemetary.
Richard Pryor - Super Nigger excerpt
Richard Pryor - 1974's That Nigga's Crazy LP 29 megs
Nipsey Russell 80, was well known for his role in the 1978 Michael Jackson vehicle the Wiz, but got his start as a lively carhop at The Varsity drive in burger joint in Atlanta in the 1940's before establishing a career on the stage and screen. He made appearances on the Ed Sullivan Show, Car 54 Where Are You? and eventually games shows like Match Game and To Tell The Truth. He was a fave on Dean Martin's variety shows and Johnny Carson had him guest host the Tonight Show on NBC.
Vincent Schiavelli - the memorable character actor from films like Ghost & One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest died in Sicily
and a sad footnote I came across:
Kyle Williams - 14 year old son of a Cleveland Ohio area sheriff who died from inhaling "canned air" ( Dust Off brand). Dust Off has been aparently abused to the point of death in several other incidents as well.
Is This A Great Country Or What ?
Sure the mainstream media has Bono & Bill Gates, along with guys like George W. Bush listed in the man of the year cateories. Here's a short list I quickly made off the top o my head featuring some other characters worthy of mention due to their presence or at least infamy in 2005.
My Nominees For Runner Ups of The Year :
Normally I ain't much of a law and order man, and no it's not because i ain't a fan of Jerry Orbach. I generally have little interest in the chicanery surrounding the cops & robbers game, legal process, but since i work in a law school these days I'm growing a little more patient with the process. Two figures stand out this year in their fields...
NY's Attorney General, has been taking on the corruption of the music industry, which has been rife with pricing & payola scandals, and now Spitzer, who has obvious political aspirations, is looking into the practices and price fixing of the digital downloading process...
The obvious other prosecutor to make this list would have to include the man charged with investigating the Valerie Plame leaks
Non Nominees, perhaps scapegoats or people who had opportunities, but did so very little...
Slick Hllary's ambiguous war & gay marriage posistions, and subsequent awkward lurch to the right make her safely "tough" policies on flag burning and video games look ridiculous. Actor Tim Robbins recently uttered that she can kiss his posterior on Air America. As she attempts show bitchy backbone before her run for Prez in 08, she's less & less likeable to all.
other news that bodes uh, so well for the New Year ...
Big rain threatening to ruin New Year's in my base of Northern California.
An Iraqi prison erupts in violence, leaving at least 9 dead, while eightfold fuel price hikes bring attacks & protests.
9 New Orleans cops surround & kill lone nut obviously retreating in broad daylight , see the video
Criminal Justice student amongst 3 who kill cabdriver in Chicago
oh, also : Beware Milwaukee Mobs...
Known Paedophile Gary Glitter spent Christmas in jail ,after being busted doing nasty with kids in Cambodia & Vietnam. The 70's hitmaker, known for his stadium rock fave "Rock n Roll part II" was jailed in Britain just a few years ago for having child porn images on a computer he'd sent in for repair. Glitter a.k.a Paul Gadd, attempted a failed comeback via a Dutch website that was selling a new album called 'Lost On Life Street'.
and now : some random mp3z for yer perusal
Spoon - I Turn My Camera On
Ernie K Doe - Here Come The Girls