News & Updates

Eugene McDaniels / Feb 12, 1935 - July 29, 2011

Eugene McDaniels / Feb 12, 1935 - July 29, 2011

The "left reverend" Eugene "Gene" McDaniels is largely known for three contributions to the popular consciousness. The first is his 1961 song "100 Pounds of Clay" heard on oldies stations to this day (released as Gene McDaniels). The second is his notoriety as a chart-topping song-writer ("Feel Like Makin' Love", by Roberta Flack and "Compared to What", popularized by Les McCann & Eddie Harris). And the third is his rare grove LP Headless Heroes of the Apocalypse, controversial at the time for songs that deeply examine the elite power structure (and the attempted banning of the album by the White...

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Leon Haywood / Feb 11, 1942 - Apr 5, 2016

Leon Haywood / Feb 11, 1942 - Apr 5, 2016

Happy birthday to the recently-passed keyboardist/songwriter/producer Leon Haywood, the man behind that G-Funk staple "I Wanna Do Something Freaky To You". He came from Houston and was playing piano as a young child. He put together his first professional band in the '50s, playing locally while also backing Guitar Slim. In the early '60s he moved to Los Angeles, where he played in a band with saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, and backing Sam Cooke in his band until Cooke's death. He continued working as a session musician with Dyke & The Blazers, among others. He had a few minor soul...

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Josh White / Feb 11, 1914 - Sept 5, 1969

Josh White / Feb 11, 1914 - Sept 5, 1969

The activist singer Josh White got his start as a homeless teenager, recording his own blues and gospel sides, and cutting sessions for other singers before a period of inactivity due to a serious hand injury. Healed, he starred on Broadway, became FDR's closest friend and was a well-loved country-blues artist in the '40s. One of the most popular artists of the day, he also made some movie appearances at a time when blacks were rarely seen starring onscreen. In fact, White's career was full of "firsts" for black artists...until McCarthyism damaged his reputation with the American public and he...

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Gene Vincent / Feb 11, 1935 - Oct 12, 1971

Gene Vincent / Feb 11, 1935 - Oct 12, 1971

The pioneering rockabilly artist Gene Vincent whooped things up with the mighty "Be-Bop-A-Lula" in 1956 with his band The Blue-Caps, which was originally intended as a b-side. Other '50s hits included "Race With The Devil", "Bluejean Bop" and "Lotta Lovin". He became an ex-pat in '59 and lived in and toured Europe for several years, at one point his band included a young Ritchie Blackmore. Beset by medical problems from injuries sustained in two road crashes (a '55 crash of his brand new Triumph motorcycle and a '60 taxi crash that killed Eddie Cochran), and his subsequent self-destruction through drink...

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Luis Morais Feb 10, 1935 - Sep 25, 2002

Luis Morais Feb 10, 1935 - Sep 25, 2002

From a family of musicians, Luis Morais was born on the island of São Vicente, Cabo Verde but grew up in Dakar, Senegal, where he was trained in music theory and composition. He started playing in Dakar nightclubs in the '50s as a tenor & alto saxophonist, flautist and clarinet player, playing in a variety of musical styles including mambo, merengue, son, boleros and cha cha, as well as Cape Verdean folk music (such as coladera & mornas.). As such, he is considered a leader of the Cape Verdean folk music scene in Senegal. After relocating to The Netherlands in...

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