Welcome Music Lovers!
We need to try to move on.
Musicians' Corner moves with music... And music pretty much got to a standstill. Where does it all go from here?
Remembering Sir Miles Davis, seen here on stage at Gröna Lund in Stockholm in the summer of 1987 (photo: KG Asplund)
What can we say about remembering Sir Miles? Music has not been the same since he left. It lost a whole lot of something something, that was in fact about him.
We can all wonder what he would have been doing, had he been here today. And we all know that we can't quite know what that would have been. And that is even one of the things that are so special with Miles Davis. People just had to see where he was going to know where he was going. They couldn't go some place and wait for him there artistically, because there was no way of knowing if he would show up there. And, alongside his leaving a mighty musical journey behind as he left, he left a world of wise things he said, which is a bit strange indeed, as he wasn't always so talkative. "It can take a lifetime to learn to play like yourself". Quote Miles Davis. You can so often interpret some things he said in wider terms, and you often even must. At any height of his legendary career he was still searching for his tone. Knowing what he wanted from others, and from himself too, in the nano moment, what he uttered wasn't something fluffy for an article, but a real thing. And that is so it. Miles Davis was so cool. And it was a real cool, not a pose. "It can take a lifetime to learn to play like yourself" really means It can take a lifetime to learn to be yourself.
Those ears... One of the most magical pairs of ears in music. They could tie so much together with two notes. The way Miles Davis HEARD music... We can only leave that to silence.
Miles Davis, May 26, 1926 – September 28, 1991
BET has started a relief fund in collaboration with the NAACP and United Way Worldwide to provide help to the Black communities in the USA hit the hardest by the ongoing crisis. There will be a special broadcast, SavingOurSelves: A BET COVID-19 Relief Effort, on April 22 at 8pm ET, which will feature many celebrities, and aims to raise funds and provide current information.
Musicians' Corner remembers Luther Vandross
Thinking of that special voice. In a world full of singers, imagine that a voice can be as unique and as easily recognizable...
What can we say?
He spoke for himself, and he only needed a note to do that.
The king of covers, Luther Vandross, would make any song his own. Starting out as backup to another velvety voice, Roberta Flack, and becoming an in-demand backup singer, before he went on to being the much loved and heavily Grammy-decorated lead that he was, after the breakthrough with his group Change, Vandross also penned hit songs. He further found himself in many duet collabs.
One of us recalls seeing him at Royal Albert Hall, where he had a residence for a few shows, one of the many highlights in the career of a very talented performer indeed.
Frank and Luther...
LUTHER VANDROSS, April 20, 1951 – July 1, 2005
The Recording Academy and MusiCares have established a Covid-19 relief fund.
See a bit on that here: https://www.grammy.com/musicares/get-help/musicares-coronavirus-relief-fund
A musicians' union survey finds that musicians based in the UK have lost £ 13,9 million in earnings to date, after the closing of venues and a drop in teaching work, The Guardian reports.
The hashtag #TogetherAtHome has quickly become one to look for, for live streams of music in this covid-19 crisis, and to use for artists who intend on doing live streams, perhaps adding their own hashtag to differentiate, as this hashtag will be seen a lot.
Remembering Ornette Coleman.
We don't know much about the shape of jazz to come, today. But we remember the Pulitzer Prize winner and Doctor of music, Ornette Coleman, around the time of the 90th birthday, which he celebrates up high.
The 1st part of an interview with Coleman from Bonnaroo.
The reports about Covid-19, the coronavirus, will affect society in many ways. One of them will be the cancellation of many public events. Several artists have canceled their planned tours in Asia, and the South By Southwest festival in Texas, that was going to take place in March, has been canceled. The calling off of several more events is bound to follow, and where shows are to take place it's likely that ticket sales might drop.
As we are in a crisis and don't know for how long this will continue, we need for artists and venues to consider the situation. Musicians' Corner is the last to want to see the live scene go... Live music is what counts to us. That's where it happens. And people need to gather and experience live music. It's an important element in the well-being and quality of life. However, right now... Right now, and given that we are all agreed that we go back to normal in every sense of the word, that is to the live format to a hundred percent once this is over, so that we don't propel ourselves into an Orwellian state here...where many are sitting at home and there is little human contact, we need to call upon the possibilities that modern technology offers, and have artists, venues and festivals for example consider a pay-per-view live stream option for their shows in the second half of 2020. People need to move quickly here. The technologies are there and available. And maybe we can't ask for the best quality everything in the haste with which this option should ideally be put in place. The truth is we might be in a hurry here. We do hope that Musicians' Corner isn't one of few who see this, but that many have realized this and are working on it. If this isn't happening, if measures aren't being taken, many many performers might, in a worst-case scenario, lose a lot of income this year. And they still might with this plan B. Perhaps people won't buy streamings if we need them and if there are any. Still, if events are forced to cancel, and if the customers aren't buying tickets to what will go ahead, this solution offers at least the chance to try and do shows, perhaps to empty rooms and to cameras in some places. We don't know.
This development is hazardous to many people's livelihood, but artists are especially vulnerable in what is transpiring. For many who might be forced to stay at home from work there will be insurances and societal benefits alleviating some of the financial burdens of that. Artists generally don't have the kind of safety-net required for this extreme type of force majeure. And if this situation takes years to sort out, and if festivals won't be booking further as they don't plan on running and concert venues will be prevented from staying open, etcetera, you realize that measures need to be taken.
Hopefully we are wrong in thinking this could be an outlook. But before we know that we are wrong and can all say that this is over, we need for this industry and its artists and players to try to prepare with backup plans.
Very much hoping that the new decade has begun in a splendid way for our visitors and friends here at Musicians' Corner, Musicians On Music - we are currently doing a bit of reorganizing behind the scenes, and look forward to being back with you in March!
In the meantime there is a lot - A LOT - of material without any kind of use by-date here to look at, listen to, read and enjoy!
From all of us at Musicians' Corner to all of you!
Born on The Isle of Man in The UK, brothers Maurice and Robin later made the move to Australia with the Gibb family. Forming the successful trio The Bee Gees with their older sibbling Barry, they would go on to achieving chart toppers and careers with longevity in the music industry.
Remembering these musical twins on their heavenly birthday with a fan-made video:
MAURICE GIBB & ROBIN GIBB, 22 December 1949 – 12 January 2003 & 22 December 1949 – 20 May 2012
Sammy Davis Jr and his Swedish wife May Britt
Remembering the versatile Sammy Davis Jr. This singer, dancer, musician and comedian truly is someone you could call Mr. Show-Business.
Here he is telling a story with song and sharp moves:
And here he takes over the drums and vibes:
There is no way that you won't be thoroughly entertained if you do your own search for clips.
We salute and remember Sammy Davis Jr. around the time of his heavenly birthday.
Sammy Davis Jr, December 8, 1925 – May 16, 1990
Music is what makes me come alive.
It’s life, love and strength.
It’s a rock in my life, and the place where I can express myself and not make sense – if that makes sense!
It’s like a love affair – the one thing that keeps me going.
It frustrates me at times. I want to write from the heart and be true to myself, and not try to please others or a record company – and sometimes it’s a process to get there. It’s the creation process that is not always fun. Writing songs is my favorite process all the same because I ask God what does He want the song to say. It's not about me. It can be challenging, but in the end I've grown.
I have my new single, Today Is My Day, out. It’s part of a forthcoming full project. It is about my journey becoming a singer-songwriter. In the beginning doors were closed in my face and I heard ‘No’ a lot. People told me I had something special but that I wasn’t ready. I had daggers in my back and moments of rejection. Nine years later doors once closed are now open. And things are even better now because of the perspective.
Money is not my purpose. I want to minister the heart of God. I want people to smile, laugh and dance. So I must stay focused.
Javon Inman live Redeemer
Gospel is my backbone. I couldn’t get away from it if I wanted to. But songwriting is my gift, and not just in one particular style, but across genres. And I need to use my gift.
My family has really been my greatest support. I have a wife and two teenage boys. I’m so grateful for my wife, and thankful every day for that woman.
JAVON INMAN is an award-winning gospel artist based in Maryland. With two albums behind him he has recently released the new single Today Is My Day.
Jazz has somehow found its way into the 21st century.
I was talking to some Juilliard students the other day, and I said that the only thing that is new is you guys.
We have handed you something. You are standing on the shoulders of those who have been in music. They have given you so much.
When you turned on the radio in 1985 you didn’t hear Scott Joplin. So much has happened. The 20th century was the most prolific in music, and the music sustained, but now the 20th century is gone.
Our job is to carry the torch on our own merits. We want the listeners to open their windows to artists embracing their now. You can listen to somebody’s umpteenth version of whatever, but this is not 16th century music. It’s not classical music. We have to create new music and music has to earn being called a standard.
I am asking the audience to please listen to this jazz vocalist who is the granddaughter of Ella Fitzgerald.
On my new album the musicians are playing themselves. They have forty years in this game. They are not new to this game. Julius and Andrew are new and learning.
We express how we feel about music. There are no tricks in music. You have got to put the time in.
I try not to second-guess things. There were songs left over from the latest project and I kept working them.
I sometimes imagine myself performing a certain song. I try this rhythm, that phrasing, I go with the interpretations from the musicians.
With the recording of one of the songs I was thinking that the scat singers have pidgeonholed us – why don’t I try something different? I sang with the keyboard to see what arrived from that. It is true to what happened in the live moment.
Another example from the album was I wanted to reinterpret a song from the 80s, but I brought it through the deep sounds of the chord-progressions from jazz. I applied them to something that was very pop.
I had the suggestion from Elisabeth Oei to write something about what I was always saying – that there is no jazz on tv. I went “ - What? Why not?”. I simply improvised it. I built it on a radio-jingle. The song is a point of view, but you have to turn a point of view into a form.
Another one was that my family was about to get bombarded by a storm in Florida and I wrote my own stress over that.
Photos: Janet Van Ham
I really want to see jazz on tv. The world deserves it. I would like to have this kind of conversation with the cameras rolling. I want to help facilitate bringing jazz back to the mass media.
The record companies have been dumbing down the listeners by having the publishing rights to music and having new artists record it to take the earnings.
The record companies got a little bit behind and have been trying to catch up.
We do an album and it’s a massive project, and then someone downloads a synopsis of that project called a download of a track.
CARMEN LUNDY has just released an important new album, Modern Ancestors. Perhaps we have been wondering what we do in and with music now that so many, who made the immortal music, have left us. Seeing them as though they lived a long time ago --- as much as just a 'few months' ago, firmly turns them into the rock that we stand on, instead of a galaxy we might aim for but never reach - a setup for creating the copy of the copy of the copy in music --- is a way forward. This is the statement that this album makes, turning theory into reality in musical format, as it does. We had to have a talk with Carmen Lundy about this album, which is one that people order in the physical format too, not settling for the download, which indicates that many are fully aware of the significance of this production.
Gospel artist Kirk Franklin was censored - twice - by TBN (the Trinity Broadcasting Network) as he was accepting awards for his work. He brings attention to this in a video clip.
We here at Musicians' Corner regard it as serious when artists are censored, and in this case we find it particularly sad with regards to what Franklin brought up in his acceptance speeches. We hope that this was an isolated occurence, and that media outlets take what happened here as a springboard to putting principles in place that prevent censorship of this nature this from being repeated.
We encourage you to listen to and spread what Kirk Franklin has to say about his experience, and to stand by artists if and where they are being silenced.
Musicians' Corner remembers the beautiful and talented Natasja Saad (Dou T, Little T), the Danish native with a Sudanese background, whose promising career and young life was cut short by a car accident in 2007.
Here she is performing live hours before her passing
The smash hit "Calabria"
NATASJA SAAD, 31 October 1974 – 24 June 2007
Gone way too soon
The Roy Hargrove Quintet live at New Morning
ROY HARGROVE, October 16, 1969 – November 2, 2018
When you break it down, to me music is a special way to generate love, and share that love and good memories with people. Everybody has a song in their heart, and music is a universal language shared by all. Sometimes you can get through to people so easy and efficiently through good positive music, and how it’s delivered.
People told me as I was growing up in church: – “You have a beautiful voice. The world needs to hear you, and we think they will!”. There must have been some powerful prayers for me, because their wish for me has actually happened, as I’ve performed for 10’s of thousands of people all over the world for the past 15 years. My gift became a vehicle that I could use to bring happiness to people. To take them back to a positive and happy place in their lives, sometimes reliving good memories through songs.
Larry Johnson's Essence of Motown perform "My Girl"
Larry Johnson live at B.B. King's
Detroit is always in my heart. I grew up in a Detroit suburb called Inkster, and that’s where I went to school and where my family lived. I love Detroit and always want to represent the D, and I still always cheer for and support the Detroit sports teams – like the Lions and the Pistons. Detroit is coming back. My brother & sister still live Downtown, and it is amazing now. I’m very proud of my city.
I wound up in Florida as my ex-wife was offered the Spanish speaking market as a trainer with General Motors back in 2003. We discussed it and together we thought it was a good move for our family to relocate. I was touring with Ali Woodson’s Temptations group at the time, and I knew they could fly me in for our shows from here just as well. Plus we have 80 degrees at Christmas!!
The many revues that Larry Johnson contributed his voice and performances to, including Theo People's Temps & Tops Revue
There has been twenty-four members in The Temptations altogether over the years. When the former members leave the group, sometimes they go on to form their own Temptations styled group. The legend Otis Williams has the name rights, so they can’t call it The Temptations, but it becomes a more of a Temptations Revue. A Temptations Revue has to have a former Temptations' member in the group. If there isn’t an actual former member in the group, then it’s a tribute group.
I got started in my 1st Temptations Revue group in 2004 with Ali Ollie Woodson, who sang lead on Treat Her Like A Lady and many other songs. He taught me the ropes and gave me my badge – and my very first stamp in my passport. Then Harold “Beans” Bowles introduced me to Richard Street in 2005, and I was in his group until he passed on, and through it continuing with Barrington Bo Henderson, and then Theo Peoples.
Larry Johnson performing with Theo Peoples
Right now I’m doing my project The Essence of Motown, and I am also involved with two other Motown projects – The Magic of Motown and Motown In Motion. I work with four fabulous singers/performers here in Florida: Michael White, originally from the Bronx, NY and Greg Woods, originally from Springfield, MA, as well as the very talented Didi McFadden and Stephani Grace. We are all pretty versatile and sing many genres of music. They are my family. I am also involved in a very successful Earth, Wind, & Fire tribute band called Elements, and we are currently getting booked for a lot of shows all over the country. I work with Garry Samms in our Motown in Motion show, and Candi Rivers in our Magic of Motown show. I also want to give a shout-out to my producers Joey Dale for Motown In Motion, and Michael Yorkell with Magic of Motown and The Elements EWF show.
When you are performing Motown, I feel you need to as closely as possible stay true to the genre. I grew up in Detroit, I have a close connection to The Motown sound. It’s deep in my heart & soul, and being actually from Detroit, I like to think of myself as a true and legitimate Motown artist. So I really care about how this music is presented. People want to hear this music as close to the way they hear it at home on their record players. You also have to present strong choreography and give people something to look at as well as listen to. You have to bring nice show wardrobe, and present an all-round great experience, which is what we strive to do every time we hit the stage.
People can see your heart, and that’s contagious and memorable. That is the formula for getting called back for repeat performances.
Elements doing Earth, Wind & Fire's "Reasons", with Larry Johnson on lead vocals
LARRY JOHNSON is a singer from Inkster/Detroit, Michigan, now based in West Palm Beach, Florida. As a former member of several of the Temptations Revues, Johnson these days continues to fly the flag for Motown in several projects - with his excellent tenor voice, pleasant stage persona, and with his management skills - as well as also representing “Elements, The Ultimate Earth Wind & Fire tribute”.
FIND OUT MORE HERE
We have lived through a special time in human history, when recorded music has meant a tremendous amount to the world's population. The music industry has changed several times in the last few decades, primarily because of the technological and infrastructural changes that have taken place, and the method for making recordings in major studios for the distribution on vinyl records has been exchanged for computer software programs and files.
It wasn’t in fact so long ago that the record was introduced, but its actual lifespan marks a time in history when music artists explored music and the music fans enjoyed the journey and outcome. Music has been an enlightening and uniting force, and the audiences have been able to follow recording artists through their lifetimes. Music has expanded its artistic and expressional territories and artists have grown with the development.
This is a follow up article to the piece published August 2nd titled “The history of music is seriously threatened” (doh!), where we went through a few basics in how the history told about this era is in danger, about how a lack of interest in really devoting themselves to it on an enough large scale in music journalists, paired with a never-ending myriad of mistakes as the story of music is told in blogs, for example, all comes together as the history of music not getting to the future. It won’t. It will be a story – it won’t be the story.
At the end of the previous piece we went to urging music fans to for example fact check and edit their favorite music acts’ Wikipedia pages. And during this summer we have been doing a project to see what was out there, how much of it was possible to fact check, how much of it was wrong, and if it could be changed at all – concerning one single music act – in blogs, articles, on music forums, etc. It has largely been an extremely depressing journey, if one is to see it as an attempt to make the quality about what is out there concerning this act more factual.
We started on Wikipedia, which in fact was easy enough to edit. And the edits have been left on this music act’s Wiki page. We brought references, and it seems that these have thus far seemed solid enough to those who have looked at this page since.
Then we went to a blog. It had a large number of mistakes on its page devoted to the act in question, and we managed to change a couple of things on the page through writing to the blogger, but that was where it stopped. Although we are since thanked on said page for this contribution, somewhat to our dismay, the page is still full of grave and obvious mistakes in its run-down of the facts about this act, and anyone who consults this blog for information will be mislead.
Next we talked to the editor of a music site, who has pages devoted to this act and who also has a printed publication devoted to it. Here too there were mistakes on the net, and when these were pointed out we were promptly given verbal beatings by the individual behind this site and his friend too. It was a very long exchange, in the middle of which we were told that we weren’t allowed to read the printed publication because “we would only find faults in it”. We had previously tried to order it, but were denied purchase of it! Finally it was about Facebook groups for the act, and a conversation about who was who in an old photograph of the act, and us pointing out that it wasn’t who the admin of the group claimed that it was lead to us being thrown out of the group slightly after this conversation.
So there we are. This is probably how anyone would fare trying to get the facts straight regarding an act whose facts they know. The repeating pattern here is of course vanity. None of these describers or reflectors of music did very well when edits were suggested to them. The need to be right even if it’s wrong is more important to a number of people, it seems, than to keep an open mind and change a text or a thought when proof of their flaws is presented.
The very best suggestion that we have after this experience is for the enthusiasts and lovers of music, who spend a lot of their time with their best intensions describing music, in some format or other, is to climb down off their high horses to do some get-togethers in virtual or actual format, and compare notes and discuss the probability in what they have come up with, jointly. That could be a lot of fun. Because although the situation is grave and we are in fact losing the history of music, whatever of it that can still be saved can be a fun and rewarding activity, where people who love music, a genre, an act, or whatever – could do what they do in collaboration. We would get further that way. Defensiveness has to be checked at the door right now.
A short interview:
KOKO TAYLOR, September 28,1928 – June 3, 2009
I just stopped touring with George for this year. He is going to start back up in January of 2020 – that’s what I’m hearing.
In the meantime there are some other things that I’ll be doing. They are not so much side-projects anymore.
George is retiring. It makes the other projects come closer. Ligedelic is my project. It’s based on funk. I am doing some things with it in November, stuff taking place in Europe. We will get the interest going. I have friends in Europe who have wanted to work with me for years. I have been so busy with George. Starr Cullars will get a CD released this year finally. We will get more things going there. I play guitar with her band. That’s full speed ahead.
When George Clinton wants to retire he has to play everywhere. They love him so much, they are begging him. We have to play Japan and Europe, and everywhere. Maybe he will stop in 2020.
George’s catalogue is so vast. He has been writing music since the 50s.
Parliament Funkadelic was such an underground thing in the beginning, but that stuff is still revelant today. George Clinton has such wit.
Party for George Clinton's Lifetime Achievement Grammy
We are so proud of the Grammy. A lot of people got together for it. And we got together for those who aren’t here anymore too.
There are only a few of us from the 70s left.
I look forward to coming home, to the me time. It's so much with we and us and our on the road. You have to give up your time. You have to smile. It’s a job.
At times you have to take out the crazyness in your life. Traveling on a regular basis is a job. The rest is part of a life of touring. You have to get that rest. George is never completely done when he’s done. After a tour when everybody has come home there are these one offs that we have to go play. You eat great at home. There is a lot of crap food on the road.
I live in San Diego. I get calls from LA. Driving up there takes a couple of hours. I’m in a relationship with Starr Cullars and we have been a couple for over twenty years.
I don’t sugarcoat things. My parents were straight. When you get out into this world, and especially into this business, that helps.
Lige "Ligedelic" Curry
..............FIND OUT MORE HERE..................
LIGE CURRY has done an article with us before READ IT HERE
To me music is freedom. It's the very essence of who I am.
I can't imagine my life without music.
Ragan Whiteside jamming it on her 2019 release
I got started on flute when the band teacher came by. I wanted to play the drums but they were taken. I wanted to play the trumpet and it was the same thing. So I asked what was left, and the flute was. And it grew on me -- and it was destiny.
I'm releasing my 5th album, and it's about I "Jam It''. It's the music to play in the background at a backyard barbeque, the sounds there to make people go ''That's my jam!''.
Ragan Whiteside's new single release "Jam It"
My plans include finishing things up in the studio and lining up festivals for next year. There are already some excellent bookings and I'm working on more of them.
My songs are doing very well in the charts, and I have reached this success without a record label. Being independant has been rewarding, and I want to inspire others to do the same.
Ragan Whiteside is a flautist, singer and song-writer with chart success, operating in the smooth jazz lane.
Music is life to me. It’s my wake up and put a smile on my face.
It breaks up the melancholy.
I grew up in a bad neighborhood, but my Dad showed me that music could take someone around the world. It could have you playing for kings.
Growing up in the projects I lived above that. In my mind I knew that I could see the world.
I had a lot of options growing up. I was a very smart kid. My Dad (Charles Wyatt) had us do the multiple times table before we could go out and play. We were made to think that you had to earn things.
I played sports and went to school with athletes. I got a scholarship for being an advanced student, and I was so advanced that I only had to be in school between nine and eleven-thirty, and so I had a job through school. Playing sports an injury put a stop to further plans.
Later I got a job at a bank, and they loved me there. I could have just stayed there and had a career.
Eric Wyatt live in 2017
Music isn’t like magic tricks. You have to have a concept. Growing up I ran into people who said that I was no joke and that I sounded like Charlie Parker. I came to a cultural center for kids, and the leader from there, Arthur Rhames, would come to my house every day. It was almost annoying, but he was consistent. He had us do exercises. After the push-ups we would practice to tracks and record it. It was like having a band without having a band. Then we had food and then we practiced again.
I am just now releasing an album with Sonny Rollins compositions. Sonny Rollins was a friend of my family as I grew up, because my Dad was a successful musician.
Sonny Rollins hasn’t been able to play for his health, and he has a lot of music that is written but not heard. He was forgotten about to a degree by the industry, which started pushing other guys, as he wasn’t well.
This is a tribute to him. I want him to be acknowledged more, and I want to contribute these songs to the lexicon of music.
Sonny Rollins has always been gracious and kind to people. He truly is someone who knows how to treat people like you want to be treated. This basic outlook, the golden rule of Sonny, has helped me become a better musician.
Looking back on my life now I’m proud of the fact that I have helped a lot of young musicians, such as Robert Glasper, Chris and Wes Lowery, and Russell Malone. It gives a reversed confidence. Unless you know somebody in New York you can’t even get on stage.
Eric Wyatt's brand new release: The Golden Rule: for Sonny
ERIC WYATT is a New York-based saxophonist with a heavy CV!
Life is music, and music is my life. Music is the air that I breathe.
Music is voices, water, a car driving. It’s a healing force.
My music is scripture based. The word is what keeps us strong.
The title track from Vera Brown's album release
I released my CD Somebody in 2018. It got below 200 in the gospel chart, and my songs have charted with Billboard ratings. My singles from the CD are the title track “Somebody” and “Praise Goes Up”, to which I wrote the lyrics with Toni Moore, and “Yes We Can Can”, which is Alain Toussaint’s composition that The Pointer Sisters did their rendition of – and it’s still a relevant song.
My husband Benjamin Pressley produced the album, and we recorded almost all of it live at our house, where we have a studio. I have been picked up by Orchard - Sony and Somebody is about to be released worldwide September 6th. We have had expressed interest from Korea and Africa, and I’m just excited to do God’s will. Sony Orchard’s ambition is for us to reach a younger audience, and we must. We must reach the kids – they are our future. We are also talking about my 2020 release.
It all started in 4th grade when I laughed as someone in my class was singing, and was told that I was next. So I got up and sang, and wound up singing for the Spring Fair.
In the College Variety pages I saw an add where they were looking for someone to travel and sing, and I knew that I could travel, so I called. That got me auditioning for Gypsy Lane, which was the Village People’s band, and made me the lead vocalist for the Ritchie Family, which I was intermittently between 1979 and 2016. I also briefly worked with The Three Degrees, doing a brief tour with them, and I have been working with my sisters on our project called Sassy Fras.
Vera Brown on lead vocals with The Ritchie Family "Give Me A Break"
I grew up in a small town, and because of the jobs that I landed I wound up in New York, where I was exposed to the grand life – to beautiful clothes and beautiful people. There were the fabulous stages. I got caught up in that and not in the drugs that came with it. I started on cocaine and moved on to crack. I developed a big taste for the drugs, and when I came off the road I wound up doing a lot of things for money. It was eight dark years of my life.
One day my baby sister walked in on me and screamed, so I looked in the bathroom mirror and saw a monster. I just fell to my knees on the bathroom floor next calling out for the Lord to help me.
Vera Brown's rendititon of "Yes We Can Can", tv performance
I went back to church and connected with the music. The more I sang the more the tendencies dropped off. I was channeling, and I will never go back to the drugs and I don’t crave them.
I’ve got skills and I went to work as a secretary, and I’m retired now. Over the years I have been involved in the church. I have directed the choir. One day my husband asked me why I didn’t do my own thing – and here we are.
We are based in Landsdale in Pennsylvania, and the music of Philadelphia inspires me. Philadelphia is a historical site for music, and we hope that it will once again be a force.
Musicians' Corner remembers Phil Lynott
Phil Lynott of Thin Lizzy fame is certainly an artist we lost way too soon. Lynott's bass-lines and distinctive voice live on!
Classic good vibes from Ireland: Thin Lizzy's "Dancing In the Moonlight" complete with Lynott's swinging bass-lines and mellow singing voice.
PHIL LYNOTT, 20 August 1949 – 4 January 1986
The Woodstock Festival took place on a dairy farm in Bethel the 15th through 17th of August 1969. And while many attended the event many were also stuck in traffic and never made it there for trying... The queue on the highway stretched all the way to New York! So that means that many out there recall what they did at this time fifty years ago, and that this was: being stuck in a car!
The very word "Woodstock" still means something so clear to people, and so naturally to people who weren't even born at this time too. It needs no explanation. If you say "Woodstock" you're done talking. People got you.
The word conjures up the immortal sounds of Jimi Hendrix playing the Star Spangled Banner. A classic moment in American history and the history of music.