April Black History

The Peoples Community Radio Link, 103.5 F.M Stereo
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1st. APRIL 

1868  The Hampton Institute is founded in Hampton, Va, USA. (tr-iokts)
1895  Alberta Hunter, blues singer born, Memphis, Tenn. In the late 1920's this singer helped bridge the gap between classic blues and cabaret-flavoured pop music. (dies Oct 17 1984)
1897  Lucille Bogan a.k.a. Bessie Jackson, blues singer, born, Amory, Mississippi, USA. Died August 10, 1948, Los Angeles, California, USA. Best known to blues record collectors and historians for writing and singing Shave Em Dry, one of the bawdiest blues songs ever recorded ("I got nipples on my titties big as the end of my thumb/ I got something ''tween my legs 'll make a dead man come"). (mn-rs)
1905  Clara McBride Hale freedom fighter  born. Clara Hale was and still is a very caring and loving person. She was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She grew up with many children in her house. That's because her mother didn't only care for her children, but for neighbor's too. That's what Clara started to do when she grew up, but even better. She took care of addicted children, and children or babies with AIDS. Not long from then, Clara had, had over 22 addicted babies. She had a lot, but it didn't stop there. In 1973, Clara founded Hale House to help more babies with AIDS. Over 600 children were cared for by Clara. They grew up to be stronger and healthier then they were supposed to. Since Clara cared for and helped others, she got the 16th Annual Truman Award. In 1985, President Reagan said that Clara is an American heroine. She is still living today. (tr-bl)
1927  Amos Milburn, singer/pianist born in Houston, Texas, USA. d.3/1/80. In the late 40's and early 50's, this singers records for the Aladdin label - especially those that dealt with alcohol consumption - were familiar to the top of the R&B charts. He has also the rarest album on the Motown label changing hands for £700 plus. (mn)
1930  Willie Mitchell producer/trumpet player born in Ashland Mississippi, USA. He became vice president of Hi Records between 1970-77. He made many soul instrumental tracks of well known songs, biggest hit 'Soul Serenade' in 1968 on London records in the UK. (mn)1930  Zawditu, the first reigning female monarch of Ethiopia dies. On April 2, 1930, two days after Ras Gugsa Welle was killed in battle, Empress Zauditu died. It is known today that Zauditu suffered from diabetes, and was seriously ill, but it is not universally agreed that this was the cause of her death. According to some popular histories, Zauditu died of shock and grief at hearing of her husband's death, but other accounts contradict this, claiming that Zauditu was not informed of the battle's outcome before her sudden death. The timing of her death immediately after news of the outcome of the battle reached Addis Ababa has caused considerable speculation as to her cause of death. Some, particularly conservative critics of her successor, Emperor Haile Selassie, allege that once the rebellion had been decisively defeated, he or his supporters felt safe in poisoning Zauditu. Speculation as to the cause of Zauditu's death continues today. Empress Zauditu was succeeded on the throne by Negus Tafari, who took the name of Emperor Haile Selassie. (wickpedia)
1946  Arthur Conley, soul singer born. He owes his career break to Stax artist Otis Redding who signed him to his Jotis label (via Atlantic) in the mid-60's. Here Arthur recorded songs including 'I'm A Lonely Stranger', the Redding/Conley-penned 'Sweet Soul Music' (1967) and 'Funky Street' (1968). (mn-jt)
1948  Jimmy Cliff, reggae singer born James Chambers in St. Catherine, Jamaica, West Indies. On of the great popularizes of reggae music, Jimmy blazed a trail into rock that Bob Marley later followed. His first hit 'Hurricane Hattie' was at the age of 12 describing a recent local storm. (mn-jt)
1949  Gil Scott-Heron Poet/writer born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. He had published two novels 'Nigger Factory' ,'The Vulture' and a book of poems by the age of 12. (mn)
1984  Marvin Gaye, singer/songwriter/producer shot dead by his father in Los Angeles after a violent argument. Born in Washington in 1938, Marvin Pentz Gay - he later added the 'e' to emphasise his heterosexuality - gravitated from local vocal groups the Rainbows, Marquees and the Moonglows to become Motown's premier male singer of the sixties. Joining Detroit label as a drummer, he married the company boss, Berry Gordy's sister Anna and hit with Stubborn Kind Of Fellow in '62. Gaye spent most of the 60's around the chart tops. A long period of abstinence, ended in '71 by the release of his masterwork 'What's Going On'. He was shot dead in Los Angeles by his father on April 1st, 1984 after a violent family argument. His father was then diagnosed to have had a brain tumour. (also see 31st March (mn))
1957  Vivian 'Sugarlove' Jones reggae singer born today. Established as a 'loversrock' singer, emerged in the late 70's, by 1980 'Good Morning' topped the reggae charts and signalled a run of  hits for the singer. In 1988 he was acclaimed as the best reggae performer and won the award four consecutive years. By the mid-90's he had established his own Imperial House label. In 1995 he recorded his debut for Fashion Records 'Dedicated to His Majesty'. He  has also appeared on PCRL birthday dates. Also found live on PCRL DVD 5th Birthday party. (mn/rd) 
1976  David Oyelowo (actor) born. (nationmaster)
1985 Leona Louise Lewis (born April 1985 in Islington, London, England) is an English (ab intra British) singer and songwriter, who was the winner of the third season of the The X Factor. She is the first female winner of the show. Her debut single, "A Moment like This" was released on 20 December 2006. The single was also available as a digital download from midnight on 17 December. The single is believed to have broken a world record, by being downloaded 50,000 times within 30 minutes of being available online. (wickipedia)2016  
2016 Gato Barbieri dies. (b. Leandro Barbieri, 28th November 1932, Rosario, Santa Fe, Argentina. The 83-year-old died in New York City, New York, U.S.A. The Argentine tenor saxophonist passed away in a New York hospital from pneumonia. 
He had recently had bypass surgery to remove a blood clot. (Soulwalking) 
2017 Darcus Howe dies (b. 26 February 1943) was a British broadcaster, writer, and civil liberties campaigner. Originally from Trinidad, Howe arrived in England intending to study law. There he joined the British Black Panthers, a group named in sympathy with the eponymous US organisation. He came to public attention in 1970 as one of the Mangrove Nine, when he marched to the police station in Notting Hill, London, to protest against police raids of the Mangrove restaurant, and again in 1981 when he organised a 20,000-strong "Black People's March" in protest at the handling of the investigation into the New Cross Fire, in which 13 black teenagers died. He was an editor of Race Today, and chair of the Notting Hill Carnival. He was best known in the UK for his Black on Black series on Channel 4; his current affairs programme, Devil's Advocate; and his work with Tariq Ali on Bandung File. His television work also included White Tribe (2000), a look at modern Britain and its loss of "Englishness"; Slave Nation (2001); Who You Callin' a Nigger? (2004); and Is This My Country? (2006), a search for his West Indian identity. He wrote columns for the New Statesman and The Voice. (Wiki) 

2nd. APRIL

315: LEE 'SCATCH' PERRY (1936-    )
1796  Toussaint L' Overture commands French forces at St. Domingo. Toussaint L'Ouverture is a slave in Sainte Domingue who has served his master as a coachman and has achieved some degree of literacy. He emerges as one of the leaders of the first independence movement in the West Indies. The rebellion of the slaves against their French masters in 1791 is not fully successful until Toussaint L'Ouverture and others join an army invading Saint Domingue in 1793 from the Spanish half of the island (Santo Domingo, forming the eastern end of Hispaniola). Thereafter Toussaint steadily establishes himself as the strongest of the various Negro leaders. By 1800 he is master of French Saint Domingue. In 1801 he invades Santo Domingo and achieves control over the entire island. (historyworld.net))
1895  Black Invention: Elevator Safety Device, James Cooper. (sc)
1918  Charles White, award winning artist is born in Chicago, US.(tr-iokts)
1939  Marvin Pentz Gay, songwriter/singer/producer/drummer born in Washington D.C., USA. One of the greatest artists in the history of soul music. Began singing at the age of three in a church environment provided by his father the Rev. Marvin Gay Sr., later played the organ in church every Sunday. He sang with Harvey & Moonglows, Harvey Fuqua introduced him to Motown in 1961. His first hit was Stubborn Kind of Fellow (1962). The rest is history. (mn)
1956  Gregory Abbott, soul singer born in New York, USA. (mn-jt)
1960  Linford Christie, Olympic gold medallist born today. Also holds European 100m record 9.87 in 1993. (mn-t-tx)
1981  Black Peoples Day Of Action, one of the biggest demonstrations of black people in post-war Britain. (mn-ts)
1966  Garnett Silk reggae singer born Garnett Smith on this day in Manderville, Jamaica. (1966-1994) (Dies at home with his mother after a hand gun was discharged into a gas cylinder causing an explosion in 1994). Reggae was robbed of one of it's brightest stars. A devout Rasta and sweet-voiced, if untutored, singer, Silk was making an enormous impact on contempary reggae as his 100% righteousness cut a swathe through the gun culture and slackness that was dominating the music. (mn-jc-lb)
1987  Buddy Rich, soul singer/drummer dies. Drummer for jimi Hendrix band. (mn-jt)
2001  Race Relations Amendment Act 2000 comes into force. Extends the act made in 1976 - new act applies to the police - public can now bring a court action if they think they have been racially discriminated against. (mn)
2003 Edwin Starr dies at the age of 61, Starr real name Charles Hatcher suffered a heart attack and died while taking a bath at his home in Bramcote near Nottingham. He left a wife, Annette Mary Hatcher, a son André Hatcher, and two grandchildren Alonté Renfroe and Maryah Hatcher. His brother Angelo Starr is now fronting the Team, the band Edwin Starr had been touring with for over 20 years. (wiki)

3rd. APRIL

1884  Maya Angelou, noted author an San Francisco’s first African American street car conductor, is born in St. Louis, Mo, USA. (tr-iokts)
1917  [Bill Finnegan, born Newark, New Jersey, USA. Pianist Finnegan’s first successes were the arrangements he wrote for the Tommy Dorsey band, but his real breakthrough came in 1938 when he became a staff arranger for Glen Miller]. (cl)
1928  Pierre Michelot, born in Saint Denis, France. Michelot studied classical bass from the age of 16, but it was the playing of Jimmy Blanton and Oscar Pettiford which attracted him to jazz. Later he  played with Django Reinhardt, Bud Powell and Dexter Gordon. (rt)
1934  Jimmy Garrison, born Miami, Florida, USA. (d. 7 April 1976 - lung cancer), bass player with Ornette Coleman and John Coltraine. (cl)
1938  Philip Wynne, soul singer with The Detroit Spinners is born. (mn-jt)
1950  Dr. Carter G. Woodson, "The Father of Black History", dies in Washington, D.C.. Born December 19, 1897 the oldest of nine children, dropped out of school to work to help support his family. Despite this, he went on to earn his A.B. and M.A. from the University of Chicago (1908) and his Ph.D. from Harvard (1912). He hoped that a greater understanding of black history and culture would improve race relations. Published over 20 books and countless articles, both popular and scholarly. (mn-ss)
1961  Eddie Murphy, comedian and actor born in Hempstead, New York, USA. Murphy began his comedy career at the young age of 16. At 19 he became a performer on NBC's Saturday Night Live television show, not long after graduating from Roosevelt Junior-Senior High School. His characters include a parody of Buckwheat from the Little Rascals and of Fred Rogers. Former SNL writer Margaret Humphert has said Murphy and Bill Murray are the two most talented people in the history of the show. Murphy left the show midway through the 1983-1984 season, appearing in filmed sketches for the remainder of that season. Murphy later starred in many comedies including the Beverly Hills Cop series, for which he was recognized by receiving a Golden Globe nomination for best actor in a comedy for his performance in Beverly Hills Cop, as well as Trading Places, and Coming to America in subsequent years. (wickpedia)
1981  Brixton Riots UK. Youths attack the police and local shops. In January 13 young Black people had perished in a fire at a house in Deptford, an area where other black homes had been attacked and a community centre had been burned down. Tension had been building up, also this month saw 15,000 black people march from Deptford to central London. (mn-tx-pf)
1985 Leona Louise Lewis is a British singer and winner of the third series of The X Factor UK television talent show. Her UK debut single, "A Moment like This", was released in December 2006, breaking a world record after it was downloaded over 50,000 times within 30 minutes. Her second single, "Bleeding Love", was the biggest-selling single of 2007 in the United Kingdom, topped over twenty-nine national singles charts and became a number one single on the first week in France on March 22 and number one in the US on April 5, 2008. Her debut album, Spirit, was released in Europe in November 2007, and became the fastest-selling debut album ever in both the United Kingdom and the Republic of Ireland.[5][6] Released in North America in April 2008, Spirit debuted at number one in the US Billboard 200 chart and made Lewis the first British artist to debut at the top of the chart with a debut album. With her album reaching number one in at least three continents and nine countries, Lewis has had the most successful launch of any television talent show winner ever. (nationmaster)
1990  Sarah Vaughan singer dies. Born 27 March 1924, Newark, New Jersey, USA. Took piano lessons for 10 years and sang in her church choir and became organist at the age of 12. She won amateur night at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem in 1942, and the musical opportunities followed. (cl-mn)
1991  Sal Nistico, alto saxophonist dies. Played with the Jazz Brothers, Chuck Mangione, Woody Herman, Count Basie and Don Ellis. (cl)

4th. APRIL      

1915 Muddy Waters, blues artiste born.  He was an African-American musician and cultural icon.  Born in Rolling Fork, Miss., to sharecroppers, Waters began playing harmonica as a teen and picked up guitar after hearing the likes of Charlie Patton, Robert Johnson and Son House. He quickly developed a bottleneck style of his own, recorded first by field folklorist Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in 1941. With dreams of stardom, Waters moved to Chicago's South Side in 1943 and played at neighborhood clubs with Blue Smitty and Jimmy Rogers. At the small clubs, his acoustic guitar could not be heard, so he decided to plug it into an amp and "put a little drive in it."  In 1947 he recorded his first records for Leonard Chess' Chess Records (then known as Aristocrat) as a sideman for Sunnyland Slim. He recorded his own sides in '48, which quickly became hot items and catapulted him to stardom. While on Chess throughout the '50s he recorded songs such as Honey Bee, Got My Mojo Workin', Rollin' Stone, and Hoochie Coochie Man with the likes of Willie Dixon, James Cotton, Little Walter Jacobs and Jimmy Rogers. A concert at the 1960 Newport Folk Festival exposed him to a much larger and whiter audience. As a staple on the '60s Chicago blues scene, he worked with a younger generation, such as Buddy Guy and Matt Murphy, in perpetuating the electric Chicago blues sound. He worked with rock bands such as the Rolling Stones, and groups such as Canned Heat and Cream covered his songs. An auto accident in 1969 slowed him down a bit, but he still toured around the world and recorded on Columbia Records' Blue Sky label. If not for the pioneering electric guitar work of Muddy "Mississippi" Waters, Chicago would probably not be known as a blues hub today. He died in his sleep in 1983. (aareg.com)
1928  Maya Angelou famous for her literature, performances and club singing is born in St. Louis, Mo, USA.
1934  Carl Davis, record producer, born Carl Adams in Chicago, USA. (mn-cl)
1941  Major Lance soul singer from Chicago, Illinois, USA. Lanky soul singer much loved by UK Northern soul fans.  Born in Winterville, Mississippi, USA, d. 3 September 1994, Decatur, Georgia, USA. A former amateur boxer and a dancer on the Jim Lounsbury record-hop television show, Lance also sang with the Five Gospel Harmonaires and for a brief period with Otis Leavill and Barbara Tyson in the Floats. His 1959 Mercury Records release, "I Got A Girl", was written and produced by Curtis Mayfield, a high school contemporary, but Lance's career was not truly launched until he signed with OKeh Records three years later. "Delilah" opened his account there, while a further Mayfield song, the stylish "The Monkey Time" in 1963, gave the singer a US Top 10 hit. The partnership between singer and songwriter continued through 1963-64 with a string of US pop chart hits: "Hey Little Girl", "Um, Um, Um, Um, Um, Um", "The Matador" and "Rhythm". Although Lance's range was more limited than that of his associate, the texture and phrasing mirrored that of Mayfield's work with his own group, the Impressions. "Ain't That A Shame", in 1965, marked a pause in their relationship as its commercial success waned. Although further vibrant singles followed, notably "Investigate" and "Ain't No Soul (In These Rock 'N' Roll Shoes)", Lance left OKeh for Dakar Records in 1968 where "Follow The Leader" was a minor R&B hit. Two 1970 releases on Curtom, "Stay Away From Me" and "Must Be Love Coming Down", marked a reunion with Mayfield. From there, Lance moved to Volt, Playboy and Osiris, the last of which he co-owned with Al Jackson, a former member of Booker T. And The MGs. These spells were punctuated by a two-year stay in Britain (1972-74), during which Lance recorded for Contempo and Warner Brothers Records. Convicted of selling cocaine in 1978, the singer emerged from prison to find his OKeh recordings in demand as part of America's "beach music" craze, where aficionados in Virginia and the Carolinas maintained a love of vintage soul. A heart attack in September 1994 proved fatal for Lance.  (mn-net)
1960  Independence Day in the Republic of Senegal (from France).
1968   Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. assassinated by James Earl Ray, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. A shock wave set off black rioting and looting all over the USA. He was described by Dr. Benjamin E. Mays of Morehouse College ten years earlier in the following words: "You are mature beyond your years, wiser at twenty nine than most men at sixty, more courageous in a righteous struggle than most men can ever be, living a faith most men preach about & never experience ... your name has  become a symbol of courage & hope for oppressed people everywhere".
1978 Lemar (obika) (uk singer) born. Fame Acadamy star. (nationmaster)

5th. APRIL      

1839  Robert Smalls, navigator/slave-hero/congressman born a slave in Beauford, South Carolina, USA. (mn-ra)
1856  Booker T. Washington, educator, born in Hale's Ford, Va. As one of the most influential black men of his time, Washington was not without his critics. Many charged that his conservative approach undermined the quest for racial equality. "In all things purely social we can be as separate as the fingers," he proposed to a biracial audience in his 1895 Atlanta Compromise address, "yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress." In part, his methods arose for his need for support from powerful whites, some of them former slave owners. It is now known, however, that Washington secretly funded antisegregationist activities. He never wavered in his belief in freedom: "From some things that I have said one may get the idea that some of the slaves did not want freedom. This is not true. I have never seen one who did not want to be free, or one who would return to slavery."  (nps.guv)
1928  Tony Williams, singer with The Platters is born. The platters became one of the first groups to break out of the rhythm-and-blues ghetto in which the US radio and charts kept black music in the 50's. Also the first black group to reach No.1 on the American pop charts. (mn)
1937  Colin Powell, first African American to serve as chief of staff of the armed forces, is born in New York, N.Y., USA. . The son of Jamaican immigrants, Luther and Maud Powell, he was raised in the South Bronx. Powell was educated in the New York City public schools, and at City College of New York (CCNY). He participated in ROTC at CCNY and received a commission as an Army second lieutenant upon graduation. He subsequently received a Master of Business Administration degree from George Washington University. Powell served two tours of duty in Vietnam, and as a battalion commander in Korea. He later commanded the 2nd Brigade, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) and V Corps, United States Army in Europe, and was Commander in Chief of Forces Command, headquartered at Fort McPherson, Georgia. General Powell was the 12th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from October 1, 1989 until September 30, 1993, serving under both President George H.W. Bush and President Bill Clinton.  (tr-iokts-lucidcafe.com)
1944  Nicholas Caldwell, singer with the soul group The Whispers is born. The Whispers signed to the Soul Train label in the 70's, this was an offshoot to America's most important black music show organised by Don Cornelias and Dick Griffey. (mn-jt- Bmacd)
1951  Checker Records founded. Popular Chicago blues label. (web) 
1972  Jahmali, reggae artist born in Vere, Claredon, Jamaica. Born Ryan Thomas. Early school years had Ryan singing at whatever chance available. Reggae star Coco T is from the same parish was his early influence. Ryan was so influenced by him that he adopted a stage name close to Coco T’s. Ryan T was the name he used in his early recording years. Although Ryan had a great love for music, he did not, by any means, shortchange his education. He was successful in high school at Vere, where he spent four years. He then moved to Kingston for tertiary education at Mico Teacher's College. The next few years were to find him in constant deliberation whether he wanted to limit himself to be a class room teacher, or to teach the world by way of his musical message. He changed his name to Jahmali. Mali means FREE. He decided to take his Culture Message to the world in the form of recording and live performances. He is somewhat of a preacher on stage, a great performer. He has done recording for some of the biggest name producers in the music industry in Jamaica such as Jammy’s and Penthouse. Jahmali is on a mission; he wants to share his music and message with the world. He has just ended a very successful European and U.S. with Reggae Superstar Buju Banton. (mn-cl-hometown.aol)
1990   Brown's Black Prison Period. After serving 15 months of a six year sentence James Brown moved to Lower Savannah Work Centre where he was paid $4 per hour for counselling drug abusers. (mn-jt) 
2016 Leon Haywood dies. (b. Otha Leon Haywood, 11th February 1942, Houston, Texas, U.S.A.) Passes away in his sleep, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. The singer, songwriter, arranger and record producer. Leon Haywood, has died. Leon was 74. 
The singer is, probably, best remembered for his 1975 hit single ‘I Want To Do Something Freaky to You’. (soulwalking)

6th. APRIL

1712  New York Slave Rebellion. Reacting to harsh treatment by their masters, about 25 Black slaves and American Indians set fire to an outhouse and laid in ambush of their oppressors, killing nine men and wounding several others. The slaves then fled into the woods where within two days more than 40 had been arrested and 6 other committed suicide before apprehension. Twenty-seven slaves were convicted of murder and sentenced to death, although the bulk of the evidence used to convict them was questionable; 18 were acquitted. Six, including a pregnant woman, were let go. Many disagree on the exact number of people executed, but about twenty were hanged, three more were burned to death. Chains hanged one man until he died; another was broken on a wheel. Shortly after the rebellion, New York’s legislature toughened its slave codes. Slaves gathering in groups of three or more were subject to 40 lashes and property crimes were deemed punishable by death.
1905  W. Warrick Cardozo, physician and pioneering researcher on sickle cell anemia, is born in Washington, D.C., USA. (tr-io
1909  Matthew Henson, explorer, leads a party of 5 to reach the North Pole after a 20 year odyssey. Born on a farm in Charles County, Maryland, USA, he went to sea when he was about 12, In 1887 he met Robert E. Peary, then a lieutenant in the US navy and already committed to exploring the Artic region. Henson began as Peary's personal assistant. For 20 years Henson led sleds and was Peary's right hand man. On this day in 1909, Peary, Henson and four Eskimos were the first known humans to reach the North Pole. (mn-ss)
1941  Charles Wright singer/songwriter/keyboards/guitar/producer born in Clarksville Mississippi, best known for 1970 hit 'Express yourself' that was played on UK mid-80's 'Rare Groove' scene. (mn)
1968   Bobby Hutton, a Black Panther, 17 years old was shot dead by Oakland police.  In a 90 minute gun battle the unarmed Hutton (one of the original Black Panthers) was shot ten times after his home is set on fire andhe was forced to run into the streets and an imminent barrage of bullets. Two days earlier Dr. Martin L. King Jr. was assassinated after re-thinking his own non-violence doctrine. (aareg.com) 
1974  Gina Yashere (actor/presentor/comedian) born in Finsbury Park, London. (nationmaster)

7th. APRIL

1885  Black Invention: Type Writing Machine, Lee S. Burridge/Newman R. Mashman. (sc)
1885  Black Invention: Apparatus for Transmission of messages by Electricity, Granville T. Woods. (sc)
1872  William Monroe Trotter, civil rights leader, born. He was perhaps the most militant of the known civil rights activist of the 19th century. An honor student from Boston, Trotter was the first Black member of Phi Beta Kappa. Between 1897 and 1906 he worked as an insurance and mortgage broker in Boston, Massachusetts. He founded the Boston Guardian, a militant newspaper, in 1901, for the purpose of "propaganda against discrimination." In 1905, Trotter assisted in founding the Niagara Movement but refused to join the NAACP because he felt it to be too moderate and instead formed the National Equal Rights League. In 1919, Trotter appeared at the Paris Peace Conference in an unsuccessful effort to have the organization outlaw racial discrimination. The State Department had denied him a passport to attend, but he had reached France by having himself hired as a cook on a ship. Because of his strident unwillingness to work with established groups, the Civil Rights Movement has been slow to recognize Trotter. But many of his methods were to be adopted in the 1950s, notably his use of nonviolent protest. In 1903, Trotter deliberately disrupted a meeting in Boston at which Booker T. Washington was scheduled to speak; his arrest was to gain publicity for his militant position. He also led demonstrations against events, plays, and films that glorified Ku Klux Klan. William Monroe Trotter died on April 7, 1934 in Boston.  (tr-iokts-aareg)
1915  Billie Holiday, blues singer, born Eleanora Harris in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA. Born into extreme poverty, abandoned by father when her mother became ill she turned to prostitution but could not tolerate the abuse. Failed to get work as a dancer and started a life long addiction to heroin. Her recording Strange Fruit (1939), about lynching, was a cause calibre; her song God Bless The Child, about the poverty of her youth, a perennial standard. (d.17/7/59) (mn-ss)
1922 Mongo Santamaria born in Havana, Cuba. Percussionist toured with Perez Prado, Tito Puente and Cal Tjader. Own group from 1961. No 8 R&B with 'Watermelon Man' in 1963. Recorded over 12 of his own albums. (mn)
1937  Charley Thomas, singer with The Drifters is born. (mn-jt)
1938  Freddie Hubbard, trumpet player born in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
1947  Pat Bennett, singer with The Chiffons, born. (mn-jt)
1948  Carol Douglas, singer with The Chantels, born. (mn-jt)
1959  Lorraine Hansbury is first African American playwright to win New York Drama Critic Award, for 'Raisin in the Sun'. (tr-bl)
1997  Wynton Marsalis, trumpeter was awarded Pulitzer Prize for his 3 hour musical piece 'Blood on the Fields' about slavery. (mn-v)

8th. APRIL

1964  Biz Markie, class clown rapper from Harlem; Long Island; Brooklyn, USA, real name Marcel Hall is born. (mn-ms)
1974  Henry Aaron breaks Babe Ruth's Major League record with 715 home runs. (USA baseball) (mn)
1981  15,000 black people marched 10 miles from Deptford to central London. They demanded justice for black people over recent racist murders. This was in the run-up to riots all over the U.K. In January, thirteen young Black people had perished in a fire at a house in Deptford, an area where other black homes had been attacked and a community centre had been burned down. Tension had been building up in central London (mn-tx-pf-read: Staying Power by Peter Fryer). (mn)
2000  Bernie Grant, Labour MP for Tottenham since 1987 dies aged 56 in a Middlesex hospital from a heart attack. Grant was born in Guyana and emigrated to Britain in 1963. He was a former trades union official and leader of London's Harringate Council was an active campaigner for black and minority rites. (mn)
2001  Tiger Woods wins the Masters Golf Tournament, he has now won the four major world golf titles. (mn)

9th. APRIL

1888  Florence B. Price is born at Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, the first black woman recognised as award winning composer.
1898  Paul Bustil Robeson, born Paul Bustil in 1898 in Princeton, New Jersey, USA. According to legend, when he was called upon to whistle when he appeared in Eugene O' Neill's play the Emperor Jones in 1925, he instead sang - and soon found himself the most famous African-American singer of his generation. By 1926 his fame as an actor and singer was reaching it's zenith, Robeson's outspoken political views were beginning to raise eyebrows in some quarters, his praise of communism resulted in loss of passport until 1958. He then resumed his international career but retired 5 years later due to poor health. (mn)
1937  Dave Pratter, soul man with Sam & Dave born. (or 5 sept) (mn-jt)
1939  Marian Anderson sings at Lincoln Memorial. (tr-bl)
1988  Brook Benton Dies One Hit Short Of Half Century. Velvet-voiced American R&B singer/songwriter Brook Benton (real name Benjamin Franklin Peay) died of complications following spinal meningitis. Before he embarked on his solo career in 1953, he had sung in gospel groups. His first (minor) US hit, 'A Million Miles From Nowhere', came in 1958, and by the end of 1970 he had taken 49 singles into the US chart. (mn-jt)
1988  Dave Pratter singer with Sam & Dave dies in a car crash. They first performed together in 1961, but it was not until Jerry Wexler signed them to Atlantic Records that their talents blossemed. For political reasons they appeared on Stax Records, where You Don't Know Like I Know, Hold On I'm Comin' (both 1966), Soul Man (1967) and I thank you (1968) were some of their finest moments.  (mn-cl)
2001  Police in Cincinnati kill an un-armed black youth (Timothy Wilson), which sparks off a week of rioting in the city. (mn)
2002  Dorothy Love Coates gospel singer/sonwriter dies in Birmingham, Al, she was 74. (mn)
2009 Randy Cain (of the Delfonics / Blue Magic) dies. b. Herbert Randal Cain III, 2nd May 1945, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 9th April 2009, Maple Shade, New Jersey, U.S.A. Randy Cain, of the Sweet Soul vocal group, the Delfonics has died. He was 63. Randy was an original member of the Delfonics and the founder of Blue Magic. His death was confirmed by Rob O’Neal, an investigator with the Burlington County medical examiner’s office on Thursday the 9th of April 2009. The cause of death has not yet been determined. The Delfonics were formed in Philadelphia by Randy, along with William and Wilbert Hart and Ritchie Daniels as the Four Gents and later the Orphonics,. The group came to the attention of promoter/record shop owner Stan Watson, who introduced them to producer Thom Bell and Moon Shot Records. They then changed their name to the Delfonics, and scored two regional hits on Moon Shot before Stan created his own Philly Groove imprint. Ritchie Daniels was then drafted into the military. The remaining trio achieved 16 pop and 20 R & B hit records, including 'La La Means I Love You' (number 4 pop, number 2 R & B in 1968), 'I'm Sorry', 'Ready Or Not Here I Come' (both 1968) and 'Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)' (number 10 pop, number 3 R & B in 1970). Randy left the group in 1971 (and was replaced by Major Harris) and two years later joined the group Blue Magic by combining, singer and songwriter, Ted Mills with the quartet group Shades of Love. Blue Magic had several hits, including, 'Sideshow' (number 8), in 1974. Randy returned to the Delfonics in the 1980's, (singing with Major Harris, who had left for a solo career in 1974 but returned as well), before leaving for the last time. (soulwalking)

10th. APRIL

1926  Johnnie Tillmon-Blackston born. I'm a woman. I'm a black woman. I'm a poor woman. I'm a fat woman. I'm a middle-aged woman. And I'm on welfare. In this country, if you're any one of those things, you count less as a person. If you're all those things, you just don't count, except as a statistic. I am a statistic. --Johnnie Tillmon, 1972
Perhaps Johnnie Tillmon was precisely what she claimed to be: a statistic. Still, like all of us who have been measured by one kind of numerical datum or another, she was so much more. Johnnie Tillmon was a woman who combined the keen clarity of Audre Lorde, the historical momentum of Fannie Lou Hamer, the straight-forward presence of Sojourner Truth, and the unmovable dignity of Rosa Parks, with a grit and wit all her own. Yet, unlike Lorde, Hamer, Truth, and Parks, the life and works of Johnnie Tillmon have not been widely recognized. Tillmon saw past the thin guises of politics and rhetoric. "I believe in rhetoric to a certain extent," she once said, in an interview with Brian Lanker, "But you can only rhetoricize so long and then you have to deal with the fact. Now, I can do as much rhetoricizing as the next person. But sometimes I had to start a mess to get to the facts." Tillmon's pointedly sassy attitude and unadorned style of speech endeared her to millions -- from activists and organizers to welfare mothers, and even to a handful of policy-makers. She was a woman thunderously resonant with pride, and her works imbued that shamelessness to others. Like Sojourner Truth's 1851 impromptu address, "Ain't I A Woman," Tillmon's now-famous 1972 essay, "Welfare Is A Women's Issue" galvanized not only her generation, but those to come. Yet, while both seminal works are now regularly taught in Women's Studies courses, there remain those bastions of education where Tillmon's work is unknown, where welfare and poverty issues are studied absent the searing context of voice and personal experience, where "Welfare Is a Women's Issue" is an essay that has been unfavorably viewed as "anti-intellectual." Still, Tillmon made her voice heard and her presence undeniable across the U.S., including in the nation's capital. There, in 1972, at the age of 46, she was called a "nigger" for the first time. "I politely took off my coat, handed my bag to my attorney, and went and had me a fist city on that man's head. He didn't hit me back or nothin', but he ran. Never had been called that by a white person out of all the thirty-five years I lived in Little Rock and Arkansas. But many years ago I had decided that's what I was going to do." (Lanker, ibid.) Irrepressible in both determination and humor, Tillmon lived in Watts for a good deal of her life, while travelling to nearly a thousand cities, bringing dignity to social and political change. We are a proud people. Yet the work of Johnnie Tillmon humbles us, deeply. Which is as it should be. Every day, all over the world, we lose leaders. Many go unnoticed, in life or in death. Many cannot be replaced. The people who knew Johnnie Tillmon, through the courage of her person or the vastness of her works, continue to mourn her passing, and to celebrate her many achievements. Dies 1995.  (tr-bl)
1922  John Brim, guitarist/singer, born, Hopkinsville, Ky, USA. Died 1 October 2003, Gary, Indiana, USA. Born on a farm, Brim played blues guitar from an early age. In the mid-40s, he relocated to Chicago, where he joined the burgeoning post-war blues scene, playing with artists such as John Lee "Sonny Boy" Williamson, Muddy Waters and later Jimmy Reed. The tough sound of his music placed him firmly in the Chicago style of the day; his vocals were raw and convincing and his guitar-playing rough yet effective. His records, some of which featured his wife Grace Brim singing and playing drums, appeared on a variety of labels, but the best were probably the later 50s tracks, such as "Rattlesnake" (which was based on Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog" and featured the superb harmonica work of Little Walter), "Lifetime Blues", and the topical "Tough Times". Brim continued to play in the 60s, although largely on an amateur basis. He issued an interesting if rather rough single in the 70s before Van Halen's cover version of his classic "Ice Cream Man" led to renewed interest in the late 70s. A new studio album was released to good reviews in 1994. Grace's death in 1999 shocked her ex-husband but in 2000, at the age of 79, he released a new studio album. He remained active on the blues scene up until his death in November 2003. (mn-rs-music.us)
1930  Ray Agee, blues singer born in Dixons Mills, Alaska, USA. West Coast rhythm & blues singer whose smooth and relaxed vocal style was not unlike Charles Browns', Ray Agee made a number of mostly overlooked records in the 1950s and 1960s. Agee suffered from polio as a child and was left permanently disabled by the disease. After moving with his family from Alabama to Los Angeles in the 1930s, Agee and his brothers formed a gospel group called the Agee Brothers. The group often performed in local churches. Despite his gospel roots, Agee eventually turned toward blues and rhythm & blues and began recording in 1952. Throughout his career Agee recorded prolifically, though much of his recording catalogue, with the exception of his work with the Modern and Aladdin labels, is found on little-known labels such as Mar-Jan, Check, Solid Soul, and Krafton. Some of Agee's later records include guitar work by Bay Area artist Johnny Heartsman. By the mid-'70s Agee had disappeared from the rhythm & blues scene. He supposedly died sometime around 1990. 
1936  Bobby Smith, soul singer with The Detroit Spinners is born.The Spinners are a Detroit, Michigan -based soul band popular in the 1960s and 1970s. The band still tours as of 2006. The Spinners are known in the United Kingdom as The Detroit Spinners or The Motown Spinners because a Liverpool based folk band had taken the name "The Spinners" in Britain during the 1960s.  (mn-jt)
1938  Nana Annor Adjaye, Pan-Africanise, dies in W Nzima, Ghana.
1943  Arthur Ashe, first African American to win the U.S. Open and men's singles at Wimbledon, is born in Richmond, Va., USA.As a youngster, Ashe was small and not well-coordinated. But by the time he entered high school, he starred in tennis, basketball, and football. In tennis, he won the state championship, while in football, he helped lead his team to the city championship as a speedy wide receiver. Ashe began to attract the attention of tennis fans after being awarded a tennis scholarship at UCLA in 1963. That same year, Ashe was the first African American ever selected to the US Davis Cup team. In 1965, Ashe won the individual NCAA championship. He was also a chief contributor in UCLA's winning the team NCAA championship in the same year. With this successful college career behind him, Ashe quickly ascended to the upper echelon of tennis players worldwide after turning professional in 1969.By 1969, most people considered Ashe to be the best American male tennis player. He had won the inaugural US Open in 1968, and had aided the US Davis Cup team to victory that same year. Concerned that tennis pros were not receiving winnings commensurate with the sport's growing popularity, Ashe was one of the key figures behind the formation of the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP). That year would prove even more momentous for Ashe, when he was denied a visa by the South African government, thereby keeping him out of the South African Open. Ashe chose to use this denial to publicize South Africa's apartheid policies. In the media, Ashe called for South Africa to be expelled from the professional tennis circuit. In 1970, he added a second Grand Slam title to his resume by winning the Australian Open. In 1975, after several years of lower levels of success, Ashe played his best season ever by winning Wimbledon, unexpectedly defeating Jimmy Connors in the final. He remains the only black player ever to win the men's singles at Wimbledon, the US Open, or Australian Open, and one of only two black men to win a Grand Slam singles event (the other being France's Yannick Noah, who won the French Open in 1983). He would play for several more years, but after being slowed by heart surgery in 1979, Ashe retired in 1980. Also July 10th (tr-iokts)
1944  Danny Woods singer with Chairmen of the Board born today in Atlanta, Georgia. USA. Briefly known as the Gentlemen, this Detroit-based quartet was instigated by General Norman Johnson (Born 23 May 1944, Norfolk, Virginia, USA). A former member of the Showmen, he left that group in 1968 intent on a solo path, but instead joined Danny Woods (Born 10 April 1944, Atlanta, Georgia, USA), Harrison Kennedy (Born Canada) and Eddie Curtis (Born Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA) in this budding venture. Signed to the newly formed Invictus Records, the group secured an international hit with their debut single, "Give Me Just A Little More Time". His elated performance established the General's emphatic delivery, which combined the emotional fire of the Four Tops' Levi Stubbs with the idiomatic "trilling" of Billy Stewart. Its follow-up, the vibrant "(You've Got Me) Dangling On A String", was a more substantial hit in the UK than America, the first of several releases following this pattern. Such commercial contradictions did not detract from the excellence of "Everything's Tuesday", "Pay To The Piper" (both 1971) and "I'm On My Way To A Better Place" (1972) as the group furthered its impressive repertoire. Although Johnson provided the most recognizable voice, Woods and Kennedy also shared the lead spotlight, while the overall sound varied from assertive R&B to the melancholia of "Patches", later a hit for Clarence Carter. The group ceased recording in 1971, but singles continued to appear until 1976, while a final album, Skin I'm In (1974), was also compiled from old masters. Curtis left Invictus altogether but the remaining trio each issued solo albums. Johnson also worked with stablemates the Honey Cone and 100 Proof Aged In Soul, while he and Woods kept the Chairmen name afloat with live performances. The General subsequently signed with Arista Records, where he enjoyed a series of late 70s R&B hits before reuniting with Woods. "Loverboy" (1984) reflected their enduring popularity on the American "beach"/vintage soul music scene, and was a minor hit in the UK three years later.  (mn-music.us)
1947  Jackie Robinson signs a professional baseball contract and becomes first black player in the sport.
1947  Bunny Wailer, reggae harmony singer with The Wailers, born in Kingston Jamaica as Neville O' Riley Livingston. His relationship with Bob Marley and Peter Tosh, the two other principle members of the Wailers in the 60s and early 70s, stretched back to his childhood, when Marley and the Wailers lived under the same roof in Trench Town. His group with brought roots to an international audience in 1973 with the album Catch A Fire. (mn-cl)
1956  Nat King Cole was badly beaten up while on stage for an all-white audience in Birmingham, Alabama, USA. (mn-jt)
1958  Chuck Willis, soul singer dies. He was dubbed the King Of Stroll during the 1950s, but his turban-wearing cat provided more than just a background music for a dance craze. In fact he was one of R&B's finest singer/songwriters. other ref say's 30/04 (mn-jt)
1959  Babyface, singer/producer born Kenneth Edmonds in Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. The King of Pop! - Since the late 80s, Babyface wears the crown. The triple treat songwriter-producer-performer has had more than 100 Top 10 pop and R&B hits, and in sales of 26 million-selling singles and 72 million-selling albums. (mn-gk)
1960  Afrika Bambaataa, born Kevin Donovan, Bronx, NY. Afrika Bambaataa fell out of the limelight in the latter half of the 80s, as new generations of disc jockeys and rappers stepped forward with their own innovations and fresh beats. However, The Light included an enterprising cast (UB40, Nona Hendryx, Boy George, Bootsy Collins, Yellowman and George Clinton - the latter a huge early musical and visual influence on Bambaataa). The Decade Of Darkness (1990-2000) also went some way towards redressing the balance, including an update of James Brown's "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud". In March 1994, Bambaataa cropped up on Profile Records with the disappointing "What's The Name Of This Nation?". Two years later, he re-formed Soul Sonic Force to record Lost Generation, and continues to DJ and record new material on a regular basis. Afrika Bambaataa's influence on rap's development is pivotal, and is felt in many more subtle ways than, for example, the direct sampling of his work on 90s crossover hits such as 95 South's "Whoot! There It Is" or Duice's "Dazey Duks". The Tommy Boy anthology Looking For The Perfect Beat is a perfect introduction to this seminal artist.  (mn-Jazz-music.us)
1960  Linford Christie, OBE born in St. Andrew's, Jamaica, is a former British athlete and the only man ever to win Olympic, World, Commonweath and European 100 m gold medals. Christie's career was tainted after he was twice found guilty of using performance enhancing drugs. However, the first offence for trace amounts of ephedrine was accepted by the IOC and consistent with testimony given by Christie. The second offence was another in a long line of 'nandrolone' offences to plague professional sports in athletics and tennis. Nandrolone has been shown in other sports to be a contaminant in many sports supplements and is not considered to be a significant source of androgenic advantage. In 2004 the British tennis star Greg Rusedski was cleared by the WTA for having nandrolone levels significantly higher than Linford Christie, as followed a moritirium on all tennis cases of nandrolone offences.There is no doubt that had Linford Christie chose to appeal the findings, he would have been cleared, but he was retired and his achievements would never have been overshadowed by the nandrolone witchhunt of the mid 1990's.
1962  General Election held in Jamaica. Jamaica Labour Party wins. (mn-cb)
1971  Q-Tip, friendly rapper from Queens, USA, real name is Jonathan Davis, member of A Tribe Called Quest, born today. Q-Tip made his name as MC with hip-hop pioneers A Tribe Called Quest, one of the finest acts to emerge from New York's Native Tongues Posse. Their fluid jazz influenced grooves and Afrocentric, socially conscious lyrics helped up new possibilities in rap music, and was also highly commercial. The trio disbanded following the release of 1998's The Love Movement, with all of the members starting work on solo projects. Davis, now known as Kamaal Fareed following his conversion to Islam, released his debut in November 1999. Recorded with the Ummah production crew (former colleague DJ Ali Shaheed Muhammed and Jay Dee of Slum Village), Amplified mined a rich groove musically but Q-Tip's reinvention as a salacious mack figure left a lot to be desired. The following year the rapper co-wrote and starred in the sociological drama, Prison Song.  (mn-ms)
1979  After protests by people like Lena Horn, Paul Robeson, Jr., and Equity, Paul Robeson had a star bearing his name placed on the Walk of Fame. His granddaughter Susan Robeson wrote this of her grandfather: 'My grandfather challenged the inherent racism of the film industry to its foundations, for which he paid the price perhaps greater than that of any artist in American history. He did so proudly, as a matter of principle and with no regrets' (mn)
1983  Pass the Dutchie in New York. British teenagers Musical Youth, five schoolboys from Birmingham, played at New York's Ritz concert hall. Aged between 11 and 16, they had topped the British chart 6 months earlier with 'Pass The Dutchie', a Jamaican song based on 'Pass the Koochie', meaning marijuana. The word was changed to Duchie which is a Jamaican cooking pot to avoid adverse comment. (mn-jt)
2003  Little Eva (Eva Narcissus Boyd) died in the Lenoir Memorial Hospital, Kinston, North Carolina. She was 59 and had been fighting a long battle with cervical cancer. The singer had hits with The Locomotion & Swinging On A Star (with Dee Irwin) in the mid 60's.  (born June 29, 1943)
2006 The BBC broadcast a 1 hour program with interviews with the 1981 Brixton roisters and the police 25 years after the event. The police admit that the policing at the time was to blame for the Brixton Riots of April 10-11, 1981. (mn)
2006 Thousands turn out to popular London DJ Swing's funeral. Beverly Knight and Omar sang at the church service. In August 2005, Channel 4 aired the programme, Saving DJ Swing, to document the campaign. In October 2005, more than 500 people from the African Caribbean community turned out to give blood at one clinic organised by the ACLT at Leicester Square club Rococo. Beverley said: ‘One of the things Swing said to us before he died was, “When I’m back on my feet I’m going to dedicate my life to helping you guys because what you’ve done is just amazing”, which was a real humbling experience for myself and Orin [co-founder of the ACLT].  (newnation) 
2007  Dakota Staton, singer dies in New York. Born 6 March, 1932 in Pittsburg, Pennsilvania. (mn)
2007  Zola Tayor with The Platters dies in Los Angeles. Born 17 March 1938 in New York. (soulwalking)

11th. APRIL 

1908  Jane M. Bolin, first female African American judge in the United States, is born in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., USA. (tr-iokts)
1935  Richard Berry, soul singer born in Extension, Louisiana, USA. Berry was brought to Los Angeles as an infant, where he learned to play the piano, playing along with records of Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers. In high school he formed a vocal group and began recording in 1953 under various names (the Hollywood Blue Jays, the Flairs, the Crowns, the Dreamers, the Pharaohs) as well as doing solo sessions for Modern's Flair subsidiary. His most famous moment is his bass vocal contributions to the Robin's Riot In Cell Block 9 (d. 23 January, 1997). (mn-cl)   
1981  30th Anniversary of Brixton Riots: On the Friday evening of 10 April 1981, 19-year-old Michael Bailey from Brixton was snatched by his friends from the police as he bled from a stab wound. He was then taken to an ambulance. Rumours circled that Bailey had died at the hands of the police. Despite this, the police continued with what they called 'Operation Swamp' by posting an extra 96 officers on Brixton streets. This policy was counter productive as on this day Britain experienced one of its worst nites of violence. The incident sparked all that bottled-up anger that black youth had against the police. The rioting was vicious and intense. By nightfall Brixton was alight. The eruption was reported as far as Russia. It lasted two days and included the first use of petrol bombs on  mainland Britain. At it's peak about 7,000 officers were deployed to restore order in an area less than a square mile. The damage totalled  £6.5 million. (mn-ts)
1987  [Joss Stone] soul singer born Joscelyn Eve Stoker in Kent, UK.This precociously talented white soul singer made a notable impact with her 2003 debut album, The Soul Sessions, released when she was only 16 years old. Stone grew up in the rural village of Ashill, Devon. She began singing in her early teens, making her first public performance at Uffculme Comprehensive School with a version of Jackie Wilson's "Reet Petite". In 2001, Stone won a local audition to perform on a junior version of the BBC talent show Star For A Night. Her appearance on Junior Star For A Night (singing Donna Summer's "On The Radio") helped launch a career in music, with the teenage singer hiring a management team that brought her to the attention of London-based production team the Boiler House Boys. The latter passed the word on to US record company executive Steve Greenberg who flew Stone to New York for an audition, following which he signed the 14-year old singer to his S-Curve label. Greenberg introduced Stone to veteran soul artist Betty Wright, with the original intention being to co-write an album of contemporary material. The direction of the album took a different turn when Greenberg and Wright suggested bringing in some well-known names from the 70s soul scene, including keyboard players Latimore and Timmy Thomas, and guitarist Little Beaver. (music.us)
2013 Don Blackman dies. (b. Donald Blackman, 1st September 1953, Queens, New York, U.S.A. / d. 11th April 2013, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A.) The American pianist, singer, songwriter, producer, Don Blackman has died. He was 59. Don passed away after a long fight against cancer. At the beginning of the 1970's, Don played with the likes of Parliament, Funkadelic, Earth, Wind and Fire, and Roy Ayers. He later became a member of Lenny White's group Twennynine. Don penned the tracks 'Peanut Butter' and 'Morning Sunrise' for the group. He released his self-titled debut solo album in 1982 on the Arista Records imprint. 'Don Blackman' contained the songs 'Holding You, Loving You', 'Heart's Desire' and 'Since You've Been Away So Long. (soulwaking)

12th. APRIL 

1872  Jamaica saved from capture by Admiral Rodney's victory over the French fleet at the Battle of the Saints. (mn-cb)
1898  Sir Grantley H. Adams, political leader, president of Barbados, born. Sir Grantley Herbert Adams (Died - November 28, 1971) was a Barbadian politician. He served as the first Premier of Barbados, as the island proceeded towards self-governance and then as the first and only Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation. He was president of the Barbados Workers' Union from 1941 to 1954, after serving as leader of the Barbados Labour Party from 1938. Grantley Adams later became the first Premier of a self-governing Barbados, and in 1958 became Prime Minister of the West Indies Federation as leader of the West Indies Federal Labour Party. The Sir Grantley Adams International Airport located in Christ Church, Barbados was renamed after the former Prime Minister in 1976. The late Grantley Adams is also one of Barbados' 10 national heroes. also 28th april (wickpedia)
1913  Lionel Hampton, jazz vibraphonist born. d. 31 August 2002, New York, USA. After living briefly in Louisville and Birmingham, Alabama, Hampton was taken to Chicago where he lived with his grandparents. They sent him to Holy Rosary Academy at Collins, Wisconsin, where he was taught the rudiments of military band drumming by a Dominican nun. Following the death of his grandmother, Hampton, now in his early teens, went to live with his uncle, Richard Morgan. A bootlegger and friend to many showbusiness stars, Morgan encouraged his nephew in his ambition to become a musician. (Morgan later became an intimate friend of Bessie Smith and was driving the car in which she had her fatal accident.) (mn-jt)
1925  Prentiss Barnes , Moonglows singer born in Magnolia, Mississippi, USA. The Moonglows were discovered in Cleveland, Ohio, in 1952 by legendary disc jockey Alan Freed. Lester sang lead, Fuqua was the alternate lead, Graves the first tenor, and Barnes the bass. From 1953 to 1954 they had minor success in the rhythm-and-blues market but achieved national fame only after signing with Chess Records in 1954. On such successful records as "Sincerely" (1954), "Most of All" (1955), "We Go Together" (1956), and "Ten Commandments of Love" (1958), the Moonglows perfected the distinctive rhythm-and-blues vocal harmony technique called "blow harmony," through which blown breath becomes part of harmonies that resonate as if they originated deep in the singers' chests. Freed helped make the group one of the most significant early rock-and-roll acts, including them in many of his stage shows and in his motion pictures Rock, Rock, Rock (1956) and Mr. Rock and Roll (1957). Fuqua, the group's leader and songwriter (and later a producer, label owner, and promoter), broke up the ensemble in 1958 and formed a new Moonglows group, whose members included Marvin Gaye. The group disbanded in 1960 but reorganized in 1972. Later albums include The Return of the Moonglows (1972) and Sincerely (1991). The Moonglows were inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2000. (wickpedia) (other ref 25 April)
1940  Herbie Hancock, jazz-man born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Growing up in a musical household, Hancock studied piano from the age of seven and gave his first public performance just two years later. Although he played classical music at his debut Hancock's interest lay mostly in jazz. During high school and college he played in semi-professional bands and on occasion accompanied visiting jazzmen, including Donald Byrd. It was with Byrd that Hancock first played in New York, in 1961, recording with him and as leader of his own small group. Among the tunes on this later album was "Watermelon Man", a Hancock original that appealed to more than the usual jazz audience. A version of the song, by Mongo Santamar¡a, reached the US Top 10. (mn-jt)
1955  7,000 black children are expelled from school for protesting against the Bantu Education Act S Africa, 100 teachers loose their jobs. (drum)
1966  Emmett Ashford becomes the first African American major league unpire 1970  Delroy Pearson, soul singer with the group Five Star is born. (mn-jt)
1975  Josephine Baker, singer/humanitarian dies. Born Freda Josephine McDonald she participated in the French Resistance and post war activities on behalf of orphaned and deprived children. Made her world debut in a chorus line of Shuffle Along in 1923 and began singing in Harlem's Plantation Club. (mn-jt-ss)
1978  Aretha Franklin married actor Glynn Turman. Her father, the Revd C.L. Franklin officiated at the ceremony, which was attended by the Four Tops, who serenaded the bride by singing 'Isn't she lovely'. (mn-jt)
2006 June Poiner, singer with the Pointer Sisters dies from cancer in her sisters arms. (mn)

13th. APRIL

1907  Harlem Hospital opens in New York, N.Y., USA. (tr-iokts)
1940  Lester Chambers, singer with The Chambers Brothers, born. The group was formed in 1954 in Los Angeles by four brothers from Mississippi, Lester, George, Willie and Joe Chambers. They toured extensively throughout southern California but did not achieve nationwide success until 1965 when, with the addition of drummer Brian Keenan, they appeared at the Newport Folk Festival. Shortly after this they recorded their debut album People Get Ready. The band scored their first major hit in 1968 with the title track from their third album Time Has Come Today. However they found it difficult to build on this success and eventually split up in 1972. They reformed in 1974 to record Unbonded and have toured regularly since. The Chambers Brothers was also the name of a gang in Detroit, Michigan. (mn-jt-wickpedia)
1946  Al Green soul/gospel singer born in Forrest City, Arkansas, USA. He recorded 9 albums and had 7 Top 10 hits between 1971-74 that collectively sold over 30 million copies, he later returned to Gospel in 1976. The singer's personal life, however, was rocked in October 1974. Following an argument, his girlfriend, Mary Woodson, burst in while the singer was taking a bath and poured boiling grits over his back. She then shot herself dead. Although he occasionally recorded gospel material, a scarred and shaken Green vowed to devote more time to God.  (mn)
1951  Peabo Bryson singer born Robert Peabo Bryson in Greenville, South Carolina, USA. This talented soul singer and producer is a former member of Moses Dillard and the Tex-Town Display and Michael Zager's Moon Band. Between 1976 and 1978, Bryson had hits with this latter group, with "Reaching For The Sky" and "I'm So Into You'. His numerous appearances in Billboard"s R&B chart include "Underground Music", "Feel The Fire", "Crosswinds", "She's A Woman" and "Minute By Minute". "Gimme Some Time", a 1979 duet with Natalie Cole, was the first of several successful partnerships. However, despite hits with Melissa Manchester and Regina Belle, the singer is best known for his work with Roberta Flack, and in particular the dewy-eyed ballad "Tonight, I Celebrate My Love", which reached number 5 on the US R&B chart and number 2 in the UK pop chart in 1983. Such releases have obscured Bryson's own career, which included, notably, the US Top 10 hit "If Ever You're In My Arms Again" from 1984, but he remains an able and confident performer blessed with an effortless voice. Soundtrack duets with Celine Dion ("Beauty And The Beast") and Regina Belle ("A Whole New World (Aladdin's Theme)") in 1992 provided Bryson with further chart success.  (mn)
1957  Wayne Lewis, soul singer with Atlantic Starr, born. Atlantic Starr was formed in 1976 when they moved to Los Angeles. Later in the 70s, they enlisted the services of New York-born Sharron Bryant as lead singer, and signed to A&M Records. Under the auspices of Philadelphia producer Bobby Eli (whose other work includes Major Harris, Brenda And The Tabulations, Booker Newbury III and Ronnie Dyson), they recorded their first two albums. "Gimme Your Lovin'", from the first of these, became a hit in the UK charts, before they switched to the production tutelage of James Anthony Carmichael (Commodores, Lionel Richie) for a series of three albums. Bryant departed after Yours Forever to marry Rick Brenna from Change. She then worked as a session singer before re-emerging in 1989 with the solo Here I Am and the single "Foolish Heart". Her replacement in Atlantic Starr was Barbara Weathers, although Daniels, Suddeeth, Archer and Carroll also parted company around the same time.  (mn-jt)
1963  Sidney Potier is the first male African-American to receive an Academy Award. He also turns his hand to directing and make Stir Crazy, the largest grossing movie by a African-American director.
1965  Leontyne Price, opera singer, awarded the "Order of Merit of the Italian Republic."
1975  Bruce Antionio Dyer, 6',11", 11.3 footballer born in Ilford, England. International Honours: E: U21-11. (bh-mn)
1986  Dorothy Ashby, jazz harp player dies in Santa Monica, USA. Dorothy Ashby (August 6, 1932-April 13, 1986) was born Dorothy Jeanne Thompson in Detroit, Michigan and died in Santa Monica, California at age 53. She was a noted jazz harp player who grew up around music in Detroit where her father, guitarist Wiley Thompson, often brought home fellow jazz musicians. Often, even as a young girl, Dorothy would provide support and background to their music by playing the piano. She attended Cass Technical High School where fellow students included such future musical talents and jazz greats as Donald Byrd, Gerald Wilson, and Kenny Burrell. While in high school she played a number of instruments including the saxophone and bass before coming upon the harp. A story has it that 14 students in the high school had to share 5 harps, and so Dorothy soon became passionate about the dream of owning her own harp one day. She found in the harp a great opportunity to express via a musical instrument the resonance and syncopation in jazz that are usually only found in the human voice. And so her desire in her music was to explore the harp through a number of musical traditions that included bop, jazz, and funk. (mn-wickpedia)20
2013 [Vince Montana] dies. (b. Vincent Montana Jr, 12th February 1928, South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A. d. 13th April 2013, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) The hugely influential composer, arranger and percussionist, he was 85. During his career, he was a pivotal member of the ensemble M.F.S.B., and was the founder of the Salsoul Orchestra. (soulwalking)

 14th. APRIL

1775  First U.S. abolitionist society is founded in Pennsylvania; Ben Franklin is its president. (tr-iokts)
1915  James Hutton Brew, Pioneer of West African Journalism, dies.The Gold Coast Times, according to Prof. Jones-Quartey became the first of its kind in the country to be owned and run exclusively by natives. The Times was the brainchild of James Hutton Brew, one of the historical figures of Ghana, popularly called ‘Brew of Dunkwah.’ In the earlier article I quoted some historians as saying that the Bannerman Brothers and later Dr. Nkrumah established their papers with the sole aim of counterbalancing European control over the flow of information. Even more forceful was the reason behind the establishment of Brew Hutton’s Gold Coast Times. (mn)
1915  Muddy Waters, bluesman born. He was the patriarch of the post-World War II Chicago blues. A master artist who played slashing slide guitar and sang with a tough, sinewy view of a man who had seen his share of good and evil in life. Waters was also a compelling song  writer and song interpreter, a powerful stage performer and recording artist, and superb bandleader.(Dies April 30, 1983, Chicago). (mn-jt)
1943  Maceo Parker, saxophonist with James Brown born in Kinston, NC, USA.Maceo Parker (born February 14, 1943) is a noted African American funk and soul jazz saxophone player, best known for his contributions to James Brown's distinct sound. He was born in Kinston, North Carolina in a musically-rich environment. His mother and father sang in a church and both his brothers are accomplished musicians (drums and trombones). He and his brother, Melvin Parker, joined James Brown in 1964; In his book Brown says that he originally wanted Melvin as his drummer but agreed to take Maceo under his wing as part of the deal. Maceo, Melvin and a few of Brown's band members left to found Maceo & All the Kings Men which toured for two years. In 1973 Maceo returned to James Brown's band. In 1975 Maceo and some of Brown's band members, including Fred Wesley, left to join George Clinton's Parliament. Maceo once again joined James Brown from 1984 to 1988. In the 1990s he finally embraced a successful solo career. He has released seven solo records and plays 250 tour dates per year.  (mn-lb-wickpedia)
1952  Jerry Knight, with soul group Raydio born. Jerry Knight (born  in Los Angeles) was an R&B recording artist in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Along with Ray Parker Jr., he was a founding member of the group Raydio, singing vocals on their early hit Jack and Jill. He then left to pursue a solo career, releasing two solo albums and achieving moderate success with minor hits such as Overnight Sensation, Perfect Fit, and Turn It Out. In 1983, Jerry Knight teamed with Ollie Brown to form Ollie & Jerry. Together, they provided the title track to the soundtrack to the movie Breaking, which reached #9 on the Billboard pop charts. Although his solo career faded, Jerry Knight continued to write and produce for groups such as the Whispers, Patrice Rushen and DeBarge. (mn-jt-wickpedia)
1971  Tim Austin IBF Bantamweight World Champion Boxer born. Record: 17-0-1 (16). Best wins: Javier Diaz; Eddie Rangel and Mdulelo Botile. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. (mn-ring)
1972  Colin James Alcide, footballer, height: 6' 2", weight: 11.7, powerful striker born in Huddersfield. Crystal Palace paid £1,100,000 for him on 10/3/94. (mn-bh)
1983  Wonder's Multi-Million Motown Deal Signed. Following his winning of four Grammy Awards in both 1974 and 1975, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Stevie Wonder re-signed with Motown Records, the company for which he had always recorded even before his first million-selling smash hit, 'Fingertips Part II', in 1963 when he was 13 years old.
2009 US music producer Phil Spector has been convicted of murdering actress Lana Clarkson, after a five-month retrial. (mn)
2013 George Jackson dies . (b. George Henry Jackson, 1936, Indianola, Mississippi, U.S.A. / d. 14th April 2013, Ridgeland, Mississippi, U.S.A.) The R&B Southern Soul singer, George Jackson, has died. He was 77. George was a very talented songwriter, who was much in demand by many major label artists as well as the lesser known performers.. His personal recorded output suffered somewhat, releasing 15 or so releases in a career that spanned over two decades. (soulwalking)

15th. APRIL 

1894  Bessie Smith, singer is born. The greatest female blues singer of all - the Empress of the Blues - was born in Tennessee and died from injuries received in a car crash in 1937. She was orphaned at the age of seven and sang in the streets for pennies, eventually becoming a headliner in Vaudeville and a toast of the New York smart set (for whom her respect was not total: a hard-drinking woman, she took no nonsense from anyone). 160 of her recordings still survive, all now  on CBS in five 2-disc sets. In 1929 she made a short film St Louis Blues. (Dies September 26, 1937, Clarksdale, Miss). (mn-jt-dc)
1915  Johnny Shines, blues guitarist/singer born. (d.20/4/1992)He was born John Ned Shines on April 26, 1915 in Frazier, Tennessee. He spent most of his childhood in Memphis playing slide guitar at an early age in local “jukes” and for tips on the streets. His first musical influences were Blind Lemon Jefferson and Howlin’ Wolf, but he was taught to play the guitar by his mother. Shines moved to Hughes, Arkansas in 1932 and worked on farms for three years putting his musical career on hold. But it was a chance meeting with Robert Johnson, his greatest influence, that gave him the inspiration to return to music. In 1935, Johnny Shines began traveling with Robert Johnson, touring the south and heading as far north as Ontario. There, they both appeared on a local radio program.  In Chicago, Shines found work in the construction trade and continued to play in local bars. He made his first recording in 1946 for Columbia Records, but the takes were never released. He later recorded for Chess and was once again denied. He kept playing with local blues musicians in the Chicago area for several more years. In 1952, Johnny Shines recorded what is considered his best work for the J.O.B. Records label. The recordings were a commercial flop and Shines frustrated with the music industry, sold his equipment and returned to construction. In 1966, Vanguard records found Shines taking photographs in a Chicago blues club. He recorded with the label takes for the 3rd installment of Chicago/The Blues/Today!. The album has since then become a blues classic and it brought Johnny Shines into to mainstream music scene. Shines toured with the Chicago All Stars alongside Lee Jackson, Big Walter Horton and Willie Dixon. In the late sixties and seventies, Johnny Shines toured with Robert Johnson’s step-son, Robert Junior Lockwood as the last remaining original delta blues musicians. In 1980, Shines’ music was brought to a standstill when he suffered a stroke. He would later appear in the documentary “Searching for Robert Johnson” and manage to release one last album, Back To The Country. Johnny Shines Died on April 20, 1992 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama.  (mn-rs-wickpedia)
1919  Elizabeth Catlett, sculptor and lithographer born. She attended the Lucretia Mott Elementary School, Dunbar High School, and then Howard University where she studied design, printmaking and drawing. In an interview in December 1981 in Artist and Influence magazine, she stated that she changed her major to painting because of the influence of James Porter, and because there was no sculpture division at Howard at the time. She received her BS, cum laude from Howard in 1935. She then worked as a high school teacher in North Carolina but left after two years, frustrated by the low teaching salaries for blacks. Mother and Child, 1939. In 1940 Catlett became the first student to receive an Master of Fine Arts degree in sculpture at the University of Iowa. While there, she was influenced by American landscape painter Grant Wood, who urged students to work with the subjects they knew best. For Catlett, this meant blacks, and especially black women, and it was at this point that her work began to focus on African Americans. Her piece Mother and Child (done in 1939 for her thesis), won first prize in sculpture at the American Negro Exposition in Chicago in 1940. She studied ceramics at the Art Institute of Chicago in 1941, lithography at the Art Students League in New York in 1942-1943, and with sculptor Ossip Zadkine in New York in 1943. She became the 'promotion director' for the George Washington Carver School in Harlem located at 57 W. 125th St. Roy DeCarava was one of the students. Some of the teachers included Ernie Crichlow, Norman Lewis, and Charles White, who was for a time her husband. (tr-bl-wickpedia)
1928  Norma Merrick Sklarek born. Sklarek was the first African-American woman to be licensed as an architect in the United States and the first woman to be elected Fellow of the American Institute of Architects. Then, in 1985, she became the first African-American woman to open her own architectural firm.  (tr-bl-aareg.com)
1949  Marsha Hunt, soul singer born. Hunt grew up in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and studied at the University of California, Berkeley (at the time of the student riots) but in the late 1960s moved to Britain. She has lived in Ireland since 1995. She also lives in France where she owns a home. She is the mother of Mick Jagger's first child, Karis Jagger, who was born on November 4, 1970 in the UK. Marsha Hunt is the inspiration of the Stone's hit "Brown Sugar". Ms. Hunt was at the time a member of the cast in the London production of the musical Hair (playing "Dionne"), reportedly approached Jagger at a party and, rather bluntly, informed him that she wanted to have his baby. Jagger obliged her but would not enter into a long-term relationship with Hunt, who, consequently, had to bring up her daughter as a single mother (although she also wanted to make her way in show business). Jagger even denied being Karis's father and refused payments. A lengthy lawsuit followed, and a settlement making him support Hunt and their daughter was only reached in 1979. Mick Jagger has been close to Karis for years. She would often vacation with Jagger and his family as a teenager. He attended Karis's graduation from Yale, her wedding in 2000 and was at the hospital for the birth of her son in 2004. He has been very close to Karis for more than twenty years. Hunt was also professionally associated with musicians such as Alexis Korner, John Mayall, Elton John, and Marc Bolan. In her later years Hunt has taken to writing. After her 1986 autobiography, Real Life: The Story of a Survivor, she published her first novel, Joy, in 1990, and her second novel, Free, in 1992. In late 2004, she was diagnosed with breast cancer, and had surgery to remove her right breast and her lymph nodes. She has written about it in a memoir, Undefeated, and has been the subject of a documentary, Beating Breast Cancer on ITV, broadcast on 26 September 2005. (mn-jt-wickpedia)
1959  African Freedom Day is declared at the All-African Peoples Conference in Accra, Ghana.
1989  Black Rap Leads The Pack. Loc-ed After Dark, the album by Los Angeles based rap star Tone Loc, became the first rap release to top the US album chart. (mn-jt)
2017 Sylvia Moy, Motown songwriter dies. (b. Sylvia Rose Moy, 15th September 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A. d. 15th April 2017, Beaumont (Oakwood) Hospital, Dearborn, Michigan, U.S.A. Sylvia Moy, Motown’s first female producer and songwriter, has died. Sylvia was 78. She died of apparent complications from pneumonia, following a stay in Detroit's Harper University Hospital. Sylvia penned (or co-penned) many of Motown’s most memorable songs, including ‘This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You)’, ‘Uptight (Everything's Alright)’, ‘My Cherie Amour’, ‘I Was Made to Love Her’, ‘Never Had a Dream Come True’, ‘Angie Girl’, ‘Shoo-Be-Doo-Be-Doo-Da-Day’, ’Forget Me Not’, ‘My Baby Loves Me’ and ‘It Takes Two’, for the artists Stevie Wonder, The Isley Brothers, Marvin Gaye, Kim Weston, and Martha Reeves and the Vandellas. Interview special with music in PCRL achieve.

16th. APRIL

1864  Flora Batson, acclaimed soprano baritone singer is born in Washington, D.C., USA. (tr-iokts)
1929  Ed Townsend, soul singer/producer born. His first hit was 'For Your Love' in 1958. Gained singing experience while in the Marine Corps in Korea. Wrote songs for Nat King Cole, Etta James, Impressions, Shirelles, Chuck Jackson, Dee Dee Warwick and Marvin Gaye's 'Let's Get It On'. Hosted a TV program in Los Angeles. (mn)
1929  Roy Hamilton, soul singer born in Leesburg, Georgia, USA. Cited by Elvis Presley as one of the all time great voices. His booming baritone voice made him a 50s hit-maker singing gospel-flavoured pop songs. In the late 40s Hamilton honed his singing skills in a church choir and as a member of it's offshoot quartet, the Searchlight Singers. He won a talent contest at the Apollo Theatre in 1947, but it was not until 1953 that he was discovered by his soon to be manager Bill Cook who was a local disc jockey. His first hit was You'll Never Walk Alone, (R&B No.1 in 1954) later a UK football anthem song. He also made the original hit with Unchained Melody (an R&B No.1 in 1955). Dies 20 July 1969. (mn-cl-jt)
1947  Lew Alcindor (Kareem Abdul-Jabbar), basketball player, is born. (tr- iokts)
1965  Mayor General B.O. Davis, Jr. becomes Lt. General, highest rank held by an African American in the U.S. Armed Forces.
1969  Desmond Dekker & The Aces hit No.1 chart position with The  Israelites, this is in the record books as the first reggae single to reach No. 1 on the UK pop music chart. (mn)
1970 (Louis) Gabrielle (Bobb) (uk singer) born in London. (nationmaster)
1990  Mandela Concert at Wembley. Massive concert to celebrate the release of Nelson Mandela. Artists included The Neville Brothers, Tracy Chapman and Aswad. (mn-jt)

17th. APRIL

1758  Francis Williams, first U.S. black college graduate, publishes a poem book in Latin.
1816  Patrick Henry Reason, abolitionist, is born. (tr-iokts)
1872  William Munroe Trotter, pioneer in protest techniques, born this day in Boston, USA. Dies on the same date in 1934. A journalist who vigorously opposed discrimination during the early twentieth century, Trotter employed methods - notably non-violent protest that would be used in the twentieth century. He was an honours student at Havard University. He founded the Guardian (1901) and worked with W.E.B. Du Bois in founding the Niagara Movement (1905).
1924  Althea T. L. Simmons born. (tr-bl)
1930  Alexander Graves, singer with The Moonglows is born. (mn-jt)
1947  Chris Bartley, soul singer born in Harlem, New York, USA. (mn-cl)
1969  Dean Anthony Wallace, 6'0", 11.11 footballer born in Leeds, England. Club Honours: Div 3 '95; AMC '97. International Honours: St. Kitts.
1976  David Alleyne, 5' 11" Middlesex cricketer born in York. (cm-mn)
1999  48 hurt In Bomb Blast Read the headline in the Sunday Mercury newspaper the next day after a 5.30 pm nail bomb blast near Brixton  market, it was thought by some to been a racist attack. (mn)
2003  Earl King, r&b singer/songwriter/guitarist dies from diabetes related complications at St. Charles General Hospital, New Orleans, he was 69. (in basement 31)

18th. APRIL

1924  Clarence Gatemouth Brown, blues guitarist, born Vinton, La, USA. (rs)
1963  Philip Verant Simmons, Right-hand bat, right arm medium bowler for Leicestershire is born in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad, West Indies. County debut: 1994; County capo: 1994; Test debut: 1988; Tests: 26; One-Day Internationals: 130; 1000 runs in one season: 1; 50 wickets in one season: 1. (cm-mn)
1980  Independence Day - Zimbabwe: Joshua Nkomo and president Robert Mugabe struggled for black liberation against Ian Smith and his white government - Leading Rhodesia into a blood 20 year war. At midnight, Rhodesia became known as Zimbabwe. Rhodesia was named after the colonialist Rhodes, whose statue was removed from the streets of the capitol he named Salisbury, which is now named Harare. (sc)
1983  Alice Walker is awarded the Pulitzer Prize for 'The Color Purple. A prominent novelist and poet, Walker was born in Eatonton, Georgia, and attended both Spellman College and Sarah Lawrence, where she received her A.B. in 1965. Before settling in San Francisco she registered voters in Gorgia, worked for Head Start program in Mississippi, and worked with the Welfare Dept. in New York. Her early poetry and fiction drew on both her family's history and her own work and travels and already revealed her special concern for the African-American woman's experience. The Color Purple was made into a film staring Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldburg and Danny Glover. (ss-tr-iokts)20
2013 Cardell Mosson dies. (b. Cardell Mosson, 16th October 1952, Plainfield, New Jersey, U.S.A. d. 18th April 2013, U.S.A.) The bassist for the groups Funkadelic and Parliament, He was 60. (soulwalking)

19th. APRIL

Republic Day-Sierra Leone
1892  Black Invention: Overboot for Horses, Robert Coates. (sc)
1936  Ruby Johnson, soul singer born in Elizabeth City, North Carolina, USA
1938  Nana Annor Adjaye, Pan-Africanise, dies in West Nzima, Ghana. (iokts)
1945  Cleo Sylvestre, black British actor, born in Hertfordshire, but grew up in Huston, London. She appeared in Coronation St soap and, Cathy Come Home, and Up the Junction in the BBC's Wednesday Play series in the 1960s. Also a familiar face in Crossroads in the 1970s. (mn-sb)
1960  SWAPO was born to organise, unite, inspire, orient and lead the masses of the oppressed Namibian people in the strugle against colonial oppression and for national independence. Today SWAPO the concentrated expression of the polital wishes and aspirations of the oppressed masses of our people. (swapo-tr)
1972  Imamu Mayfield IBF Cruiserweight World Champion Boxer is born. Record: 17-1 (13). He resides is New Brunswick, New Jersey, USA. Best wins were Earnest Mateen and Uriah Grant. (mn-ring)
1977  Alex Haley receives a special Pulitzer Prize for his book 'Roots.' Roots was made into a TV serial and shown all around the globe. Characters like Kunti Kinte and Chicken George were house-hold names.
1986  Kiss Triple Topper for Prince. Prince (real name Prince Rogers Nelson) simultaneously topped three US charts - pop, dance, and R & B - for the third time in his career. (mn-jt)
1991  Leon Sullivan leads African/American Summit.
2006 Gracie Ridgeway of the Ridgeway Sisters group dies. (mn)
2014 Deon Jackson dies. (b. Deon Jackson, 26th January 1946, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A.) Passed at home, Ann Arbor, Michigan, U.S.A. The R&B singer, Deon Jackson, has died. He was 68. Deon passed away in his sleep at home. He made many wonderful recordings at Ollie McClaughlin's Carla label. The biggest hit was 'Love Makes The Wold Go Around' in 1964. (mn)

20th. APRIL

1923  Tito Puente, afro-Cuban musician born. Four time Grammy Award Winner; featured motion picture performer; doctorate of arts & sciences; Internationally acclaimed world wide performer; there are not enough adjectives to describe Tito Puente. His hit records and arrangements have become classics in Latin music as well as popular rock. Carlos Santana recorded two of his hits, while jazz greats such as Buddy Morrow and Woody Herman collaborated with The King. He has a "star" in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, right in front of the Chinese Theater and two colleges, SUNY at Old Westbury and Hunter College, have both bestowed the King with honorary doctorates for his work in music and his help to young artists through his Tito Puente Scholarship Fund. He is also the Latino Ambassador of Good Will receiving numerous keys to Cities nationally and around the world. But more important, his good will, talent and spirit have propelled him to bridge racial,cultural, and generational gaps. His concerts are attended by a colorfully diverse mix of people from every race, age, and religion. His fans range from celebrities such as Bill Cosby, to young Japanese students who watch him avidly when he is in Japan or at the Blue Note. His recordings range from collector's items classics to cutting edge hits. (mn-jt)
1926  Harriet Elizabeth Byrd born. (tr-bl)
1951  Luther Vandross, soul singer born in Bronx, New York, USA. He was musically inspired by his family. His sister sang with the Crests who had a 50's hit with Sixteen Candles, and his mother encouraged him to take a piano and work with his sister after the death of his father in 1959. As he grew older he was greatly inspired by female singers of the day, Aretha Franklin, Dionne Warwick and Diana Ross. Luther became the voice on the Kentucky Fried Chicken TV adds. 1975 he formed his own group Luther and recorded two albums on Cotillion, he later brought back the rights to these so they could never be re-issued, that's why they are so rare! Dies 2005. (mn-rt)
1968  "Britain Must Be Mad, Literally Mad" - Enoch (Powell)  "Like The Roman - I Seem To See The River Of Blood". "It's like watching a nation heaping up its funeral pyre". Read the headline in The Evening Standard newspaper. Soon after this speach he was asked to resign as Conservative MP for Wolverhampton. (mn-standard)     
1970  Perry Bradford, composer/arranger/producer/pianist, dies, New York. Perry Bradford was a singer, songwriter, pianist and vaudeville and minstrel performer who forever changed the sound of American popular music by convincing Okeh Records to release the first Blues record in 1920. Bradford was sure that there was a market for African-American music aimed at African-American consumers. He had a hard time convincing the record companies in New York of this, but he kept at it and managed to get Okeh records interested in the idea in 1920. He felt that singer Mamie Smith a star of the musical revue "Maid of Harlem" had the right stuff to reach the African-American audience. Their first try was a couple of Perry Bradford pop songs with a slight Jazz and Blues feel "That Thing Called Love" and "You Can't Keep a Good Man Down". It sold well enough that Okeh was willing to be a little more adventurous and record some real contemporary African-American music on their next release. The songs were "Crazy Blues", and "It' s Right Here for You" but this time Okeh played up that fact that this was an African-American singer and band in their advertising and sheet music sales that accompanied the record. The record was a smash hit and some say it ended up selling over a million copies. After the success of this record almost all other record companies then jumped on the band wagon and started recording African-American Blues and Jazz musicians. Bradford led several sessions in the 1920s that featured Jazz luminaries such as Louis Armstrong, James P. Johnson, Johnny Dunn, and Alberta Hunter. Strangely enough, Bradford was also an influence on rock music. Rock n' Roll musician Little Richard (who had a big hit with Bradford's song "Keep A Knockin'" in 1957) had this to say about him, "Everything happens for a reason. Who knew that the style Perry was developing in the Twenties would lead to Rock and Roll."
1978   Carl Gary Greenidge, 5'11", 12.6 Surrey cricketer born in Basingstoke. Country debut: 1998 (one-day). (cm-mn)
1987   Bert Hardy's World (A Portrait) - Broadcasted by CH4 television, a documentary about the celebrated photo-journalist Bert Hardy, including references to his documentation of the pre-war black communities of Cardiff and Liverpool. (mn-sb)
1992   Johnny Shines, blues singer/guitarist dies (b.15/4/1915) Best known as a traveling companion of Robert Johnson, Johnny Shines' own contributions to the blues have often been unfairly shortchanged, simply because Johnson's own legend casts such a long shadow. In his early days, Shines was one of the top slide guitarists in Delta blues, with his own distinctive, energized style; one that may have echoed Johnson's spirit and influence, but was never a mere imitation. Shines eventually made his way north to Chicago, and made the transition to electrified urban blues with ease, helped in part by his robust, impassioned vocals. He was vastly under-recorded during his prime years, even quitting the music business for a time, but was rediscovered in the late '60s and recorded and toured steadily for quite some time. A 1980 stroke robbed him of some of his dexterity on guitar, but his voice remained a powerfully emotive instrument, and he performed up until his death in 1992.  (mn-rs-music.us)
1984  Mabel Mercer UK singer dies, (Feb.3, 1900 - Apr.20, 1984), cabaret/concert singer and song stylist, was born Mabel Alice Wadham at Burton-Upon-Trent, Staffordshire, England, to Emily Mame Wadham, an English-Welsh music-hall entertainer, and Benjamin Mercer, an African-American tumbler or acrobat. Her parents being unmarried, Mabel was raised by maternal grandparents in north Wales in a family of singers, dancers, and painters. At seven she was placed in a Catholic convent school in Manchester. Emily, before going on a world tour from which she never returned, took Mabel onto the stage of an empty music hall. Climbing to the balcony, she yelled, "All right, sing! And I want to understand every word!" Mabel experienced the first of lifelong stage fright but her mother heard every word. (mn)

21st. APRIL

1914  Pauline Henriques, actress, born in Half Way Tree, Kingston, Jamaica. Along with Connie Smith was the first black actresses on British television on 16th. September, 1946 in Eugene O’ Neil’s play All God's Chillin Got Wings on the BBC. (mn-sb)
1942  Bobby McClure, soul singer born in Chicago, Illinois, USA.  By the time of his second birthday, his family had relocated to St. Louis, and by the age of nine, McClure had begun singing in church. His fine tenor voice quickly caught the attention of others, as he sang with several of the area's best-known gospel groups, including the Soul Stirrers, which Sam Cooke was singing lead with at the time. (mn-cl)
1966  Imperial Majesty Haile Selassie (Power of the Trinity) visits Kingston, Jamaica. Haile Selassie was born in Harar Province, Ethiopia July 23, 1892. He became emperor of Ethiopia in 1930, his rein ended in 1974 when military leaders over through him. Haile Salassie worked for economic and social reform, such as making slavery punishable by law. He gave Ethiopia it's first written constitution in 1931. Ethiopia was attacked by fascist Italy in 1935 and Haile Salassie lived in exile in England until 1941. British forces liberated Ethiopia during World War II and restored him to the throne. Rebels seised the government on December 13th 1960 while he was in South America, but he regained his throne four days later.Haile Salassie was born Ras Tafafari, he belonged to a dynasty that claimed to be the descendants of King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. (dies August 27, 1975). (mn-jc)
1966  Pfc. Milton Lee Olive is awarded the Medal of Honour posthumously for bravery in the Vietnam War. (tr-iokts)
1970  Earl Hooker, slide-guitarist and cousin of John Lee Hooker, dies in Chicago, Ill, USA. Earl Hooker was a slide guitarist in the same league as Elmore James, Hound Dog Taylor, and his mentor, Robert Nighthawk. Some Chicago blues guitarists even consider Hooker to have been the greatest slide player ever. Hooker never achieved the success that James did mainly because he rarely sang. Realizing his voice lacked texture and range, Hooker concentrated on being a blues instrumentalist. (mn-rs)
2008 Al Wilson dies. (b. 19th June 1939, Meridian, Mississippi, U.S.A.) d. 21st April 2008, Fontana, Nr. Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Soul Singer Al Wilson has died. He was 68. Reports state that he died due to kidney failure in a hospital in Fontana, a city about 50 miles east of Los Angeles. Al Wilson was not only a talented vocalist, he was also a drummer. He moved from Mississippi to California in the late '50's, and sang with a group called The Rollers between 1960 to 1962, a San Bernardino-based quartet whose major claim to fame came in 1961 with 'The Continental Walk'. Al was, also, a former member of the Jewels. He was a member of Johnny Harris & the Statesmen in the mid-'60's, and then signed with Soul City in the late '60's. Al then turned to solo recording, signing to the Soul City imprint, a label owned by the singer Johnny Rivers. Al released his first single, 'The Snake', in 1968. His biggest release arrived in 1974 with 'Show and Tell'. The song spent one week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hit 100 singles chart in January 1974 and was originally recorded by Johnny Mathis. His song 'I've Got A Feeling (We'll Be Seeing Each Other Again)' reached number 3 in the R & B charts. Al's last chart appearance came in 1979 with 'Count The Days'. (soulwalking.co.uk)2016 
2016 Prince Rogers Nelson multi-talented singer musician dies aged 57 on QEII's 90th birthday. He was rushed to hospital with severe flu symptoms. (mn)

22nd. APRIL 

1922  Charles Mingus, bassist, composer, and bandleader is born. He is also known for his activism regarding racial segregation. Mingus's legacy is enormous: He is generally ranked among the finest jazz composers and performers; some consider him perhaps greatest bassist in jazz history. Many Mingus albums are easily available; most are highly regarded. Dozens of musicians passed through his bands and later went on to impressive careers. His songs – though melodic and distinctive – are sometimes under recorded by later musicians, due in part to their challenging nature. Mingus is nearly as well known for his volatile temperament as for his ambitious music. His refusal to compromise his musical integrity led to many onstage explosions, though it has been argued that his temper grew also from his desire to vent frustration. Ironically, a perfect show could irritate him by closing this outlet. Mingus was prone to depression (possibly manic-depression). He tended to have brief periods of extreme creative activity, intermixed with fairly long periods of greatly decreased output. Most of Mingus's music retained the hot and soulful feel of hard bop, and drew heavily from black gospel music while sometimes drawing on elements of Third Stream Jazz and free jazz. Yet Mingus avoided categorization, forging his own unique brand of music that fused tradition with unique and unexplored realms of jazz. Mingus is often considered the heir apparent to Duke Ellington, for whom he expressed unqualified admiration.  (tr-iokts)
1943  Mel Carter, soul singer born in Cincinnati, Ohio, USA. (mn-cl) Possesses a warm smooth tenor voice that gave him MOR hits in the  mid-60's, his music had enough rock and roll edge to make them reach the Top 40. Biggest hit came after he left Sam Cook's Derby label for Imperial with "Hold Me, Thrill Me, Kiss Me", number 8 pop in 1965.
1958  Inauguration of Federation Parliament of the west Indies in Port-of-Spain, Trinidad. (mn-cb)
1967  Prince Paul rap music producer, real name Paul E. Houston, born in Queens, Amityville, Long Island, USA. (mn-ms)
1968  Heath sacks Powell over race speech. Read the front page headline in the Daily Express news paper. Powell made his speech at the Midland Hotel in Birmingham. (mn)
1970  Student strike was called at Yale in support of eight Black Panthers on trail.
1978  The One Love peace concert initiated by rival gang leaders Bucky Marshall and Claudie Massop brings both political parties' gunmen together. Bob Marley himself the survivor of an assassination attempt - forces Manley and Seaga, who hitherto had been mentioned solely as a record producer, to hold hands. (mn-sb/pd-tr)
1990  Little Joe Blue, guitarist/singer, dies, Reno, Navada, USA. (mn-rs) Real name Joseph Valery Jr., has often been dismissed, unfairly as a slavish B.B. King imitator. Joe though gets a tough vocal sound unlike Kings style, and his lyrics are often interesting. Worked up until his death around the west coast of the USA. (mn)
1993  Earl Fatha Hines, pianist dies. Born 28 December 1903, Pennsylvania, USA. An outstanding musician and a major figure in the evolution of jazz piano playing. Began his professional career in 1918. Played with all the jazz great's and laid down over 50 albums. Read: World Of Earl Hines by Stanley Dance. (mn-cl)
1993 Stephen Lawrence murdered in a racist attack by Gary Dobson, David Norris and at least three others. They were found guilty after 18 years of campaigning by Laurence's parents. (mn)
2001  World Boxing Champion Lennox Lewis looses his title after a knock-out (mn)
2013 Richie Havens dies. The singer, who opened the festival at Woodstock in the late sixties, Richie Havens, has died. He was 72. Richie had suffered a heart attack at his home. (b. Richard Pierce Havens, 21st January 1941, Brooklyn, New York, U.S.A. / d. 22nd April 2013, Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.A.) Originally from Brooklyn, Richie was the eldest of nine children. He sang Doo-Wop as a sixteen year old, as part of the ensemble, The McCrea Gospel Singers. After leaving Brooklyn in his early twenties, Richie relocated to Greenwich Village.Here he signed with the Douglas Records imprint and recorded two records for the label, before a move to the Verve Forecast label. Richie released released the album ‘Mixed Bag’ in 1967 at the label. Over the next two years, Richie released 5 Verve albums, including ‘Something Else Again’ (in 1968), ‘Electric Havens’ (in 1968) and ‘Richie Havens Record’ (in 1969). His live performances made Richie an in demand performer, which led to his famous Woodstock appearance. Richie’s set lasted for nearly three hours, as many of the performers were late in arriving. During his set he revived the old spiritual ‘Motherless Child’ which he moulded into the song ‘Freedom’.Richie later appeared at the Isle of Wight Festival in late August 1969. He then set up his own label, entitled Stormy Forest, releasing ‘Stonehenge’ in 1970. He also recorded his own version of the Beatles song ‘Here Comes the Sun’ during these sessions. Richie released further albums for his label, including ‘The Great Blind Degree’ (in 1971), ‘Live On Stage’ (in 1972), ‘Portfolio’ (in 1973) and ‘Mixed Bag II’ (in 1974). Richie began a creditable acting career at this time, appearing in the original 1972 stage presentation of ‘The Who's Tommy’. He also appeared in Othello in the 1974 film ‘Catch My Soul’, as well as acting in ‘Greased Lightning’ in 1977, and appeared in the Bob Dylan movie ‘Hearts of Fire’. In 1980, Richie recorded the album ‘Connections’, which contained his own version of the Lamont Dozier song ‘Going Back To My Roots’. Lamont Dozier said in 2004, that this version was his favourite take on this song. (soulwalking)

23rd. APRIL      

1856  Granville T. Woods, inventor of steam boilers, Furnaces, incubator, and auto air brakes is born in Columbus, Ohio, USA. Born in Columbus, Ohio, Granville T. Woods dedicated his life to developing a variety of inventions relating to the railroad industry. To some he was known as the "Black Edison, both great inventors of their time. Granville T. Woods invented more than a dozen devices to improve electric railway cars and many more for controlling the flow of electricity. His most noted invention was a system for letting the engineer of a train know how close his train was to others. This device helped cut down accidents and collisions between trains. (mn)
1895  Black Invention: Potato Digger patented by F.J. Woods. (sc)
1895  Black Invention: Photographic Print Wash, Clatonia Joaquin. (sc)
1952  Narada Michael Waldon, soul singer born, Kalamazoo, MI, USA. American producer, singer, and songwriter. He was given the name Narada by guru Sri Chinmoy in the early 1970s and his musical career spans three decades, in which he was awarded several gold, platinum and multi-platinum awards. (mn-nc)
1967  Capleton 'The Prophet', real name Clifton Bailey born in Islington in St. Mary Jamaica. Along with Buju Banton and Sizzla, Capleton spearheaded dancehall's return to reggae tradition, tackling Rastafarian spiritual themes and using classic roots reggae as a musical foundation. Capleton was born Clifton George Bailey III on April 13, 1967, in the rural town of Islington, in Jamaica's St. Mary parish. Capleton's namesake was a prominent local lawyer, and young Clifton earned that nickname as a verbally gifted youth with a similar talent for logical argument. He also loved music, counting both Bob Marley & the Wailers and dancehall DJ Papa San as early favorites, and sneaking into sound system shows at age 12. At 18, he moved to Kingston in hopes of starting a music career, and performed with several small sound systems before catching on with Stewart Brown's African Star, a combination sound system and label with connections in both Jamaica and Toronto. Visiting the latter in 1989, Capleton shared a concert bill with the hugely popular Ninjaman, and impressed enough that he was offered the chance to record with major producer Philip "Fatis" Burrell upon his return to Jamaica. (tr-rr)
1971  William V.S. Tubman, president of Liberia, dies.
1993  Stephen Lawrence, 18, murdered in Greenwich, London while waiting for a bus by a gang of racists. Recorded as racially motivated. Charges dropped due to 'insufficient evidence', when translated means 'racist police'. Family still fighting for justice seven years later. (rd-mn)
1979  To protect a hand full of National Front supporters 2,756 police, including Paramilitary Special Patrol Group units, dogs, vans and helicopters pored into Southall. Police broke up 5,000 protesters, injuring 100's and arresting 342 people, and beating Blair Peach to death. The Metropolitan Police Commissioner said afterwards 'If you keep off the streets in London and behave yourselves, you won't have the SPG to worry about'. (mn-pf)
2006  Florence Mars: Remembering a woman of rare courage Florence Mars, whose defiant stand against Ku Klux Klan terrorism in Neshoba County in the 1960s came at great personal sacrifice, died today at her Philadelphia home. She was 83. Her poignant memoir of life in Neshoba County, Witness in Philadelphia (LSU Press), remains an important voice from that turbulent era in Mississippi's history. Mars was in every sense of the term a Renaissance woman. Her photography of New Orleans architecture and scenes of rural poverty were published in The New York Times and Time magazine. During World War II, Mars worked for Delta Airlines in Atlanta. Back in Philadelphia after the war, she was an accomplished businesswoman, cattle farmer, stockyard owner, and author. Mars will be remembered most for having the courage of her considerable convictions in the face of menacing Klan intimidation. Klansmen who had infiltrated the ranks of local law enforcement arrested Miss Mars on dubious misdemeanor charges as part of an orchestrated attempt to ruin her reputation and her business successes in retaliation. But Mars stood her ground and would not be silenced. Mars' life should be honored as that of a brave woman whose belief in common decency toward all and the rule of law never wavered, no matter the consequences. (clarion ledger)

24th. APRIL       

1884  First African-American medical society, the Medico - Chirurgical Society of Washington D.C., is founded.
1928  Johnny Griffin, saxophonist born in Chicago, Illinois, USA. Once accurately billed as "the world's fastest saxophonist," Johnny Griffin (an influence tone-wise on Rahsaan Roland Kirk) has been one of the top bop-oriented tenors since the mid-'50s. He gained early experience playing with the bands of Lionel Hampton (1945-47) and Joe Morris (1947-50), and also jammed regularly with Thelonious Monk and Bud Powell. After serving in the Army (1951-1953), Griffin spent a few years in Chicago (recording his first full album for Argo) and then moved to New York in 1956. He held his own against fellow tenors John Coltrane and Hank Mobley on a classic Blue Note album, was with Art Blakey's Jazz Messengers in 1957, and proved to be perfect with the Thelonious Monk quartet in 1958, where he really ripped through the complex chord changes with ease. During 1960-1962, Griffin co-led a "tough tenor" group with Eddie "Lockjaw" Davis. He emigrated to Europe in 1963, and became a fixture on the Paris jazz scene both as a bandleader and a major soloist with the Kenny Clarke-Francy Boland big band. In 1973, Johnny Griffin moved to the Netherlands, but has remained a constant world traveler, visiting the U.S. often and recording for many labels including Blue Note, Riverside, Atlantic, SteepleChase, Black Lion, Antilles, Verve, and some European companies. ~ Scott Yanow, All Music Guide  (mn-cl)
1933  Freddie Scott songwriter/singer born in Providence, Rhode Island, USA. Scott was a contract songwriter with Screen Gems/Columbia, and had also recorded for a score of minor New York labels. His 1963 hit, "Hey Girl", was issued on Colpix, but after two lesser hits, Scott signed to Shout Records. "Are You Lonely For Me", later recorded by Chuck Jackson, was a US R&B number 7 in 1966. Scott subsequently issued emotional versions of Solomon Burke's "Cry To Me", Van Morrison's "He Ain't Give You None" and a powerful Bert Berns/Jeff Barry composition, "Am I Grooving You". Shout latterly folded and the singer moved between several companies. (mn)
1945  Robert Knight, soul singer born. Robert Knight made one of the greatest uptempo romantic tunes of the late '60s, the majestic "Everlasting Love" in 1967. Although it is now an acknowledged classic, the song only reached number 14 on the R&B charts, and actually did better on the pop side (number 13). Knight, a Franklin, TN-native, sang with the Paramounts before joining Dot in 1960. He never repeated his success. ~ Ron Wynn, All Music Guide (mn-jt)
1947  Ann Peebles soul singer born in East St. Louis, Missourie, USA.Through her crossover R&B/pop hit of 1974, I Can't Stand The Rain (featured on female rap sensation Missy Elliott's smash single The Rain (Supa Dupa Fly), Ann Peebles has come to be known as a real "singers' singer" and a "musicians' musician." A strikingly, even classically beautiful woman, Ann Peebles has always been her own person. Perhaps this explains, at least in part, why she has had such an influence on real soul music, R&B, and pop music since her great successes in the early seventies. In fact, her recordings of I'm Gonna Tear Your Playhouse Down, Come to Mama, I Feel Like Breaking Up Somebody's Home, and even standards like I Pity The Fool and Part Time Love are considered the definitive versions. With the worldwide success of I Can't Stand the Rain (written with her husband Donald Bryant and a local disc jockey), she exploded into the musical mainstream. (mn)
1966  The first World Festival of Negro Arts ends at Dakar Senegal.
1970  Otis Spann, blues man dies. Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1930, Spann was a legend in his own lifetime when today he dies of cancer in Chicago. With Muddy Waters and Little Walter he was one of the greatest of the originators of post-war Chicago blues. He arrived there in the early 50's and played almost continuously in Waters' band from 1953, also recording with Howin' Wolf and Bo Diddley, as house pianist at Chess and a solo artist for Chess/Checker. (mn-dc)
1985  The Greater London Council's Ethnic Minorities Unit presented the Paul Robeson Exhibition at the Royal Festival Hall. The event opened by Paul Robeson Jr., and was a great success. (mn-sb)
1999  Nail Bomb No. 2 goes off in Southall, London - No.1 was last Saturday in Brixton, Combat 18, a racist group, claims responsibility. (mn
2016 Billy Paul singer dies. (b. Paul Williams, 1st December 1934, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.A.) dies at home in Blackwood, New Jersey, U.S.A.  He was 81. He had been suffering from pancreatic cancer. The singer will, probably, be best remembered for his classic Soul ballad, ‘Me & Mrs Jones’, which reached number one in the charts in 1972. Billy was part of the Philadelphia International Records family, at which he achieved success with the several of the labels finest songs, including ‘Bring The Family Back’, ‘Brown Baby’, 'Malorie', ‘Am I Black Enough For You?’, ‘Let Em In’ and ‘Thanks For Saving My Life’. (soulwalking)

25th. APRIL 

1856  James Wharton, prize-fighter boxer, dies. (hear GNPAP 180). (mn-pf)
1913  Earl Bostic, born Tulsa, Oklahoma, USA. Bostic began his career in jazz, making his first recording with Lionel Hampton in 1942 where he played along with Red Allen,J.C. Higginbotham,Sid Catlett,Teddy Wilson,and Hampton.Before that he performed with Fate Marable on New Orleans riverboats. Bostic graduated from Xavier University in New Orleans. He worked with territory bands as well as Arnett Cobb, Hot Lips Page, Rex Stewart,Don Byas, Charlie Christian, Thelonious Monk and other jazz luminaries. He formed his own band in 1945, and turned to rhythm and blues in the late 1940s. His biggest hits were "Temptation," "Sleep," "Flamingo," "You Go to My Head," and "Cherokee." At various times his band included Jaki Byard, John Coltrane, Benny Golson, Blue Mitchell, Stanley Turrentine,Tommy Turrentine,Keter Betts and other musicians who rose to prominence in jazz. Bostic held his musicians to a high standard and demanded that they read music faultlessly. He was influenced by the great Sidney Bechet. John Coltrane was clearly influenced by Earl Bostic.  (d. 28 October, 1965). (mn-cl-wickpedia)
1918  Ella Fitzgerald, first lady of song, born in Newport News, Virginia, USA. She ran away from home at 16 to compete in a talent contest. The following year she became singer in Chic Webbs Orchestra. It was then she recorded her first hit A Tisket a Tasket in 1938. For all the enviably high quality of her jazz work, it is as a singer of superior popular songs that Fitzgerald remains most important and influential. Her respect for her material, beautifully displayed in the "songbook" series, helped her to establish and retain her place as the finest vocalist in her chosen area of music. Due largely to deteriorating health, by the mid-80s Fitzgerald's career was at a virtual standstill, although a 1990 appearance in the UK was well received by an ecstatic audience. In April 1994 it was reported that both her legs had been amputated because of complications caused by diabetes. She lived a reclusive existence at her Beverly Hills home until her death in 1996. (mn/music.us)
1923  Albert King, guitar/singer born Albert Nelson. (although three other dates have also been published), Indianola, Mississippi, USA, d. 21 December 1992, Memphis, Tennessee, USA. Despite the fact that his work has been overshadowed by that of his regal namesake BB King, this exceptional performer was one of the finest in the entire blues/soul canon. King's first solo recording, "Bad Luck Blues", was released in 1953, but it was not until the end of the decade that he embarked on a full-time career.  (mn-jt)
1932  Willis "Gator" Jackson aka Gator Tail Jackson, saxophonist, born, Miami, Fla., (Died October 25, 1987) (mn-rs)
1953  Cory Daye, soul singer with Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band (later to be known a Kid Creole & The Coconuts), is born. The voice on hit's 'Che-Che La Femme' and 'I'll Play The Fool'. (mn-t)
1970  James Brown records classic Sex Machine at Starday-King Studios, Nashville, Tennessee. It reaches N0.2 in R&B chart. (mn)
1976  William Powell founder of The O' Jays dies. Recorded as the Mascots before taking the name the O'Jays after Cleveland disc jockey Eddie O'Jay, who had given them considerable help and advice. Having signed to Imperial Records in 1963, the O'Jays secured their first hit with "Lonely Drifter", which was followed by an imaginative reworking of Benny Spellman's "Lipstick Traces (On A Cigarette)" (1965) and "Stand In For Love" (1966).  (other txt says 25/5/77)
1988  Whitney The Record Breaker. Whitney Houston, daughter of soul star Cissy Houston, who scored her biggest solo hit 'Be My Baby', when Whitney was almost eight years old, and cousin of Dionne Warwick, added to the remarkable array of records she had broken since launching her solo career in 1985. (mn-jt)
1988  Carolyn Franklin, younger sister of Aretha, who had a couple of small R&B hits as a soloist after working as Aretha's backing vocalist for some years, died of cancer at the age of 43. (mn-jt)

26th. APRIL 

1886  Ma Rainey, 20s blues-singer, born, Gerrude Pridgett, Columbus, Ga., USA. (Dies December 22, 1939, Columbus, Ga., USA. (mn-rs)
1892  Black Invention: Ironing Board, Sarah Boone. (sc)
1957  Belafonte's Million Dollar Deal. Calypso hitmaker Harry Belafonte signed a $1 million deal. During 1956/7 he dominated the US charts with eight separate singles and five Top 3 albums, an incredible achievement by any standards. (mn-jt)
1984  Count Basie, jazz pianist dies. Born William Allen Basie in New  Jersey in 1904. He learned to play the piano from his mother and then studied informally with Fat's Waller. When turning professional, he began on the Vaudeville circuit, then joined the Blue Devils, later many of them would be in his own ensemble, after Bennie Moten died in 1935 the band became Basie's. In 1937 they became enormous jazz stars. (mn-jt-mm)
1990  Dexter Gordon, jazz artist dies. Born 27 February 1923, Started by studying the clarinet and changed to saxophone in his mid-teens, played with Lionel Hampton in 1940. Played with Louis Armstrong and Colman Hawkins nominated him as his favourite sax player. Drugs and two broken marriages had there toll on his life. He later played a alcoholic saxophonist in the 1986 film 'Round Midnight' (mn-jt)
1991  Maryann Bishop Coffey becomes the first female African American co chair of the National Conference of Christians and Jews. (tr-iokts)
1994  South Africa conducts first 'all race' elections.
1998  Dennis Edwards from the soul super-group the Temptations is interviewed by Bill Randle and broadcasts his life story on PCRL.(mn) (ref: md 926/927)

27th. APRIL  

1883  Hubert Harrison, writer, freedom fighter, born in St. Croix, Virgin Islands.
1915  Una Winifred Atwell, pianist born in Jubilee Street, Tunapuna, near Port of Spain, Trinidad, according to her 1947 marriage certificate. Some sources give the year of birth as 1913 or 1914, but it could have been as early as 1910. Popular in the UK from late 40's to mid-60's, although her record sales peaked mid-50s. (d. 27/2/83) (mn-sb)
1927  Coretta Scott King, civil rights activist is born in Marion, Alabama USA. Tributes: President George W. Bush opened his State of the Union address the night of January 31, 2006, by paying tribute to her. On February 6, Bush issued a proclamation  flags to be flown at half staff throughout the day of King's interment, February 7. King's body was returned to Atlanta and carried through the streets on a horse-drawn carriage to the Georgia State Capitol as the crowd threw roses at the casket and a lone bagpiper played "Amazing Grace"; King became the first woman and black person to lie in state at the Georgia State Capitol.  King's body also lay at historic Ebenezer Baptist Church (where her husband was pastor). The beginning of Super Bowl XL was marked by a moment of silence in memory of King and Rosa Parks. The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force issued a press release honoring the memory of the late Mrs. King. "Mrs. King worked tirelessly after her husband's death in 1968 to carry on his legacy of social justice activism. She was a steadfast ally in the struggle for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) rights, and was honored by the Task Force in 1997 for her support of the cause. In addition, Mrs. King was a featured speaker at the Task Force's Creating Change 2000, where she rallied hundreds of activists gathered for the country's largest LGBT rights organizing conference. In 2003, her son, Martin Luther King III, was personally responsible for inviting Task Force Executive Director Matt Foreman to join Mrs. King to speak from the podium at the 40th anniversary of the 1963 Civil Rights March on Washington." A proposal before the Atlanta City Council (as of April 2006) would rename Atlanta's Simpson Street/Road after Mrs. King. [16] The road bisects the Vine City neighborhood, a long time residence of Mrs. King and, earlier, the King family. Dies Jan 2006. (tr-iokts-wickpedia)
1932  Maxine Brown, soul singer, born, Kingstree, S.C. There’s always been a nagging sense of R&B fans that Maxine Brown never had the career that her wonderful voice should have given her, and it's hard to figure out why. Most likely her signing to Wand at the same time as Dionne Warwick and being, at best, second fiddle. (mn-gg)
1938  Dr. Barry Shango, pan-Africanise/writer born in USA. Speaks on PCRL's 'Talk-Back' programme in 2000. (mn-bs-bb)
1944  Cuba Gooding singer with the Main Ingredient until 1978 when he went solo, born today in New York, USA. The group fist started singing as the Poets for the Red Bird Label, cutting an album in 1965, having a modest hit with She Blow a Good Thing the following year. In 1969 they became the Main Ingredient after the death of Donald McPherson, with Cuba Gooding joining as lead singer the trio recorded many hits in the early 70s. (mn-gg)
1947  Ann Peebles, soul singer born.(some books show 24.4.47) Often overlooked in the shadow of Al Green's success, her seven albums for the Hi Label contain some of soul music's finest moments of the 1970s. Like Green her records were produced and arranged by Willie Mitchell, and featured the same Hi house band.  (mn-jt)
1961  Sierre Leone Republic achieves independence from Great Britain.
1964  Tanganyika and Zanzibar merge to become the African Nation of Tanzania.
1969  Mica Paris, soul singer born Michelle Wallen in London, England. A member of the gospel troupe the Spirit Of Watts at age 16, Paris was recruited by Hollywood Beyond to be part of the groups touring lineup. By the late 1980's, Paris had her own deal and her first British hits, though there was a curious disinterest from U.S. audiences. Paris has never given up, however, and these days she's still working as a in-demand guest on others albums.  Sang with Hollywood Beyend & Shakatak. (mn-gg)
1984  Z.Z. Hill, soul singer dies, Dallas, Texas, USA. Born September 30, 1935, in Naples, Texas, USA. Hill had been a journeyman soul singer for nearly 20 years before the world caught wind of his 60s-based R&B. While he began his musical career with the gospel group the Spiritual Five, it wasn't until he signed with Kent that his secular side began to bud. (mn-ao)
1994  South Africa's first 'free and fair' elections were held with Nelson Mandela elected as head of the African National Congress party.
28th. APRIL   
1928  Carl Gardner, soul singer with The Coasters is born. At the end of the white-bread 1950's, America's mainstream chose the comical Coasters as their most beloved black entertainers. Under the watchful eye of writer-producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, the Coasters issued a number of playful singles, which kept the group at the top of the charts well into the early 60's. (mn-ao)
1931 Louis 'Blues Boy' Jones was born to Louis Jones, Sr. and Rebecca Prince Jones, a singer songwriter, pianist and drummer who would go on to sing with the Bobby Scott Orchestra, record a song for a major motion picture, and travel world-wide and worked with Ray Charles. Jones also sang back-up vocals for various blues and gospel acts on labels such as Peacock for Don Robey and Sabra Records (both located in Houston, Texas at the time) In New York his movie work included the song "The Birds Is Coming c/w That's Cus I Love You" for Decca and for the Alfred Hitchcock thriller, The Birds, in 1963. His daughter La Vern recalls that Joe Smith, the last living member of the Bobby Scott Orchestra, remembers that he and Jones performed at a number of clubs in Galveston, including the Jambalaya, Big Heavy's and the Manhattan Club. With the Bobby Scott he recorded  two now collectible singles for the Sebra label: "Come On Home (also appeared on Okeh), Someway - Somewhere, & I'll Be your fool.  "Rock-n-Roll Bells b/w All Over Goodbye for Peacock. Possibly his last recording, was "Hurry Baby" released on Enjoy. Jones passed away June 27, 1984 aged 53, due to complications from a stroke. (Michael Durisseau - Galveston Post/nold)
1934  Otis Rush, blues-man is born. Arguably the greatest living blues-man, with only John Lee Hooker and B.B. King to rival him as a guitar vocal stylist. His discography is shockingly thin as compared to other mentioned artists, however his 1956-1958 Cobra recordings are highly recommended . (mn-sh)
1934  Charley Patton, Delta bluesman dies. If the Delta country blues has a convenient source point, it would probably be Charley Patton, its first great star. His hoarse, impassioned singing style, fluid guitar playing, and unrelenting beat made him the original king of the Delta blues. Much more than your average itinerant musician, Patton was an acknowledged celebrity and a seminal influence on musicians throughout the Delta. Rather than bumming his way from town to town, Patton would be called up to play at plantation dances, juke joints, and the like. He'd pack them in like sardines everywhere he went, and the emotional sway he held over his audiences caused him to be tossed off of more than one plantation by the ownership, simply because workers would leave crops unattended to listen to him play any time he picked up a guitar. He epitomized the image of a '20s "sport" blues singer: rakish, raffish, easy to provoke, capable of downing massive quantities of food and liquor, a woman on each arm, with a flashy, expensive-looking guitar fitted with a strap and kept in a traveling case by his side, only to be opened up when there was money or good times involved. His records -- especially his first and biggest hit, "Pony Blues" -- could be heard on phonographs throughout the South. Although he was certainly not the first Delta bluesman to record, he quickly became one of the genre's most popular. By late-'20s Mississippi plantation standards, Charley Patton was a star, a genuine celebrity. (rs-mn)
1958  Chuck Willis, R&B singer, dies, Atlanta, Ga., USA. He was dubbed the King Of Stroll during the 1950s, but his turban-wearing cat provided more than just a background music for a dance craze. In fact he was one of R&B's finest singer/songwriters. (mn-rs-kb) Other ref:10/4/58
1966  Too Short, straight-up pimp rapper from L.A.; Oakland, USA, real name Todd Shaw, born today. (mn-ms)
1967  Mohamed Ali, world boxing champion, stripped of his title for refusal to enter the armed forces.

29th. APRIL 

1899  Duke Ellington (Edward Kennedy), world famous musician, born in Washington, D.C., USA. Dies 1974. Duke Ellington brought a level of style and sophistication to Jazz that it hadn't seen before. Although he was a gifted piano player, his orchestra was his principal instrument. Like Jelly Roll Morton before him, he considered himself to be a composer and arranger, rather than just a musician. Duke began playing music professionally in Washington, D.C. in 1917. His piano technique was influenced by stride piano players like James P. Johnson and Willie "The Lion" Smith. He first visited New York in 1922 playing with Wilbur Sweatman, but the trip was unsuccessful. He returned to New York again in 1923, but this time with a group of friends from Washington D.C. They worked for a while with banjoist Elmer Snowden until there was a disagreement over missing money. Ellington then became the leader. This group was called The Washingtonians. This band worked at The Hollywood Club in Manhattan (which was later dubbed the Kentucky Club). During this time Sidney Bechet played briefly with the band (unfortunately he never recorded with them), but more significantly the trumpet player Bubber Miley joined the band, bringing with him his unique plunger mute style of playing. This sound came to be called the "Jungle Sound", and it was largely responsible for Ellington's early success. The song "East St. Louis Toodle-Oo" is a good example of this style of playing. The group recorded their first record in 1924 ("Choo Choo (Gotta Hurry Home)" and "Rainy Nights (Rainy Days)", but the band didn't hit the big time until after Irving Mills became their manager and publisher in 1926. In 1927 the band re-recorded versions of "East St.Louis Toodle-Oo," debuted "Black and Tan Fantasy" and "Creole Love Call", songs that would be associated with him the for rest of his career, but what really put Ellington's Orchestra over the top was becoming the house band at the Cotton Club after King Oliver unwisely turned down the job. Radio broadcasts from the club made Ellington famous across America and also gave him the financial security to assemble a top notch band that he could write music specifically for. Musicians tended to stay with the band for long periods of time. For example, saxophone player Harry Carney would remain with Duke nonstop from 1927 to Ellington's death in 1974. In 1928 clarinetist Barney Bigard left King Oliver and joined the band. Ellington and Bigard would later co-write one of the orchestra's signature pieces "Mood Indigo" in 1930. In 1929 Bubber Miley, was fired from the band because of his alcoholism and replaced with Cootie Williams. Ellington also appeared in his first film "Black and Tan" later that year. The Duke Ellington Orchestra left the Cotton Club in 1931 (although he would return on an occasional basis throughout the rest of the Thirties) and toured the U.S. and Europe. Duke who had recorded Jazz music's first two-sided, six-minute song in 1929 with his version of The Original Dixieland Jass Bands' "Tiger Rag" (part 1) and (part 2) in 1929, began to push the limits of 78 rpm records (three minutes per side) and compose longer works including "Creole Rhapsody" in 1931, and "Reminiscing in Tempo" in 1935. Unlike many of their contemporaries, the Ellington Orchestra was able to make the change from the Hot Jazz of the 1920s to the Swing music of the 1930s. The song "It Don't Mean a Thing (If It Ain't Got That Swing)" even came to define the era. This ability to adapt and grow with the times kept the Ellington Orchestra a major force in Jazz up until Duke's death in the 1970s. Only Louis Armstrong managed to sustain such a career, but Armstrong failed to be in the artistic vanguard after the 1930s . Throughout the Forties and Fifties Ellington's fame and influence continued to grow. The band continued to produce Jazz standards like "Take the 'A' Train", "Perdido", "The 'C' Jam Blues" and "Satin Doll". In the 1960s Duke wrote several religious pieces, and composed "The Far East Suite". He also collaborated with a very diverse group of musicians whose styles spanned the history of Jazz. He played in a trio with Charles Mingus and Max Roach, sat in with both the Louis Armstrong All-Stars and the John Coltrane Quartet, and he had a double big-band date with Count Basie. In the 1970s many of Ellington's long time band members had died, but the band continued to attract outstanding musicians even after Ellington's death from cancer in 1974, when his son Mercer took over the reins of the band.
1945  Tammi Terrell soul singer born Thomasina Montgomery in Philadelphia, USA. Started out with the James Brown Review and later had 6 hit records with Marvin Gaye between 1968-69 on Motown records. Dies from a brian tumour 16/3/70. (mn)
1986  O' Kelly Isley singer with the Isley Brothers dies. A longtime member of the Isley Brothers, singer/songwriter O'Kelly Isley performed with his influential family group for close to four decades, a period spanning not only two generations of siblings but also massive cultural shifts that heralded their music's transformation from gritty R&B to Motown soul to blistering funk. Born in Cincinnati, OH, on Christmas Day 1937, as a teen O'Kelly joined siblings Rudolph, Ronald, and Vernon to form the earliest incarnation of the group; after Vernon's 1955 death in a bicycling accident, Ronald was tapped as the remaining trio's lead vocalist. Early singles stiffed, but "Shout" -- their 1959 debut for RCA -- sold a million copies, despite failing to crack the Top 40. (mn)
1992   LA riots. All across the country, people who turned on their TVs suddenly found themselves watching coverage of one of America's most violent insurrections since the Civil War. The unrest led to dozens of deaths, thousands of injuries and more than $700 million in damage made it clear, the verdict in the Rodney King beating case was just the spark that ignited anger about long-standing problems. (mn-ms)
1997  Black actors and actresses have rarely been recognized for film and television awards in Britain, and so it was hardly surprising to find a group of black actors and film-makers staging a protest at the 1996 BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) awards at the Royal Albert Hall. (mn-sb)
2001  The Codex law is used to stop professor Ssali selling his Mariandina herbal health capsule. He had brought his pill to the UK in 1999 from Africa, where he claimed to cured thousands of people of many ailments including AIDS the biggest killer of African's at this time. He had spoke on PCRL about his product and the importance of a good diet. (mn-dp)
2007 Alexander Brown, singer with the Persauders. Born 3 June 1950. (mn-soulwalking)

30th. APRIL     

1828  Shaka, the great Zulu king, killed. In 1787 out of a chance encounter an African Warrior prince and a beautiful commoner was born Chaka. Being an outcast from birth, Chaka developed a drive for power and revenge which carried him to head the Zulus. As a solitary, brooding youth, he was ridiculed by his fellows because of his illegitimate birth. He saw his father, Zenzangakona, drive his mother, Nandi, and himself into exile where he grew up with a rival tribe. But, instead  of being crushed by the hardships he and his mother endured, Chaka sharpened his native intelligence and conditioned his body to win recognition and acceptance as a warier. It's on his military skill and leadership that his fame rests. (mn-ss)
1915 Marbel Scott born in Richmond, Virginia. Moved to NY in 1921. Professional debut in 1932. Moved to Cleveland in 1936, then to LA in 1942. Married to Charles Brown 1949-51. Active until the late 50's. Her chart entries were Elivator Boogie (Juke box #6, Best seller #11) 1948, Boogie Woogie Santa Claus (Best seller #12) 1948 (JW)
1930  Bobby Marchan, soul singer born in Youngstown, Ohio, USA. A larger-than-life performer best remembered for his 1960 R&B chart-topper "There Is Something on Your Mind," singer Bobby Marchan was born  Oscar James Gibson in Youngstown, OH, on April 30, 1930. As a child he became fascinated by the female impersonators who appeared on the so-called "chitlin circuit" of black nightclubs, and began singing and performing comedy in drag while in his teens. In 1953 Marchan organized his own drag troupe, the Powder Box Revue; during a booking at New Orleans' Dew Drop Inn, he became enamored with the city, making it his home for the remainder of his life. There he accepted a job as MC at the Club Tijuana, where he was discovered by Aladdin Records president Eddie Meisner. Marchan cut his debut single, "Have Mercy," for producer Cosimo Matassa in 1954, but Aladdin dropped him soon after, and he landed at Dot for the follow-up, "Just a Little Ol' Wine."  (mn-jt)
1983  Blues Great Muddy (Muddy Waters) Dies. At 68 celebrated blues/r&b veteran McKinley Morganfield, better known to millions of blues fans around the world as Muddy Waters, died after a heart attack in his adopted city of Chicago, where he had moved 40 years before to work in a paper mill. (mn-jt)
2000  Dr. Barry Shango, pan-Africanise writer talks on PCRL's 'Talk-Back'

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