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224: MUHAMMAD ALI (1942- )
Imani - (faith)  :- To believe with all our hearts in our creator, our people, our parents, our teachers, our leaders, and the righteousness and victory of our struggle for a new and better world.
Independence Day in Haiti and the Democratic Republic of the Sudan.
1804  Haiti achieves independence from France.       
1808  The slave trade is outlawed in The U.S. (tr-iokts)
1863  Abraham Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.
1889  Black Invention: Automatic Cut-Off Switch, Granville T. Woods. (sc)
1915  Dr. John Henrik Clarke born. Pan-Africanist and prolific author. Clarke's systematic search for the role of people from Africa in history began when a lawyer for whom he worked told him that he "came from a people who had no history but, that if I persevered and obeyed the laws, my people might one day make history." One day during high school Dr. Clarke was given the responsibility to hold the books and papers of a guest lecturer. One of the books was entitled The New Negro edited by Alain Locke. In that book Clarke found the essay "The Negro Digs Up His Past," by Arthur Schomburg. It was then he realized he "came from a people with a history older even than that of Europe." Years later, at the age of seventeen, he would search for and find Schomburg in what was then New York's 135th street library. Clarke impatiently told Schomburg he wanted "to know the history of my people." To which Schomburg replied, "What you are calling African history and Negro history is nothing but the missing pages of world history. You will have to know general history to understand these specific aspects of history." In His later life he traveled the world, he has read more books than any man has ever read in his lifetime. John Henrik Clarke was totally blind in the last remaining years of his life. He expressed he would like to be remembered as a educator.  He died 16/6/98. (mn)
1923  Milt 'Bags 'Jackson vibes player born in Detroit, Michigan, USA. First played professionally at the age of 16. (cl-mn) 
1924 Arthur Prysock, singer born. (soultracks)19 
1956 Michael Wycoff born. While never breaking out as a crossover artist, keyboardist and vocalist Michael Wycoff developed a following as a result of three solid albums he released in the early 80s and a minor hit that was later sampled as part of a major hit. (soultracks)
1958  Grandmaster Flash, rapper born Joseph Saddler, Barbados. DJ Grandmaster Flash and his group the Furious Five were hip-hop's greatest innovators, transcending the genre's party-music origins to explore the full scope of its lyrical and sonic horizons. Flash was born Joseph Saddler in Barbados on January 1, 1958; he began spinning records as teen growing up in the Bronx, performing live at area dances and block parties. By age 19, while attending technical school courses in electronics during the day, he was also spinning on the local disco circuit; over time, he developed a series of groundbreaking techniques including "cutting" (moving between tracks exactly on the beat), "back-spinning" (manually turning records to repeat brief snippets of sound) and "phasing" (manipulating turntable speeds) -- in short, creating the basic vocabulary which DJs continue to follow even today. (wbls.com)
1967  Tim Dog, the ultimate insult rapper from South Bronx, USA, real name Timothy Blair, born today. Rose to prominence during the early 90's with his debut LP "Penicillin on Wax" and the hit song F*ck Compton. Tim had already appeared on songs with the Ultramagnetic MC's and went on to form a duo, Ultra, with member Kool Keith. Fuck Compton was a huge underground hit and caused ripwaves in the Hip Hop scene at the time. It also enraged many rappers hailing from Compton and the Los Angeles area, sparking a flurry of retaliatory disses from Dr. Dre, DJ Quik, Snoop Dogg, and others. Tim followed up with his second album Do or Die; it wasn't as acclaimed as Penicillin on Wax, although it did feature the legendary KRS One. Another controversial track that Tim released was the Snoop Dogg diss "Bitch With A Perm" in which Tim let Snoop know how he felt about other rappers using the title "dog" in their names. Since then Tim toured with Kool Keith and recorded many other tracks the most recent being his August 2005 collaboration with Percee P, "NY to the UK". (mn-ms-wickpedia)
1969   Sophie okonedo (actress) born in London. (nationmaster)
1987  The publishers of Enid Blyton's Noddy books bowed to pressure groups and agreed to expunge all racism from them. (mn-txx)
1997  (In January) In memory of Michael Menson, 29, from Edmington, north London, who was set alight by a gang of youths while in a phone box. Not recorded a racially motivated until approx one year afterwards. Police initially believed Menson had set alight to himself. (mn)
2001  Lawrence Payout From Met. Doreen and Neville Lawrence the parents of murdered son Stephen have finally reached a financial settlement with the Metropolitan police over inadequate investigation over their sons case. The £320,000 payment brings to an end a seven-and-a-half year battle by them to bring their son's murderers to justice and to expose police shortcomings and alleged racism. (voice)
2008 Eddie Singleton dies in South Africa. Singleton married berry Gordy's sister Raynoma and formed the Washington D.C. Shrine label. The warehouse was burnt down during the 60's roits along with most of the labels stock. Shrine singles now change hands for thousands of pounds. He devorsed his first wife and married singer Barbara Randolph and they lived together in South Africa. She died there  in 1998. (mn) 

      2nd. JANUARY   

225: JOSEPHENE BAKER (1906-1975)
1820  Two ships with free American blacks went to Liberia, to set up new country for ex-slaves. Liberia, which means "land of the free," was founded by free African-Americans and freed slaves from the United States in 1820. An initial group of 86 immigrants, who came to be called Americo-Liberians, established a settlement in Christopolis (now Monrovia, named after U.S. President James Monroe) on 6 February 1820. (sc)
1898  Sadie Tanner Mossell Alexander, first African American to earn a  Ph.D. degree in economics, Pa. She served on numerous boards, committees, and commissions and held office in many local and national organizations. Among her most notable activities was her service on President Truman's Committee on Human Rights in 1947 and on the Commission on Human Relations of the City of Philadelphia from 1952 until 1968. She continued her employment in her husband's firm from 1927 until 1959, when he was named to the Court of Common Pleas in Philadelphia. She subsequently practiced independently until 1976, when she joined the firm of Atkinson, Myers, and Archie in the capacity of counsel. She retired from practice and from public life generally in 1982. Mrs. Alexander died in 1989.  (tr-iokts-wickpedia)
1911  St. Clair Drake, anthropologist, coauthor of Black Metropolis, born in Suffolk, Va.St. Clair Drake was one of the most influential pioneers in sociology. In the 1940s he and Horace R. Cayton drew upon the research of the Works Progress Administration to produce the groundbreaking work, Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in a Northern City. This landmark book intimately examined the workings of the African-American "metropolis within a metropolis" on Chicago's South Side during the late 1930s. It has influenced generations of scholars. Drake lived at 510 West Chestnut Street when he became a professor of sociology at Roosevelt College (now University) in 1946. At Roosevelt, he developed one of the first African Studies programs in the U.S. When he left for California, Drake would create the Afro-American Studies Department at Stanford University. A prolific chronicler of strife and advances in race relations during the 1960s as well as the author of Black Folk Here and There (1987), Drake founded the American Society for African Culture and served as adviser to the first prime minister of Ghana. Died in 1990. (chicago tribute)
1915  John Hope Franklin, U.S. historian, educator born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. He is Professor Emeritus of History at Duke University. He is best known for his standard work From Slavery to Freedom, which first appeared in 1947. It has been updated continuously and more than 3 million copies have been sold. In 1995, he was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian honor. Franklin was born in Rentiesville, Oklahoma. He graduated from Fisk University in 1935, and earned a master's degree and a doctorate in history from Harvard University. "My challenge," Franklin says, "was to weave into the fabric of American history enough of the presence of blacks so that the story of the United States could be told adequately and fairly." Franklin is a prominent member of Alpha Phi Alpha, the first intercollegiate Greek-letter fraternity established for African Americans. (mn-wickpedia)
1929  Arthur Prysock, singer born in Spartansburg, USA. Prysock joined the Buddy Johnson blues band at age 15, performing with them at Harlem clubs. He went solo in 1952 and sometimes toured with his brother, Wilbert “Red” Prysock. His popular hits include “It's Too Late, Baby Too Late” (1965), “When Love Was New” (1976), and “This Guy's in Love with You” (1988). He also crooned the well-known TV ad jingle “Tonight, Let It Be Lowenbrau.” Died 21/6/97 (wbls.com)
1957  Henry 'Juggy Murray' Jones incorporated the Sue record label, naming it after his mother and daughter. Starting out at 271 West 125th. Street (just near the Apollo Theatre), Juggy shared an office with d-j Tommy Smalls and fellow record entrepreneur Tommy Robinson who had the Atlas and Angeltone labels. Sue was a pioneer amongst successful black-owned and operated record labels. (mn)
1980  Larry Williams rhythm & blues singer/songwriter dies. Born 10/5/35, Williams' small string of late-50's singles for the Specialty label made him a possible heir to the rock & roll throne vacated by Little Richard after the laters decision to leave pop music. Williams began his career as the keyboard player with Lloyd Price's band. With Specialty Records 'Just Because' made No.11 on the R&B chart in 1957, 'Short Fat Fannie' made No.1 in the same year. In the mid-60's he recorded and toured England with Johnny Guitar Watson while with the Okeh label. He committed suicide by shooting himself in the head in his L.A. home. (mn-rs)
1981  David Lynch soul singer with the Platters dies. 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-jt)
2004  E. Rodney Jones. Famous US DJ dies in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, from cancer. He also made a Northern Soul single 'R&B Time (Pt. 1)' on Tuff records. He was very popular in St. Louis in the 1950s and in Chicago during the 1960s and 1970, particularly with WVON-AM Radio. One of the "WVON Good Guys". Co-owned the Burning Spear lounge on the South Side of Chicago with Pervis Spann. He had retired in 2002.  Born in 1928 Texarkana, Arkansas, USA.  (mn-dk)
2007 Operah Winfrey opens a girls school for the under priveraged in South Africa, at a personal cost of 40 million dollars. She said her whole life had been leading up to this point. (mn)


ARTHUR ASHE (1943-1993)
1624  William Tucker becomes first recorded black child born in America. He was baptized in Jamestown, Virginia. Two of the first Africans to be brought to North America in 1619 were simply called Anthony and Isabella they were married and in 1624 gave birth to the first Black child born in English America naming him William Tucker in honor of a Virginia Planter. After 1619, all Africans brought into the colonies were sold as slaves. Today, the Black population is over 35-million, or nearly 13-percent of the U.S. total. The largest numbers of African Americans live in New York State (more than 3-million). Other states with African American populations of more than 2-million include California, Florida, Georgia and Texas (aareg)
1697 Abram Hannibal born. He was an African slave who became a major general and military engineer in Russia. Hannibal was born in Lagano, Ethiopia, the son of the reigning prince. At the age of eight he was captured and taken to Turkey, where he was once again kidnapped and taken to Moscow. He was given to the Czar, Peter the Great who grew fond of him because of his intelligence. For ten years Hannibal went everywhere with Peter. Hannibal completed his early schooling in 1716. (aareg)
1928  Willie Mitchell, driving force behind Hi Records born in Ashland, Mississippi, USA. A veteran of several Memphis based bands, Mitchell rose to prominence in the late 50s with an outfit that formed the basis of his production work and early solo recordings. The line-up included Lewis Stienburg and Al Jackson, both whom would later appear in Booker T. & the M.G.'s. By the 60s Mitchell was leading the Hi Records house band. The company was established on the success of Bill Black, The one-time Elvis Presley bassist. (mn-cl)
1957  Fats Waller makes No.1 with his song, 'I'm Walking'. (wbls.com)
1980  Amos Milburn, singer/rocking R&B blues pianist/bandleader dies after several strokes and a leg amputation, Houston, Texas, USA. Born April 1st, 1927 in Houston, Texas, USA. After service in the US Navy in World War II, Milburn formed his own blues and R&B band in Houston in which he played piano and sang, and in 1946 he was offered a contract by the Aladdin label. Between November 1948 and February 1954 he and his band, the Aladdin Chicken Shakers, had an extraordinary run of 19 consecutive Top 10 hits in the Billboard R&B chart, including four No.1s. Best remembered for 'Bad Whisky'. Band broke-up 1956. (mn-cl)
1978   Josie D'arby (actress/presenter) born  CBBC 1990's (nationmaster)
2012 Gary Dobson & David Norris found guilty of the murder of Stephen Lawrence on 22nd April 1993. At least three more of his attackers got away with it. Sentancing will take place tomorrow. (mn)


1920  Andrew Rube Foster organizes the first black baseball league, the Negro National League. (tr-iokts)
1937  Grace Bumbry, internationally known opera singer, born in St. Louis, Mo, USA. The American opera singer  began her career as mezzo-soprano but later expanded her repertoire to include soprano roles. Bumbry was born in St Louis. She studied music at Boston University and later with Lotte Lehmann at Northwestern University. In 1958, she won a Metropolitan Opera audition. Bumbry made her operatic debut in 1960 when she sang Amneris at the Paris Opéra; that same year she joined the Basel Opera. She gained international renown when she sang Venus at Bayreuth in 1961, the first black singer to appear there. Bumbry made her Royal Opera House, Covent Garden debut in 1963; her La Scala debut in 1964. Bumbry made her Metropolitan Opera debut as Princess Eboli in Verdi's Don Carlo in 1965. In 1970, Bumbry appeared for the first time as a soprano, singing Mascagni's Santuzza at the Vienna State Opera. Shortly thereafter, she sang Strauss's Salome at Covent Garden and Tosca at the Met. As a soprano. she also assayed more unusual roles, singing Janacek's Jenufa at La Scala in 1974, and Dukas's Ariane et Barbe-Bleue in Paris in 1975. (wickpedia)
1946  Arthur Conley, soul singer/songwriter born in Atlanta, Gorgia, USA. Arthur owes his success to Otis Redding who signed him to Atlantic Records via Otis's Jotis label. Biggest hit Sweet Soul Music in 1967. (other ref. say 1/4/46) (mn)
1962  Anthony Malvo, reggae artiste born, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Malvo has voiced many hits for a number of Jamaica's top producers in the style of a dancehall singer. His initial hits include "Come Back To Me" and "Rain From The Skies", both with Tiger, and "Take You To The Dance" with Lizard. The combination hits were followed by a solo venture recorded with Bobby Digital, "Can't Control The Feeling" and "History Sound". Malvo is best known for his work with dancehall singer Anthony Red Rose when his career peaked in 1994. The duo enjoyed individual hits on their How Yu Fi Sey Dat label: Red Rose sang about the "Ganja Man" while Malvo performed "Sensi" on an identical rhythm in combination with Josey Wales. In the history of reggae, the dancehall has always played an important role in inspiring recording trends. In the early days the selector would play one rhythm and the DJs would take turns to chant over the same tune. By the early 90s the selector would mix various recorded tracks of the same rhythm, creating the impression that a number of performers were taking a turn at the microphone. Although many sound systems would play the rhythm without an apparent interruption, the practice induced the duo to create "Informer". As well as producing the song, they performed alongside Frankie Paul, Red Dragon, Snagga Puss, Lizard and Flourgon. The idea proved a success and a number of multi-combination tunes followed. In 1994, the duo performed "Never Get", which was rendered in a call-and-response style. They also produced a number of Jamaica's top performers, including Red Dragon ("Sweetheart"), Beenie Man ("Name Brand"), Chuckleberry ("Woman You're Hard") and combinations with Merciless, Prezident Brown and Spragga Benz with "You A Mi Heart", "Red Alert" and "Reminiscing", respectively. In 1996, after maintaining a low profile, Malvo released the popular "Main Ingredient", as well as producing successful hits for How Yu Fi Sey Dat. (mn-cl-musi.us.bio)
1971  Dr. Melvin H. Evans is elected first governor of Virgin Islands.
1978  Green Bay Massacre takes place. Five suspected gang members associated with JLP are murdered, apparently by an army firing squad, at a bay west of Kingston, and another five escape to tell the story. Big Youth, Jah Lloyd and Lord Sassafrass are among the deejays to pass comment on disc. (mn-sb/pd-tr)


228: MIRAIM MAKEBA (B.1932)
1911  Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity is chartered as a national organization. (tr-iokts)
1929  Wilbert Harrison, singer born in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Best remembered for hit recording 'Kansas City'. Canned Heat and Brian Ferry have all enjoyed hit versions of his original tunes.(Dies 26 October, 1994 at Spencer, North Carolina, USA.) (mn-cl)
1931  Alvin Ailey Jr.,, legendary choreographer is born. Alvin Ailey, Jr. Was an African American modern dancer and choreographer who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. Ailey was born to his 17-year-old mother in Rogers, Texas. When Ailey was six-months old, his father abandoned the family. Alvin developed an early interest in art. Initially, he took dance classes from choreographer Katherine Dunham and later studied under Los Angeles dance teacher Lester Horton. After Horton’s death, Ailey took over his dance company. Alvin Ailey was homosexual and was a longtime lover of David McReynolds in the 1950s. Ailey started his own dance company in 1958 featuring primarily African American dancers. He integrated his dance company in 1963. He also directed; one notable production was Langston Hughes's Jericho-Jim Crow (1964). The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater popularized modern dance throughout the world with his international tours sponsored by the U.S. State Department. Ailey was diagnosed with cytomegalovirus and an esophogeal ulcer (complications of AIDS); he died on December 1, 1989. (wickpedia)
1932  Johnny Adams, blues singer born Latham John Adams in New Orleans, LA, USA. d. 14 September 1998, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA. A former member of several gospel groups, Adams' first recordings appeared in 1959 on Ric Records. Three years later he secured a minor R&B success with "A Losing Battle", a slow ballad co-written by Dr. John. In 1968 he joined Shelby Singleton's SSS International outlet and enjoyed a hit the following year with "Reconsider Me", an inspired piece of country soul. Although subsequent releases failed to match this performance, the strong Heart And Soul followed. Adams signed with Atlantic Records in the early 70s, but his work there was disappointing. A later move to Ariola Records resulted in a remake of Conway Twitty's two-year-old country hit, "After All The Good Is Gone', giving Adams a 1978 US R&B chart entry. He then recorded for various labels, including, notably, Rounder Records. From 1989 Adams enjoyed something of an artistic revival, recording a number of fine albums, including tributes to Percy Mayfield and Doc Pomus, songwriters to whom Adams" excellent voice was particularly suited. He lost his battle against cancer in 1998.  (mn-rs-music.us.bio)
1943  George Washington Carver, agricultural, scientist, dies. If an honest history of the Deep South is ever written, Dr. George Washington Carver will stand out as one of the truly great men of his time. Almost single-handedly, he brought the findings of the laboratory to the land. He was a scientist, teacher, administrator and humanitarian. He was buried next to Booker T. Washington. (hear GNPAP:53) (mn-ra)
1947  Winston Delano Stewart, reggae singer with the Gaylads born, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. Renowned rocksteady harmony trio the Gaylads was formed in 1963 by Kingston-born vocalists Harris "B.B." Seaton and Winston Delano Stewart, who as the duo of Winston & Bibby previously enjoyed a series of Coxsone Dodd-produced hits including "Joybells," "I'll Be There" and "Lover Man." (mn-cl)
1949  George Brown, member of soul band Kool & The Gang born. Originally formed as a quartet, the Jazziacs, by Robert "Kool" Bell later as the Soul Town Band, moderated their early direction by blending soul and funk, a transition completed by 1969 when they settled on the name Kool And The Gang. The group crossed over into the US pop chart in 1973 and initiated a run of 19 stateside Top 40 hits on their own De-Lite label starting with "Funky Stuff", a feat consolidated the following year with a couple of Top 10 hits, "Jungle Boogie" and "Hollywood Swinging". They continued to enjoy success, although their popularity momentarily wavered in the latter half of the 70s as the prominence of disco strengthened.  (mn-jt)
1960  Play of the Week (Moon on a Rainbow Shawl) - Broadcast by the BBC written by black playwright Errol John. (no copy exists) (mn-sb)
2010 Willie Mitchell dies. Record producer, label head and musician who worked with Al Green and other stars, he was 81. Mitchell died at Methodist University Hospital in Memphis at 7:25 a.m., more than two weeks after he suffered cardiac arrest Dec. 19, said his son, Lawrence Mitchell. Willie Mitchell owned Royal Studio where Buddy Guy, John Mayer and many others recorded their music. In the 1970s, Mitchell also owned Hi Records of Memphis, the label that produced some of Green's biggest hits. Green, also from Memphis, was flying to Australia and unavailable for comment Tuesday. At Hi, Mitchell was responsible for several instrumental hits of the 1960s and helped the careers of Green and singer Ann Peebles in the 1970s. Even in later years, Mitchell stayed busy at his studio, working with then-emerging talents like Mayer and Anthony Hamilton. Most recently, he wrote string and horn arrangements for Rod Stewart's new album of R&B covers, and produced a still-unreleased album from soul kingpin Solomon Burke. He received a Trustees Award from the Grammy Foundation in 2008. A trumpeter, Mitchell and his band provided the musical entertainment at several New Year's Eve parties for Elvis Presley at Presley's Graceland home. A Memphis boulevard was named in his honor in 2004. Mitchell was born and raised in Ashland, Miss. Other survivors include two daughters.  (sw-a.p.)

2016 Nicholas Caldwell, founding singer with the Whispers dies
 in Stockton, San Joaquin County, California, U.S.A . Born 5th April 1944, Loma Linda, California, U.S.A.  Nick was 71. He passed away from congestive heart failure at his home in Stockton, California. Nick had been suffering from heart issues for a while. More recently, he had been utilising a stool during performances. He had been attended to by the cardiology team at Stanford University Hospital in California. (soulwalking)


229: HUGH MASEKELA (B.1939)
1831  The World Anti-Slavery Convention opens in London.
1923  Leah Chase Born. Leah Chase also known as the Queen of Creole Cuisine, is a New Orleans chef, author and television personality who has promoted African American art and Creole cooking. Her restaurant, Dooky Chase, was a gathering place for the Civil Rights movement during the 1960s, as well as a gallery for an extensive African American Art collection. Leah Chase was born on January 6, 1923 to Creole parents in Madisonville, Louisiana. She moved to New Orleans to the home of relatives at the age of 14 to attend St. Mary's Academy. After high school, she worked in the French Quarter at the Colonial Restaurant. In 1945, she married musician Edgar "Dooky" Chase II. His parents owned the Dooky Chase Restaurant. She began to work in the restaurant in the 1950s and eventually converted the menu to reflect her own family's Creole recipes. She also developed an interest in African American art and began to display dozens of paintings by local African American artists. During Hurricane Katrina in 2005, 4 feet of water flooded the restaurant and the roof over the takeout kitchen collapsed. However, Chase's grandson put the restaurant's African-American art collection into storage. Leah Chase has a cooking show devoted to Creole cooking and is the author of several cookbooks  (tr-bl-wickpedia)
1935  Ricky Allen, soul singer born Nashville, Tennessee, USA. A perfect example of an artist who recorded in the amalgam style called soul-blues, but he did so in the early 60's, long before anybody gave that genre a name. His first hit was You Better Be Sure. (mn-cl)
1937  Doris Troy soul singer born Doris Higginsen, in the Bronx, New York City, New York, USA, d. 16 February 2004, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA. The daughter of a Barbadian Pentecostal preacher, Doris Higginsen abandoned her gospel beginnings in favour of a jazz group, the Halos. She recorded as half of Jay And Dee and soon also began making her mark as a songwriter, using her grandmother's name of Payne as a nom de plume. In 1960, Dee Clark recorded her song "How About That" for Vee Jay Records, while Troy cut a lone single for Everest before concentrating on background singing, with ex-Drinkard Singers Dionne Warwick and Dee Dee Warwick and their aunt Cissy Houston, behind many acts including the Drifters, Solomon Burke and Chuck Jackson. Then in 1963 Troy co-wrote "Just One Look" with Gregory Carroll, and when Juggy Murray of Sue Records "sat on" a demo of it, she took a copy to Jerry Wexler at Atlantic Records, who promptly released it exactly as recorded and watched it become a US Top 10 hit. It was covered the following year by the Hollies, and reached the UK number 2 slot. Other releases included the equally insistent "What'cha Gonna Do About It?", which reached the UK Top 40 in 1964 (and was later covered by the Small Faces), but failed to succeed in her home country. Later singles for Capitol Records and Calla were equally underrated. After settling in London, England in 1969, Troy recorded a self-titled album for the Beatles' label Apple Records, with the help of George Harrison and Eric Clapton. Troy also recorded for People and Polydor Records and worked as a session singer, contributing to seminal tracks such as the Rolling Stones' "You Can't Always Get What You Want", George Harrison's "My Sweet Lord", and Carly Simon's "You're So Vain". She also featured on Nick Drake's Bryter Layter and Pink Floyd's 1973 epic Dark Side Of The Moon. In March 1983, an off-Broadway musical about Troy's life, Mama, I Want To Sing, opened at the Heckscher theatre in Harlem. Written by her younger sister Vy and her husband Ken Wydro, the musical was a critical and commercial success and ran for 1,500 performances, and spawned a number of touring versions. Between 1984 and 1998, Troy sang the role of her mother Geraldine and travelled with the show around the world. Nicknamed "Mama Soul" by her loyal British fans, Troy succumbed to emphysema in February 2004. (mn-mussic.us.bio)
1944  Van McCoy soul singer/arranger born on this day in Washington, D.C., USA, d. 6 July 1979 (heart attack). This successful artist had been a member of several groups prior to announcing his solo career with "Hey Mr DJ". Released in 1959, the single was distributed by Sceptre Records, with whom McCoy subsequently served in an A&R capacity. He also branched out into writing and production work, making contributions to hits by the Drifters, Gladys Knight And The Pips and Barbara Lewis. Following that, McCoy embarked on a fruitful relationship with Peaches And HerBorn In 1968, he established VMP (Van McCoy Productions) and enjoyed further success with Jackie Wilson ("I Get The Sweetest Feeling") and Brenda And The Tabulations ("Right On The Tip Of My Tongue"). He later became the musical arranger for the Stylistics, on the departure of Thom Bell, and emphasized the sweet, sentimental facets of their sound. McCoy was also encouraged to record under his own name and, fronting the Soul Symphony, secured an international smash in 1975 with the multi-million-selling disco-dance track, "The Hustle". This perky performance set the pattern for further releases but the style quickly grew anonymous. McCoy continued his successful production career with, among others, Faith, Hope And Charity, until his premature death from a heart attack in 1979.  (mn-cl-mussic.us.bio) 
1947  Shirley Brown, soul singer born in West Memphis, Arkansas, USA. Brown was discovered and managed by bluesman Albert King, and spent several years working on the St. Louis nightclub circuit prior to recording "Woman To Woman" in 1974. Written by the songwriting team of Homer Banks and Henderson Thigpen, this dramatic tale of infidelity, complete with its renowned spoken introduction, encapsulated the "cheating" genre and not only became a massive hit in its own right, but inspired several "answer" songs in the process, among which Millie Jackson's "Still Caught Up" is a good example. Brown had further, if lesser, R&B hits with "It Ain't No Fun" (1975) and "Blessed Is The Woman (With A Man Like That)" (1977), and continued her recording career into the 90s recording with the Malaco subsidiary Dome. She is most comfortable with aching soul ballads and her voice deserves a much wider audience. (mn-cl-music.us.bi)
1966  Harold R. Perry becomes the second African American Roman Catholic bishop in U.S. history. (tr-iokts)
1980  Georgina Tillman Gordon, soul singer with the 60's Motown group The Velvelettes dies. The group was founded in 1961 by sisters Carolyn and Millie Gill with cousins Bertha Barbee-McNeal and Norma Barbee on the Western Michigan University campus, where they were students. Carolyn's friend Betty Kelley was also an original member. They got their start playing fraternity and sorority parties as well as small clubs, before signing to IPG Records, a local imprint where they recorded their first single, "There He Goes." While the song only received local radio attention, it helped the group catch the ear of a Motown talent scout. The group signed to Motown Records immediately, but weren't given top priority, as other female vocal groups were attracting audiences and recording hits. While the group awaited their chance at stardom, they recorded backing vocals for more established Motown girl groups, including The Marvelettes, Martha & The Vandellas, and The Supremes. The Velvelettes got their break in 1964 thanks to young producer Norman Whitfield, who produced "Needle In A Haystack" as a single for the group. "Needle In A Haystack" peaked at number 45 on the Billboard Hot 100 in mid-1964. The group recorded its follow-up, "He Was Really Sayin' Somethin'", with Whitfield again producing, and spent time on various Motown-sponsored tours as an opening act.  (mn-jt-wickpedia)
1996  Recycling Black Dollars, an organization of African American businesses, campaigns for Change Bank Day to benefit African-American-owned financial institutions. (tr-iokts)
2006 Lou Rawls, singer, activist, dies from cancer. First to go in a new year he was just 72. Born Louis Allen Rawls, 1 December 1935, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Briefly a member of the acclaimed gospel group the Pilgrim Travellers, this distinctive singer began forging a secular career following his move to California in 1958. An association with Sam Cooke culminated in "Bring It On Home To Me', where Rawls' throaty counterpoint punctuated his colleague's sweet lead vocal. Rawls" own recordings showed him comfortable with either small jazz combos or cultured soul, while an earthier perspective was shown on his mid-60s release, Lou Rawls Live!. He achieved two Top 20 singles with "Love Is A Hurtin' Thing" (1966) and "Dead End Street" (1967), and enjoyed further success with a 1969 reading of Mable John's "Your Good Thing (Is About To End)". Several attempts were made to mould Rawls into an all-round entertainer, but while his early 70s work was generally less compulsive, the singer's arrival at Philadelphia International Records signalled a dramatic rebirth. "You'll Never Find Another Love Like Mine', an international hit in 1976, matched the classic Philly sound with Rawls" resonant delivery, and prepared the way for a series of exemplary releases including "See You When I Git There" (1977) and "Let Me Be Good To You" (1979). The singer maintained his association with producers Gamble And Huff into the next decade. His last chart entry, "I Wish You Belonged to Me", came in 1987 on the duo's self-named label, since which time he has recorded for the jazz outlet Blue Note Records and released his first solo gospel album, I'm Blessed. Rawls has also pursued an acting career and provided the voice for several Budweiser beer commercials. (mn-music.us)
2011 Gary Mason dies in cycle crash in London. Former British heavy weight boxer, he was 48. Mason fought 38 times as a professional in a career that spanned 10 years from 1984 to 1994, with 37 wins (34 by knockout) and only one loss, that being to Lennox Lewis when he challenged for the European title in 1991. Mason gave Lewis his hardest fight up to that point in his career. Mason defeated a number of well known heavyweights, including Tyrell Biggs, James Tillis, Lorenzo Boyd, Alfonzo Ratliff, Ricky Parkey, Donnie Long, James Pritchard, Mark Wills, Everett Martin, Louis Pergaud, Hughroy Currie, Terry Armstrong, David Jaco and Jess Harding. He suffered a detached retina in a bout with Everett Martin in 1990. After a short retirement he staged a comeback, which ended with a TKO loss to Lennox Lewis, which aggravated Mason's eye injury. He would come back once again, but after winning two fights in the U.S. he retired for good. (pilot/wiki)
2017 Contours singer dies. The 6-piece group have had 27 different members since being formed in 1959. He had been with the Motown group since 1961. (b. Sylvester Potts, 1938, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.  d. 6th January 2017, Detroit Hospital, Detroit, Michigan, U.S.A.) (mn)


Nyahbinghi Iladay. Ethiopian day. Three Kings. (tr)
1890  Black Invention: Fountain pen, William B. Purvis is awarded patent.
1903  Zora Neale Hurston, Author, anthropologist born in Eatonville, Fl., USA, a self governed African-American town. Growing up here shaped her later work and attitudes, for she was influenced by both the oral tradition alive there and the independence of the African-American community. She studied at both Howard and Bernard universities, where she earned her A.B. in 1928. While at Howard she published her first short stories, launching her writing career. Her most successful novel is Their Eyes Were Watching God (1937). (mn-ss-dp)
1953  Earl Wilberforce Wire Lindo keyboard player for The Wailers (1978-1981) and guest musician on countless other reggae recordings is born. Original Wailers organist-keyboardist Earl 'Wya' Lindo is still bubbling with his trademark funky syncopated peculating playing. He has been through it all too, from his early days at Coxsone Dodd's Studio One (Jamaica's Motown), an uncountable number of recording sessions with every star Jamaica has to offer, to his unification with the Wailers where he has remained through all of it's incarnations.  (tr-mn)
1955  Marian Anderson debuts as first female African American singer at the Metropolitan Opra House. (tr-iokts)
1963  Thomas Baptiste is the first black actor to appear on a Coronation Street, he played Johnny Alexander a working-class bus conductor. When Granada celibrated its 35th birthday he was forgotten. He was on the Street for 12 months. (mn-sb)

1985 Lewis Carl Davidson Hamilton MBE born in Stevenage, Hertfordshire, is a British Formula One racing driver, currently racing for the McLaren Mercedes team, and is the youngest ever Formula One World Champion. At the age of ten, Hamilton approached McLaren team principal Ron Dennis at the Autosport Awards ceremony in December 1995 and told him, "I want to race for you one day...I want to race for McLaren." Less than three years later, he was signed by McLaren and Mercedes-Benz to their Young Driver Support Programme. After winning the British Formula Renault, Formula Three Euroseries, and GP2 championships on his way up the racing career ladder, he became a McLaren F1 driver for 2007, making his Formula One debut 12 years after his initial encounter with Dennis. Coming from a mixed-race background, with a black father and white mother, Hamilton is often labelled "the first black driver in Formula One". In his first season in Formula One, Hamilton set numerous records and finished second in the 2007 Formula One Championship, just one point behind Kimi Räikkönen. He won his first World Championship the following season, ahead of Felipe Massa by the same margin of a single point. He has stated he wants to stay with the McLaren team for the rest of his F1 career. (wiki)
2001  James Carr, soul singer dies at Court Manor Nursing Home in Memphis, suffering from lung cancer. Born on June 13th, 1942 in Memphis, Tennessee, James started out his career singing gospel. He sang briefly with the famous Soul Stirrers (a group that also spawned Sam Cooke and Johnnie Taylor) and was a member of the Harmony Echoes when he was discovered by Roosevelt Jamison and brought to Goldwax Records. There, between 1966 and 69, he had nine Top R & B hit singles including You've Got My Mind Messed Up, Love Attack, Pouring Water On A Drowning Man and the originals of the classics To Love Somebody and Dark End Of The Street (the ultimate southern soul "cheating" song-.-recorded subsequently by the likes of Percy Sledge). After Goldwax folded in 1969. James moved to Atlantic where in 1970 and 71 he had four sides released, among them 71's I'll Put It To You. Increasing health problems removed him from the music scene until a reunion in 1977 with Roosevelt Jamison for the River City single Let Me Be Right. Subsequently, he returned to the church but in 1990 surprised his earlier fans with the return to secular form shown on the brand new album Take Me To The Limit. (mn-i-t-b-ace records)
2001  Louil Silas Jr., music industry executive dies in Los Angeles, California, following a battle with kidney disease. He was 44. Silas who was senior executive at LaFace Records at the time of his death, had previously worked at MCA Records, where he was responsible for building the label's black music division. Howard Hewett, Chante' Moore, Johhny Gill and Angela Winbush all sang at his funeral. (mn-i-t-b)

8th. JANUARY      

1918  Black Invention: Arm for Recording Machine, Joseph Hunter. (sc)
1922  Col. Charles Young, first African American to achieve that rank in the U.S. Army, dies in Lagos, Nigeria. (tr-iokts)
1937  Shirley Bassey, singer, born in Cardiff, Wales, UK. A thrilling, highly emotional singer, whose career has spanned some 40 years. Her early jobs included work in a factory's wrapping and packing department, while playing working men's clubs at weekends. After touring the UK in revues and variety shows, Lancashire comedian Al Read included her in his 1955 Christmas Show at London's Adelphi Theatre, and his revue, Such Is Life, which ran for a year. Her first hit, in 1957, was the calypso-styled "Banana Boat Song", followed by "Kiss Me Honey Honey, Kiss Me" nearly two years later. In 2000 she was created a Dame Commander of the Most Excellent Order of British Empire.  (mn-nc)
1940  Little Anthony Gourgine, soul singer born in Brooklyn, New York, USA. Little Anthony & the Imperials formed in 1958 enjoyed one of the longest career runs of any doo wop group, adapting their honey-smooth style to fit the sweet uptown soul sound of the mid-'60s. Right from the beginning, Little Anthony's aching way with a ballad was the group's calling card, but their repertoire was balanced by more R&B-inflected dance tunes. (mn)
1942   Jon Lucian born Tortola Island, Caribbean. d. 18th August 2007. Raised in St. Thomas by a guitar-playing father and greatly inspired by Nat 'King' Cole. He relocated to New York in the mid-60's, where he began his musical career. In 1970, he released his debut album 'I Am Now'. 1973 saw the release of the, much sought after, album 'Rashida', containing the popular tunes 'Would You Believe In Me', Lady Love' and the title track. For the follow up, 1974's 'Mind's Eye', Lucien collaborated with veteran producer Dave Grusin. The album contained the rare groove tunes 'Listen Love' and 'World Of Joy'. The following year, Jon had moved to the CBS label for the album release 'Song For My Lady', followed by 'Premonition', for the same label, in 1976. Only one release spanned the years between the Seventies and Nineties, which was 1982's, 'Romantico', for the Precision label. After a long absence, Lucien returned in 1991 with a release that was very much what he'd done in his peak '70's years. Further releases included 1993's 'Mother Nature's Son'. A few months after his 17 year-old daughter Dalila was killed on Flight 800 in July of 1996, Jon went into the studio and began recording 'Endless Is Love'. Jon reflected 'My daughter doesn't want me sitting around being unhappy. I look at her and we communicate. We make music. The music is a special force.' Having carved himself his own unique niche, within the jazz market, Jon Lucien remains one of the most distinctive vocalists over the last 30 years. A 'Best Of' compilation of his earlier work was released in 2001. (soulwalking)
1943  Marcus Hutson, member of soul band The Whispers is born. Formed in the Watts section of Los Angeles, California, USA in 1964, soul group the Whispers were originally comprised of Nicholas Caldwell (Born 5 April 1944, Loma Linda, California, USA), twin brothers Wallace and Walter Scott (Born 23 September 1943, Fort Worth, Texas, USA), Marcus Hutson (Born 8 January 1943, St. Louis, Missouri, USA) and Gordy Harmon. The group recorded its first single, "It Only Hurts For Awhile", for Dore Records but it was not until 1969 that they reached the R&B charts with "Time Will Come", on the Soul Clock label. Their first Top 10 soul record, "Seems Like I Gotta Do Wrong", followed in 1970 and the group switched to Janus Records for the next four years, during which time Leaveil Degree (Born 31 July, 1948, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA) replaced Harmon. In 1975 the group switched labels again, to Soul Train, and scored such hits as "One For The Money" and "Make It With You", a remake of the Bread pop hit. The Soul Train label evolved into Solar Records in 1978, where the Whispers stayed for 10 years, reaching their commercial peak. Emphasizing lush arrangements and sweet vocal harmonies, the group earned hits with the US number 1 R&B single "And The Beat Goes On", which also reached number 2 in the UK pop chart. The group continued their success in the US R&B charts with six Top 10 entries; "Lady" (1980), "It's A Love Thing" (1981, also a UK Top 10), "In The Raw" (1982), "Tonight" (1983), "Keep On Lovin' Me" (1983), "Contagious" (1984), and another R&B number 1 and their only US Top 10 pop entry, "Rock Steady", in 1987. Maintaining the same line-up, the group signed to Capitol Records in 1990, releasing More Of The Night, which still stressed a refined, slick soul sound. In 1993 the Scotts began recording as Walter & Scotty, releasing the My Brothers Keeper album. They carried on working with the Whispers, however, who chalked up 30 years in the music business the following year.  (mn-jt-music.us.bio)
1952  Black Invention: Refrigeration control device, Frederick McKinley Jones recieves patent.
1960  George E. Haynes, sociologist, cofounder of the National Urban League, and first African American to receive a Ph.D. degree from Columbia Uni., dies. Born in Pine Bluff, Arkansas, George E. Haynes was the only child of Louis and Mattie Sloan Haynes. At a young age he moved with his parents to New York, where he spent his youth. In 1903 he received his B.A. from Fisk University, he earned his M.A. from Yale University in 1904, and in 1912 he became the first African American awarded the Doctor of Philosophy degree from Columbia University.  (tr-iokts)
1967  R. Kelly, singer/writer born Robert Kelly in Chicago, USA. This urban R&B singer-songwriter and producer first made an impact in 1991 with his band Public Announcement, and has since become one of America's most successful solo artists. Kelly grew up in the housing projects of Chicago's South Side, but channelled his energies away from fast money-making schemes and into long-term musicianship. He had a natural flair for most instruments, eventually becoming, more by accident than design, a useful busking act. It earned him a living, until constant police disruptions forced him to reconsider his employment. He put together the R&B outfit MGM, and went on to win a national talent contest on the Big Break television show, hosted by Natalie Cole. Unfortunately, that outfit's energy dissipated, and his next major break came when manager Barry Hankerson spotted him while auditioning for a play at the Regal Theatre in Chicago. He soon had Kelly acting as musical co-ordinator/producer for a slew of acts, including Gladys Knight, David Peaston, Aaliyah, and the Hi-Five (who had a number 1 single, "Quality Time", with Kelly at the controls). His diversity was confirmed with his work with the Winans gospel family, notably a duet with Ronald Winans on "That Extra Mile". (wickpedia-music.us)
1968  Keith Mullings WBC Super Welterweight World Champion Boxer is born. Record: 15-4-1 (10). Best wins: Donald Stokes; Terry Norris. He lives in Brooklyn, New York, USA. (mn-ring)
1973  Archibald a.k.a. Archie Boy, blues pianist, dies in New Orleans. Born Leon T. Gross, 14 September 1912, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. With a reputation that rests on his first and only hit, Archibald is best remembered for the impression he made upon younger piano players such as Fats Domino, James Booker and Allen Toussaint. Self-taught but influenced by Burnell Santiago, he gained the nickname "Archie Boy" during years of playing at parties and brothels. After serving in the army during World War II, he was spotted and signed by Imperial talent scout Al Young. His first release, a two-part version of "Stack-O-Lee", was an immediate hit, but subsequent records for Imperial and its subsidiary, Colony, failed to maintain his popularity. For many years, he was the resident pianist at the Poodle Patio club, but by the 70s his career was all but over. Nevertheless, his music typified the syncopated piano style with which others achieved more success.  (mn-sr-music.us.bio)
2011 Steve Mancha a.k.a. Clyde Wilson passed way  at the Ford Hospital, Detroit, Michigan following a long illness. Steve was lead singer for 8th Day group. He made a program for PCRL in the 1990's. b. Clyde Darnell Wilson, 25th December 1945, Walhall, South Carolina, U.S.A. (mn-br) 
2015 - Otis Clay dies, Chicago, Ill. Born: 11th February 1942, Waxhaw, Bolivar County, Mississippi, U.S.A. The R&B singer has died. Otis was aged 73. He passed away on the 8th of January from a heart attack. Otis was born in Bolivar County, Mississippi. His family relocated to Muncie, Indiana in 1953. Otis sang with the gospel group, the Voices of Hope, later, relocating back to Mississippi, to join the group the Christian Travelers. Otis moved on to Chicago in 1957, where he joined, initially, the Golden Jubilaires, before joining the groups, the Famous Blue Jay Singers, the Holy Wonders, and the Pilgrim Harmonizers. He began a secular solo career in 1962. (soulwalking)

9th. JANUARY   

1866  Fisk University founded in Nashville Tn. In 1871 the Fisk Jubilee Singers toured Britain singing Spirituals their words soon entered English songbook and hymnals, words like: Swing Low Sweet Chariot, Deep River, Steal Away, and Nobody Knows The Troubles I've Seen. (mn-pf)
1901  Ishman Bracey, blues singer/guitarist, born Byram, Mississippi, USA. Early Delta blues man, made his first recording in Memphis in 1928  for the Victor label. Two years later he travelled to Grafton to record for Paramount. He continued as a blues man until he turned to religion in the late 1930s. He abandoned his blues roots and became an ordained minister. (Dies February 12, 1970, Jackson, Miss, USA).(mn-rs)
1902 Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, has seen presidents come and go in her lifetime and has outlived most of them. On a sunny fall morning, she left her weathered but well-kept Tudor home in Atlanta, Georgia, to vote early - this time for Barack Obama. Ann Nixon Cooper was born in Shelbyville, Tennessee on January 9, 1902. Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, lived during a time when blacks and women did not have the right to vote. The African-American centenarian remembers a time not long ago when she was barred from voting because of her race. Now she hopes to see the day that Barack Obama is elected as the nation's first black president. Ann Nixon Cooper came to international attention after President-elect Barack Obama mentioned her and compared various stages of her life to the present day, the 4th of November 2008, during his acceptance speech at a rally in Chicago, following his victory in the United States presidential election, 2008. He mentioned her during the "Yes we can" section of the speech. "I ain't got time to die," Ann Nixon Cooper, 106 years old, said with a smile. "Even if he didn't win, I was happy for him just to be nominated," said Ann Nixon Cooper. "The first black president - isn't that something, at 106 years old?"  (annnixoncooper.com)
1906  Paul Laurence Dunbar, renown  poet/writer dies. Born June 27, 1872 in Drayton Ohio, USA. Dunbar was a son of former slaves and was a precocious child who began to write poems at the age of six. In 1893 he published his first book of poetry, Oak And Ivory. (tr-iokts-ss)
1914  The fraternity Phi Beta Sigma, Inc., is founded at Howard University, USA. (tr-iokts)
1940   'Big Al' Downing,  Singer-Songwriter/piano (R&B, C&W, even Pop) , b: Lenapah, OK, USA (Al is the brother of Don Downing, singer-songwriter whose biggest may have been "Lonely Nights, Lonely Days".) (music.us)
1943  [Roy Head],  vocals. b. Three Rivers, TX, USA. Versatile song stylist, his mid-1960s. "Treat Her Right" (Back Beat label) reached number two on both the R&B and Pop charts. (misc.us)
1965   'Haddaway', vocals, b. Tobago, West Indies. né: Nestor Alexander Haddaway. Haddaway grew up in the Washington DC area, and later relocated to Cologne, Germany where his musical career began. In 1993, his release "What is love" hit #11 on the Top 40 charts. (music.us)
1973  Sean Paul Henriques, raga singer born in Jamaica, West Indies. Paul was educated at Wolmers High School near the National Heroes Stadium, and the exclusive Bel Air High School in uptown Mandeville. His principal vocational research was at the College Of Arts Science And Technology in Hope Road, and he was trained in commerce with a view to pursuing an occupation in hotel management. Although he was qualified in this domain he was drawn to the excitement of the dancehall. He began as a songwriter although he found greater success as a performer. In 1997, Paul recorded in combination with Spanner Banner on the Jamaican chart-topper, "Ladies Man", through the singer's Sweet Angel Productions. The hit resulted in him embarking on sessions with Jeremy Harding, a little known producer who burst on the scene with his production of Beenie Man's crossover hit, "Who Am I". The producer released the dancehall favourite "Baby Girl", which was followed by the more successful, "Infiltrate". The latter single joined the singer's combination hit in the Jamaican chart. Sean Paul's style is reminiscent of the established DJ Spragga Benz, although he has also been compared to Junior Cat. Aware of the comparisons, he nurtured his own unique style widely considered as "uptown". A series of hits ensued including the enlightening "Deport Them", and the intriguing "Strategy". In 1998 multiple hits emerged, most notably "Work With It", "Hot Gal Today", "Woman Yuh Hot", "Report To Me" and "Faded", all of which maintained the DJ's profile. The furore of the dancehall crew in Jamaica led to most principal DJs joining forces with emerging vocalists as a team. Paul was no exception. The DJ joined the Dutty Cup Crew alongside Don Yute, Mossy Kid and Luger Man. In combination the team released the popular "Groove Me" and "Jamone", which were particularly successful in New York. Paul continued to release dancehall favourites as a soloist and in combination with the Dutty Cup Crew. In the winter of 1998, he recorded a version of the "Unda Wata" rhythm as "Ladies Man". The chant was a braggadocio rapport that related to a girl whom he felt necessary to conceal from the rest of the crew. The Unda Wata video featured a megamix of the tune with Buju Banton, Beenie Man, Buccaneer, Machel and General Degree alongside the singer. Security was tense when the all-star line-up filmed the phenomenally successful promo at the Asylum Club in Kingston. In 1999, Paul's career was firmly established when he embarked on a hectic touring schedule taking in Europe, Japan and the USA. He collaborated with Mr. Vegas and US rapper DMX on a contribution to the soundtrack of Hype Williams' Belly. He cemented his popularity in the USA with a hit remix of "Hot Gal Today" and the album release, Stage One. In 2002, Paul enjoyed a mainstream US Top 10 hit with "Gimme The Light". He was even more successful the following year when "Get Busy" rose steadily up the charts before reaching the number 1 position in May. The attendant Dutty Rock reached the US Top 10 and racked up sales of one million plus. Paul dominated the airwaves during the summer, appearing on massive hit singles by Blu Cantrell ("Breathe") and Beyonc‚ ("Baby Boy"). (wickpedia)1994  Silas Hogan, guitarist, died in Scotlandville, LA, USA. Age: 82 (music.us)
2010 Woody Cunningham dies. b. Woodrow Cunningham, 8th July 1948, Baltimore, Maryland, U.S.A. d. 9th January 2010, Bowie, Maryland, U.S.A. Woody Cunningham has died. He was 61. He passed away peacefully in his sleep at home in Bowie, Maryland, with his family. Woody was the drummer, writer, vocalist and co-producer for the late Seventies and Eighties Soul group Kleeer. He was co-producer of five of their seven albums, the last two were co-produced with Eumir Deodato. Woody was born in Baltimore, Maryland where he attended Dunbar High, renowned for their championship basketball teams. His first drum gig was backing up a local Baltimore singing group called The Tempros with lead singer Billy Griffin who took Smokey Robinson's place with The Miracles. His next gig was with another local group known as The Young Vandals with Damon Harris who replaced Eddie Kendricks with The Temptations. In 1971, Woody was the drummer with the vocal group the Choice Four. In 1972 he reloacted to New York and formed the band Pipeline with bass player Norman Durham, keyboardist Richard Lee, and percussionist Paul Crutchfield, all who were later to form the spine of the group Kleeer. Woody performed on sessions for Sylvester, Faith, Hope & Charity, Disco Tex & the Sexolettes, and Candido, for Salsoul Records. At Salsoul he met Jocelyn Brown who heard his voice and persuaded him to record lead vocals on future recordings.  In 1976 Patrick Adams and Greg Carmichael needed a group to tour under the name the Universal Robot Band. By 1978 Kleeer were formed, and subsequently the group signed to Atlantic Records where they recorded seven albums for the label between 1979 and 1986. Woody also has the distinction of being the very first drummer for the late Luther Vandross. Woody wrote, sang lead and was drummer for some of Kleeer's most memorable songs including 'Intimate Connection', 'Get Tough' and 'Open Your Mind'. His solo material included 'Never Say Never' and 'Universal Love' (both on Expansion Records) and 'The Very Best of Kleeer' (on Rhino Records). Woody is survived by his wife Vickie, his son Matthew (a drummer and musician who is in college) and five daughters - Kemberly, Monique, Natasha, Nyima and Cheryl. He also has five grandchildren. (soulwalking.co.uk)

10th. JANUARY  

1864  George Washington Carver, scientist born.  (mn-hba/ also 1886 tr-wafp) If an honest history of the Deep South is ever written, Dr. Washington Carver will stand out as one of the truly great men of his time. Almost single-handedly, he brought the findings of the laboratory to the land. He was a scientist, teacher, administrator and humanitarian. Died January 5, 1943, he was buried next to Booker T. Washington. (hear BHPAP :53) (mn-ra)
1917  [Jerry Wexler], producer with Atlantic records born in New York. Jerome "Jerry" Wexler  is a music journalist turned highly influential music producer, and is regarded as one of the major record industry players behind 1960s soul music. He was born in the Bronx, New York City, into an Orthodox Jewish family. Wexler served in the United States Navy during World War II. After the war, he attended Kansas State University, and following graduation went to work for BMI and the publishing division of MGM. He became a partner in Atlantic Records in 1953. There followed classic recordings with Ray Charles, the Drifters and Ruth Brown. With Ahmet and Nesuhi Ertegun he built up Atlantic into a major force. In the 1960s he notably recorded Wilson Pickett and Aretha Franklin, cultivated a tight relationship with Stax Records, and founded the fortunes of the Muscle Shoals studio and rhythm section. His work in this decade put Atlantic at the forefront of soul music. d. 15-Aug-08) (cl-wickpedia)
1924  Max Roach born Maxwell Lemuel Roach, New Land, North Carolina, U.S.A. d. 16th August 2007, New York, U.S.A. Max had three times married, fathering two sons and three daughters. He led The Max Roach Double Quartet, and worked with Cecil Taylor, Duke Ellington, Dizzy Gillespie, Anthony Braxton, Charlie Parker, Clifford Brown, Sonny Rollins, Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Stanley Turrentine, George Coleman, Donald Byrd, Oscar Brown Jr., Kenny Dorham and Booker Little. He was also the co-founder of Debut Records. Born in North Carolina, Max was brought up in Brooklyn. His mother was a gospel singer and he began studying piano at their local Baptist church when he was eight. Later in 1949 he was pivotal in the success of what became known as 'The Birth of the Cool', recording sessions with a 10-piece band led by Miles Davis. Max had studied composition at the Manhattan School of Music in his early years, and in 1972 he became a faculty member at the University of Massachusetts. Amongst his lifetime achievements were appointments as a Commandeur of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres and two awards of the Grand Prix du Disque in France. He also had a park called after him in the Lambeth borough of London, eight honorary degrees, innumerable magazine poll victories and the title of Harvard Jazz Master. (soulwalking)
1937  Bob (Nelson) Relf born Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. a.k.a Bobby Day & Bobby Byrd (dies 20/11/2007 in Bakersfield, Kern County, California, U.S.A).  Bobby Relf was an accomplished singer and songwriter. He was also half of a later line-up of the popular singing duo Bob and Earl, famously recording the Soul Classic 'Harlem Shuffle'. He was Bobby Byrd in the Hollywood Flames (1952) & Bobby Day as solo artiste. Remembered by UK Northern Soul fans for: Blowing My Mind To Pieces/Girl You're Some Kind Of Wonderful on Transamerican Records. (soulwalking/mn)
1942  Leon Haywood born. In the early 60's he played with Big Jay and Sam Cooke. His first hit on the R&B charts was in 1965 "She's With The Other Love". Other chart success are "It's Got To Mellow, "I Want To Do Something Freaky With You", and "Push It Don't Force It." (wbls.com-mn)
1948  Cyril Neville, singer with The Neville Brothers born. The Neville Brothers represent the essence of 40 years of New Orleans music distilled within one family unit. The Nevilles comprise Art (Born Arthur Lanon Neville, 17 December 1937, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; keyboards, vocals), Charles (Born 28 December 1938, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; saxophone, flute), Aaron Neville (Born 24 January 1941, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; vocals, keyboards) and Cyril (Born 10 January 1948, New Orleans, Louisiana, USA; vocals). Each member is also a capable percussionist. (mn-jt)
1949  George Foreman, heavyweight boxer born. Record: 76-5 (68). Best wins: Joe Frazier; Ken Norton and Michael Moorer. He holds the record for the longest span between winning world titles. On January 22, 1973,he won the world heavyweight title by stopping Joe Frazier in two rounds. Almost 22 years later on November 5, 1994, he won WBA & IBF heavyweight titles by Kayoing Michael Moorer in 10 rounds. Now famous for his minute grill device. (mn-ring)
1966  Kennedy McKinney Junior Featherweight boxer born. Record: 33-3-1(19). Best wins: Welcome Ncita; Rudy Zavala and Junior Jones. He lives in Memphis, Texas, USA. (mn-ring)
1970   Christopher Colquhoun (actor) born in Shelfield.  (Casulty) (nationmaster)
1973  Felix Trinidad IBF Welterweight World Champion Boxer is born. Record 32-0 (28). Best wins: Maurice Blocker; Yory Boy Campas and Oba Carr. He lives in Cupey Alto, Puerto Rica. (mn-ring)
1976  Wolf Howls His Last. Howlin' Wolf, one of the most distinctive and influential blues artists to rise from local popularity in Chicago bars and clubs to international stardom, died in hospital following brain surgery aged 65. (mn-jt)
2010 Mikey B., aka Michael Bussue dies from pneumonia aged 51 (b03-09-59). Michael was a PCRL DJ in 1986 who had come to us from Radio Sheffield. He was later with Enterprise FM & Buzz FM where he was said to have owned Buzz for a short while. He also ran a Birmingham nightclub LaMysiques. Rankin' Festus another PCRL DJ was also his cousin. Funeral in Sheffield at New Testiment Church Of God, Nursery St, on 29/1/10. (mn-rf)

11th. JANUARY   

234: CHICCO (B.1963)
PCRL Radio presenter Mikey Diamond born.
0314  Pope Miltiades dies, and like all black popes was canonized as a saint. The 32nd pope, and the second black pope to ascend to the papal chair in 312 AD. Although his reign only lasted 3 years Miltiades' papacy coincided with the Emperor Constantine's conversion to Christianity in 312 AD and soon Christianity became the state religion of Rome.  
1924  Slim Harpo, blues man born James Moore, Baton Rouge, USA. (Died January 31, 1970, Baton Rouge, USA). Harpo was a principle player in the role of swamp blues. He began his career in the 1940's, playing juke joints, parties, and picnics under the name Harmonica Slim. After years of building up a following he joined the Excello label in 1955. In 1957 he cut his biggest song 'I'm A King Bee' covered by the Rolling Stones. In 1961 he recorded a second hit 'Rainin' In My Heart', a third 'Baby Scratch My Back' came out in 1966. He performed at some of the biggest venues in the USA before he died from a heart attack in 1970. Harpo was inducted into The Blues Foundation Hall Of Fame in 1985. (mn-rs)
1940  Maurice McAlister, soul singer with the Radiants born, Mississippi. R&B vocal group from Chicago, Illinois, USA, the early Radiants were a typical transitional group of the early 60'S, bringing doo-wop harmonies into the soul era with gospel-inspired vocal treatments. The group began in 1960 when Maurice McAllister dispelled a vocal group from members of The Greater Harvest Baptist Church Choir. Their first his (and record) was 'Father Knows Best' (1962) for Chess, but the superior 'b' side, 'One Day I'll Show You' received much air play. 'Heartbreak Society' and 'Shy Guy', both 1963, failed to generate sales outside Chicago area. 'Voice Your Choice' (NO.16 R&B 1964) shows their later style of vocal sharing and more hits followed. The group broke up in 1970. (mn-cl)
1962  Juliet Roberts, soul/jazz singer with Working Week born. From Harrow Road, London (although her parents came from the Caribbean), Juliet's father was in a calypso band, Nightingale, while her own first venture into the music was via reggae and a group called Black Jade. The group we're featured in a T.V. series Reggae in Schools. When her local record shop, Bluebird Records (Church Sw, W2) ventured into the music business and wanted artiste, Juliet persuaded them she could sing and passed an audition. Her first single 'The Bed's Too Big Without You', was later released on the Red Bus label. Soon London band Funk Masters informed the record shop that they needed a new singer, and impressed by Juliet they featured her as lead singer on the hit single 'It's Over'. She also co-presented the program, Soul Train in the 80's.
1971  Mary J. Blige, soul singer born in Atlanta, Georgia, USA. After being promoted by her record company as the original queen of Hip-Hop soul, Mary's debut album sold over 2 million copies. Blige was signed to Uptown Records by their head of A&R, Sean "Puffy" Combs. After being promoted by her record company as "The original queen of hip-hop and soul", . The hip-hop quotient was represented by bass-driven rhythms, the soul stylings including her affecting voice. Guest appearances from rappers Grand Puba and Busta Rhymes were merely a bonus on this accomplished piece of work. When she journeyed to England for live shows in 1993 she was widely criticised for overpricing a set that was merely six songs long, but quality rather than quantity remains the keynote to Blige's career.  (mn-cl)
1978  Emile William Ivanhoe Heskey, 6'2", 13.12 footballer born in Leicester, England. Club Honours: FLC '97. International Honours: E: B-1; U21-11; Yth. (bh-mn)
1981 Jamelia real name Jamelia Davis is a r&b singer from the UK who has had several Top 40 hits in that country. Her song "Superstar" went to number one in Australia and New Zealand in early 2004 and went top 10 in the UK , Switzerland, Austria, Belgium and the Netherlands in 2003 and 2004. Early career: Jamelia was born Jamelia Davis in Birmingham, England. Growing up in the Midlands, she listened to plenty of urban r&b. She was signed to Parlophone at the age of 15 when she impressed their A&R man by singing songs that she had written acapella.  Drama: At 18, she released her first single "So High" and went on to have four songs go into the Top 40 in the UK from her album "Drama" released in 2000 The most successful of those was "Money" featuring a guest vocal from Beenie Man which went top 5 in 2000. She was nominated for five Mobo Awards in 2000 winning one. The Independent on Sunday wrote "a poised 19 year old, Jamelia has the homegrown talent to give Missy Elliott a run for her money." Jamelia got pregnant in 2000 and had a baby girl in March 2001. She put her career on hold for a couple of years to bring up her daughter. Thank you: Jamelia came back in 2003 with single "Bout" written with C Swing who had also written Money and featuring Rah Digga. It was her fifth top 40 hit followed by Superstar which gave her international success in Europe, Australia and New Zealand. "Superstar" also appears on the Queer Eye for the Straight Guy soundtrack. Her second album "Thank You" followed soon after featuring collaborations with Bubba Sparxx on "Club Hoppin" and Asher D of So Solid Crew on "Off da Enz". "Thank You" reached number 4 on the UK album charts as at 7 March and the title track reached number 4 on the UK singles charts as well as going top 10 in Ireland. In March 2004, she signed up with a modelling agency run by Naomi Campbell. Chris Martin of Coldplay asked her into the studio to contribute to the bands forthcoming album. She told BBC Radio 1: "The song itself is really amazing, it's really, really good. I can't wait for everyone to hear it because I think it's amazing I really do. He's kind of stayed true to his indie roots and I've stayed true to my r&b roots, we've kind of fused together and its something fresh and brand new that people haven't heard before."
1985  Reuben V. Anderson is appointed a judge on the Mississippi Supreme Court. He is the first African-American named to the court.
1988  So Emotional became the sixth consecutive US Number One hit for Whitney Houston. (mn-jt)
1999  John Fashanu talks with Gabon's President Omar Bongo in his first interview with the west for  32 years. He had been impressed with Fasanu's work with UNISEF/United Nations Children's Fund. Full interview in the Voice newspaper (mn)
2010 Sandra Wright dies. b. 1st October 1948, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. d. 11th January 2010, Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, Lebanon, New Hampshire, U.S.A. Soul Songstress, Sandra Wright, died early Monday the 11th of January 2010. She was 61. Sandra suffered a blood clot and died at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, New Hamphire. She had battled diabetes and in 2008 and had a double knee-replacement operation. Sandra was born and raised in Memphis, Tennessee, where she began singing at age 4 before training at Tennessee State University to be an opera singer. Blues legend Memphis Slim was her cousin, and she won a talent contest at Tennessee State by singing rhythm and blues. On leaving college, Sandra performed on tour with Clarence 'Gatemouth' Brown and recorded a solo album for Stax/Truth Records, entitled, 'Wounded Woman' in 1974. She sang regularly in Nashville, where she put together the Sandra Wright Band. The band relocated in 1992 to Vermont to be closer to the band's production company. Sandra sang with the Unknown Blues Band for a double bill with Kilimanjaro on New Year's Eve during the First Night Burlington 2010 celebration, and had been very recently performing at the local Flynn Center.  (soulwalking.co.uk)

12th. JANUARY    

1944  Joe Frazier, boxer celebrates his birthday today. Joseph William Frazier nicknamed Smokin' Joe (born in Beaufort, South Carolina ), better known as Joe Frazier, is a world famous former boxer and world Heavyweight champion. Among other things, Frazier is famous for his trilogy of fights with Muhammad Ali, of which their third bout, the Thrilla In Manila, has been considered by many to be boxing's greatest bout ever.  (mn-ttx)
1946  George Duke, keyboards/singer/producer born on this day in San Rapheal, California. Duke studied the piano at school (where he ran a Les McCann-inspired Latin band) and emerged from the San Francisco Conservatory as a Bachelor of Music in 1967. From 1965-67 he was resident pianist at the Half Note, accompanying musicians such as Dizzy Gillespie and Kenny Dorham. This grounding served as a musical education for the rest of his life.  (mn-rt)
1848  U.S. Supreme Court gives blacks the right to study law at state institutions.
1949  Abe Tillmon, singer with The Detroit Emeralds born. (Dies from a heart attack in 1982). Formed in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA, by the Tilmon brothers, Abrim, Ivory, Cleophus and Raymond, the Emeralds' first hit came in 1968 when "Show Time" reached the US R&B Top 30. By the time "Do My Right" (1971) reached the Soul Top 10, the line-up had been reduced to a trio of Abrim, Ivory and mutual friend James Mitchell (Born Perry, Florida, USA). The group secured their biggest US successes in 1972 with "You Want It, You Got It" and "Baby Let Me Take You (In My Arms)", but the following year "Feel The Need In Me', which failed to crack Billboard's Hot 100, peaked at number 4 in the UK chart. Three further UK hits followed, including, in 1977, a re-recorded version of their 1973 best-seller, but at home the Emeralds" career was waning. By 1977 Abrim Tilmon was the last remaining original member; sadly, he died from a heart attack five years later. (mn-jt-misic.us.bio)
1965  Lorraine Hansberry, author and dramatist, dies. The most prolific A-American author of her time, during her short career she published poetry, articals, a short story, a novel and a travel book. Her drama A Raisin in the Sun (first performed in 1959) was the first drama written by a black woman to be produced on Broadway, and was the winner of the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for best Broadway play of the 1958-1959 season. In 2004, A Raisin in the Sun received a Broadway revival earning Tony Awards for Phylicia Rashad and Audra McDonald. Hansberry grew up on the South Side of Chicago, in the neighborhood of Woodlawn. (mn-ss)
1970  The ending of the Nigerian Civil War, when Biafran Army surrendered.
1987  Rumours abounded that Michael Jackson was set to purchase Motown Records from it's founder Berry Gordy Jr. The only possible snag was the asking price of $75 million. (mn-jt)
1995  Manchester United purchase Nottingham born Andy Cole from Newcastle in a £7m deal.
1996  8,000 Muslims were found buried in Lijubija, Bosnia. (mn-ttx)
1999  Funeral of the Drifters singer Johnny Moore took place at 2.30 pm at St. Luke's Church, High Street, Norwood, south London. (mn-voice)
2010 A devastating 7.0 magnitude earthquake has hit Haiti, including the densely populated capital Port-Au-Prince and the surrounding area. Although there is as yet no accurate assessment of the death toll it is clear that millions of people live in the affected area. Haiti is the poorest country in the western hemisphere, greatly increasing the risk that people will suffer or die in the aftermath of a natural disaster. Communications have been severely disrupted and many roads are blocked with rubble. Despite the challenges, many DEC member agencies are already helping on the ground while others are preparing to do so. Very substantial humanitarian assistance will be required to ensure survivors get food, clean water, emergency shelter, medical care and other support. (mn)


1913  Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., is founded at Howard University.(tr-iokts)
1930  Bobby Lester member of soul/doowop group The Moonglows born. The group's career paralleled that of their mentor, legendary disc jockey Alan Freed, who during his rise in rock 'n' roll made the Moonglows the mainstays of his radio programmes, motion pictures and stage shows. He was also responsible for naming the group, who originally performed as the Crazy Sounds. (mn-jt)
1955  Fred White of the group Earth Wind and Fire born. Earth, Wind & Fire is a world-renowned American band which fuses different genres of music, formed in Chicago, Illinois, in 1969 and is led and founded by Maurice White. During their career, EWF have garnered twenty Grammy nominations and have won six Grammys. (mn-jt)
1979  Donny Hathaway singer, arranger, producer and musician, committed suicide at the age of 34, the reason why still remains a mystery today. He recorded some memorable songs such as Little Ghetto Boy, the Ghetto and his duet hits such as Where Is the Love and the Closer I Get To You he sang with Roberta Flack were both Top 5 Hits. (mn)
1989  Sterling A. Brown poet dies. Born in 1901 he was an influential figure in the Harlem Renaissance, Brown was a poet and teacher at Howard University between 1952 and 1962, who encouraged a number of writers, as well as focusing on neglected folk artists such as Ma Rainey and Blind Lemon Jefferson. His Negro Poetry and Drama (1937) and The Negro in American Fiction (1931) were among the first work in what came to be known as African-American studies. He was once called the dean of American Negro poets. (mn-ss)
2010 Teddy Pendergrass dies at age 59. The gruff-voiced Philadelphia soul powerhouse who belted out hits like "The Love I Lost" and "If You Don't Know Me By Now" as lead singer of Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes in the 1970s for Philadelphia International Records and went on to forge an influential solo career as a seductive bedroom balladeer, has died. The singer's son, Teddy Pendergrass II, said his father died yesterday at Bryn Mawr Hospital. He underwent colon cancer surgery eight months ago. Pendergrass II said the singer, who had been paralyzed from the waist down after he crashed his Rolls-Royce on Lincoln Drive in the Germantown section of Philadelphia in 1982, had "a difficult recovery." "To all his fans who loved his music, thank you," his son said. "He will live on through his music." After the car accident, he spent six months in a hospital but returned to recording the next year with the album Love Language. He returned to the stage at the Live Aid concert in 1985, performing from his wheelchair. Pendergrass was raised by his mother, Ida Epps, in North Philadelphia, and started singing in public at an early age. At age 21/2, he recalled in an interview in 2007 that he stood up on chair at the Glad Tidings Baptist Church and sang "If I Could Write A Letter To Heaven." "I was just a little bitty guy," he said. "I had to be seen. Always been my problem." In 1998, Pendergrass founded the Teddy Pendergrass Alliance, an organization whose mission is encourage and help people with spinal cord injuries achieve their maximum potential in education, employment, housing, productivity and independence. A tribute called "Teddy 25: A Celebration of Life, Hope and Possibilities" was held at the Kimmel Center in June 2007 to mark 25 years since his accident. It featured such artists as Patti LaBelle and Stephanie Mills. (Philadelphia Inquirer-sw)
2010 Ed Thigpen dies. b. Edmund Leonard (Ed) Thigpen, 28th December 1930, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. d. 13th January 2010, Hvidovre Hospital, Copenhagen, Denmark. Ed Thigpen, drummer for Oscar Peterson between 1959 and 1965, has died. He was 79. He also performed with the Billy Taylor trio from 1956 to 1959. Born in Chicago, Illinois, Ed Thigpen was raised in Los Angeles, California. As a student, he attended Thomas Jefferson High School, whose other pupils included Art Farmer, Dexter Gordon and Chico Hamilton. Ed's father was also a drummer. Ben Thigpen had collaborated with Andy Kirk for several years during the 1930's and 40's. Ed began his professional career in the Savoy Ballroom in New York City with the Cootie Williams orchestra, for a two year period, between 1951 to 1952. He accompanied several Jazz artists including, Dinah Washington, Gil Melle, Oscar Pettiford, Eddie Vinson, Paul Quinichette, Ernie Wilkins, Charlie Rouse, Lennie Tristano, Jutta Hipp, Johnny Hodges, Dorothy Ashby, Bud Powell, and Billy Taylor. Ed then replaced Herb Ellis in the Oscar Peterson Trio in 1959 whilst in Toronto, Canada. In 1961 he recorded with the Teddy Edwards & Howard McGhee Quintet in Los Angeles with Phineas Newborn, Jr. and Ray Brown. When he and Oscar went their seperate ways, Ed recorded for the Verve imprint.

14th. JANUARY 

1908  African-American singer Pete Hampton participates in his first recording session in London. Later that year he recorded 'Hannah! Won't You Open That Door' which he re-recorded on several occasions over the next few years. He also later recorded a cine film to be used with the 'Hannah!' disc, but this seems to have not survived. Pete Hampton seems to be the first black performer to appear in a British film. (mn-sb)
1907  An earthquake in the Caribbean Island of Jamaica destroy's the capitol Kingston and 1,000 people loose their lives. (mn-ttx)
1936  Clarence Carter soul singer who was blinded as a child born today in Montgomery, Alabama, USA. Carter's earliest releases were as half of the duo Clarence And Calvin. Also known as the C And C Boys, the blind duo made seven singles, the last of which was recorded at Fame's Muscle Shoals studio. When his partner, Calvin Thomas (aka Scott), suffered serious injuries in a car accident in 1966, Carter became a solo act (Calvin Scott himself later reappeared as a solo act to record two Dave Crawford-produced Atco Records singles in 1969/70 and a Clarence Paul-produced 1971 album for Stax Records, I'm Not Blind ... I Just Can't See, from which two singles were also culled). "Tell Daddy", released in January 1967, began a fruitful spell of Fame-produced hits by Carter, released on the Atlantic Records label. Noteworthy were "Thread The Needle", "Looking For A Fox" and "Slip Away", where the singer combined his outstanding voice with his skill as an arranger and musician. "Patches", first recorded by Chairmen Of The Board, was a UK number 2 and a US number 4 in 1970, but despite further strong offerings, Clarence was unable to sustain the momentum. He remained with Fame until 1973, where he also helped guide Candi Staton, who was now his wife, before moving to ABC Records the subsequent year. Further recordings on Venture and Big C took Carter's career into the 80s and later the artist found a sympathetic outlet with the Ichiban Records label. Despite being blinded as a child, he developed a distinctive guitar style that complemented his earthy delivery, and was just as comfortable on keyboards, writing songs or arranging sessions. The first two albums, This Is Clarence Carter and The Dynamic Clarence Carter show off his versatile talent to good effect.   (mn-music.us)
1938  Allen Toussaint producer/singer/pianist born in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA.This influential artist first came to prominence as the touring piano player with Shirley And Lee. The duo's producer, Dave Bartholomew, began using Toussaint on several recording sessions, including those of Smiley Lewis and, on a handful of occasions, Fats Domino. The artist's solo debut came in 1958 with his Wild Sounds Of New Orleans album. One of the tracks, "Java", later became a hit single for trumpeter Al Hirt. Toussaint then joined the emergent Minit Records label as a producer. His first release, Jessie Hill's "Ooh Poo Pah Doo - Part II", was a US Top 30 hit in 1960 and paved the way for similar exemplary work with Irma Thomas, Aaron Neville and Ernie K-Doe. Such artists often recorded Toussaint's songs, several of which were credited to his "Naomi Neville" pseudonym. Toussaint's work was not restricted to one outlet and local singer Lee Dorsey recorded several "Neville" compositions for the New York-based Fury label. Drafted into the US Army in 1963, Allen's career was temporarily sidelined, although he continued playing with the on-base band, the Stokes. On return from military service in 1965, he formed a partnership with fellow producer Marshall Sehorn. Lee Dorsey was again the lucky recipient of several exceptional songs, including "Ride Your Pony", "Get Out Of My Life, Woman" and "Working In The Coalmine". Sansu, the label formed by the two entrepreneurs, was also responsible for releases by Betty Harris and the Meters, while the duo also set up their own recording studio, Sea-Saint. (mn-music.us)
1940  Julian Bond, civil rights leader and Georgia state senator, is born. Horace Julian Bond  is an American leader of the civil rights movement. While a student at Morehouse College in Atlanta, Georgia during the early 1960's, he helped found SNCC, the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. Since 1998 and as of 2004, he is Chairman of the NAACP. He served in the Georgia legislature as both a Representative and as a Senator. He has been a lecturer at the University of Virginia since 1990 and a professor there since 1998. In addition, he has been a professor at American University, near his Washington, DC home, since 1991. Bond has been known to berate conservative African-Americans like former U.S. Ambassador to the UN Alan Keyes and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. He also has been known as a divisive figure because of his support for abortion rights and gay-marriage. (tr-iokts-wickpedia)
1944  Linda Jones, soul singer born in Newark, New Jersey, USA. Dies 14th March, 1972. This soulful song stylist started in her family's gospel group the Jones Singers at the age of six. Her first recording was "Lonely Teardrops" under the name Linda Lane, on Cub Records in 1963, and she had unsuccessful singles on Atco Records in 1964 and Blue Cat the following year. In 1967, she worked with writer/producer George Kerr and signed to Russ Regan's Loma label in 1967. This resulted in her biggest hit, "Hypnotized", which narrowly missed the US Top 20. She later had releases on Warner 7-Arts, Cotique and Gamble And Huff's Neptune label before joining Sylvia Robinson's Turbo Records in 1971. A sufferer of diabetes, Jones collapsed backstage at the Apollo in New York on 14 March 1972 and died shortly afterwards in hospital. She was way ahead of her time and made melisma (spreading a syllable over several notes) an art form. This unique singer, who has influenced scores of R&B artists, was aptly described in Black Music magazine as "perhaps the most soulful singer in the history of R&B music". (mn-cl)
1965  Frank Liles WBA Super Middleweight World Champion Boxer born. Record:20-0 (21). Best wins: Merqui Sosa; Michael Nunn and Tim Littles. He resides in North Carolina, California, USA. (mn-ring)
1968  L.L. Cool J. Rap star from St. Albans, Queens, USA, born James Todd Smith on this day. Long-running star of the rap scene, LL Cool J found fame at the age of 16, his pseudonym standing for "Ladies Love Cool James". As might be inferred by this, LL is a self-professed lady-killer in the vein of Luther Vandross or Barry White, yet he retains a superior rapping agility. Smith started rapping at the age of nine, after his grandfather bought him his first DJ equipment. From the age of 13 he was processing his first demos. The first to respond to his mail-outs was Rick Rubin of Def Jam Records, then a senior at New York University, who signed him to his fledgling label. (mn-txt)
1970  Diana Ross played her last show with The Supremes before going solo. (mn-jt)
1967  Lt. Col. Etienne Eyadema becomes president of Togo. General Gnassingbé Eyadéma, formerly Étienne Eyadéma (December 26, 1937 – February 5, 2005), was the President of Togo from 1967 until his death. He participated in two successful military coups, in January 1963 and January 1967, and became President on April 14, 1967. He managed to remain in power for the next 38 years. (wickpedia) Other ref. says 1971.
2011  Mississippi Winn a  Louisiana woman believed to have been the oldest living African-American and one of the last children of United States slaves has died aged 113. Mississippi Winn, an upbeat former domestic worker known as “Sweetie,” died at Magnolia Manor Nursing Home in Shreveport, Louisiana, said Milton Carroll, an investigator with the Caddo Parish Coroner’s Office. Winn was believed to be the oldest living African-American in the US and the seventh-oldest living person in the world, said Robert Young of the Gerontology Research Group, which verifies information for Guinness World Records. Young said Winn was one of two known people left in the US whose parents both were almost certainly born into slavery because documents show they were born before the end of the Civil War, though her great-niece Mary C. Hollins says Winn never acknowledged that. The Civil War and President Abraham Lincoln’s 1863 Emancipation Proclamation ended slavery in the southern US “I don’t know much about that,” Hollins recalled Winn saying when asked about her parents’ early years. Young visited Winn in July 2010 and remembered her being much more fit than others her age. “When I asked her how old she was, she knew she was 113 but she thought she was young,” he said. “She always thought there would be a next year. Unfortunately that didn’t happen. That was just the thing – she had a very positive attitude.” With Winn’s death, Young’s Los Angeles-based gerontology group has verified Mamie Rearden, 112, of South Carolina as the current oldest known living African-American. He said Eunice Sanborn, 114, of Texas is the world’s oldest known living person. Hollins said Friday evening that Winn was in good health and mentally sharp until recently. She described her great-aunt as “a strong-willed person, a disciplinarian” who believed that elders should be respected. “She was living on her own until she was 103,” Hollins said, cooking for herself and taking walks. “She just believed she could handle anything.” Winn, who never married, was a caretaker of children and a cook. She lived nearly her entire life in Louisiana and had been a member of Shreveport’s Avenue Baptist Church since 1927 and used to say, “I am gonna stay here as long as he wants me to stay here.” Carroll said Winn was well-known in Shreveport. Last spring, the mayor declared “Miss Mississippi Winn Day” on March 31 when she turned 113. According to a biography released by the city, Winn was one of eight children, including a sister who died in 2000 at the age of 100. “Her father named her Mississippi but her mother always called her Sweetie,” the biography said. “Her favourite hobby is sewing and favourite book is the Bible.” Her favourite quote from the Bible: “Be ye kind one to another.” (walesonline)

15th. JANUARY    

1908  Alpha Kappa Sorority, Inc., founded at Howard University.
1926  Chuck Berry, singer/songwriter/guitarist born Charles Edward Berry in San Jose, California. (alt. dates given, see 18th October) A seminal figure in the evolution of rock 'n' roll, Chuck Berry's influence as songwriter and guitarist is incalculable. His cogent songs captured adolescent life, yet the artist was 30 years old when he commenced recording. Introduced to music as a child, Berry learned guitar while in his teens, but this period was blighted by a three-year spell in Algoa Reformatory following a conviction for armed robbery. On his release Berry undertook several blue-collar jobs while pursuing part-time spots in St. Louis bar bands. Inspired by Carl Hogan, guitarist in Louis Jordan's Timpani Five, and Charlie Christian, he continued to hone his craft and in 1951 purchased a tape recorder to capture ideas for compositions. The following year Berry joined Johnnie Johnson (piano) and Ebby Hardy (drums) in the house band at the Cosmopolitan CluBorn Over the ensuing months the trio became a popular attraction, playing a mixture of R&B, country/hillbilly songs and standards, particularly those of Nat "King" Cole, on whom Berry modelled his cool vocal style. The guitarist also fronted his own group, the Chuck Berry Combo, at the rival Crank Club, altering his name to spare his father's embarrassment at such worldly pursuits. In 1955, during a chance visit to Chicago, Berry met bluesman Muddy Waters, who advised the young singer to approach the Chess Records label. Berry's demo of "Ida May", was sufficient to win a recording contract and the composition, retitled "Maybellene", duly became his debut single. This ebullient performance was a runaway success, topping the R&B chart and reaching number 5 on the US pop listings. Its lustre was partially clouded by a conspiratorial publishing credit that required Berry to share the rights with Russ Fratto and disc jockey Alan Freed, in deference to his repeated airplay. This situation remained unresolved until 1986. (mn-jt-music.us)
1929  Martin Luther King, Jr. black civil rights leader born today. (Martin Luther King Day USA). The Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr, Ph.D. (January 15, 1929 – April 4, 1968) was a Baptist minister and political activist who was the most famous leader of the American civil rights movement. King won the Nobel Peace Prize and Presidential Medal of Freedom before being assassinated in 1968. For his promotion of non-violence and racial equality, King is considered a peacemaker and martyr by many people around the world. Martin Luther King Day was established in his honor. (mn)
1930  Earl Hooker, slide-guitarist, born, Clarkesville, Mississippi, USA. (dies April 21, 1970, Chicago, Ill, USA. Born Earl Zebedee Hooker,  d. 21 April 1970. Hooker's interest in music was kindled at an early age. A self-taught guitarist, he began his itinerant career as a teenager, and having toured America's southern states in the company of Robert Nighthawk, Ike Turner and many others, Earl made his first, rudimentary recordings in 1952. The artist followed a sporadic release schedule throughout the 50s, but by the end of the decade Hooker had settled in Chicago where he began a more consistent output. However, his early work was spread over several of the city's independent outlets, and although undeniably talented, the difficult search for success saw Hooker aping the styles of contemporaries rather than forging one of his own. The guitarist asserted his gifts more fully in the wake of the blues revival and became one of the city's most highly regarded talents. He made a rare UK television appearance on the pioneering music programme Ready Steady Go!, performed in-concert at London's Royal Albert Hall and toured Europe with the American Folk-Blues festival. Hooker also completed albums for several specialist labels, and led his own band, Electric Dust, but the tuberculosis against which he had battled throughout his life finally took its toll. Earl Hooker died in a Chicago sanitarium in April 1970. (mn-rs-music.us.bio)
1942  Johnny Williams, soul singer born today in Tyler, Alabama, USA. Johnny was popular on the Chicago club circuit and average about one single per year over mid 60's - mid 70's period Best recording, I Made A Mistake. He died in December 1986. (mn)
1942  Edward Sonny Bevins, singer and founder of The Manhattans/Ducets born. The Manhattans formed in 1962 in Jersey City, New Jersey, USA, about 10 miles south of New York City's borough of Manhattan, this enduring soul group enjoyed its greatest success during the 70s.  (mn-jt)
1961  Supremes sign with Motown Records. (mn-dr)
1965  Bernard Hopkins IBF Middleweight World Champion Boxer is born Record: 33-2-1 (25). Best wins: Segundo Mercado; Joey Lipsey Andrew Council. He lives in Philadelphia,USA. (mn-ring)
2000  Richard 'Dimples' Fields, soul singer dies aged 52 from a stroke in Oakland, California, USA. Survived by six children. (mn-echoes)
2009 Jean Abedambo dies. It is sad news to hear that lover’s rock singer Jean Adebambo reportedly committed suicide. Jean, 46, was born in London, England to a Montserration mother and a Nigerian father. she was best known for the track Paradise, released on Santic records, which was also featured on her 1983 album, Feelings. Her entry into the music business was by chance. Whilst she was in training to enter the Health Care profession, she was invited to do a cover version of two records entitled Again and Reunited by Ital Records in the early 1980s. However, not until her pairing with the Jamaican producer and by now London resident Leonard Chin did she really embark on a successful solo career. Thereafter, a string of hits followed such as the monster single Paradise, Reaching for a Goal, Hardships of Life and Pipe Dreams. But for all the popularity of her 80s output, Adebambo quit the music business and returned to the Health Care profession securing a role as a health visitor in Bermondsey. Recently she returned to the stage after nearly a 25 year old sabbatical started performing at the Brixton Academy in London last year. After a well-received performance at The British Lovers Rock Gala Awards Show in London and Wolverhampton in September 2008. Jean had revived her career. But in 2007, Adebambo seemed upbeat when she was interviewed on London-based radio station Choice FM - even talking about her new music, eventually playing host to an unplugged session at the D'Eclipse club and restaurant in south London. Her last performance was a fundraising event at the Aldersbrook Lawn Tennis Club in east London. Jean Adebambo’s death has shocked the British reggae community. Rumours have been circulating the Internet since the the singer was found dead on the 15th of January, as yet no official confirmation has come as to the cause of death, however the Voice online article is the closest we have to come to an official confirmation of suicide. It is reported, that her brother conferred with her manager, Orlando Gittens, that Jean Adebambo’s death is thought to be suicide and that there was no one else involved here was a benefit concert planned for March 15th at the Hackney Empire. (riddimjamacia.net)

16th. JANUARY 

1920  Zeta Phi Beta Sorority is founded. (tr-iokts)
1942  Barbara Lynn Ozen, soul singer/guitarist born Beaumont, Texas, USA. Lynn was signed up by producer Huey P. Meaux after hearing a demo tape and watching her perform in a Texas club. Her early records recorded at Cosimo's New Orleans studio and leased to the Jamie label. Composed by Lynn 'You'll Lose A Good Thing' (1962) was an R&B chart-topper and a pop Top 10 hit. (mn-cl)
1959  Sade' (pronounced shar day), soul singer born Helen Folasade Adu Ibadam, Nigeria. Of mixed Nigerian/English parents and grew up in Clacton, Essex, England. While an art student in London she joined Arriva where she met guitarist Ray St. John whith whome she composed 'Smooth Operator' a big international hit. (mn-cl)
1966  Maxine Jones, soul singer with En Vogue group born. The group was formed in October of 1988, with singles success with 'Hold On' and 'Lies' in 1990. They were apart of the rising 'New Jack Swing' era of R&B. (mn-ttx-cl)
1969  Roy Jones, WBC Light Heavyweight World Champion boxer is born. Record: 35-1 (30). He lives in Pensacola, Florida, USA. Best wins: Bernard Hopkins; James Toney and Montell Griffin. (mn-ring)
1973  Clara Ward, gospel singer dies. In 1948/49 'Surely God Is Able' was a popular recording that she sang with the Ward Singers. Despite her later commercialism, Clara Ward is one of the music major figures, and a powerful influence on, among others, Aretha Franklin. Her singing experience was vast, few performers have played in the supper clubs of Los Vagas, the choir lofts of churches, the stages of the world-famous halls such as Carnegie in New York and the tiny stages of jazz clubs like Birdland and outdoor festivals of jazz and folk. She also encouraged other to sing lead on her songs, in the case of 'Surely' it was shared with Marion Williams. (mn)
1974  Leon Bukasa  a noted singer and composer of Zaire dies.
1978  Maj. Guion S. Bluford Jr., Maj. Fredrick D. Gregory, and Dr. Ronald E. Mc.Nair join NASA's astronaut-training program. (tr-iokts)
1979  Aaliyah, soul singer born Aalyah Haughton in Brooklyn, NY. Her career was fostered by R. Kelly while she studied in Detroit.  She travelled to Kelly's home in Chicago for the sessions while she was still a student at the Detroit High School of the Performing Arts. She remained a "straight A's" student throughout the first stage of her recording career, persevering with her education despite commercial success. Tragedy struck in January 2002 when sshe dies in a plane crash. (cf-mn)
1988  The show at Rio de Janeiro's Americana Stadium during Tina Turner's Break Every Rule tour broke the world box office record for a single act when over 180,000 fans filled the stadium. The show was also broadcast live to an estimated 26 million homes in US/Japan. (mn-jt)
1997  Entertainer Bill Cosby's only son Ennis Cosby is murdered changing the tyre on his car, he was only 28. (mn/larry)
2012 Jimmy Castor dies. b. Jimmy Castor, 23rd June 1941, New York City, New York, U.S.A. d. 16th January 2012, Henderson, Nevada, U.S.A. The singer and saxophonist, Jimmy Castor, has died. He was 71. There are no reports as to the cause of his passing at this point. News reports stated that Jimmy's grandson P.J. Romain understood his grandfather had become 'unresponsive at the hospital'. He later posted that 'My grandfather Jimmy Castor died today at 2:30 on MLK day'. In November, Jimmy suffered a heart attack and underwent quadruple heart bypass surgery. In addition to his son Jimmy Jr., Mr. Castor is survived by his wife, Sandi, another son, Jason; two daughters, April Vargas and Sheli Castor; and eight grandchildren. Jimmy Castor had a career spanning over 50 years.

17th. JANUARY    

1924  Jewel Plummer Cobb, born. (tr-bl)
1942  Cassius Clay Jr, legendary boxer is born in Louisville, Kentucky USA. He later changed his name to Muhammad Ali due to his faith Islam. Beyond being one of the greatest boxers of all time he himself an inspiration to people of colour throughout the world Ali's promise as a fighter was clear when he was a small boy. 1956 to 1960 he fought as an amateur under his birth name, 100 out of 108 matches. His triumphs included the Golden Gloves the Amateur Athletic Union titles as well as the light gold medal in the 1960 Olympics. He then turned professional and his first 19 fights (1960-63). Despite his impressive record, 1964 defeat of Sonny Liston for the world heavyweight took boxing fans by surprise. By this time he had announced that had joined the Nation Of Islam (1957), and in 1964 he changed name to Muhammad Ali. By the mid 60's it seamed nothing could Ali: he successfully defended his championship nine times '64-'66. But in 1967 he refused his draft notice on religious grounds, he stripped of his title. He was out of the ring for three years. In 1971 he lost against Joe Frazier. Shortly after the Court overturned his conviction. Ali then won against Joe Foreman. Between 74-78 he defended his 10 times, finally loosing to Leon Spinks. From 1981 Ali has suffering from Parkinson's Disease. The BBC awarded him sportsman the Century in 1999. (mn-ss)     
1945  William Hart, soul singer with The Delfonics born. Soon, they became known throughout the Philadelphia area, signing with Cameo Records. At Cameo, Stan Watson introduced them to the man who made them famous, producer Thom Bell, then working with Chubby Checker. Bell dreamed of creating a Philadelphia version of Motown and struck gold with the Delfonics, whose first album, released on Watson's own Philly Groove record label, featured the hit "La-La (Means I Love You)", in 1968. Four more Bell-produced albums appeared in the next few years: The Sexy Sound of Soul, The Delfonics Super Hits, The Delfonics and Tell Me This Is a Dream. Among the Delfonics' popular hits were "Didn't I (Blow Your Mind This Time)", "For The Love I Give To You", "Ready or Not Here I Come (Can't Hide from Love)" and "Hey Love". Prior to the release of "La-La (Means I Love You)", they had a hit with "He Don't Really Love You" on the small Moonshot record label.   (mn-jt)
1953  Sheila Hutchinson the Emotion's lead voice born today Chicago, USA, Best remembered for songs Flowers/The Best of My Love in 1977. (mn)
1958  Janet Kay Bogle, reggae singer/actor born, London, England attended Brondesbury High School, Wembley, and later took secretarial studies, to which she returned at various points in career. Her first recordings came under the aegis of Alton Ellis 1977. Her first hit was 'Loving You' topping the reggae charts. (mn-cl)
1966  Shabba Ranks, reggae singer born Rexton Rawlston Fernando Gordon in St. Ann's Parish, Jamaica. After spending time with the Roots sound system he made his recording debut 'Heat under Sufferers Feet'in 1985. His initial reputation for slackness came with his 'Needles Eye Punany' in 1988. Throughout 1989 Shaba's dominated the reggae scene. His personal appearances in London resulted in riots and in one case, a shooting.  (mn-amcg)
1967  William Guthrie IBF Light Heavyweight World Champion Boxer born, Record: 24-0 (21). Best wins: Tim Hillie; Ramzi Hassan and Allen. He resides at Wilmington, Delaware, USA. (mn-ring)
1978  Red Rat, ragga artist born, Wallace Wilson, St. Ann's Bay, Jamaica West Indies.  Wilson came from a musical familly - his father for Byron Lee & the Dragonaires and his eldest brother played for Diana King. He started DJing under the name Mice. He was to the Main Street Crew, making popular records such as 'Shelly Ann''Dwayne' and 'Good Boy'. International tours followed with an appearence at the Notting Hill Carnival. (mn-cl)
1996  Barbara Jordan, lawyer, politician, activist, dies. Jordan was born in Houston, Texas's Fifth Ward. She graduated magna cum laude from Texas Southern University in 1956 and from Boston University Law School in 1959. She passed the Bar Exams in Massachusetts and Texas before returning to Houston to open a law practice. Active in the Kennedy-Johnson presidential campaign of 1960, Jordan wanted to be a part of the change. She unsuccessfully ran for the Texas House of Representatives in 1962 and 1964. Her persistence won her a seat in the Texas Senate in 1966, becoming the first African American state senator since 1883 and the first black woman to serve in that body. Reelected to a full term in the Texas Senate in 1968, she served until 1972, when she made a successful bid to represent Texas's Eighteenth Congressional District in the U.S. House, becoming the first black woman from a Southern state to serve in the House. She was reelected in 1974 and 1976. She received extensive support from President Lyndon Johnson, who helped her secure a position on the House Judiciary Committee. In 1973, Jordan began to suffer from multiple sclerosis which eventually confined her to a wheelchair. In 1974, she made a well-known speech before the House Judiciary Committee supporting the impeachment of President Richard Nixon. She gave a speech at the 1976 Democratic National Convention that is considered by many historians to have been the best convention keynote speech in modern history. Because of her illness, Jordan retired from politics in 1979 and became a professor at the University of Texas at Austin Lyndon B. Johnson School of Public Affairs. She again was a keynote speaker at the Democratic National Convention in 1992. Jordan kept her health and her lesbianism out of the press. Nancy Earl, her life partner for over twenty years, was her caregiver during her final illness and executor of her estate. Jordan was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1994. It was only one of many honors given her, including election into both the Texas and National Women's Hall of Fame. In 1995, Jordan chaired a congressional commission that advocated increased restriction of immigration and increased penalties on employers that violated US immigration regulations. She was buried in the Texas State Cemetery in Austin. She was the first black woman interred there. (tr-iokts-wickpedia)
1998  James Brown the Godfather of soul is forced by police to Carolina State Hospital, after concern from his family that he was addicted pain killing tablets. He was using them to help the pain of splits in his stage show at the age of 62. (mn)
2012 Johnny Otis dies. b. Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes, 28th December 1921, Vallejo, California, U.S.A. d. 17th January 2012, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. Johnny Otis, the rhythm-and-blues singer, songwriter, drummer, bandleader and disc jockey has died. He was 90. He was instrumental in the careers of the artists Etta James, Little Richard, Jackie Wilson, Hank Ballard and Little Esther Phillips. Johnny was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. Although of Greek origin, Johnny stated in 1979, 'I chose, because despite all the hardships, there's a wonderful richness in black culture that I prefer'. Johnny was born John Veliotes on the 28th of December 1921, in Vallejo, northeast of San Francisco, and was raised in Berkeley. In later life he served as the deputy chief of staff for the Democrat, Mervyn M. Dymally in the U.S. House of Representatives. Johnny and his wife of 60 years, Phyllis, had several children and grandchildren. (soulwalking.co.uk)

18th. JANUARY 

1858  Daniel Hale Williams surgeon and founder of Provident Hospital Chicago, born. The most prominent African-American in medicine many years, Williams was born in Hollidaysburg, Pennsylvania. worked as a barber before he graduated from Chicago Medical in 1893. He organised Provident Hospital in Chicago in 1891. He surgeon-in-chief at Freemen's Hospital in Washington, D.C., (1893-1898) and in 1899 became professor of clinical surgery at Medical College in Nashville, Tennessee. (mn-ss)
1866  Robert C. Weaver becomes first African-American Cabinet member appointed Secretary of Housing and Urban Development by LBJ. (tr-bl)
1960  Gladys Bentley, cabaret singer/pianist, dies, LA, USA.Gladys Bentley (12 August 1907-18 January 1960) was a famous butch lesbian African-American Blues singer during the Harlem Renaissance. Bentley was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the daughter of American George L. Bentley and his wife, a Trinidadian, Mary Mote. She appeared at Harry Hansberry's "Clam House" on 133rd Street, one of New York City's most notorious gay speakeasies, in the 1920s, and headlined in the early thirties at Harlem's Ubangi Club, where she was backed up by a chorus line of drag queens. She was a 250 pound bulldyke, dressed in men's clothes (including a signature tuxedo and top hat), who played a mean piano and sang her own obscene lyrics to popular tunes of the day, in a deep, growling voice, flirting outrageously with women in the audience. On the decline of the Harlem speakeasies with the repeal of prohibition, she relocated to southern California, where she was billed as "America's Greatest Sepia Piano Player", and the "Brown Bomber of Sophisticated Songs". She was frequently harassed for wearing men's clothing. She claimed that she had married a white woman in Atlantic City. Fictional characters based on Benlty appeared in Carl Van Vechten's Parties, Clement Woods's Deep River, and Blair Niles's Strange Brother. She recorded for the OKeh, Victor, Excelsior, and Flame labels. During the McCarthy Era, she started wearing dresses, married a man, and studied to be a minister. She died, aged 52, from pneumonia.  (mn-rs-wickpedia)
1970  Billy Stewart soul singer dies in a car crash aged 33 along with band 'The Soul Kings' as  his week old car plungers into the river. Born March 22nd, 1937 in Washington, he sang in the with Marvin Gaye/Don Covay due to his weight he was known as the 'fatboy,' from the mid-50's to the mid-60's had one hit 'Summertime.'(mn)
1970  DJ Quick, rapper from Compton, California, USA, real name David Blake is born today. Artist whose deification of his home town, where he had grown up the youngest of ten children, pervaded both his first two albums ("Born And Raised In Compton" on his debut, and minor hit single "Jus Lyke Compton" on the follow-up set). At the age of 12 he began to learn the art of DJing, but it wasn't until N.W.A. exploded on the West Coast that he actually considered these skills might provide a career. He began recording cassettes, one of which found its way into the hands of Profile Records A&R man Dave Moss, head of their newly opened Los Angeles office. His debut set saw comparisons to Prince, though in mode of operation rather than musical terms: Quik writing, rapping, producing and arranging the set in its entirety. Rather than repeating the gangsta stance of his near-neighbours N.W.A. (though he claimed to be a former member of the Bloods gang), Quik confirmed that "There's a fun side to Compton, too", reflecting this in songs about sex (the rather too obvious "Sweet Black Pussy' - I'm like Noah's Ark, My bitches come in pairs"), alcohol ("8 Ball") and marijuana ("Tha Bombudd"). His biggest hit, however, came with the Top 50-breaking "Tonite". He has also produced widely for Compton groups like 2nd II None and Penthouse. Quik signed to the influential Death Row Records for his 1995 set, Safe + Sound, which borrowed even more heavily from George Clinton's G-funk sound. The Arista Records release in 2000 proved to be one of his most successful productions to date.  (mn-music.us.bio)
1941  David Ruffin drummer/singer/Temptation member born in Merriden Mississippi, USA. David was the voice on Temptation's hitss: My Girl/Ain't too Proud Beg. Sadly David died of a drug overdose 1/6/91, foul play over death was not ruled out. (mn-dr)
1980  The Day Disco Died. If disco had a headquarters, it was certainly in New York at Studio 54, a glitzy trendsetting nightspot. The owners are found guilty of tax evasion an fined $200,000. (mn)
1986  The AIDS charity record by Dionne (Warwick) and friends, That's what friends are for, topped the US Singles Chart remaining at No.1 for four weeks. The friends were Elton John, Stevie Wonder and Gladys Knight. (mn-tj)
1990  Kim Appleby, singer with Mel & Kim dies of cancer. The duo had a number of hits in the UK produced by Stock-Aitkin-Waterman. (mn-jt)
1998  PCRL DJ Carl Josephs a.k.a. C.J. starts a two-week court case against the West Midlands Police. A civil liberty case and first of it's kind to show that black people are being targeted unfairly by the police. (mn)

19th. JANUARY 

1887  Clementine Hunter, the black Granma Moses, is born. (tr-iokts)
1918  John H. Johnson, editor, publisher born in Arkansas City, Ar. In 1942 he began The Negro Digest, modeled on Readers Digest, and thus launched the Johnson Publishing Company. His next venture was Ebony (1945), like Life a pictorial magazine but one focusing on African-Americans. Ebony undeniably promoted a middle-class life style and would receive it's share of criticism for its espousal of what some considered "white" values and its lack of militancy. (mn-ss)
1963  Carron Wheeler, born today. The London-based singer began singing at the age of twelve. She sang in reggae bands Brown Sugar and Aphrodisiac before establishing her self as a top session singer with artists like Phil Collins and Erasure. Later taken on by Soul II Soul as lead vocalist on two hit singles. (mn-jt)
1969  L. C. McKinley, blues singer/guitarist dies. His classy fretwork bore a deep T-Bone Walker influence and was the antithesis of the rough-and-tumble Windy City approach. (mn-bd)
1980  Michael Jackson receives his first Gold Album for sales of Off The Wall. (mn-jt)
1998  Joe Stubbs, soul singer dies. Joe sang lead on The Falcons hit Your so Fine, solo work on Lupine records also sang lead on the Contours's Just A Little Misunderstanding and The Originals on Good Night Irene, later with 100 Proof (aged in soul). (br)
2006 Wilson Pickett, soul singer dies aged 64 from a hear attack in Reston, Va., hospital. Remembered for his hits 'Mustang Sally' & 'In The Midnight Hour.' Pickett also was a member of the Falcons group, as was Joe Stubbs who also died on this date eight years earlier. (mn)

20th. JANUARY  

1895  Eva Jessye, born. Eva Jessye (1895–1992)—the first black woman to receive international distinction as a professional choral conductor—is a notable as a female choral conductor during the Harlem Renaissance. Her accomplishments in this field were historical for any woman regardless of ethnicity. Jessye studied privately in Kansas, then with Will Marion Cook later in New York. In 1926 she began to perform regularly with her choir, the Eva Jessye Singers, who were originally called the Dixie Jubilee Singers. She went to Hollywood in 1929 to train a choir for the film Hallelujah directed by King Vidor. In 1933, she was in a production of Four Saints in Three Acts by Thomson. In 1935, she was the choral director chosen by Gershwin for Porgy and Bess. Further, Jessye composed her own pieces. Her folk oratorio Paradise Lost and Regained (1934), The Life of Christ in Negro Spirituals (1931), and The Chronicle of Job (1936). At the University of Michigan, she established the Eva Jessye African-American Music Collection (tr-bl-wickpedia
1959  Earliest human fossils found at Olduvai Gorge, Tanzania.
1941  Ronald Townson soul singer with The Fifth Dimension is born. Members have included Marilyn McCoo, Billy Davis Jr., Ron Townson, Florence LaRue, LaMonte McLemore. When they first formed in 1965 they called themselves The Versatiles. Their producer, Johnny Rivers, suggested they come up with a newer-sounding name. That night they sat around trying to think up a new name, and member Ron Townson came up with The Fifth Dimension.  (mn-jt)
1942  William Powell singer with The O'Jays is born. Dies in 1977. The core of this long-standing soul group, Eddie LeVert (Born 16 June 1942) and Walter Williams (Born 25 August 1942) sang together as a gospel duo prior to forming the Triumphs in 1958. This doo-wop-influenced quintet was completed by William Powell, Bill Isles and Bobby Massey and quickly grew popular around its home-town of Canton, Ohio, USA. The same line-up then 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). (mn-jt)
1947  Josh Gibson, Negro leagues star and National Baseball Hall of Famer, ies. (tr-iokts)
1965 Heather Small (uk singer) born. Heather Small has what some call a unique and distinctive voice which is quickly recognisable to many people. She is probably most famous for being the voice of Manchester based band M People. She was born and raised in West London and joined her first group, Hot House, while she was still a teenager. However after a chance meeting with a Manchester DJ called Mike Pickering, formerly of Quando Quango, she was soon going to sell over 10 million albums worldwide singing with his group M People. They had some very big hits with songs such as Moving on Up and Search for The Hero. (nationmaster)
1971  Esther Bennet soul singer with Eternal born. This band was the most successful UK girl group since Bananarama. Esther is the lead singer and along with her sister Vernie sang at Croydon Baptist Church. Their first two singles had immediate impact Stay and Save our love. The video for Just a Step from Heaven depicted gangs of youths populating scenes of urban desolation, before switching to a woman giving lecture on self awareness beneath the symbol of the Black Panther Movement. (mn-ttx)
1973  Mauricio Pastrana IBF Junior Flyweight World Champion born. Record:17-0 (14). Best wins: Michael Carbajal and Manuel Herrera. He lives in Sincelejo, Columbia. (mn-ring)
1977  Patricia Harris, first African American Cabinet member nominated. Patricia Roberts Harris (May 31, 1924 – March 23, 1985) served as United States Secretary of Housing and Urban Development, United States Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare and United States Secretary of Health and Human Services in the administration of President Jimmy Carter. Born Patricia Roberts in Mattoon, Illinois, Harris graduated summa cum laude from Howard University in 1945, and later graduated from the George Washington University National Law Center in 1960. She was dean of Howard University Law School in 1969. Harris was the first African American woman to serve as an Ambassador, representing the U.S. in Luxembourg under President Lyndon B. Johnson. Harris was appointed to the cabinet of President Jimmy Carter upon his election 1977. She thus became the first African American woman to enter the line of succession, at number 13. Between 1977 and 1979 she served as Secretary of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), and in 1979, she served as Secretary of Health, Education, and Welfare. After the Department of Education Organization Act was signed into law on October 17, 1979, the Department Health, Education and Welfare was divided into the separate departments of Health and Human Services and Education. Harris then served as the first Secretary of Health and Human Services until Carter left office in 1981. In 1982, Harris become a professor at the George Washington National Law Center, a position she held until her death from breast cancer on March 23, 1985, at the age of 60. (tr-bl-wickpedia)
2009 Baraka Obama is inaugurated as US President, Aretha Franklin sand the national anthem and now everybody want's her hat. The world has much hope for the US's first Black president, but he has taken over at very bad time in the history of the USA/World. (mn)
2009 David 'Fathead' Newman dies in Kingston, New York, U.S.A. b. Davis Newman Jnr, 24th February 1933, Corsicana, Texas, U.S.A. David Fathead Newman has died. He was 75. He died from complications of pancreatic cancer on the 20th January 2000, at a hospital in Kingston, New York, according to his wife and manager, Karen Newman. Born in Corsicana, Texas, his professional career began in 1954 as an original member of Ray Charles' Band. He was nicknamed 'Fathead', after his music teacher criticised his standard of reading music, disapproving of David's preference in listening to the music instead, tapping him on his head and calling him 'Fathead'. David, later, relocated to Dallas, where he graduated from Lincoln High School. After leaving school, he started playing flute and tenor saxophone at local shows. He received a scholarship to Jarvis Christian College, where he studied theology and music. David remained in college for two years and then began touring, and it was at one of these gigs he met Ray Charles. He joined Ray's band in 1954, and remained with the ensemble for a dozen years, performing on some of Ray's most memorable hits ('I Got a Woman', 'What'd I Say' and 'Lonely Avenue'). David later worked for a decade with Herbie Mann. During the Seventies, he recorded some classic fusion albums, including 'Keep The Dream Alive', 'Concrete Jungle' and 'Scratch My Back'. David became a character in the Ray Charles biopic 'Ray' (featuring Jamie Foxx), although he did not approve of the portrayal of his own character in the film. On 22nd January 2008, David sat in as a guest with the CBS orchestra on the Late Show with David Letterman. He is survived by his wife, four sons, seven grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. (soulwalking.co.uk)
2012 Etta James dies. James was hospitalized in January 2010 to treat an infection caused by MRSA. During her hospitalization, her son Donto revealed that James had been diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease in 2008, and attributed her previous comments about Beyoncé Knowles to "drug induced dementia". On January 14, 2011, it was announced that James had been diagnosed with leukemia and was undergoing treatment.  She was hospitalized in May 2011 with a urinary tract infection and the blood infection known as sepsis. On December 16, 2011, it was announced that she was under 24-hour care and is terminally ill from the cancer she has been battling throughout 2011. Her manager, Lupe De Leon, stated to the media that she is "in the final stages of leukemia", has been diagnosed with both dementia and Hepatitis C, has been placed on oxygen, is receiving constant care from her husband, and is being visited regularly by her sons. De Leon went on to say, "We're all very sad. We're just waiting..." On December 19, 2011, James's husband and sons reached a deal on managing her estate and medical care. A judge ruled that the amount of money available to Artis Mills, her husband and estate conservator, was to be $350,000 USD. On December 23, 2011, James reportedly had to be rushed to a hospital after having breathing problems and was placed on a breathing machine. On December 30, 2011, James was taken off of the machine after being able to breathe on her own. De Leon said the singer's blood pressure had also returned to normal.After nearly a month from being declared terminally ill, Etta James' longtime friend and manager on January 5, 2012 said the singer had been released from a Southern California hospital. Fifteen days later, she lost her battle with leukemia and other diseases. She was 73. (Wiki)


1824  Osie Bonsu, Ashanti leader, defeats British at Assamaka, Ashanti.
1888  Leadbelly, folk-blues artiste, born.  d. 6 December 1949, New York City, New York, USA. Lead Belly's music offers an incredible vista of American traditions, white as well as black, through his enormous repertoire of songs and tunes. He learned many of them in his youth when he lived and worked in western Louisiana and eastern Texas, but to them he added material from many different sources, including his own compositions, throughout the rest of his life. (mn-rs)
1964  Carl T. Rowan is named director of the US Info. Agency. (tr-iokts)
1966  Deborah Glasgow is born, one of Britain's finest female reggae artists. Glasgow's career began at the tender age of 12 when she first worked with the Mad Professor. Under the name Debbie G. she released Falling In Love for his Ariwa label. She apprenticed herself on London sound system circuit, mixing with the likes of Tippa Irie and Philip Papa Livi, and gaining a reputation for knowing her own mind and music. She died January 25, 1994, from a brain haemorrhage after being diagnosed as having cancer of the lymph gland. Best remembered for her hit 'When somebody loves you back'. (rd-cl-mn)
1941  Richard Havens, soul/folk singer is born in Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA. Havens' professional singing career began at the age of 14 as a member of the McCrea Gospel Singers. By 1962 he was a popular figure on the Greenwich Village folk circuit with regular appearances at the Cafe Wha?, Gerdes, and The Fat Black Pussycat. Havens quickly developed a distinctive playing style, tuning his guitar to the open E chord which in turn inspired an insistent percussive technique and a stunningly deft right hand technique. A black singer in a predominantly white idiom, Havens' early work combined folk material with New York-pop inspired compositions. His soft, yet gritty, voice adapted well to seemingly contrary material and two early releases, Mixed Bag and Something Else Again, revealed a blossoming talent. However, the artist established his reputation interpreting songs by other acts, including the Beatles and Bob Dylan, which he personalized through his individual technique. Havens opened the celebrated Woodstock Festival and his memorable appearance was a highlight of the film. A contemporaneous release, Richard P. Havens 1983, was arguably his artistic apogee, offering several empathic cover versions and some of the singer's finest compositions. He later established an independent label, Stormy Forest, and enjoyed a US Top 20 hit with "Here Comes The Sun". A respected painter, writer and sculptor, Havens also enjoys a lucrative career doing voice-overs for US television advertisements. Wishing Well in 2002 showed that the artist had lost none of his artistic verve and was applauded as one of the finest recordings of his career. (mn-jt-music.us.bio)
1942  Edwin Starr (Charles Hatcher) singer/song writer born Nashville, USA. Now lives in the West Midlands UK. Recorded hit records on Motown/Ric-Tic/MCA Records. He got his first break on America's Uncle Jake Show performing with Billy Holiday. Dies April, 2003 aged 61 years. Two interviews in PCRL archieve. (mn-br-rt)
1950  Billy Ocean born Leslie Sabastion Charles in Trinidad, a soul singer/songwriter. Billy's family moved to Stepney, East London in 1968, between 1976 & 1986 he had 14 hit records. (mn)
1984  Jackie Wilson's life support machine was turned off after his money ran out!. On September 25, 1975, Jackie collapsed on stage in Cherry Hill, New Jersey, with a heart attack that led to an irreversible coma that ended today, 8 years later. Born June 9, 1934, Detroit, Michigan USA. When his parents thwarted his boxing ambitions, he took to singing in small local clubs. He sang with the Thrillers (soon to be the Royals), recorded as Sonny Wilson, and joined the Dominoes as replacement for Clyde McPhatter. Then started a solo career with Brunswick Records in 1958, recording some thirty albums. Biggest UK hit was 'Reete Petite', number 1 in 1987. He was also inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame that same year. (mn-cl)
2000  Mike Tyson the US boxer was mobbed by a crowd in Brixton. He had come to the UK after a public out cry into letting a convicted rapist into the country. (mn)
2003  Mickey Nold dj's his last program for PCRL, it was 12-6pm on a Tuesday afternoon. Speaking out about the proposed war in Irac didn't help. The Radio Authority raided his home 2 days later, and Pilot's 7 days later.
2006 Dee Edwards, soul singer dies. Singer Dee Edwards remains best known in Northern soul circles for the cult classic "All the Way Home." Born Doris Jean Harrell in Montgomery, AL, in June 1945, she began singing in her church choir at age five. After the family's 1960 relocation to Detroit, Harrell and her brother Albert teamed with fellow siblings Tommy and Freddy Martin to form the Paragons, an R&B vocal group that attracted the attention of neighbor Mike Hanks, owner of the fledgling MAH label. Hanks licensed the Paragons' lone single, "My Time Is Important to Me," to another Detroit indie, Duke Browner's Exit Records, and the record was a local hit in the spring of 1963. The group nevertheless split soon after and Hanks signed Harrell as a solo act, renaming her Dee Edwards in honor of his new D-Town imprint. Her debut, "You Say You Love Me," followed on the Tuba label in late summer, trailed by "Too Careless with My Love," a major Detroit radio favorite. With 1964's "Oh What a Party," Edwards abandoned the harder-edged R&B sound of her previous records in favor of a buoyant, Motown-inspired approach. Subsequent efforts like "Happiness Is Where You Find It" and 1965's "His Majesty, My Love" refined the formula, and with 1966's "All the Way Home" Edwards reached her zenith, her husky vocals perfectly complemented by Hanks' brassy production.  By now a fixture of Detroit nightclubs like the Twenty Grand and Gino's, Edwards boasted a loyal local following but Hanks lacked the marketing muscle necessary to push her records to a national audience. When D-Town splintered in mid-1966, her recording career stalled until 1968, when she cut "I'll Shed No Tears" for Premium Stuff. With husband Floyd Jones serving as arranger, Edwards next surfaced with 1970's GM label single "Say It Again with Feeling." Two years later, she made her major-label debut with the RCA release "All We Need Is a Miracle," but the record failed to generate much interest, and after the De-To effort "I Can Deal with That" she spent the next several years in retirement, raising a family. Upon signing to Atlantic's Cotillion imprint, Edwards scored a disco hit with 1979's "Don't Sit Down," culled from her LP No Love, No World -- 1980's "Mr. Miracle Man" proved a minor pop hit but she again mothballed her career to focus on her children. Jason Ankeny, All Music Guide (mn-artiste direct)

22nd. JANUARY 

PCRL presenter Fire was born on this day.
1731  Benjamin Banneker, inventer, scientist, astronomer, helped survey a  plan of Washington, D.C., born. Although he spent nearly his entire life on a farm, Banneker had an important influence on how African-Americans were viewed during the Federalist and Jeffersonian periods of American history. Born in Baltimore County, Maryland, Banneker was a child of a free black father. He had little formal education, but he became literate and read widly. At the age of 21 he built a clock with every part made of wood - it operated for over 40 years. (mn-ss)
1871  Justina Ford, first female African-American physician in Denver, Colorado, USA., is born in Knoxville, Ill. (tr-iokts)
1906  Willa Brown Chappell, pioneer aviator is born. In an era harsh for both women and African Americans, she sought great challenge. Influenced by aviatrix Bessie Coleman, in 1934 Willa began flight lessons at Chicago's Aeronautical University. She studied with Cornelius R. Coffey at the racially segregated Harlem Field in Chicago. By 1935, she received her master mechanic's certificate, joined the Challenger Air Pilot's Association, joined the Chicago Girl's Flight Club, and enrolled in a master's program at Northwestern University. In 1937, airman's certificate No. 43814 made her the first African American woman to be licensed as a private pilot in the United States. She also received her MBA from Northwestern and co-founded, with Coffey, the National Airmen's Association of America to promote interest in aviation&ldots; and to help get black aviation cadets into the US Military as pilots.  In 1940, Brown advocated the inclusion of African Americans in the Civilian Pilot Training Program. In 1941, she was named federal coordinator of the Chicago unit of the Civil Air Patrol civilian pilot training program, the first African American officer in this integrated unit. The Coffey School was selected to provide black trainees for the Air Corps' pilot training program at Tuskegee Institute. As school director, Brown was instrumental in training more than 200 students who went on to become the legendary Tuskegee airmen. Willa was also coordinator of war-training service for the Civil Aeronautics Authority. And in 1943, she became the first woman in the United States who possessed both a mechanic's license and a commercial license in aviation. She married the Rev. J. H. Chappell in 1955 and taught school until 1971. In 1972, she was appointed to the FAA Women's Advisory Board. Her love for aviation continued until her death in 1992 at age 86. (rootsweb)
1915  Rev. C.L. Franklin, gospel singer/father to singers Aretha Franklin and Carolyn Franklin born in Sunflower County, Mississippi, USA. The pastor of Detroit's Bethel Baptist Church, a confidant of Martin Luther King Jr., and father of Aretha Franklin, this charismatic preacher is known for "hair-raising" sermons. (d.24/7/84) (mn-cl)
1924  J. J. Johnson, trombone player born, Indianoplis, Indiana, USA. Johnson was in the first order of modern jazz musicians, including Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Miles Davis, Thelonious Monk, Max Roach, Sonny Rollins, John Coltrane, and Oscar Pettiford. He recorded a number of popular albums with fellow trombonist Kai Winding, as well as many solo albums, and was a sideman on many classic jazz recordings. Several of his compositions, including "Wee Dot," "Lament," and "Enigma" are considered jazz standards. He was part of the Third Stream movement in jazz music in the late 1950s and early 1960s and wrote a number of large-scale works which incorporated elements of both classical and jazz music.  (mn-cl)
1931  Sam Cooke one of the most famous R&B/Gospel singers of the 60's is born in Chicago, USA.  He had 16 Top 20 hits in the USA between 1957 and 1965 (only 3 in UK). Also on this day in 1960 on his 29th birthday he signed to RCA Records. Dies 11/12/64. (mn-rt)
1940  Addie Mickie Harris, soul singer with The Shirelles born. The Shirelles were the first major female vocal group of the rock era, defining the so-called girl group sound with their soft, sweet harmonies and yearning innocence. Their music was a blend of pop/rock and R&B -- especially doo wop and smooth uptown soul -- that appealed to listeners across the board, before Motown ever became a crossover phenomenon with white audiences.  (mn-jt)
1964  Nigel Benn, boxer born. British former boxer who held world titles at both Middleweight and Super Middleweight. Benn was known as The Dark Destroyer, a nickname that would, ironically, later come back to haunt him. A somewhat eccentric personality, Benn had a record of 41 wins and 1 loss as an amateur boxer. He turned professional in 1987 with a win over Graeme Ahmed in Croydon. This win began a streak of 22 consecutive knockout wins for The Dark Destroyer. The streak extended until 1989. During this time Benn's accomplishments included beating Fermin Chirino, winning the British commonwealth Middleweight title with a win over Abdul Umaru, and retaining it against David Noel, brother of former world Lightweight champion Claude Noel. -wickpedia (mn-ttx)
1965  Andrew Roachford, singer with Roachford is born. Started performing in London's Soho jazz clubs from the age of 14. The band was formed in 1987 and had a big hit in 1989 with Cuddly Toy. (mn-jt-cl)
1971  Stanley (Stan) Victor Collymore, 6'3"; 14.00 Aston Villa player born in Cannock, England. International Honours: E: 3. (mn-bh)
1972  Successful song writing & production team Holland Dozier and Holland settled out of court with Motown Records, who had sued the trio when  they left the label for which they had produced such major hitmakers as the Supremes & The Four Tops. (mn-jt)      
1982  Tommy Tucker soul singer dies. Born Robert Higginbotham March 5, 1933 in Springfield, Ohio, USA. Renowned R&B performer, recommended album listening Hi Heel Sneakers and Long Tall Shorty (Checker 1964). He died from poisoning. (mn-cl)
1988  Court Victory For Pirate Station. Read the headline in the Caribbean Times newspaper. Charges that had been made against Cecil Morris at Birmingham Magistrate Courts by the D.T.I. for illegal broadcasting as PCRL were not proven. The judge told the DTI that they had wasted his time and public money.  (mn)
2010 Robert 'Squirell' Lester dies. b. Robert 'Squirrel' Lester, 16th August 1942, McComb, Mississippi, U.S.A. d. 22nd January 2010, Chicago, Illinois, U.S.A. Robert 'Squirrel' Lester, of the Soul vocal group, the Chi-Lites, has died. He was 67. Robert was the second tenor in the Chicago based singing group. He passed away following a short illness. He was born in McComb, Mississippi. He was included in the recent Chi-Lites line-up, along with group leader Marshall Thompson, lead vocalist Frank Reed, and backing vocalist, Tara Thompson. An inductee at the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, Lester was 67 years old at the time of his death. The Chi-Lites were inducted into the Rhythm and Blues Foundation in 2000 and fellow founding member Eugene Record joined them on stage for the first time in 10 years. (soulwalking.co.uk)


Ancobia PCRL DJ born
1944  Jerry Lawson, member of soul group The Persuasions born. This group from New York, formed in 1966 continued the accapella tradition despite prevalent trends elsewhere right into the 1980's. (mn-jt)
1948  Anita Pointer of the soul group the Pointer Sisters born. She quit a job as a secretary to join her younger sisters Bonnie and June to form the Pointer Sisters in 1969. After several failed singles between 1971 and 1972 for Atlantic Records, the trio convinced eldest sister Ruth to join the group in 1972 and becoming a quartet. The group found fame under the Anita-assisted lead vocals of their big hit, 1973's "Yes We Can Can". It was Anita's co-writing duties for their 1974 hit, "Fairytale", that helped the group make music history when the country-infused song hit the country charts, instantly winning the group their first Grammy for Best Country Performance by a Duo or Group; and June and sister Bonnie a Grammy nod for Song of the Year in 1975. After Bonnie left the Pointers in 1977 bringing the group back to being a trio, Ruth, Anita and June would rise to higher levels with the releases of singles like 1978's rock-infused "Fire", 1980's New Wave-ish/dance single, "He's So Shy", 1981's "Slow Hand" and 1982's "I'm So Excited", with the latter two led-sung by Anita.  (mn-jt)
1951  Darrow Fletcher, soul singer born in Inkster, Michigan, USA. Raised in Chicago his only hit record was the Pain Get's A Little Deeper in 1966 on the Groovy label, he was still a freshman at high school. His last record was in 1976 for Ray Charles' Crossover Label. (mn-cl)
1955  Reggie Calloway, soul singer/producer born. With his brother Vincent formed Midnight Star, he is also credited as forming the Cincinnati sound which sparked off new groups/producers like L.A. and Babyface.(mn-jt-cl)
1964  The U.S. 24th Amendment is ratified, abolishing poll tax, which was used as a means of preventing African-Americans from voting. (iokts)
1972  Big Maybelle, R&B singer dies. Born Mabel Louise Smith, May 1st, 1924 she was discovered sing in church by band leader Dave Clark in 1935, her career was marred by frequent drug problems which contributed to her early death from a diabetic coma. (mn-cl)
1976  Paul Robeson, Internationally famous singer/actor/athlete/lawyer dies. Born Paul Bustil in 1898 in Priceton, 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-ss)
1977  ABC TV premieres Alex Haley's Roots, the story of Kunta Kinte. Roots was the saga of Haley's own family, which he traced back to Kunta Kinte, brought from the Gambia to America as a slave in 1767. First the book Roots: The Story of an African-American Family (1976) and then the incredibly successful T.V. mini-series. (mn-ss)
1990  Mickey Nold does his first PCRL soul radio program (Tuesday 3-6 am). A recording exists.
2000  Leo Mohammed from the Nation Of Islam starts his own radio program 'The Cultural Revolution', on PCRL at 6.00 a.m., this is a sister program to the one he conducts on London's Unique F.M. 101.2. (mn)
2000  The B.B.C. names Bob Marley's 'One Love' as 'Song of the Century' (mn)
2004  Three Founder Members Of Europe's longest and first Black Radio Station Peoples Community Radio Link (P.C.R.L), Were Fined A Total Of £13,000 at Birmingham Crown Court. Cecil Morris: Founder and Former Head Of Station Was fined £8,000 and also given a 9 Month Prison Sentence Suspended For 2 Years. Anthony Jeffers: Former Head Of Programming Was Fined £3,000 + 200 Hours Community Service. Michael Norton: DJ & Black Historian Was Fined £2,000 + 120 Hours Community Service. With the law suit that soon followed this judgment, that was the last straw for PCRL and the station soon closed after 19 years. (mn)

24th. JANUARY 

1865  US congress passes the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery in the USA.
1885  Martin Robison Delany, physician, Pan-Africanise, dies. This precursor of twentieth-century African-American militancy was born to a free black woman and an enslaved father in Charles Town, Virginia. The family moved to Pennsylvania in 1823, and in 1831 young Delany apprenticed himself to a doctor in Pittsburgh. He founded an African-American magazine, Mystery (1843-1847), and worked on behalf of the abolitionist cause. (Born 1812). (mn-ss)
1920 Jimmy Forrest born in St. Louis. Tenor saxophonist worked with Jay McShann, Duke Ellington & Andy Kirk. He had a No.1 R&B hit with 'Night Train' in 1952. Later a hit for James Brown. (mn-jw)
1937  Alvin Robinson, New Orleans based session guitarist born. His single Down Home Girl on the Red Bird label was one of the labels finest releases, later recorded by the Rolling Stones. Robinson was a New Orleans-based session guitarist, and secured a minor hit in 1964 with a recording of a Chris Kenner song, "Something You Got". The single was released on Tiger Records, a short-lived outlet owned by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, who then took Robinson to their next venture, Red Bird. His first release there, "Down Home Girl", was an inspired amalgamation of New York pop and Crescent City R&Born Later covered by the Rolling Stones, Robinson's single was one of the finest to appear on this impressive label. It was followed by a reshaped version of "Let The Good Times Roll", but the artist was unable to find another success. Robinson moved to the west coast in 1969 and was one of several expatriate musicians who played on Dr. John's New Orleans "tribute" album, Gumbo. He returned to New Orleans in 1985 and died in 1989.  (mn-cl-music.us.bio)
1941  Aaron Neville singer with Hawkettes/Neville brothers and Meters born today in New Orleans, Louisiana, USA. Best remembered for his hit Tell It Like It Is. Aaron was signed to Minit Records as a solo artist, but despite a minor hit with "Over You" (1960), he remained largely unknown until the release of "Tell It Like It Is" (1966). This simple, haunting ballad showcased the singer's delicate delivery while the song's slogan-like title echoed the sentiments of the rising Black Power movement. Sadly, the single's outlet, Par-Lo, went bankrupt, and despite subsequent strong releases, Neville was unable to repeat its commercial success. In 1978, following the break-up of the Meters, Aaron joined Art, Cyril and Charles in the Neville Family Band, later renamed the Neville Brothers. He continued a parallel solo career and in 1989 enjoyed an international hit with "Don't Know Much", a duet with Linda Ronstadt. The first of several recordings for the A&M Records label, Warm Your Heart was a strong collection but the subsequent releases failed to do justice to Neville's astonishing voice. The singer found more worthy material with a pair of gospel releases (Devotion and Believe) in the new millennium.  (mn-music.us.bio)
1971  I Done What You Told Me To - broadcasted by ITV television. The first U.K. television programme to acknowledge the existence of black people in pre-1950 Britain. An HTV Network production. Rudolph Walker and Nina Baden-Semper read from contemporary accounts of the slave trade. (mn-sb)
1985  Tom Bradley, four-term mayor of Los Angeles, receives the NAACP's Spingarn Medal for public service. After retiring from the Los Angeles Police Department as a lieutenant in 1962, Bradley practised law briefly, but he soon entered politics. He was widely credited with calming the city's racial tensions. (tr-iokts-ss)


1851  Sojourner Truth addresses the first Black Women's Rights Convention, Ackron, Ohio.
1896 Florence Mills was born. She was an African-American singer, dancer.  From Washington D.C., she was raised in severe poverty. Her parents John and Nellie were illiterate migrants from Lynchburg, Virginia. A young Florence was on stage full-time as a child, first as a “pickaninny” in White vaudeville then as a sister act on the Black popular entertainment circuit. Mills’ big break came in 1921 in Chicago with Noble Sissle and Eubie Blake’s Shuffle Along, the show that introduced syncopated song and dance to White America. She went on to star in Plantation Revue in New York and Dover Street to Dixie in London. Florenz Ziegfeld offered Mills a major role in his Follies, but she turned him down to pursue the creation of an all-Black revue. The show, From Dixie to Broadway was successful and led to her opening of Blackbirds of 1926 in London. Soon afterwards she returned to New York due to poor health and she died November 1st 1927. Florence Mills’ funeral brought over 150,000 people out on the streets, the largest such gathering in Harlem’s history. She was one of the most outstanding Black women in American musical comedy during the Jazz Age of the 1920’s. Mills was one of the most popular personalities of the Harlem Renaissance.  Reference: Black Women in America An Historical Enyclopedia Volumes 1 and 2, edited by Darlene Clark Hine Copyright 1993, Carlson Publishing Inc., Brooklyn, New York ISBN 0-926019-61-9
1911 Truck Farham was born on this date in 1911. He was an African-American jazz bassist and drummer. A longtime fixture in the Chicago music scene, Charles “Truck” Parham played in a countless number of settings during his long career. A fine athlete in his early days (including spending time playing professional football with the Chicago Negro All Stars and as a boxer), Parham was originally a drummer before switching to bass picking up early experience with Zack Whyte's band in Cincinnati from 1932-34. Back in Chicago from 1936-38, he played regularly with Zutty Singleton and Roy Eldridge and occasionally with Art Tatum. In 1940 Parham joined Earl Hines' big band for two years before working with Jimmie Lunceford's Orchestra until 1947. In Chicago, Parham was part of Muggsy Spanier's dixieland band (1950-55) and also worked with Herbie Fields (1956-57), Earl Hines and Louie Bellson. In the 1960's Parham mostly played with Art Hodes and since then he has continued playing with trad jazz groups. Although he never recorded as a leader, Parham appeared on many records through the years including with Eldridge, Hines, Lunceford, Spanier, Bellson and Hodes. Parham died in July 2002 after he’d been in the hospital for a few weeks, he was 90. The entire jazz world will miss Charles "Truck" Parham.  Reference: All That Jazz The Illustrated Story of Jazz Music General Editor: Ronald Atkins Copyright 1996, Carlton Books Limited ISBN 0-76519-953-X
1929  Benny Golson saxophonist/writer/arranger born in Philadelphia, Benny played tenor sax with jazz artists including Lionel Hampton (1953),Dizzy Gillespie (1956-58) and Art Blakey (1959) before forming a group Jazztet with McCoy Tyner and Art Farmer (trumpet) in 1959. On the UK jazz funk scene, Benny is best remembered for his 1977 CBS recording 'The New Killer Joe', adapted from an instrumental he had already written, 'Killer Joe', but now featuring a spoken rap written by Quincy Jones. The track came out on an album of the same name, the follow-up being 'I'm Always Dancing To The Music' (1978). (mn-cl-rt)
1938  Etta James soul singer born Jamesetta Hawkins in Los Angeles, USA. She had an R&B No.1 in th U.S. with Wallflower. James was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1993, prior to her signing a new recording contract with Private Records. (mn)
1943  Ron Van Clief, born in Brooklyn, New York, USA. 'The Black Dragon' as he was known in 7 Kung Fu films. A martial arts champion, six times winner of Best Fighter Award (1969, 70, 72, 75, 88 and 89) also 10th Degree Red Belt. He was inducted into the World Martial Arts Hall Of Fame and given a Life time Achievement Award in 1995. (mn-rvc)
1950  Gloria Naylor, writer born. Her novel The Women of Brewster Place was adapted into the 1989 film The Women of Brewster Place by Oprah Winfrey's Harpo Productions. List of works: Bailey's Cafe (1992), Mama Day (1988), Linden Hills (1985) and The Women of Brewster Place (1982) (iokst-wickpedia)
1966  Constance Baker Motley is the first African American woman to be appointed to a federal judgeship. (tr-iokts)
1976  Chris Kenner who recorded the original Land of 1000 Dances in 1963, later a hit record for Wilson Pickett, dies on this day. (mn-jt)
1989  Bobby Brown soul singer, was arrested in Geogia for alleged lewdness in stage and fined $652. (mn-jt)
1994  Deborahe Glasgow, UK reggae singer dies. Born in 1965, her career began at the tender age of 12 when she first worked with the Mad Professor. Under the name Debbie G. she released Falling In Love for his Ariwa label. She apprenticed herself on London sound system circuit, mixing with the likes of Tippa Irie and Philip Papa Livi,and gaining a reputation for knowing her own mind and music. She died on this day from a brain haemorrhage after being diagnosed as having cancer of the lymph gland. Best remembered for her hit When somebody loves you back. (rd-cl-mn)
2011 John Tayor (Baron of Warwick), at Southwark Crown Court before Mr Justice Saunders, Taylor was found guilty by the jury which delivered majority verdicts (11 votes to 1) on six counts of false accounting, relating to a total of £11,277.80 in false parliamentary expenses claims. The first such claim was for £1,555.70, the second for £2,042.80, the third was £1,600.70, the fourth £2,309.50, the fifth £2,421.80, and the final claim was for £1,347. He had claimed that his main residence was in Oxford, at an address which was occupied by his nephew and the nephew's partner (who owned the premises). In fact, Taylor lived in Ealing, West London. On 16 July 2010, Taylor resigned the Tory Whip as he had been charged with six counts of false accounting, claiming more than £11,000 in overnight subsistence and mileage claims. He appeared before a Westminster magistrates’ court in August 2010 (mn-wikidedia)


1893  Bessie Coleman is born in Atlanta, the first black woman pilot. Unable to gain pilot training in the US she went to Europe to obtain a licence (1921) and then an international pilot's licence in 1922. She intended to open an African-American school for flying but she died in a plane crash after her controls jammed in 1926. (mn-ss)
1932  Coxone, real name Clement Seymore Dodd reggae producer/songwriter born in Kingston, JA. It's an undisputable fact that without the vision and work of this man, reggae music as we now know it would not exist. One of the first to run his own sound system. He celebrated 35 years in the business with two huge show in Jamaica in 1991. Despite rumours of financial and personal disagreement with artistes and Dodd, most have stated that their time at Coxone's 'musical college'was well spent. (mn-tr-cl)
1934  Huey 'Piano' Smith soul singer/keyboards player born. Huey's influence on New Orleans music in the mid 1950s was profound, and it was often said Huey Piano Smith’s band was like a finishing school for Nola singers and musicians(mn-jt)
1943  Jean Knight, soul singer, born in New Orleans, best known for her Stax single Mr. Big Stuff released in 1971, and revived on the UK Rare Groove scene in mid 80's. (mn)
1944  Angela Davis, political activist born in Birmingham, Al, USA. A racial philosopher, she has contributed to increasing political rights for African-American citizens. She received her A.B. degree from Brandeis and her Masters from the University of California at San Diego. Politicized through the Black Panther Party, the Southern Non-violent Coordinating Committee, the CheLumumba group and the Communist Party, she successfully challenged the california state law forbidding Communists from teaching at state universities. Her books include: Women, Race and Class (1980), and Women, Culture and Politics (1984). (mn-ss)
1963  Jazzie B., of soul band Soul II Soul born Beresford Romero in London, England.The early definition of the group was uncomplicated: "It's a sound system, an organisation (which) came together to build upon making careers for people who had been less fortunate within the musical and artistic realms." The name Soul II Soul was first used to describe Jazzie B and Harvey's company supplying disc jockeys and PA systems to dance music acts. They also held a number of warehouse raves, particularly at Paddington Dome, near Kings Cross, London, before setting up their own venue.  (mn-jt-cl-music.us)
1958  Anita Baker soul singer born in Toledo, Ohio USA. The granddaughter of a minister, Baker had a religious upbringing that included church music and gospel singing. After vocal duties with local bands she joined the semi-professional Chapter 8 in 1979 and was the vocalist on their minor US chart hit, "I Just Wanna Be Your Girl", the following year. Several years later she left the band and was working in an office when she persuaded the Beverly Glenn label to record and release her debut album in 1983.  (mn-music.us says:20/12/57 Detroit/ Wickpedia says today)
1971  James Brown records Soul Power at Rodel Studios in Washington, D.C., USA. It reaches N0.3 in the R&B charts that year. (mn)
1980  Prince, soul singer makes his first TV appearance on Dick Clark's American Bandstand. (mn-jt)
1984  Jackson's Curls Crackle. While shooting a Pepsi Cola add an accidental flare explosion ignited hair spray being applied to Michael Jackson's hair. He suffered second-degree burns to head & neck. (mn-jt)
1990  Mickey Nold's first PCRL 'Basement Soul' programme (Friday 6-9 a.m.). I did the breakfast shows on three days a week for 3 years and went on to my day job afterwards.
1993  Dizzy Gillespie horn player dies. One of the fathers of modern jazz and a great influence on trumpeters as Charlie Parker has been to saxophonists, Gilespie's brilliant, long career included leading a 16 piece band on a State Department-sponsored international tour (1956) that marked the governments official support. Born in Cheraw, South Carolina, he became a leading exponent of the new bebop after working with swing bands of Teddy Hall, Cab Calloway, and Earl Hines (1937-1941). (mn-cl-ss) 
2011 Gladys Horton dies. Born in Gainesville, Florida, she was raised in the western Detroit suburb of Inkster by foster parents. By the time of her high school years at Inkster High School on Middlebelt Road, Gladys had taken a strong interest in singing, joining the high school glee club. In 1960 the fifteen-year-old formed a group with fellow glee club members Georgeanna Tillman, Katherine Anderson and Juanita Cowart. She also invited Georgia Dobbins to join her new group. Formerly calling themselves The Casinyets (can't sing yet), the group eventually auditioned for Motown after a talent contest, and while the audition was successful, the group was requested to return to Hitsville with an original song. After member Georgia Dobbins co-created the song "Please Mr. Postman", Dobbins suddenly left the group after her father forbade her to be in nightclubs. Dobbins, who was also the group's original lead singer, gave Horton the spotlight to be the lead vocalist, a spot Horton was not comfortable with in the beginning. The group changed their name to the Marvelettes shortly after Motown signed the act and released "Please Mr. Postman" in the summer of 1961 when Horton was just sixteen. The single eventually hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 - becoming Motown's first #1 Pop hit - and turning the group into instant Motown stars. Horton would later sing lead on Marvelettes' classics such as "Playboy", "Beechwood 4-5789" and "Too Many Fish in the Sea". Horton's position as lead vocalist ended in 1965 with Wanda Young, who had replaced Dobbins, taking over from then on as lead vocalist. Horton left the group in 1967 and was replaced by Cleveland, Ohio vocalist Anne Bogan. In the late 1980s, Horton and Wanda Young Rogers reunited to collaborate on the 1990 Marvelettes album for Ian Levine's Motor City Records label titled The Marvelettes...Now! though Young didn't take part in the group's performances. The Marvelettes released the single "Holding On With Both Hands" in 1990, which was sung on record by Wanda but performed by Gladys in public due to Wanda's severe personal problems, described by Marc Taylor in the book, The Original Marvelettes - Motown's Mystery Girl Group, published in 2004 by Aloiv Publishing Company, New York. Gladys and former Marvelette, Katherine Anderson were involved with Marc Taylor's official biography of the group. Horton semi-retired from the business to take care of her handicapped son; however, she still performed on occasion as "Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes". She had resided in southern California since the early 1970s. Gladys Catherine Horton died at age 65 on January 26, 2011 at a nursing home in Sherman Oaks, California following several strokes. (wiki/steve williams)
2013 Sugarfoot dies . b. Leroy Roosevelt Bonner, 14th March 1943, Hamilton, Ohio, U.S.A. d. 26th January 2013, Trotwood, Ohio, U.S.A. Leroy ‘Sugarfoot’ Bonner, of the group the Ohio Players, has died. He was 69. Leroy passed away on Saturday the 26th of January, following a battle with cancer in Trotwood, Ohio.
With a career covering some 56 years, he died just before his 70th birthday.
Leroy was the lead singer and guitarist of the Ohio Players since he joined the band in 1971. The Ohio Players were originally formed in Dayton, Ohio in 1959, and were known as the Ohio Untouchables. Based in Dayton, the Ohio Players achieved a huge amount of success throughout the Seventies, with songs including ‘Fire’, ‘Skin Tight’ and ‘Love Rollercoaster’. Leroy released one solo album, entitled ’Sugar Kiss’ in 1985. (soulwalking)

27th. JANUARY 

1787  Juan Alverez, hero in the independence movement in Mexico, born in Guerrero, Mexico.
1918  Elmore James, blues-guitarist, born Elmore Brooks, Richmond, Mississippi, USA. (Dies May 24, 1963, Chicago, Ill, USA). Although his recording career spanned 10 years, Elmore James is chiefly recalled for his debut release, "Dust My Broom'. This impassioned, exciting performance, based on a virulent composition by country blues singer Robert Johnson, was marked by the artist's unfettered vocals and his searing electric slide guitar. James" formative years were spent in Mississippi juke joints where he befriended Rice Miller (Sonny Boy Williamson), a regular performer on the US radio station KFFA's King Biscuit Time show. Elmore accompanied Miller for several years, and through his influence secured his initial recording contract in 1951. James then moved to Chicago where he formed the first of several groups bearing the name "the Broomdusters". Subsequent recordings included different variations on that initial success - "I Believe", "Dust My Blues" - as well as a series of compositions that proved equally influential. "Bleeding Heart" and "Shake Your Moneymaker" were later adopted, respectively, by Jimi Hendrix and Fleetwood Mac, while the guitarist's distinctive "bottleneck' style resurfaced in countless British blues bands. James" style was accurately copied by Jeremy Spencer of Fleetwood Mac - the band often had "Elmore James" segments in their act during the late 60s. Another James devotee was Brian Jones of the Rolling Stones, whose early stage name of Elmo Lewis, and bottleneck guitar work paid tribute to James. John Mayall's "Mr. James" was a thoughtful tribute to this significant performer who sadly did not live to enjoy such acclaim. In May 1963, James suffered a fatal heart attack at the home of his cousin, Homesick James, who, along with J.Born Hutto, then assumed the late musician's mantle. (mn-rs-music.us.bio)
1930  Bobby 'Blue' Bland, R&B singer born in Rosemark, Tennesee, USA. He's had more Hot 100 entries in the U.S. than the Beatles! His recording career began with a couple of unsuccessful singles for Chess Records in 1951, and Modern Records in 1952. That year, Bland entered the Army and returned to music upon his discharge in 1955. His first successful single was "It's My Life Baby", showcasing a new, more mature sound. He was signed to the Duke Records label in 1956.  (mn)
1941  Bobby Hutchinson jazz musician born on this day.  (mn-vibe-cl)
1947  Nedra Tally, soul singer in the Ronettes born. By 1961 they had become the resident dance troupe at the famed Peppermint Lounge, home of the twist craze, and having taken tuition in harmony singing, later secured a recording contract. The trio's first single, "I Want A Boy", was credited to Ronnie And The Relatives, but when "Silhouettes" followed in 1962, the Ronettes appellation was in place. They recorded four singles for the Colpix/May group and appeared on disc jockey Murray The K's Live From The Brooklyn Fox before a chance telephone call resulted in their signing with producer Phil Spector. Their first collaboration, the majestic "Be My Baby" defined the girl-group sound as Spector constructed a cavernous accompaniment around Ronnie's plaintive, nasal voice. The single reached the Top 5 in the USA and UK before being succeeded by the equally worthwhile "Baby I Love You", another Top 20 entrant in both countries. The producer's infatuation with Ronnie - the couple were later married - resulted in some of his finest work being reserved for her, and although ensuing singles, including "The Best Part of Breaking Up", "Walking In The Rain" (both 1964) and "Is This What I Get For Loving You' (1965), failed to recapture the Ronettes" early success, they are among the finest pop singles of all time. Following their 1966 offering, "I Can Hear Music", the group's career was shelved during Spector's mid-60s "retirement". (mn-jt)
1961  Opera singer Leontyne Price makes her debut at the Metropolitan Opera House as Leonora in Veri's Trovatore.
1962  Chubby Checker had four albums in the US Top 10: For Twisters Only Your Twist Party, Let's Twist Again. This was the first time a non-MoR act had achieved such success in the album chart. (mn-jt)
1965  Robert (Robbie) Gerald Earl, 5'9", 10.10 footballer, born in Newcastle under Lyme. International honours: Jamaica: 9. (cm-mn)
1970  Dean Headly born, grandson of cricket legend George Headly and son of Ron Headly who also played for his country is born. His father lives in Stourbridge near Birmingham. Height: 6'5", weight: 13.10, County debut: 1991 (Middlesex), 1993 (Kent); Test Debut: 1997; Tests: 10; County cap: 1993 (Kent); One-day Internationals: 9; 50 wickets in a season: 2. (cm-mn)
1972  Mahalia Jackson, gospel legend dies. More than 60,000 people filed past her coffin after it had been taken to the Rivergate Auditorium in New Orleans.For many commentators, Mahalia Jackson remains the definitive exponent of gospel music. At the age of four she sang at the Plymouth Rock Baptist Church and later joined the Mount Moriah Baptist Church junior choir. She mixed the singing styles of the Baptists with the Sanctified Church, which produced a powerful rhythm and beat, and fell under the influence of gospel artists Roberta Martin and Willie Mae Ford Smith. Coupled with the expressions of Bessie Smith and Ma Rainey, which in her teens Jackson had begun to observe, she developed the beginnings of a deep soulful blues style. In 1927, Mahalia moved from New Orleans to Chicago; after her first Sunday church service, where she had given a impromptu performance of her favourite song, "Hand Me Down My Favourite Trumpet, Gabriel", she was invited to join the Greater Salem Baptist Church Choir and began touring the city's churches and surrounding areas with the Johnson Singers.   (mn-cf)
1972  Nathan Alexander Blake, 5'11"; 13.11, footballer born in Cardiff. Club Honours: WC'92,'93,;Div 3 '93, Div 1 '97. International Honours: W:7; B-1; U21-5; Youth.
2006 Gene McFadden producer dies. Gene McFadden was an American singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known as one of the key members of the Philadelphia International record label, and was one-half of the successful team of McFadden & Whitehead with John Whitehead. McFadden and Whitehead wrote many hits for Philadelphia International artists such as The O'Jays and Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, and had their own hit with "Ain't No Stopping Us Now" in 1979. He was diagnosed with liver and lung cancer in 2004 and died at his home in the Mount Airy section of Philadelphia of cancer. (mn)

28th. JANUARY   

1787  The Free Africa Society organizes in Philadelphia.
1941  Cash McCall, singer/songwriter/musician, born Maurice Dollison, New Madrid, Missouri, USA. McCall was a songwriter, session musician and vocalist in the R&B and gospel fields. Best known for his 1966 R&B hit "When You Wake Up", McCall began singing with the gospel Belmont Singers at the age of 12. Moving to Chicago in the 60s, he played guitar for the Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, Pilgrim Jubilee Singers and Gospel Songbirds. His secular recording career began in 1963 for One-derful Records. He next signed to the small Thomas label, for which he recorded his only R&B chart hit. Subsequent releases for labels such as Checker, Ronn, Paula and Columbia Records did not fare as successfully. In 1967, McCall wrote "That's How Love Is", a hit for Otis Clay, and also penned songs for artists including Etta James and Tyrone Davis.   (mn-cl)
1941  King Tubby, reggae producer born, Osbourne Ruddock, Kingston, Jamaica, West Indies. (Died February 6, 1985) He was a Jamaican electronics and sound engineer, known primarily for his influence on the development of dub in the 1960s and 1970s. Tubby's innovative studio work, which saw him elevate the role of record producer to a creative height previously only reserved for composers and musicians, would prove to be highly influential across many genres of popular music. He is often cited as the inventor of the concept of the remix, and so may be seen as a direct antecedent of much dance and electronic music production. (mn-cl)
1944  Brian Keenham, with soul group The Chambers Brothers born.The group was formed in 1954 in Los Angeles by four brothers from Mississippi, George, Willie, Lester 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 "Time Has Come Today" (written by Joe & Willie Chambers), from their similarly named third album The Time Has Come. 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. Keenan died of heart failure in 1986.  (mn-jt)
1944  Matthew Henson receives a joint medal from Congress as co-discoverer of the North Pole. [On April 6, 1909 he lead 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. Peary, Henson and four Eskimos were the first known humans to reach the North Pole.] (mn-ss-tr-iokts)
1970  Stars Play Giant Ant-War Benifit In New York. Jimmy Hendrix, Harry Belafonte, Voices Of East Harlem and the cast of Hair all sing in protest of war in Vietnam. (mn-jt)
1973  Carl Asaba, 6'2"; 13.00 footballer, born London, England. (mn-bh)
1986  The space shuttle Challenger explodes after lift-off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, USA. Travelling at 2,500 mph at the time and the crew's intact capsule hit the sea 4 minutes later a 200 mph. One of the dead crew was Dr. Ronald McNeir, a black physicist.
2000  Thomas 'Beans' Bowles, saxophonist/flute player dies from prostrate cancer. He was a 'Funk Brother' part of the Motown in-house session band of the 60's. He played flute on 'Hitch Hike' (Marvin Gaye) and saxophone on 'Heatwave' (Martha/Vandellas). (mn-ac)
2004  Gene Allison, singer dies. Born 29 August 1934. (mn)
2012 The funeral of [Morris Hunting] who opened the Diskery Jazz record shop aged 22 originally in Moor Steet in Birmingham in 1952. Today it's found in Bromsgrove Steet. He is survived by his wife Gisela and daughter Susan. (mn) 
2017 Bobby Freeman singer dies. (b. Robert Thomas Freeman, 13th June 1940, San Francisco, California, U.S.A. Died, Anson, Texas, U.S.A. The Record producer, Songwriter, Soul and R&B singer, Bobby Freeman, has died. Bobby was 76. His death was confirmed by someone who had recently been in touch with the singer. Details on the cause of death have not been revealed. He is, probably, best well known for the self penned 1958 Top Ten hit ‘Do You Want to Dance’. Further success followed in 1964, with another Top Ten hit, with the Sylvester Stewart penned dance-craze hit, ‘C’mon and Swim’ (which reached number 5). Bobby began his recording career at age of 14 with the group The Romancers. The group signed to Dootone Records, they recorded two singles. He then formed a group called the Vocaleers, and then went on to record ‘Do You Wanna Dance’ b/w ‘Big Fat Woman’, which climbed the Billboard singles chart, reaching number 5. The song was later covered by Cliff Richard, in the U.K. Bobby went on to record with several imprints, including Autumn, Josie, Loma and King Records. (soulwalking)
29th. JANUARY  
1837  Alexander Pushkin, Father of Russian Literature, dies in a duel. Born May 26, 1799, Alexander S. Pushkin, Russia's greatest poet, was the grandson of Abram Hannibal (BHPAP 004), the transplanted African who achieved greatness in the armies of the Czars. Pushkins's poetry is still widely read in Russia and, despite the passing years, holds front rank in the land of Tolstoy and Dostoevski. Hear GNPAP 125 (mn-ra)
1901  Black Invention: Electric Railway, Granville T. Woods patents it.
1926  Violette Neatley Anderson is the first African American woman to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. (tr-iokts)
1948  Felice Taylor, soul singer born. Biggest U.K. hit was I Feel Love Coming On, produced by a young Barry White in 1967.Taylor sang in the Sweets, a trio that included her sisters Norma and Darlene. Signed to Bronco and released on the Mustang label, Taylor's three singles -- "It May Be Winter Outside" b/w "Winter Again," "Under the Influence of Love," and "I Feel Love Coming On" -- were co-written and produced by White. After leaving Bronco, Taylor recorded for Kent ("Captured By Your Love"). Years later, she recorded in the U.K. with Eddy Grant and Derv Gordon of the Equals. In the summer of 1973, White's protegées Love Unlimited recorded Taylor's "It May Be Winter Outside" and "Under the Influence of Love." Taylor's Bronco/Mustang singles "It May Be Winter Outside," "I Feel Love Coming On," and "Under the Influence of Love" are available on Boss Soul: The Genius of Barry White, a 1998 various-artists compilation from Del-Fi Records. (mn-jt)
1954  Oprah Winfrey born, is an actress, talk-show host, and one of the most successful entrepreneurs and television personalities in the United States. She is currently involved in many business ventures, but is most identified with her massively popular and eponymous talk show. She is currently ranked as the most powerful celebrity by Forbes magazine[1] as well as the ninth most powerful woman in the world.[2] She is the first African-American woman to become a billionaire. Some believe there to be a gender bias in some of her shows. Shows about infidelity, for example, often focus either on cheating men, or on cheated-on wives. Some critics say Winfrey makes inadequate reference to women who cheat, or may only make cursory comments. Oprah's Book Club has come under fire for its choice of books. Most notably, one of its attempted selectees, author Jonathan Franzen objected to his book The Corrections being chosen, believing that its selection as an Oprah's Book Club book would demean his literary reputation. "She's picked some good books, but she's picked enough schmaltzy, one dimensional ones that I cringe ..." he said in a Powells.com interview (wickpedia)
1961  Pauline Henry, soul singer with The Chimes born.The Chimes were a dance music trio from Scotland, featuring vocalist Pauline Henry (born, in Edinburgh) with Mike Paden and James Locke. They are best known in Europe for their remake of U2's "I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For". which became a UK Top Ten hit. Their only Billboard Hot 100 entry was with the song "1-2-3," which hit #86 in 1990. It spent two weeks at #1 on the Hot Dance Music/Club Play chart, and its follow-up, "Heaven," was another #1 dance chart hit. Henry has also enjoyed dance club success as a solo artist. They are not to be confused with the Brooklyn New York vocal group (also called The Chimes), who had a #11 Billboard Hot 100 hit with "Once In Awhile" in 1961.   (mn-jt)
1966  Mark Stein, football player born in Cape Town, South Africa. Played for Chelsea and Stoke City. (tr)
1996  Hidden Empire (A Son of Africa) - Shown on BBC2 television, a drama-documentary about Olaudah Equiano, a former slave who settled in London and companied for the abolition of slavery. (mn)
2009 Hank Crawford dies in Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. Born Bennie Ross Crawford, Jr, 21st December 1934, Memphis, Tennessee, U.S.A. Hank Crawford has died. He was 74. Hank died Thursday the 29th of January, at his home. Delores Crawford said her brother had been in declining health for the past year, dealing with the long-term effects of a stroke he suffered in 2000. He was born in Memphis, Tennessee and began formal piano studies at age nine and was soon playing for his church choir. On returning from national service, his father brought Hank back an alto saxophone and when Hank entered high school, he learned how to play the instrument in order to join the band. In the late Fifties Hank attended the Tennessee State University in Nashville, Tennessee. Here he majored in music studying theory and composition, as well as playing alto and baritone saxophone in the Tennessee State Jazz Collegians. At college he formed his own group called Little Hank and the Rhythm Kings. Hank then met Ray Charles and Ray hired Hank originally as a baritone saxophonist. Hank later became Ray's musical director up until 1963. He left Ray Charles in 1963 to form his own ensemble. Signing to Atlantic, he recorded twelve LPs for the label, many while balancing his earlier duties as Ray’s director. During the 1970's he recorded several jazz albums with 'I Hear a Symphony' reaching 11 on Billboard (magazine)'s Jazz albums chart. In 1981, he featured, with fellow horn players Ronnie Cuber and David Newman, on B. B. King's 'There Must Be a Better World Somewhere'. In 1983 he moved to Milestone Records as an arranger, soloist, and composer. Then in 1986, he began working with blues-jazz organ master Jimmy McGriff. In the new millennium Hank released 'The World of Hank Crawford'. In 2001 he released 'The Best of Hank Crawford and Jimmy McGriff', and 'Back' in 2007. Hank is survived by two children, Michael A. Crawford and Sherri L. Crawford and a grandchild, Tiffany M. Crawford. (soulwalking)

30th. JANUARY 

1844  Richard Theodore Greener is the first African American to graduate from Harvard University. (tr-iokts)
1928  Ruth Brown soul singer born in Portsmouth, Virginia, USA. Brown started singing at an early age in a choir led by her father. In 1948 she was singing in a band led by her husband Jimmy, when a DJ from the Voice of America radio, recommended her to Ahmet Ertegun at the newly formed Atlantic record label. She was hospitalized for nine months after a car crash, paid for by Atlantic records. She recovered and rewarded them with her first big hit Teardrops in my eyes (1950). (mn-cl)
1946  Jackie Ross, soul singer, born in St. Lois, Missouri, USA. This cool sylish singer made her debut on Sam Cooks's Sar label in 1962. 'Selfish One' (1964), was her first hit single for Chess. The daughter of husband-and-wife preachers, she made her performing debut on her parents' radio gospel show at the age of three. Following her father's 1954 death, the family relocated to the Windy City; there the legendary Sam Cooke, a friend of her mother, recruited Ross for his SAR label, where she issued her debut single, "Hard Times," in 1962. Following a stint singing with Syl Johnson's band, she signed to Chess Records, making her label bow with 1964's "Selfish One"; the single fell just shy of the ~Billboard pop Top Ten, and Ross soon issued a follow-up, "I've Got the Skill," as well as an album, Full Bloom. The superb "Take Me for a Little While" followed in 1965; unbeknownst to Ross, however, the same song had been recently recorded by New York singer Evie Sands as well, and although Sands' version for Blue Cat actually came first, Chess' marketing muscle nevertheless ensured that their label's rendition proved more successful. Ross' disgust with the situation, combined with the negligible royalties she received from "Selfish One," soon prompted her to exit Chess, and in 1967 she landed at Brunswick; two years later, she moved to Jerry Butler's Fountain Productions, but failed to recapture her earlier commercial success.  (mn-cl)
1961  Jody Watley, soul singer with Shalimar born. She started as a dancer on US TV's Soul Train programme. A string of poppy dance-soul hits that would chart in America and the U.K. began in 1979 with "Take That to the Bank." Watley would leave the group in 1982 and eventually move to London, where she recorded some demos with the Art of Noise. It was during this time that she was invited by Bob Geldof to appear on the 1986 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" by Band Aid. She returned to the U.S. late in the year and began working on her solo debut. Recorded with hit producers Bernard Edwards, David Z., Patrick Leonard, and André Cymone -- who eventually become her husband until 1995, when the two divorced -- Watley's 1987 self-titled debut became an instant smash courtesy of its lead single, "Looking for a New Love," and its catch phrase, "hasta la vista, baby." Stylish videos accompanied the future hits "Don't You Want Me" and "Still a Thrill" and would help earn her the award for Best New Artist at the 30th annual Grammy Awards. Two years later she would return with the ambitious album Larger Than Life and the number one hit "Real Love." The album's second single, "Friends," was an early R&B/hip-hop blend with Eric B. & Rakim making an appearance. The remix album You Wanna Dance with Me? surfaced a year later as did the million-selling exercise video Dance to Fitness. Fashion spreads and an appearance in a Gap ad campaign were other non-musical activities, all helping to earn her a spot on People magazine's 50 Most Beautiful People list.   (mn-jt)
1965  Satchel Paige named all time outstanding player by the National Baseball Congress.
1974  Robert John Rollins, 5'9", 14st Essex cricketer born in Painslow, London, England. County debut: 1992; County cap: 1995. (cm-mn)
1980  Professor Longhair blues singer dies, New Orleans, LA., USA. Born Henry Roeland "Roy" Byrd, December 19, 1918, Bogallusa, La.He was one of the pioneers of the New Orleans R&B; his "pupils" included Fats Domino, Huey Smith, Allan Tousaint and Dr. John. Noted for an unorthodox, even eccentric, piano style that was nothing less than a spicy rhythmic gumbo of blues, jazz, calypso, ragtime, and zydeco. (mn-rs)
1982  Lightnin' Hopkins, blues legend dies, Houston, Texas, USA. Born Sam Hopkins, March 15, 1912, Centerville, Texas, USA. Hopkins was a Texas blues great whose career spanned six decades and who, in all probability, made more recordings than any other blues artist. When performing live he used wit and comedy and made verses up as he went along.  (mn-jt)

31st. JANUARY    

1914  Jersey Joe Walcott, heavyweight boxing champion is born. Wins world title July 18, 1951, KO 7, Ezzard Charles, Pittsburgh. (mn-tr-iokts)
1919  Jack Roosevelt Robinson, professional baseball player, first black to play the Major League, born in Cairo, Ga.
1928  Chuck Willis, musician born in Atlanta, Georgia. (Dies April 10, 1958). (mn-jt)
1953  Big Time Sarah, blues belter, born, Sarah Streeter, Coldwater, Mississippi, USA. (mn-rs)
1958  Little Richard quit music at the height of his fame to attend evangelism collage where he stayed for four years. (mn-jt)
 1970  Slim Harpo blues singer, dies aged 45. Born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana real name James Moore, best U.K. hit was Baby Scratch My Back in 1966 on Excello Records.The eldest in an orphaned family, Moore worked as a longshoreman and building worker during the late 30s and early 40s. One of the foremost proponents of post-war rural blues, he began performing in Baton Rouge bars under the name Harmonica Slim. He later accompanied Lightnin' Slim, his brother-in-law, both live and in the studio, before commencing his own recording career in 1957. Named "Slim Harpo" by producer Jay Miller, the artist's solo debut coupled "I'm A King Bee" with "I Got Love If You Want It". Influenced by Jimmy Reed, he began recording for Excello and enjoyed a string of popular R&B singles which combined a drawling vocal with incisive harmonica passages. Among them were "Rainin' In My Heart" (1961), "I Love The Life I Live", "Buzzin'" (instrumental) and "Little Queen Bee" (1964). These relaxed, almost lazy, performances, which featured an understated electric backing, set the tone for Moore's subsequent work. His warm, languid voice enhanced the sexual metaphor of "I'm A King Bee", which was later recorded by the Rolling Stones. The same group also covered the pulsating "Shake Your Hips", which Harpo first issued in 1966, while the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds and Them featured versions of his songs in their early repertoires. Harpo enjoyed a notable US Top 20 pop hit in 1966 with "Baby Scratch My Back" (also a number 1 R&B hit), which revitalized his career. Never a full-time musician, Harpo had his own trucking business during the 60s, although he was a popular figure in the late 60s blues revival, with appearances at several renowned venues including the Electric Circus and the Fillmore East; he suffered a fatal heart attack on 31 January 1970.  (mn)
1972  Aretha Franklin soul singer attended the funeral of Mahalia Jackson and sang a memorial to her. (mn-jt)
1976  Buster Brown, blues singer/harmonica player dies, Brooklyn, NY, USA. He is known for his only hit "Fannie Mae", a catchy R&B number No.1 hit recorded for the New York Fire label in 1960. (Born August 11, 1914, Criss, Ga) (mn-rs)
1989  Donnie Elbert, soul singer dies. Born 25 May 1936 in New Orleans. His prolific career began in the 50's with the Vibraharps. His first solo hit was What Can I Do, released in 1957, but the singer's career was interrupted by a spell in the US Army. Discharged in 1961, recordings for Parkway Records and Checker then followed, before Elbert the labels, Gateway/Upstate, co-founded by Robert Schachner in 1964. His reputation was secured by "Run Little Girl" and "A Little Piece Of Leather", compulsive performances highlighting Elbert's irrepressible falsetto. The latter single became a standard in UK soul clubs when it was released on the Sue label and on the strength of this popularity Elbert went to the UK where he married and settled. The singer pursued his career with several releases, including an album of Otis Redding cover versions, Tribute To A King. Elbert returned to the USA in 1970 although his pounding version of the Supremes' "Where Did Our Love Go?" (1972) was recorded in London. A hit on both sides of the Atlantic, it was followed in 1972 by "I Can't Help Myself", another reworking of a Tamla/Motown Records classic. Elbert's last UK chart entry came with a new, but inferior, version of "A Little Bit Of Leather" (1972), although he continued to appear in the US R&B listings up until 1977. Elbert later moved to Canada where he became an A&R director with PolyGram Records.  (mn-cl) Audio Interview in Mickey Nold archives.
1995  Police Stopped DJ Motorist 26 Times!  Read the headline in the Voice  newspaper. It referred to PCRL's Cee Jay who had been successful at getting £250 compensation for wrongful arrest, now four months later he has received another 4 producers - and he's now fed up! (He will later take the chief constable of the West Midlands Police to Court over this racial harassment - January 1999. See tomorrow's date. (mn-cj)
2014 Anna Gordy dies (b. Anna Ruby Gordy, 12th December 1921, Anna Ruby Gordy, Milledgeville, Georgia, U.S.A. - d. 31st January 2014, Los Angeles, California, U.S.A. ) The songwriter and businesswoman, Anna Gordy Gaye, has died. Anna was 92. She is, probably, best remembered as the ex-wife of the late Marvin Gaye.

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