Saturday, 10 June 2023

Jack Turner born 10 June 1921

Jack Turner (June 10, 1921 - December 29, 1993) sometimes billed as the "Singing River Boy" was an American Country singer and musician. 

Born Will Jack Turner, he came from Haleyville, Alabama. Jack's father was S.W. Turner, a conductor on the I.C. Railroad. Jack made his first public appearance when he was six years old and sang at a county wide gathering that encompassed all Winston County schools. They say that he wore a blue ribbon on his overalls button until it wore out. His mother gave him a ukelele when he was seven and in a couple years, he got his first guitar, an $8.00 special. Where he lived, there were many good fiddle players and before long, Jack could 'second' to the old-time breakdowns. 

Jack had another artistic bent to him. He also enjoyed painting and drawing. His parents often wondered what to make of his varied interests and which way he would turn. He just about almost chose the artist in him as a career. After he graduated from high school, he headed up to Nashville to enrol in an advertising art school. However, the very first Saturday he was there, he went to WSM's Grand Ole Opry and the itch to sang came back again. And somehow, he managed to work both loves into his life. 

Early 1942 saw some changes in Jack's life. He met a gal named Lorene Davidson who was from northern Alabama. Later, he enrolled in the US Navy. While there, he formed a hillbilly band and entertained his fellow troops. He also kept up his artistic work by drawing charts and illustrations along with his regular duties as Yeoman. 

When he got out of the service, he moved his family to Montgomery, Alabama. By then, he had two daughters, Jacqueline and Dixilyn. He got work as an artist-illustrator at the Air University at Maxwell AFB. And also hooked up with a local radio station, too, but they don't mention which one. If he had any spare time, he spent it composing songs and taking private lessons in portrait painting. Not to mention taking an ICS course in commercial art, selling vacuum cleaners part-time and accepting commissions to do portraits. 

Television came to Montgomery like it did to many cities back then. And Jack auditioned and became a regular member of the first Saturday night hillbilly program, "Bar Twenty" that aired over WCOV-TV. He stayed with that for several months. He was turning to music and singing more and more it seems. When WBAM radio came on the air, Jack was a guest on Shorty Sullivan's first "Deep South Jamboree" program and had stayed with them it appears through the mid-1950s. 


Jack eventually got his own show on WBAM and signed on with the RCA Victor record label in 1954. Some of the releases he had back then included: "Shoot I Reckon I Love You" backed with "Walkin' A Chalk Line"; "If I Could Only Win Your Love" backed with "I'm Getting Married Tonight".Turner recorded with some of the best studio musicians that Nashville had at that time and despite fine recordings, that certain hit record wouldn't roll along with RCA. After a total of six discs released on the label (the last one in November 1955), the company dropped Turner from its roster.

However, Turner had built himself quite a following, especially in Alabama. He started two new shows on his own, besides his regular performances on the Deep South Jamboree. On June 6, 1955, the first episode of his half-hour long "Jack Turner Show" aired on WFSA-TV in Montgomery. One June 14, Turner also started another TV show, the "Alabama Jubilee" on the same station. The shows featured his regular band, the Singing River Boys, which included Jimmy Porter on steel guitar. Also appearing with him on TV was his daughter Dixie at times. 

Although Turner's homebase remained Montgomery, he still held his ties to Nashville and signed a new recording contract with Hickory Records in May 1956, but after two records that were unsuccessful he changed labels again to MGM in 1957. Again, after only a few releases, no more records appeared afterwards by Turner and Billboard ceased mentioning him or his shows. It seems, he turned his back on the music business, limiting his career to the 1950s. 

Turner nevertheless enjoyed fishing as well as painting and several of his artworks turned up in the Montgomery area. The themes for his drawings were mostly taken from the Alabama countryside, inlcuding old barns, creeks, and the cotton fields. Nevertheless, Turner also continued singing and entertained his family with his musical abilities, 

The passing date of Jack Turner has been unproven for a long time. At first the suspected date was August 22, 1997, but recently it has been determined that he died on December 29, 1993 and is buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Montgomery.

(Edited from Hillbilly Music & Mellow’s Log Cabin Blog)

Friday, 9 June 2023

Cole Porter born 9 June 1891

Cole Albert Porter (June 9, 1891 – October 15, 1964) was an American composer and songwriter. Many of his songs became standards noted for their witty, urbane lyrics, and many of his scores found success on Broadway and in film. 

Cole Porter was born in Peru, Indiana. His mother gave him the middle name Albert later in his life. With a wealthy grandfather, James Omar Cole, Porter had a comfortable childhood, during which he studied the violin and piano. He preferred the piano, and was soon practicing for two hours every day. At age 11, he wrote a song that his mother helped him publish. 

While an undergrad at Yale University, Porter wrote the fight song "Bulldog," as well as other pieces for student productions; his output during these years totaled approximately 300 songs. As his grandfather didn't want him to have a career in music, Porter was dispatched to Harvard's law school. However, he soon switched to studying music (though his grandfather was told he continued to be a law student). 

After his first musical, See America First, made an unsuccessful appearance on Broadway in 1916, Porter went to France the next year. World War I was still in progress, and he sent home reports that he had joined the French Foreign Legion. Some writers have been skeptical about Porter's claim, but the Legion lists Porter as one of its soldiers and displays his portrait at its museum in Aubagne. By some accounts, he served in North Africa and was transferred to the French Officers School at Fontainebleau, teaching gunnery to American soldiers. He still participated in an active Parisian social life. 

Porter maintained a luxury apartment in Paris, where he entertained lavishly. His parties were extravagant and scandalous and in 1919, he married Linda Lee Thomas, a widowed socialite. Porter's life with Thomas featured travel around Europe. The two set up a home in Paris, and later rented the Palazzo Rezzonico in Venice, Italy. Porter didn't depend on music for an income; in addition to his wife's money, he received financial support from his family. However, he continued to create songs, with his numbers appearing in some London shows. 


Porter wrote "Let's Do It (Let's Fall In Love)" for Paris (1928). The song was a hit, and the beginning of a successful Broadway career that reached new heights in the 1930s. For Gay Divorce (1932), which starred Fred Astaire, Porter wrote "Night and Day." Anything Goes (1934) contained more popular numbers, including "I Get a Kick Out of You" and "You're the Top." 

Other notable songs Porter wrote during this decade are "Begin the Beguine" (1935) and "It's De-Lovely" (1936). His talents found a home on the big screen as well: "Easy to Love" (1936) "I've Got You under My Skin" (1936) and "In the Still of the Night" (1937) were all written for the movies. 

In 1937, Porter was in a riding accident; his horse fell on top of him, crushing both of his legs. The after-effects of his injuries would force Porter to endure more than 30 operations and years of pain. However, in spite of this, he continued to work, producing memorable songs like "Friendship" (1939) and "You'd Be So Nice to Come Home To" (1942). 

Some of Porter's post-accident Broadway shows were successful, if forgettable, such as Something For The Boys (1943). He had a huge flop with Around the World (1946), directed by and starring Orson Welles. In Kiss Me, Kate (1948), adapted from William Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew, Porter once again had a musical hit, receiving a Tony award for his work. The show's songs include "Too Darn Hot" and "I've Come To Wive It Wealthily In Padua." 

Porter's wife died in 1954. Despite his years of extramarital homosexual relationships, she had been a source of friendship and support, and her death was a blow for Porter. He continued to work on both Broadway shows and films—gaining an Academy award nomination for "True Love," written for High Society (1956)—but he also escaped into alcohol and painkillers. 

By 1958, due to his accident, Porter's injuries caused a series of ulcers on his right leg. After 34 operations, it had to be amputated and replaced with an artificial limb. Afterwards Porter never wrote another song and spent the remaining six years of his life in relative seclusion, seeing only intimate friends. He continued to live in the Waldorf Towers in New York in his memorabilia-filled apartment. On weekends, he often visited an estate in the Berkshires, and he stayed in California during the summers. Porter died of kidney failure at age 73 on October 15, 1964, in Santa Monica, California. 

(Edited from & Wikipedia)

Thursday, 8 June 2023

Nancy Sinatra born 8 June 1940

Nancy Sandra Sinatra (born June 8, 1940, in Jersey City, New Jersey) is an American singer and actress. She is the daughter of singer/actor Frank Sinatra from his first wife, Nancy Barbato, and remains known for her 1966 signature hit "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'". 

Growing up as the child of one of the greatest icons in American music can't be easy, but Nancy Sinatra managed to create a sound and style for herself fully separate from that of her (very) famous father, and her sexy but strong-willed persona has endured with nearly the same strength as the image of the Chairman of the Board. Nancy Sinatra was born in the Summer of 1940, while her father, Frank Sinatra, was singing with the Tommy Dorsey Orchestra; as the daughter of show business royalty, Nancy grew up in the spotlight, and made her first appearance on television with her father in 1957. 

It wasn't long before Nancy developed aspirations of her own as a performer — she had studied music, dancing, and voice through much of her youth — and in 1960 she made her debut as a professional performer on a television special hosted by her father and featuring guest star Elvis Presley, then fresh out of the Army. After appearing in a number of movies and guest starring on episodic television, Nancy was eager to break into music, and she signed a deal with her father's record label, Reprise. However, her first hit single, 1966's "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'," made it clear she had the talent and moxie to make it without her father's help. 

Sounding both sexy and defiant, and belting out a definitive tough-chick lyric over a brassy arrangement by Bill Strange (and with the cream of L.A.'s session players behind her), "These Boots Are Made for Walkin'" was an immediate and unstoppable hit, and took the "tuff girl" posturing of the Shangri-Las and the Ronettes to a whole new level. A number of hits followed, including "How Does That Grab You," "Sugar Town," and the theme song to the James Bond picture You Only Live Twice. Nancy also teamed up with her father for the single "Somethin' Stupid," which raced to the top of the charts in 1967. 


Most of Nancy's hits were produced by Lee Hazlewood, who went on to become a cult hero on his own and recorded a number of memorable duets with her, including "Sand," "Summer Wine," and the one-of-a-kind epic "Some Velvet Morning." Nancy reinforced her "bad girl" persona in 1966 with co-starring role opposite Peter Fonda in The Wild Angels, the Roger Corman film that helped kick off the biker flick cycle of the 1960s.

In the early '70s; she also teamed up with Elvis Presley in the 1968 movie Speedway. Nancy continued to record into the early '70s, but in 1970 she married dancer Hugh Lambert (a brief marriage to singer and actor Tommy Sands ended in 1965), and she devoted most of her time to her new life as a wife and mother, as well as working with a number of charitable causes. 

In 1985, she published the book Frank Sinatra: My Father, and became increasingly active in looking after her family's affairs; she published a second book on Frank Sinatra in 1998 and currently oversees the Sinatra Family website. In 1995, Nancy returned to the recording studio with a country-flavored album called One More Time, and she helped publicize it by posing for a sexy photo spread in Playboy magazine. Nancy launched a concert tour in support of the album, and in 2003 teamed up with Hazlewood to record a new album together, Nancy & Lee 3, which sadly was not released in the United States. 

However, Nancy soon returned to the recording studio at the urging of longtime fan Morrissey, and in the fall of 2004 she released a new disc simply entitled Nancy Sinatra, an ambitious set which included contributions from members of U2, Pulp, Calexico, Sonic Youth, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, and other contemporary rock performers. The album's release was followed by more live work from Nancy, including a memorable appearance at Little Steven's International Underground Garage Rock Festival 2004, in which she performed songs from her new album as well as "These Boots Are Made for Walkin" backed by an all-star band (including a horn section) and flanked by dozens of frugging go-go dancers. 

Over the next two decades, Sinatra would continue to make appearances on-stage and onscreen while turning her attention to archival recording projects. She released Shifting Gears, a collection of 15 unreleased Billy Strange-produced recordings of show tunes, all excavated from her personal vaults, on her Boots Enterprises imprint in 2013. Light in the Attic released the compilation Start Walkin' 1965-1976 in 2021; it was the first in the label's reissue campaign called the Nancy Sinatra Archival Series. Several of her albums were reissued in lush packing with new liner notes and bonus tracks. The campaign dovetailed with the label's reissues of Lee Hazlewood material and in 2023, Nancy & Lee Again received its first reissue since its 1972 release. 

(Edited from AllMusic)

Wednesday, 7 June 2023

Teddy Redell born 7 June 1937

Teddy Redell (7 June 1937- 3 September 2014) was an American rockabilly, rock 'n' roll and country musician.

Teddy Riedel's unique style of piano playing has been a fixture of American music for half a century. Born Theodore DeLano Riedel in North Central Arkansas, his early years were spent on the family farm near Quitman, Arkansas. Teddy learned to play piano from his grade school teacher Annie Witt, who focused his lessons around boogie woogie and ragtime popular during the 1920s and 30s. Moon Mullican became his idol and his principal influence. By his teens, Teddy had developed his own style and was writing his own songs.

Teddy's break came at the age of 15 when he was asked to perform on KWCB radio in Searcy, Arkansas, on a program profiling young musicians from area schools. The station was soon flooded with requests for replays of his performance, Steel Guitar Rag. Lloyd Sutherland asked Teddy to join his band for their weekly radio program and Teddy began playing live shows with Sutherland and his band around central Arkansas. In the winter of 1955, popular recording star Wayne Raney brought Teddy to Missouri to appear on his television program on KRCG in Jefferson City.

On March 21, 1955, Redell went into Cincinnati's King studio with Raney and played piano on four tracks, including "Bootleg Boogie" and "Gone With the Wind This Morning". He toured with Raney's band until late 1956. In the summer of 1957 he auditioned for Sam Phillips, but as we all know, Phillips released only a fraction of what he recorded and these Sun recordings are not only unissued, but also untraceable. Redell did session work as a pianist for the small Dub and Stylo labels in Little Rock and, starting 1958, also for the fledgling Vaden label in Trumann, AK, owned by Arlen Vaden

Vaden asked Teddy to play backup for a recording session in 1959. When the lead singer came down with laryngitis, Teddy was given the studio time. Knocking on the Backside and its flipside, Before It Began, was released on Vaden Records under the stage name "Teddy Redell." It quickly became a popular selection in the juke boxes of eastern Arkansas. Teddy's second release, Corrina Corrina / Gold Dust, was recorded at King Studios in Cincinnati, and released on the Vaden label in 1960. His third release, I Want to Hold You / Pipeliner soon followed. 


But it was his fourth release that would become his most famous. Judy was recorded in 1960 and released as the B side of Can't You See on the Vaden and Atco labels. The following year, Judy was released by Elvis Presley and stayed for several weeks on Billboard's Hot 100. The Presley version ensured that Teddy would receive a handsome writer's royalty cheque every six months for the rest of his life.

Teddy was drafted into the U.S. armed services in 1960. He completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, and served the remainder of his two years at Fort Bliss, Texas. During his army years, Teddy continued to play local bars around El Paso. Teddy returned to Arkansas in 1962 and began touring under his own name. In October 1962, Teddy joined with the Pacers to record his fifth release, Poor Ole Me / Between Midnite and Dawn, on Razorback Records.

In 1963, Teddy grew tired of the road and settled in Benton, Arkansas, to learn piano tuning from a professional piano technician. During the 1960s, he continued his songwriting career with an exclusive agreement for Sonny James. In 1964, Teddy married his wife Rose, and they eventually settled in Rose Bud, Arkansas, where he established his own piano service business and ran a farm. Teddy returned to the music scene in the 1970s, performing regularly at local private clubs around Searcy. In 1979, Teddy was approached by record producer Cees Klop of the Netherlands. The first compilation of Teddy's Vaden recordings appeared on LP on White Label, along with a new LP of Teddy's popular club standards from the 1970s, such as Roll In My Sweet Baby's Arms.

Teddy's first European tour in 1988 took him to show dates in the Netherlands and Sweden, followed by a live album release on Collector Records. His second tour in 1991 took him again to the Netherlands and new venues in Germany. A CD compilation of this greatest works appeared that same year. Teddy toured the Netherlands and Sweden again in 1997. His fourth and most recent European tour was to the famous Hemsby Music Festival in England in 2002.

Teddy stooped touring in 2005 and continued to tune pianos until 2011, but still performed for special events around Arkansas. He died on September 3, 2014, at the Greystone Nursing Home in Cabot (Lonoke County) aged 77, and is buried at Crossroads Cemetery in Hopewell (Cleburne County).

(Edited from This Is My Story, &  Encyclopedia of Arkansas)


Tuesday, 6 June 2023

Richard "Popcorn" Wylie born 6 June 1939

Richard Wayne Wylie (June 6, 1939 – September 7, 2008), often known as Popcorn Wylie, was an American pianist, bandleader, songwriter, occasional singer, and record producer who was influential in the early years of Motown Records and was later known for his work on many records in the Northern soul genre. 

Wylie was born in Detroit, Michigan, into a musical family, and learned piano. He gained the nickname "Popcorn" through his habit of popping quickly out of the football team's huddle at Northwestern High School. While at school, he formed a group, Popcorn and the Mohawks, which also included later Motown musicians and producers James Jamerson, Clifford Mack, Eddie Willis, Mike Terry, Lamont Dozier, and Norman Whitfield. The band performed at local venues, where Wylie would front the band wearing a homemade Mohawk headdress. 

In 1960, he released a solo single, "Pretty Girl", on the local Northern label. He also performed at a Detroit club, Twenty Grand, where he met fellow musician Robert Bateman who was working as an engineer at Berry Gordy's fledgling Motown label. Wylie then began recording for Motown, releasing three unsuccessful singles as Popcorn and the Mohawks: "Custer's Last Man" / "Shimmy Gully", followed by a cover of Barrett Strong's "Money (That's What I Want)", and then "Real Good Lovin'". 

He also recorded with Janie Bradford as a duo, Janard, and began working as a backing musician. He played piano on The Miracles' 1961 hit "Shop Around" and The Marvelettes' "Please Mr. Postman", and additionally worked with The Contours, Marvin Gaye, Marv Johnson, The Supremes, Martha & the Vandellas and Mary Wells. He was Motown's first head of A&R, and served as the band leader for the first Motortown Revue tour in 1962.  That same year he left Motown after a disagreement with Gordy, who failed to mention him in his later autobiography. Wylie signed with Epic Records, releasing four singles between 1962 and 1964 on which he was reputedly backed by Sun Ra and members of his Arkestra. 


He later freelanced as a songwriter, producer, and session player for various local labels, including SonBert, Ric-Tic, Correc-tone, Continental and Golden World. He also formed his own labels, Pameline (an amalgamation of his daughters' names) and SoulHawk, in 1966. During this period he worked extensively with singers Edwin Starr and J.J. Barnes, and co-wrote Jamo Thomas' minor hit "I Spy (For the FBI)". Several of the records with which he was involved, including "The Cool Off" by the Detroit Executives, first issued in 1967, and "Nothing No Sweeter Than Love" by Carl Carlton, later became favourites of the Northern soul scene in the UK. He also co-wrote The Platters' 1967 hit, "With This Ring". 

He began recording again, under the name Popcorn Wylie, in 1968, releasing "Rosemary, What Happened?" - another Northern soul favourite - on the Karen label, and "Move Over Babe (Here Comes Henry)" on Carla. In 1971, he briefly returned to Motown, and released his most successful solo single, "Funky Rubber Band", on their subsidiary Soul label. An instrumental, it reached # 40 on the Billboard R&B chart and # 109 on the US pop chart. He recorded an album, Extrasensory Perception, for ABC Records in 1974, working with arrangers McKinley Jackson and Gene Page. Two singles were released from the album in 1975, "Lost Time" and "Georgia's After Hours". 

For some years, Wylie was unaware of the popularity of his earlier records on the UK Northern soul scene, and he reportedly allowed his children to play frisbee with highly collectable singles he had produced and released. In the mid-1980s, he finally travelled to the UK to promote his work, helping to put together compilation albums and working with producer Ian Levine. He recorded "Love is My Middle Name" and "See This Man in Love" for Levine's Motorcity label, and co-wrote songs for fellow Motown veterans The Contours and The Elgins, among others. A selection of his recordings on the Pameline label was issued on a compilation, Popcorn's Detroit Soul Party, in 2002, and he also took part in a 2003 documentary, The Strange World of Northern Soul. 

Though his name would mean nothing to the average music lover, most of Richard “Popcorn” Wylie’s work as an artist, writer and producer is held in huge esteem by those who really know soul. Though his achievements are numerous, the man himself claimed that his best work was ‘With This Ring’ – a big hit, of course, for the Platters. He was so damn proud of it simply because he wrote it for his wife. 

He died at home in Detroit in 2008, aged 69, after suffering from congestive heart problems for some time. 

(Edited from Wikipedia & Soul Jazz Funk 


Monday, 5 June 2023

Ronnie Dyson born 5 June 1950

Ronald Dyson (June 5, 1950 – November 10, 1990) was an American soul and R&B singer and actor. 

Born in Washington, D.C., Dyson grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he sang in church choirs. At 18 years of age, he won a lead role in the Broadway production of Hair, debuting in New York in 1968. Dyson became an iconic voice of the 1960s with the lead vocal in the show's anthem of the hippie era, "Aquarius". It is Dyson's voice leading off the song and opening the show with the famous lyric "When the Moon is in the seventh house, and Jupiter aligns with Mars..." He made a cameo appearance in the 1979 motion picture version of Hair, singing "3-5-0-0" with another Hair alumnus, Melba Moore. 

Dyson had the misfortune, perhaps, to emerge in the late 1960s recording in the same era as signature Soul Men such as Marvin Gaye, Al Green, Curtis Mayfield, Isaac Hayes, and Donny Hathaway. Unlike many of his peers, Dyson’s musical sensibilities were more geared to the theater and the cabaret as than the Chitlin’ Circuit of the day. Dyson was above all, a song stylist who was most comfortable singing tunes in the vein of aforementioned Fifth Dimension, Nancy Wilson, Dionne Warwick, and Johnny Mathis. 

At the dawning of the 1970s and with Stax and Motown defining the sounds of Blackness for mainstream audiences, pitching the youthful Dyson to mainstream audiences with show tunes and 1960s pop standards was going to be a difficult sell. As such, Dyson spent the better part of the first decade of his career trying to find his voice. Nevertheless, it was a show tune, “(If You Let Me Make Love To You) Why Can’t I Touch You?,” from the musical Salvation! that gave Dyson his first taste of pop stardom in 1970, peaking at #9 on both the Pop and Soul charts. The follow-up, "I Don't Wanna Cry", was a US R&B hit, climbing to number nine. 


In 1971, his cover, "When You Get Right Down to It", was a more dramatic version of a song that had been a hit the previous year for the Delfonics; it reached number 34 on the UK Singles Chart in December. His record company, Columbia Records, sent him to Philadelphia in 1973 to be produced by Thom Bell, one of the premier producers of the day, for several tracks. 

Bell's highly orchestrated style suited Dyson with hits including "One Man Band (Plays All Alone)", which reached number 28 on the Hot 100 and number 15 on the R&B chart, and "Just Don't Want to Be Lonely", peaking at number 60 on the Hot 100 and number 29 on R&B. They appeared on an album which was also made up of re-mixes of some earlier recordings, including "When You Get Right Down to It". 

Dyson remained with Columbia working with top-line producers for another three albums, The More You Do It (1976), Love in All Flavors (1977) and If the Shoe Fits (1979). The title track of the first of the three resulted in one of the singer's biggest-selling records, reaching number six on the R&B chart. It was produced by Charles "Chuck" Jackson (half brother of Jesse Jackson and no relation to the more famous singer of the same name, who recorded for the same company in the 1960s) and Marvin Yancy, who had been responsible for successfully launching the career of Natalie Cole with a series of hits. (Jackson and Yancy had also produced hits for a Chicago soul group, The Independents, with whom Jackson was also lead singer.).

Dyson then moved to an Atlantic Records subsidiary label, the Cotillion Records label, in 1981 for two albums and several singles which were only moderately successful. His acting and singing career had begun to stall in the late 1970s due to ill health, and it was in 1983 that Dyson appeared on the R&B chart for the last time on Cotillion with "All Over Your Face". In 1986. After a brief appearance on the soundtrack on Spike Lee’s first theatrical release She’s Gotta Have It (1986). 

Dyson disappeared from the public eye, but in 1990 he released his final solo recording “See The Clown.”. After years of chain-smoking and other excesses and after attending hospital on two separate occasions for a suspected heart condition, he died from heart failure at the age of 40 on November 10, 1990, in Brooklyn, New York. 

A posthumous release on Society Hill Records appeared in 1991, when a duet with Vicki Austin, "Are We So Far Apart (We Can't Talk Anymore)", dented the US R&B chart, reaching number 79 during a five-week run. 

(Edited from Wikipedia, Mark Anthony Neal bio & Soul Walking)