Thursday, 31 December 2015

Odetta born 31 December 1930

Odetta Holmes, (December 31, 1930 – December 2, 2008) known as Odetta, was an American singer, actress, guitarist, songwriter, and a human rights activist, often referred to as "The Voice of the Civil Rights Movement". Her musical repertoire consisted largely of American folk music, blues, jazz, and spirituals. An important figure in the American folk music revival of the 1950s and 1960s, she was influential musically and ideologically to many of the key figures of the folk-revival of that time, including Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Mavis Staples, and Janis Joplin.
Odetta Holmes was born in Birmingham, Ala., on Dec. 31, 1930, in the depths of the Depression. The music of that time and place — particularly prison songs and work songs recorded in the fields of the Deep South — shaped her life. Her father, Reuben Holmes, died when she was young, and in 1937 she and her mother, Flora Sanders, moved to Los Angeles. Three years later Odetta discovered that she could sing.She found her own voice by listening to blues, jazz and folk music from the African-American and Anglo-American traditions. She earned a music degree from Los Angeles City College.
In 1950 Odetta began singing professionally in a West Coast production of the musical “Finian’s Rainbow,” but she found a stronger calling in the bohemian coffeehouses of San Francisco. She moved to New York in 1953 and began singing in nightclubs like the storied Blue Angel, cutting a striking figure with her guitar and her close-cropped hair, her voice plunging deep and soaring high. Her songs blended the personal and the political, the theatrical and the spiritual. Her first solo album, “Odetta Sings Ballads and Blues,” released in 1956, resonated with an audience eager to hear old songs made new.

"There's a Hole in My Bucket" is a children's song, along the same lines as "Found a Peanut". The song is based on a dialogue about a leaky bucket between two characters, called Henry and Liza.
Harry Belafonte recorded it with Odetta in 1960. It was in the UK charts in 1961.

 In 1960 Odetta gave a celebrated solo concert at Carnegie Hall and released a live album of it. Eight years later she was on stage there again, now with Mr. Dylan, Pete Seeger, Judy Collins, Ramblin’ Jack Elliott and other folk stars in a tribute to Woody Guthrie, which was also recorded for an album. Odetta’s blues and spirituals led directly to her work for the civil rights movement.
Her fame hit a peak in 1963, when she marched with the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and performed for President John F. Kennedy. But with King’s assassination in 1968, much of the wind went out of the sails of the civil rights movement, and the songs of protest and resistance that had been the movement’s soundtrack began to fade. Odetta’s fame flagged for years thereafter.
In 1999 President Bill Clinton awarded her the National Endowment for the Arts’ National Medal of Arts. In 2003 she received a Living Legend tribute from the Library of Congress and a National Visionary Leadership award.
Odetta married three times: to Don Gordon, to Gary Shead, and, in 1977, to the blues musician Iverson Minter, known professionally as Louisiana Red. The first two marriages ended in divorce; Mr. Minter moved to Germany in 1983. Odetta was singing and performing well into the 21st century — 60 concerts in the last two years. In April 2007, a half-century after Mr. Dylan first heard her, she returned to Carnegie Hall to perform in a tribute to Bruce Springsteen. She turned one of his songs, “57 Channels,” into a chanted poem, and Mr. Springsteen came out from the wings to call it “the greatest version” of the song he had ever heard.
Her last "big concert," before thousands of people, was in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park on October 4, 2008, for the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass Festival. Odetta, who lived in Upper Manhattan, had been admitted to Lenox Hill Hospital during November 2008 with a number of ailments, including kidney trouble. On December 2, 2008, Odetta died from heart disease and pulmonary fibrosis in New York City. In her last days she had been hoping to sing at the presidential inauguration for Barack Obama.
At her memorial service in February 2009 at Riverside Church in New York City, participants included Maya Angelou, Pete Seeger, Harry Belafonte, Geoffrey Holder, Steve Earle, Sweet Honey in the Rock, Peter Yarrow, Tom Chapin, Josh White, Jr. (son of Josh White), Emory Joseph, Rattlesnake Annie, the Brooklyn Technical High School Chamber Chorus, and videotaped tributes from Tavis Smiley and Joan Baez. (Info edited from Wikipedia & mainly NY Times) 

Wednesday, 30 December 2015

John Hartford born 30 December 1937

John Cowan Hartford (December 30, 1937 – June 4, 2001) was an American folk, country and bluegrass composer and musician known for his mastery of the fiddle and banjo, as well as for his witty lyrics, unique vocal style, and extensive knowledge of Mississippi River lore.
Born John Cowan Harford in New York City, New York, when his father was attending medical school, he moved with his family to Saint Louis, Missouri and his father set up a medical practice. As a boy, he liked the traditional country music he heard on the Grand Ole Opry radio broadcast from Nashville, Tennessee, and by age 13 he was an accomplished guitar player, fiddler and five-string banjo player whose main influences were David "Stringbean" Akeman, Benny Martin, and Earl Scruggs. He was also influenced by many local musicians, including Homer Dillard, his sons Rodney and Doug Dillard, and Gene Goforth, playing music with them every chance that he could.
 After graduating from high school, he attended Washington University in Saint Louis, completing 4 years of a commercial arts program, dropping out to pursue a musical career, but he finally received his Bachelor's of Fine Arts degree in 1960. In 1965 he moved to Nashville, taking a disc jockey job at radio station WSIX and a year later he signed a recording contract with Chet Atkins at RCA, who suggested that he add a "t" to his last name, changing it from Harford to Hartford.

His second Nashville album, "Earthwords & Music," included the track "Gentle on My Mind" which was also recorded and sung by Glen Campbell in 1967, giving the song a much wider publication that resulted in Grammy Awards for the Best Folk Performance and the Best Country and Western Song.
He then relocated to Southern California where he became a regular on The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour and The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour, and continued to record albums. He returned to Nashville in 1971 to go back to his traditional roots, forming a bluegrass band with prominent Nashville musicians that featured guitarist Norman Blake, dobro player Tut Taylor, and Vassar Clemens on fiddle. At that time he switched record labels from RCA to Warner Brothers, recording several albums that would set the tone of his later career, which would be defined as "newgrass."
While music was his first love, his second love was steamboats, and in the 1970s he earned his steamboat's pilot license, working summers on the Julia Belle Swain. He also occasionally worked as a towboat pilot on the Mississippi, Illinois, and Tennessee Rivers.

A wry performer who often wrote witty lyrics to his songs, he invented his shuffle tap dance move, clogging on an amplified piece of plywood while he played and sang. He would change record labels several more times, including his own label Small Dog Barking, continuously experimenting with non-traditional country and bluegrass styles, winning a Grammy Award for his "Mark Twang" album in 1976.
In 1980 he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma but continued to tour and record, and was involved in the narration of the Ken Burns public television series "The Civil War."

In 2000, he recorded several songs for the soundtrack of the movie "O Brother, Where Art Thou," winning another Grammy Award. His last bluegrass album, "Hamilton Iron Works," a collection of old-time fiddle tunes that he had learned throughout his life, was recorded shortly before his death.
Overall, he recorded more than 30 albums that embraced a broad spectrum of styles, from traditional country to "newgrass" to the traditional folk and bluegrass style. In the last few months of his life, his disease progressed to the point where he lost the use of his hands and could no longer play a musical instrument.

He died from his disease at the age of 63. He was given a star on the Saint Louis Walk of Fame and in September 2005 he received a posthumous Presidents Award by the Americana Music Association. (bio mainly by William Bjornstad)

Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Little Joe Cook born 29 December1922

Joseph Cook (December 29, 1922 – April 15, 2014), known as Little Joe Cook, was an American rhythm and blues singer and songwriter. He is best known as the lead singer of Little Joe & The Thrillers, whose song "Peanuts" reached no. 22 on the Billboard Top 100 in 1957.
Joe Cook was born in Philadelphia in 1922, and by 1934 at age 12, had organized his own gospel group, the Evening Star Quartet. With his falsetto voice, winning personality, and dazzling musical instincts, he was a popular local figure in Philadelphia when he 

Little Joe & The Thrillers
started recording in 1949. He later had his own radio show in Philadelphia and in the early ‘50s he decided to make the jump to rhythm & blues, which was booming at the time.

He organized the Thrillers with Farrie Hill (second lead), Richard Frazier (tenor), Donald Burnett (baritone), and Henry Pascal (bass), and by 1956 they had a contract with OKeh, the rhythm & blues imprint of Columbia Records. Their first single "Do the Slop," released that year, became a regional hit in New York and Philadelphia, and got enough action to justify an appearance at the Apollo Theatre in Harlem. The Slop was one of two dances that Little Joe Cook introduced (the other was the Bicycle Bounce), and made him one of the top R&B figures in Philadelphia. It sold well enough to justify further efforts on their behalf by OKeh, which was trying to get in on the rock & roll boom.



The group's second single, "Peanuts," released in 1957, featured Cook's piercing falsetto voice as the lead. It was catchy and distinctive enough to get the group an appearance on American Bandstand. Little Joe & the Thrillers became one of the first R&B groups to score a national hit through television exposure; the single was propelled, with help from Bandstand and host Dick Clark, to number 23 nationally, and it sold in huge numbers.
This was to be the Thrillers' only national hit; they tried to score a second time with "The Echoes Keep Calling Me," a faster-paced number that put Cook's falsetto out in front again, but the record never charted. OKeh kept releasing Little Joe & the Thrillers' records until 1961, with "I Love You for Sentimental Reasons," which ended their contract. The group recorded one single for 20th Century Records before disappearing. (Ironically, the OKeh label that they'd left behind vanished into inactivity around the same time).

While "Peanuts" was climbing the charts, Little Joe Cook and the Thrillers parted company, supposedly over money issues. Joe continued as a solo, billing himself on his next record as "Little Joe, the Thriller". Farris Hill, Harry Paschall, Richard Frazier and Donald Burnett regrouped, changing their name to the Royal Demons and the Madison Brothers.
Joe Cook and the group did remain on friendly terms and Cook used the four on occasion when he needed a group. The original Thrillers were called back in 1960 when Joe needed a group to record "Stay".
During the early '60s, Cook organized a girl group with his daughters, eventually called the Sherrys, who charted with one record before a couple of marriages and a change in management forced them out of the business. Cook moved to Boston in the late 1960s, and continued to perform in clubs. He had a residency at the Cantab Lounge in Cambridge, Massachusetts, from 1980 until he retired in 2007, being voted the region's Best Local R&B Performer in 2002.
Cook died on April 15, 2014, at the age of 91. He is survived by his wife Joanne and six children.
(Info edited from AMG & Wikipedia & doo-wop blogg) 

Monday, 28 December 2015

Johnny Otis born 28 December 1921

Johnny Otis (born Ioannis Alexandres Veliotes; December 28, 1921 – January 17, 2012) was an American singer, musician, composer, arranger, bandleader, talent scout, disc jockey, record producer, television show host, artist, author, journalist, minister, and impresario. A seminal influence on American R&B and rock and roll, Otis discovered artists such as Little Esther, Big Mama Thornton, Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John and Hank Ballard and Etta James. Known as the original "King of Rock & Roll", he is commonly referred to as the "Godfather of Rhythm and Blues".
Otis was born in Vallejo, California, to Greek immigrants Alexander J. Veliotes, a Mare Island longshoreman and grocery store owner, and his wife, the former Irene Kiskakes, a painter. He grew up in a predominantly black neighbourhood in Berkeley, California, where his father owned a neighbourhood grocery store.
Otis began playing drums as a teenager, when he purchased a set by forging his father's signature on a credit slip. Soon after he dropped out of Berkeley High School during his junior year, Otis joined a local band with pianist friend 'Count' Otis Matthews called the West Oakland Houserockers. By 1939, they were performing at many of the local functions, primarily in and around the Oakland and Berkeley area, and became quite popular among their peers.
Otis played in a variety of swing orchestras, including Lloyd Hunter's Serenaders, and Harlan Leonard's Rockets, until he founded his own band in 1945 and had one of the most enduring hits of the big band era, "Harlem Nocturne", an Earle Hagen composition.
His band included Wynonie Harris, Charles Brown, and Illinois Jacquet, to name a few. In 1947, he and Bardu Ali opened the Barrelhouse Club in the Watts district of Los Angeles. He reduced the size of his band and hired singers Mel Walker, Little Esther Phillips and the Robins (who later became the Coasters). He discovered the teenaged Phillips when she won one of the Barrelhouse Club's talent shows. With this band, which toured extensively throughout the United States as the California Rhythm and Blues Caravan, he had a long string of rhythm and blues hits through 1950.

Otis discovered tenor saxophonist Big Jay McNeely, who then performed on his uptempo "Barrelhouse Stomp". He began recording Little Esther and Mel Walker for the Newark, New Jersey-based Savoy label in 1949, and began releasing a stream of hit records, including "Double Crossing Blues", "Mistrustin' Blues" and "Cupid Boogie"; all three reached no. 1 on the Billboard R&B chart. In 1950, Otis was presented the R&B Artist of the Year trophy by Billboard. He also began featuring himself on vibraphone on many of his recordings.
In 1951, Otis released "Mambo Boogie" featuring congas, maracas, claves, and mambo saxophone guajeos in a blues progression. This was to be the very first R&B mambo ever recorded.
Around the time Otis moved to the Mercury label in 1951, he discovered vocalist Etta James, who was only 13 at the time, at one
Johnny Otis, center, with Mel Walker and Esther Phillips
of his talent shows. He produced and co-wrote her first hit, "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)".
Otis produced the original recording of " Hound Dog" written by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller with vocal by Big Mama Thornton, and was given a writing credit on all six of the 1953 releases of the song. As an artist and repertory man for King Records he also discovered Jackie Wilson, Hank Ballard, and Little Willie John, among others. He also became an influential disk jockey in Los Angeles.

However, he continued to perform, and in April 1958, he recorded his best-known recording "Willie and the Hand Jive", which went on to be a huge hit in the summer of 1958. His most famous composition is "Every Beat of My Heart", first recorded by The Royals in the 1952 but which became a huge hit for Gladys Knight.

In the 1960s he entered journalism and politics, losing a campaign for a seat in the California Assembly (one reason for the loss may be that he ran under his much less well known real name). He then became chief of staff for Democratic Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally. He was also was the pastor of Landmark Community Church. In 1969 he recorded an album of sexually explicit material under the name Snatch and the Poontangs. In 1970 he played at the legendary Monterey Jazz Festival with Little Esther Phillips and Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson.
In the 1990s Otis bought a farm near Sebastopol, California, north of San Francisco. For a time he ran a coffee shop / grocery store / blues club, where one of the featured singers was the Georgia-born singer Jackie Payne. Around this time Otis also founded and pastored a new church, Landmark Community Gospel Church, which held weekly rehearsals in the tiny town of Forestville, California and Sunday services in Santa Rosa, California. Landmark's worship services centered on Otis' preaching and the traditional-style performances of a gospel choir and a male gospel quartet, backed by a rocking band that featured Otis' son Nicky Otis and Shuggie's son, Lucky Otis. The church closed its doors in the mid 1990s.
Otis continued performing through the 1990s and headlined the San Francisco Blues Festival in 1990 and 2000, although because of his many other interests he went through long periods where he did not perform. He was elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994. 
He had a popular radio show on KPFA, called The Johnny Otis Show. This show was aired every Saturday Morning, live from the Powerhouse Brewery in Sebastopol. Listeners were invited to stop in for breakfast and enjoy the show live. Alas, the show's frequency deteriorated along with Johnny's health. When Otis moved to Los Angeles, the show stuttered, then stopped completely and now even the Powerhouse has closed its doors. The last real show was August 19, 2006 when Otis and his wife relocated back to Los Angeles.

Otis died of natural causes on January 17, 2012, in the Altadena area of Los Angeles just three days before Etta James, whom he had discovered in the early 1950s. (Info from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 27 December 2015

John Hughey born 27 December 1933

John Hughey (December 27, 1933 – November 18, 2007) was an American musician. He was known for his work as a session pedal steel guitar player for various country music acts, most notably Vince Gill and Conway Twitty. A member of the Pedal Steel Guitar Hall of Fame, Hughey was known for a distinctive playing style called "crying steel", which focused primarily on the higher range of the guitar.
John began playing guitar at age nine, when his parents bought him an acoustic guitar from Sears. Influenced by Eddy Arnold's steel guitarist, Little Roy Wiggins, Hughey asked his father to buy him a lap steel guitar. Along with Jenkins and other high school friends, Hughey performed in a local band called the Phillips County Ramblers. Hughey first played professionally as a member of Slim Rhodes and The Mother's Best Mountaineers and stayed with them for 15 years.
In 1968 he met up with his childhood friend Conway Twitty and became a member of Twitty’s backing band, the Lonely Blue Boys. His steel guitar playing was featured on Twitty’s first US country number 1, ‘Next In Line’.

The Lonely Blue Boys evolved into the Twitty Birds and for a time, also included John’s brother, Gene. His steel guitar with its ‘crying’ sound was featured on most of Conway’s chart-topping singles, but by 1980 Hughey was becoming frustrated. Twitty had sold the franchise for his souvenirs to another company and so his backing musicians no longer received their percentage cut on the sales. Twitty was also moving away from the steel guitar and after several unhappy years, Hughey finally left in 1988.
His session work included two albums with Elvis Presley (From Elvis In Memphis and Back In Memphis) as well as albums with Joe Diffie, Alan Jackson, Reba McEntire, Dean Martin, Marty Stuart, Willie Nelson, Dickey Betts and Dolly Parton.
By the 1980s, he began playing for Loretta Lynn, then moved on to play steel for Vince Gill for twelve years. Hughey was inducted into the Steel Guitar Hall of Fame in 1996. In the 2000s, he and several other Nashville musicians formed a Western swing band called The Time Jumpers, who performed every Monday at a club in Nashville.
Hughey's method of steel guitar playing was known as the "crying steel" method, because of his use of tremolo on the instrument's higher range Vince Gill has cited Hughey as giving "definition" to his music, citing the single "Look at Us" (from 1991's Pocket Full of Gold) as an example. According to Gill, that song's steel guitar intro "makes that song recognizable by what happens before any words even get sung. "Marty Stuart, for whom Hughey played on the 1992 album This One's Gonna Hurt You, described him as "a top drawer statesman who helped define the whole 20th century sound of country music".
Hughey died in Nashville on November 18, 2007 from heart complications, one month after having had a stent put in his heart. His funeral was held on November 21, 2007 at the First Baptist Church in Hendersonville, Tennessee. (Info edited from Wikipedia & AMG) 

Thursday, 24 December 2015

Lulu Belle born 24 December 1913

Myrtle Eleanor (Lulu Belle) Cooper (December 24, 1913 – February 8, 1999) and Scott Greene Wiseman (November 8, 1908 – January 31, 1981), known professionally as Lulu Belle and Scotty, were one of the major country music acts of the 1930s and 1940s, dubbed The Sweethearts of Country Music. 

Myrtle Eleanor Cooper was born in Boone, North Carolina; Wiseman was from Spruce Pine, North Carolina. Lulu Belle and Scotty enjoyed enormous national popularity thanks to their regular appearances on National Barn Dance on WLS-AM in Chicago, a rival to WSM-AM's Grand Ole Opry. Barn Dance enjoyed a large radio audience in the 1930s and early 1940s with some 20 million Americans regularly tuning in.

The duo married on December 13, 1934, one year after Wiseman became a regular on Barn Dance (Cooper had been a solo performer there since 1932). The duo is best known for their self-penned classic "Have I Told You Lately That I Love You?", which became one of the first country songs to attract major attention in pop circles and was recorded by many artists in both genres. 

Cooper was the somewhat dominant half of the duo with a comic persona as a wisecracking country girl. Her most famous novelty number was "Daffy Over Taffy". In 1938, she was named Favourite Female Radio Star by the readers of Radio Guide magazine, an unusual recognition for a country performer. 
Lulu Belle and Scotty recorded for record labels including Vocalion Records, Columbia Records, Bluebird Records; and Starday Records, in their final sessions during the 1960s reprising their old hits. They were among the first country music stars to venture into feature motion pictures, appearing in such films as Village Barn Dance (1940), Shine On, Harvest Moon (1938), County Fair (1941) and The National Barn Dance (1944). 

For eight years from 1949, Lulu Belle and Scotty hosted their own daily television programme on the Chicago station WNBQ. In 1958 they surprised their fans by virtually quitting music and moving back to North Carolina. Although three albums were cut for Starday, The Sweethearts of Country Music (1963), Down Memory Lane (1964) and Sweethearts Still (1965), their performing days were all but over. He returned to college and obtained a master's degree. He then became a teacher, a farmer, and a bank director whilst she became involved in local politics, eventually serving in the state legislature.  Cooper served two terms from 1975 to 1978 in the North Carolina House of Representatives as the Democratic representative for three counties. In 1977, she gave a memorable speech in which she revealed that she had been raped on the country music circuit. 

Scotty Wiseman was inducted into the Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame in 1971. After his death in 1981 from a heart attack in Gainesville, Florida, Cooper married Ernest Stamey in 1983; and in 1989 recorded “Snickers and Tender Memories,” her first album in 20 years for a small traditional music label, Mar-lu Records out of Portageville, Missouri.
Myrtle Stamey died of Alzheimer's disease  in Ingalls, North Carolina, aged 85. In 2014, Lulu Belle and Scotty Wiseman were posthumously inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. (Info mainly Wikipedia)

Wednesday, 23 December 2015

Freddy Gardner born 23 December 1910

Freddy Gardner (born Frederick James Gardner December 23, 1910, London, England. d: July 26, 1950) was a leading British jazz and dance band musician during the 1930s and '40's.

His father sold artist's materials, while his mother was a dressmaker. Self-taught, he took up the saxophone at 15 to help to alleviate asthma. After minimal coaching he formed the semi-professional New Colorado Band in 1928, and a year later, while working as an office clerk, entered the band in a contest at Chelsea Town Hall, and won. He was spotted by the founding editor of Melody Maker magazine who was distributing the prizes, and a year later secured his first regular professional position. In 1933, now married to Kathleen, Freddy was taken under the wing of Ray Noble and recorded with the New Mayfair Orchestra.

He was a virtuoso not only on clarinet and alto sax but also on the whole saxophone family. He played in the top London clubs when working with Sidney Lipton's Orchestra; later with Bert Firman's band, and with Canadian-born Billy Bissett, who spent three years in England from 1936, playing at the Mayfair Hotel, London. Gardner became a prolific record session player, doubling on all the reeds, although his main instrument was alto sax. When Duke Ellington came to London for the first time, Freddy played to Ellington's accompaniament at a club in Wardour Street, to the admiration of the Duke's regular saxophonist, Otto Hardiwcke. 
Gardner led small groups in 1936/37, on the Interstate label, distributed by Interstate Music in East Sussex, England. Toward the end of 1937, he began to be billed as "Freddy Gardner and his Swing Orchestra' with which he made many recordings. The band included such musicians as George Chisholm and Ted Heath. These were regularly featured on radio broadcasts, and the band accompanied 'Buck and Bubbles' on their visit to Britain in the late 1930s. Many of the orchestra's arrangements were scored by Gardner himself. He also played with George Scott Wood and his Six Swingers, whose vocalist was Sam Costa, as well as with the Benny Carter Orchestra during Carter's sojourn in Europe. 

During World War II, Freddy -always known as 'FG' - joined the Royal Naval Patrol Service (as a diesel engineer) under Eastern Command. An official dance band for the RNPS, called the Blue Mariners, was set up and led by George Crow. Their home was the Sparrow's Nest at Lowestoft, an entertainment centre-cum-theatre appropriated by the Royal Navy, which also attracted theatre and radio stars such as Eric Barker. Other musicians in the band were drawn from the orchestras of Henry Hall and Ambrose. Freddy Gardner was regularly given special leave to continue his recording and broadcasting, such was his high reputation. Other recordings at this time were made under the band name 'Freddie Gardner and his Mess Mates'.

After WWII service, he continued with extensive freelance work, notably as a star soloist with the Peter Yorke Concert Orchestra which usually comprised between 30 to 40 musicians.This band was formed for the BBC and featured in weekly radio programmes such as The Starlight Hour, and Sweet Serenade. Gardner's 78rpm recordings of classics such as 'Stardust', 'Smoke gets in your eyes', and especially 'I only have eyes for you' continue to be much admired.

The last of these was recorded at EMI’s Abbey Road studios on 29 April 1948, just two years before his sudden death Many of his recordings are still available on CD.
Freddy loved golf, all forms of transport and was a keen modeller. He was taken ill while mending one of his sons' bicycles in the garden of his flat near Marble Arch, and though rushed to hospital, he died of a stroke on 26 July 1950 at only 39 years old. Many in the profession attended his memorial service and he is buried in Willesden Cemetery.(Info from Wikipedia)