Thursday, 29 November 2018

Bobbi Martin born 29 November 1943

Bobbi Martin (November 29, 1943 – May 2, 2000) was an American country and pop music singer, songwriter, and guitarist.

Born Barbara Anne Martin in Brooklyn on November 29, 1938, but grew up and began her singing career in Baltimore, working her
way up from local venues onto the national nightclub circuit. Bobbi began her recording career with the tiny Maypole Records in 1960 with the release (Ay Ay Ay) I'll Wait Forever/Is It True. It did well enough on a regional basis to get her a deal with Decca's Coral subsidiary in 1961, where she would experience almost four years of frustration trying to land that one breakthrough national hit until she released her debut album, Don't Forget I Still Love You.


The title track was a hit in the U.S., peaking at No. 2 on the Easy Listening (adult contemporary) chart and No. 19 on the Billboard Hot 100. A follow-up single "I Can't Stop Thinking of You", first introduced on the nationally televised Dean Martin Show won her the Cashbox Disc Jockey Poll as Most Promising Female Vocalist of 1965.

Judging from the results of her next eight Coral singles, at least insofar as the Hot 100 was concerned, it looks like the effects of the British Invasion finally took hold (as it did on quite a few other North American artists), although she clearly had established a loyal following within the Easy Listening market. Then, in October 1966, her cover of the 1958 Don Gibson hit, Oh, Lonesome Me, reached # 64 Country and # 134 Hot 100 Bubble and then two more failed releases following which she was dropped by Coral in early 1967.

Next stop was United Artists where she again experienced frustration with five straight failed releases, most of which were covers of old hits: While popular at nightclubs in Miami Beach, New York, Las Vegas and Puerto Rico, and on TV appearances with the Jackie Gleason, Ronnie Dove, Tonight, and Dean Martin Shows, it would be 5 years before she scored another hit with "For the Love of Him", from the album of the same name. This song went to No. 1 on the Adult Contemporary chart and No. 13 on the Hot 100.  Bobbie toured with Bob Hope on his 1970 USO military Christmas Show in Vietnam.

The singer charted with many smaller regional, Bubbling Under Hot 100 and Easy Listening chart records up to 1972. But while she would then retain her new-found popularity with the Easy Listening audience for the next little while, the Hot 100 would more or less elude her.

In 1971 she got married and resurfaced at Buddah Records where she charted with two records Tomorrow and Something Tells Me (Something's Gonna Happen Tonight). It was also during that year she lost her mother to cancer. Then more tragedy struck when she lost her voice due to swelling of her vocal chords.

In 1975 she had a daughter and she tended to family life in Dallas, but by 1981 her marriage fell apart and she lived off the remnants of “For The Love of him” royalties. She worked painstaking hours with a vocal coach and gradually her singing voice returned. She continued recording into the early 1980s and after which she retired and sold real estate.

Martin died of lung cancer on May 2, 2000 at the Brighton Wood Knoll medical facility in Baltimore. Martin had one daughter, Shane Clements.

(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia,Amazon & Times Herald-Record)

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Michel Berger born 28 November 1947

Michel Berger (born Michel Jean Hamburger; 28 November 1947 – 2 August 1992) was a French singer and songwriter. He was a figure of France's pop music scene for two decades as a singer and as a songwriter for such artists as Françoise Hardy, Johnny Hallyday, and his own wife, France Gall.

Berger was born in Paris and raised by a renowned medical doctor father and a classical musician mother. He began playing piano in his early childhood. He quickly was taken by an urge of learning other instruments as well as arrangement, orchestration, composing skills, and theory. Though his formation was classical, and like many musicians of his generation, Berger fell in love with the rising sounds of R&B and rock & roll.

Slowed down by his shyness, he first wrote and worked for other artists, his first, kind of unlikely, collaboration being Bourvil's "La Girafe." Pretty soon, though, he began to release a series of singles under his own name and got himself an artistic director job at Pathé-Marconi's, for which he produced Jean-François Mickaël's hit single "Adieu Jolie Candy." In 1970, he produced Jeremy Faith's single "Jesus" during a Los Angeles stay, started producing Véronique Sanson's albums in the early '70s, and '60s-fame Françoise Hardy's 1973 comeback album. In 1971, when Véronique Sanson, with whom he had been having an affair, left him for Stephen Stills, he had taken some time to write his first LP, Puzzle, in which he had tried to synthesize most of his English pop influences with his heartbreak-inspired lyrics, but that would disappear under the radar.

During his multiple studio activities, though, he had met France Gall, also left heartbroken by her separation with Julien Clerc. Kind of destroyed after the 60s, at the end of which she had drawn back from the music business because (among other reasons) of the trick she said Serge Gainsbourg had played on her by making her sing the ambiguous fellatio parable "Les Sucettes," she was in need of a rightful, serious comeback that would display her real talents. Berger would be the one for the job, and would write the entire 1973 La Déclaration album for her.

The collaboration happened to be successful, both artistically and emotionally, and Gall and Berger got married in 1976. Berger kept working at his usual intense pace when he came up, with Quebec's Luc Plamondon, with an idea for a musical telling the life and times of a rock singer, Johnny Rockfort, and entitled Starmania. The record was released in 1978, and French and Canadian singers were cast for stage play, including Daniel Balavoine as Johnny Rockfort, Diane Dufresnes, and Fabienne Thibeault. 

Starmania happened to be a huge success, and was played again in 1980 with a different cast and translated into English under the title Tycoon in 1991, with such famous overseas acts as Cock Robin's Peter Kingsbury, Tom Jones, Céline Dion, Nina Hagen, and Cyndi Lauper.

In the early '80s, Berger finally won over his shyness and, fueled by the many Starmania and France Gall hit singles, began to take over the stage, releasing many strong singles with his own singing, revealing a voice too rarely heard in the past years, and incredibly compatible with France Gall's. In 1985, he got to write material for French fame massive record seller Johnny Hallyday, offering him a nice comeback and refound credibility. 

The '80s undoubtedly were Berger's golden era. Only the Plamondon co-signed musical La Légende de Jimmy would happen to be received in a lukewarm way.

Two of his most famous singles pay respect to some of his idols: the Jerry Lee Lewis-inspired "Il Jouait du Piano Debout" and the Elton John-inspired "La Groupie du Pianiste."


Involving himself more and more in humanitarian actions alongside his close friend Daniel Balavoine, Berger ended up getting bored and took a short break to concentrate on non-musical projects. In 1992, feeling ready, he released a comeback album, Double Jeu, under the name of Berger/Gall, which came as a surprise but was warmly received by both critics and popular audience. 

Berger decided to plan a stay in the French Riviera to relax before the beginning of the following tour with his wife. The news of his death by heart attack on August 2, 1992, after a tennis game came as a shock to the music business and to the French people in general, who had already lost such beloved characters as Balavoine and Coluche in the '80s. Sadly, Berger's death made of Double Jeu a sinister parallel to Lennon/Ono's Double Fantasy.

(Edited mainly from AllMusic)

Tuesday, 27 November 2018

Eddie South born 27 November 1904

Eddie South (Louisiana, Missouri, November 27, 1904 – April 25, 1962) was one of the top American jazz violinists and band leaders of the pre-bop era. He was a brilliant technician who, were it not for the universal racism of the time, would probably have been a top classical violinist. In his day he was billed as “The Dark Angel of the Violin.” 

A child prodigy, Edward Otha South graduated from the Chicago Music College. Since classical positions were not open to black violinists in the 1920s, South learned to play jazz (helped out by Darnell Howard). In the early to mid-'20s, he started his career playing in vaudeville and jazz orchestras with Freddie Keppard, Jimmy Wade, Charles Elgar, and Erskine Tate in Chicago. He studied at the Chicago College of Music alongside violinist Petrowitsch Bissing.

In 1927 he started his own group, Eddie South and his Alabamians, named after the Alabam club where they played in Chicago, and, along with pianist and composer Henry Crowder, toured with them in Europe from 1928 to 1930. During this period the band recorded for Victor Records.

In the 1930s on he was in great demand in a wide range of venues, appearing and recording in Hollywood, Chicago, New York and Paris, frequently performing and recording in Europe: France, England and Holland.  South's visit to Europe (where he studied at the Paris Conservatoire) made a deep impression on the violinist,
particularly his visit to Budapest.

The expressive lyricism of gypsy violin music made a deep impression on South, and remained a powerful influence for the rest of his life.  However, that this inclination (and his classical tendencies) conspired to marginalize his popularity among Jazz and Popular audiences.  Nonetheless, a central European repertoire and gypsy tunes was the mainstay of Eddie South’s personal musical style and he would often utilize gypsy melodies as a basis for jazz improvising. In 1931, South returned to Chicago, where his regular band included the young bassist Milt Hinton.


South also hooked into another aspect of Gypsy tradition during his many lengthy stays in Europe, joining up with Django Reinhardt -- who was transforming his Manouche gypsy tradition into a fresh new Jazz style with Stephane  Grappelli in their Quintet of the Hot 

Club of France.  The result was some of Eddie South’s most 
spectacular collaborations and best pure jazz records, such as his exquisite 1937 duet with Django called “Eddie’s Blues” and several outstanding records of the Quintet with both Stephane and Eddie such as “Dinah” “Lady Be Good” and “Fiddle Blues.”

Although playing in the big bands of Earl Hines from 1947 to 1949 and also leading his own bands that included pianist Billy Taylor,  South never really had a major breakthrough commercially in his career. Through the ‘40s & ‘50s South continued to be heard widely on radio in the U.S.; held numerous residencies in New York, Los Angeles and Chicago; and performed on Armed Forces Radio.

A 1951 recording for Chess Records, Eddy South and his Orchestra credited Johnny Pate on bass and arrangements and was also the first of a series of Chess recordings on which Pate collaborated with saxophonist Eddie Johnson. South also recorded for Mercury, and also made a final set released by Trip in 1959. He was even on Chicago television in the 1950s, and later in New York with such TV personalities as Dave Garroway, continuing to perform until a few weeks before his death in Chicago April 25, 1962.

Eddie South's early recordings (covering 1927-1941) have been reissued on a pair of Classics CDs.

(Edited from Wikipedia, Jazz Rhythm & AllMusic)

Monday, 26 November 2018

Arthur & George McFarland born 26 November 1906

Arthur & George C. McFarland  (born 26 November 1906) were twin saxophonists active during the late 20’s through to the mid 40’s.

Born in Long Island, New York, Art and George played with the Fred Waring Orchestra until 1929 when they did solo engagements. They were the first to play at the Cavalier Beach Club which opened on Memorial Day in 1929. George played alto sax and brother Arthur the tenor sax.

By the late 30’s they decided to expand into the dance band arena. 
Whether or not they were truly representative of this genre is debatable. Their stylized sound was widely described as ‘Mickey Mouse’ by critics, with its accent on novelty and irreverent fun. Nevertheless they persevered, and in the 40s switched their style to a more polished, musical standpoint. Engagements in this period saw them include pianist Geoff Clarkson in their ranks, alongside singers Betty Engells, Dick Merrick and the Norton Sisters.


They recorded regularly for OKeh Records, including their theme song, ‘Darkness’, and proved a popular if light-hearted attraction at various ballrooms throughout America. The McFarland Twins band also did a single session with Bluebird in January 1942 that featured young Don Cornell on vocal singing "Hey Zeke. However, by the advent of World War II the novelty of their fraternal leadership had grown thin and they rarely performed again.

Arthur died July 17, 2008 in Carmel California and George apparently died during 1997.

(Info very scarce but edited mainly from AllMusic and  Stoddards Hale blog - Any more information about these two would be gladly received)

Sunday, 25 November 2018

Dick Wellstood born 25 November 1927

Richard MacQueen "Dick" Wellstood (November 25, 1927 – July 24, 1987) was an American jazz pianist.

He was one of the two great stride pianists (along with Ralph Sutton) to emerge during the 1940s when members of their generation were generally playing bebop. He kept an open mind toward later styles (he loved Monk) while sounding at his best playing classic jazz. A little more subtle than Sutton, Wellstood was also a powerful pianist who was a superb interpreter of the music of James P. Johnson and his contemporaries.

Wellstood was born in Greenwich, Connecticut. He studied the piano in Boston and New York and made his professional debut in 1946 at Jimmy Ryan's, on what was once a haven for jazz in Manhattan, 52d Street which was then known as Swing Street.  He played with Bob Wilber's Wildcats in 1946, and became a mainstay on the trad jazz scene, playing with Sidney Bechet in 1947 and in the 1950s with Jimmy Archey, Conrad Janis, Roy Eldridge, Rex Stewart, Charlie Shavers, and Eddie Condon.

                      Here's "Mule Walk" from above album.


During those years, Mr. Wellstood played the piano to pay his way through college. He later worked his way through the Columbia University Law School, from which he graduated in 1958. He was the house pianist at New York City clubs Metropole and Nick's in the late 1950s and 1960s. he did session work as well playing on albums such as The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan (1963) and Odetta & The Blues (1962)

Wellstood played with the Gene Krupa Quartet. When Mr. Krupa first retired in 1967, Mr. Wellstood joined a group that played clubs along the Jersey Shore, a group known variously as the Fifth Avenue Four, Can of Worms and Dick Wellstood's Hot Potatoes. Work at Law Firm. He  later joined the World's Greatest Jazz Band.

He played locally in the 1970s playing solo concerts, performing at jazz parties, and recording quite a few memorable albums.  In 1977 completed a tour of the UK with the Dutch Swing College Band. In the 1980s he played often with Kenny Davern. From 1980 to 1986, 

he was the house pianist at Hanratty's restaurant at 92nd and 2nd in Manhattan for 6–8 months a year. In 1985, a slow summer for him, Mr. Wellstood decided to put his law degree to use. He spent 10 months with a law firm and returned to Hanratty's.

''The firm liked my work, and I could have stayed there,'' he said. ''But I realized that all those years in music had ruined me for something like the law.'' John S. Wilson, a music critic of The New York Times, noted that despite the layoff, ''Mr. Wellstood's stride piano-playing was as energetic and virtuosic as ever.''

In 1987 he died of a heart attack in Palo Alto, California where he went to attend the Peninsula Jazz Party. At the time of his death he was the pianist for Bemelman's Bar of the Carlyle Hotel in New York City.

(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia, AllMusic and NY Times)

Saturday, 24 November 2018

Scott Joplin born 24 November 1868

Scott Joplin (November 24, 1868 – April 1, 1917) was an African-American composer and pianist. Joplin achieved fame for his ragtime compositions and was dubbed the "King of Ragtime”. During his brief career, he wrote 44 original ragtime pieces, one ragtime ballet, and two operas. One of his first and most popular pieces, the "Maple Leaf Rag", became ragtime's first and most influential hit, and has been recognized as the archetypal rag.

Born in Texas, Joplin was raised in Texarkana, the son of a labourer and former slave. As a child, Joplin taught himself piano on an instrument belonging to a white family that granted him access to it, and ultimately studied with a local, German-born teacher who introduced Joplin to classical music. Joplin attended high school in Sedalia, MO, a town that would serve as Joplin's home base during his most prosperous years, and where a museum now bears his name.

In 1891, the first traceable evidence of Joplin's music career is found, placing him in a minstrel troupe in Texarkana. In 1893, he played in Chicago during the Columbian Exposition was held, reportedly leading a band with a cornet. Afterward, Joplin settled in Sedalia, worked with other brass bands and founding a vocal group called the Texas Medley Quartette. During an 1895 appearance in Syracuse, NY, the quality of Joplin's original songs for the Texas Medley Quartette so impressed a group of local businessmen that they arranged for Joplin's first publications. Around 1896, Joplin enrolled in Sedalia's George R. Smith College for Negroes to study formally, publishing a few more pieces in the years to follow.


In 1899, publisher John Stark of Sedalia issued Joplin's second rag time composition, "Maple Leaf Rag”.  By the end of 1899, Joplin presented his first ambitious work, the ballet The Ragtime Dance, at the Wood Opera House in Sedalia. It didn't appear in print until 1902, and then only in a truncated form. Joplin moved to St. Louis in 1901, as did Stark, who set his new 
publishing venture up as "The House of Classic Rags." Joplin wrote many of the other rags he is known for during this time, including "The Entertainer," "The Easy Winners," and "Elite Syncopations."

In 1903, Joplin organized a touring company to perform his first opera, A Guest of Honour, which foundered after a couple of months, leaving Joplin destitute. He had recovered well enough to appear at the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair to present his rag "The Cascades," which proved his second great success. Joplin also married for a second time to a woman who died only a few weeks into their marriage after a bout with pneumonia, plunging Joplin into another bout of despair.

During a visit to Chicago in 1907 he renewed an acquaintance with the St. Louis pianist Louis Chauvin, who did not long outlast the visit. Joplin utilized a strain drawn from Chauvin's playing into the finest of his "collaborative" rags, "Heliotrope Bouquet." This was published after Joplin moved to New York in 1907. Stark had also resettled there, and they resumed their partnership to some degree, but Joplin also published through Seminary Music, likewise home to aspiring songwriter Irving Berlin. Through Seminary many of the best of his late works appeared, such as "Pine Apple Rag," the transparently beautiful "Mexican serenade" "Solace," and the harmonically adventurous "Euphonic Sounds."

From 1911 until his death in 1917 most of Joplin's efforts went into his second opera, Treemonishia, which he heard in concert but never managed to stage during his own lifetime. With his third wife, Lotte Joplin, Joplin formed his own music company and published his final piano rag, "Magnetic Rag" (1914), one of his best. By this time, debilitating, long-term effects of syphilis were beginning to break down Joplin's health, although he did manage to make seven hand-played piano rolls in 1916 and 1917; though heavily edited, these rolls are as close as one is likely to get to hearing Joplin's own playing.

Joplin died in a mental facility convinced that he had failed in his mission to achieve success as an African-American composer of serious music. Were he alive today, Joplin would be astounded to learn that, a century after his work was first printed, he is the most successful African-American composer of serious music that ever lived -- by far. Some of his works have been recorded hundreds of times and arranged for practically every conceivable instrumental combination, played by everything from symphony orchestras to ice cream trucks. For a couple of generations of Americans who have even never heard of Stephen Foster, the music of Scott Joplin represents the old, traditional order of all things American.

Were he alive today, Joplin would be astounded to learn that, a century after his work was first printed, he is the most successful African-American composer of serious music that ever lived -- by far. Some of his works have been recorded hundreds of times and arranged for practically every conceivable instrumental combination, played by everything from symphony orchestras to ice cream trucks. For a couple of generations of Americans who have even never heard of Stephen Foster, the music of Scott Joplin represents the old, traditional order of all things American. (Edited from Wikipedia & AllMusic)

Friday, 23 November 2018

Jack Marshall born 23 November 1921

Jack Wilton Marshall (November 23, 1921 – September 20, 1973) was an American guitarist, composer, arranger, and conductor. He was the father of producer-director Frank Marshall and composer Phil Marshall.
Born in El Dorado, Kansas, Jack Marshall was a top producer for Capitol records beginning in the late '50s and early '60s. His musical expertise led him into the combined realm of production and conducting, resulting in classic recordings for vocal artists such as Peggy Lee and Judy Garland.

He also released a number of albums under his own name that featured his own finger-style jazz guitar playing. He was a close friend of Howard Roberts and Jack Sheldon, and produced several of their best albums on Capitol. He wrote his own arrangements, many of which had a big-band, jazzy sound to them. He was officially credited with the arrangement for Peggy Lee's "Fever", although it is now 
believed that Lee herself was primarily responsible for that arrangement, while it was Marshall who arranged the other tunes recorded on the session. It was Roberts who did the finger snaps on the record.

Marshalls own albums highlighted his fine playing on acoustic guitar, much of which swung toward the jazz side of things. Influenced by composer and arranger Billy May, he also concocted his own arrangements, displaying a fondness for loud brass. That Marshall was part of the sonically wild, musically outrageous '50s and '60s hi-fi era can certainly be assumed from some of his album titles. Only the space-age jazz astronaut Sun Ra could have a 
discography with titles in it such as Sounds!, Soundsville, and Sounds Unheard Of. Marshall was a close associate of fellow studio guitar whiz Roberts, producing all of this artists' mid-'60s albums on Capitol.

Marshall directed Tommy Tedesco, Al Hendrickson, Howard Roberts, Bobby Gibbons, and Bill Pitman as Guitars Incorporated. The collaboration of these studio players was more along the lines of the Ventures, and actually seems to have been influenced by an earlier Marshall project, the Guitar Ramblers.

The question of influence is permanently settled if the notion of "cheesiness" as an artistic quantity is taken into account. While many critics have praised tracks by Guitars Incorporated for being wonderfully cheesy, there is nothing that begs more for this adjective than the title of a Guitar Ramblers album from 1963, Happy, Youthful New Sounds. Also in 1963 Marshall stepped out from session and production work to make a few records of his own. His album “Tuff Jack” is an amazing blend of twist and mod-brass sounds. The title track released as a single was written for Jack Marshall by Billy Strange.


With the public becoming fanatic about the sound of the guitar, particularly the new electric model, Marshall and his buddies eliminated the sometimes controversial vocals and lyrics from '60s pop and cut versions of tunes such as "Come Together" and "Whiter Shade of Pale," or entire 
projects dedicated to country performers such as Eddy Arnold and Roger Miller. On the straighter jazz side of things, Marshall also nearly put his fingers in a permanent knot playing in a guitar duet with Barney Kessel, which recorded several albums

Marshall is perhaps best known for composing the theme and incidental music for the 1960s TV series The Munsters and the 1966 tie-in film Munster, Go Home! (the theme music was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1965). He also composed music for the movies The Missouri Traveller (1958), Thunder Road (1958), The Giant Gila Monster (1959) and Kona Coast (1968), as 
well as The Deputy, a western television series starring Henry Fonda, The Investigators and The Debbie Reynolds Show.

The range of the man as a composer should never assumed to be limited to goofy ditties, however. He composed the extended "Essay for Guitar," a mini-concerto which was performed in concert by classical guitarist Christopher Parkening and conducted by the great film composer Elmer Bernstein. Marshall also performed the works of classical composers Stravinsky and Webern.

Marshall had scored over 300 TV and film scores and had effectively given up his career as a guitarist to compose. He died September 2, 1971 in Newport Beach, CA., (age 51). His interment was at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery. Following his death, a scholarship fund for young guitarists was set up in his name at the University of Southern California.

(Compiled and edited from Wikipedia & AllMusic)