Gospel Legend – Jessey Dixon

Jessey Dixon, most noted as a Gospel legend, but influential in popular music, has passed away. The star, best known outside of Gospel circles for performing with Paul Simon, wrote songs for a number of pop music greats, including Cher, Diana Ross, and Randy Crawford – and performed with Earth Wind and Fire as a keyboardist.

Jessy Dixon Dead: Gospel Legend Dies In Chicago At 73

 Jessy Dixon, a singer and songwriter who introduced his energetic style of gospel music to wider audiences by serving as pop singer Paul Simon’s opening act, died Monday. He was 73…

During a more than 50-year career, Dixon wrote songs for several popular singers, including jazz and rhythm and blues singer Randy Crawford. He later wrote songs performed by Cher, Diana Ross, Natalie Cole and Amy Grant.

But it was for his gospel singing – religious music that combined the rhythmic beat of blues, jazz and soul – that Dixon first gained attention. It was during an appearance at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1972 with his Jessy Dixon Singers that Dixon first came to Simon’s attention. For the next eight years, Dixon toured with the pop icon, collaborating on Simon’s `Live Rhymin’ Simon’ and `Still Crazy’ albums.

Dixon also played keyboard with Earth Wind and Fire and guitarist Phillip Upchurch…

Born March 12, 1938, in San Antonio, Dixon’s professional compass was set by gospel music legend James Cleveland, who heard Dixon’s teen group perform at a theatre in the south Texas city. Dixon said Cleveland liked the group, but he liked Dixon more and persuaded him to move to Chicago to join his group, the Gospel Chimes, as both a singer and pianist.

Chicago’s South Side was the place to be for a gospel musician, especially in the early 1960s.

“Going to church was like going to school,” Dixon said. At church, he heard the likes of Mahalia Jackson and blues pioneer Thomas A. Dorsey, who is credited with creating modern gospel singing.

“Reading his (Dorsey’s) music and studying it, he was the one who wrote for Tennessee Ernie Ford, Elvis Presley and Pat Boone,” Dixon said. “All these people were singing his music and were making it commercial.”

Dixon credited the creativity of artists like percussionist Maurice White and blues singer Willie Dixon, no relation, inspired him to compose. He started with choral music for Chicago’s Thompson Community Singers, for which he sat at the keyboards. Several of his early songs have become classics, sung in churches across America, including: “Sit At His Feet and be Blessed,” “These Old Heavy Burdens” and “I Love to Praise His Name.”…

 

New Soul Songstress Amy Winehouse Dead

Been a long tragic struggle. I think most people are guessing that the drugs finally won…

Amy Winehouse Dead: Singer Found Dead At London Home

Troubled, Grammy-winning singer Amy Winehouse has been found dead in her North London home, Sky News is reporting. The Daily Mail reports that police have confirmed the passing.

In a statement, the London Metropolitan Police said, “Police were called by London Ambulance Service to an address in Camden Square NW1 shortly before 16.05hrs today, Saturday 23 July, following reports of a woman found deceased. On arrival officers found the body of a 27-year-old female who was pronounced dead at the scene. Enquiries continue into the circumstances of the death. At this early stage it is being treated as unexplained.”

suspected drug overdose took the life of the singer, Nick Buckley of the Sunday Mirror tweeted.

She’s battled drug addiction for years, having most recently checked back into rehabilitation in May.

Winehouse entered treatment in late 2007 for drug problems, including admitted heroin use.

Earlier in the day, Tim Gatt of Sky News tweeted a statement from her manager saying that she was canceling upcoming performances, writing, “Amy Winehouse is withdrawing from all scheduled performances. Everyone involved wishes to do everything they can to help her return to her best and she will be given as long as it takes for this to happen.”

Gladys Horton, Lead Singer, Founder of the Marvelettes

“Deliver the letter…The Sooner the better!”

Another of the 60′s favorites…

Gladys Horton

Gladys Horton of the Marvelettes Dead at 66

Gladys Horton, the powerful soul singer who co-founded the all-female Motown ensemble the Marvelettes, died late Wednesday in a nursing home outside of Los Angeles. The 66-year-old’s cause of death is unknown, though she was recovering from complications due to a stroke she suffered last year, her son told the Associated Press.

Horton was born in 1944 in a suburb of Detroit and raised by foster parents. She joined a glee club in high school and almost immediately recruited four club members, including Georgia Dobbins, to create the modestly named the Casinyets (as in, can’t sing yet).

The group’s big break came in 1961 with an audition for Berry Gordy and Smokey Robinson of the then-startup label Motown. They weren’t originally given the opportunity — they had placed fourth in their high school’s talent show, with the top three receiving auditions — but were granted an exception.

The quintet wowed the label with a second audition, performing what would become their first hit single, ‘Please Mr. Postman,’ co-written with Dobbins’ friend and songwriter William Garrett. They settled on a new band name, the Marvelettes, and recorded the song with the infamous Funk Brothers backing them. The song and its eponymous album skyrocketed to the top of the charts.

The fame was short-lived, however. While the group released several records over the next six years, they failed to garner the same success as their debut. During that time one member, Juanita Cowart, had a nervous breakdown and quit. Another, Georgeanna Tillman, was diagnosed with lupus and left. At the same time, Motown began to shift its focus to newer artists better positioned to compete with suddenly popular English rock bands like the Beatles.

Horton left the group in 1967 to get married, and never returned fully to music. She devoted herself to taking care of her handicapped son, and largely stayed out of the public eye, even during the controversy that surfaced when the Marvelettes chose to continue performing with no original members. She performed only occasionally in the ensuing decades with no apparent interest in launching a solo career, billing herself simply as “Gladys Horton from the Marvelettes.”

Etta James Has Dementia, Lukemia

Etta James ill, family battles over money

Singer Etta James, known best for her iconic recording of “At Last,” is gravely ill, diagnosed with dementia and undergoing treatment for leukemia, according to court documents.

The 72-year-old Woodcrest resident’s illness came to light as part of a civil case in Riverside County Superior Court in which Artis Mills, her husband of 41 years, is seeking control of more than $1 million of James’ money.

Her son Donto James wrote in a court declaration that he does not object to money being released for her health care. But he is asking that it be overseen by a third party, “to avoid present and future family conflict and discrepancies.”

Dr. Elaine James, no relation to the singer, declared in the court documents that the singer has multiple medical conditions, including dementia, an organic brain syndrome and a recent diagnosis of leukemia.

The Beverly Hills doctor said she and other medical staff give James continuous medical care and supervision in the singer’s home in the Woodcrest area, near Riverside.

Dr. James said the singer isn’t able to sign her name and requires assistance with feeding, dressing and hygiene, but does recognize her husband and children. The doctor said James has been admitted to the hospital on occasion but returns home with round-the-clock care.

 

Motown Great, Teena Marie

Motown Great Tina Marie passed yesterday, at 54 years of age.

Teena Marie was known for a powerful voice and perfect pitch – and produced 18 Albums under the Motown label.

Here’s Teena Marie in 2006, with her R&B Classic – “Deja Vu”

What Happened to “Don’t Shoot the Piano Player”? Mexican Drug Hitmen Kill Music Star

Drug Thugs in Mexico continue their murderous rampage…

Mexican Singer El Shaka Shot Dead by Drug Thugs

Just hours after Mexican singer Sergio “El Shaka” Vega denied reports he had been murdered, he was shot dead by a suspected drug crew on his way to a concert. The popular star was a Grupero or narcocorrido singer who extolled the exploits of drug barons and their crews, and was the target of threats by rival gangs. Gunmen in a truck opened fire on Vega’s red cadillac in Sinaloa state, causing the singer to crash. The thugs then “finished Vega off” with shots to his head and chest, a passenger told a Mexican newspaper.

Earlier that day, Vega, 40, denied reports he was dead. “It’s happened to me for years. Someone tells a radio station or a newspaper I’ve been killed, or suffered an accident,” he said. “Then I have to call my dear mum, who has heart trouble, to reassure her.” He said he was entrusting his fate to God. At least 7 Grupero musicians have been killed in the last 3 years by suspected drug hitmen, reports the BBC.

Lena Horne, Legendary Actress, Singer – dies at 92.

Lena Horne was the only black Actress during the 40′s and 50′s to have a studio contract. Stunningly beautiful, hugely talented – she became an icon of an era. In another less racial time in America, she would have been a leading lady, instead of being confined to “race roles”. Goodbye Lena – and Thank You for that “Stormy Weather”.

more about “Singer, Actress Lena Horne“, posted with vodpod

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