R.I.P Fats Domino, 89, Musical Legend, Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Famer and New Orleans Native

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Mr. Domino performing in 2007 on NBC’s “Today” show. (Photo Credit: Richard Drew/AP)

Jon Pareles and William Grimes via nytimes.com

Fats Domino, the New Orleans rhythm-and-blues singer whose two-fisted boogie-woogie piano and nonchalant vocals, heard on dozens of hits, made him one of the biggest stars of the early rock ’n’ roll era, has died in Louisiana. He was 89.

His death was confirmed by his brother-in-law and former road manager Reggie Hall, who said he had no other details. Mr. Domino lived in Harvey, La., across the Mississippi River from New Orleans. Mr. Domino had more than three dozen Top 40 pop hits through the 1950s and early ’60s, among them “Blueberry Hill,”“Ain’t It a Shame” (also known as “Ain’t That a Shame,” which is the actual lyric), “I’m Walkin’,” “Blue Monday” and “Walkin’ to New Orleans.”

Throughout he displayed both the buoyant spirit of New Orleans…

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R.I.P. Robert Guillaume, 89, Emmy-Award Winning Actor and Star of “Benson”

GOOD BLACK NEWS

Robert Guillaume (CREDIT: AP)

Richard Natale via variety.com

Emmy Award-winning actor Robert Guillaume, best known as the title character in the TV sitcom “Benson,” died Tuesday. He was 89.

His wife Donna Brown Guillaume told the Associated Press he died at their Los Angeles home of complications of prostate cancer. Guillaume often played acerbic, dry-witted, but ultimately lovable characters like the butler Benson Du Bois, which he created on the 1977 series “Soap,” before his character was spun off in 1979. Guillaume won Emmys both for “Soap” (as supporting actor) and “Benson” (as lead actor).

He was also known as the the voice of Rafiki in “The Lion King,” for which he also won a Grammy for a spoken word recording. “Benson” ran on ABC for seven years until 1986. The show brought Guillaume an Emmy in 1985 for lead actor in a comedy. In the late ’90s he…

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Tuesday Tribute: Tom Petty

Thomas Earl Petty: 20 October 1950 – 2 October 2017

Wow…I’m a bit stunned after hearing this news. Tom Petty passed away today, after suffering cardiac arrest at his home in Malibu late last night. He was rushed to hospital and put on life support, but he couldn’t be revived. He was 66 years of age. From BBC News:

US musician Tom Petty has died in California aged 66, says a statement issued on behalf of his family. Petty was found unconscious, not breathing and in full cardiac arrest at his Malibu home early on Monday. He was taken to hospital, but could not be revived and died later that evening.

Petty was best known as the lead singer of Tom Petty and The Heartbreakers rock band, producing such hits as American Girl, Breakdown, Free Fallin’, Learning to Fly and Refugee.

“He died peacefully at 20:40 Pacific time (03:40 GMT Tuesday) surrounded by family, his bandmates and friends,” said his long-time manager Tony Dimitriades. Petty was also a co-founder of the Traveling Wilburys group in the late 1980s, touring with Bob Dylan, Roy Orbison, Jeff Lynne and George Harrison.

“It’s shocking, crushing news,” said Dylan, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I thought the world of Tom. He was great performer, full of the light, a friend, and I’ll never forget him.”

Petty also found solo success in 1989 with his album Full Moon Fever, which featured one of his most popular songs Free Fallin’, co-written with Jeff Lynne.

In 2002, Petty was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

Tom Petty was one of many musicians who I enjoyed listening to, in spite of some of his personal issues and beliefs. I even saw him live in concert when I was living in Portland, Oregon. He performed at the Rose Garden arena, and Jackson Browne was the opening act. It was an awesome show, and will remember it fondly.

In tribute to this legendary, musical genius, I offer up ten of my favourite songs that he did throughout his career – from the Heartbreakers to the Traveling Wilburys. Sit back, close your eyes, and drift away to the tunes…

Midweek Tribute: Joi “SJ” Harris

I was saddened to hear of the untimely and tragic accident which claimed the life of this courageous, determined, trailblazing woman. Joi “SJ” Harris, the first African-American stuntwoman, died on the set of Deadpool 2 in Vancouver, B.C. on Monday, 14 August. From CBC News:

The American stunt rider who died in Vancouver on Monday while shooting an action sequence for the film Deadpool 2 has been identified as SJ Harris, a 40-year-old from New York City.

Harris died in a motorcycle accident after she crashed through a window in Shaw Tower near Jack Poole Plaza…Deadpool 2 was Harris’s first gig as a stuntwoman. Her manager, Porsche Taylor, described her as a “trailblazer” in motorcycle road racing.

“Once she got on the track, she fell in love with it. And she was surprised that there weren’t very many women who were racing and no women of colour, or no African-American women, in particular,” Taylor said in an interview Tuesday with As It Happens.

“She was excited to be able to break some new ground.”

Harris began riding in 2009 and received her race licence in May 2013. She started competing in 2014, racing in the American Sportbike Racing Association Championship Cup Series.

“SJ was super competitive on the track,” Taylor recalled. “She would race with men as well as women — and often give as good as she got.”
In a 2015 profile published in Black Girls Ride Magazine, Harris was described as the first African-American woman to become a professional road racer.

“I am everything people never saw in this sport,” Harris told the magazine in an interview.

Muscle cars and motorcycles have always been a love of mine, and I know full well what Ms. Harris is talking about when it comes to the “good-ole-boys” atmosphere which is prevalent at any motorcycle or classic car event that I attend. With the events of Charlottesville still fresh in the mind, I recall how many confederate flags and other racist decals and emblems decorated various vehicles or articles of clothing, or people who had those emblems tattooed on every inch of exposed skin.

I’m certain that Ms. Harris was well aware of those who pushed back against her desire to succeed, and fought that much harder to prove them wrong. According to an article in the Huffington Post, Harris described herself on her website as the “first licensed African-American woman in U.S. history to actively compete in (American Motorcyclist Association) sanctioned, motorcycle road racing events.”

Kevin Elliott, president of the American Sportbike Racing Association, said Harris began racing with the association’s beginner-level Champion Cup Series in 2014 and this year moved up to a “feeder” series that is meant to prepare riders for racing at an expert level.
He said her other activities prevented her from competing enough to be automatically given expert status, but if she had requested it based on her 2016 and 2017 finishes, it would have been granted.

For the first two years she was racing on a bike that was too big, but when she switched to a bike that was more suited to her size, her talent showed itself to be “very promising,” he said.

“She was just a good, solid competitor. She rode well,” he said.

Ride on, sister…ride on. You were certainly an inspiration.

Tribute Post: Bakari Jaward Henderson

Again. I have to write another one of these tribute posts, yet again. This one is to honour 22-year-old Bakari Henderson, who had his promising young life tragically and brutally cut short on the streets of Zakynthos, Greece. He was in a sports bar on Thursday night / Friday morning, celebrating his recent graduation from the University of Arizona and preparing to launch his own clothing line, when he was attacked and beaten by six white men of Eastern European descent. From the Washington Post:

Authorities are continuing to investigate the death of an American tourist who they say was brutally beaten outside a bar in Greece.

Bakari Henderson, 22, was with friends at a bar in Laganas, a tourist village on the island of Zakynthos, when the fight occurred early Friday morning. It began when another customer approached Henderson, and the confrontation quickly escalated to a fistfight outside, where more people beat Henderson, according to state news agency ANA-MPA. It is not known whether his friends were involved in the altercation.

It remains unclear what prompted the fight. At least eight people have been arrested and charged in connection with Henderson’s death, authorities said. Tiara Henderson, Bakari Henderson’s cousin, said in a Facebook post Friday that his death was the result of a “senseless crime” and “horrendous actions by the perpetrators.”

Surveillance videos from nearby shops showed the suspects beating Henderson even after he was unconscious, ANA-MPA reported. The recent University of Arizona graduate later died at a hospital.

I can only speculate as to why he was attacked, but I’m more than certain that it had to do with the colour of his skin. Europeans, especially those from the Slavic areas, are notoriously and irrationally hateful towards anyone with skin darker than a manila envelope; seeing a Black man with his arm around a white woman no doubt sent the inbred, racist sacks of filth into paroxysms of rage.

I hurt for his family and friends. For a parent to lose a child, that is a pain that I can’t begin to fathom. Losing your child in such a horrible manner? Even more frightful, sickening, and anguish-inducing. Waving good-bye to your kid at the airport, wishing him a safe trip and to return home soon from a fun-filled holiday – instead, having to contact a foreign office to request the return of his lifeless body. All because a pack of inbred animals felt justified in provoking a violent confrontation and ending the life of another human being. Ending the life of a bright, talented, dedicated young man who had so much to offer the community and the world. It isn’t lost on me that Drumpf the nazi is completely silent about this murder, but had all sorts of things to say about the mysterious coma and death of the young criminal who was imprisoned in Korea. He and his base don’t really give two tin shits about the killing of a young man who had committed no crime.

So sickening. So senseless. So wrong.

#BlackLivesMatter

Tribute Post: Bianca Roberson

I wish that I didn’t have to do these types of posts. It saddens me greatly to see this useless hatred, which explodes in violence and takes innocent lives. Another promising future snuffed out at the hands of a hate-filled, inbred, racist piece of filth. For what? Some imagined slight from a young girl in a car?

I’m speaking, of course, about the senseless, brutal murder of 18-year-old Bianca Roberson, who was shot and killed in an incident of “road rage” on (date). From the BBC:

A 28-year-old man has turned himself in to police investigating a suspected road rage attack on a teenager shot dead in Pennsylvania last week. David Andrew Desper surrendered to authorities on Sunday, accompanied by a lawyer, and was charged with first-degree murder.

Bianca Roberson, 18, sustained a fatal gunshot to the head in the attack.

The suspect is also charged with third-degree murder, possessing an instrument of crime and and reckless endangering. Gunfire rang out last Wednesday during evening rush hour as Mr Desper’s red Chevrolet truck attempted to merge on to a lane in Chester County at the same time as Ms Roberson’s car, say officials.

Yes, the white-trash cretin finally turned himself in for the deed, but not out of any sense of responsibility or morality. He only did it so that he can get a lighter sentence by appearing contrite – and he’ll only get a slap on the wrist for this reprehensible deed, if he gets any punishment at all.

My heart hurt too much to post about this immediately. I’m tired of seeing these incidents. I’m tired of mourning the senseless loss of another young life who had hopes, dreams, and goals. Losing another who would have done so much good for her family and community. Murdered by a racist fuck who only saw the colour of her skin…and promptly saw red.

#BlackLivesMatter

#SayHerName

Memorial Day…2017

It’s Memorial Day here in the States. The day set aside to pause and remember those brave men and women who gave their lives in service to this country. A lot of people get it confused with Veterans’ Day, which goes to show how shabby the U. S. education system is, among other things…but that’s another topic for another time.

Today, I pause to remember my uncle Kermit, who died in the Vietnam War well before I was born. For the longest time I didn’t even know his name. I plan on going to the Vietnam Memorial in Washington, D. C. to take a rubbing of his name – but, if the “traveling memorial wall” comes through the Pacific Northwest again before that time, I will take one from that to frame until I’m able to visit the real thing.

To Kermit, and to all who made the ultimate sacrifice, thank you. There aren’t enough words to express the gratitude I feel, so I’ll say it with a few pictures and a poignant song.

Tribute: J. Geils

John Warren Geils Jr.: 20 February 1946 – 11 April 2017

Wow – I happened to hear this announced on one of the radio stations that I was listening to when I was out and about earlier today. From CNN:

John Warren Geils Jr., the guitarist and founder of the eponymous J. Geils Band, has died, police in Groton, Massachusetts, said.

Police came to Geils’ home for a well-being check, police Chief Donald Palma said. The 71-year-old was found unresponsive and was declared dead at the scene…The J. Geils Band was one of the most popular American touring bands of the 1970s. It did not achieve commercial fame until the 1980s, when they released radio mainstays such as “Centerfold,” “Love Stinks” and “Freeze-Frame.”

Born in New York in 1946 and raised in New Jersey, Geils’ first love was cars — a passion he inherited from his father along with his ear for jazz, he told Autoweek in 2012. He met band mates Danny Klein and “Magic Dick” Salwitz at Worcester Polytechnic Institute, where he was studying mechanical engineering. They formed the J. Geils Band in 1967 with lead singer Peter Wolf and drummer Stephen Jo Bladd.

“That was the end of engineering school for all three of us,” he told the magazine.

The group released a string of albums in the 1970s but would not achieve commercial success until the 1980s, starting with the release of “Love Stinks,” its first platinum-selling record, according to Rolling Stone. Their 12th album, “Freeze-Frame,” featured its popular title track as well as chart-topper “Centerfold,” which spent six weeks at the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 1982.”

The J. Geils band was one of my favourites to listen to in high school and afterwards, and I had a number of their albums. You could hear the songs “Centerfold” or “Freeze-Frame” played nearly every day on the radio, and MTV was more than generous with playing those hits, as well as the awesome song “Love Stinks.” From Rolling Stone:

Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band became fast local favorites and released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and over the course of the next decade honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly – but they wouldn’t hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.

In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame. That album featured the group’s only chart-topping hit, “Centerfold,” while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.

However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. Wolf did not appear on the J. Geils Band’s final album, 1984’s You’re Gettin’ Even While I’m Gettin’ Odd. The J. Geils Band officially split in 1985, but began to play the occasional reunion show in 1999. In 2012, however, Geils officially quit the group and sued his bandmates for conspiring to go on tour without him and unlawfully using the band’s trademarked name.

Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records.”

I often played their lesser-known songs on the radio when I was a DJ, and would get compliments on the song and band trivia that I’d toss in here and there. “No Anchovies, Please” was one that I memorized and would recite to friends at slumber parties – only on request, of course! Many fond memories always come to mind whenever I hear a song from the J. Geils Band, and always listen to them with a smile. I chose five rarely-heard ones to close out this tribute to a musical genius. Rest easy, Mr. Geils – you won’t be forgotten.

Ah, Chuck…

Charles Edward Anderson “Chuck” Berry: 18 October 1926 – 18 March 2017

Damn…I was doing some gaming and listening to the 70s station on Sirius XM Satellite Radio, and heard of the passing of one of the REAL kings of Rock & Roll, the notable, legendary, musical genius known as Chuck Berry. He passed away today at the age of 90; it isn’t lost on me that he was born on the 18th of October, and left this world on the 18th of March.

He was due to release an album later this year, according to his official website. What a man! What a musician! What a legend! Sheer genius, and that is never a term I toss about lightly. Some people overuse words such as “passion,” “genius,” or “eclectic,” but they really don’t know the true meaning of those words. Not trying to insult those folks; I just feel that they grabbed onto a “clickbait” word in order to drive traffic to their Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and WordPress sites.

My son just sent me a text about Chuck’s death. That’s one way I know that I have imparted some true knowledge and genuine love of music to at least one Millennial! Most people in his age group say, “Chuck Berry? Should I know who that is?” – but they will mention Justin Beiber, Lady GooGooGaGa, or Nikki Minaj in the same breath, as if those scumwads were worthy of the status of Chuck Berry, David Bowie, B.B. King, Prince, or Jimi Hendrix.

If you know the “Duck-Walk,” then you know Chuck Berry. He made that move famous, just as Michael Jackson was the master of the “Moon-walk.” Chuck’s music was often played on the radio, and “My Ding-A-Ling” was the first one that I recall hearing. He had so many epic, timeless, awesome songs! I don’t think that I can say anything that would truly give due credit to this truly talented man, so I give you my favourite seven hits of his for your enjoyment.

10 Tribute Songs: David Bowie

David Bowie (b. David Robert Jones): 8 January 1947 – 10 January 2016

Today marks the birth anniversary of the late, great David Bowie, who was taken far too soon on 10 January 2016. He was one of few celebrities that I respected, admired, and hoped to meet in person, just once. His music was epic, and I never tired of hearing his songs being played – whether they were new songs or familiar, favourite tunes.

In a little tribute to him, I decided to post 10 excellent Bowie songs that I always enjoy whenever they come on the radio. The station “Deep Tracks,” on Sirius XM, is also going to do a “head-trip” special dedicated to him. I’m looking forward to hearing some songs that I may not have heard before, as that station is known for playing some of the more obscure hits that never got over-played on standard radio stations.

Enjoy…and have a pleasant Sunday.

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