Category Archives: R.i.p.

R.I.P. 2009.

R.I.P. 2009

Every new year I make a mix to commemorate the musicians who have died in the previous year; every year there are far too many worthy departed to fit onto two CDs. Editing is an inevitably untrue process, but for what it’s worth, here’s this year’s mix. Download it, burn it to CD if you still do that kind of thing, or just toss it into the big iTunes pile — but listen to it, regret what we’ve lost, and make sure you turn it the fuck up when you get to 2.11.

Download here. >>

Disc One:

1. The Stooges (guitarist Ron Asheton), “1969” (1969)
2. Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick & Tich (vocalist Dave Dee), “Hold Tight!” (1966)
3. The Mighty Duke, “What Is Calypso” (1968)
4. Mike Francis, “Survivor” (1982)
5. Lukas Foss, “Curriculum Vitae,” (1978)
6. The Cramps (frontman Lux Interior), “Human Fly” (1979)
7. Blossom Dearie, “Blossom’s Blues” (1958)
8. Snooks Eaglin, “Mama, Don’t Tear My Clothes” (1958)
9. Hank Locklin, “Send Me The Pillow That You Dream On” (1967)
10. Eddie Bo, “Check Your Bucket” (1970)
11. Maurice Jarre, “Doctor Zhivago (Main Title)” (1965)
12. Tony D, “Check The Elevation” (1991)
13. Mari Trini, “Amores” (1970)
14. Tlahoun Gèssèssè, “Alègntayé” (1973)
15. Viola Wills, “Gonna Get Along Without You Now” (1979)
16. Dolla “Make A Toast” (2008)
17. Jay Bennett, “The Egines Are Idle” (2009)
18. Koko Taylor, “Wang Dang Doodle” (1965)
19. Hugh Hopper, “Minipax I” (1972)
20. Kenny Rankin, “Peaceful” (1967)
21. Ali Akbar Khan, “The Sindhi-Bhariavi Mode” (1997)
22. The Seeds (frontman Sky Saxon), “Pushin’ Too Hard” (1966)

Disc Two:

1. Michael Jackson, “Don’t Stop Till You Get Enough” (1979)
2. New Riders Of The Purple Sage (vocalist John Dawson), “Panama Red” (1973)
3. George Russell, “Ezz-Thetic” (1951)
4. Billy Lee Riley, “Flying Saucer Rock & Roll” (1957)
5. Mink DeVille (frontman Willy DeVille), “Spanish Stroll” (1977)
6. Mike Seeger, “I’m A Man Of Constant Sorrow” (1962)
7. Les Paul, “Lover” (1948)
8. James Luther Dickinson, “O How She Dances” (1972)
9. Ellie Greenwich, “You Don’t Know” (1965)
10. Chris Connor, “Lonely Woman” (1962)
11. The Jim Carroll Band (Jim Carroll), “People Who Died” (1980)
12. Mercedes Sosa, “Gracias A La Vida” (1971)
13. Zambo Cavero, “Comadre Cololiche” (1982?)
14. Sonny Bradshaw Seven, “Do It Reggay” (1975)
15. Stephen Gately, “New Beginning” (2000)
16. Al Martino, “Here In My Heart” (1952)
17. Blue Cheer (vocalist Dickie Peterson), “Out Of Focus” (1967)
18. Vic Mizzy, “Theme From The Addams Family” (1964)
19. Louisa Mark, “Caught You In A Lie” (1975)
20. Tom Merriman, “Dance The Slurp” (1967?)
21. The Four Aces (vocalist Al Aberts), “Three Coins In The Fountain” (1955)
22. The Clancy Brothers & Tommy Makem (Liam Clancy), “Finnigan’s Wake” (1959)
23. Vic Chesnutt, “Gravity Of The Situation” (1995)

R.I.P. James Luther Dickinson.

There’s been a lot of music-related death this year. This may be the one that ends up affecting me the most personally.

I got into James Luther Dickinson when some year-end best-of list in 2002 had his second album, Free Beer Tomorrow, on it; based on a mention in that writeup, I tracked down his rare and quasi-legendary 1972 debut Dixie Fried and memorized it, then got the followup. He’s put out three since, all of which I’ve bought as soon as I saw them in the store. His recording of the Jobim/Bonfá bossa nova standard “Samba De Orfeo” was the first track I posted on this tumbleblog; his recording of the garage-rock standard “Wine” is one of the key tracks in my version of the 1970s, country and soul and funk and rock and blues and folk and punk and gospel all at once.

I was a fan, in short; and the nice thing about being a Jim Dickinson fan was not having to share him with anyone else, because no one else gave a shit. The music he made after the 70s no longer spoke to the current pop moment in any significant way (even his kids are roots-rock, i.e. jam-band staples); but who expects a senior citizen to do that anyway? It was enough to know that his swampy, Basement-Tapesy, slightly askew version of American rock was still out there, plugging away with humor and attitude and all hearts out on the sleeves where they belong. He kept finding more songs to record that he could incorporate into his universe, and they all sounded of a piece, sung in his ragged, unkempt vocal style with his wheezy, gristly band behind him. The last three albums have had a logo in the liner notes: World Boogie Is Coming. Perhaps it’s still on its way; but we’ve lost a prophet.

Anyway. Just wanted to leave a mark in the ether to say I’ll miss him.


I’ve been reading Internet arguments about whether or not he molested children, whether or not that invalidates the good of his music, whether or not the pop he was king of for a good decade is a worthwhile form of human endeavor. All of which seems to miss the point.

I listened to Thriller all the way through for the first time on the way home from work. I’m downloading Off The Wall now to do the same.

I was first too young and then too sheltered to know the years of his glory, and too much a teenager to appreciate the years of his decadence and decline. I don’t think I’ve ever fully understood him, and part of me has never wanted to, been repulsed by the cultural totalism he represented. There was no space for silence or reflection or patient inquiry into other lives in the Michael Jackson universe; to listen to a Michael Jackson song was to live, willing or no, in his world. He would have no other gods.

(Paul McCartney sounds so out of place on Thriller, like an eighteenth-century fop who’s wandered onto an aircraft carrier. Quincy and Michael even have to drag out a creaky old doo-wop rhythm for him to stand upright on.)

I imagine this is what the kids who grew up to embrace punk felt about the Beatles and the Stones, or what the kids who grew up to embrace rock & roll felt about Sinatra and Louis Armstrong, that the cultural monoliths of their childhood provided no space for them to establish their own identity, that they had to either reject it or glom on to the monolith, remora-like, and lose themselves. Or I could just be excusing my laziness in not having seriously tackled the Jackson discography before now. I know the hits, and love the ones before 1980.

My understanding of pop doesn’t exclude Michael Jackson, but it’s not predicated on him, and this I think is the faultline between me and my generation. I heard him for the first time, really, as an adult; everyone else grew up with him. I envy their sense of shared community; but I can’t find my way in. The edifice gleams too bright; history has swung shut.

(reposted from my Tumblr blog, which crops it unless you sign up.)

R.I.P. 2008

R.I.P. 2008

As I did last year, I’ve compiled a listening mix of notable deaths in music over the past year. It was a lot harder to whittle it down to two CDs’ worth of music this time, and there are so many amazing composers, singers, and instrumentalists left off the list that I barely feel I’m doing the year justice, but these are (my pick of) the most noteworthy musicians and so forth who died in 2008.

1. O.G. Style, “Catch ’Em Slippin” (1991)
2. Andy Palacio & The Garifuna Collective, “Watina” (2007)
3. John Stewart, “California Bloodlines” (1969)
4. Henri Salvador, “Dans Mon Île” (1959)
5. Joe Gibbs & The Professionals, “Fashion One” (1979)
6. Larry Norman, “Reader’s Digest” (1972)
7. Buddy Miles, “Them Changes” (1971)
8. Mikey Dread, “Barber Saloon” (1979)
9. Neu! [drummer Klaus Dinger], “Super” (1973)
10. Louis & Bebe Barron [Bebe Barron], “Theme from Forbidden Planet” (1956)
11. Jimmy Giuffre, “Yggdrasil” (1962)
12. Humphrey Lyttelton, “Bad Penny Blues” (1956)
13. Eddy Arnold, “Make The World Go Away” (1965)
14. Alexander Courage, “Theme From Star Trek” (1966)
15. Utah Phillips, “All Used Up” (1979)
16. Jimmy McGriff, “Step 1” (1968)
17. Earle Hagen, “The Fishin’ Hole (Theme From The Andy Griffith Show)” (1960)
18. Bo Diddley, “Bo Diddley” (1955)
19. Jamelão, “Ela Disse-Me Assim” (1972)
20. The Dixie Hummingbirds [vocalist Ira Tucker], “I Looked Down The Line” (1939)
21. George Carlin, “Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” (1972)
22. Jo Stafford, “It’s Almost Tomorrow” (1955)
23. Joe Beck with Sabicas, “Joe’s Tune” (1968)
24. Wendo Kosoloy, “Marie Louise” (1948)
25. Isaac Hayes, “Theme from Shaft” (1971)

1. Donald Erb, “Autumnmusic” (1973)
2. Jerry Reed, “Guitar Man” (1966)
3. Pink Floyd [keyboard player Rick Wright], “The Great Gig In The Sky” (1973)
4. Nappy Brown, “Don’t Be Angry” (1955)
5. Paul Newman, “Plastic Jesus” (1967)
6. Alton Ellis, “Cry Tough” (1966)
7. Neal Hefti, “Theme From Batman” (1966)
8. The Four Tops [vocalist Levi Stubbs], “Bernadette”(1967)
9. Dee Dee Warwick, “I’m Gonna Make You Love Me” (1966)
10. Rudy Ray Moore, “Shine And The Great Titanic” (1970)
11. Studs Terkel, “Oh, Sacred World” (1998)
12. Yma Sumac, “Ataypura” (1950)
13. Byron Lee & The Dragonaires, “Frankenstein Ska” (1964)
14. Miriam Makeba, “Pata Pata” (1967)
15. MC Breed, “Ain’t No Future In Your Frontin’” (1991)
16. Odetta, “Spiritual Trilogy” (1956)
17. Classics IV [vocalist Dennis Yost], “Stormy” (1969)
18. Davy Graham, “Angi” (1963)
19. The Count Five [vocalist John Byrne], “Psychotic Reaction” (1966)
20. Eartha Kitt, “I Want To Be Evil” (1953)
21. Delaney & Bonnie [Delaney Bramlett], “Never Ending Song Of Love” (1971)
22. Freddie Hubbard, “Coral Keys” (1970)

R.I.P. 2007


As described elsewhere, I’ve compiled a 2xCD mix of musicians who died in the year 2007. It’s by no means definitive or complete; there are a lot of great dead musicians I wasn’t able to squeeze into the playlist. But it turned out to be a great list, with some great sequencing created by happenstance: it’s programmed in order of decease. You can download the two 120-minute mixes below, each as a single 78KB mp3. Happy listening, and here’s to 2008!


1. Alice Coltrane, “Universal Consciousness” (1971)
2. The Spaniels [vocalist Thornton “Pookie” Hudson], “Goodnight, Sweeheart, Goodnight” (1954)
3. Denny Doherty, “Gathering The Words” (1971)
4. Eric von Schmidt, “Joshua Gone Barbados” (1995)
5. Frankie Laine, “Lucky Old Sun” (1949)
6. Billy Thorpe & The Aztecs, “Most People I Know (Think That I’m Crazy)” (1972)
7. Boston, [vocalist Brad Delp], “Smokin’” (1976)
8. Betty Hutton, “Blow A Fuse” (1948)
9. Luther Ingram, “(If Loving You Is Wrong) I Don’t Want To Be Right” (1972)
10. Dakota Staton, “The Late, Late Show” (1962)
11. Don Ho, “Tiny Bubbles” (1966)
12. Andrew Hill, “McNeil Island” (1963)
13. Mstislav Rostropovich, The “Prologue” movement of Debussy’s Sonata for Cello And Piano with Benjamin Britten (1961)
14. Carey Bell, “Carey Bell’s Blues Harp” (1969)
15. Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm, “Hurry On Down” (1947)
16. Enur feat. Natasja [rapper Natasja Saad], “Calabria” (2006)
17. Beverly Sills, “Gold Is A Fine Thing” from The Ballad Of Baby Doe (1959)
18. Tommy Makem, “Four Green Fields” (1968)
19. Lee Hazlewood, “My Autumn’s Done Come” (1966)
20. Max Roach, “The Drum Also Waltzes” (1965)
21. Jon Lucien, “Rashida” (1973)
22. Janis Martin, “My Boy Elvis” (1956)


1. Luciano Pavarotti, “Che Gelida Manina” from La Bohème (1990)
2. Weather Report [keyboardist Joe Zawinul], “Birdland” (1977)
3. Bobby Byrd, “I Know You Got Soul” (1971)
4. Aldemaro Romero, “Tema De La Onda” (1972)
5. Dale & Grace [vocalist Dale Houston], “I’m Leaving It All Up To You” (1963)
6. Big Moe, “Purple Stuff” (2002)
7. Lucky Dube, “Slave” (1988)
8. Porter Wagoner, “The Carroll County Accident” (1968)
9. Robert Goulet, “My Love, Forgive Me” (1965)
10. Hank Thompson, “The Wild Side Of Life” (1953)
11. Quiet Riot [vocalist Kevin Dubrow], “Metal Health” (1983)
12. Karlheinz Stockhausen, “Gesang Der Jünglinge” (1956)
13. Ike Turner, “All The Blues, All The Time” (1956)
14. Floyd Red Crow Westerman, “Wounded Knee” (1971)
15. Dan Fogelberg, “Part Of The Plan” (1975)
16. Lydia Mendoza, “Mal Hombre” (1934)
17. Oscar Peterson, “Wheatland” (1965)