Categotry Archives: Musicians

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Skip Battin

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Categories: Musicians

Clyde Skip Battin, a country rock singer and bass player, died on July 6 of Alzheimer’s disease. He was 69.
Battin’s first successful musical partnership was with Gary “Flip” Paxton. As “Skip & Flip,” they recorded the pop hits “It Was I” and “Cherry Pie,” both of which reached the Top 20 on Billboard’s Hot 100 chart in 1959.
Battin later served as a member of the Byrds, Evergreen Blueshoes, Flying Burrito Brothers and New Riders of the Purple Sage. He also released three solo albums.

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Ethan James

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Categories: Musicians

Ethan James, a 1960s rocker who later became a master of a medieval instrument, died on June 19 of liver cancer. He was 56.
James taught himself to play bass, drums, guitar and piano. He joined the heavy-metal band Blue Cheer in the 1960s, just after their song, “Summertime Blues,” became a hit.
In the ’70s, James became a music producer and built the Radio Tokyo Studio in Los Angeles. There he worked with many alternative and pop artists such as The Bangles, Jane’s Addiction, Black Flag and Sonic Youth.
James returned to performing in 1989 when he discovered a passion for playing the hurdy-gurdy, a medieval instrument that looks like an ancient fiddle with a wheel. When its strings are caressed by a bow, it makes a sound similar to a violin and a set of bagpipes.
“This is not some museum piece. It has been through cycles of popularity and obscurity for the last 1,000 years. I think it is becoming more popular again, which is somehow appropriate in the new millennium,” James once said.
After he became a master of the hurdy-gurdy, James toured the U.S. and Europe, often playing at Renaissance faires. He performed with the San Francisco Mozart Festival Orchestra and appeared at the Ashland Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

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Mikey Dee

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Categories: Extraordinary People, Musicians

mdee.jpgIf you’re in a rock or pop band in Boston, you probably knew Michael Linick. Linick, a.k.a. Mikey Dee, was well-respected in the Boston scene for his unending support of local music.
Before he became ill, Dee went out almost every night to listen to local bands. He edited the music magazine, The Noise, worked as the director of AAA & Public Radio Promotion at The Planetary Group, played drums for several bands and performed in the Boston Rock Opera’s production of “Jesus Christ Superstar.” His radio show, “On the Town With Mikey Dee” on WMFO 91.5 FM, featured a live performance from a different band each week.
In 2000, the staff of WMFO changed the name of the station’s Studio D to Studio Dee. The following year, he was honored with a Boston Music Hall of Fame Award.
“He was a one man support machine — support for local bands, clubs and the entire Boston scene in general,” said Jason Kendall of the band Deterrents.
Dee suffered a stroke in 2000 after undergoing heart surgery. A series of concerts were held in Boston to fund Dee’s therapy and recovery. The events involved more than 200 bands and raised nearly $100,000 for the Mikey Dee Musicians Benefit Trust. That money will now be used to honor Dee and assist Boston-based musicians in serious need.
Dee died on July 6 from complications of pneumonia. He was 40.

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Barry White

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Categories: Musicians

bwhite.jpgBarry White’s velvet voice could inspire romance in any couple.
The crooner known for his lush baritone and sexy lyrics made several records during the early 1960s as “Barry Lee,” but he first topped the R&B charts with “I’m Gonna Love You Just a Little More Baby,” which also hit number three on the pop chart. He helped launch the disco phenomenon with “Love’s Theme,” a song he performed with his 40-piece ensemble, The Love Unlimited Orchestra.
Although his popularity peaked 25 years ago, White returned to the spotlight in the 1990s when “You’re the First, the Last, My Everything,” became the theme song for a character on the Fox TV show, “Ally McBeal.” In 2000, he won two Grammys for best male and traditional R&B vocal performance for the song, “Staying Power.”
White died July 4 of kidney failure. He was 58.

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Herbie Mann

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Categories: Musicians

hmann.jpgHerbie Mann, a seminal jazz flutist who fused his music with Brazilian, Eastern European and African sounds and released more than 100 albums, died on July 1 of prostate cancer. He was 73.
Although he studied the clarinet and saxophone as a child, Mann chose the flute as his preferred instrument. His musical career began at 14 when he played in groups at resorts in the Catskill Mountains.
For a few years, Mann played with the Army Band, touring in Italy, France and Scandinavia. After returning to New York, Mann added a conga player to his group, and launched a popular run in Latin music circles. But it was his visits to Africa and Brazil in the 1960s that brought new sounds to his work.
In the 1970s, Mann released “Memphis Underground,” a founding recording of fusion. When he left Atlantic Records and launched his own label, Kokopelli, he spent a year and a half working on 12 recordings, including “Peace Pieces,” his tribute to the music of Bill Evans. Mann took a brief side jaunt into disco and then returned to performing jazz with fusion sounds in the ’80s and ’90s.
Mann’s last live concert was May 3 at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival, where he received a five minute standing ovation.

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