Saturday, September 23, 2017

Charles Bradley RIP

Very sorry to hear of the death at the age of 68 of Daptone artist Charles Bradley. He was suffering from stomach cancer and his death comes only ten months after the death of fellow Daptone star Sharon Jones. Charles was a late developer, only getting noticed in the late 1990s when he performed as a James Brown impersonator under the name of Black Velvet. He was noticed by Gabriel Roth, co-founder of Daptone Records, and released several singles but it wasn't until 2011 that his debut album 'No Time For Dreaming' was released. Subsequent albums were 'Victims Of Love' and 'Changes', which was released last year.
Charles was scheduled to appear in London in December. I only saw him once, when he opened for Sharon Jones at the Barbican in 2011. Here's what I wrote at the time. 'Opening the show for Sharon was fellow Daptone artist Charles Bradley, nicknamed the Screaming Eagle of Soul because of his swooping arm movements. Charles is no newcomer, having been through hard times for most of his 63 years, and his impassioned and heartfelt singing is a true throwback to the great sixties soul men. His set included deep soul songs that allowed him to show off his gritty voice to good effect, including Heartaches and Pain, No Time For Dreaming, Lovin' You Baby, The World Is Going Up In Flames, How Long, Golden Rule and the autobiographical Why Is It So Hard (To Make It In America). I would love to see him in a sweaty club somewhere, rather than the staid surroundings of The Barbican, as his is an act that really gets into your soul.' RIP Charles.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Stomping once again

I'm off to the States again next week, taking in various music gigs and festivals in Louisiana and Mississippi. The highlight will be the 13th edition of the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans, possibly, no definitely, the world's greatest roots music festival which celebrates the 'unsung heroes of American music'. There's a great line up on offer and I can't wait to see them, and listen to the stories told by many of them at the conference sessions which Dr Ike, the organiser and originator, also stages during the weekend. To celebrate this wonderful event, and as a reminder for those who have been to previous Stomps, here is a selection of photos from the 2008 Ponderosa Stomp, which was held in the House of Blues. First, here is one of the wild men of rock and roll Barrence Whitfield.
One of the stars again this year, here is great left handed guitarist and swamp blues singer Barbara Lynn.
Now no longer with us, this is another wild man of rockabilly, Joe Clay.
The man who made the record after which the Ponderosa Stomp is named, Lazy Lester.
One of the lesser known blue eyed New Orleans bluesmen, this is Skip Easterling.
Here is Tony Owens, a carriage driver in New Orleans when he was rediscovered by Dr Ike.
This is Jean Knight. A Vinyl Word reader Will Porter commented that her 1974 hit Mr Big Stuff was the highest selling US record released on Stax (although recorded in Jackson) selling 3 million copies. Will said it was shameful that Jean was not involved in Stax shows and that in Memphis she was even replaced by an impersonator despite still being in fine voice.
Dr John played a brilliant rock and roll set, featuring guitar as well as piano,
Here's Tami Lynn, who had a huge hit with I'm Gonna Run Away From You.
The great sax and trumpet player Herb Hardesty was busy selling his CDs. Here he is with Michael Hurtt. Herb died last year.
Another great musician no longer with us, here is guitarist Skip Pitts, leader of the Bo-Keys.
Another great no longer with us, this is trumpeter Ben Cauley, who survived the 1967 plane crash which killed Otis Redding and his fellow band members in the Bar-Kays.
Still with us, and a recent visitor to the UK, here is New Orleans singer Betty Harris.
Also with us, and still in brilliant form, this is William Bell.
This is Mary Weiss, lead singer of the most dramatic of all girl groups, the Shangri-Las.
Here are the Collins Kids. Larry Collins now performs solo and showed earlier this year at Viva Las Vegas that he's an excellent guitarist.
Here's another act who are on at this year's Stomp - Roky Erickson and the 13th Floor Elevators.
Here's one the great Memphis soul men, Syl Johnson.
This is blues piano player Henry Gray, now 92, who I'm hoping to catch at his regular weekly show in Baton Rouge.
One of the true stars of this and any show, here's Ronnie Spector.
Here is bluesman Rosco Robinson.
This is Earl 'Soul' Jackson, with my girlfriend Maxine, who sadly died of brain cancer the following year.
Here is the great New Orleans piano player Eddie Bo, pictured with Herb Hardesty.
Finally, here is the late night highlight of the second night - and brilliant they were too - ? and the Mysterians.

Friday, September 08, 2017

Dion, William Bell, Sam Moore in New York

Noah Shaffer reports on a great show in New York.
Wednesday night Conan O'Brien guitarist Jimmy Vivino hosted a number of his friends for a sold-out Blues Foundation benefit at BB King's in NY. Besides leading a 9-piece house band Vivino's deep rolodex yielded advertised appearances by Dion, William Bell, Sam Moore and John Sebastian, which was enough to get me there. 
The single three-hour set started 40 minutes late but quickly picked up steam as Ruthie Foster and Catherine Russell opened with the gospel standard "John the Revelator." This was followed by a jug band segment (sans actual jug) featuring Sebastian, Bill Sims Jr. and Catherine Russell on mandolin which was one of the highlights of the night. Sebastian did his medley of "Mobile Line" and "Bullfrog Blues" which he recorded with Vivino in the J Band some 20 years ago while Sims' leads included a jug band version of "Rainy Day Women #12 and #35." A similar viewpoint was offered by a not-young artist I was previously unfamiliar with, Chris Barnes, who was introduced as having made a new "hokum blues" record produced by Letterman bassist Will Lee who was in the house band. Barnes did a humorous Country Joe-style tune about the need to smoke more weed under the current administration. I'm looking forward to hearing more of his music.
Catherine Russell reappeared for "Tell Mama" -- a rare chance to hear her powerful voice tackle full-throttle soul rather than the jazz-oriented material she currently focuses on. Next up was some Chicago blues -- Shemekia Copeland did "Wang Dang Doodle" with Russell and several of her own songs. It was great to hear her with a horn section. Bob Margolin took the lead on some chestnuts like "Mojo Workin.'" Ruthie Foster also came back for one of her originals, "Phenomenal Woman," which got a big response. Local guitarist King Solomon Hicks did some BB King -- likely one of the few times that the music of the club's namesake has been heard on the venue's main stage in recent years.
Not surprisingly there were some guitar heroes on the bill. I have to confess that between my lack of interest in blues-rock and the antics of some intoxicated Gov't Mule fans near me (their keyboardist was in the house band) I didn't pay a lot of attention to this segment. Young Warren Haynes clone Marcus King, who regardless of his middle initial might want to reconsider his "MLK" guitar strap, did an unfortunate cover of "Cry Baby." Someone from the London Souls and Greg Allman bandleader Scott Sharrard who some of us saw in Porretta were better and were only on for one song each. Joe Louis Walker straddled the blues-rock line convincingly.
Right in the middle of the guitar hero portion William Bell strode on stage surprisingly early and did the "Private Number" duet with Ruthie Foster. (Catherine Russell also did a great job with the Judy Clay part when she toured with Bell last summer.)  At this point two very good things happened: William Bell sang his masterpiece "I Forgot to Be Your Lover" and the most drunk and obnoxious of the Gov't Mule clan announced to me that he was bored and going to the bathroom where he apparently stayed for the rest of the night. Bell's segment ended with "Born Under a Bad Sign" featuring a surprisingly tasteful cameo from Gary Clark Jr. who had not been announced.
Although Bell went midshow the other two headliners closed out the night. It's hard to imagine that in 2017 William Bell might not be the best male soul singer on any package, but Sam Moore sure gave him a run for his money on his surprise opener "Get Out My Life Woman." He then announced that he was going to do a song from a forthcoming patriotic LP and that if people liked it "they should BUY, BUY, BUY it." I cringed since Moore infamously appeared at the Trump inauguration, but no politics were referenced, and somewhat confusingly the "patriotic" selection was "Imagine" (whose lyrics aren't exactly a call to consumerism) and Moore sang it wonderfully before finishing with a lengthy "Soul Man."
Now Vivino announced it was "time to go to the Bronx," and a wave excitement spread through the crowd, since even in his hometown Dion Dimucci appearances are rare. He opened with a tough-as-nails "King of the New York Streets" before doing his recent "Gangster of Love" which he recorded with Vivino. Dion was as badass as ever and backed by the best band I've ever seen him with. Finally Vivino welcomed back Sebastian and Margolin who had asked to be on stage for "The Wanderer."
The night ended on a mellow night with Vivino, Margolin and Sebastian playing "Texas Flood" in tribute to those who had been impacted by the recent weather events. While it may not have been the most consistent evening of music, it sure offered a lot of sparks in aid of a great cause.

Saturday, September 02, 2017

Stax Prom at the Albert Hall

London's short Memphis soul season continued last night with the Stax Prom at the Royal Albert Hall celebrating the 50th anniversary of the 1967 Stax/Volt tour - a show that I was lucky enough to see and review for my local paper in Croydon. I didn't go to the Prom - it started late and its advertised length seemed rather short - so I watched it live on BBC4. Staying at home proved to be the right decision, as it was all rather unsatisfactory.
Booker T Jones and Steve Cropper sat in with Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra throughout giving the band some authenticity. But the opening act consisted of three British acts with no connection with Stax - Sir Tom Jones, Beverley Knight and someone called James Morrison, who murdered Sweet Soul Music. To be fair, Tom still has a decent voice, as does Beverley, and his version of Hard To Handle wasn't bad. but the following duet with Sam Moore on I Can't Stand Up For Falling Down (an odd choice of Sam and Dave number I thought) was mediocre. Sam, the man who sang at Donald Trump's inauguration, seemed doddery and later asked Jools if he was seeing the prince - he didn't say which one and Jools was clearly baffled. Sam made a decent stab at Soul Man however.
Next up was Beverley Knight who did a tribute to Carla Thomas with B-A-B-Y. Why not have Carla herself, as those of us who were at Porretta know that she's still in fine voice? The highlight of the evening followed with William Bell (who wasn't on the 1967 tour) smoothly singing I Forgot To Be Your Lover, and then dueting with Beverley on Private Number. Excellent stuff. Eddie Floyd appeared next, not in the greatest of voice, but adequate on Knock On Wood, but James Morrison, despite his best efforts, couldn't match the excitement of Otis Redding on Try A Little Tenderness. After Booker T and Steve Cropper reprised Green Onions yet another British act appeared in the form of Ruby Turner, who sang I'll Take You There. She has a good voice, but this seemed a little out of place, given that the Staples Singers didn't record it until several years after the tour. Even more out of place was Blues For New Orleans, featuring Booker T and Jools's orchestra. Not much connection with Stax there.
Rather better was Tom Jones singing Sittin' On The Dock Of The Bay, with Steve Cropper in support, but then the worst act of the night - by far - appeared. A rap duo called, I think, Sweetie Irie and Nadia Rose - made a complete dog's breakfast of Walking The Dog. Truly awful. Whoever invited them onto the show should be fired. Finally we had rather second rate duets by Beverley and Sam on Hold On I'm Coming, and Eddie and James Morrison on Wilson Pickett's 634-5789, before all the acts joined in on another attempt at Sweet Soul Music.
The BBC has to be congratulated on including soul music in this year's Proms, but this was all a bit of a mess and lasted barely more than a hour. Admittedly there aren't many original Stax artists left, but they could have done better.

Friday, September 01, 2017

Don Bryant at Ronnie Scott's

Last night's show by Don Bryant at Ronnie Scott's in Soho was an absolute masterclass in soul music. Backed by the excellent Bo-Keys, led by bassist Scott Bomar, Don showed that he remains a singer of the highest order, with a set that was just magnificent from beginning to end. Now 75, Don was a recording artist for Hi in the 1960's, releasing seven singles and an album of covers called Precious Soul. Surrounded, as he was, by talents such as Al Green, Otis Clay, Syl Johnson and his wife Ann Peebles, Don stopped recording and concentrated on song writing and supporting Ann's career in the seventies and then moved into the gospel field.
But now he's back - and how! He's recorded his first secular album in nearly 50 years, Don't Give Up On Love, on Fat Possum, and it's a classic, with several self penned compositions, both old and new, and a varied mix of material ranging from ballads to funk. Last night he focused largely on this album, but included quite a few other songs with which he has been associated as well. The Bo-Keys, who backed him on the album, provided superb support, with the excellent Archie Turner on keyboards, David Mason on drums, Joe Restivo on guitar, Marc Franklin on trumpet and Kirk Smothers on sax.
Don began with a searing version of A Nickel and a Nail, made famous by fellow Memphian O V
Wright, and followed up with the album's second track, Something About You. Next came the beautiful ballad I'll Go Crazy, a Hi single from 1968, and I Got To Know, which he wrote for the Five Royales when they recorded with Willie Mitchell back in 1960. Don't Give Up On Love, a gorgeous piece of deep soul came next, followed by One Ain't Enough, a funky track from his new album, and the mid tempo What Kind Of Love. He completed the first set with Willie Mitchell's bouncy That Driving Beat, on which Don was the uncredited singer and which gave the Bo-Keys' horn section full rein.
After a short break, Don and the band returned with a scorching version of King Curtis's Memphis Soul Stew, followed by the other side of That Driving Beat, Everything Is Gonna Be Alright, both of them ideal vehicles for the Bo-Keys. The self penned ballad How Do I Get There came next, a great song which had the audience eating out of his hand, followed by It Was Jealousy, which Don wrote for Ann Peebles' 1975 album Tellin' It and which was also recorded by Otis Clay. A funky version of the Big Jay McNeely hit There Is Something On Your Mind followed, also a 1960's 45 by Don on Hi, and then a wonderful song called Don't Turn Your Back On Me, which sounded like a Solomon Burke number but was actually another of Don's 45s on Hi in 1965. Probably Don's best known composition, among many, is I Can't Stand The Rain, a big hit for Ann Peebles, and this came next, going down a storm. Finally, as an encore, Don turned to another beautiful soulful ballad from his new album, First You Cry.
It's incredible to think that Don's talent has been hidden away for nearly five decades. I saw him
appear with Ann Peebles at the Porretta Soul Festival in 2001, the year it was held in Bologna, (see photo) but he took second billing to his equally talented wife on that occasion. This time around his talent is very much in the spotlight and his return to recording and performing is one of the best things to have happened to Memphis soul music in recent years. He looked great, wearing a floral jacket in the first set and a darker version for the second, and his stage presence was excellent.  Among the crowd at Ronnie's last night was Graziano Uliani, who masterminds the brilliant Porretta festival every year, and it's to be hoped that he can persuade Don to appear next year. What a treat that will be.

Saturday, August 19, 2017

Sonny Burgess RIP

Sonny Burgess, one of the last surviving original Sun recording artists, has died at the age of 86. Born in Newport, Arkansas, Sonny was the original wild man of rock and roll, dying his hair red to match the rest of his outfit. His double sided 45, his first for Sun, combined Red Headed Woman with We Wanna Boogie and just about defines what rockabilly was all about. Together with the Pacers, which included Bobby Crafford on drums, Jack Nance on guitar, Ray Kem Kennedy on piano and Johnny Hubbard on bass, Sonny recorded five singles for Sun, including Restless, Ain't Got A Thing and My Bucket's Got A Hole In it.  His final Sun single was Sadie's Back In Town, released on the Phillips International label, which also got a UK release on London (now a very collectable 45).
Sonny toured extensively while at Sun with the likes of Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison but his record sales were relatively modest at the time. After leaving Sun he recorded a number of singles for labels such as Arbus, TSBS, Ara and Rolando, plus several for Razorback in which his friend Bobby Crafford had an interest. He continued to play a mixture of rock, country and R and B and recorded occasionally in later years, including the albums They Came From The South and Still Rockin' and Rollin'.
Sonny appeared in the UK several times and I caught him at festivals in the States on a number of occasions, the most recent being at Viva Las Vegas in April of this year (pictured above) when he appeared, as on many other occasions, with Bobby Crafford. He was on good form and included his Sun hits in his short set. with Bobby singing Ain't Got No Home. At the King Biscuit Festival in Helena, Arkansas, in 2014 (pictured below) he included several blues and R and B numbers in his set, including Just A Little Bit, Caldonia, Sweet Home Chicago, Ronnie Hawkins' Odessa, Long Tall Sally, The House Is Rocking and Fulsom Prison Blues. He put on an excellent show and showed what a fine guitarist he was, as he always did when I saw him, and it's sad to see him go. RIP Sonny.

Wednesday, August 09, 2017

Doowop debacle

Noah Schaffer reports on a disappointing show.
It was an unforgettable afternoon of music -- but for all the wrong reasons. Billed as “The Biggest Show of Stars for 2017,” it promised sixteen acts, including a number of the last remaining pioneers of doo-wop and rhythm & blues, all taking place on the field outside Lamont’s, one of the Eastern Seaboard’s great juke joints. 
Instead it ended prematurely with the sound system being disassembled while groups were standing in the wings waiting to perform, the promoters using an armed escort to flee the venue, 7 advertised acts never appearing and a field of shocked and angry ticketbuyers and stiffed performers. 
One can’t say there weren’t warning signs. Two of the promoters are veterans of the doo-wop business: New York-based agent Paul Errante and DC-based Millie Russell, the manager of the current Orioles group and the widow of Diz Russell who kept the group going after original lead Sonny Til passed away. 
But the third raised a number of eyebrows: Florida teenager Peter Lemongello Jr., whose face graced the flyer. One obvious question is why a high school student would be mounting a high-risk concert requiring tens of thousands of dollars in upfront funding hundreds of miles from home. And Lemengello’s family history seems straight out of a John Waters film. His father, Peter Lemengello, was a 1970’s lounge singer who starred in what is said to be the first ever direct-order TV commercial for a recording. The ads for 'Love 76' were so incessant that they inspired the Chevy Chase character of Peter Lemon Mood Ring on Saturday Night Live. Lemongello Sr. also made scores of “Tonight Show” appearances and even had a bit part in the “Godfather.”  But after a major label deal fizzled, he ended up linked to a bizarre series of kidnappings and arsons in which his cousin, a professional baseball player, was also charged. The 1980’s press accounts don’t say whether he served any jailtime, but today he lives in Florida and performs at the retirement communities where many of his New York-bred fans now reside. 
Peter Jr. hosts an Internet doo-wop radio show, “Peter Lemongello Jr’s Swingin’ Soiree,” and performs locally as an Elvis impersonator. His past efforts to mount concerts in Florida resulted in events that were postponed before eventually get cancelled amid accusations that some acts were advertised without ever being confirmed. 
Despite this dubious past he somehow convinced Errante and Russell to join forces for a marathon concert at Lamont’s, the Pomonkey, Maryland venue that has long been the only chitlin’ circuit spot in the Northeast. The likes of William Bell, J. Blackfoot and Clarence Carter have graced its stage, and Southern soul favorites Hardway Connection perform biweekly for a “grown folks” crowd. Lamont’s is also a popular gathering spot for African-American motorcycle enthusiasts. 
Besides oldies circuits favorites like Charlie Thomas’ Drifters, the Dubs and Peaches & Herb, the show also advertised some major coups. Tommy Hunt sang lead for the Flamingos before having a solo smash with “Human.” He’s lived in the United Kingdom for decades where even at 84 he keeps up a steady schedule of live dates but hasn’t done a US concert in years.  Also billed were Joe Grier and the Charts and Eddie Rich and the Swallows, two groups that are beloved by group harmony fans but who are rarely booked onto commercial oldies events. 
Although several DC and Baltimore residents told me local publicity was nominal, a vintage-style flyer for the show quickly spread on social media. Friends and associates of Tommy Hunt were stunned to see him advertised, as Hunt had said he was willing to do the show but was never sent a contract, airline ticket, hotel arrangements or the deposit entertainers typically obtain before they travel to a concert date. Even after promoters admitted he wouldn’t be present (shamefully claiming non-existent health issues) he was still on the flyer and his name was on the Lamont’s marquee the day of the show. 
Also surprised to see his name advertised was veteran Baltimore musician and bandleader Milton Dugger Jr, who said he had also never confirmed that he would lead the house band during the revue. Despite a string of increasingly angry Facebook posts threatening legal action his name remained on the flyer as well. 
It was enough to make one doubt the entire event. But then the bulk of the roster called into Washington radio station WPFW the week before the show to promote it and confirm their planned presence. Herb Fame of Peaches & Herb (and a former DC cop) came by the studio and discussed the show at length. One of the Charts posted that he had boarded his plane to the gig. It seemed like, aside from Hunt and Dugger, audiences would still get to hear a long afternoon of R&B heavy hitters. 
The afternoon of August 5 couldn’t have been more perfect. There wasn’t a cloud in the sky, nor was there any of the humidity that can make DC unbearable in the summer. At the gate of Lamont’s stood none other than Peter Lemongello Sr. and his wife Karen taking cash from walk-up buyers. As the 1 p.m. start time approached one artist was finishing their sound check: JT Carter, the last surviving member of the Crests. Carter’s group boasted a new lead singer on “16 Candles”: Peter Lemongello Jr. 
The place wasn’t empty, but the audience was modest considering the number of groups slated to perform. There were perhaps 150 present, and when one took out the group members, their families and guests and members of the media, it was hard to see how, even at $40 a pop, the ticket revenue could come close to matching the talent budget. 
About 20 minutes after the show was slated to start local singer Barbara Washington sang a few tunes to pre-recorded tracks. She was followed by the Voices of Harmony. The Young Bucks, a longtime DC band led by Eddie Jones, did some well-received covers, including a duet with Eddie’s sister on “Private Number.” Then it was back to tracks with Baltimore soul man Winfield Parker (doing mostly covers plus his “SOS") and an unannounced set from the Dynamic Superiors, the Motown act famous for their ballad “Shoe Shoe Shine.” 
Finally, well after 3pm, the audience was treated to a vintage legend singing live to a band: Ronnie Dove, the only white artist on the bill. Opening with “Mountain of Love” and closing with his pop hit of Wanda Jackson’s “Right or Wrong,” the 82-year old Dove displayed a great example of blue-eyed soul at its finest. 
The show really picked up steam with the Swallows (pictured below), still led by 86-year old Eddie Rich, who is surely one of the only living singers who recorded in the late 40’s. Not only were his vocals as passionate as ever on the ballads like “When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano” and “Beside You” but he showed he can still dance up a storm on “Ride, Eddie, Ride.” This was living group harmony history at its finest. The Orioles’ backing band did a good job behind Dove and Rich. 
While there are no living Orioles left, the current group of singers who spent years with Russell did an excellent job recreating their classic sound. The current Washington-DC Clovers (there’s another version out there that includes original Harold Winley) did their best although they were hampered by a poor backing track. 
At this point I went to the parking lot to grab something from my car and witnessed a strange sight: a woman was following the Lemongellos and Errante yelling at them about someone not getting paid. Although she didn’t personally say she would do anything violent, she made it clear that “someone” might want to do them bodily harm unless the money showed up.
Shortly thereafter the band members started unplugging their instruments and packing up, grumbling to each other about getting stiffed. The promoters, via their armed escort, took off as well. Rumors started flying. Shep’s Limelites, another legacy group, went on with tracks and did an admirable job entertaining the audience considering they knew their chances of going home with their full pay was nominal. 
Once the Limelites exited the sound crew quickly broke down the PA equipment. Charlie Thomas of the Drifters, a trooper if there ever was one, stood by the stage greeting his fans and saying he still hoped to somehow gather a band and sing. The Dubs also walked around apologizing for the situation. Peaches & Herb were never spotted. Of course with no PA there could be no announcement. Inside Lamont’s annoyed ticketholders vented to the security staff, who explained that the club had simply been rented to the outsiders. Slowly people dispersed. Group members compared notes to figure out who had been paid in full, in part or not at all. 
In the aftermath fingers started pointing. Millie Russell said her only role was to arrange the Washington-based groups, which were unpaid. Errante said the sound crew had been paid but had only been hired to work until 5 p.m. and that they had a later gig. Saying that he was also a “victim,” he added that an unnamed third party had promised funding which he only learned during the show would never materialize, and pledged to get the artists their full fees although he himself was out a considerable sum. As for Lemengello and his parents, there’s been total silence in the days following the show. 
All of the promoters have a true love for the music. Errante and Russell have been involved in it for decades. It’s inconceivable that anyone set out on this ill-fated journey with the intent of ripping off the singers they love or the dwindling fans of 1950’s harmony. But the adults involved should have stopped indulging the unrealistic dreams of a 50’s obsessed teen long before the day of the show. Let’s hope that they can figure out a way to make things whole for both the artists, who’ve long suffered through the financial indignities of the music industry, and for the fans who got far less than the show they bought tickets for.

Glen Campbell RIP

The death of Glen Campbell at the age of 81 marks the end of the career of a man who had a knack of finding memorable songs which straddled country and rock. Born in Arkansas. he learned to play the guitar and became a session musician on moving to Los Angeles in 1960, also joining The Champs. His session work included playing on records by Bobby Darin, Ricky Nelson, the Monkees, Elvis, Frank Sinatra and Jan and Dean among others. Early solo efforts included Winkie Doll, recorded under the name of Billy Dolton, and Turn Around Look At Me, both of which got a UK release. He also toured briefly as a member of the Beach Boys, filling in for Brian Wilson.
He signed to Capitol and his first success came with a cover of Buffy Sainte-Marie's Universal Soldier. Greater success came with Gentle On My Mind and a series of memorable Jimmy Webb songs including By The Time I Get to Phoenix, Wichita Lineman and Galveston. Later hits in the seventies included Rhinestone Cowboy and Allen Toussaint's Southern Nights. He wrote the theme and appeared in the 1968 movie True Grit and hosted his own Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour TV show, which attracted top guests including the Beatles, the Monkees, Johnny Cash and Neil Diamond. Glen suffered alcoholism and cocaine addiction but it was Alzheimers that brought him back into public prominence when he undertook a farewell tour in 2012 and recorded his final album, Adios, which was released earlier this year. Adios Glen. You and the Wichita Lineman will not be forgotten.