Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Lest we forget...

Here’s a post I’ve been meaning to do for ages. Actually, if I had been quicker off the mark, it would’ve been three different posts, but my tardiness has given me the opportunity to combine them neatly into a single one. It’s basically an RIP to three giants of music who passed away in the past few months.

Klaus Dinger (1946-2008)

Klaus Dinger was a legend of German music, serving stints in some of that country’s greatest bands. He was in the original line-up of Kraftwerk as the drummer and percussionist for their first album, but left soon after, along with Michael Rother to form Neu! After the three albums by these fathers of Krautrock, where Dinger’s drumming gifted countless journalists the term motorik, he moved on to form La Düsseldorf, perhaps his least-appreciated outfit, but possibly his best. I’ve certainly been enjoying the latter band the most as I’ve been revisiting Dinger’s work lately. That first Kraftwerk album is brilliant, but much easier to admire than love. And though the best of Neu! Is amazing, there is a bit too much experimental pissing about at times. La Düsseldorf keep the motorik drive and combine it with good tunes for a winning combination. It’s a shame that their albums aren’t widely available, so grab a copy of the combined La Dusseldorf/Viva CD if you can!

Download: Kraftwerk – Ruckzuck (from Kraftwerk)
Download: Neu – Hallogallo (from Neu!)
Download: La Düsseldorf – Silver Cloud (from La Düsseldorf)
Download: La Düsseldorf – White Overalls (from Viva)

Joe Gibbs (1943-2008)

This was a such a criminally under-reported passing, so much that I first read about it on The Wirewool a week or so after it happened, and I’ve read precious little else since. Joe Gibbs was a legend of Jamaican music, producing some of that island’s best and best-known music encompassing rocksteady, dub, roots and a whole lot more. As well as producing some of reggae’s most instantly recognisable records (like Culture’s Two Sevens Clash, Althea & Donna’s Uptown Top Ranking) he did a bit of his own stuff as well along with Errol Thompson (as The Mighty Two) and studio house band The Professionals, which included Robbie Shakespeare and Sly Dunbar. In the past couple of decades he’s been less prominent and apparently even owned a chain of Kingston grocery stores (shocking though it may seem, people usually need food more than records), but now with his passing, time is right for a proper appraisal of his genius. If you’re interested (and you really should be) in checking out more, the excellent Soul Jazz compilation Joe Gibbs Productions is a fine place to start.

Download: Culture – Two Sevens Clash
Download: Joe Gibbs and the Professionals – Stonewall Jackson
Download: Althea & Donna – Uptown Top Ranking

Humphrey Lyttelton (1921-2008)

Humphrey Lyttelton is here not so much because of his musical output, but because of his long-standing role as chairman of the BBC Radio 4 comedy ‘antidote to panel games’ I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue. He was always the genial host, and kept listeners constantly amused with just how far he could stretch his pre-watershed double entendres without attracting the censor. That’s how I know and love Humph, though he was also a legend of Bristsh jazz. On hearing of his death, Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood blogged "We were all sorry to hear of Humphrey Lyttelton's death - he was an inspiring person to record with, and without his direction, we'd never have recorded/released Life in a Glasshouse. So go and find Bad Penny Blues, and celebrate his life with some hot jazz…” So I did.

Download: Humphrey Lyttelton & His Band – Bad Penny Blues
Download: Radiohead – Life in a Glasshouse (featuring Humphrey Lyttelton)


neil said...

Under reported!! I had absolutely no idea Joe Gibbs had passed away!
Did a Humphrey post when I heard, one of those occasions where you curse yourself for not going to see someone when you had the chance

The Daily Growl said...

Indeed! Though I recall that you saw James Brown at his last ever gig (I think), so you've got that to remember him by...

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