Sunday, 11 December 2011


The gates of the Blues and Soul Heavenly Branch welcomed two more additions this week.

Hubert Sumlin passed away, aged 80, on Sunday. rarely credited but it was Sumlin’s guitar lines than ran underneath and between Howlin' Wolf’s growl on all those classic Chess sides. Only two weeks ago I posted a clip of the pair performing a mean “Dust My Broom”, which is worth another look.

Dobie Gray ‘s “Out On The Floor” forms an essential part of every northern soul starter kit. I can’t claim to have first heard it at Wigan but I did hear it most Fridays as a fourteen year old at a youth club in Hayes which doubled as a mod night. We’d smuggle in a small bottle of vodka to pour into our cokes; dance to “Out On The Floor” and “The In Crowd”; and then try to negotiate a safe journey home as car loads of casuals drove around looking to beat the shit out of young mods not even old enough to own scooters. Gray died on Tuesday aged 71.

Yesterday, 10th December, marked the 44th anniversary of the plane crash that took the lives of, amongst others, Otis Redding and members of the Bar-Kays. Listening to Otis Blue I came across the great photograph above.

And finally, on this day in 1964 Sam Cooke was shot dead in a Los Angeles motel. If you've not heard Live at the Harlem Square Club 1963, try it; it'll open your ears to Sam in way his more saccharine pop hits barely hint at.

R.e.s.p.e.c.t. to all four.

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