Tag Archives: R&B


posted by Robert J. Carmack

Toots Thielemans

Jean-Baptiste Frédéric Isidor, Baron Thielemans, better known as Toots Thielemans,was a master jazz musician. He was well-known for his harmonica playing, but was a sublime guitarist and whistle soloist, often a first-call sessions player.

Many times over the decades of his career, he could be heard on Jazz/POP recordings, or in movie themes and scores. I first experienced Mr. Thielemans masterful skills on several Quincy Jones recordings starting in 1970, Gula Matari.

Born April 29, 1922, in Brussels, Belgium  Died: August 22, 2016











Posted by Robert J. Carmack   Photos by Cornell Francois                        #@blues2jazzguy

The Hub City Pride organization recently held an “Old School Dance & Show at  the new Ascension Ballroom in Compton,California. The “Home Grown Series is all about Compton’s Own helping one another and promoting “Goodwill”.  Compton is also known to many past and present residents as “Hub City”. HCP , headed up by longtime Compton resident Keith Bernard, has partnered with close friends Mahlon Potts and Art Levias to promote social  and business events  by people who grew up, went to school or established a longtime residence in the Hub City . One of the small business owners, Bludso’s Bar-B-Q of Compton and L.A., decided to lead the way by co-sponsoring the event at their new  entertainment facility adjacent to their Take-out eatery located at 811 S. Long Beach Blvd. Compton(Hub City) California.   Kevin  Bludso & the Bludso family are aggressively leading the way for other merchants in the city to invest more into Compton’s future  and help restore the pride and  sense of community . Not just have giant chains coming in and smothering, but actually partnering  with the small businesses to enhance their success as well. Hub City Pride is to be commended on  working towards that goal.

The three amigos  Hub Pride A

(l-r) Keith Bernard, Art Levias, Mahlon Potts

Being  that this writer grew up in Compton and  graduated from Centennial High School in the glory days before high crime and gangs chased away many businesses and residents. I was very curious.  It’s a new day and groups like HCP are reaching out to alumni from the three  Compton City High schools (all years) and recruiting them to assist by physically supporting  small businesses or referring their friends who are still living in Compton or near by. With over 1500 members and counting, there’s nothing left but, to succeed.  I had a great time just going around the room and talking to different people and, getting their perspectives on what they thought about the new facility  and Bludso’s future  remodeling plans. Their reactions were overwhelmingly positive.    http://www.bludsosbbq.com/

Keith and mor staff of HUB Pride

I was quite impressed with the show portion of the evening’s activities, as we were quite entertained  by comedian, SCREW and Starbrite Productions featuring vocalist, composer,musician  Anqui  Heming.  An assortment of  choreographed dancers and a hot band with very talented backup singers, that took us into the late evening, with all of this embellished by a hip lady DJ.

Comedy by "SCREW"

Comedy by “SCREW”






Keith &  anqui  with backround group A NOW


Anqui Heming & Robert J. Carmack
Anqui Heming & Robert J. Carmack

Party Peeps may 24 2004 NOwart Levias and two fine ladies


All Photos by Cornell Francois  shown with R J Carmack
All Photos by Cornell Francois shown with R J Carmack





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MarvinJuniorNice1 Now
CHICAGO, IL  – Marvin Junior, lead singer of  Soul group The Dells, was cremated Wednesday (06-05-13) after a sudden death at his home last week.  Junior, 77, died on Wednesday, May 29, 2013, with family members bedside at his home in Harvey, Illinois  from complications associated with kidney failure. Born January 31, 1936, in Harrell, Arkansas.
Both parents preceded him in death. Junior was the oldest of four siblings: Nathaniel Dabon (deceased), Melvin Dabon (deceased) and, Jack Dabon. He moved to Harvey, Illinois, when he was only six months old, and was raised by his mother, maternal aunt and her husband, Frankie and Bill Boylen. Junior’s musical development was rooted in the church, where he participated in the choir at a young age. He attributed his talent and love of music to his parents; his voice from his mother who sang in a spiritual group, and his father who played guitar. When asked who else inspired him, he said, “We listened to groups like the Moonglows, the Five Keys and always Ray Charles.” By the time he was 14, singing emerged as his passion.
Junior married his  true love, Ruby Caldwell in 1960. During their 53-year marriage, they had six children, and 12 grandchildren. When asked why some of his contemporaries, other male entertainers, struggled and did not have the support they needed during their elderly years, Junior commented, “Marrying the right woman, a good woman, like Ruby makes all the difference. I married the right one.”
As a teenager, he helped form the musical group which would become The Dells, who would go on to perform  over six decades and sell millions of records. Often considered the most enduring and endearing vocal group in music history, beginning their recording career as the El Rays. Soon after, they re-named themselves,The Dells. Mentored by Harvey Fuqua of  The Moonglows  on five-part vocal harmony and gaining experience as background touring singers,
The Dells recorded the original “Oh What A Night” written by Marvin Junior and Johnny Funches in 1956,  their first big seller.The rest as they say is musical history. Marvin Junior without question, have left a strong and vibrant legacy in the pantheon of soul and popular music.


Five-Stairsteps OONOW stair step color 1970s
Elder brother of  The Five Stairsteps, Clarence Burke,Jr. death is still shrouded in mystery. Family friend & long time manager Joe Marno said,the R&B singer died  last Sunday at his home in Marietta,Georgia. Burke resided there with his wife.
With respect for the family’s request for privacy, no further information has been released surrounding the cause or circumstances of Burkes’s sudden death. unnamed sources indicated ,the talented singer/writer was busy preparing for a string of solo concerts and recording sessions. After forming the group with his Dad and three other brothers in early 1960s, Clarence wrote and produced the Maiden Voyage hit, You Waited Too Long in1966.  While later adding his older sister Alohe, Dad exited the stage area to handle the business management.  By 1970, their biggest hit of all-time “OOH CHILD” was catapulting them to stratospheric stardom. Besides his parents,Clarence Sr. and mother Betty, Burke Jr is survived by his wife Crystal;his five children; the five band mate siblings;two other brothers, Leonard and Martin and a bevy of grandchildren.Follow Robert J.Carmack @blues2jazzguy on twitter

Oh What A Career The Dells Lead Singer Marvin Junior Passed Today

marvin-junior- The DELLSMarvin Junior, the long time surviving lead singer extraordinaire of the mighty, mighty Dells  passed today (05-29-13). Unfortunately we don’t have any specific details of his death, but according to a May 23, 2013 report in the Soulful Detroit blog, Mr. Junior  was reported to be very ill “and was not expected to be around  much longer. The report also mentioned that another member of The Dells, Mr. Chuck Barksdale, was also very ill.

We’ll have more details as they become available. Follow story on twitter:blues2jazzguy  Lead singer of  The DellsMarvin Junior‘s warm, earnest baritone vocals helped define the Harvey, IL, R&B/soul music group during its ’60s/’70s heyday (along with Johnny Carter’s mesmerizing falsetto). One example of his vocal prowess is his ability at holding a note, as heard on the 1968 remake of their own “Stay in My Corner.”

It’s no secret that producers Kenneth Gamble and Leon Huff wanted Marvin Junior on their Philadelphia International Records label. When the group signed to Chess, they went with the similar-sounding Teddy PendergrassGamble & Huff finally got to work with the Dells in 1992 on the I Salute You album.

Junior, along with the rest of the Dells, was a key influence on Robert Townsend in the making of his movie The Five Heartbeats. In the early ’50s, the group initially formed as the El Rays when the members were students at Thornton Township High School. The lineup was Marvin JuniorJohnny Funches, Verne Allison,Chuck BarksdaleMickey McGill, and his brother Lucius. After doing their share of street-corner harmonizing, the vocal group auditioned for Leonard Chess of Chess Records in nearby Chicago. Their first release on Chess’ Checker imprint was the a cappella song “Darling I Know” with “Christine” on the flip side. The 45 was a small regional hit. Not long afterwards, Lucius McGill quit the group. Now a quintet, the group was taken under the wing of Harvey Fuqua of the Moonglows who schooled the group on five-part vocal harmony. Watch/listen to a classic 1972 live performance of “Oh What A Night,” “Always Together” and “Stay In My Corner” by the Dells on the PBS show “Soul”:

Eldest Sibling of Soul Group “The Stairsteps” Clarence Burke Jr. Dead at 63

Clarence Burke Jr

clarence-burke 3 now Re-Posted from The National R&B Music Society

Musical Genius, Vocalist, Songwriter, Musician, Producer and our dear friend Clarence Burke Jr. of The First Family of Soul “The Five Stairsteps, The Stairsteps and The Invisible Man’s Band has taken his final step…

My heart is heavy, my tears are still flowing, and my eyes are swollen, from mourning the loss of our dear friend Clarence Burke Jr. All night I have been reflecting on conversations he and I shared over the last three years and although we did discuss the music, we mainly spoke about life. I have always loved, admired and respected this Giant’s body of work, however through those conversation I admired, loved and respected the man, Clarence Burke Jr.

I am trying to wrap my head around this tremendous loss to the music industry. I can’t begin to imagine what his family and close friends are going through at this time. They all are in my thoughts and prayers and have my deepest condolences.

Vannessa Jordan
The National R&B Music Society Inc.

Sunny The Snowman: Mandrill feat. Lou Wilson

Sunny The Snowman: Mandrill feat. Lou Wilson  (click)

#Sunny The Snowman,one of the last projects completed by Louis Wilson, eldest brother of the  Wilson Brothers in Mandrill. “Sweet Lou” as he was affectionately called, sang lead and co-wrote this soon to be holiday classic song. “Sweet Lou” Wilson  passed away Monday morning,January 7 ,2013. The #Wilson family is asking fans and well wishers to light a candle,play a drum, and,or, say a prayer…”Lou would love that”. in a statement issued by surviving brothers, Ricardo(Doc), Wolf(Wilfredo) and Carlos Wilson.. #RIP Sweet Lou Wilson.. No other statements are available at this time regarding memorials or a funeral. follow this story and writer Robert J. Carmack via twitter @blues2jazzguy