The departure lounge has been rather full in recent weeks, it’s hard to keep up and losing all these musicians after following them your whole life (although inevitable) it’s rather depressing to have them leave us. The loss today of Small Faces/Faces keyboardist, Ian McLagan is just too sad for words and the Small Faces clips below showcase his immense talents – he had the same Hammond organ since 1969 (called Betsy). He tragically lost his wife Kim in a car accident in Texas where they lived in 2006. Kim was Keith Moon’s ex-wife but was together with McLagan for 28 years till her death. This from Wikipedia, “McLagan also played with The Stones, Chuck Berry, Jackson Browne, Joe Cocker, Bob Dylan, Melissa Etheridge, Bonnie Raitt, Paul Westerberg, Izzy Stradlin, Frank Black, Nikki Sudden, John Mayer, Bruce Springsteen, Tony Scalzo, Carla Olson and Mick Taylor. McLagan was a member of Billy Bragg’s band “The Blokes” for several years in the late 1990s and early 2000s, co-writing and performing on the 2002 England, Half English album and tour”. McLagan was famously the nicest guy you could ever meet.
It’s not just the ones you really liked or met or knew from seeing them on TV when you were growing up but those who just infiltrated your very being simply because you were alive. Jimmy Ruffin and John Holt passed away and I found myself writing about their legacy but we have also lost two sax players, firstly Bobby Keys long time Stones sideman. I saw him perform here in Stockholm in June with The Stones on their 14 On Fire Tour – he retired from the tour due to ill health. Keys’ played the sax solo on Brown Sugar (first release on The Stones own label) and Can’t You Hear Me Knocking from Sticky Fingers and worked with the Stones for forty years.
Raphael Ravenscroft was the man that played the famous sax solo on Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street, you couldn’t put the radio on in England for years without hearing that song. When I was in Penzance, Ravenscroft ran the beach front Jubilee Pool cafe. Whilst on the subject of instruments you have to blow into – Acker Bilk and his famous song Stranger On The Shore is forever ingrained in my memories when I was growing up. It was on the TV and on the radio all the time and is a beautiful moody piece, exquisitely played. Another musician you could see around Cornwall was Clive Palmer, an original member of The Incredible String Band, leaving them after the first album. He sadly passed away in November.
Also the great virtuoso, Gypsy Flamenco guitarist of The Camargue in the South of France, Manitas de Plata (real name Ricardo Baliardo) has died at the age of 93. He was inspiration to the the hip set of the fifties and sixties counting Cocteau, Picasso, Bardot, Dalí as fans. Check out the bizarre clip with Dalí below at the United Nations in the mid sixties. Legendary Flamenco singer José Reyes performs with him. Reyes and Baliardo were cousins – their sons formed Gipsy Kings.
Perhaps most shocking of all is the news that Nick Talbot aka Gravenhurst has passed away at the age of 37. There is little information about what happened at this time. Talbot was from Bristol and if you are not familiar with this band you will wonder how you missed them.
It is simply impossible to write about all these great artists all at once, so this is a tribute to all of them. I hope it serves as a sincere piece dedicated to them all. May they all Rest In Peace and condolences to their families. We miss you and thank you for all your wonderful music – you live on forever.