Remembering Ennio Morricone, Malik B., Charlie Daniels, Judy Dyble And Others Who've Died In 2020

Posted by Billyjam, August 2, 2020 07:28pm | Post a Comment
The Fabulous Little Richard LP - a 2019 vinyl issue from the iconic artist who died this year

It may only be a bit past half way into the year but already it seems we’ve lost too many talentedmusicians in 2020. These include such artists as Little Richard, McCoy TynerKenny Rogers, Bill Withers whose Naked & Warm LP was recently released on 180 gram vinyl, Betty Wright, Florian Schneider of Kraftwerk, Bonnie Pointer, rapper Pop SmokeGenesis P-Orridge, Andy Gill of Gang of Four, Neil Peart of Rush and John Prine. Sadly Americana legend John Prine, whose upcoming vinyl reissue of D
iamonds In The Rough can be pre-ordered now, was just one of the many artists in 2020 to have died as a result of the coronavirus.  Others who tragically died due to the COVID-19 pandemic include jazz saxophonist Lee Konitz, African music icon Manu Dibango, Dave Greenfield of The Stranglers, gospel vocal star Troy Sneed, Adam Schlesinger of The Fountains of Wayne, 35 year old rapper Fred the Godson and 41 year old Broadway musical star Nick Cordero.

Cordero, who passed away a few weeks ago following a long battle with COVID-19, is just one of the many artists to have died during July 2020. The list of other musicians who died this past month, albeit from non coronavirus causes, includes Ennio Morricone, Peter Green of Fleetwood Mac fame, Charlie Daniels, Judy Dyble, Lil Marlo, Max Crook, Naya Rivera and founding member of the Roots, Malik B. The following is a tribute to some of these late great artists beginning with the prolific Italian composer.

Ennio Morricone The Good the Bad and the Ugly Main Theme 

Ennio Morricone, who passed away July 6th at age 91, was accurately described by musician John Zorn in the NYT obituary he penned as, “More than one of the world’s great soundtrack composers — he was one of the world’s great composers, period. For me, his work stands with Bach, Mozart, Debussy, Ellington and Stravinsky in achieving that rare fusion of heart and mind.” Calling the composer best known for scoring Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns a “cultural icon,” Zorn went on to compare Morricone’s famous “coyote call” in his landmark soundtrack composition for “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly” to the “four opening notes of Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony.”

Many other dedicated fans of Morricone’s suggested that the late composer transcended all musical categories and was his own musical genre. Included in the 500 + list of movie soundtracks Morricone scored were the soundtracks for the films Days of Heaven, The Hateful Eight, The Mission, Space 1999, Il Pentito and Cinema Paradiso. Above is video (film clip) for the aforementioned most famous Morricone composition “The Good the Bad and the Ugly” 

The Charlie Daniels Band “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”

The very same day in July 2020 that Morricone passed away so did 83 year old country music legend Charlie Daniels who died in Nashville TN following a massive stroke.  The singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist was a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame and will always best be remembered for his crossover rockin’ country hit "The Devil Went Down to Georgia.” The North Carolina born artist began playing bluegrass before shifting to country and moving to Nashville in the late sixties. Beyond his own body of work, that includes 32 albums over five decades, Daniels collaborated with numerous well known non country music artists over the years that included Bob Dylan (on Nashville Skyline),  Leonard Cohen and George Harrison

Despite the crossover appeal of much of his music Daniels’ political views (especially in recent times) were quite conservative. An ardent fan of the NRA, he famously spoke out against Barack Obama and, in the month before his passing, was publicly condemn ing the Black Lives Matter protests and protesters. Albums available by the artist include Songs From The Longleaf Pine.  Above is a live concert video in Saratoga Springs in 1979 of Daniels and band performing the fiddle-driven “The Devil Went Down to Georgia.”
Fairport Convention (original line up inc. Judy Dyble) "Morning Glory" 1968 

71 year old singer Judy Dyble, who was early era member of legendary British folk band Fairport Convention, died July 12th year following a long-term illness. The London born singer who had her own band (Judy and the Folkmen) for a few years before joining Fairport Convention in 1967 had split the band who were widely considered pioneers of the British folk-rock movement before the release of their debut album.

On that self-titled 1968 Fairport Convention debut Dyble handles lead vocals, piano, auto-harp and recorder. Releasing solo albums up until the last few years her final album (a collaboration with Big Big Train’s David Longdon) is scheduled to be released next month.

The Roots With Roy Ayers ‎"Proceed II" (1995)

Finally last week on July 29th Malik B. of the Roots fame passed away at age 47 due to unspecified causes. The emcee became a member of the famed hip-hop crew back in the early nineties formative days when they were still known as the Square Roots. By the time of the group’s 1993 debut album Organix they had dropped the “Square” part of their name. Malik B. appeared on that album as well as the group’s other album releases of that decade; 1995’s Do You Want More?!!!??!, 1996’s Illadelph Halflife and 1999’s Things Fall Apart. And even though the often elusive hip-hop artist had split the group by the end of that decade he did return as a guest on both the Roots 2006 album Game Theory and 2008’s Rising Down. As a solo artist his discography included two studio albums: 2005’s Street Assault and 2015’s Unpredictable.  While Malik was only an official member of the Roots for the first third of the group's lifespan, his lasting influence on the group was undeniable. Last week following his former collaborator’s passing the Roots’ Black Thought took to social media  to write how he felt that he, “possessed only a mere fraction of your true gift and potential…..Your steel sharpened my steel as I watched you create cadences from the ether and set them free into the universe to become poetic law.”

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