She’s from Japan and only needs one name. She grew up a classical prodigy and moved into jazz. She can play sweet and slow and wild and fast. Her tunes are dense and moving.
I’ve Got Rhythm
Her hair can stand up straight. She can play anything and play it better than any one around. If you watch any of the many You Tube videos of her you can see how much fun she has playing, how great she is, and how much she feels the music.
Beethoven Sonata #8 Pathetique
Her band is as good as she is. Together, they can make your head explode. It’s like the world has been waiting for her to come along. Now that she’s here, I can’t stop listening.
He’s either a throwback to a simpler, funkier time or a guy who never grew up. He’s got the horns, the hooks, and the heart.
Ain’t Nothing You Can Do
He’s from England and must be like all those other guys who got hold of a transistor radio and a bunch of LPs. He’s studied and learned the lessons of great songwriting. He’s born to play. If you listen to the albums in order you can tell it’s all taking a toll on his voice, but like all great rockers he’s not holding back.
Light of My Life
He’s excited and in love and he wants to tell you about it. I love this guy. Melody, harmony, and rhythm is in every song. It’s got a beat and even I can dance to it.
Delaney was in the Champs (Tequila) and then the Shindogs (on Shindig!) with Leon Russell for two years and backed up everyone. Everyone. Think about it. Yikes! Other members were, Glen Campbell, James Burton, and Billy Preston.
Where There’s A Will, There’s A Way
Bonnie sang with Albert King and Little Milton at age fouteen, and then at age fifteen was the first Black Ikette – three days in ManTan Skin Bronzer and a black wig — before she was found out.
Get Ourselves Together
She and Delaney met at a bowling alley in 1967 and got married a week later. They weren’t married very long, but they made some great music.
I Don’t Want To Discuss It
Delaney and Bonnie and Leon Russell had a band with a bunch of loose participants, coming and going, who included George Harrison, Eric Clapton, Dave Mason, Duane Allman, Billy Preston, the rest of Derek and the Dominoes – Bobby Whitlock, Carl Radle, and Jim Price, Joe Cocker, Issac Hayes, King Curtis, Gram Parsons, Clarence White, and even, Jimi Hendrix.
Delaney and Bonnie split in ‘72. They didn’t get divorced, because they couldn’t be together long enough to do the paperwork.
Delaney was born again and wrote jingles. Bonnie recorded with the Average White Band and toured with Stephen Stills and the Allman Brothers.
Never Ending Song of Love
All this stuff is interesting, but it’s the music that lasts and is just as hot now as it was then.
When it’s hot like it is now – 95 degrees (or more) – I think back to a night at 1st Avenue in Minneapolis in 1986. This was Prince’s club for a while. The entire summer was hot and every night out, I’d pour beer in and, with a little dancing or even just bouncing up and down, the sweat poured out.
Sunny Ti De Aryia
King Sunny Ade was on his first tour of the states. I had been listening to the album and had read that he and the band often played for up to twelve hours at a time. They took a few breaks for liquid replenishment because Nigeria is as hot as Minnesota, but mostly they played. Long jams, many drums, and dancers. Can you believe they brought their own dancers?!
At first, a lone guy, with a talking drum under his arm, walked to the stage and took his place on one of the risers. Then, someone else walked up to a bigger drum, then another and another and another joined him. The rhythms went straight through my ears to my toes and the bouncing began. Guitars and other, unknown, instruments step in, carried by guys in bright colors. Next, came the women dancing, waving, smiling big time and shaking everything they had. Not only were there about twenty players, but it was loud and complicated, with the bass of the drums and the bass guitar thudding in my chest.
Finally, King Sunny takes the stage, playing his guitar. He has a presence and he can really play. He’s got a hat on his head that could have been a crown. After all, he really is a King and all the players are his subjects. His tribe. His family.
Eje Nlo Gba Ara Mi
The music is hot in a way I’ve never experienced. So much is going on – the individual playing and the dancing – everyone is dancing! It’s the ultimate funky marching band, but they’re not marching, they’re dancing. I’m hoping they’ll play the full twelve hours, but know better.
This is stimulation like no other. Visually, these guys are wild. Sonically, they’re overpowering. Musically, though from the other side of the globe, they’ve taken us over.
There are no chairs, but who could sit at a time like this. Our arms are waving in the air. Our feet have a mind of their own. We’re screaming, but no one can hear us. This is the best show ever. It has to be! I’ve never heard or seen anything like it!
The greatest singing athlete ever! That’s what he said. I’m not going to argue. Just listen to this.
Oooh Rooba Lee
I’m trying to think of other singing athletes. Harmon Killebrew? Reggie Jackson? Yogi Berra? I don’t think so.
In the fifties and sixties, Arthur Lee Maye played pro ball during the season and recorded the rest of the time with groups like The Crowns, The Dreamers, and the Jayos.
Ding a Ling
His good buddy from high school was Richard Berry, who wrote Louie, Louie. They sang together for years. At the same time, other singers emerged from Jefferson High School in LA and sang in groups like, The Penguins (Earth Angel), The Platters (Only You), The Hollywood Flames (Buzz, Buzz, Buzz), The Coasters (Yakety Yak, Charlie Brown) and the Flairs (She Loves To Rock). Just imagine all those guys, hanging out in the halls, singing every day, studying and learning from each other.
Cause You’re Mine Alone
While he was singing and recording, he was playing ball for the Braves, Houston, Cleveland, and the White Sox. Twelve years. A .274 batting average, 94 homers, 419 RBIs, and 59 stolen bases. Holy cow!
During his baseball career and after, he recorded unforgettable tunes like, Truly, Ooochie Pachie, Get Out of the Car, Loop De Loop De Loop, Gloria, Oooh Rooba Lee, Cool Lovin’, and Honey, Honey.
I can picture it now, Arthur’s on first, he checks the pitcher, the catcher, he hits a high note that drives the first baseman crazy, while he steals second. Never a dull moment.
I love his voice. It’s both smooth and gravelly. I love his spirit – playful, romantic, and cool. He’s the perfect front man, projecting and controlling the energy. He’s fun and is working all the angles.
When They Ask About You
Big bands and hot groups were there at his start in Los Angeles and the west coast and the music still keep him moving forward.
If I Were You, Baby, I’d Fall In Love With Me
The horns, the punctuating rhythms, his soulful delivery, and inherent hipness set him apart from a million other singers. He’s 90 now, and still performing.
Almost In Your Arms
At this point in time, there are few like him – a real guy who has lived a jazz life in a musician’s world, who has only become better and stronger and more wonderful with age.
Tender, sly, vulnerable, joyful, unconquerable and in the pocket. His advice is, Take it one day at a time, live your dreams, and enjoy the ride. Thanks, Ernie!