April 30th, 2013
There have been some notable deaths in the world of music this year that I’ve completely neglected to mention. So let me correct this situation.
Country music’s George Jones passed away last Friday. His marriage to Tammy Wynette is legendary as was his alcoholism. Who will step up and drive lawn tractors to the tavern? I’m not the biggest George Jones fan around but there’s no denying he made some great music. “White Lightning” is a classic but I can’t find a performance of it that’s not mimed. Luckily “The Race Is On” is also a great tune.
Earlier last week folk singer Richie Havens died. He is surely known best for his performance at Woodstock or what ended up in the film, at least. As with Jones, I can’t say I’m a big fan of his. While I certainly like the songs of his that I’ve heard over the years, for one reason or another, I just never made a concerted effort to investigate his back catalog.
Oddly enough, Havens has a prog rock connection. He sang on Steve Hackett’s “How Can I?” and “Icarus Ascending” which are on his second solo album Please Don’t Touch. Hackett saluted Havens on his blog and, helpfully, since I was wondering, explains how they ended up working together: “One evening after supporting Genesis at Earls Court he came to dinner and insisted on helping my mother to wash up. He had such a big heart in every way. All night I was dying to ask him if he would consider working with me. I was about to kick myself for missing the opportunity when he suddenly said ‘Hey man, we should work together sometime…’”
More firmly in the progressive rock world was Peter Banks. He was a founding member of Yes and, coincidentally, they even covered Richie Havens’ “No Opportunity Necessary, No Experience Needed” while he was in the band. Steve Howe stole all the Yes guitar thunder but Banks was certainly no slouch.