Tag Archives: 1953

RIP Robbie Shakespeare (1953 – 2021)

“Don’t Stop the Music” (1981) by Bits & Pieces

Robbie Shakespeare was a bass player who, with his partner Sly Dunbar, formed the most influential reggae rhythm section between the mid-1970s and the mid-1980s.

I found out about Robbie’s death in De Standaard in which Karel Michiels wrote a knowledgeable obituary. Michiels had struck me before when writing about the death of Bunny Wailer. When I came home I googled him. I found out he is a reggae musician in his own right and performs under the name Jah Shakespeare.

What is my history with Sly and Robbie?

I think a friend of mine had a tape of Taxi Gang (a Sly and Robbie moniker) with her when I traveled to Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand in the early 1990s.

When I collected records during the late 1990s and early 2000s, I found a copy of “Don’t Stop the Music”, a track which they recorded under the moniker Bits & Pieces, a cover of the disco song.

Boops (Here To Go)” (1987)

And then there is “Boops (Here To Go)” (1987) produced by Bill Laswell. This I first heard in Tom Tom Club in Antwerp. When I tried to find it in the internet era, it took me some time, thinking the lyrics were, “civil check, arms open wide” in stead of “Si boops deh. With arms open wide”.

Compass Point houseband

Besides all this, the duo are central to what is perhaps my favorite recording studio. I am referring to Compass Point, where Sly and Robbie were central to the house band Compass Point All Stars. Everybody played there, perhaps most central to my universe, Serge Gainsbourg.

 Padlock EP (1983) by Gwen Guthrie

The Padlock EP

And, to conclude: Robbie also did the bass line on that unforgettable record Padlock EP (1983) by Gwen Guthrie, produced by Larry Levan.

RIP John Goodsall (1953 – 2021)

John Goodsall was an American-British rock guitarist known for his work with Atomic Rooster and Brand X.

Unorthodox Behaviour (1976)

Goodsall worked in the jazz fusion and prog rock idioms, genres which can be quite boring, except when compiled on such albums as Prog Is Not a Four Letter Word (2005) by Andy Votel.

RIP Evette Benton (1953 – 2021)

Space Bass” (1979)

Evette Benton (1953 – 2021) was an American singer known for her background work as one of the vocalists of the The Sweethearts of Sigma. She can also be heard on such records as “Space Bass” (1979).

You could say that “Space Bass” is specimen of the space disco genre. In that genre, if it exists, should also be “Dancing in Outer Space”, “The Chase”, “Cocomotion”, “Powerline”, “Space Funk”, “Carry On”, “Turn Me On”, “Atmosphere Strut”, “Solar Flight (Opus 1)”, “Nobody’s Got Time”, “War Dance”.

You’re welcome

RIP Nanci Griffith (1953 – 2021)

It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go” (1989)

Nanci Griffith was an American singer-songwriter working in country, folk, and what she termed “folkabilly.”

She is known for such songs as the anti-war song “From a Distance” (1982) and the anti-racism anthem “It’s a Hard Life Wherever You Go” (1989). That is her socially engaged side, which, as a matter of principle almost, does not interest me very much.

There is another side, the slice-of-life side, represented by her song “Love at the Five and Dime” (1986). This side interests me more, also because the “five and dime” of the title reminds me of Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean (1982) by Robert Altman.

RIP Betty Wright (1953 – 2020)


Betty Wright was an American composer and singer.

She rose to fame in the 1970s with hits such as “Clean Up Woman” (1971) , “Shoorah! Shoorah!” (1974) and “Tonight Is the Night” (1974).

Born in Miami, she was married to King Sporty and was part of the Henry Stone, TK Records and Peter Brown circle. She was the vocalist for the latter’s “Dance with Me” (1978) single.

Her voice and the sound of the seventies material is similar to that of personal favorite Loleatta Holloway

RIP Lyle Mays (1953 – 2020)

Lyle Mays was an American musician.

He shares writing credits on “This Is Not America” (1985)

This Is Not America” (1985)

I saw the film that composition stems from. I saw that film when it came out and never forgot the music. I later bought the twelve inch. I sold my collection of records when I moved into my current apartment in 2015.