Under The Influence

Most of our favourite artists had their musical roots planted in Church or in a home filled with music played by parent’s siblings or other family members.

However, all of them had their own personal outside influences too. Part one of a selection here on the Blog. (see if you can spot the deliberate mistake).

James Brown.

The great innovator Louis Jordan. Brown used economic entrance methods to Jordan’s shows by wriggling under the show tent flaps to watch this dynamic performer in action. Mr Brown said Louis had it all. He could sing he could dance he could play he could act and other music greats like Chuck Berry and Ray Charles agreed. A major record hit maker Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens is my favourite. James Brown loved the Jordan Caldonia track so much he recorded it himself in 1964


chuck berry

Chuck Berry


Roy Ayers

Went to a Lionel Hampton gig, which left this young man determined to be a vibes player. The rest is history.

Roy Ayers

Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton

Marvin Gaye

He said his musical awakening was hearing God Only Knows by a teenage R&B harmony vocal group from Philadelphia called the Capris. The version Marvin would have heard was recorded in the early 1950’s.

Aretha Franklin

Sam Cooke, gospel singer Clara Ward and Dinah Washington.

Dinah Washington

Washington was born Ruth Lee Jones and given the name change by Roy Ayers hero Lionel Hampton. Quincy Jones described her singing style in his biography – she could take the melody in her hand, hold it like and egg, crack it open, fry it, let it sizzle, reconstruct it, put the egg back in the box and back in the refrigerator and you would’ve still understood every single syllable. Wow!


Some more Under The Influences soon.

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1 Response

  1. Mark McCarthy says:

    Thanks for this blog Robbie.
    I have in my archive available a recording from BBC Radio London of yourself and Chris Hill from the 1-1 -1983 which I have just restored but unfortunately the first 40 minutes I missed after overdoing it at the festivities the night before. If you would like the link do not hesitate to let me know, You naturally get first dibs before I post it on Mixcloud after all it originally was and is still your work! For many and myself this show was quite seminal in early 1983 and is a rarity at the moment unless somebody comes up with their own recording.
    Thanks again Robbie
    Kind Regards

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