Sunday, May 13, 2012


"Sweet Joe" Russell of the Persuasions, one of my favorite vocal groups, has died after a long battle with diabetes. He was 72:

"If the Persuasions were a single body, Joe was the heart and soul," said David Dashev, who was their manager and producer in the 1970s at the height of their fame. "He had a larger-than-life personality combined with a genius voice."

He was a tenor who occasionally sang falsetto and sometimes the lead, including on the Persuasions' version of "Papa Oom Mow Mow" that was featured in the 1982 film "E.T."

On their standout 1970s albums, "Chirpin'" and the gospel-flavored "Spread the Word," Russell "has the largest, most powerful voice," Dashev said. "He was a force of nature that way."

The following video is from 1974. Joe Russell is in the pink jacket and shirt. Great, just great:


Musician Donald "Duck" Dunn, bass guitarist for Booker T. and the MGs, 70:

Donald "Duck" Dunn, bass player for the influential studio band Booker T. and the MGs, died this morning at the age of 70.

Dunn was in Japan at the time, playing a series of shows at the Blue Note in Tokyo. Steve Cropper, Dunn's friend and bandmate who was on the same tour in Japan, announced the bassist's passing on his Facebook page:

"Today I lost my best friend, the World has lost the best guy and bass player to ever live. Duck Dunn died in his sleep Sunday morning May 13 in Tokyo Japan after finishing 2 shows at the Blue Note Night Club."

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