G’bye Phoebe Snow
Wow…do you realize a generation of music has been whispering past us the last few years?
Even as a new one steps in to fill in the notes…
This has been on my mind for the last few days. I woke up at some crazy stoopid hour the other morning. Very, very much on the A.M. side of the early clock. Tossed and turned for a while – ended up tuning in some movie channel on TV.
On pops Blues Brothers 2000. This is the 1998 sequel to the Blues Brothers movie. Filmed after the passing of John Belushi (Elwood), the story picks up where Dan Akroyd character, Jake, gets out of jail and discovers he has a (sort of) half brother (played by Joe Morton). He’s the son of Jake and Elwood’s late surrogate father (played by Cab Calloway) in the first movie. I’ve never seen this movie so I figured this should knock me back out rather quickly.
Didn’t happen. I caught it near the end were the band (who’s the kid?) was inside of a revival tent doing a number led by James Brown and Sam Moore (half of the famous duo Sam & Dave). They were so good they brought Joe Morton’s character “into the light”.
(Side note: If you’ve never seen Joe Morton in Brother From Another Planet you are deprived. Track it down and see it. Then consider if you could play a lead role in a movie where you never utter a word. Amazing job. Thanks Gene for getting me to check it out…sometimes big brothers are really cool…yanno?)
Right away I thought about how I really missed the “The Godfather of Soul”, how I remembered that the first time I heard Sam & Dave’s “Hold On, I’m Coming” was also during my first ride in an Alfa Romeo and how that song will forever be tied to that car in my mind (thanks Big Bro’!).
I didn’t fall back asleep. It seemed like in every other scene some famous musician turned up. Erykah Badu? I had no clue! In the final musical scene, the Blues Brothers Band is competing in a a battle of the Bands against the Louisiana Gator Boys.
The roster of the Gator Boys was like a who’s who in music. led by B.B. King, the band was comprised of . Stars of Country, R&B, Jazz, Blues Rock and more. (Okay its been a few days and I can’t remember all of the names but here’s some of them) Lou Rawls, Koko Taylor, Bo Diddly, Issac Hayes, Paul Schaffer (Letterman Show), Travis Trit, Steve Winwood, Dr. John, Eric Clapton, Billy Preston, Gary U.S. Bonds, Jack DeJonette. The horn section was Joshua Redmond ,Grover Washington Jr.,Clarence Clemons and Jon Faddis. Look up th emovie to get a list of all of the musicians who performed.
What really sticks out in my mind was that while watching all of these artists together it really hit home how many of these great performers are no longer with us. They kinda just left. One here ..then another…little time goes by and then one more we’ve not heard from for a minute gets flashed across news screens.
So naturally I rocked back when I saw the email telling me Phoebe Snow went home.
Now I don’t have not one of Phoebe’s cuts … anymore. Lost the only LP I had of her’s when I left Iceland. One thing though, I can still hear her voice in my mind. It’s like a snippet of a verse from a song she once sang where her voice simply folds over the note of the moment and flies off to the rest of the lyrics. Amazing.
Her’s was a voice that was in that class where Minnie played.
Nooo… one could never be mistaken for the other. They do not sound the same… One was just as pure as the other.. each as rare…just as unique. When you heard Minnie, you knew it. You didn’t have to think about it. You simply knew it from the inside out.
That’s also how Phoebe hits you too. Once you hear her voice, next time there’s no mistaking. It can be gutsy one second and blasting through four octaves the next. Recognition comes subconsciously.
And, you will smile.
Ms. Snow was 60 when she passed yesterday evening. She’d suffered a brain hemorrhage in 2010. It is being reported that it was complications as a result of the hemorrhage that caused her passing.
Phoebe Snow is a Grammy nominated artist who recorded 16 albums, but I suspect many first heard her voice as they watched the Cosby show spin-off “A Different World”. I know Aretha – another “classmate of Minnie and Phoebe – also sang the theme song. Phoebe was the first. That was her singing the theme song. Ironically, her first live album was recorded in 2007. It turned out to be her last album.And she was in the process of doing more performances.
So as the latest flash in the pan flames about and then out, remember to look to the horizon and check out those who still got that glow. Those who come before shall always be the truest points of reference.
My deepest condolences to all of the families, friends and fans of Phoebe Snow.
- Phoebe Snow…r.i.p. 04/26/11 (eturner7215.wordpress.com)
- (video) Grammy Nominated Singer Phoebe Snow, Dead at Only 58 (brittaj17.wordpress.com)
- Phoebe Snow a heroic caregiver, mother and singer (bipolarsoupkitchen-stephany.blogspot.com)
- Phoebe Snow, ‘Poetry Man’ Singer-Songwriter, Dead at 60 (spinner.com)
- Phoebe Snow, Singer of 1970s Hit ‘Poetry Man,’ Dies at 60 (current.com)
- In Memoriam: Phoebe Snow (1952 – 2011) (radiomaxmusic.wordpress.com)
- R.I.P. Phoebe Snow (jambase.com)