Category Archives: Music et al

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Happy birthday
Blood, Sweat and Tears
Woodstock alum
Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman
Dr Jerry Hyman and his trombone

 

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Brooklyn born

Jerry Hyman was born on May 19, 1947 in Brooklyn.  I suppose some other people were, too. And I suppose some of them became musicians.  I’m pretty sure that none followed the same path, though.

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Blood, Sweat and Tears

Jerry Hyman joined Blood, Sweat and Tears after their first album, Child Is Father To the Man in time for their second album, the 1968 Blood, Sweat & Tears.

             He played trombone for them from 1968–1970, a time period that enabled him to play at the  Woodstock Music and Art Fair.

As broad and deep (and questionable) as the internet is, Jerry Hyman’s story is a seemingly well-kept one. And that’s fine.

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Accordian

Luckily, there is a long interview [Interview link] with him that is also linked to from Dr Jerry Hyman’s page [Dr Jerry]. Yes, I said “Dr” and that’s another part of the story.

             Hyman’s first musical instrument was the accordion.  In my 1950s grammar school I remember that classmates that played an instrument often played the accordion. I suppose it was viewed as a portable keyboard before there were portable keyboards.

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Trombone

In any case, Hyman moved to the trombone, another less-than-popular instrument but one he had a facility for. It was that instrument that led him to salsa bands and believe me there aren’t many more fun events to be at than a party with a salsa band.

Jerry became friends with Dick Halligan, another trombone player, and Halligan offerd Hyman a spot in a new band, Blood Sweat and Tears. Hyman wasn’t ready for that scene and declined. He didn’t pass on the second offer.

             Life became a much busier one. Besides attending the famous Woodstock Music and Art Fair, there were Grammys, hit records, hit albums, and touring. ““We traveled 250-plus days a year doing one-nighters.”

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Redirection


             From the outside such a life my seem like one happy glorious continuous party and likely one of those adjectives was sometimes true, but such a life takes its toll and if one has the strength it takes a strong will to walk away.

             “I think I had had enough,” he says. “I had seen the experience for what it was. I had learned about, shall we say, the art of artifice. It was time for me to follow my heart and my nose. That was a grand experience because it enabled me in essence to get here.”

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

 Dr. Jerry Hyman

After BS & T, Jerry worked in a Pennsylvania antique shop and later LA studios.

Then Bell’s palsy hit. Three times in 10 years. The disease prevented him from playing the trombone.

Luckily he hurt his back and went to a chiropractor. Luckily because as hesitant as he was at first to try methods outside the traditional medical school science, the treatment he received helped.

In 1983 he was graduated as a doctor of chiropractic from the Cleveland Chiropractic College-Los Angeles.

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman

Helping musicians

In the early 2000s he began working with musicians whose muscle pain issues he could relate to.

While attached to the life that LA offered, he and his wife Carol wanted something different. After searching they found New Hampshire, its coast, its art scene, and a way of life that appealed. That is where they are today and where Dr Jerry Hyman, chiropractor, helps heal.

For him, the Woodstock Music and Art Fair was a long time ago (“…shortly after the first Crimean War, yes?“) and royalties from his music don’t seem to know he moved.

As Jerry Hyman says, ‘Vive Bene, Spesso L’amore, Di Risata Molto’

Blood Sweat Tears Jerry Hyman
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Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

If You Want To Be Happy
Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul
Jimmy Soul (YouTube grab)
Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

Blog side-effect

One of the interesting things about writing a blog that often involves hits of the mid-20th century is that a bit of research turns up facts that few if anyone knew at the time.

Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

James Louis McClease

James Louis McCleese was born on August 24, 1942 in Weldon, NC. He was preaching by age 7 and performing as a teenager.

Frank Guida, the man who helped bring Gary US Bonds to fame, decided that Jimmy Soul, the name his congregation knew him as, could do as well.

He gave Jimmy the song “If You Want To Be Happy.” It had been a song Guida offered to Bonds, but Bonds declined.

On May 18, 1963 Jimmy Soul’s “If You Want To Be Happy” hit Billboard’s #1 spot.

Oh 1963! That pre-Beatle year. A year that began with “Telstar” at #1 (the Tornadoes were from the UK) and ended with “Dominique” (The Singing Nun was from Belgium) [Jeanine Deckers].

Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

Soul Fame

It brought Soul fame.

The interesting piece that turns up is that Frank Guida’s song is a take-off (copy?) of a much earlier song: “Ugly Woman.”

Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

 Rafael de Leon

Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

Rafael de Leon (“Roaring Lion”) was born on Trinidad, the same place that Guida was stationed during an Army stint and absorbing a style of music  he came to love.

In 1934 de Leon released “Ugly Woman.” (Lion is also the singer of “Mary Ann.” (You KNOW this song…”All day all night Mary Ann, Down by the seaside sifting sand.”).

If you want to be happy and live a king's life
 Never make a pretty woman your wife
 If you want to be happy and live a king's life
 Never make a pretty woman your wife
 All you gotta do is just as I say
 And then you would be jolly, merry and gay
 That's from a logical point of view
 Always love a woman uglier than you.
Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul

Long and short

Roaring Lion had a long successful career and died in 1999 at the age of 91. (Best of Trinidad article)

Jimmy Soul’s song may have been like Roaring Lion’s, but Soul’s career and life was not.

After the success of “If You Want To Be Happy” Soul had no more. He eventually joined the Army. Soul died on June 15, 1988 at the age of 45. (Apparently, there is some confusion surrounding that date…see 45 cat Forum article.)

Surprisingly to me, the song has managed to stay afloat despite its irrational criticism of women. Perhaps our racism regarding “their” Calypso music and that it’s all fun for “them” persuades us that it’s a harmless song.

Roaring Lion Jimmy Soul
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Motown Mary Wells

Motown Mary Wells

May 13, 1943 — July 26, 1992

Motown Mary Wells
Mary Wells. Photo by James Kriegsmann, New York
Motown Mary Wells

Beatles Go Viral

Using today’s language, in 1964 the Beatles had gone viral. They had blown up. Trending. Their singles and albums dominated the charts, but that didn’t mean that other great music couldn’t find its way to the top of the charts. That’s exactly what happened on May 16, 1964. “My Guy” by Mary Wells hit the Billboard #1 spot.

Motown Mary Wells

Spinal Meningitis

To say that it had not been an easy climb to the top for Mary Wells would describe almost any artist’s rise to fame, but it was literally true for Wells. As a child she contracted spinal meningitis. Afterwards she was partially paralyzed and lost some hearing and sight.

Her mother was a house cleaner and as a teenager Mary worked with her mother. Mary also sang in her church choir and as others before and since, that early training provided a path toward the music business.

Motown Mary Wells

Tamla Barry Gordy

Her plan was to write music and she approached Tamla Records’ Barry Gordy with a song. She hoped that Jackie Wilson, one of Gordy’s stars, would record it. Gordy asked Wells to sing the song to him and he decided that Wells was the one for the song and signed her to his new label: Motown.

Motown Mary Wells

 

Motown Mary Wells

Bye Bye Baby

It peaked at No 8 on the R&B chart in 1961. She began to work with the young Smokey Robinson and she had three consecutive hits with his  “The One Who Really Loves You” (1962), “You Beat Me to the Punch” (1962) and “Two Lovers” (1962).

Motown Mary Wells

My Guy

In 1964, Wells’ career reached its peak when her song, “My Guy” also written by Robinson, made it to No. 1. It became her signature song.

Unfortunately, Well’s relationship with Motown went poorly around this time. She felt that she wasn’t being fairly compensated for her music and that other Motown artists were benefiting from her profits.

Motown Mary Wells

20th Century Fox

Whatever the case, Wells left Motown and signed with  20th Century Fox. Her career never attained Motown successes. She left 20th century after only a year. Later she signed with Atco and Jubilee.  Though not as well know, All Music described her later work as “solid pop-soul on which her vocal talents remained undiminished.” 

Motown Mary Wells

Cancer of the larynx

Mary Wells contracted cancer of the larynx in 1990. And “Despite her health condition, Wells was always upbeat and courageous. She began taking long trips, including one to New York in which she was the focus of a “Joan Rivers Show.” Her tribute on the show included a warm and generous phone call from Little Richard and a loving video dedication from Stevie Wonder, who, in her honor, sang “My Guy” rewritten as “My Girl.”  [Official site]

According to her New York Times obituary“After the operation, Ms. Wells had chemotherapy. In June 1991, doctors found the cancer was spreading, and she began an experimental drug regimen. She resumed chemotherapy late in 1991.”

In debt and without insurance, she lost her home. Several prominent musicians helped raise money for her or provided funds outright.

Wells died on July 26, 1992 and is buried at Forest Lawn Memorial Park.

Motown Mary Wells
photo by A.J. Marik

“My Guy” had remained #1 for two weeks. Who had the next #1? The Beatles, of course: “Love Me Do.”

Motown Mary Wells
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