This week saw the departure from this world of three stars that made a huge impact on soul, funk and r&b. Jimmy Castor came to fame as a singer, saxophonist, percussionist and bandleader who dabbled in everything from funk to latin music, always with a keen sense of humour in songs like Troglodyte and The Bertha Butt Boogie. His songs went on to be sampled heavily by hip hop artists.
Johnny Otis came from Greek Immigrant parents but it was with black rhythm and blues that he made his name. He sang, played drums and vibraphone, was a radio DJ and also wrote songs like Etta James’ first hit The Wallflower (otherwise known as Roll With Me Henry). Otis produced Little Richard, Big Mama Thornton and many others before settling into his own big band playing jazz, blues, gospel and swing in the 60s and 70s.
Etta James was a true independent soul and one of the great R&B singers. She always sang from the heart and her songs went on to influence everyone from The Rolling Stones to modern day artists like Pink and Beyonce.