Junie Morrison Genius Appreciation Post

Rest In Peace Young Man, only 62, and gone already.

Junie Morrison

Walter “Junie” Morrison

7 months after losing Bernie Worrell. Then there’s Bowie. Prince. Wow what a run of bad news for music lovers worldwide.

I have been one of Junie’s biggest fans since the day I was born. I was coming into the world as he was leaving the Ohio Players and his music is part of the soundtrack of my life.

All kinds of genius and inspiration coming out of this man.

I can’t summarize my feelings at this point so I’ll let others go through their own rediscovery of him for your benefit:

OHIO PLAYERS KEYBOARDIST WALTER ‘JUNIE’ MORRISON DEAD AT 62

Solange Pays Tribute to Junie Morrison: “He Was the ‘Super Spirit’ Indeed”

Ohio Players and P-Funk legend Walter ‘Junie’ Morrison dies aged 62. The multi-talented musician was the driving force behind some of the biggest hits of 70s funk – and an inspiration to scores of hip-hop artists

R.I.P. Walter “Junie” Morrison

Junie Morrison, Parliament-Funkadelic and Ohio Players Member, Dead at 62


Go buy some Junie Morrison music now. Stream some of his greatest jams. Celebrate one of our finest funk musicians. Look below for our exclusive Junie Playlist.

(Not Just) Knee Deep • One Nation Under A Groove • Why • Funky Worm • Super Spirit • Suzie Thundertussy • Bread Alone • Paint Me • Because I Do ••• the list will go on forever, so many amazing tracks.


This Youtube playlist is so stocked full of Junie goodness it’s just amazing!

Praise Walter Junie Morrison, you will be missed.

I’m so sad I was never able to meet you. You are a constant inspiration to me.

 

Bernie Worrell 1944-2016

Bernie

Pure Music.
Pure Passion.

The man was a vessel. The sounds he made were direct from his soul to yours.
His fingers were only complete when connected to the black and white keys – ivory, wood, plastic – no matter.

His hands rested in chordal patterns. They twitched in brilliant half-steps. Fingerless gloves covered the paws of genius.

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A crooked and friendly smile made it all right.

His contemporaries, if there are any, come from millenia — Monk? Chopin? Bach? Beethoven? Ellington? Debussy? Miles?

Or is it Bootsy, George, Eddie, Garry, Kidd, and the rest of his funkateer cohorts?

One of the finest composers, arrangers, and performers of the 20th & 21st centuries died the other day.

Expired after a thankfully short battle with cancer.

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Expired before he could deliver even more wonderful music.

George Bernard Worrell.
The Wizard of Woo.

Bernie Worrell piano

Bernie Baby We Miss You Already.bernie_worrell

If anyone can make music in the post-earth life it’s this man.

I expect to see him on that cosmic keyboard.

Through the front window of the mothership.

Close encounters of the woo kind.


Here’s some other takes on the legend passing:

How Bernie Worrell Built Our Musical Future (MTV)

Bernie Worrell, masterful P-Funk keyboardist, dies in Everson (Bellingham Herald)

Bernie Worrell, ‘Wizard Of Woo,’ Dies at 72 (NPR)

Bernie Worrell Obituary: Founding Member of Parliament-Funkadelic who helped Talking Heads take new musical directions. (The Guardian)

Bernie Worrell, Parliament-Funkadelic Keyboardist, Dead at 72: Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Inductee was also unofficial member of Talking Heads (Rolling Stone)

George Clinton: Bernie Worrell’s passing a ‘huge loss’ (Asbury Park Press)



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All To Plan

Prince’s passing has left me a bit shaken. I’m avoiding the mysterious theories and thinking this generally healthy and sober man had pill demons that caught him and he walked into his personal elevator and never came out. The lyrics to Let’s Go Crazy are now loaded with intrigue.

Addiction did not appear to be a long term problem for Prince as he showed none of the outward signs over the last 30 years of his career. But rumors are flying that the last year has been a rough one for the 57-year old entertainer. Painful hip problems led to Percocet and other powerful pills with never-ending prescriptions, and in no time the mighty had fallen. I’ll wait for the tox report before commenting more, but it’s not an uncommon story.

LIFE MOVES FORWARD. The sun comes up tomorrow with or without us. Ask the Atlanta Hawks.

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Prince loved basketball so if there’s an afterlife he’s enjoying this one.

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I’ve been saying all year that the regular season success of the Golden State Warriors is perfect for the Cleveland Cavaliers. It benefits the Cavs more than anyone else.

Regular season means nothing. Playoffs and Championships mean everything. It’s why Jordan is Jordan, Kobe is Kobe, Russell is Russell, Duncan is Duncan, Bird is Bird, Magic is Magic… and then there’s all those other players. Many winners and legends in the mix but there’s only a few that walk around with their hand(s) full of rings.

 

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Lebron James is on the cusp of the circle of greats. He has an impressive resume going to the last 5 finals and winning 2 of them. Most playoff records are owned or being hounded by James and his various teams. But he needs to get to 500 and get one with his hometown Cavaliers to cement his legacy.

Cue the perfect scenario – make James the underdog.


 

Last year was his first year back with his old family after running off to Miami with a supermodel, and it was awkward at times. The big 3 were actually Lebron and two confused all-stars lacking big game experience, a motley mix of role players, and a head coach who had never even assistant-coached an NBA game before.

But Lebron being Lebron, the addition of Iman Shumpert and JR Smith from the Knicks and Timo Mozgov from Denver seemed to fit together for the moment. JR was the sharpshooter, Shump the defensive stopper, and Timo the new Big Z that Lebron could play pick and roll with.

Delly also emerged as a decent backup PG and all around defensive irritant, and the team clicked going into the playoffs. But by the time they reached the Finals they had lost 2 all-stars and were logging huge minutes on the guys left.

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They still got 2, nearly 3 games from the healthy and clicking Warriors, but ran out of juice after running out of options. They were outmatched, out-coached, and still getting to know each other as a team. Delly collapsed and was rushed to the hospital for fluids. Cleveland licked it’s wounds yet again. There’s always next year.

 


This next year has been stable so the soap opera NBA media basically ignored the Cavaliers all year. Blatt wasn’t fired mid-season so much as forced to step aside for his star assistant, a move that all of us saw coming sooner or later. The Cavs didn’t miss a beat since very little changed.

Other than that all everyone talked about was the amazing unbeatable Warriors, and if the Spurs would have enough left in the tank to derail them. These amazing Warriors with their newly crowned King of the NBA Steph Curry! Could they ever be beaten? Have we ever seen something so dominating?

 

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Buzz. No one really cares. It’s the regular season. I’d be terrified if the Cavs won 73 games this year. The last team to win so many games is only talked about because they swept their way through the playoffs (actually 12-3) and got their FIFTH ring in 7 years. See the gentleman with all the rings above.

The Cavs are being treated like an underdog this year but the stats tell something different, and so does the eye test.

 


 

So the setup is perfect. The Warriors are unbeatable. Until their fragile superstar goes down that is, then they are beatable. The Spurs look damn good as usual, the perfect slayer of dreams. The Cavs are rolling, the East (which was stronger than the West overall this regular season) is folding with playoff jitters, and here we sit.

The thing about my predictions is I don’t always see the end of the story. Rarely, actually. I usually see the setup and build.

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I can imagine this is our year. But I was born in #TheLand 9 years after it’s last major title so I don’t get my hopes up too far. My storytelling mind does enjoy this narrative though.

Curry will be back, and the Cavs will face a strong team out of the west. I hope it’s the Warriors because we all want the rematch from last year. The Spurs have always dealt with Lebron better than anyone else.

 

Good Morning Eddie

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Who’s the finest electric guitarist of all time? It’s a very short list at the very very top.

There’s likely millions of good ones, thousands of amazing ones, and probably 100’s of legends I have heard of.

But then there’s the very top. The completely untouchable, unplayable motherfuggus that just knock people out. Done.

They make other guitar players try harder– or quit. Mic Guitar drop.

Eddie Hazel is one of those guys.


 

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The most genius amongst a pack of them, he blazed through the P-Funk mob from ’67-’82 then battled his addictions outside of music. By 1990 he was starting his comeback stronger than ever. He passed away in 1992 at the young age of 42, a medical prescription error the supposed cause, unfinished music.


 

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There’s lots of tributes out there. This one always gets me. It’s Bootsy’s tribute track just a few short years after Eddie’s passing. Beautiful.


 


 

Why flip the title? Good morning shows the future is bright.

“Good morning Eddie” because I know through music education our youth (and ignorant adults) will know geniuses like Edward Earl Hazel. They will live forever. They will be studied academically, spiritually, and musically. They are the 20th century masters.


 

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The Mortal Coil

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The Bump Assembly: The late Ken “Big Bamn” Smith, Chris “Freekbass” Sherman, Jason Burgard


 

We wake every day, or we don’t. I’d like to keep it that simple but man is it hard to contain the sadness as more and more beautiful people perish.

The latest is a great musician and friend Big Bamn, born Ken Smith, an amazing man and top-notch percussionist. He died yesterday tragically in a car accident a day before his 31st birthday. He is survived by his wife and 5 beautiful kids. Damn, another great goes early.

I have lost several friends in the last 12 months and it’s not getting any easier. Jesus, David, Eli and now Bamn. If I made a list of the most amazing guys I know that’s it.

Knew. Legends now, all of them.

Joined by the famous legends David Bowie and Lemmy Kilmister, and now there’s word that Bernie Worrell is sick with cancer.

Life’s a bitch and then you die. Better make love and music while you are here.

Damn, Bowie Is Gone

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Is it a hoax? While releasing his latest album, and already receiving amazing reviews, David Bowie, 69, passed last night from unreported cancer.

So many unanswered questions here, like who knew, how they were planning the promotion of the new album and all of that?  The BBC is saying it’s been an 18-month battle.

A great man has fallen. A great artist that forever changed the world entered it as David Jones in Brixton and succumbed 2 days after his 69th birthday, and 2 days after releasing his final album.

Buy that new album Blackstar and buy 5 more Bowie albums why you are at it. You won’t regret it.

Review my previous Bowie moments here.


 

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The Late Great Jesus

My best buddy Jesus passed away this week. He was the strongest fighter I knew and his loss has left those in his world confused and bobbling.

My friend Jesus was a great man, a flawed man, an amazing musician, father, husband, and hell raiser. Perhaps the finest hell raiser we’ve seen in some time. He left behind a beautiful family of 5 and the struggle is just getting started for them.

I went back through my writings and found a few pieces that were influenced by him, the late great bassist and composer for 2MERICA, Jesus Irizarry. Rest in peace, friend.

 

The Big Holy Thing

The big holy thing

that I learned at 5:23

peeled the shield

from my mortality

a garbage bag full

of maggots and all

define the mighty

and still we fall

can’t tell, won’t tell, don’t tell

just stall . . .

you booked three rooms

and the devil is in them all

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Chainsaw Men

Cold days at the park

peaceful silence once again

Interrupted by ducks

and geese carrying on

Crumbling leaves blowing under my tires

A quick transformation

into something less

A crumbled fucking mess

staying together by chance

If it’s me I am there listing

Just a haunted piece of a glorious past

But I’m the tree

I understand

My buds, my rings, my bark

my roots, my being here

Tied to this earth

as strong as I’ll ever be

I know I’m the tree

and I have been all along

I sit watching for bugs

and chainsaw men

to take me down

 

 

Who Will Play With Lucille Now?

BB King


Rest In Peace, for you are one of the greatest of all time, BB King.

This man owned the blues, owned that tone, owned that vibe for decades. He was truly one of a kind and his catalog offers plenty of exploration opportunity.

Dude put his first record out in 1957. Very few people still around put records out in the 50’s (the Isley’s are the only one I can think of). He was a titan of the music industry.

A legend among legends, no one messes with BB.


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Here’s one of my favorites from him, when he played the Cook County Jail in 1971 and offered up some hilarious banter to the “guests” about their warden and his beautiful wife, in-between hitting them with a blues you know they could truly appreciate:


 

R.I.P. Knuckles

One of the finest DJ’s ever, a guy who opened his own club to DJ his mix of music, called the Warehouse, which in turn helped birth the genre “House”. Genre games are stupid – this is top end dance music full of funk and hard beats.

Here’s the obit and some good tracks to remember Frankie by. I also have been adding some rare old Frankie Knuckles tracks to The_One

because they are dancefloor killers, always were, always will be.

 

frankie knuckles

 

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Through Being Cool

Bob Casale, guitarist and programmer for DEVO passed away yesterday. Here’s a tribute from his brother.

DEVO is one of the most important bands in history. They are not the easiest to listen to. They don’t have the largest catalog of hits. And they surely are odd to watch.

But Devo is short for de-evolution, and as an american art project it’s right on point. Starting in the early 70’s, Devo forced us into the modern world. Punks with sequencers when no one had an idea what a sequencer was. These guys were so early in the game they were practically building their own digital instruments, and then playing them in sync with guitars, drums, and keys. Very sick, very ballsy.

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Their remakes of classic rock riffs put the post-modern touch to the heavy and serious tone coming out of the Vietnam era (finally), while at the same time celebrating them at the expense of current dance music trends. Their version of Satisfaction blew me away.

Devo the band was composed with a set of 2 brothers from Akron Ohio, an interesting lineup, and one that stayed intact the entire 40 years!

Another Great Goes Young

Heroin is making a killing these days. Stay clear of the death, please, and if you know someone that needs help reach out. Be safe, be smart, and don’t be a fool. Things that can kill you are not to be trifled with! For a buzz? If you need that edge of thrill then ride your bike around the city or take up skydiving. I also suggest musical therapy as a cure-all. But let’s remember those weaker than us that took the plunge and never returned. It’s hard out there these days. Lots of lying and self-gratifying mirages.

R.I.P. Philip Seymour Hoffman, a young and accomplished 46, found dead with needle dangling. Early reports say the poor man was clean for 23 years and then this. I’ve been told it never leaves you, which is the best reason ever for not trying it.

PSH-Big-Lebowski

R.I.P. The Father Of The PC

Missed this one over the holiday, but on July 3rd, Douglas Engelbart died at the digital sounding age of 88. He was not a household name, but amongst PC history geeks he’s about as important as they come. By 1968 he had worked out the ideas behind and the rudimentary technology to operate: the mouse, teleconferencing, hypertext, word processing, hypermedia, object oriented file management, and collaborative real-time editing.

It was not vaporware – the demo he did has been renamed “The Mother Of All Demo’s” and would be a pretty high-tech thing to pull off even in 2013. Read more and see the demo here.

If you are reading this you owe alot of that credit to the visionary genius of Mr. Engelbart.

A Legend Passes – Leroy “Sugarfoot” Bonner, Guitarist & Sanger for Ohio Players, 69

 

360px-Leroy_Sugarfoot_Bonner_publicity_photoWe have lost an underrated musical genius, the voice of a generation, the creator of a new singing style, and an influence to countless other musicians (perhaps most notably Prince)…. Mr. Leroy Bonner, better known as Sugarfoot or just Sugar.

He started in the music business in the 1950’s and experienced just about every facet of the business in his 6+ decades. Ups downs and all arounds, Sugar always stayed true to himself and true to the music.

Mr. Bonner was the author of so many funk classics – writing or co-writing most of the Player’s material, singing lead on most of the major hits, and playing a smoking hot guitar. His fingerpicking and scat soloing was like noone-else.

He brought his double-neck to funk, his trademark Aww girl, put that suitcase down, You ain’t kiddin’ nobody, You can’t leave me, woman, you love me! vocal style has become the funk voice. This was just one of his many creations.

Video of the Ohio Players is very rare and not much is online. Here’s a cool interview and lip-sync on Soul Train from when they were blowing up in 1975 (cracked audio):


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Here’s one of my favorite Sugar performances, “Heaven Must Be Like This”:


Rest In Peace Mr. Bonner, you will be missed. You and your music will be remembered forever.

 

Patty and Bootsy Collins pay tribute.

Patty and Bootsy pay tribute.


 

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Go buy some classic Ohio Players albums now! 

 

 

RIP MCA

We’ve lost another pioneer to cancer. Adam “MCA” Yauch, the voice that helped transition the Beasties from goof rap to good rap, succumbed to cancer on May 5th, just a few days after his band was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. You will be missed. In honor of MCA, everyone do a beastie boy “AW YEAH”.

Here is an excellent obituary from Books Music on Yauch.

Thank You For All Of It

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Steve Jobs: 1955-2011.

Where would the tech world, perhaps the world as a whole, be without Steven P. Jobs? The concepts he developed in his teens and twenties regarding if/how/when/why we interact with computers built entire industries. Appleholics like myself are everywhere now, and the Apple-haters have spent the last 5 years doing everything they can to catch up (or ignore) the market-leading companies of Jobs’.

Even technophobes gobble up his Pixar movies.

Look, platform debates amongst users are geeky fun but useless. I’ve used a mac as my main rig since the mid-90’s. I also am a developer and have worked cross-platform that whole time. Regardless of what OS you are using right now on your PC, laptop, or phone — stare at it right now and know that it wouldn’t work half as well as it might without Steve Jobs doing his thing.

He set the bar high and you either bought into his vision or you waited for someone to develop a slightly different version of his vision that fit your needs. But regardless, he has way more points in putting his vision into existence and into your life and pocket than any other modern businessman.

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He’s one of the few minimalists in tech, a huge part of his aesthetic that his copycat competitors always fail with. The discipline to remove features is what made Jobs and Apple so special. Doing 10 core functions better, faster, simpler than anything else was valued at Apple through most of their designs. Windows or Android might pile on the features but they always seem to ruin the core functionality and they taint the usability of the device.

Some of us have been preaching this for decades but it’s only the last 5 years that Apple got their product lines all firing at the same time and the speed and size of the tech caught up with the vision of Steve Jobs.

RIP my dear man, you have helped me to learn more, work more, explore more, earn more, and overall enjoy life more than anyone else I can think of.

Here’s a nice note from Prez Obama, also a fan of Jobs.