This last week has seen the passing of two more black music stalwarts – drummer PHILIP PAUL and blues man JIMMY JOHNSON. Neither were household names but both made their own contribution to development of soul, blues and funk.

Drummer Philip Paul (above) died on Sunday, 30th January in Cincinnati. He was 96 and Bootsy Collins broke the news: “We lost our dear friend & drummer Mr. Philip Paul he was King Records drummer that played on so many Hits. He was honoured at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He was 96 yrs young & played until a few months ago. Love to his family & friends. We love u…we do apologize for not securing the King Dream Team completely before u had to go..but we will continue to funk! Thx u for ur gifts that u left all of us with. R.I.P…”

Paul was born in Harlem in 1925 and learned drums as a boy. In his teens he found work playing at the famed Savoy Ballroom in Harlem. In 1951 he moved to Cincinnati and as well as playing in the local clubs he became the studio drummer for Syd Nathan’s King Records. There he played on countless records with artists like Hank Ballard, Milt Buckner and Freddie King. Paul is credited with creating the “twist” beat – he played on Hank Ballard’s original ‘The Twist’ which, when re-recorded by Chubby Checker, became a worldwide phenomenon. He also played on Little Willie John’s ‘Fever’.

Philip Paul went on to work with people like John lee Hooker, Jimmy Smith, Nat Adderley, Herbie Mann and Albert King. He was also drummer in the Roy Meriwether Trio and the Woody Evans Trio. In 2003 he released his own album, ‘It’s About Time’.

In 2009 the drummer was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as part of their ‘People Behind The Hits’ awards.

Bluesman JIMMY JOHNSON (above) died on Monday 31st January. He was 93 and died at his home in Harvey, Illinois. Born James Earl Thompson in 1928 in Mississippi he was the brother of soul man Syl Johnson and blues bassist Mack Thompson. In 1959 he moved to  Chicago and, after changing his surname to Johnson (inspired by Syl) he began playing the blues clubs of the city working with genre stars like Buddy Guy, Otis Rush, Albert King and Freddie King.

In the early 60 he changed his focus to emerging soul, teaming up with artists like Otis Clay, Denise LaSalle and Garland Green. By the mid-70s he returned to blues music and began recording his own albums. Perhaps his most celebrated recording is his collaboration with brother Syl,  2002’s ‘Two Johnsons Are Better Than One’.

In the noughties, Jimmy Johnson was a familiar figure on the European blues festival circuit and in 2006 he was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame.