Various US web sites are reporting the deaths of artists of interest to us here at SJF.
It’s being reported that REGINALD McARTHUR (above) has recently died. Reginald will be fondly remembered by proper soul fans as the baritone lead singer with the CONTROLLERS. Few details are available save that he was aged just 63.
The Controllers began in their native Birmingham, Alabama as an eight piece high school harmony group and in 1976 they signed to Frederick Knight’s Juana Records. Their second single, for the label, ‘Somebody’s Gotta Win, Somebody’s Gotta Lose’ scaled the charts. They returned to the charts in 1983 with ‘Crushed’ (featuring Stevie Wonder, no less) on MCA Records. In ’85 they hit with their best known outing ‘Stay’.
They worked with various other labels with varying degrees of success and more latterly Reginald hosted a syndicated talk show, ‘The Juke Joint’ – where artists, songwriters, arrangers and musicians talk about their careers and lives.
Northern soul fans will have fond memories of BARBARA MILLS, whose ‘Queen Of Fools’ became one of those left-field Northern classics. It’s being reported that Barbara (real name Barbara Ann Henley) died in March. Hailing from Tyler, Texas, she was a respected country singer who recorded under various names – amongst them “Mom”, “Nana” and “Barbara Mills”. Under that last name, her Hickory recording ‘Queen Of Fools’ became an in-demand Northern soul staple.
Jazz keyboardist and music educator, BOB DOROUGH has also passed. Again few details are available but it’s reported that Bob was 94 and had been fighting cancer. In the States he’s best remembered (fondly) for providing the music for the children’s educational series ‘Schoolhouse Rock’. He began that work in the 70s after a TV/advertising executive approached him to write catchy, simple songs to help children learn maths and other school subjects. Most famous of those songs was ‘Three Is The Magic Number’ which, of course, was appropriated by De La Soul for their 1990 single ‘The Magic Number’.