A few of my heroes passed away recently…
The first fond farewell is to Rudy Ray Moore aka Dolemite who died on October 19, 2008. If you are unaware of Mr Moore’s contribution to popular culture let me give you the highlights; born in 1927, first record in 1959, invented Dolemite character in the 1960s and started making Dolemite movies in the 1970s. Rudy was believed to have played a few shows with Black Randy in the late 1970s and continued on into the 1980s, 90s and 21st century doing stand-up. Rudy’s albums were a combination of funk, soul and R&B music as well as stand-up comedy. My personal favourite is Eat Out More Often from 1970..the year I was born. Anyway, Rudy lived a long life and it was time for him to move on, but goddammit if I did not feel saddened by the news regardless.
Another personal favourite of mine, the inimitable Yma Sumac, passed away on November 1, 2008. Yma was a singer from Peru who was said to be descended from an ancient race of Andean god-men. She was an amazing singer with a just incredible vocal range and with the right connections, coulda probably been an opera star of the highest order. Instead she met Les Baxter and proceeded to release a string of albums that really define the word camp. I’m not joking here. Probably her best release was the Voice of the Xtabay although Legend of the Sun Virgin is pretty good too. Actually, her mambo album is great as well.
Finally, the saddest loss of the three was probably Frank Navetta, the original guitar player from the Descendents. Frank was on the Ride the Wild 7inch, The Fat EP and most importantly, Milo Goes To College. I don’t know if it is even conceivable today to understand how important that album was to a lot of teenagers in the 1980s and Frank’s guitar playing, which was one part Greg Ginn and one part Vitus Matare, was a key component of it. After Milo Goes to College, Frank quit music altogether and moved to Oregon to become a fisherman. He died on Halloween, 2008 of unknown causes.
So hats off to all three of these fine folks.