Wednesday, June 07, 2006

RIP Billy Preston - It's Alright Ma...

mp3 removed

Billy Preston died yesterday. A master of driving keyboard and fierce hammond, Billy's early breaks with Ray Charles and Little Richard brought him into contact with George Harrison, who promptly signed him to Apple, and then hired him for the Beatles' Let It Be album sessions, and rooftop gig.

Preston recorded a bunch of albums in the years following, often a long way from his R&B roots, and often struggling to catch up with the changing sounds of black music ; just the man, then, to be hired by the Rolling Stones for their honky take on disco, "Miss You", on which Preston's boozy Rhodes lights the fuse.

A familiar tale of drink, drugs, fraud and moral charges through the late eighties and nineties wound up with some kind of redemption recently. Preston recently toured with Clapton, The Funk Brothers, Steve Winwood, and even recently appeared on the US TV's show Pop Idol, before signing off on the sessions for the Red Hot Chilli Peppers' recent album, and Neil Diamond's Twelve Songs.

Preston's mean take on "It's Alright Ma" is taken from his otherwise expendable "Everybody Likes Some Kind Of Music", though I'm a huge fan of his "Billy's Bag" 45, available for peanuts, and sporting a tremendous sprawling hammond take on John Barry's flip on the reverse.


Six Years Late said...

Very bizarre, I lived round the corner from the Bedford for 10 years until a year and a half ago, i've had a few good nights down your way and I just randomly landed on your blog. Weird.

me said...


You checked out my blog today and I'm checking yours out. It looks cool.

FYI, the link for this post is broken. I listened to the Reggae tune below and it was good stuff.

Good luck.

B2V said...

the link is not working / very sad ...
Preston was the best, his work with Merry Clayton was
smashing. RIP

monkeyfunk said...

Fixed the link, sorry about that.

Anonymous said...

Hey Hugo,

why not posting your mentioned "Billy's bag"?
Would love to have a listen if you rate it that much!

Cheers for this Billy track!