June 14, 2015 by Amy Gold
During the week of June 7, 2015, fans bade a final farewell to famed folk singer Ronnie Gilbert of The Weavers and country great Jim Ed Brown of The Browns.
Also that week, Bob Seger and Jason Aldean received the CMT Performance of the Year trophy for their duet of Seger's "Turn The Page."
Art Garfunkel and Graham Nash both announced new show dates for their respective 2015 itineraries. The Turtles just launched their annual "Happy Together" tour in the U.S. and Canada. They will be performing alongside various other bands and artists that include The Association, The Buckinghams, The Cowsills, Flo & Eddie, The Grass Roots, and Mark Lindsay. Next February, the third annual Moody Blues Cruise will set sail from Miami, FL, with featured acts to include The Zombies and The Ides of March.
Also that week, it was announced that "Django And Jimmie," a duets album by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, debuted on the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1 and also made the #7 spot on the Billboard 200. Also, a new vinyl box set of eight classic albums by The Band titled "The Band: The Capitol Albums 1968-1977" will be coming out this July.
Finally, Van Morrison was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II, making him the latest addition to a short list of titled musical giants in the U.K. that also includes Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, and Sir Mick Jagger.
(For more information about the above-listed news items, please see below for a list of sources with links and article summaries.)
Below is a previously unreleased song by Led Zeppelin titled "Sugar Mama" which was originally recorded in 1968 at London's Olympic Studios. This rarity is included in the band's upcoming reissue of "Coda" (1982) which is due out on July 31, 2015.
June 7, 2015: Ronnie Gilbert Of The Weavers Passes Away
Famed folk singer Ronnie Gilbert died on June 6, 2015 at age 88 in Mill Valley, CA. She was one of the four original founding members of the highly influential folk group, The Weavers. Gilbert was famous for her powerful contralto singing voice which was a large part of The Weavers signature sound. Her distinctive vocals can be heard in such hits as "Tzena, Tzena, Tzena" (1950), "Goodnight, Irene" (1950), "On Top Of Old Smoky" (1951), and "Kisses Sweeter Than Wine" (1951).
She was born Ruth Alice ("Ronnie") Gilbert in Brooklyn, NY to Eastern European Jewish immigrant parents. Before co-founding The Weavers with Pete Seeger in 1948, she had performed with the Priority Ramblers, a Washington, D.C.-based folk group organized by folklorist Alan Lomax, during the early 1940s. After The Weavers disbanded in 1964, Gilbert went solo and also pursued a number of other careers that included acting and songwriting. In the 1970s, she received her M.A. in clinical psychology and worked as a therapist. Over the years, she also participated in a number of reunion concerts with The Weavers, including one in 1980 at Carnegie Hall which was the group's last-ever performance.
Gilbert continued to tour and perform in plays and music festivals to well into her 80s, and she was a long-time political activist. She has been acknowledged by Holly Near and other folk singers as a major influence and inspiration in their careers. Her memoir, "Ronnie Gilbert: A Radical Life In Song," is due out in November, 2015.
June 10, 2015: Willie Nelson, Merle Haggard Album Debuts At #1 On Billboard Country Albums Chart
"Django And Jimmie," a duets album by Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard, made its debut on the Billboard Country Albums chart at #1 and also made the #7 spot on the Billboard 200. The country legends also topped the Billboard Country Albums chart in 1983 with another duets album, "Pancho And Lefty."
June 10, 2015: The Turtles To Launch Star-Studded Tour
The Turtles will soon be launching their annual star-studded "Happy Together" tour that will take the band to various parts of the U.S. and Canada. This trek, which begins on June 13, 2015 in Biloxi, MS and ends on September 2 in Canfield, OH, will cover Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, and Wisconsin, plus Ontario, Canada. Featured bands and artists will include The Association, The Buckinghams, The Cowsills, Flo & Eddie, The Grass Roots, and Mark Lindsay. For more info and tickets, go to TheTurtles.com.
June 11, 2015: Graham Nash Adds New August Show Dates
Graham Nash will be adding new show dates for this August to his upcoming North American tour, which begins July 12, 2015 in Courtenay, BC, Canada. The new shows begin on August 16 in Woodstock, NY and end on August 23 in New York City, with stops in Maryland, New Jersey, New York, and Pennsylvania. For more info and tickets, visit GrahamNash.com/Tour.
June 11, 2015: Jim Ed Brown Of The Browns Passes Away
Famed country singer Jim Ed Brown died on June 11, 2015 at age 81 in Franklin, TN after battling lung cancer. He became famous in the 1950s as a member of The Browns before embarking on a long solo career.
He was born James Edward ("Jim Ed") Brown in Sparkman, AR and began performing in the early 1950s with his sisters, Maxine and Bonnie. In 1954, Jim Ed and Maxine made their national debut on Ernest Tubb's radio show with "Looking Back To See," which peaked at #8 on the Country charts. They were joined by Bonnie in 1955, and the sibling trio began performing on radio and scored a string of hits on the Country charts. Their big breakthrough came in 1959 when they topped both the Pop/Rock and Country charts with "The Three Bells," the song for which they are best known. This was followed by a string of hits through 1967 on both charts that also included "Scarlet Ribbons (For Her Hair)" (1959), "The Old Lamplighter" (1960), and "Send Me The Pillow (That You Dream On)" (1960). The Browns joined the Grand Ole Opry in 1963 and appeared on such shows as "American Bandstand" and "The Ed Sullivan Show."
In 1965, Brown had his first solo hit on the Country charts with "I Heard From A Memory Last Night," which was followed by a long string of hits through 1981 that also included "Pop A Top" (1967), "Morning" (1970), "Southern Loving" (1973), and "It's That Time Of The Night" (1974). In 1976, he and Helen Cornelius topped the charts with "I Don't Want To Have To Marry You" which was the first of many hits for the duo that lasted through 1979. Over the years, he had also hosted a number of syndicated TV and radio shows and was an active member of the Grand Ole Opry up to his passing.
Brown's many accolades and honors included being inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2015 with his sisters, Maxine and Bonnie Brown.
June 11, 2015: Bob Seger Wins CMT Performance Of The Year Honor
Bob Seger and country star Jason Aldean received the CMT Performance of the Year trophy for their duet of Seger's "Turn The Page" which was featured on "CMT Crossroads" in 2014. This year's CMT Music Awards ceremonies took place in Nashville, TN on June 10, 2015 and were televised live.
June 11, 2015: New Vinyl Box Set By The Band To Be Released
On July 31, 2015, a new box set of classic albums by The Band will be coming out on 180-gram vinyl. Titled "The Band: The Capitol Albums 1968-1977," this collection contains eight albums recorded by this seminal group on Capitol Records which have been remastered from the original analog master tapes: "Music From Big Pink" (1968), "The Band" (1969), "Stage Fright" (1970), "Cahoots" (1971), "Rock Of Ages" (1972), "Moondog Matinee" (1973), "Northern Lights - Southern Cross" (1975), "Islands" (1977).
June 11, 2015: Art Garfunkel Adds U.S. Tour Dates
Art Garfunkel recently added a new series of U.S. concert dates to his 2015 itinerary. This trek begins on June 16, 2015 in Santa Fe, NM and ends on October 24 in Albany, NY, with additional stops in New York, as well as in Arizona, California, Massachusetts, and New Jersey.
June 12, 2015: Zombies Among Featured Acts On Upcoming Moody Blues Cruise
On February 26, 2016, the Moody Blues Cruise III will set sail from Miami, FL and feature a number of bands and artists including The Zombies and The Ides of March. This musical cruise will make stops in Key West, FL and the Bahamas before returning to port on March 1. For more info and tickets, visit MoodiesCruise.com.
June 12, 2015: Van Morrison Knighted By Queen Elizabeth II
On June 12, 2015, Van Morrison was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II and added to the 2015 edition of her annual Birthday Honors. He is the latest addition to a short list of titled musical giants in the U.K. that also includes Sir Elton John, Sir Paul McCartney, and Sir Mick Jagger.