Been meaning to post some tributes to folks who died while I was on vacation and since I've been recovering from vacation. So, here are some quick ones before too many more cool people die:
Don Helms: Amazingly, Helms remains underappreciated despite playing steel guitar on country classics like "Walkin' After Midnight," "Long Black Veil," and "Cash on the Barrelhead" and just about all of Hank Williams's hits as a member of Hank's Drifting Cowboys (he was the last surviving member). And if the memory shared in the above-linked blog is true, he nailed "Your Cheatin' Heart" in one take. Hot damn.
Buddy Harman--Like Helms, Harman, a member of Nashville's famed A-Team, isn't nearly as revered as he ought to be. Here are some songs Harman played on that might ring a bell: "Oh Pretty Woman," "Bye Bye Love," "Ring of Fire," "The Boxer," "Little Sister," "King of the Road," "Crazy," "Coal Miner's Daughter"...get it? He's certainly one of the most prolific drummers in recorded history and, at least in country circles, was one of the best.
Ronnie Drew--Owner of one of the richest voices in recorded history, Drew stood tall as one of Ireland's favorite sons. His work with the Dubliners is justly revered and with both Drew and Tommy Makem now gone, Irish music will never quite sound the same. If you're not familiar with any of Drew's work, get familiar. Here's a start. And here's another
Killer Kowalskl--Not many wrestlers get to live to the ripe old age of 81, but Kowalski did. He will forever stand as one of the most recognizable villains in wrestling history (a place cemented when he kneed off Yukon Eric's ear), and his stomach claw finishing hold was used by many, including my own father in the three seconds before I started crying during the fake wrestling matches I would initiate when I was a wee lad. Amazingly, he is an old wrestler I never met.
Don LaFontaine--It's always struck me that the best kind of fame is the kind that gives you steady work and a fair share of respect from your peers but keeps you unknown to the general public. And that's certainly the kind of fame that LaFontaine, the "Trailer King" had. His voiceovers are instantly recognizable, but until the Geico and Lotto commercials, you'd've been hard pressed to find anyone that could pick him out of a lineup. Movie trailers won't be the same without him.
And of course there was Isaac Hayes and Bernie Mac, but I've gotta stop this at some point.
Rest in peace, fellas.