Monday, January 08, 2007

Life is such a fragile game!

Another Dynaflow, Joe Stanley, passed away this morning, in addition to Jeff Sarli's death just last September.

Joe Stanley, in addition to being a Washington music icon, was also a fixture on the swing dance scene in DC since the 50's. He had performed with any combinations you can think of. Joe is cousin to Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley and he started playing the clubs in the 50's. He was one of the handful that would cross the color line to play with the black musicians uptown around 14th and U. He was an original member of the Rainbows with Marvin Gaye, Don Covay and Billy Stewart. He was with Billy Stewart at a birthday party the night before Billy was killed in an auto accident.

Joe could go from playing one night with Link Wray the next night to Roy Clark and the next the Orioles. His own band, The Saxtons, backed Big Joe Turner, Sam Cooke, Little Anthony, The Ames Brothers, Lloyd Price, The Drifters, Bobby Darin, Bobby Rydell, Jackie Wilson, Dion & the Belmonts, Freddie Cannon and many others. The Saxtons would alternate sets on a double bill with Jimmy Dean, his band providing the rock & roll as a counter to Jimmy's country. Joe had a standing invitation from David Bartholomew to come join in when Fats Domino would come to town. Joe Stanley helped Danny Gatton get his first gigs and was part of the Danny and the Fat Boys band and the two of them were in Robert Gordon's band.

I was proud that despite his impressive credentials, Joe agreed to be a part of the Mid-Atlantic Blues Allstars, a group that I co-formed a few months before I left DC (Joe is the one with the funky hat and tie on the left in the photo below). Joe taught me everything about music without saying a word. He will surely be missed.

May God rest Joe Stanley's kind and restless soul.

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