Obituaries: Cedella Booker, Lawrence Lloyd Brown Sr., Phil Jones, Sean LeVert and more

Cedella Booker, the mother of Jamaican music legend Bob Marley, died in her sleep April 8 at her home in Miami. She was 81.

Booker, a Jamaica native, was 18 when she married Norval Marley, a British man 32 years her senior. Their son brought Jamaican reggae music to international prominence, becoming its international image. Bob Marley died in Miami of a brain tumor in 1981 at age 36.

Booker wrote two biographies of her famous son and recorded two albums: Awake Zion! and Smilin’ Island of Song.

•••

Lawrence Lloyd Brown Sr., an original member of the rhythm-and-blues group Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes, died of a respiratory condition April 6. He was 63.

Brown was still performing with the Blue Notes until January, when he became ill while singing at a show in Chester, Pa.

Harold Melvin & the Blue Notes are known for songs including “I Miss You” and “If You Don’t Know Me by Now.’’

Despite frequent changes in personnel — including Teddy Pendergrass becoming the group’s lead singer in the 1970s — Brown remained the second tenor.

•••

Sean LeVert, a third of the 1980s R&B trio LeVert and son of lead O’Jays singer Eddie LeVert, died March 30 after falling ill while serving a jail term for failing to pay child support. He was 39.

Authorities said that an autopsy was inconclusive but that foul play was ruled out.

His brother Gerald LeVert, who had success as a solo artist after leaving their trio, died in 2006 at age 40 of an accidental mix of prescription and over-the-counter drugs. The brothers formed LeVert in the 1980s with childhood friend Marc Gordon. Their hits included “Baby I’m Ready,” “(Pop, Pop, Pop, Pop) Goes My Mind” and “Casanova.’’

•••

Guy McElwaine, 71, a Hollywood agent who represented several famous music acts, died April 2 at his Bel-Air, Calif., home, after a brief battle with pancreatic cancer.

In the 1960s, McElwaine owned a management and public relations company whose clients included Frank Sinatra, Warren Beatty and The Mamas and The Papas.

He later worked at Creative Management Associates, ICM, Warner Bros., Columbia Pictures and Trilogy Entertainment group. At the time of his death, he was president of Morgan Creek Productions.

•••

Phil Jones, 56, the original bassist with the psych-rock band Poobah, died March 9  after a battle with cancer.

Jones first appeared as a bassist in 1966 on the 45 “What Can I Do?”, along with future Poobah guitarist Jim Gustafson.

Jones was a 10-year Poobah studio bassist/vocalist and road traveling partner. He played on the band’s LPs Let Me In (1972), U.S. Rock (1976) and Steamroller (1979), which have become highly collectible records. He also played on several Poobah songs on Rock Collection (1994) and Switch On (1988).

Jones recorded as a guest on a few more Poobah songs and played the occasional live show with the band. His last appearance with Poobah was July 31, 2005, in Youngstown, Ohio.

•••

Stuart Nevitt, co-founder, composer and drummer/percussionist of the eclectic band Shadowfax, died March 15 at his home in Rio Rancho, N.M., of complications from type 1 diabetes and heart disease. He was 56.

The sextet, which Nev

Leave a Reply