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Obituaries: James Gurley, Bruce Allen and Yvonne King Burch

Farewell to James Gurley, Bruce Allen and Yvonne King Burch

James Gurley, the guitarist for Big Brother And The Holding Company, died Dec. 20 at age 69, just two days short of his 70th birthday.

The San Francisco psychedelic-rock band is best-known as the group behind Janis Joplin’s rise to fame in the ’60s. Gurley also performed with a reunited Big Brother from 1969 to 1972 and again in the late ’80s and early ’90s. He released a solo album, Pipe Dreams, in January 2000.

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Bruce Allen, guitarist for the new-wave band Suburbs, died Dec. 7 at age 54.

The Suburbs formed in 1977 in Minneapolis and became known locally for their raucous, danceable live shows. The band broke up in 1987 and briefly reunited in 1993, performing occasionally since then.

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Yvonne King Burch, who spent three decades singing and recording with the King Sisters during the big-band era, died Dec. 13. She was 89.

The King Sisters were one of the most popular vocal groups of the 1930s and 1940s. A Grammy nomination for their Capitol Records album Imagination capped the group’s career in 1959.

In 1963, Burch produced a benefit concert with her sisters and three dozen other relatives that marked the debut of the King Family, which led to performances in two variety series and 17 specials during the ’60s and ’70s.


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