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James 'Rikki' Hicks - The O'Jays Percussionist - Sad News

James 'Rikki' Hicks - The O'Jays Percussionist - Sad News magazine cover

It is with sadness I announce the passing of percussionist James 'Rikki' Hicks who left us yesterday. Rikki was The O' Jays percussionist for well over 30 years and is best remembered for his fabulous intro on The O'Jays hit record 'I Love Music'.

He also performed on the Philly session I did with legend Bobby Eli in 2008 which was invaluable for me. I even carried out his congas to the car for him! God, they were heavy. Thanks for everything Rikki.....you will always be remembered. Here he is in action at that session:

 

Recently, I have been writing some new songs and he agreed to come on board and possibly do some congas and bongos for me. When I lay my demo tracks down, I always think of him and Larry Washington and ask..how would they do it? Now I know partly...with style and precision......


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Jordirip's profile photo

Posted

On 27/07/2012 at 16:15, Carl Dixon said:

It is with sadness I announce the passing of percussionist James 'Rikki' Hicks who left us yesterday. Rikki was The O' Jays percussionist for well over 30 years and is best remembered for his fabulous intro on The O'Jays hit record 'I Love Music'.

 

Very sad, my other percussion hero was Master Henry Gibson who also passed away. I would love to see the full video clip.

Jordi

Roburt's profile photo

Posted

Very sad, my other percussion hero was Master Henry Gibson who also passed away. I would love to see the full video clip.

Jordi

I also loved the sound Henry Gibson made; the live recordings on which he backs up Curtis M are just sensational (IMHO) ...

... however I praised his percussion on another forum & a drummer came on to state that Henry's efforts were far from good (IHO).

Can't say that I let the guys opinion change my appreciation of Henry's talents though.

Carl Dixon's profile photo

Posted

There is not that much footage. I should have bought an HD video camera with hindsight. All this is in SD. However, I did not go to Philly to video...it was about the music, and the last place I want to be is getting in the way watching through a black and white view finder in the studio. These men were craftsmen and I respect that. I did offer exclusively to Sky Arts to video both my sessions and they could own the rights for a payment to the musicians. They declined...no budget. If it had been done as a professional affair...but alas, it did not work out.

Jordirip's profile photo

Posted (edited)

I also loved the sound Henry Gibson made; the live recordings on which he backs up Curtis M are just sensational (IMHO) ...

... however I praised his percussion on another forum & a drummer came on to state that Henry's efforts were far from good (IHO).

Can't say that I let the guys opinion change my appreciation of Henry's talents though.

That's unbelievable. Was he a rock drummer? Henry Gibson's conga and bongo playing was absolute dynamite, hence so many people wanting him to work with him. He played with a feel and vibe that could not be done through instruction or lessons. I've never heard anybody play like he did, totally unconventional but with a feel for the tracks that no one could touch. Any drummer who could groove would appreciate Henry riding shotgun on the side.

Jordi

Edited by jordirip
Jordirip's profile photo

Posted

There is not that much footage. I should have bought an HD video camera with hindsight. All this is in SD. However, I did not go to Philly to video...it was about the music, and the last place I want to be is getting in the way watching through a black and white view finder in the studio. These men were craftsmen and I respect that. I did offer exclusively to Sky Arts to video both my sessions and they could own the rights for a payment to the musicians. They declined...no budget. If it had been done as a professional affair...but alas, it did not work out.

I would have filmed that session for nothing. (I am a cameraman). You really appreciate the talent involved when you see it in a small atmospheric studio like that, no frills, just sweat and passion. Imagine witnessing some of the great tracks being recorded. To have been a fly (or a cameraman) would have been humbling. (may be not for the fly).

Jordi

Jordi

Roburt's profile photo

Posted

That's unbelievable. Was he a rock drummer? Henry Gibson's conga and bongo playing was absolute dynamite, hence so many people wanting him to work with him. He played with a feel and vibe that could not be done through instruction or lessons. I've never heard anybody play like he did, totally unconventional but with a feel for the tracks that no one could touch. Any drummer who could groove would appreciate Henry riding shotgun on the side.

Jordi

Jordi, I don't know if he was a rock drummer, but the postings were on the Soulful Detroit Forum.

So at the very least the guy must have had an appreciation of the musical make-up of a good soul track. It puzzled me at the time, but I just left him to his opinion.

Carl Dixon's profile photo

Posted

That's true jordi..very humbling. I work in TV too and am aware what a couple of cameras can get in the can. To be honest the session was well orchestrated by Dennis Coffey and all done and dusted in 5 days, leaving reasonably early from the studio each evening without any of these midnight affairs trying to get something to work. Had it been filmed, it would have shown the professionalism of all, and how good music can still be recorded in a studio in 2008. The musicians started recording the rhythm section at 10.30am on the Monday and we were sat in a Mexican restaurant at 2.30pm after laying down 4 songs! In the afternoon the vocalists played with the songs and set the stall out for the b/v's.

What I found leading up to the session (and I mean the previous 15 years or so) is that at my level, nobody wanted my songs, ideas, notions or dreams, especially in the UK and worse, in London. It was only the discovery of soulfuldetroit and some of my heroes being on there that things started to buzz and where I created the relationship that took me to another level. So, why would anybody want my video footage and as you know, all the hard work capturing it and editing etc? Whilst on that session I did allow a video to be made for the people of Detroit - in other words for the history of their music industry. Bearing in mind Uriel, Ray, Dennis and Bob had appeared in SITSOM and were being celebrated at that time, I felt humbled that anybody would think this session be significant enough to tape. So maybe one day, that footage will be seen on TV where it should rightly live and broadcast notes of Motown, soul and dance music to audiences that would appreciate it.

So getting back to Rikki Hicks, yes I guess I have unique footage of him too, in a recording studio rather than on stage with The O' Jays. And as for dear Bob Babbitt who has recently passed away as well, again, there is something in the can for others to see maybe one day, and not just from the movie.



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