Farewell, Sandy Dillon And Ray Majors

Two prominent figures of British musical landscape, Sandy Dillon and Ray Majors, left this mortal coil within days of each other: death did not do them part. There’s no details presently on the reason of the couple’s unexpected, untimely passing, but whatever it was, this news bring immense sadness to those who followed the great artists through the years, because – together, separately or with other performers – Ray and Sandy created fabulous sounds.

Majors – or Smith, or Major, as Ray used to be known at various times – was respected by multitude of his peers and listeners. First coming to the fore as vocalist and guitarist of the late ’60s psychedelia-pursuers OPAL BUTTERFLY and soon proceeding to HACKENSACK to work alongside Nicky Moore (who also died recently, on August 3rd), his main claim to fame lay with MOTT which, together with Overend Watts, Buffin Griffin and Morgan Fisher, the axman reinvented into BRITISH LIONS. They were a mighty on-stage unit if the concert albums "By Tonight" and "Live At The Old Waldorf" are anything to go by, so when John Fiddler returned to solo action, he had Majors play on his single and on a single credited to MEDICINE HEAD before inviting Ray in the next decade to contribute, as both player and writer, to BOX OF FROGS’ self-titled debut that opened the doors for the six-string master to record later for Jim McCarty‘s projects and pay homage to Sonny Boy Williamson on a Dave Walker-curated tribute CD. There were also guest spots with DOWNLINERS SECT and Art Wood’s QUIET MELON, and two platters released under Ray Majors’ own name, the latest being "The 7% Solution" from 2014. And, of course, there were songs laid down with his wife, Sandy.

Ms. Dillon started out much later than her husband, in the mid-’90s, but she quickly made a name for herself, first in America where the chanteuse was born and then on the other side of Atlantic, thanks to the mélange of jazz and punk that David Bowie’s manager Tony DeFries liked enough to facilitate the lady’s contract with Elektra. Although the “Flowers” album produced for Sandy’s by by Mick Ronson and Dieter Meier remained unissued as did its predecessor, the move to England and putting out the riveting “Electric Chair” brought the artiste a new fanbase and a collaboration with French composer Hector Zazou, which goes to show the breadth of Dillon’s music. Her 2013’s “Shipwrecked” is a wonderful work – and it apparently would be her last.

Sleep well, Sandy and Ray, you left a great legacy.

August 11, 2022

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