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RIP Marty Grebb

January 2, 2020 was a sad day in the musical world – marked by the untimely passing of Marty Grebb.

on January 3, 2020 No comments
By Sharon Budman

Grammy Awards 1990
© Heather Harris

What a tragic beginning to a new year. I’m still stunned at the news of my longtime friend and musical collaborator, Marty Grebb’s sudden passing. I pray he is truly ’smooth sailin,’ free from his terrible pain and finally at peace. I send my love and deep condolences to all his beautiful family.
I am very grateful to have had Marty in my band off and on from the middle 70’s through the early 90’s. He was an incredibly talented songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, equally home on keys, vocals, guitar and sax as he was one of the most soulful singers I’ve known.
He was also a great inspiration for my getting sober in ’87. We will remember him always and honor the gift of friendship and music he gave us.
Here are some of my favorites:
Heartbreaker (from his High Steppin’ album, 2011)
Soul Mate, a duet we did on his Smooth Sailin’ album in 1999.

Bonnie Raitt

Marty Grebb was born into a musical family in Chicago on September 2, 1945. His dad Harry was an accomplished saxophonist, who played in the big-band era. Marty began learning music at the age of 8. His brother was a masterful guitarist who has written music instruction books etc. At the age of 12, he joined his first band, and played with some older musician until the age of fifteen when he formed a new band, “The Exceptions,” with Peter Cetera, his high school buddy. By age sixteen, Marty met Calvin Carter at Vee Jay records, who signed him to a record deal which then opened the door to him meeting other popular musicians. During this time, he appeared on many popular TV shows including the Ed Sullivan Show, The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour, The Tonight Show, The Jerry Lewis Show, and The Merv Griffin Show just to name a few.

In 1966, the Buckinghams, a local Chicago band that actually was a fan of “The Exceptions,” lost its keyboard player and asked Marty to join. The Buckinghams went on to achieve six, top-ten, national selling hits together with Marty for Columbia Records and three top-twenty albums. He shared lead vocals with Dennis Tufano on “Mercy, Mercy, Mercy.”

In 1969, Marty moved to Los Angeles and was asked to join the band, Lovecraft, which was being managed by Bill Graham. From that band, he moved on to The Fabulous Rhinestones, and returned back east to continue his musical journey. He co-produced their first album. The Fabulous Rhinestones became the opening act for many groups such as Sly and the Family Stone, The Eagles, and the Doobie Brothers. Marty even got to play with John Lennon at a Peace Festival held in New York City. During this time out east, he also had some recording sessions with Paul Butterfield, David Sanborn, Tito Puente, Jack DeJohnette, and Joe Walsh while up in Woodstock, NY.

All of this took place around 1972 when he met Bonnie Raitt, who was recording her second album, “Give it Up,” and had asked Marty to play on the album. Here he played tenor sax on her version of Rudy Clark’s ‘If You Gotta Make a Fool of Somebody’ and alto sax on ‘You Told Me Baby.’ Marty played on many of Bonnie’s albums, including the classic Nick of Time (‘Love Letter’ and ‘I Will Not Be Denied’), Longing in Their Hearts (‘I Sho Do’), Road Tested, and the last one, Fundamental.

Getting ready for a show at Fitzgerald’s on White Oak, Houston in 1984.
Band members include:
Bonnie Raitt
Johnny Lee Schell
Ivan Neville
Marty Grebb
Tony Braunagel
Hutch Hutchinson

© Ben DeSoto /Houston Chronicle

He moved back to Los Angeles in 1974 and began playing with Leon Russell, Bonnie Raitt, Etta James, Greg Allman, and Bonnie Bramlett, and he also did some recording with members of the group Chicago. He played with so many – what a career he had. Over many years in the industry, he played with the best of the best, including John Lennon, Elton John, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson, Stevie Nicks, Tanya Tucker, and others including most recently, The Weight Band. Below is a posted, more comprehensive listing of his musical life, collaborations, and brilliance.

Who was Marty Grebb you ask? He was a multi-instrumentalist and highly talented musician who had an amazing career.

There are many condolences posted across Facebook and the internet.

Taken from the Facebook Page of “The Weight Band”

Martin Grebb, center, seen here with The Weight. Grebb, a Chicago musician, is best known for his early years in The Buckinghams and for his longtime role in Bonnie Raitt’s band. © Bob Skinner

“Our hearts are heavy with the news of our brother, Marty Grebb’s passing. We want to send heartfelt condolences, thoughts, and prayers to his loving family, friends and fellow musicians. Sometimes we don’t understand a person’s journey – but we do need to have compassion. Marty was a great friend, an amazing musician and a tremendous asset to The Weight Band during his tenure with us. He has been -and will continue to be missed. We pray he’s found his peace. With love, sadness and respect: Jim, Brian, Albert, Michael, Matt, Randy, Byron, Mark, Tony and Barbara.”

Marty Grebb’s death is a loss to the musical community, but it’s an even bigger loss for his family and friends. As we start this new year, it is important to remember that everyone has a struggle, we just may not know what it is. What we do know is that feelings are real. In this case, he was suffering from the pain of a terminal illness and the pain of a broken heart.

Heartfelt condolences to his family, children, grandchildren, extended family, and friends. (Funeral information has not yet been announced at the time of publishing) May his memory be a blessing, and may he rest in eternal peace. “What the world needs now is love, sweet love; It’s the only thing that there’s just too little of. What the world needs now is love, sweet love, No not just for some but for everyone.” (Burt F Bacharach / Hal David)Q

Live performances and recordings by Marty Grebb:

Bonnie Raitt 25 years (both) many albums
Leon Russell 10 years, (both) on and off forever
B.B King recordings
Rosanne Cash (both)
Otis Rush (both)
Chicago member
Junior Wells live
Elton John (both)
Etta James (2 time periods)
Musical director (2nd time), keys, sax
Steven Stills with Etta James live TV show
Billy Preston live and recording
Muddy Waters live
and his son Big Bill Morganfield live
Aaron Neville recording
Ivan Neville both
J J Cale live, recording
Charles Brown live
Eric Clapton live, records, composer
Maria Muldaur live, composer, records
The Dells many live performances
Paul Butterfield (both)
Michael Bloomfield (both)
The Memphis Horns (on Baritone sax)
Les Paul live
Jeff Beck live
Sippie Wallace live
Larrie Londin both
Martha Reeves live
Gregg Allman live
Duane Allman live
David Sanborn live, recordings
Claudia Lennear live
John Lee Hooker live
Stevie Ray Vaughn live
Glenn Campbell live
Roy Clark live
Johnny Gimble live
Vince Gill both
Joe Walsh both
Richard Pryor live for TV the Richard Pryor Show
Robin Williams live performance
George Carlin (a sketch in which I played sax in a scene)
George Carlin “Playin with your Head”
The Ed Sullivan Show live
The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour live
The Tonight Show live
The Jerry Lewis Show
Saturday Night Live (5 appearances varying artists)
Pure Prairie League live
Marshall Tucker live
Taj Mahal live, co-writer, recording, arranging
Joel Sonier recording
Bobby Charles co writers
Terry Danko live, recordings, additional brother
Aaron Neville producer, writer, recording
Zigaboo Modeliste live, and recording
Dr. John live and recording , liner notes
Peach both, writer, producer
Olivia Newton John recordings, co-arranger
Travis Tritt recording
Little Richard recording
Tanya Tucker recording
Natalie Cole live
Jennifer Warnes recording
Steven Seagal both
Richard Manuel live, recording, co-writing
Rick Danko live recording
Garth Hudson live, recording, co-writing
Levon Helm live , recording, co-writing
Merle Haggard live
Ivan Neville co writers, co producers, recording
George Benson live
Stevie Nicks live
Willie Nelson both
John Lennon on stage appearance
The Guthries live
Tim Hardin live
Karen Dalton recording
Bonnie Bramlett live, recording
Bekka Bramlett live
Anna Grebb live, recording
Jim Keltner live, recording
James Gadson live, recording
Bob Glaub live Recording
Leland Sklar both
Doyle Bramhall live, recording
Ginger Baker live
Delbert McClinton live
Roger McGuinn both
Little Feat live
Steve Cropper recording
Robert Lamm both co-writing
Loudon Wainwright recording
Rufus Wainwright recording
The Right Band Live TV weekly Rock ‘N Roll Tonight
Normal Adults recording
~independent bands I was a member of~
The Quintones live —early recordings (age 12 to 14)
The Exceptions both
The Buckinghams both
Lovecraft both
The Fabulous Rhinestones both
Chicago both and other bands also~~

Source: © Copyright Live Music News & Review
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On this Memorial Day, I'd like to share the lyrics to my song "A SOLDIER AT WAR", dedicated to all the soldiers from all the wars who DIDN'T die, all those who have been living with the internal scars of their war experience. My heart goes out to you all, and I certainly do appreciate your service to our country. Is this an "anti-war song"...YES! And I dedicate these lyrics to the great Ron Kovic, author of "Born On The Fourth Of July".


I’m a soldier at war.
I know you’ve seen my face before.
I am Red, White, and Blue.
I am black and brown and yellow too.
I have killed and I have died,
All alone and damaged deep inside.
And the child I used to be,
Was sacrificed for some insanity.

Left a boy, now half a man,
My innocence was lost in a foreign land.
I fought so hard and I fought so long,
I fought for my country, right or wrong.
In the eye of the slaughter,
No Star Spangled Banner did I see.
There is blood on the water,
It’s flowing like the blood inside of me.

In smoke-fill rooms, the Men Of Might
Will send your son somewhere to fight.
And I am one of many more,
Just pawns in a Holy War.

In a field where the food used to grow,
There’s a murder of crows.

Now the war is dead and gone,
But the battle goes on and on.
And the dream that used to be
Is buried so deep inside of me.
I believed what I was told,
But all that glitters is not gold.
I still see my brother’s hand…..
Why he died, I’ll never understand.

I’m a soldier at war.
I know you’ve seen my face before.
Just a name and a loaded gun,
One more lost, forsaken son.
I’m a soldier at war.
I’m a soldier at war….
Just a soldier at war.
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4 months ago

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