Sunday, May 19, 2013

Passings: Ken Whaley of Man (1946 - 2013)

Man in 1974 (Whaley 2nd From Left)
Ken Whaley, who was a member of such English groups as Help Yourself, Ducks Deluxe and Man, died on May 8 after battling lung cancer. He was 67.

Whaley was a newspaper reporter in London while playing in a number of local bands when he was asked to play bass on the 1970 debut album of the group Help Yourself.  He followed with albums with the Downhome Rhythm Kings with Ernie Graham and Brinsley Schwarz along with a Graham solo effort.

He was fired from Help Yourself in 1971 and set about forming Ducks Deluxe which became very popular around the London pub scene; however, he left the group before they recorded their first album. He rejoined Help Yourself where he was heard on a couple of albums before they broke up in 1973.

Studio work with artists like Barry Melton of Country Joe and the Fish and Deke Leonard's Iceberg led to his being asked to join the group Man. He was the bass player on the group's biggest album, 1974's Rhinos, Winos and Lunatics along with Slow Motion from the same year.

In 1975, he left Man and joined The Tyla Gang where he finally found a home until 1982 when he returned to working for the Islington Gazette as a journalist, a job he would keep for the next ten years. Still, he played music on the side in the band The Archers who eventually became the Green Rays. Whaley played with them until 2012 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer.

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