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Forums > Music: Non-Prince > R.I.P. Robert Brookins
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Thread started 04/16/09 4:48am

bobsteezy

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R.I.P. Robert Brookins

Sadly - Robert Brookins of Sacramento, CA. passed away suddenly yesterday. He was 44 years old.

The sudden death of Robert Brookins has saddened me deeply. Robert was one of my life heroes. He was a gifted musician that shared his soul – taking me away from my own worries and agendas through his artistry.

My first awareness of Robert was in the early eighties when news arrived of a Sacramento based R&B act called Afterbach – that had signed with Columbia Records spin-off ARC. The debut that I purchased was actually on cassette tape. As a Sacramentan – I played It’s You on my box with pride. In quiet moments – Me Myself & I was in heavy rotation. But the entire record had hooks, melodies, and soul.

When Robert’s solo records dropped – he was driving a nice car but still a guy you would bump into late at night at Shari’s Restaurant in Greenhaven. I was an over-enthusiastic fan each time I saw him – always telling him things like, “Crazy Bout Your Lovin’ is a hit man! Hold On is my cut too. That should be the second single.” Robert would smile and be gracious but I’m sure he thought I was nuts.

The biggest impact Robert had on me though - was during a period of a couple years in the early nineties when he played in a band called the Elements. They performed at the Broadway in Sacramento on Sunday and Monday nights. I was a regular.

Actually what I was – was a straight Elements groupie. Always fascinated by soulful music – I found my Sunday and Monday nights at the Broadway to be a basis for much of what I now know about the music I love so much. And it was mostly Robert Brookins that deserves credit for teaching me. In my home growing up – my parents musical palette included many soulful elements – but it was not based in that “old soul” that Mint Condition’s Stokely references.

Robert and the band played cover tunes from the Isley Brothers, Miles Davis, and Al Green. I never had steady dose of that growing up. But I respected Robert and the other guys in the band – and they obviously respected these artists they were covering. That lends credibility in my mind. Next thing you know – I’m exploring Miles and Al Green on my own thanks to a nudge from Robert.

Loaded with talent – the Elements featured Robert, Bobby Gonzalez, Raymond McKinley, Eddie M, John Paris, and various added vocalists. Guests I witnessed ‘sitting in’ with the band included Sheila E, the late Boni Boyer, Rapahel Saddiq, John “JUBU” Smith, and Karyn White. It was way too funky for Sacramento - on Sunday and Monday nights no less. The cover charge was like $8.

And while I was dazzled by those that dropped in to play or hang out and listen – I could also plainly see that Robert was the glue that held the group together.

Multi-tasking got its name from Robert Brookins. He was amazing to watch; singing, playing two parts at once (bass) on his keyboard, and leading a band – Robert was a natural.

Mostly I remember just being swept away in the music. Robert had several inflections and standard lines that make me chuckle as I reminisce. He was funny!!! If you’ve ever seen Robert as band leader – you’ve heard him say, “Bobby G! Give-em some!” or …after finishing a song he would refer to the title by saying, “A little Outstanding – ha”

For as long as they played – I was there. From beginning to end. On nights when it was packed and on nights when there were maybe fifteen people in the audience. Regardless of the turnout - Robert oozed with soul. His scratchy, yearning, voice as unmistakable as his funking keyboard solos.

After the Broadway run – Robert played for a while at the Renaissance Tower downtown. It was there that I saw him one night feeling no pain – signing hilarious borderline x-rated ad-libs about “shaving” his lover. Band members were falling down laughing.

Robert was kind enough to hook me up with tickets to see him perform in Earth, Wind and Fire up at Tahoe. The show was great and it was another unforgettable moment of joy in my life.

Just two months ago I had the pleasure to see Robert perform on back-to-back nights, with our friend Bobby Gonzalez, at Marylyn’s and then at the Chris Webber jersey retirement after party. I had not seen Robert perform for a couple years and it did my heart good to hear him. Like most of the nights with a Robert Brookins memory – I was smiling.

Please do yourself a favor and seek out Robert singing “Star Ship” on Wayman Tisdale’s In the Zone album.
We all want the stuff that's found in our wildest dreams.

http://www.ustream.tv/cha...dj-bobstar
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Reply #1 posted 04/16/09 4:52am

SoulAlive

eek I'm shocked!
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Reply #2 posted 04/16/09 8:00am

phunkdaddy

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I'm shocked as well.
I'm at a loss for words. Wasn't he currently playing keyboards
for EWF. 44 years old man. This can't be. I remember when the
guy hit the music scene around 86 as a solo artist. A friend
of mine used to work for MCA records and would always give me
promos. One of the first ones was Robert Brookins single
Come to Me. Soon the video for that song was airing on B.E.T.
He later went on to do a couple of solo albums and a memorable
duet remake with Stephanie Mills "Where is the Love".
He seemed to always be energetic while performing and he talked
about his excitement of playing with EWF a band that he admired
growing up just like anyone else. He will certainly be missed.
R.I.P pray
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Reply #3 posted 04/16/09 8:05am

daPrettyman

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When did he pass? I'm looking for news stories, but can't find anything.

I was just listening to "Where is The Love" yesterday. Man, I hate that.
**--••--**--••**--••--**--••**--••--**--••**--••-
U 'gon make me shake my doo loose!
http://www.twitter.com/nivlekbrad
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Reply #4 posted 04/16/09 8:07am

SoulAlive

Yeah,he had been a member of EW&F for several years now.I remember seeing them a few years ago and Robert performed an excellent version of "Love's Holiday".
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Reply #5 posted 04/16/09 8:11am

phunkdaddy

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daPrettyman said:

When did he pass? I'm looking for news stories, but can't find anything.

I was just listening to "Where is The Love" yesterday. Man, I hate that.


Yeah i haven't found anything yet either as i am still in denial but
i know the author of this thread wouldn't just post this without any
knowledge.
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Reply #6 posted 04/16/09 8:24am

daPrettyman

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phunkdaddy said:

daPrettyman said:

When did he pass? I'm looking for news stories, but can't find anything.

I was just listening to "Where is The Love" yesterday. Man, I hate that.


Yeah i haven't found anything yet either as i am still in denial but
i know the author of this thread wouldn't just post this without any
knowledge.

I just find it interesting that there is not a press release online, but different sites are reporting his death.

http://www.soulwalking.co...okins.html
**--••--**--••**--••--**--••**--••--**--••**--••-
U 'gon make me shake my doo loose!
http://www.twitter.com/nivlekbrad
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Reply #7 posted 04/16/09 8:51am

TD3

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Reply #8 posted 04/16/09 10:45am

Timmy84

RIP. pray
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Reply #9 posted 04/16/09 11:49am

tricky2

This really hurts my heart to find out about this today. Both of his MCA albums had some GREAT moments on them and I always thought he was underatted.
My favorite memory of him.....I ran into to him at a music conferance back in 1990/91. Someone casually introduced us and of course I went on and on about his music. But what tripped him out the most is when i asked him, "how in the hell did you end up producing Dale Bozzio for her Paisley Park release?"
He threw his arms up and HOWLED!! "Nobody never asked me that before."
I don't remember exactly how he got tied into that project, but his stories about meeting with Prince were priceless. He tried hard to give her a "princely" sound and Prince was very pleased. "Giddy Up Baby Be Mine" is
CLASSIC. That's Robert singing the male vocal ad libs and chourus on that song.
R.I.P. my friend. Playing your songs today!!
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Reply #10 posted 04/16/09 12:04pm

FalseSetto

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Nooooo !!!!
R.I.P pray
His song "Come to Me" was a classic joint.
and, it also starred a young LAWRENCE FISHBURNE.
It was a very compelling vid about domestic Violence ( quite timely these days )
*coughRihannacough*
"Who gon' clean up all deez Flowers" ----Eddie Murphy as mr. clarence
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Reply #11 posted 04/16/09 12:08pm

carlcranshaw

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I had the chance to see him sing 'Love's Holiday' when EWF did a private function here in New Orleans.

Condolences to his family, friends and bandmates.


http://www.youtube.com/wa...2Vm0I0DxT0
[Edited 4/16/09 12:10pm]
‎"The first time I saw the cover of Dirty Mind in the early 80s I thought, 'Is this some drag queen ripping on Freddie Prinze?'" - Some guy on The Gear Page
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Reply #12 posted 04/16/09 12:51pm

tricky2




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Reply #13 posted 04/16/09 7:12pm

pacey68

I bought the 12" of "Our Lives"... great song. R.I.P.
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Reply #14 posted 04/16/09 8:17pm

NuPwr319

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Oh, boy. sad Waaay too young. R.I.P. dove
To MJ: "You Rock My World, You Know You Did. . ."

My Band: www.musiquenoire.com and www.myspace.com/musiquenoireband
CD ON SALE: www.cdbaby.com/cd/musiquenoire
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Reply #15 posted 04/16/09 11:48pm

Shango

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