Billboard Bits: Compay Segundo, Russell Simmons & more

News on Compay Segundo, Russell Simmons, Squirrel Nut Zippers

Compay SegundoCuban "sonero" Compay Segundo, 93, is recovering at home in Havana after being hospitalized for extreme fatigue and is unlikely to perform again, Billboard Bulletin reports. Segundo, who found world fame at the age of 89 on the Buena Vista Social Club's self-titled Nonesuch album, has been touring almost constantly since its release in 1997.

Segundo's Spanish agent, Luis Lazaro, says the artist -- who has suffered from prostate cancer for five years -- performed recently in Italy, Mexico, and Martinique and was "utterly exhausted." Lazaro has cancelled three concerts planned for June in Spain. Segundo's most recent album, "Las Flores de la Vida," was released by Nonesuch earlier this year.

-- Howell Llewellyn, Madrid

Russell SimmonsRap mogul Russell Simmons is among those being honored as a Father of the Year by the National Father's Day Committee. Along with Simmons, the organization selected boxer George Foreman, New York Giants coach Jim Fassel, New York Yankees pitcher Andy Pettitte, Federal Communications Commission Chairman Michael Powell, chef Jacques Pepin, and Wall Street executive Howard Lutnick for their work as professionals and parents.

The Father of the Year awards will be presented June 7 in New York. Proceeds from ticket sales to the event will go to a prostate cancer treatment center on New York's Long Island.

As previously reported, Simmons is putting together a June 12-13 Hip-Hop Summit in New York with the goal of enacting positive reforms on the segment of the music industry. Sean Combs, Master P, Dr. Dre, Snoop Dogg, KRS-One, Q-Tip, and Common will participate in various discussions at the meeting, which will include a conflict resolution discussion chaired by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan.

-- Barry A. Jeckell, N.Y. & AP

Squirrel Nut ZippersSquirrel Nut Zippers frontman James Mathus' side project the Knockdown Society will perform two dates supporting legendary Chicago blues king Buddy Guy in New York (May 31) and Los Angeles (June 6). Mathus played guitar on Guy's new Silvertone album "Sweet Tea," and is readying the second Knockdown Society album for release on Mammoth this fall.

That album, the follow-up to 1997's "Songs for Rosetta," will feature guest performances by Luther and Cody Dickinson of the North Mississippi Allstars, who will share a bill with the Knockdown Society June 26-27 in New York.

After the Knockdown Society dates, Guy will head to Europe to support "Sweet Tea" with a performance at the Blues Fest in Athens, Greece, and two dates in Germany opening for AC/DC. "Sweet Tea" debuts this week at No. 1 on Billboard's Top Blues Albums chart and No. 9 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart.

-- Troy Carpenter, N.Y.

Copyright 2001 All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.


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