Monday, 20 October 2008

LEVI STUBBS 1936 - 2008

I was very sad when I heard of the passing into spirit of Levi Stubbs of The Four Tops - one of my favourite groups. He had one of those amazing voices that could express any emotion. Do you remember "I Can't Help Myself (Sugar Pie Honey Bunch), "It's the Same Old Song", "Bernadette", "I'm In a Different World" ?
The Four Tops first got together in 1953 (then called the Four Aims) and were signed to Chess records in 1956. Berry Gordy saw one of their performances in 1963 and signed them up, arranging for Holland, Dozier, Holland to write songs for them. This happened a year later with "Baby, I need your loving", followed by "I can't help myself" and then "Reach out". They successfully toured the United States and the world but left Motown in 1971. The Four Tops continued to record and tour in the 1970s and '80s. By 1995, Levi Stubbs’s health had begun to fail, forcing him to curtail his performances. Lawrence Payton died in 1997, and Renaldo "Obie"Benson in 2005.
Levi died on 17th October at the age of 72 years in his Detroit home. He had been suffering from cancer and had to stop performing in 2000 after having a stroke. Abdul "Duke" Fakir is the only surviving member of The Four Tops.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

Eco-friendly candles

I am very fond of burning candles and have recently started investigating candles which are more eco-friendly.
Most candles are made from paraffin wax which is a derivative of the petroleum industry. This is obviously non-renewable, unless you want to wait for several million years, and the global environmental impact on the world is well documented.
The Oil Palm is grown as a commercial crop in Malaysia and used to produce (for example) cooking oil, confectionery, margarines and creamers. It is therefore a renewable resource and a non-genetically modified crop.
Palm wax is much cleaner burning than paraffin wax and produces much less soot and potentially harmful emissions.The cancles also burn for longer with a whiter flame.

About 80% of palm oil is used for food applications - the rest being for non-food products such as candles, lotions, body oils, shampoos, skin care products, rubber and cleaning products.
I believe it is possible to make palm oil based bio-diesel.