Dec 19, 2011
Ralph MacDonald, the composer of "Where is the Love" and "Just the Two of Us," died Sunday in Connecticut at the age of 67, his family announced. The New York Daily News said MacDonald battled lung cancer and suffered a stroke in recent years that forced him to give up touring.
MacDonald, a longtime percussionist with Jimmy Buffett’s Coral Reefer Band, wrote most of the songs of Harry Belafonte’s landmark 1966 album Calypso Carnival. MacDonald co-wrote two certified smash R&B singles – “Where is the Love” for Roberta Flack and Donny Hathaway, and “Just the Two of Us” for Grover Washington, Jr. and Bill Withers.
The Harlem-born MacDonald was the son of calypso musician MacBeth the Great and worked with a roster of prominent musicians, from soul legends like Aretha Franklin, to pop superstars like Paul Simon, Carole King and David Bowie. Jazz musicians who tabbed him for their sessions included Quincy Jones, Washington (“Mister Magic”), George Benson and David Sanborn. He won Grammy awards as a performer and producer for “Calypso Breakdown,” which appeared on the Saturday Night Fever soundtrack. “Jam on the Groove”, a track from his wonderful The Sound of a Drum album was often sampled by rappers and included in the Ultimate Beats and Breaks series. Click here to dig it now and to remember him.