More sad news out of the R&B world. Danny Webster, singer/guitarist for the 70s funk band Slave, has died. He was 61. When looking at the great soul music geographies of the past quarter century, perhaps the most criminally overlooked is Ohio, the breeding ground for a generation of funk bands that came into their own during the 1970s and 80s, including the Ohio Players, Heatwave, Zapp, Lakeside, Faze-O and Dayton. By any measure, Slave was one of the premiere groups of this era. Formed in Dayton, OH, in 1975, the band’s original line up consisted of Webster, bassist Mark Adams, trumpeter Steve Washington, drummer Tim Dozier, guitarist Mark Hicks, sax players Orion Wilhoite and Tom Lockett, trombone player Floyd Miller and keyboardist Carter Bradley. The group signed with Cotillion Records and released their self-titled debut album, scoring immediately with the blazing funk track “Slide”, which hit number one on the Soul charts and earned Slave a Grammy Award nomination for Best New Artist. However, the band’s next two albums failed to deliver any hits, and Slave risked the one hit wonder label. Singers Steve Arrington and Starlena Young joined the group, and Slave’s fourth album, “Just A Touch Of Love”, reached the top ten on the strength of the title cut. They continued their reemergence in 1981 with “Watching You” and the album “Stone Jam.” Arrington left the group for a moderately successful solo career in 1982, and the next few years saw a shake up in Slave’s lineup. Washington, Lockett and Young left to form the group Aurra, and the remaining group members continued to record with moderate success through the rest of the 1980s, scoring minor hits with “Shake It Up” and “Ooooh.” Slave left Cotillion for Ichiban Records in 1986 and recorded five albums for the label through the mid-90s before going silent. A revamped Slave began touring again in multi-artist funk group shows after the turn of the century. In August 2006, Slave released the compilation album “Definitive Groove.” Webster, who was proceeded in death by bassist Mark Adams, was an exceptional musician and part of one of the greatest funk bands of all time. May he rest in peace.