RIP – Highlighters and Rhythm Machine founder, funk bassist James Boone

Now-Again | Feb. 7, 2014 | News |

It’s with a heavy heart that we note the passing of Indianapolis born and bred funk and soul bassist and bandleader James Boone. Now-Again’s Egon first met Boone while researching the independently released soul and funk records that would form the basis of his Stones Throw Records anthology The Funky 16 Corners, first issued in 2001. Boone featured prominently on that album, from the title track by the Highlighters band to Spider Harrison’s “Beautiful Day” to “The Kick,” by his later outfit Rhythm Machine.

After Egon issued Rhythm Machine’s 7″ single “Brenda and Me/Put A Smile On Time” as an extended disco single on the Soul Cal series in 2003, he issued the Rhythm Machine’s self-titled 1976 album on Now-Again in 2004, from master tapes that Boone had maintained when he moved to Omaha, Nebraska in the late 70s. In 2012, Now-Again issued an expanded version of the album with bonus tracks that Boone recorded with the band in the late 70s before the band splintered following the death of member Maride Williams.

Though Boone had walked away from music following Williams’ passing – focusing instead on his Omaha publication Go Ahead Magazine, which he founded in the early 80s and maintained until his death and his barbecue restaurant Alexanders – he maintained a love an passion for real soul and funk, and immeasurably helped this label during over the past twelve years. We’re proud to have called James Boone our friend, are honored that he trusted us with his music and plan on never letting his legacy go silent. With that in mind, download one of our favorite Rhythm MAchine tracks below.

Download: Rhythm Machine “Put A Smile On Time.”

7 Responses to “RIP – Highlighters and Rhythm Machine founder, funk bassist James Boone”

  1. My first full time professional gig in radio was in the City of Indianapolis, on WTLC-FM. It was James Boone one of the hottest bass players in the industry. We became like brothers and our sons went to grade school together. When I met James Boone, it was a Beautiful Day. His spirit lives on and on.

  2. norman love says:

    MY NAME IS SAXOPHONIST NORMAN LOVE/OMAHA…SEE MY FACEBOOK PAGE…I MET BOONE AT 16 YRS. OLD WHEN I WAS IN A BAND WITH KEVIN HARRIS WHO LATER PLAYED WITH THE RYTHM MACHINE,ALONGSIDE HIS BROTHER DON ON SAX. KEVIN AND MY BAND CALLED’DRIVE’ WERE YOUTHFUL COMPETITORS OF THE THEN CALLED HIGHLIGHTERS.I BECAME FAST FRIENDS WITH SAXIST MARIDE ,WHICH WAS EASY BECAUSE OF HIS INFECTOUS PERSONALITY..I COULD GO ON AND ON..LAST I SAW BOONE IN 2008 AS HE TENDED TO HIS BAR-B- QUE SALES CONCESSION…

  3. I am saddened and speechless at the news of the passing of our former bass player James Boone. I will always remember the time we shared together as RHYTHM MACHINE. It was an extremely tight band. R.I.P James you will be missed.

  4. HG Kelso says:

    Wow, I asked a mutual friend of our this morning when was the last time he talked with Boone and he said “man, Boone died”! It was like being hit with a ton of bricks. Last time we spoke he said he was going through some issues but he sounded as always “positive about life”. An awesome individual who I got to know when his group played in Iowa back in the 70s. In our last conversation I reminded him about the time we rode from Des Moines to Indianapolis in his Cady. A concert was going on there and when we arrived they opened the arena doors and aloud us to drive inside just like the big boys. JB had the respect of so many folks. RIP my friend.

  5. DiAnn Hunter-Alexander says:

    When the Highlighters hit Des Moines to play at the Roberts lounge, they instantly became a hit!! They continued to stay and play and became one of our brothers .
    I remember so well Boone, JB, Dykes, Kevin and Grady as it was just yesterday.
    Those were wonderful , fun times that I will forever remember and cherish.
    RIP Boone!! Love you!!!

  6. DiAnn Hunter-Alexander says:

    And Maride!!! Can’t forget him!!

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