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Singer Barbara Mauritz of Lamb, group that helped close Fillmore West, has died

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Barbara Mauritz, the superb female vocalist with the San Francisco group Lamb who were managed by the late Bill Graham, has died, Mauritz's sister Jackie Mauritz Schoen told Vintage Rock 'n' Roll Examiner in an email. Mauritz died on April 14 at age 65.

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Mauritz is the lead vocalist on the song “Hello, Friends” that opened the “Last Days of the Fillmore” DVD documentary about the closing of the Fillmore West. It was one of the highlights in the film. The song was also on the CD soundtrack.

Lamb was managed by Bill Graham’s Fillmore Management, which included the Pointer Sisters. The group released four albums: "A Sign of Change," "Cross Between," “Bring Out the Sun” and “Music Box.” "Cross Between" and "Bring Out the Sun" are currently available on CD. Mauritz also composed music for the movie "Where the Lilies Bloom," which was released only on VHS.

“Of all the musicians that I managed during my career at Fillmore Management including the Pointer Sisters, Barbara Mauritz and Bob Swanson of Lamb most captivated my heart,” said Diane Rapaport, who handled their business affairs. “Barbara’s eclectic, full-range voice wove in an out of Bob’s classic/jazz guitar riffs like an ornate tapestry, full of magic and surprise. Her lyrics were filled with odd metaphors and imagery.”

In an interview with Vintage Rock 'n Roll Examiner, Barbara Mauritz said the band was discovered by David Rubinson, Bill Graham's partner in the Fillmore Corporation. They were signed to play their first show, opening at Winterland for Crosby, Stills and Nash.

“We got to the sound test at about 6 p.m. and were setting up when Bill Graham, who we didn't know yet, came up to the stage and said, 'Who the hell are you and what are you doing on my stage?' David Rubinson came running up behind Bill and motioned to us that it was alright and put his arm around him and walked him away.” She said shortly thereafter, Graham signed the band to a management contract.

According to Rapaport, Mauritz died a pauper and in poor health. She was wheelchair bound and in pain since a bus accident in the '70s. She also had other injuries after that and was devastated after the death of her son, Josh.

“Barbara had been disabled for years and years and she didn't want anyone to know,” her sister Jackie said in a phone interview. “She was in agonizing pain and could barely walk anymore. It was a matter of personal pride. She didn't want people to know how bad she was.”

Mauritz had also recorded a CD before her death called “Give Me Half a Chance.” There are no plans yet for its release.

“I had been trying now for years to work with Barbara to help preserve the legacy of our efforts with Lamb and with the new work she was doing,” said former Lamb partner Bob Swanson. He said he hopes to get Lamb's original recordings plus outtakes and new her work released to the public through the internet.

Fred Catero, Lamb's recording engineer, said the news of her death came as a shock because he had just talked with Mauritz less than two weeks ago and she was very upbeat. “She was all excited about recording a song and putting it on the internet. She was very up and everything. That's why I was so surprised.

“I thought she was a very unique individual,” he said. “Just an amazing person. A lot of grit.”

“It was an honor to work with such an enormous talent,” Swanson said. “Even through extreme tragedies, she never faltered in dedication to her art. Her ability was just astounding, truly astounding. It was a gift. She was like a little Mozart in terms of being born with something. That's the tragedy of it all.”

Donations may be made to help with expenses related to Barbara Mauritz's death. Paypal donations can be sent to Jackie Mauritz Schoen at jms725@charter.net. (Please mark it as a donation so the Paypal fees will be waived.)

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