Katie Webster

Blues Singer

Katie Webster, 63, the blues singer known as "The Swamp Boogie Queen" for her frenetic, two-fisted piano style, died Sept. 5 of a heart attack at her home in League City, Tex,, just southeast of her native Houston.

As a teen, she moved in with relatives in south Louisiana and, by age 15, became one of the most requested studio musicians in the region. Her music appears on more than 500 singles cut in the 1950s and 1960s.

A young Otis Redding discovered her playing with her band in 1964. She toured with him until his death in a 1967 plane crash that might have killed her, except she couldn't fly because she was pregnant.

Devastated, Ms. Webster essentially stopped performing until the early 1980s, when she took Europe by storm.

She also became a favorite in the U.S. blues festival circuit and recorded on the Chicago-based Alligator Records label with the likes of Robert Cray and Bonnie Raitt.

Lev Razgon

Soviet Activist

Lev Razgon, 92, a writer and human rights activist who spent 17 years in Soviet labor camps, died Sept. 8 of a heart attack, the ITAR-Tass news agency reported in Moscow.

Mr. Razgon became prominent with publication of "Not a Thought Up Story," a recollection of his years in labor camps during the Stalin era.

He was sent to the camps in 1938 on charges of anti-state activities and emerged with his sense of humor and love of life undiminished, the ITAR-Tass report said.

However, "I will never forgive!" he said after writing about two starving 10-year-old girls in the camps who offered him sex in exchange for bread. But he did not think that his 17 years in the labor camps were a loss. "In the camp, man gets free of dogma and any boundaries. Strange as it may be, he becomes more free," he said.