James ‘Baby Huey’ Ramey
“Listen – Baby Huey and the Babysitters – Mighty Mighty Children Pt1- MP3″
“Listen – Baby Huey and the Babysitters – Mighty Mighty Children Pt2- MP3″
I hope the end of the week finds you all well.
I also hope you’ve been digging the Chitown theme we’ve been working this week.
As promised, we’re going to close things out with something (very) funky, that being ‘Mighty Mighty Children Pts 1&2’ (you really need to dig both sides) by Baby Huey and the Babysitters.
Born James Ramey, Baby Huey and his band hailed from Richmond, Indiana (about halfway between Dayton, Ohio and Indianapolis). Starting in the mid-60s, Baby Huey and the band worked up a rep as a dynamite show band, drawing huge crowds in Richmond and on the road, playing with both soul and rock bands (I’ve seen a reference that said they opened for the Yardbirds at one point).
Over the next few years they toured widely, made a number of TV appearances and by the time they were signed to Curtis Mayfield’s Curtom label, they had a fairly large following.
Ramey was an outsized performer in every respect, both as a master of wild stage shows, and physically topping 300 pounds for his performing career and over 400 pounds (and with a deadly heroin habit) when he passed away in October of 1970. The album the group had been recording with Mayfield would be released posthumously in 1971.
The single I bring you today is a funky, two-part killer with a “live in studio” sound, tight production by Curtis and an arrangement by none other than Donny Hathaway.
‘Mighty Mighty Children’ swings along on a melody that is instantly recognizable as having been created by Mayfield, with a raw vocal by Ramey, blazing horns and just enough fuzzed out wah-wah guitar to let you know that it was 1970.
I’m partial to Part 2, in which things get (re)started with an intro, after which Ramey interacts with the audience and lays down a rap (namechecking Lou Rawls, as well as a veritable soul food buffet). Though both sides of the 45 rock, Part 2 has a heavier party vibe, a little more chaotic and very groovy.
In other news, this coming Monday (June the first) will see the arrival of the 2009 Funky16Corners Pledge Drive, in which your’s truly comes to you, hand outstretched, asking for donations to keep the blogs (more specifically the server space wherein all the pictures, sound files, podcasts and the Funky16Corners web zine reside) up and running for another year. I will of course provide more details on Monday, as well as Paypal links and a brand new edition of the Funky16Corners Radio Podcast as the soundtrack to the drive.
I hope you all have an excellent (hopefully sunny) weekend, and I’ll see you all on Monday.