Blues Thursday! Blues Thursday!
Meet the man who wrote Ray Charles’ signature song Hit The Road Jack: Mr. Percy Mayfield.
Percy Mayfield was born in 1920 in Louisiana. He died in Los Angeles, CA in 1984. His love for poetry led him to write songs, and his — by now classic Blues ballad — Please Send Me Someone To Love became a number one R&B hit in 1952. During the 60’s Ray Charles favored Mayfield penned songs and was rewarded with such smash titles as Hit The Road Jack and At The Club, for example.
While trying to sell his material to different labels according to Bill Dahl’s short biography of the artist the “bosses at Supreme liked his own gentle reading so much that they insisted he wax it himself in 1947 with an all-star band that included saxist Maxwell Davis, guitarist Chuck Norris, and pianist Willard McDaniel.”
In 1950, Percy was signed by Art Rube’s Specialty and he delivered a series of highly successful titles. In 1952, a car accident left him with a severe facial disfigurement which also restricted his ability to sing. Nevertheless, the hits kept flowing from his pen. What A Fool I Was, for example, and Cry Baby or Lost Love — all of them introspective, lamenting blue Blues pieces. And all of them still sung and played today.
The titles I post today are from His Tangerine and Atlantic Sides, Rhino Handmade, 2004. (Tangerine Records was Ray Charles’ label. He founded it in 1963 while he was under contract with ABC-Paramount which acted as distributor for Tangerine.)
While I was searching for a clip of Percy Mayfield’s Please Send Me Someone To Love, I got lucky and stumbled upon this gem.
Ladies and gentlemen! SOTS proudly presents Gladys Knight, B.B. King featuring Paul Butterfield on harp.