King Floyd - Why Did She Leave Me (Original Sound 100)
Why Did She Leave Me
I just got the news...
This past Monday, March 6th, King Floyd died in a California hospital of a massive stroke and complications from ongoing diabetes. He was 61 years old.
If you've been around the B side for awhile, you know that we just loved this man. One of our earliest posts, Handle With Care, picked up his story at the tail end of his California period in 1969. Let's dig a little deeper...
King Floyd III was born in New Orleans in 1945, the son of King Floyd, Sr. and Lillie Pearl Dawkins. Like many other young singers of his day, he would sing on the street corners as a teenager, just hoping to get noticed. Noticed he was, by the likes of people like Earl King, Willie Tee, and one Joe August, aka Mr. Google Eyes (pictured at right). It was Joe that got him his first real job, singing at a Bourbon Street club called the Sho-Bar in 1961. Uncle Sam had other ideas, however, and King was soon drafted into the Army.
Upon his discharge in 1963, Floyd moved to NYC and signed with giant R&B management firm Shaw Artists. They got him regular work around town, and before long he got to know people like J. J. Jackson and Don Covay, who convinced him of the importance of writing his own material.
He headed out to Los Angeles the following year, and hooked up with the great Jimmy Holiday, who was riding high on the success of his top ten R&B hit How Can I Forget on the Everest Label. They wrote a song together called Walkin' and Thinkin', and Floyd began shopping it around. He was picked up by tiny Motown subsidiary Uptown, who released the tune as the B side of something called "You Don't Have To Have It".
The record didn't chart.
(Holiday would go on to wax some great sides for what was by then L.A. based Minit records, as well as writing a little number called Put A Little Love In Your Heart.)
Floyd reconnected with New Orleans expariate Harold Battiste around this time, and he intoduced him to local disk jockey Buddy Keleen. Buddy used his radio connections to land King a contract with renowned (Oldies but Goodies) DJ Art LaBoe's Original Sound label (the home of funk legends Dyke & the Blazers). Art released a new recording of Walkin' and Thinkin' as the A side of a single in 1965, with our current Floyd & Holiday composition as the flip. The record was produced by King and Jimmy as well, and has this kinda Ric and Ron meets AFO feel to it. Although I'm not sure if Battiste or his fellow exile Mac Rebennack were involved, it sure does have that cottony Crescent City sound, no?
It didn't chart either.
Battiste, who had made a name for himself on the west coast running "Soul Stations" for Sam Cooke's SAR label, was then doing production work for ATCO and Mercury subsidiary Pulsar. Floyd signed with the label in 1966 and released three more singles that went nowhere. Pulsar would issue his debut album, A Man In Love, in 1967.
He continued writing, and was contributing material for other Pulsar artists (like Al Robinson) as well, but his career was at a standstill. After a final single died in 1968, Floyd decided to call it quits, and head home to New Orleans...
(...for the rest of the story please visit our Handle With Care post from last November.)
King Floyd will be missed. He had released an album on Malaco in 2000, and was touring again. His high energy performances were legendary, as seen here in his 2002 Jazz Fest romp.
He leaves behind a wife and three children, six grandkids, and an extended New Orleans based family that can't believe he's gone.
Funeral Services will be held at the First Zion Baptist Church in Jefferson, LA this Saturday, March 18th at 10am.
God rest his soul.