Friday, February 06, 2009

Ray Charles - Careless Love (ABC- Paramount 10345)

Careless Love

Leroy "Hog" Cooper

David "Fathead" Newman

Bennie "Hank" Crawford

One of the truly great horn sections of our time was anchored by three incredible saxophone players, who passed on within days of each other last month. Brother Ray believed in the power of the instrument, and by 1959 he had put together the winning combination of Fathead Newman on tenor, Hank Crawford on alto and Hog Cooper on baritone (pictured left to right behind him in the Ernest Withers photograph above) that would be heard on so many elemental and influential hit records.

One of my all-time favorite songs, this smoldering version of a traditional folk tune was released as the flip of the great You Don't Know Me as the second single pulled from the ground-breaking Modern Sounds In Country and Western Music in July of 1962. Both sides hit the charts, and it was that phenomenal album that put Charles and his band squarely in the public eye and began his long reign as one of the most-loved figures in American music. Whether it was a gently building groundswell like you're listening to now, or the blistering funk of songs like Unchain My Heart, these brilliant sax men played such a huge part in creating Ray's signature sound.

All of them would go on to have impressive careers of their own, but the time they spent working together behind The Genius of Soul may well be remembered best of all.

May They Rest In Peace.


Anonymous Johnny Vandal said...

Great job on this--- I know this song from my years growing up in New Orleans but Ray's version still is THE one, eh?

5:39 PM  
Anonymous Marco said...

I guess Brother Ray needed his horn section at the big gig. Great post tribute to an amazing horn section. David Fathead Newman lived up this way and we got to see him live a few times. Just got his remembrance album to Ray, "Diamondhead" and "Life"

9:37 AM  
Anonymous Susan Cross said...

I saw Cooper play 5 days before he died. I worked with him for more than 2 years on his memoir which will be released around Nov 1, 2009. He was so humble that when people recognized his name he was always surprised. When I say people, I mean local people and legendary musicians like BB King. Leroy thought he was just an invisible musician in Ray's front line. I miss him so.

9:15 PM  

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