Google+ Followers

Sunday, 8 February 2015

Ray Sharpe born 8 February 1938

Edward Ray Sharpe (born February 8, 1938) is an American R&B and rockabilly singer, guitarist, and songwriter. Many of his recordings, including his best-known, "Linda Lu", are sometimes classed as rockabilly – he was described by one record producer as "the greatest white-sounding black dude ever".

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Sharpe grew up influenced by country as well as blues music. He learned guitar, influenced by Chuck Berry records, and in 1956 formed his own
trio, Ray Sharpe and the Blues Whalers, with Raydell Reese (piano) and Cornelius Bell (drums), and they became popular playing rock and roll in Fort Worth clubs. His recording career started in Phoenix, Arizona in April 1958, when Lee Hazlewood produced his single, "That's the Way I Feel" / "Oh, My Baby's Gone".

It was Sharpe's second session (May 18, 1959) that would give him his only hit. A rocked up version of "Red Sails In the Sunset" was thought to have the best chance of becoming a hit. The reverse, "Linda Lu", was an afterthought and very nearly not recorded at all.
"Red Sails In the Sunset" was issued on Jamie and received favourable responses from the trade press and jocks, but didn't start selling in sufficient quantities to indicate that a hit record was forthcoming. Suddenly, a DJ in Los Angeles started to play "Linda Lu" and things began to happen, especially after Dick Clark included the song on his playlist for American Bandstand and made Sharpe part of his first rock and roll package.

Ray played the Hollywood Bowl on a bill which included LaVern Baker, Duane Eddy (who apparently does not  play on "Linda Lu", as has often been alleged), Jack Scott, Santo and Johnny, the Coasters and Rusty York. This was followed by a string of dates with his own band. "Linda Lu" peaked at # 46 pop (# 11 R&B) in Billboard and had a 13 week run in the Top 100. Once "Linda Lu" had started to sell, Jamie withdrew the original A-side and replaced it with "Monkey's Uncle", a great Chuck Berry- styled rocker, which was wasted this way and should have been the follow-up single. The reason was that "Red Sails In the Sunset" was not owned by Sill and Hazlewood's publishing company and it made no sense to them to pay another publisher for what was now a flip side.

Several one-off record deals followed in the 1960s, with labels like Gregmark, Garex, United Artists and Monument, but "Linda Lu" would remain his sole chart entry. The results of an interesting 1962 session in New Orleans (with session men like Harold Battiste, Roy Montrell and Melvin Lastie) remained unissued until 1995. In 1966, Ray recorded an Atco single with a still unknown Jimi Hendrix on guitar, produced by King Curtis.

There were very few releases in the 1970s and 1980s, but Sharpe never left the music business. Like many other artists from the 1950s, he was rediscovered by rockabilly enthusiasts in Europe and brought over to perform there. In the end record sales and chart appearances have not made a lot of difference to Ray Sharpe. He is a masterful guitarist, above average singer and a seasoned entertainer with a repertoire of material so wide (R&B, country, funk, pop, soul, blues and rock 'n' roll) that he can satisfy the needs of the most demanding audience.

Subsequent single releases on a variety of record labels, including Hazlewood's own Trey label, were less successful. These included recordings made in 1966 with King Curtis, which featured Jimi Hendrix on guitar. However, Sharpe's songs have been recorded by acts ranging from Roy Head and the Traits to Neil Young and J. B. Hutto, and he has continued to release records, as well as performing regularly in the Fort Worth area. (Info edited from Wikipedia & Black cat Rockabilly)

1 comment:

boppinbob said...

For “Ray Sharpe – Rockin’ Classics” go here:

1. Oh, My Baby's Gone
2. Long John
3. Monkey's Uncle
4. Red Sails in the Sunset
5. Linda Lu
6. That's the Way I Feel
7. Kewpie Doll
8. Justine
9. There'll Come a Day
10. Silly Dilly Millie
11. T.A. Blues
12. Given' Up
13. Gonna Let It Go This Time
14. For You, My Love
15. Bermuda
16. Dallas
17. On the Street Where You Live