Baby Huey


Band members               Related acts

- Dan Alfano - 

- Othello Anderson - 

- David Cook - 

- Philllip Henry - 

- Baby Huey (aka James Ramey) (RIP 1969) - vocals

- Melvin Jones - 

- Plato Jones - 

- Alton Jones -

- Nick Marcotte - 

- Moose -

- Dan O'Neil - 

- Jack Renee - 

- Reno Smith -

- Bryon Watkins - 

 

 

 

The Mauds (Robert Fuzzy Fuscaldo)

 

 


 

Rating: *** (3 stars)

Title:  The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend

Company: Curtom

Catalog: CS-8007

Year: 1970

Grade (cover/record): VG+ / VG+

Comments: gatefold sleeve

Available: 1

GEMM catalog ID: 4151

Price: SOLD

He's largely unknown outside of Chicago, the world of obscure soul collectors, and DJs looking for obscure samples, which is a tragedy since Baby Huey was one of those rarities - namely a soul act that simultaneously managed to attract both black and white audiences.

 

Born and raised in Richmond, Indiana, James Ramey started his musical career as a member of his high school choir.  After high school he formed The Vels, before forming Baby Huey & the Babysitters.   The odd stage name came from Ramey's physical stature - due to a glandular problem he weighed in at over 350 pounds).  With backing from the Babysitters, Huey became a mainstay on the Chicago club scene and on mid-western colleges.  Unfortunately the group had difficulty finding a record label to sign them.  Signed by the small Satellite label. the group's recording debut came with the 1964 single "Messin' with the Kid" b/w "Monkey Man" (Satellite catalog number 2013).  Over the next four years they only managed two more singles for small local labels:

 

- 1965's "Monkey Man" b/w "Beg Me" (St. Lawrence catalog number 1002)

- 1965's "Just Being Careful" b/w "Mess'in with the Kid" (USA catalog number 801)

 

Their luck changed in 1969 when Huey's longtime friend/manager Marv Stuart took a job working for Curtis Mayfield's newly formed Curtom Records.  One of his first business decisions was to sign Huey to a recording contract.  Sadly, in the midst of recording material for the projected album, Huey suffered a fatal heart attack in his Chicago hotel room.  He was only 28.

 

So what's the posthumous Curtis Mayfield produced "The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend" sound like?  Well, musically the set's quite diverse.  Huey had an interesting and likeable voice, though his penchant for shrieking ("A Change Is Gonna Come") is irritating.  The leadoff track "Listen To Me" is a nifty, if conventional rocker.  The Ramey-penned instrumental "Mama Get Yourself Together" sounds like a cross between Blood, Sweat and Tears and Santana.  Huey's nine minute cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Comin'" is slowed down and given a bluesy feel, complete with an extended anti-drug rap (probably inspired by the recent death of friend Jimi Hendrix).  At least to our ears, the standout performances are a series of Curtis Mayfield covers - a pseudo-live "Mighty Mighty" and rocking covers of "Hard Times" and "Running".   The only real missteps here are a pair of flute-propelled instrumentals; Ramey's "One Dragon Two Dragon" and a needless supper club cover of The Mamas and the Papas "California Dreaming".  

 

"The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend" track listing:

(side 1)

1.) Listen To Me   (M. Johnson) - 6:38

2.) Mama Get Yourself Together (instrumental)   (James Ramey) - 6:10

3.) A Change Is Gonna Come   (Sam Cooke) - 9:23

 

(side 2)

1.) Mighty Mighty   (Curtis Mayfield) - 2:45

2.) Hard Times   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:19

3.) California Dreamin'  (John Phillips) - 4:42

4.) Running   (Curtis Mayfield) - 3:36

5.) One Dragon Two Dragon (instrumental)   (James Ramey) - 4:02 

 

For completist, Curtom pulled a pair of singles from the LP:

- 1969's "Mighty Mighty (The Children) (Part 1)" b/w "Mighty Mighty (The Children) (Part 2)" Curtom catalog number CR-1939)

- 1970's "Listen To Me" b/w "Hard Times" Curtom catalog number CR-1962

 

 

 

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