3 For One: Hard Times

23 Jan

Better late than never goes the motto. So here’s something a wee bit late but forever acclaimed…

huey1

… James Ramey – aka Baby Huey, was born on new years day, 1944 in Indiana. He fronted The Babysitters (1963 – 69) who produced  songs like ‘Just Being Careful’. Later, he went on to be a major influence for hip hop of the 80’s/90’s with the song  ‘Hard Times’  . Samples of  Hard Times can be found in various hip hop creations – the likes of Biz Markie with The Dragon, A Tribe Called Quests’- Can I Kick It (Spirit Mix) or  Lil Wayne with The Game all used the high-pitched riff along with parts of the backing track in their samples.
Baby Hueys only album, The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend was released posthumously by Curtom Records head Curtis Mayfield in 1971 – he released it without the Babysitters on the recording. This version was derived from Gene Chandlers ‘In My Bodys House’ (1969)  and after Baby Huey’s death (October 28, 1970 ) Curtis Mayfield recorded it himself in 1975 – a honed in, soul version with much less production going on in the background – it gave Mayfield’s amazing version  a stripped down ‘message’ kind of groove to it…

The song high-lighted the hardship lives of the African  American community and the ghettos. Not unlike Dickens highlighted the  social and economic pressures  in his book of the same title- albeit a tenuous link of about 100 years I hear you sigh … But It would’ve been wacky to have had Dickens and Baby Huey putting their noggins together, collaborating for a Stage adaptation of Dickens’ Hard Times with Hueys title song chugging  along as the score … my fantasy doth overfloeth!

RIP

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