"The Hardest Working Man in Show Business" did not mess around. His bands, often with two drummers, were always tight and professional. The backup singers and dancers, superb. And James Brown himself a true knockout every single time!
I was reminded of all those wonderful James Brown shows this week when I heard about the death, at 85, of Danny Ray, Brown's personal valet, emcee, and cape man for more than 45 years.
Brown met Ray at the famed Apollo Theater in 1960 where Ray was often in attendance, along way from his birthplace in Birmingham, Alabama. From there, Ray attended Brown until Brown's death on Christmas Day in 2006. Keeping track of Brown's many costume changes and their matching capes. Introducing each show, after the crowd had been revved up by the band: "Right about now, it's star time. Are you ready for star time?" And most importantly, gently draping the cape over the star's shoulders when he collapsed with feigned grief during his signature song "Please, Please, Please."
The shows all flowed so seamlessly and joyfully. Owing, in no small part, to Danny Ray's total commitment and caring.
The Rev. Al Sharpton wrote on social media: "He was like an Uncle to me as I traveled the world years ago w/ The Godfather of Soul. Danny will never be forgotten. Rest in Peace and Power, family."