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Big Al Downing


Big Al Downing was a distinctive if unsung figure in the history of well-known music, becoming among the initial African-Americans to take pleasure from success within the white-dominated realms of rockabilly and nation. So mixed and checkered was his lengthy profession that he actually damaged the disco graphs. Given birth to January 9, 1940, in Lenapah, Okay, Downing was among 12 children, becoming a member of his dad and three siblings in a family group gospel group. At age group ten he started teaching himself piano and by 14 he was carrying out local events, sketching motivation from his idol Fat Domino. Actually, Downing not merely received a Coffeyville, KS, radio train station talent competition covering “Blueberry Hill,” but his overall performance so impressed regional rockabilly vocalist Bobby Poe that he asked the youthful pianist to become listed on his backing music group, the Tempo Rockers (immediately after rechristened the Poe Kats). Downing rejected a basketball scholarship or grant from Kansas Condition University to simply accept the present, and after many trips of the Midwest the group agreed upon to the Dallas-based Light Rock and roll label to cut two 1958 singles: the very first, “Down on the Plantation,” was acknowledged to Big Al Downing & the Poe Kats, as the follow-up was acknowledged to Poe. Downing taken to both a gritty, R&B-inspired advantage generally absent from most rock and roll & roll information of that time period, also recalling Jerry Lee Lewis along with his frenetic piano playing. Neither Light Rock discharge was popular, however the Poe Kats even so caught the eye of rockabilly spitfire Wanda Jackson, who tapped the group as her brand-new backing device. Despite touring behind Jackson, Downing & the Poe Kats still discovered time to trim a second Light Rock aspect, “Miss Lucy,” that your Carlton label certified for nationwide distribution. Carlton create the next program at manufacturer Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studio room, site of Extra fat Domino’s greatest accomplishments. Supported by Crescent Town program aces like Macintosh Rebennack (the near future Dr. John) and Alvin “Crimson” Tyler, Downing trim 1959’s “When My Blue Moon Transforms to Silver,” but once again the disk went nowhere and he as well as the Poe Kats resumed their use Jackson, trimming the traditional Capitol classes that yielded her 1960 global smash “Let’s Have a celebration,” which features Downing on piano. On the next 1 . 5 years he headlined three singles for the V-Tone label — “Yes, I’m Loving You,” “Terms of Like,” and “A LOT OF Remembrances” — but single success continued to be elusive; a 1962 cover of Marty Robbins’ “THE STORYPLOT of MY ENTIRE LIFE” first cut for Downing’s personal Kansoma imprint however piqued the eye of Chess, which reissued the disk nationally to small get. Kansoma’s last-gasp follow-up, “The Saints,” was at least something of the pyrrhic triumph: Domino later on protected its b-side, “Heartbreak Hill.” In 1963 Downing authorized to the Lenox label and journeyed to Nashville to slice a program with Small Esther Phillips. The producing duet “You By no means Miss Your Drinking water (Right up until the Well Works Dry)” demonstrated a surprise strike, reaching the quantity 73 i’m all over this the Billboard pop graphs. The single follow-up, “EASILY Had Our Want to Live Over,” gained little notice, nevertheless, and a 12 months later on he resurfaced on Columbia with “All I’D LIKE Is definitely You.” The next “Georgia Slop,” a cover from the Jimmy McCracklin tune, rates among Downing’s most incendiary shows, but it as well was a industrial failing and his documenting career ground to some halt. He spent another several years being a employed weapon, touring behind everyone from Johnny Mathis to Dottie Western world to his boyhood hero Domino. When he finally came back being a headliner using a 1969 re-recording of “The Saints,” released on the Sterling silver Fox label, he shunned the rock and roll & move trappings of his previously efforts and only a country-soul audio. The follow-up, “Melody of Spirit,” which fused three Four Tops strikes, further established the brand new position quo, but once again Downing discovered the graphs impenetrable and after one last disc, “Provide Me Good Caring,” his documenting career again proceeded to go into limbo. Downing didn’t resurface until 1973, getting with Chess’ Janus subsidiary for “MANY THANKS Baby.” Once the pursuing “I’M GOING TO BE SECURING” began producing curiosity at radio and — even more remarkably — nightclubs, Chess reissued the monitor alone imprint, and it surfaced among the first disco hits, breaking the Billboard R&B Best 40 and achieving amount 85 in the pop graphs. Chess acquired high hopes because of its sequel, “Gimmie Some Lovin’,” however the record tanked as well as the label terminated Downing’s agreement. His lone Polydor discharge, 1976’s “I enjoy Love,” fulfilled a similar destiny and the vocalist again slipped from sight, reducing his already-tenuous ties to dance music to come back to his nation music root base. His 1978 Warner Bros. debut, “Mr. Jones,” instantly strike the Billboard nation Best 20, and the next “Contact Me (I’M GOING TO BE Your Fool ONCE AGAIN)” proved a lot more successful, achieving the amount 18 slot machine. With 1979’s “Midnight Ribbons” and “I Ain’t No Fool,” Downing reached just the low rungs from the Nashville graphs, but with 1980’s “THE STORYPLOT Behind the storyplot” he came back to the very best 40. Despite “TAKE IT on House” achieving the quantity 20 placement, Warner even so declined to increase Downing’s agreement, and he proceeded to go M.We.A. for just two years. When Downing reappeared with 1982’s “I’M GOING TO BE Adoring You,” he was the flagship action from the fledgling Group Entertainment label. This maiden discharge still slipped in to the amount 48 spot, even though following “Darlene” and “Let’s Sing About Appreciate” were able to climb just in to the mid-sixties. 1983’s “IT REQUIRES Like” would verify Downing’s final Best 40 nation admittance, although his last Group produces, 1984’s “THE VERY BEST of Family members” and “There’ll Under no circumstances Be considered a Better Reason behind Bein’ Wrong,” both charted. Downing following documented for Vine Road, notching minor strikes with 1986’s “How Gorgeous YOU MIGHT BE (IF YOU ASK ME)” and another year’s “JUST ONE SINGLE Night Won’t Perform.” His last nation singles — the 1990 Door Knob produces “Bound for Baltimore” and “Dad #1” — coincided having a resurgence appealing in Downing’s early rockabilly edges, and in 1994 he released Back again to My Root base, a go back to the audio of his formative recordings. He preserved a relentless tour plan through the decade to check out, regularly showing up on Nashville’s renowned Grand Ole Opry aswell. In 2003, he released his final assortment of brand-new material, Original. After fighting leukemia, Downing passed away July 4, 2005, in Leicester, MA.

Quick Facts

Died July 4, 2005, Massachusetts, United States
Profession Entertainer, Pianist, Songwriter, Singer-songwriter
Nationality American
Music Songs Mr. Jones the Final Chapter, Give a Hand to the Lady, The Story Behind The Story, I'll Be Your Fool Once More, Bring It On Home, Does He Know About Me, Please Help Me Mama, Kid At The Bar, Down on the Farm, Be Bop Cat, I'll Be Holding On, Mama Was a Preacher, A Cigarette, A Bottle And A Jukebox, The Georgia Slop, Touch Me, Yes, I'm Loving You, Sneakie Freakie People, Mister Jones, Sneaky Freaky People, Daddy Played The Banjo, Let's Sing About Love, Miss Lucy, I'll Be Loving You, If I Had Our Love to Live Over, Beer Drinking People, I Ain't No Fool, Don't You Want To Go To Love With Me?, Midnight Lace, Payin' My Dues, Cornbread Row, When My Blue Moon Turns To Gold Again, If You're Leavin'
Albums The Show That Would Never Be, Live At XM Radio Washington, D.C. (2 CD Set), Greatest Hits, Vol. 1, The Lost Concert, Classic Collection Vol. 1 (Original Recordings), The Very Best Of, Big Al Downing and His Friends, Classic Collection Vol. 2 (Original Recordings)
Nominations Academy of Country Music Award for New Male Vocalist of the Year

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