Baby Huey (singer)

Baby Huey (singer)

Infobox musical artist
Name = Baby Huey (& the Babysitters)

Img_capt = James Ramey pictured on the cover of his only album, "The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend"
Img_size = 225
Landscape =
Background = group_or_band
Alias =
Origin = Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
Genre = Funk/R&B/soul/rock
Years_active = 1963 – 1970
Label = Curtom
Associated_acts =
Current_members = James "Baby Huey" Ramey
Johnny Ross
Melvin "Deacon" Jones
Past_members =
Notable_instruments =

Baby Huey (born James Ramey, January 1 1944 - October 28 1970) was an American rock and soul singer, born in Richmond, Indiana. He was the frontman for the band "Baby Huey & The Babysitters", whose single LP for Curtom Records in 1971 was influential in the development of hip hop music.


Early years

A native of Richmond, Indiana, James Ramey moved to Chicago, Illinois at the age of nineteen, and worked with several local bands as a singer. Due to a glandular disorder, Ramey was a large man, weighing about 350 pounds (160 kg). His size contributed to his stage presence, but also to health problems. Nevertheless, he made light of his condition, adopting the stage name "Baby Huey" after Paramount Pictures' giant duckling cartoon character of the same name. In 1963, Ramey, organist/trumpeter Melvin "Deacon" Jones, and guitarist Johnny Ross founded a band called Baby Huey & the Babysitters, which became a popular local act and released several 45 RPM singles, including "Beg Me", "Monkey Man", "Messin' with the Kid" and "Just Being Careful".

During the late-1960s, the band followed the lead of Sly & the Family Stone and became a psychedelic soul act. Huey began wearing an Afro and donned psychedelic African-inspired robes, and adding sing-song, self-referential rhymes to his live performances. According to his bandmates, Ramey's rhymes were very similar in style to those later popularized by rappers in hip-hop music. The Babysitters were a popular live act, but never took the time out to record an album.

"The Baby Huey Story" and passing

In 1969, the band's agent Marv Heiman secured them an audition with Curtom Records arranger Donny Hathaway. Hathaway was impressed by the act, and got Curtom Records head Curtis Mayfield to sign Baby Huey, but not the band. Although the band participated in the recording of Ramey's debut album, there were feelings of unease among them, and Ross and Jones quit the band during the recording.

By 1970, Ramey had developed an addiction to heroin, and his weight had increased to over 400 pounds. He began regularly missing gigs or turning up late, and, at the insistence of his bandmates, briefly entered rehabilitation in the spring of 1970. James Ramey died of a heart attack on October 28, 1970, at the age of 26, and was found around noon in his hotel bathroom by his manager. His funeral was held on November 1, in his native Richmond, Indiana.

Baby Huey & the Babysitters' album, "The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend", was released after the death of their lead singer. Produced by Curtis Mayfield, the album featured several Mayfield compositions, as well as a cover of Sam Cooke's "A Change Is Gonna Come" and two original compositions by Ramey. The album did not sell well upon its original release, and was largely forgotten by the mainstream. Today, the album is considered a classic of its period.

Several songs from "The Baby Huey Story", including "Hard Times", "Listen to Me", and "Mighty Mighty Children", have been frequently sampled by hip hop producers since the 1980s. "Hard Times" alone has been sampled by dozens of artists, including Ice Cube ("The Birth", "Death Certificate"), A Tribe Called Quest ("Can I Kick It?", "People's Instinctive Travels and the Paths of Rhythm"), Ghostface Killah ("Buck 50", "Supreme Clientele"), and others. Many people, including the Babysitters themselves, see "The Baby Huey Story" as a significant and important influence on hip hop music.

After Ramey's death, The Babysitters briefly employed a young Chaka Khan as their lead singer before disbanding. The members went their separate ways to work as instrumentalists in other bands, although they regularly participate in projects involving their past work with Baby Huey & the Babysitters.



"The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend" — release history:
*1971, Curtom (LP) - original release
*1994, Unidisc (CD)
*1999, Sequel Records (CD)
*2004, Water (CD)


*"Listen to Me" on "Kurtis Blow Presents the History of Rap, Vol. 1: The Genesis" (1997, Rhino Records).
*"Monkey Man" on "Teenage Shutdown, Vol. 1: Jump, Jive & Harmonize" (1998, Teenage Shutdown).


* Mehr, Bob (Nov. 17, 2004). " [ The Meter: Born Again] ". "'Chicago Reader".

External links

* [ Baby Huey entry at the All Music Guide]
* [ Baby Huey Yahoo Group]

NAME=Baby Huey
DATE OF BIRTH=January 1 1944
PLACE OF BIRTH=Richmond, Indiana
DATE OF DEATH=October 28 1970
PLACE OF DEATH=Richmond, Indiana

Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.

Look at other dictionaries:

  • Huey — may refer to:People* Huey (rapper) * Huey Lewis, rock musician, noted for his band Huey Lewis the News * Huey Long (1893 1935), US democratic party politician, known as The Kingfish * Huey P. Newton (1942 1989), co founder of the Black Panther… …   Wikipedia

  • Huey Lewis and the News — Performing in 2006 Background information Origin San Francisco, California, United States …   Wikipedia

  • Baby Got Back — Infobox Single Name = Baby Got Back Artist = Sir Mix a Lot from Album = Mack Daddy B side = Cake Boy Released = 1992 Format = 7 , 12 , Cassette single, CD single Recorded = Genre = Rap/Hip Hop Dirty Rap Length = Label = Def American Writer = Sir… …   Wikipedia

  • 1970 in music — Events * Charles Wuorinen, aged 32, becomes the youngest composer ever to win the Pulitzer Prize for Music. * January 3 Davy Jones announces he is leaving the Monkees. Former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett releases his first solo album The… …   Wikipedia

  • A Change Is Gonna Come — For other uses, see A Change Is Gonna Come (disambiguation). A Change Is Gonna Come album track, B side to Shake by Sam Cooke from the album Ain t That Good News Published …   Wikipedia

  • Ramey — is a surname of French origin. See: Remy or Remi a celtic tribe from Gaul *Chet Ramey *Claude Ramey (1754 1838), French sculptor, father of Etienne Jules Ramey *Etienne Jules Ramey (1796 1852), French sculptor *Harry R. Ramey, Jr., US politician… …   Wikipedia

  • Richmond, Indiana — Infobox Settlement official name = City of Richmond, Indiana settlement type = City nickname = imagesize = image caption = image imagesize = image caption = image mapsize = 250x200px map caption = Location in the state of Indiana mapsize1 = map… …   Wikipedia

  • Richmond High School (Richmond, Indiana) — Richmond High School Location Richmond, IN., USA Coordinates …   Wikipedia

  • 1987 in music — See also: * * Events*January 3 Aretha Franklin becomes the first woman inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame *January 16 The Beastie Boys become the first act to be censored by American Bandstand . *January Steve Silk Hurley s innovative… …   Wikipedia

  • Chaka Khan — Khan performing at the Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Ynez, California Background information Birth name Yvette Marie Stevens Also known as …   Wikipedia

Share the article and excerpts

Direct link
Do a right-click on the link above
and select “Copy Link”