Danny Ray, James Brown’s ‘Original Hype Man,’ Dies at 85
Danny Ray, who opened thousands of concerts for James Brown with a stem-winding, hype intro and finished them by wrapping a sequined velvet cape over the singers’ sweaty, wet bodies, only to further propel them into a hypothesis Enhanced. Atmya Funk, who died for one last encounter, died on 2 August at her home in Augusta, Gau. He was 85.
His death was confirmed by DeAnna Brown-Thomas, the daughter of Mr. Brown, who called Mr. Ray “the original publicist”.
Mr. Ray’s cape routine, which he started in 1962, helped cement the flamboyant image of Mr. Brown before celebrating celebrity worldwide as the “Godfather of Soul”.
At the end of his first set at the small clubs where he performed at the time, Mr. Brown, drenched in sweat, would leave the stage and Mr. Ray would cover him in a Turkish towel. When he was ready for his encore, Mr. Brown would toss him with a prolific flip of his arms – an act that the crowd could clearly see, and that fans were expecting.
The routine later progressed, and it changed to American musical lore in 1964, when Mr. Brown joined the Rolling Stones, The Beach Boys, Marvin Gay, and a long list of other artists, named teenagers in the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium K was included in a filmed concert. Award Sangeet International, popularly known as TAMI
The Stones were headlining, but Mr. Brown got 18 minutes, much of it from his hit “Please Please Please”. Less than a minute into the song, as the music produced and Mr. Brown’s body contrasted with emotion, he fell to his knees, completely beat. The crowd started panting.
Mr. Ray survived the stage with a cape as the band continued to play and backup singer, Famous Flames sang. He and Bobby Bennett, one of the flames, helped Mr. Brown to his feet. He began to restrain himself, shouting to the audience, “Don’t go!”
Suddenly regaining his strength, Mr. Brown throws the cape again, right on the beat – and comes back to the microphone. He and Mr. Ray repeated the routine twice. Each time the crowd increased.
The “TAMI Show” as its climax, along with Mr. Ray’s routine, was released in theaters in late 1964, and sold Mr. Brown to the arena almost overnight from the R&B circuit. Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards later stated that agreeing to follow Mr. Brown backstage that night was the band’s worst decision ever.
Mr. Brown performed almost nonstop for the next four decades, titled “the hardest working man in the show business”. Mr. Ray was easily second: when he was not running the show for the audience, he was handling it backstage, overseeing the giant gray with military precision.
He ensured that the backup singers were on time, their shoes polished and their pompadads caressed. He used to give minute details of the band’s stitching, ahead of their insistence that their jackets have no pockets, lest they leave an ugly line in the fabric.
“Ever since people look on stage, they are watching everything, from head to toe,” he said Told Mr. Brown’s son Daryl for his book “My Father the Godfather” (2014). “How you bring it up, how you present it, it’s all about it.”
Daniel Brown Ray was born on March 22, 1935 in Birmingham, Ala. His father, Willie, was a barber, and his mother, Lucy, was a housewife.
They married in 1957 and the following year he joined the army. When he left the service in 1961, he and his wife, Rosemary, settled in New York, where Mr. Ray hoped to find a job behind the scenes in entertainment. He continued to enter the performance hall, like Apollo, who were trying to muster one by one, stranded behind stars like Johnny Mathis and Sam Cook.
Mr. Ray was an impeccable dresser – even in the ’80s, wearing a three-piece suit when he went out, even to the grocery store, Ms. Brown-Thomas said. He soon attracted the attention of Mr. Brown, who himself was impeccable and precise in his wardrobe choices, who hired him as his servant.
In early 1962, Mr. Brown was doing a show in Maryland, when his regular MC did not show. Mr. Brown turned to Mr. Ray.
“Tonight,” he said.
Mr. Ray was never on stage, and he said that his knees were nearly baffled as they walked to the microphone. But for once, he proved a natural like jazz DJ, winning over the crowd with his calm, crisp delivery – in fact, he later hosted Sunday Jazz Hours for a radio station in Augusta.
Like Mr. Brown, Mr. Ray gained his confidence through tireless practice and self-discipline. Mr. Ray would record himself speaking, then stare at the tapes, detailing the minute of his delivery.
As Mr. Brown became more flamboyant in his performances during the 1960s, so did Mr. Ray. As his vocals progressed, his introduction became longer.
“Are you ready to get dooooooown?” He will ask the crowd. “Are you ready for Jaaames Brown?” Because right now, it’s star time! “
By the 1980s, he added a call and response, helping the crowd call him “James Brown”! James Brown! James Brown! “Until the singer came out with wings.
Mr. Ray is survived by a brother, Richard, and three sisters, Lila Brumfield, Barbara Jean Ray and Lucy Earth. His wife died in 1986.
In the early 1970s, he took care of Mr. Brown even while walking on foot to move with him from New York to Augusta. He managed a wandering cadre of singers’ girlfriends and later tried to protect them from tax collectors and failed friends while he was battling drug addiction.
Mr. Ray also struggled; Along with his own addiction problems, he was forced to sell his home in the 1980s to cover the federal and state tax net. He eventually cleared up and worked as an MC for other R&B acts, including the original James Brown Band, which later toured Death of singer, On Christmas Day 2006.
At his funeral, Mr. Ray told his old friend the only way he knew how. “Ladies and gentlemen, are you ready for star time?” He asked. They then landed a cape on Mr. Brown’s open coffin.