Don Covay / March 24, 1936 - Jan 31, 2015

Singer & songwriter Don Covay came out of DC singing gospel with The Rainbows (a group that has included Marvin Gaye and another March 24 birthday Billy Stewart), making a debut recording in 1956. The next year he went to work for and tour with Little Richard. He recorded some tunes for Atlantic, Columbia and other smaller labels, did some writing at the Brill Building, and started to come into his own when he re-signed with Atlantic, and saw a big 1964 hit with "Mercy, Mercy" (with a young Jimi Hendrix on guitar).

Atlantic sent him down to Stax to cut "See-Saw" and he also did some more songwriting during this period, most notably "Chain of Fools" which was a huge hit for Aretha Franklin. He helped organize the The Soul Clan (featuring Solomon Burke, Ben E King, Joe Tex and Arthur Conley) and also the funky Jefferson Lemon Blues Band.

The '70s saw him recording for Mercury, Philly International, and the Rolling Stones, among others. A stroke in the early '90s slowed him down for awhile but he returned in 2000 with a final album. His career spanned gospel, doo-wop, soul, funk, rock and disco.

My fave personal song of his was "Sookie Sookie". His songs have been recorded by so many great artists: the Rolling Stones, Aretha Franklin, Chubby Checker, Booker T & the MGs, Solomon Burke, Wilson Pickett, 13th Floor Elevators, Otis Redding, Los Yorks, Little Richard, Jimi Hendrix, Wanda Jackson, Jerry Butler, Gladys Knight, Todd Rundgren, Steppenwolf, Etta James, Small Faces, Iggy Pop and many, many more.

Here's "Mercy, Mercy", from 1964, with that goodtimer Jimmy James aka Jimi Hendrix on guitar on an early recording of his, working here for Covay:

My fave:

One of Covay's tunes, "Chain of Fools" was a huge hit in '67 with Aretha, but check out the Covay backing band, The Good-Timers, on this single from '68:

Tagged: blues, Celebrate Icons, Don Covay, Jimi Hendrix, soul!, soul/funk

Older Post Newer Post

Leave a comment

Please note, comments must be approved before they are published