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Poet of the Blues

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Editors’ Notes

Raised in Lousiana and Texas, and established in Los Angeles, Percy Mayfield embodied the tension between rural grit and urbane articulation that defined rhythm ’n’ blues in the ‘50s. Recorded during his peak between 1950 and 1954, Poet of the Blues captures the bulk of Mayfield’s recordings for Art Rupe’s Specialty label (also home to R&B superstars like Roy Milton, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke, and later, Little Richard). Mayfield’s songwriting skills were impeccable; his best songs are as immovable as hymns and as devastating as epitaphs. He was famous for dealing directly with depression, as evidenced in songs like “You Don’t Exist No More,” “Memory Pain,” and “Hopeless.” (One can only begin to imagine the effect when Mayfield sang “Life Is Suicide” and “The River’s Invitation” in the early ‘50s.) The band tailored its sound to the frank, throaty cry of Mayfield’s voice, and every song represents a seamless union between band and leader. Both Ray Charles and Bob Dylan have sung his praises, and it’s easy to hear Mayfield in their music.

Customer Reviews

Here is to mellow magic

If you like old classic jazz and like kickin' back to something that makes the world melt away, this is the album for you.

It doesn't get any more real...

Percy was the man. Hands down, end of discussion. Any gent who can pen "Life is Suicide" and deliver in the fashion he did...well, if it needs explainin' to you, you ain't never gonna get it.

Anyone else come here because of True Blood?

Hopeless.. great classic song!!!

Biography

Born: August 12, 1920 in Minden, LA

Genre: Blues

Years Active: '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s

A masterful songwriter whose touching blues ballad "Please Send Me Someone to Love," a multi-layered universal lament, was a number one R&B hit in 1950, Percy Mayfield had the world by the tail until a horrific 1952 auto wreck left him facially disfigured. That didn't stop the poet laureate of the blues from writing in a prolific fashion, though. As...
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Poet of the Blues, Percy Mayfield
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