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"One for the Road:" Baby Huey and the Babysitters

By Chuck Sudo in Arts & Entertainment on Jan 31, 2011 10:30PM

Born August 17, 1944 in Richmond Indiana, James Ramey had a glandular condition that kept his weight fluctuating between 350-400 pounds. Matched with the fashion of the 1960s, a giant afro and a booming voice, Ramey was better known on Chicago stages as "Baby Huey." Ramey's sole album on Curtis Mayfield's Curtdom label combined the hard street soul of Mayfield with the psychedelic leanings of Sly & the Family Stone.

Ramey never developed much of an audience outside of Chicago before dying in October 1970. The music he recorded with Mayfield wound up on the dustbin of history for years. Today, the music of Baby Huey and his band, the Babysitters, became sought after by hip-hop artists a generation later, influencing Wu Tang Clan, the Roots, John Legend and others.