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Saturday, May 5, 2012

EASTSIDE LEGENDS - LITTLE RAY JIMENEZ


                                                      LITTLE RAY JIMENEZ

Little Ray (Jimenez) is one one the biggest stars and one of the greatest voices of the Eastside Sound. He could sing uptempo R&B as well as croon a soulful ballad. His singing, dancing and overall stage presence make him a true Eastside Legend.

His records are extremely hard to find and very valuable as he has been placed in the Northern Soul genre. Several of his records are currently on my want list and if anyone has any of Little Ray's 45's and is willing to send me record scans I would greatly appreciate you contacting me.


Ramon Jimenez was born & raised in the farm worker community of Delano, California. He grew up influenced by the music of Little Richard, Fats Domino and Elvis Presley. He became part of the Rhythm Kings act in Delano and they billed him as "Little Elvis"

At age eleven Ed Cobb of the Four Preps took Little Ray to Lew Bedell's Dore Records where he recorded "There Is Something On Your Mind" and "My Rainbow which were released in 1961 (Dore 590).
"There is Something On Your Mind" is a cover of the Big Jay McNeely classic.


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You May Listen To Little Ray - "My Rainbow" Here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VprOQtesbp8





You May Listen To: Little Ray - "There's Something On Your Mind" Here:

 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nfyLiMeS44A

Ray moved to Los Angeles where he attended Salesian and Gafield High Schools. He recorded "Shake, Shout And Soul" (recorded at the Santa Monica Civc) and "Soul Stomp" with backing by the Premiers (of "Farmer John" fame) for Tony Hilder's Impact label (Impact 26) in 1962.



You May Listen To Lil' Ray & The Premiers "Shake, Shout & Soul' Here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UajHix9zqk




You May Listen To Lil' Ray & The Premiers "Soul & Stomp" Here"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Cn9dci1c5s


Ray would hook-up with members of Thee Midniters at a car club meeting and later record "Loreta" and "My Girl" (Impact 30) in 1962. "My Girl" is Little Ray's answer to Mary Wells "My Guy". Ray's career with Thee Midniters would only last six months. Ray was unable to make an East Los Angeles College gig where he was to sing "Land Of A Thousand Dances" because of transportation problems from Delano.The tune was sung by Little Willie G who became Thee Midniters featured vocalist. Thee Midniters version of "Land Of A Thousand Dances"version would be released on the Chattahoochie label..



You May Listen To Lil' Ray & The Midniters "Loretta" Here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4g74plASQ7A





In 1963, Ray would record two songs written by Ed Cobb for the Warner Brothers label, "Come Baby Dance" and "You Can't Hurt Me" (Warner Brothers 5351)








Little Ray would work with Thee Midniters again and record "Karen" and "Come Swim With Me" for Eddie Davis' Faro label in 1964 (Faro 617).





In 1965 Little Ray put together his own band called The Progressions.

Members Of The Progressions:

Tony Garcia (sax)
Joe Osula (baritone sax)
"Bones" (trumpet, french horn)
Clarence Playa (guitar,vocals)
Tony Escalante (guitar)
John Pride (keyboards)
Mike "Bozo" Rodriguez (bass)
Marshall Tavarez (bass)

Little Ray & The Progressions became very popular playing the eastside ballroom circuit which included my favorite, The Montebello Ballroom. They signed with Bob Keane's Donna label and recorded a remake of the Ben E. King classic "I Who Have Nothing" and a tune written by Arthur Lee (of Love fame) "I've Been Trying". The recording session was scheduled for midnight and when the bass player couldn't make it, my cousin Mickey Aversa (of Mickey & The Invaders fame) was called in. The record was released in 1965 (Donna 1404). It was picked up by the Atco label and also released in 1965 (Atco 6455)















Also in 1965 Little Ray would record a very obscure song & record "It's Good Enough For Me" This record is currently on my want list.

In 1966 or 1967 Little Ray would record for Columbia and release "I'll Keep On Loving You" and "Leave her Alone" (Columbia 44287), highly sought after by Northern Soul collectors.








In the early 1970's Ray teamed up with Willie G to form a group called God's Children and recorded "Hey, Does Somebody Care" for the Uni label (Uni 55295) in 1971. The song became the theme song for the televison series, "Matt Lincoln"

Ray still performs today and has his own recording studio in East Los Angeles called Santuary Studios.




FOR MORE INFORMATION ON LITTLE RAY JIMENEZ PLEASE READ THE FASCINATING AND INFORMATIVE ARTICLE WRITTEN BY MARK GUERRERO AT HIS SITE FOUND HERE:


NO COPYRIGHT INFRINGEMENT INTENDED!!!!

Soley for historical & educational purposes and for listening pleasure.

2 comments:

  1. johncastaneda@aol.comJanuary 28, 2014 at 9:47 PM

    I went to school with Robert and Henry Jimenez nephews of Lil Ray at Our Lady Of Soledad in ELA, I met Lil Ray when he was about 13 or 14, what a talent and passion that he delivered in his times, I compare him to a Mark Anthony of his times.

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  2. So how exactly old is this Little Ray? I can't seem to find a date of birth for him.

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