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B i o g r a p h y
PAGE ONE: Jimmie Raye was born in Alabama and raised in Niagara Falls, New York. His grandfather
Abraham Singer was the voice that he listened to the most. Being a minister, he introduced Jimmie to the
bible. The family moved to Niagara Falls when he was eight years old.
At the age of nine The Junior Royal Gospel Singers was formed. The group was composed of his
sisters Ina, Mae, Pearl and Jimmie. The Royal Gospel Singers were very popular in the Niagara Falls, Buffalo
area. The Junior Royal Gospel Singers would open the concert for them. Jimmie enjoyed singing the gospel
music. Growing up in his home, there were two types of music, Country and Gospel. Rhythm and Blues
was not allowed.
At the age of fourteen, his mother started sending Jimmie to visit her sisters and brothers. While visiting
his uncle in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania he went with his uncle to to a night club to see The Five Royals. After
the show Jimmie met the members of the group. He became friends with Gene. After Jimmie expressed
that he also was a singer, and desired to be on stage, Gene spoke to the club owner and got Jimmie an
opening song on their show. Jimmie sang the Johnny Ace hit "Pledging My Love." Jimmie remembers that
performance. "I remember Gene saying, You are on....go ahead rock the house. The band started playing
the song. I grabbed the mic and went into the song. I was most amazed at the audience response to the
song. They were cheering, yelling, and singing along. I was a hit. Gene told me afer the show. "You are
on your way now. Keep on singing and never miss an opportunity to get on stage" At seventeen, Jimmie's
mom signed him into the Air Force. After boot camp training, he was assigned to Randolph Air Force Base
in Texas. Jimmie formed a singing group, The Collegents. The group competed in the "Tops In Blue" talent
contest and won the top awards. Gregory Sierra, Don Delamos and Gene Minnis sang beside Jimmie in the
group. Gregory Sierra went on to television and film. He has never heard from the other members.
In 1962 Jimmie met Kim Kimbrough at a Babe Wayne concert in Buffalo, New York. Babe was a
fourteen year old entertainer. He loved to dance and the audienc loved watching him do it. Kim had a few
records out on Babe Wayne on his KKC label. He was putting forth the effort to put a show together for a
Jimmie met with Carl LaRue and his Crew, who recorded "Monkey Hips and Oyster Stew" on the KKC
lable. Carl was the band leader that Kim had chose for the tour. He met Dyke, the bass player and Piggy,
the guitar player. The band was in need of a good drummer and a sax player. He imported Jazzmo and
Hockaday from The Blue Mooners a band that he toured with during his last year in the Air Force. Jazzmo
is an outstanding tenor sax player and Thurman B. Hockaday is one of the best drummers in the business.
Carl LaRue and his Crew was formed. Jimmie rehearsed the band almost daily to get them in shape to do
the tour. The Kim Kimbrough presents show featuring Jimmie Raye, Babe Wayne, and Carl LaRue and his
Crew was a hit in Canada. The show took soul music to places that never really listened to the music
before. It was great. Kim booked the concert hall with full restaurant and lodging. We staffed and operated
it for the whole summer, naming it "The Twisting House" in Port Collins, Canada on Lake Erie. It was
home base for the Canadian tour. The crowds danced all night and then they'd jump off the pier into the
water. Sometimes one of us would jump in the water. Sometimes everybody would jump in. What a
time....as Kim used to say after every great show!
The tour ended. Carl decided that he wanted to take the show to Los Angeles. Kim and Jimmie wanted
to take the show to New York City. The compromised. Jimmie and Kim went to New York Ciy via
Pittsburg, Pennsylania. Carl took Dyke, Piggy, Hockaday and Jazzmo to Los Angeles. As soon as Kim and
Jimmie arrived in Pittsburg the began looking for a band to put together a show. They met with George
Benson after hearing him play. Kim and Jimmie really liked the way George played, but later decided not to
play Pittsburg. New York City was the place to be.
Kim went to New York to get set up. Jimmie went to Washington D.C. Bo Didley introduced Jimmie
Raye to Sylvester Steward a singer/producer. Jimmie met Don Covay, Mack Rice, Billy Stewart and Eddie
Floyd working with Sylvester. Satan Records was the recording company formed. Jimmie recorded "Hey
Let's Dance" b/w "Forgive Me." The D.C. Music was exciting but Jimmie went back to Buffalo to record "I
Kept On Waliking" b/w "You Don't Want My Love" on the Niagara label.
In 1963 Jimmie put a show together and toured the East Coast. Wild Man Steve , a DJ in Miami, booked
him on the Clyde Mcphatter Tour. The tour mostly covered Florida. When that tour ended, Bo Anderson
booked him on The Sam and Dave Show. In those days, Miami was the hub for black entertainment. At
the Sir John Hotel on any given week B.B King, Bobby Blue Bland, Otis Redding, Jimmy Reed, Hank Ballard
and The Midnighters and Joe Tex would be staying there. Jimmie met all of these entertainers at the Sir
John. Jimmie recalls the time that he was to meet with Jimmy Reed to practice the song that he wrote for
him. "Walked On, Stepped On, Stomped On" was the song title. Just before the meeting Jimmy Reed had a
seizure and couldn't rehearse. Jimmie had met Jimmy Reed a while back touring together. Gene, his friend
from The Five Royals saw Jimmie performing at the King of Hearts nite club. Gene was very happy to see
that Jimmie continued on with his career. Joe Tex also was one of Jimmie's close friends. Jimmie would
discuss his career with Joe when they would meet. Click to continue
J i m m i e R a y e
O f f i c i a l W e b s i t e
Bio Page One