Lost Treasures: David “Fathead” Newman – Shana


This week’s Lost Treasure is from jazz saxophone player David “Fathead” Newman.  “Shana” was originally recorded for the 1972 Atlantic album “Lonely Avenue” but was subsequently dropped from the album in favor of a different song.  It didn’t get release until Muse Records release in 1982 of David’s LP “Still Hard Times”. 

Texas born David “Fathead” Newman is best remembered for his years as part of Ray Charrles’ band.  He met Charles in 1951 & joined his group in 1954 initially playing baritone sax but switched to tenor when the groups’ Don Wilkerson left.  Many of Ray Charles records from the 1950’s & 60’s featured a soslo by Newman.  He left Ray’s group in 1964 but rejoined in 1971.  “Fathead”s first album was released in 1959: “Ray Charles Presents David Newman” which featured the iconic pianist on the LP.  After leaving Charles’ group in the mid-70’s, he played in flutist Herbie Mann’s group & also worked as a sideman playing on sessions by Jimmy Scott, B.B. King, and Lou Rawls. He also scored films and performed in the Robert Altman film ‘Kansas City’ and did a national tour with the band from that 1996 film for Verve records.  In 1990 he was nominated for a Grammy Award for recordings with Art Blakey and Dr. John.  During his lifetime he recorded 38 albums & did R&B & blues sessions with Jimmy Scott, Stanley Turrentine, Aretha Franklin, B B King, Average White Band, Jimmy McGriff, Eric Clapton, Natalie Cole, Hank Crawford, Aaron Neville, Queen Latifah, Dr John, Gregg Allman & Doug Sahm.  In the 2004 biopic of Ray Charles – “Ray” starring Jamie Foxx, Newman is depicted as having turned Ray Charles on to hard drugs, which he has always disputed.  David “Fathead” Newman died in New York in 2009 at age 75 of pancreatic cancer.  Enjoy a sunny warm Easter weekend at home & keep pointing your browser to Puget Sound Media!

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Author: Mike Cherry

retired broadcaster: on-air, MD, PD, asst PD, Prod Mgr, IT, station technician/engineer, pioneer Internet webcaster, station installation/maintenance; 12 years in commercial radio, 17 years volunteer in campus/community radio in B.C., Alberta & Wash. Amateur radio operator & "DXer" specializing in AM night-time DX, short-wave DX/listening & remote SDR DXing/listening

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