Razzy Bailey - vocals, guitar; Doug Martin - keyboard; Roy Spordon - rhythm guitar; Mark Ferguson - lead guitar; Dick Manette - drums; Milton Gavender - bass; Unknown - sax
Recorded in 1985 at the height of his popularity, the Silver Eagle Cross Country radio concert series captured this show by Razzy Bailey, one of several done for the syndicated radio broadcast between 1981 and 1985. By the time Bailey played this show, his live set had incorporated enough rock and blues elements to appeal to folks outside of his traditional country fan-base, though never strayed far from his die-hard followers.
Bailey is a self-professed fan of the blues, and offers a number of them in this show, including Willie Nelson's "Night Life," and Blind Willie McTell's "Statesboro Blues," which closes this performance at Nashville's Music Village. "Statesboro Blues" has been covered over 150 times; the best known rendition is the Allman Brothers' recording from Live at the Fillmore. During this show, Bailey gives the song a true country-blues reading.
Other highlights include original Bailey material like "Lovin' up a Storm," "Midnight Hauler," "Baby my Baby," and "Touchy Situation." Other covers include Wilson Pickett's R&B classic "In the Midnight Hour," and Richard Harris' hit ballad, "Didn't We," which was written by American songsmith, Jimmy Webb.
Born Erastus Michael, "Razzy" Bailey has spent over 50 years in the music business. He made his first country recordings in 1949, at the tender age of 10, but amounted to little more than a child novelty act. After high school he married and had a family, which forced him to work day jobs and only perform sporadically between 1956 and 1966.
In 1966 he submitted a number of demos to Atlantic Records, and in-house producer Bill Lowery, upon hearing the recording, agreed to take him under his wing. Bailey's recordings for Atlantic (backed by a house band featuring Freddy Weller from Paul Revere and The Raiders and a then-unknown Billy Joel) failed to garner any significant sales, and two other projects - a pop band called Daily Bread, and another solo venture under the name Razzy - also failed.
By 1976 Bailey had resigned himself to leaving the music industry, when one of his songs, "9,999,999 Tears," from the '66 Atlantic sessions, was re-cut by country artist Dickey Lee. Lee took the song to number three, and cut another Bailey original, "Peanut Butter," which hit the top-20. The renewed interest in his songs prompted Bailey to reshape his own career as a performer and recording artist. He was signed to RCA, and released the single "What Time Do You have to be Back in Heaven" in 1978. It was the first of five top-10 country hits that he'd record through 1981.