Harmon Ray

b. 1914, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. Ray grew up in St. Louis, where he took up blues singing in the 30s, adopting the vocal style of Peetie Wheatstraw, with whom he worked as a double act from 1935 until Wheatstraw’s death in 1941. In 1942, Ray recorded as ‘Peetie Wheatstraw’s Buddy’. After military service he settled in Chicago, singing in clubs, and recording for J. Mayo Williams, who may have been the source of a Hy-Tone 78 release. Ray’s last recordings were made in 1949, one song being in the manner of Charles Brown, and the other three in Wheatstraw’s style; two of these were cover versions of Wheatstraw songs, but ‘President’s Blues’ was an original tribute to Truman. Ray continued to work in Chicago clubs until the early 60s, when cancer forced him to retire.

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