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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Saturday, August 11, 2012

Life Is Suicide - Percy Mayfield

Percy Mayfield (August 12, 1920 – August 11, 1984) was an American songwriter famous for the songs "Hit the Road Jack" and "Please Send Me Someone to Love", as well as a successful rhythm and blues artist known for his smooth vocal style.
Mayfield was born in Minden, the seat of Webster Parish in northwestern Louisiana. As a youth, his talent for poetry led him into songwriting and singing. He began his performing career in Texas, and then moved to Los Angeles, California in 1942; success as a singer continued to elude him. In 1947, a small record label, Swing Time, signed him to record his song "Two Years of Torture." The song sold steadily over the next few years, prompting Art Rupe to sign Mayfield to his label, Specialty Records in 1950.

Although his vocal style was influenced by such stylists as Charles Brown, Mayfield did not focus on the white market, unlike many West Coast bluesmen. Rather, he sang blues ballads, mostly his own songs, in a gentle vocal style. His most famous recording, "Please Send Me Someone to Love", a number one R&B hit single in 1950, was widely influential and recorded by many other singers.
Two Years of Torture by Percy Mayfield

A 1952 automobile accident left Mayfield seriously injured, including a facial disfigurement that limited his performing. However, that did not stop his prolific songwriting. Mayfield continued to write and record for Specialty until 1954, and then recorded for Chess Records and Imperial Records. His career continued to flourish with songs like "Strange Things Happening", "Lost Love", "What a Fool I Was", "Prayin' for Your Return"' "Cry Baby", and "Big Question".

In 1961, he came to the attention of Ray Charles with his song "Hit the Road Jack". Charles signed him to his Tangerine Records label, primarily as a songwriter; there he wrote "Hide Nor Hair", "At The Club", "Danger Zone", and "On the Other Hand, Baby".

When Mayfield died of a heart attack in 1984, the day before his 64th birthday, he had fallen back into obscurity
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