R.I.P. (Georgia songwriter) Ray Whitley

Discussion in 'Music Corner' started by David Powell, May 14, 2013.

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  1. David Powell

    David Powell Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Robert Ray Whitley, best known for composing many songs recorded by the Tams, passed away on May 5, following several months of illness. Mr. Whitley was born in Columbus, Georgia and was a member of the Georgia Music Hall of Fame. His songwriting credits include "What Kind of Fool" , "Hey Girl, Don't Bother Me" and "Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy" (co-written with J.R. Cobb of the Atlanta Rhythm Section) for the Tams. His songs were also recorded by Tommy Roe, Billy Joe Royal, the Swinging Medallions and Mylon LeFevre. Mr. Whitley was also an accomplished performer in his own right. Back in the late '60s and early '70s I saw him perform numerous times at folk clubs in Atlanta and Athens. He was a talented and gracious man, who unfortunately battled his own demons in later years. He's often confused with another Georgia-born artist with the same name, who had great success in the '30s as a cowboy singer-songwriter in Hollywood.
     
  2. carrolls

    carrolls Forum Resident

    Location:
    Dublin
  3. David Powell

    David Powell Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Back in the '80s a musician friend of mine ran into Ray, who was then working odd-jobs at Bill Lowery's Southern Tracks studio in Atlanta.

    Cover versions of Ray's "What Kind of Fool" and "I've Been Hurt", recorded by Bill Deal and The Rondels, were featured in the soundtrack of the 1996 film Trees Lounge, in which Steve Buscemi starred & directed.

    Ray, in addition to his original songs, used to perform some killer covers, including Bobby Darin's "Artificial Flowers" and Lennon/McCartney's "Fool on the Hill."
     
  4. John B Good

    John B Good Forum Hall Of Fame

    Location:
    NS, Canada
    one of my earliest 45 purchases.

    RIP
     
  5. David Prince

    David Prince New Member

    I sang at the homeless shelter for six or so years and got to know Ray. He was a great guy. I will be helping with his funeral tomorrow. He recorded with Mac Davis and did numerous recordings of himself. He could sing low, sounding like Elvis, and then reach beyond the stars :>) He had a great vocal range in his day. He has 147 songs listed at BMI. Wow. My favorite of all time is "Too Much Fooling Around". We'll all miss him.
     
  6. McLover

    McLover Forum Resident

    Location:
    East TN
    A sad loss, one of Southern Soul's best songwriters and a great singer.
     
  7. Beattles

    Beattles Forum Resident

    Location:
    Florence, SC
    I have always loved his songwriting. His songs were as integral a part of my growing up as the Beatles or Beach Boys. Be Young, Be Foolish, Be Happy was the number one choice for our Senior Class Song in 1969, but the faculty advisor vetoed it. He will be greatly missed but always remembered.
     
  8. David Powell

    David Powell Well-Known Member Thread Starter

    Location:
    Atlanta, Ga.
    Mac Davis moved to Atlanta from Texas around 1960. Like Ray Whitley, Joe South, Jerry Reed, Billy Joe Royal and Tommy Roe, he worked with Atlanta music entrepreneur Bill Lowery. He had a band called the Zots and they used to play at Misty Waters skating rink in Decatur, where a lot of local bands got their start back in the day.
     
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