Friday, August 17, 2012

Lee Dorsey--Working in the Coal Mine (1966)

     A native of New Orleans, Lee Dorsey moved to Portland Oregon in his pre-teen years. After a stint in the Navy, he began a career as a light heavyweight boxer in the early 50's. After retiring from the sport, he moved back to his hometown and opened an auto body shop, and singing in some of the R&B clubs at night. It was working the clubs that he met up with the person that would become integral in his career.
     Allen Toussaint was just getting his career off the ground as an arranger and was attempting to start up his own record company and offered Dorsey a chance to record. The first song, "Ya Ya" was a hit on the new Fury label, reaching number 7 on the charts in the summer of 1961. A follow up, "Do-Re-Mi" also reached the top 40 later that year before the Fury label folded, which at that point, Dorsey went back to his business.
     As Toussaint went to the Amy label, he was able to work with Dorsey again in 1965. The following year, "Working in the Coal Mine", written by Allen, became another top 10 hit, and became Dorsey's signature song. Although the chart action ended by the late 60's, he recorded and toured for much of the rest of his life. He passed in December of 1986 at the age of 61. This is an interesting promo of Dorsey from England.


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