Baby Huey and The Babysitters – ‘The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend’

The story of Baby Huey is one of what could have been, a great potential lost and a young life cut tragically short. Baby Huey died at the age of just 26, before his debut album ‘The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend‘ could be finished. Enough of it had already been recorded however that Curtis Mayfield was able to see the album completed and the album was released posthumously on Mayfield‘s Curtom Records in 1971. It didn’t do particularly well from a commercial perspective but became a cult classic and is now considered one of the great Soul albums. The two most popular tracks on the album ‘Listen To Me‘ and ‘Hard Times‘ have been sampled numerous times by Hip Hop producers and have been used on a number of film soundtracks. The album also features Baby Huey‘s psychedelic cover of Sam Cooke‘s ‘A Change is Going to Come‘, a Civil Rights anthem. This version of the song was sampled by Random Movement on the 2010 Drum & Bass track ‘Change For the Train Home‘ with a section of Baby Huey‘s vocal line ‘I wonder if that change is going to come girl‘ being used as a repeating sample throughout the track. (Cooke‘s song was also covered by Visionary feat. Camp Souljah for the track ‘Change‘ which also sampled Cooke for the intro to the dubplate version at least.)

Baby Huey & The Babysitters – The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend, 1971

Information on who exactly played on each track on ‘The Baby Huey Story: The Living Legend‘ is difficult to ascertain. Whilst Curtis Mayfield wanted to sign Baby Huey, he did not want to sign The Babysitters and there is some confusion as to whether Mayfield‘s in house band were used to play some of the parts, or songs, on the final record. However, the record’s liner notes list the following personnel: Baby Huey (vocals), Plato Jones (percussion), Alton Little (unknown), Byron Watkins (unknown), Dan Alfano (unknown), Dan O’Neil (unknown), David Cook (instrument not listed but he was a multi-instrumentalist and played percussion, keys, flute and backing vocals on other albums), Jack Renee (unknown), Melvin Jones (instrument not listed but he was a pianist and trumpeter), Moose (unknown), Othello Anderson (instrument not listed but he was a saxophonist), Phillip Henry (unknown), Reno Smith (unknown), Rick Marcotte (unknown). The album was produced by Curtis Mayfield and although not listed on the credits for the album was most likely recorded in Curtom‘s in house studio, the former RCA studio in Chicago.

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