Lee Dorsey: “Working in the Coal Mine” and “Ya Ya”

This is what Digital Dream Door — a great site for music lovers, by the way — wrote about Lee Dorsey:

One of the most underrated and overlooked figures of his time, Lee Dorsey signaled dramatic change in rock music during a decade of hitmaking in the 1960’s and remains widely revered among other artists even while his name to the average music fan today would barely register a glimmer of recognition.

Here is the start of the bio at last.fm:

Lee Dorsey (December 24, 1924 – December 2, 1986) was an American pop/R&B singer during the 1960s. Much of his work was produced by Allen Toussaint with instrumental backing provided by The Meters. Between 1965 and 1969 Dorsey put seven songs in the US Hot 100 charts, the most successful of which was “Working in the Coal Mine” in 1966. Continue Reading…

Above is Dorsey’s signature song, Working in the Coal Mine, on which he is backed by The Meters. It looks like they spared no expense on the video. His first hit, Ya Ya, was inspired by a nursery rhyme. It’s below.

Before he began to sing professionally, Dorsey fought as a light heavyweight under the name Kid Chocolate. Though the bios say he was successful in the ring, the Kid Chocolate boxing fans remember was a Cuban fighter.

(Homepage photo: Michael Smith)

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