*For those old enough to remember going to a James Brown concert back in the day, one of the things you’d look forward to was JB and his “cape man,” Danny Ray. Mr. Ray’s name is not known among a lot of music enthusiasts, but he was obviously a large part of black music history. The other reason we’re bringing his name up is to inform you that he has passed away from natural causes. Danny Ray was 85.
Ray’s death was announced on Wednesday by the James Brown Estate. Describing him in a statement as “the legendary emcee and cape man for James Brown,” the statement called Ray “the second hardest working man in show business.”
The statement also said …
“The James Brown estate mourns the passing of Mr. Danny Ray, the legendary emcee and cape man for James Brown. Ray worked with Brown from 1960 until the music legend’s death on Christmas day 2006.” He became famous for draping a cape over Brown at the end of his signature tune Please, Please, Please.”
Saddened to get the call that Danny Ray, famed MC and cape man for James Brown, died at 85 years old. He was like an Uncle to me as I traveled the world years ago w/ The Godfather of Soul. Danny will never be forgotten. Rest In Peace and Power, family. pic.twitter.com/R0IqLWhB6E
— Reverend Al Sharpton (@TheRevAl) February 3, 2021
Brown’s iconic live shows were known for their theatrics, and Ray, getting the crowd revved up working to place or take off Brown’s ornate cape, was pure theater at its finest.
Ray worked with the Godfather of Soul for more than 40 years and remained a local legend. After Brown’s death, Ray moved to a senior citizen community, while emcee’ing events from time to time around town. More about his life, post-James Brown, was covered nicely by the Augusta Courier in a 2011 story.
Danny Ray is another of those men and women who helped to create the Golden Age of Soul Music, quietly making memories for literally millions of fans around the world. May he rest in peace.