By Susan Cross
Don Peake was the first white guitar player with the Ray Charles band and Leroy Cooper, the largest man on the bus, immediately took Don under his wing. The band encountered multiple run-ins with the law, especially in the segregated south, because there was a white boy on the bus with all the "Negroes". Well, maybe that wasn't exactly the word they used at the time. You'll have to read the book to find out the rest of the story. Ha, I slipped in a little teaser.
Now, 30 some odd years later, when I first contacted Don on the phone to verify Leroy's stories, Don's response was, "Leroy deserves to have his story told. Leroy Cooper is a national treasure!" As far as Don's credibility is concerned, go to his website at http://www.donpeakemusic.com/ or his myspace page to learn about his background. Don was also mentioned in Clapton's autobiography as one of the great guitar players that didn't get the recognition he deserved. Ray Charles had a band full of musicians that helped make him achieve his success. Kudos to Ray for mentioning them in his book, Brother Ray.
Copyright © 2009 Susan Cross – All rights reserved