David "Fathead" Newman: Hard Times


Hard Times



Fathead: Ray Charles Presents David 'Fathead' Newman (Atlantic 1304)

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David 'Fathead' Newman (alto sax), Ray Charles (piano), Marcus Belgrave (trumpet),

Bennie Crawford (baritone sax), Edgar Willis (bass), Milt Turner (drums) .


Composed Paul Mitchell and George V. Johnson, Jr.


Recorded: New York, November 5, 1958


Rating: 94/100 (learn more)

By the late 1950s, jazz had become recognized as an art form . . . and was losing its mainstream audience. But you can't blame David "Fathead" Newman for that. His 1959 debut as a leader, released with a little help from Ray Charles, grabbed listeners by the lapels and wouldn't let them go. "Hard Times" was a very popular track, and remained a signature song for Newman for the rest of his career. And you can easily understand why. Newman tempers his jazz with a double dose of R&B, and his very strong outing on alto is supported by Mr. Charles himself at the piano. This type of jazz was able to please the serious fans and delight the casual listener. It still does today.

Reviewer: Ted Gioia

If you liked this track, also check out

David "Fathead" Newman: Willow Weep for Me
Ray Charles: Come Rain or Come Shine
Maceo Parker: Hallelujah I Love Her So

Related Links

75th Birthday Bash for David “Fathead” Newman by Ralph Miriello
David “Fathead” Newman (in the Encyclopedia of Jazz Musicians) by Ted Gioia


  • 1 Andre Newman II // Feb 28, 2009 at 07:40 PM
    rest in peace granddad
  • 2 gil goldstein // May 09, 2009 at 01:45 PM
    Just wondered who the composer of "Hard Times" was? Seems like a traditional song that was adapted.....But not sure.....Does someone there know? Thanks.... Gil