GIVE ME TH E BEAT, BOYS
GIVE ME THE BEAT, BOYS FROM SMALL TOWN COUNTRY LIFE TO BIG C ITY LIGHTS WRITTEN BY SUSAN LOWE STRICKLAND
Oh, give me the beat boys and free my soul. I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and drift away. F ULSHEA R MA G A ZIN E
When asked in a Los Angeles interview how he — a black, R&B and Pop singer — could sing about the life of a country boy, Dobie Gray answered plainly enough, “I can sing about a country boy, because…well, because that’s what I am.” Born July 26, 1940 in Simonton, Texas to a sharecropper family that raised cotton, corn, chickens, pigs, turkeys, and pecans, Dobie Gray — born with the name Lawrence Darrow Brown — would sit around the radio on Saturday nights with his family, listening to the Grand Ole Opry. His father would not tolerate blues in the house, but country music was acceptable. So, Dobie grew up with a love for Hank Williams and Red Foley. Through his grandfather, a Baptist minister, he also developed a love of singing and gospel music. While his father banned rhythm and blues in the house, this relatively new style of music had a magnetic effect on the young artist. All three styles — Country, Gospel, and R&B inspired his singing and songwriting throughout his professional career.