Nathaniel Mayer 1944-2008

Nathaniel Mayer, one of the greatest rock’n’roll singers of all time passed away on Oct. 31st, he was 64 years old and died after having a stroke, his second. Nathaniel, like yesterday’s subject Andre Williams started out on Detroit’s Fortune label where he recorded the all time classic “Village Of Love” which went top 40 in 1962 under the name of Nathaniel Mayer and the Fabulous Twilights, although I don’t think there really was a Fabulous Twilights. For Fortune he cut killer sides like — “Hurting Love” “I Had A Dream“, “My Last Dance With You“, “Well I Got News“, “Leave Me Alone“, the live garage-soul “Going Back To The Village Of Love“, “I’m Not Gonna Cry“, a Christmas record “Mr. Santa Claus“, “A Place I Know“, winding up his Fortune recording career with the super funky  “I Want Love and Affection (Not The House Of Correction)“.  In all he cut nine singles and one LP for Fotune, all great. His voice always seemed on the verge of cracking, giving  him a unique sound quite unlike any other singer I can think of.

 I didn’t know Nate but we had lots of mutual friends and he had suprised virtually everyone in Detroit by staging something of a comeback in recent years, recording an LP for Fat  Possum (I Just Wanna Be Held) with members of the Dirtbombs and Black Keys as well as touring. Norton two singles, one recorded in 1968–“I Don’t Want No Bald Headed Woman Tellin’  Me What To Do” and a live re-make of  “Mr. Santa Claus” He’s seen below performing I think in Spain. The only good story I have is from the late Cub Koda whose band the Del-Tinos were backing Nathaniel at a high school sock hop in the early sixties. At showtime Nathaniel was no where to be found, finally after checking all the bathroom stalls they found  him, Cub said it was the first time he ever saw anyone shoot up. Later, Nathaniel got into crack before cleaning up and making a comeback.  Rest in peace Nathaniel.

6 thoughts on “Nathaniel Mayer 1944-2008”

  1. What a GREAT voice! RIP, Nathaniel Mayer.This post has set the tone for my listening today, branching out to The Jive 5, Hank Ballard & His Midnighters, Gary “U.S.” Bonds, Donald & The Delighters and, of course, Nathaniel Mayer!

  2. Remember first time I heard Hank was when I bought the Old King Gold series in a cut-out bin in the early seventies for about a buck apiece.I thought I’d hit the mother lode.If I recall either Starday or Gustoowned the company back then. I remember being pissed off with thembecause these treasures came without sleeves. They were just in the LP covers. “Teardrops On Your Letter” was magic the minute I dropped the needle.Philo

  3. King records were the staple of bargin bins all through the seventies, remember the “Risky Blues” compilation? Or the King/Fedral rockabilly? Or the 20 greatest hits series that had Freddie King, the Midnighters, Dominos, Little Willie John, etc. that seemed to be in every department store 99 cent bin for the whole decade. Sometimes I still see the 24 greatest hits discs (w/edited versions of the songs but cool covers). Surfin’ With Freddie King probably taught more people to play guitar than any record (other than Play Guitar the Ventures which you could tune to) ever made.


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