It was part of one of show business’s greatest performing routines, helping James Brown overcome his passions and slowly pulling him away from the pain of the stage. Only to watch Mr. Brown repeatedly thrown the garment and rush to the microphone.
Danny Ray was the cape wielder’s name. His death was announced Wednesday by the James Brown estate, where he was called “the second most hardworking man in the show”. He was 85 years old and died of natural causes, according to the Chronicle of Augusta in Georgia.
Ray was part of Brown’s cape routine for 45 years, assisting on the song “Please, Please, Please.. “ The Godfather of Soul would collapse in a paroxysm of mock pain during the song, being led away by a worried Ray, who draped the singer in a cape. Brown took a few steps, then came back to the microphone. Sometimes they avoided the cloak and Brown was just taken away.
The cape routine received its biggest exposure in 1964 while filming the legendary The TAMI show at the Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica. Bill starred Brown with The Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, The Beach Boys, The Supremes, Leslie Gore and others and was filmed.
Ray’s last major appearance was at the 49th Grammy Awards, where he hung the legendary cape on a lighted mic stand in tribute to Brown, who died in 2006.