Music

Cappy Lewis: 1939-2011

 On November 10, 2011, lung cancer got the best of doo-wop legend Darryl “Cappy” Lewis.  You’ve never heard of him?  Neither had I until I cracked open The Sacramento Bee and read Robert D. Davila’s obituary.  I couldn’t believe that an eyewitness to so much music history had been living just miles away from me all of these years and I didn’t have a clue — just your local gas and electric man who happened to cut a million seller as a teenager and was Charles Mingus’s nephew.

Here’s a Cappy Lewis career overview for you, but don’t stop here.  He made a lot of beautiful noise during his half century as a musician, and a bunch of it is out there on the intergooglewebtubes waiting for you. 

“A Casual Look,” the Six Teens:  Cappy sang bass in the Six Teens, his first successful band.  They played on the same bills with many legends of the Golden era: Fats Domino, The Coasters, Sam Cooke, The Righteous Brothers.  This was their big hit, making it to number 25 on the charts back in 1956.  Sanity check:  1956 was the year Elvis broke.  Think about that.

“Send Me Flowers,” the Six Teens: In 1957 the Six Teens were playing Hawaii with Frankie Avalon.  This song was such a big hit there that they got top billing over Frankie.

“Uncle Sam’s Man,” The Elgins:  This was Cappy’s next group, formed in 1960.  The Elgins were still touring the oldies circuit today.  Their website states that they were looking for bookings for 2011-2012.  He wrote this cut, which also was their biggest hit.

“One God,” The Truth Messengers:  This was Cappy’s gospel band, and “One God” was his personal favorite:

“One God,” The Truth Messengers

“Yes We Can,” Cappy Lewis:  Best I can tell this is Cappy’s last cut, released in time for President Obama’s inauguration.  Shades of Marvin Gaye’s “What’s Going On” for a new era.

 Getting it done for fifty-five years.  That’s what it’s all about.  Well done, Cappy.  Sorry I didn’t get to tell you that before you were gone.     
 

***

 More info:
 
 
The Elgins’ website:  http://www.theoriginalelgins.com/
 
 

7 replies »

  1. Reads like a fanclub love letter… A multimedia scrapbook page that would make his family to swell with pride… as you should. A savory morsel of research… and respect.

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  2. I was blessed at Cappy’s life celebration to hear the ones who knew him along the way, to hear what a big heart he possessed. Yes, there was even his first high school girlfriend, sharing how the girls would swoon and everyone generally loved him. Then, Cappy’s brother told of his “coolness,” always looking sharp, and rounding off the edges of his flattop with his Mama’s iron just to put his own twist on the current style.

    Yes, he was a genuine celebrity in high school. But, as his brother said, he never got a big head about it. He did have a big heart though and an unforgettable, tall, bodybuilder presence.

    I am a member of the spiritual community Cappy and his wife Wanda attended for the last 5+ years. Cappy sang on many occasions and always sounded so smooth and buttery. I often listen and sing along to a cd where he sang, “I Can Fly,” as a duet with a beautiful soprano during a church concert. It is wonderful. These days I appreciate it much more.

    Now, if you listen to Cappy’s music, you can hear the strength behind the words in his songs. They are mostly Love Songs, expressing agape love in some fashion. It is worth looking up if you’ve never heard of agape love. For, it takes a big heart and a great deal of integrity and commitment, all of which Cappy had. To say he was kind and considerate to everyone he met, including the local homeless population, seems such an understatement to me.

    I believe Cappy Lewis put careful attention to everything he did and so did a wonderful job. It was not only his music that touched people but it was his wonderful soul as well. I really miss my friend & wish he had not gone yet.

    I Love You Wanda,
    Karen

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  3. I knew cappy personaly He was a really caring guy it was a very sad day in our house hold to hear he was no longer with us it still seems unreal. We had long conversations about lots of things Always willing to listen.

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