Ray Torres: 1942-2012

“Good Rockin’ Ray” was one of those guys who was unknown outside of his profession but was a giant within it.  Drummers revered the man as one of the funkiest drummers to ever grace the drum kit, but the guy had his priorities in order.  He moved to Sacramento, California in 1967 to raise his family, and that’s where diabetes caught up with him on May 19.

His list of credits is impressive, but what really grabs me is the impact he had as influence and mentor to so many drummers without the music industry getting in the way of his family life.  It seems like quite a feat until you read what he told author Jim Payne:

“If there are a million people watching you, or a club full of drunks, or if you’re in a rehearsal room, it doesn’t matter.  The magic in the music is the payback that you can’t measure in money.  It’s why we do it.”

Here’s the great Ray Torres at age nineteen, backing up Delbert McClinton and Bruce Channel on the classic “Hey Baby”:

You can read a proper obituary for Mr. Torres here.

19 replies »

  1. Have to love the musicians who are actually in it for the music. Some days it seems very rare.
    Nice tribute, James.


  2. I had the absolute pleasure of working and playing with Ray for many years. He was my best man at my wedding and the Best man I ever knew in my life. By far the funkiest drummer ever. God I miss him. Stev W.


  3. I hesitated to reply, but I wanted to correct one error. Ray recorded Hey Baby when he was 17(born in 1943), but the record wasn’t released for awhile.
    I also wanted to thank you for the kind words and thoughts. I was married to Ray for 48 years We had a wonderful relationship, and I miss him deeply.
    Thank you for caring, Betty T


    • Ray played with my brother ( Jerry Lopes) in the Sacramento band Patch work Quilt for years. They practiced at my house, he gave my sister drum lessons and yes he was a bad ass, but more than drumming i remember him being just a really good man.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Freddie Gilmette, I loved he Patchwork Quilt Band! To you remember the guy’s last name that played the hammond b3 organ? His first name was Bill, but I cannot remember his last name and it’s been bugging me. Do you know his last name? Bill also played at the Zombie Hut, the nice classy restaurant that was on Freeport Blvd. I also performed there around he same time that Bill did.


    • Betty, I know it’s been 4 years since be passed. I’ve always wanted to talk to all of the guys who played on hey baby. My dad, Donny Stevens, was the guitarist on the song. You may remember him and my mom Judy. He passed in 1991

      I hope you are doing well.


  4. I was in band with Ray at Forest Oak Jr. High school in Ft. Worth, Texas. I played piano and drums and was a majorette for two years. It is wonderful to know he went so far with his talent.


  5. For Betty Torres, My name is Johnny Krajca. I was Bobby “Crown” and The Kapers drummer from 1959 until late 1972. Bobby is my brother and we were contemporaries of Delbert McClinton and his bands during that period when he had the Straightjackets (Jack’s Club) and then The Rondels (312 Club), as well as others. Over the years, several musicians played in both bands….Jimmy Rogers (bass), Bob Jones (lead guitar), Billy Sanders (lead guitar), Donnie Stevens (lead guitar), the “Cox brothers”,,,Billy (sax/bass) and Clayton (bass” and last but not least Glenn Clark ( keyboards and vocals). I say all this to lead up to Ray Torres. I lived with my family at 3736 Lipscomb Street (until I married my wife of now almost 53 years in December 1966) and Ray lived with his family two blocks west on Laughton Street on the south side of Fort Worth and we got to know each other. When he was in college at North Texas State University and in the Monday 1:00 Lab Band, Ray was also with The Rondels and playing at the 312 Club on Lancaster Street, east Fort worth. He didn’t want to play on Sunday nights and if our band wasn’t playing somewhere on Sundays, many times Ray, Delbert, Ronnie Kelly, Jimmy Rogers, Billy Sanders or Bob Jones would call and ask me to fill in for that night. I was never the drummer that Ray was. Ray was an inspiration to me and I admired his talent immensely. God Bless You and the rest of Ray’s family


  6. I remember your name and your brother’s.
    I think your mother babysat my sister’s daughter. My maiden name was Short and my dad lived on Baldwin Street.
    Ray and I married in 1964 and moved to California in 1967 and had a wonderful life together. He was an exceptional drummer and an exceptional human being.


      • Anonymous Bill Norton keyboards, Micky Valintino guitar, Ron Perry bass, Ray Torres drums, Jerry Lopes lead singer, others, Dave Fonts, thats all i can remember.


      • I remember this exchange with Ray’s wife and her reply below. I considered Ray a good friend, fellow drummer and think about him often.


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