RIP Nathaniel Mayer

RIP Nathaniel Mayer
Although Nathaniel Mayer’s 45-year career as a soul singer was marked by continuous hardships, it’s fair to say that it ended on as high a note as he could have hoped for. Mayer passed away November 1 at the age of 64, as a result of a series of strokes he suffered over the past two years.

The Detroit native burst onto the R&B scene in 1962 with the Top 25 single "Village Of Love,” but follow-up releases failed to match that success. Following the 1966 single "I Want Love And Affection (Not The House Of Correction)” Mayer left the music business and virtually disappeared. Although he would briefly emerge in 1980 with the single "Raise The Curtain High,” rumours abounded of him living in the drug-infested squalor of the Detroit ghettos.

With each passing year, Mayer’s legend grew among R&B aficionados, and in 2002 Mayer was persuaded to make a comeback when Norton Records released a previously unknown 1968 recording, "I Don’t Want No Bald-Headed Woman Telling Me What To Do.” He signed with Fat Possum Records, and recorded his first full-length album, I Just Want To Be Held in 2004, highlighted by an intensely raw cover of John Lennon’s "I Found Out.”

From there, Mayer toured frequently with the Black Keys, leading to his next album, 2007’s Why Don’t You Give It To Me, becoming a full-fledged soul/garage summit thanks to backing by the Keys’ Dan Auerbach, Matthew Smith of Outrageous Cherry, and Troy Gregory of the Dirtbombs. Sadly, from that point on, Mayer’s health began its steady decline, forcing him off the road. But with these two albums alone he secured his rightful place as the black sheep of the Detroit soul family.

Nathaniel Mayer "I Wanna Dance With You”