Thursday, July 12, 2012
James Ingram: Quincy Jones' Little Buddy
James Ingram was a singer just skilled enough, and yet just generic enough, to slide into the background of the '80s and be all over the place, without anybody really noticing. For instance, he sang two extremely prominent leads along with Ray Charles at the end of "We Are The World." Younger viewers may watch the clip of "We Are The World" today and wonder, "Who the hell is that guy singing with Ray Charles?" Who the hell is that guy? That guy is James Fucking Ingram. And how, they may ask themselves, did James Ingram end up singing prominently with Ray Charles on "We Are The World"? Because. He was Quincy Jones' little buddy.
In fact, Ingram became the master of the '80s duet: the infamous "Yah Mo B There" (with Michael McDonald - I am not going to post it again, although Lord, I am tempted), "Somewhere Out There" (with Linda Ronstadt - anybody remember An American Tail?), and, while we're at it, who can forget "What About Me?" (with Kenny Rogers and Kim Carnes)?
But Ingram's ultimate crowning achievement with the form would have to be his #1 1983 duet with the equally competent, equally quotidian Patti Austin, "Baby, Come To Me." Of course, having Quincy behind the boards always helps. Oh, and a little background vocal assistance from Michael McFuckin'donald.