New Orleans has lost another originator of the unmistakable Crescent City rhythm and blues sound. Hayward "Chuck" Carbo died Friday, July 11, after a long battle with lung cancer. He was 82.
Born in Houma, Carbo's rich, mellow baritone first appeared as part of a gospel group, the Delta Southernaires. Producer Dave Bartholomew convinced Carbo and his brother Leonard ("Chick") to record as an R&B vocal group for Lew Chudd's Imperial records label in the early '50s. That group became known as the Spiders, and had hit songs like "I Didn't Want to Do It" (1954) and "Witchcraft" (1956), after which Chuck parted ways with the group.
As a solo artist, he cut records for a number of local labels, including Cosimo Matassa's Rex Records, worked with artists including Earl King, Mac Rebennack and Eddie Bo. In the '80s, he had a comeback hit with the salacious R&B romp "Meet Me With Your Black Drawers On." In the '90s, Carbo signed with Rounder Records and recorded a pair of albums with Shannon Powell on drums and Nicholas Payton on trumpet. Carbo was buried last weekend at Providence Park cemetery.