| ||Robert Oliver, Associate Editor of the San Diego County Times mailed me about Cuba Gooding Jr. See the storie below he wrote for the San Diego County Times.|
In 1971. a three-man group called The Main Ingredient made history by
recording the Grammy-nominated hit song "Everybody Plays The Fool."
Remember that song? Many people do not realize that a Gentleman named
Cuba Goodinc. Sr. was the lead vocalist The group, formerly The Poets,
then The Insiders, originally consisted of lead vocalist Donald
McPherson. Tony Silvester, and Luther Simmons. Cuba said. "We found
ourselves anonymous as we made money for record companies.
I remember when people used to say, "Hey there's Mr. Ingredient!" Unless they saw me on the "Chitlin Circuit" to perform, they had no idea my name was Cuba Gooding." If you arc thinking "Senior? Is that Cuba Good..." Yes, that is actor Cuba "Show Me the Money!" Gooding, Jr.'s dad. And of musician Tommy Gooding, April Gooding (The Shield, Everybody Hates this),and Omar Gooding (Hanging with Mr. Cooper. Playnmakers). "We are a working family, we are a hustling family, and we are an entertainment family." Cuba is even known for his mega-hit song ""Begin with the Family."
With over 40 years under his belt as an entertainer. Cuba Gooding continues to thrill audiences around the world with his smooth, unique, and captivating voice, all the while remaining a solid part of the musical consciousness of fans both old and new.
Cuba's roots are in the Caribbean. "My father's father was born in Barbados, but he was born a different kind of slave. He was like 'Chicken George' from Roots. He was in charge of slaves and had his own plantation. He dressed in a top hat everyday. William Gooding was his name."" William and his wife Edith had eight children. Cuba's father was Dudley McDonald Gooding.
He fled from Barbados because he rejected subservience to his father and to the British crown which ruled Barbados at the turn of the century.
"He went to Panama and helped build the Panama Canal. He worked on ships all over the world, learned nine languages, and settled in Cuba. He lived there 17 years until his wife Carmen (not Cuba's mother) was brutally murdered. He left Cuba to go to Jamaica then back to Barbados. Later, Dudley immigrated to the United States and lived in Harlem, "the Black Mecca" in New York City. In memory of his wife, he insisted that he be known as "Cuba." not Dudley in memory of his late wife. There he met Addie Alston, originally from North Carolina. I hey married and Cuba was born. Later, his brother Antonio was born.
When Cuba was 5 years old. puppeteer Shari Lewis was his singing teacher. "She taught me how to breathe. She taught me to pronounce my words when I sang. The lyrics mean something. It is not just the music."
He says. "The progression of the family is the sum total of the current patriarch of the family which is me. I would not be here if it were not for all the influences that preceded me. My dad died when I was 11 vears old. He taught my mother so many different things about the world because he was a world traveler. I hat was important to my mother because she came up in a shack in Rocky Mount. North Carolina." He also said that his father taught him that he was not a slave. "Putting dogs on me or water hosing me was unacceptable. I carried myself With dignity and respect - except the lime I played the fool sometimes."
In 1964. Cuba met Shirley Temple Sullivan, a member Of the singing group The Sweethearts who was the opening act for Jackie Wilson. Cuba and Shirley married in 1966. April was born in January 1967.
Hard times happened to Cuba in those days. He was laid-off a job with a finance company. Shirley was pregnant with Cuba Jr.. due in January 1968. To get through those times, a couple of partners convinced a reluctant Cuba to be the getaway driver for some robberies, and they would split up the loot. The police caught him. He was sentenced to four years in prison. In November 1970. because of good behavior. Cuba had an early release.
Impressed with Cuba's vocal abilities, his old friends Silvester and Simmons of The Main Ingredient approached Cuba to fill in for McPherson temporarily because he had taken ill with leukemia, later McPherson died, and Cuba became the permanent lead singer.
Cuba said, "RCA had no Black artist except for Charlie Pride. Then after Charlie Pride came Harry Belafonlc. And then came The Main Ingredient." "Everybody Plays The Fool" was originally a country song written for Pride. He thought it was "garbage." RCA gave the song to The Main Ingredient to record for an album. Cuba did not think too much of the song either at the time. "In 1969-1970. the radio was always on in everyone's house. We would turn on the Black station and he didn't hear it. We made the mistake to turn to WABC (New York) and CKLW in Canada and the song played there. We picked up a Billboard magazine and the song was number four on the pop stations." Later the song became one of the top 5 on the charts and a gold record. The group recorded later recorded another album: Afrodisiac.
Eventually Cuba went solo and recorded The First Cuba Gooding Album under the Motown label. Then later he took a hiatus in Las Vegas from music to sell timeshares. Previously, he had experience selling encyclopedias from door to door, "I found that being a salesman is probably the most valuable asset I have ever had. finding someone who could give you what you need and finding a person of power who makes the decisions, that person can make or break your power of existence. You need to be able to reason with that person or be a gangster. There's no longevity in being a gangster."
In 1979. Cuba called Simmons. Silvester, vocalists Larry Moore and George Staley and reformed Cuba Gooding and The Main Ingredient. Cuba Moore and Staley still perform today.
His latest recording "Politics" is scheduled to be released in September. Cuba wants people to know: "The song 'Politics' has nothing to do with partisanship and nothing to do with right or wrong foreign policy. It's just that in every country on earth there are political decisions. There are the leaders, and there are the followers. I have a line in the song that says "We are the masses, yet we're the least." Also it is so unfair that in this country that the minute you run for public Office, someone looks for skeletons. If there are a group of people who believe that you can do some good, you should have a chance. You should have an opportunity." He also is not optimistic about the slate of the world now. "Il is a very troubled time that we live in now. Mealing must be done or wc should slop making babies period. We are not leaving anything good to those that wc bring to this earth."
Cuba's next project is Everybody Plays The Pool: The Cuba Gooding Story, a film about his life, the life of his father, and the life of Cuba Jr. "I felt there should be an anthology of the history of the Gooding Family and what was done to make my children successful and for me to be successful." Cuba also says that from time to time Cuba Jr. calls him and says that he is happy that he is able to give his three children. Spencer. Mason, and Piper, anything. Cuba Sr. says "There is nothing you can think of that these kids don't have. My wife and I are going to take credit for that."
Robert Oliver, Associate Editor San Diego County Times (the Original article part1