Stax Records stalwart J. Blackfoot has lost his battle with cancer at the age of 65.
The Memphis, Tennessee-based soul man, who was born John Colbert, died last Wednesday (30Nov11).
He started recording for the Stax label after impressing producer and songwriter David Porter at an audition in the late 1960s. Porter and partner Isaac Hayes created the Soul Children around their protege.
Paying tribute to the singer, Porter says, "When I first heard him, there was naturalness in his phrasing, in his charm, that was unique. He always stayed true to that."
Born in Mississippi, Blackfoot had a tough upbringing on the streets of Memphis and he was jailed for car theft at 18. Behind bars he met Johnny Bragg, the founder of 1950s vocal group the Prisonaires, who served as the young hoodlum's music mentor.
As a member of the Soul Children with Norman West, Anita Lewis and Shelbra Bennett, Blackfoot recorded 15 chart hits throughout the late 1960s and early 1970s. He later went solo and recorded the 1980s hit Taxi.
He reformed the Soul Children for a 2008 album, and most recently appeared as part of Porter's musical revue.
Porter tells, "He was a person who was at home on stage, he was an entertainer and a true one. He was a tremendous talent; he had a signature all his own. When you would hear him, you would know it was him instantly."