Here is a special treat of Chuck jamming on “Losing Hand” by his musical hero Ray Charles.
Chuck began his music career as a tagalong kid brother on his older sister’s date to a Ray Charles gig in Tuscaloosa in 1965. “I was 13 and my parents had something else going on that night,” Leavell recalled to Atlanta magazine this week from his 2500-acre tree farm in Macon. “So they said, ‘Why don’t you take Chuck with you?’ She graciously said yes. I was already playing music, learning piano and guitar. I was very interested in music. But I had never seen anything that powerful. I mean, Ray Charles is Ray Charles but then he had [David] Fathead Newman on sax, the Raelettes were singing. The band was just so tight. I walked away that night knowing exactly what I wanted to do with my life. If I could be in a band that was anything near that good and that powerful and that moving, that’s what I wanted to do. It was life changing.”