So long, Jack Rainwater

Last Monday, April 21, Jack Rainwater passed away quietly from a lengthy illness.

legendsTicketLast Monday, April 21, 2014, Jack Rainwater passed away quietly from a lengthy illness. His friend Andy Barron reported the Detroit guitarist and singer was 74 years old.

Rainwater’s music career began during the 1950s, when he played rock’n’roll and pop music with a group called the Paragons. When he split from that scene, members of the group changed the band to the Royaltones. [1]

During the 1970s, he cut “All I Want Is To Love You,” issued on Laurie Records (and produced by Johnny Powers), which scored a minor hit. Check out his soulful performance of “A Place In The Sun” as well.

A talented member of the Detroit music scene, Rainwater continued playing and singing in local showcases and nightclubs through the mid-2000s, when I finally had opportunities to catch him on stage. I first saw him at the “Legends of Rockabilly” concert, held in November 2004 at Jackson’s historic Michigan Theatre. Rainwater headlined with Dale Hawkins, Wanda Jackson, Charlie Gracie, and his old friend Jack Scott. The evening’s show was outstanding, to say the least, with Rainwater performing a set of big beat rockabilly just as gripping as anyone else’s (take a look at the list of names again – very impressive).

Jack Rainwater (left) and Marvin Rainwater at Kentuckians of Michigan, 2004
Jack Rainwater (left) backed his cousin Marvin Rainwater (at microphone) in December 2005 at the Kentuckians of Michigan hall. Source: Kathy VanTassel

In December 2005, Rainwater and band hosted his cousin Marvin “Gonna Find Me A Bluebird” Rainwater (who died last September) at the Kentuckians of Michigan hall for a one-night show. Both Rainwaters were in top form, and the crowd loved them. Marvin was full of jokes and obviously happy to reunite with Jack, who was also in fine spirits.

I’m confident that Jack Rainwater now resides in his own “place in the sun.”

From left: Andy Barron, Jack Rainwater, Keith Cady
Jack Rainwater (center) surrounded by friends Andy Barron (left) and Keith Cady, December 2005. Source: Kathy VanTassel

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Notes

  1. Bond, Marilyn, and S.R. Boland. The Birth of the Detroit Sound: 1940-1964. (Charleston, S.C.: Arcadia, 2002) 62.

20 Comments. Leave new

  • Richard Ohsowski
    June 17, 2014 5:09 pm

    Just Heard Today Of Jacks Passing I Have Known Him Since 1964 He Will Sure Be Missed
    RIP Jack You Will Be In My Prayers

    Richard Ohsowski
    Grayling, Michigan

    Reply
  • Marilynn Sacker
    June 12, 2015 7:24 pm

    I went to school with Jack, and my husband, Ray Sacker and I followed him every week back
    in the ’60s, thru, the ’80s, then lost touch with him. I tried to find him on the web a while back, to let him know my husband
    died Dec 2012 of A.L.S. We sure enjoyed his music, and friendship. R.I.P. Jack

    Reply
  • Sigh……Jackie Lee Rainwater…my singing partner…my friend…and more…I’m so sad to hear of his passing…he was the one who started me singing on stage….I was so scared, nervous and shy… J A C K I E L E E….you will live in my heart forever…xoxoxoxoxoxoxo Donna Jean
    P.S. Storms never last, do they baby?

    Reply
  • Worked with Jack in the 60’s. Village Inn, Wayne Showbar, Eddie’s, etc. Great band with Kenny Anderson, Dianne Day, Tony Busetta. “The Peppermints”. Back then we played “rock”. The old rock.Honkey Tonk, What’d I Say, etc. Jack could play it all, rock or country. He was a great talent and a great friend. Hope to see him in the resurrection. We’ll pick one.

    Reply
  • So sad to here about Jack. One of my very best
    friends in High School. We played together in
    a Band called the “Bare Foot Four”. Jack was
    only 15 yrs old. It was a comedy country group
    and won the talent contest on Ed McKenzeys Sat.
    Party “WXYZ TV” in 1955. I last saw Jack in
    Sept 08. I loved that guy!

    Reply
    • Thanks for sharing your memories of Mr. Rainwater, everyone!

      Reply
      • val gursky
        May 9, 2016 5:04 pm

        Not only was a great singer and musician but he was a great person and friend ! I met jack in 1957 we were about 16 or so i found out that jack sang and played guitar so i went over to his home a man answered the door i said do you know where i could find jack, the man i think he was his father said he is sleeping i said can you get him up i need a guitar player for my band the Pyramids. He played in the band for about a year before joining the Royaltones. The pic of Jack with the carnation and his guitar was taken when we were chosen to play on teen night on the Boblo boat. I have many great memories. Will miss you. Val

        Reply
  • Hello Craig …. I played bass in Jacks band “North Country ” in the 60s…. we played the latest country songs of the time….and Jacks love of Ray Charles … Back then the band consisted of …Jack .. On lead guitar and vocals…George Brady on lead .. Jesse Colins on steel… Bob Carley on drums … And me, Ken Kennedy, on bass and vocals.. And sang tenor to Jack..I kept in touch with Jack after I moved to Nashville for many years and my phone died and I lost all my numbers.. But I continued searching for Jack..and Googled him and that’s when I found out that Jack had died….And Jesse has passed also… But I lost touch with the other band members … If you could find out what happened to the other guys.. Please let me know…. Oh….also ..we played at The Red Door…Country USA…Town and Country and too many to mention …Ken Kennedy

    Reply
    • Thanks, Ken! If I run into your old friends, I will let you know.

      Reply
    • Juanita (Squeaky) Drake
      December 5, 2017 9:13 pm

      Ken, Jack will be missed by many. We were best friends up til the end. My granddaughter and him got along so well. Jesse passed away a long time ago. We went out one night a long while back to visit with Bobby. He was playing with a band (I wish I could remember the name). We had a great time. — Squeaky (Juanita Drake)

      Reply
  • Michael Walsh
    May 1, 2018 12:28 am

    I can remember Jack Rainwater, Odell Jasper, and me, Mike Walsh, we we went to a lot of parties. He was just fun to be around. At one time he was over at the house and he sang my mother a song, and she never got over that. May you rest in peace, Jack.

    Reply
  • Judy Bolton-Ignagni
    July 12, 2018 11:06 pm

    Jack was my first cousin…my father and his mother were siblings. Jack was about 20 years older than me so I always looked at him as more of an uncle. We were not close but I do remember spending many Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays at his mother’s house when I was a child/teen. The last time I saw him was at his mother’s funeral. I had no idea he was sick or had passed away until I “Googled” his name this evening and came across this website. I enjoyed reading the article and all the stories that were posted. Craig, thank you so much for the information you provided in your article. I learned things about Jack that I never knew. It certainly sounds like he lived life to its fullest.

    Reply
  • Donna Jean from the All Around in the 70’s. Yep, I do remember you well. You had NOTHING to be afraid of, we all loved to hear you sing. Jerry Tittle, Tim, and Mike on the Steele. Those were GREAT TIMES. I was Diane Critcher back then, now Diane Winkles. But I do remember the great times back then.

    Reply
  • Juanita Drake
    May 9, 2021 9:36 pm

    Do you know where Jack’s final resting place is?

    Reply
  • Beautiful memories of a beautiful man rest easy Jackie Lee

    Reply
  • Mike (Mikie Jacks name for me)Sundae
    May 26, 2022 4:08 pm

    One of the best musicians I worked with. Alway had fun. The late Louie Mason introduced me to Jackie. Worked with Jack, Jimmy Ramon on drums. It never was work JUST FUN. RIP BROTHER.

    Reply
  • Just found this site. Jack was a huge influence on me when I first broke into the scene back in the 70s with my band “Lone Star Revue”. He always had time for me and I always had a lot of questions. He actually set me up with several gigs, I am forever grateful to him. Jack Rainwater was not only one of the best musicians I’ve ever heard, he was just such an amazing human being. I’m very proud to be able to call him my friend. Thanks for everything, Jack!!! God Bless You!!!

    Reply

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