- Raymond Moody — Slum Flower
Raymond Moody died at age 40, in 1968. Research turns up no evidence that he published any poetry in his short life, much of which he spent in prison — but he did leave some raw, very moving recordings of himself reading his work. A year after his death, his aunt, Sadie Matthews, a singer and dancer in Newark, paid for an LP of these to be released as a posthumous tribute. In the two scant paragraphs she wrote for the back cover, we learn everything we're likely to know of Moody's life.
Raymond Moody was born in Philadelphia September 27th, 1928 and died December 20th, 1968. He was raised by his grandmother until nine years of age then sent to Newark, New Jersey to his mother, Mandy Moody, and his aunt, Sadie Matthews. His mother was one of the best blues singers in Newark and I sang and danced too, Raymond went to the Newton Street School up to the fourth grade. At the age of thirteen he got in trouble and was sent to the Jamesburg Home for Boys.
Raymond was not a bad boy — he loved and wanted to be loved and liked by everyone. He was God's child but he lived in a bad neighborhood, the ghetto, and got involved with the wrong crowd. At the age of seventeen he became a drug addict. He was always in trouble for this and was in and out of prison for the remainder of his life. His mother always went to bat for him until she passed away in 1958. He then turned to his two aunts — myself and Dorothy Ford — whom he loved and had faith in for help. I sent him to Lexington, Kentucky to take the cure and it was here and in prison that he learned to read and to write. He educated himself by reading a lot including Shakespeare and the Bible. Around the age of twenty-one he began to write and recite poetry. Raymond begged for help but it always came too late. So this is his first and last album. Many of those who knew him and loved him have formed the Raymond Moody Memorial Society to help misfortunate children who have fell into the well and need help back to society. Please help them to help themselves.