Cuba Gooding Sr. isn't playing the fool

Courtesy photoDJ Vin Sol has been at the helm of "Club 1994" for two years.

Courtesy photoDJ Vin Sol has been at the helm of "Club 1994" for two years.

Cuba Gooding Sr. has been looking forward to returning at long last to the Bay Area with his 1970s hit-making band the Main Ingredient.

The last time they were in town was a memorable 1997 gig at Kimball's East in Emeryville, Gooding says via phone from his home in Florida.

“Robin Williams and Cuba Gooding Jr. were in the audience. We blew the roof off the sucker!” adds the performer, appearing today at Yoshi's in The City.

Asked if he ever gets tired of singing signature tunes “Everybody Plays the Fool” and “Just Don't Want to Be Lonely,” he responds, “Do you get tired of eating? Do you get tired of getting a good night's sleep?”

At 69, Gooding is in great voice and great shape (“I look the same age as Cuba Gooding Jr.,” he jokes), thanks to his late father, a man of West Indian descent who taught him important lessons about maintaining good health and understanding that the power of a good song is in a strong melody and lyric.

Gooding is named in memory of his father's late first wife, who was slain in Cuba, where the couple lived before the elder Gooding moved to New York.

When he grew up in Harlem, Gooding says, it was a place where, if you were black, “You would be either a gangster or entertainer.”

His misses the old-fashioned entertainment of the Cotton Club and Apollo, and says the Main Ingredient originally fashioned itself after the Rat Pack: “We sing, we do stories, we tell jokes, tell a little story.”

But Gooding doesn't just perform at concerts, he's also a promoter and spokesman for the REACH Foundation, a nonprofit serving children in need of physical, educational, social and financial assistance.

He also stays busy following his famous kids' careers: Oscar winner Cuba Gooding Jr. is on Broadway with Vanessa Williams and Tony Award winner Cicely Tyson in “The Trip to Bountiful,” and Omar Gooding has his cable TV show “Family Times.”

Yet Gooding credits his longevity in what can be a tough industry to having fairly good sense about the business (“Every month a check comes”) and staying true to his kind of music.

“There's a slot for revolution songs,” he says. “I don't do those.”

Audiences at Main Ingredient shows will hear about positive things, and loving one another. Says Gooding: “We are supposed to make you forget about your problems. You will forget you married the wrong man — or woman.”

IF YOU GO

The Main Ingredient featuring Cuba Gooding Sr.

Where: Yoshi's, 1330 Fillmore St., S.F.

When: 8 p.m. today

Tickets: $26 to $40

Contact: (415) 655-5600, www.yoshis.com

artsCuba Gooding Sr.Everybody Plays the FoolMain IngredientPop Music & Jazz

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The sidewalk on Egbert Avenue in the Bayview recently was cluttered with car parts, tires and other junk. <ins>(Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)</ins>
New surveillance effort aims to crack down on illegal dumping

’We want to make sure we catch people who are trashing our streets’

The football stadium at UC Berkeley, on Saturday, Sept. 26, 2020. George Kliavkoff, a former top executive at MGM Resorts International, took over the conference at the start of the month. (Jim Wilson/The New York Times)
What’s Ahead for the Pac-12? New commissioner weighs in

‘Every decision we make is up for discussion. There are no sacred cows.’

The recall election for California Gov. Gavin Newsom is scheduled for Sept. 14. (Kevin N. Hume/The Examiner)
SF could play a big role in overcoming Democrat apathy, driving voter turnout for Newsom

San Francisco voters are not used to swaying elections. Just think of… Continue reading

Health care workers treat a Covid-19 patient who needs to be intubated before being put on a ventilator at Providence St. Mary Medical Center during a surge of cases in Apple Valley, Dec. 17, 2020. Confronted with surging infections, California became the first state in the country to mandate coronavirus vaccines or testing for state employees and health-care workers. (Ariana Drehsler/The New York Times)
In California, a mix of support and resistance to new vaccine rules

By Shawn Hubler, Livia Albeck-Ripka and Soumya Karlamangla New York Times SACRAMENTO… Continue reading

Most Read