David "Fathead" Newman was born in Corsicana, Texas on February 24, 1933. His family soon moved to Dallas, where they settled and David stayed through graduating Lincoln High School. After school, David found gigs in local bands. He received a scholarship to Jarvis Christian College where he studied theology and music.
After two years of college, David decided to go on the road full time with Buster Smith (Charlie Parker's mentor). The band played lots of one-nighters and dance halls, touring Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, and sometimes California. On one of those tours, David met Ray Charles.
Ray was working as a sideman with another group on the night's roster