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A Birth of the Blues

A YouTube History of Music

Modern Blues 2

Harmonica - Piano - Voice - Other Instruments

Group & Last Name Index to Full History:


Tracks are listed in chronological order by year, then alphabetically.

Listings do not reflect proper order by month or day: later oft precedes earlier.

Not on this page? See history tree below.



Charlie Allen
Carey Bell    Big Maybelle    Bobby Bland    The Bluesbreakers    Charles Brown    Roy Brown    Paul Butterfield
Ray Charles   Clifton Chenier    James Cotton    King Curtis
Floyd Dixon    Champion Jack Dupree
Aretha Franklin
Cecil Gant    Jazz Gillum    Lloyd Glenn    Lillian Green
Slim Harpo    Screaming Jay Hawkins    ZZ Hill    Big Walter Horton
Little Johnny Jones    Janis Joplin
Julia Lee   Lazy Lester    Little Walter    Little Sonny    Professor Longhair    Willie Love
Big Maybelle    Percy Mayfield    John Mayall     Jay McShann    Big Maceo Merriweather    Amos Milburn    Charlie Musselwhite
James Oden
Pacific Gas & Electric    Junior Parker    Ottilie Patterson    Little Esther Phillips    Sammy Price    Snooky Pryor
Memphis Slim    Sunnyland Slim    Moses Whispering Smith    Otis Spann    Spencer Davis Group
Koko Taylor    Sonny Terry    Big Mama Thornton    Big Joe Turner
Eddie Cleanhead Vinson
Little Walter    Dinah Washington    Katie Webster    Junior Wells    Sonny Boy Williamson II    Jimmy Witherspoon



Featured on this page loosely in order of first recording if not record release (as possible).

Names are alphabetical, not chronological, per year:


1927 Julia Lee
1929 Sammy Price

James Oden

1934 Jazz Gillum
1937 Lloyd Glenn    Lillian Green
1938 Sonny Terry
1939 Big Walter Horton    Big Joe Turner
1940 Champion Jack Dupree    Memphis Slim
1941 Jay McShann    Big Maceo Merriweather
1942 Eddie Cleanhead Vinson
1944 Cecil Gant    Big Maybelle    Dinah Washington
1945 Charles Brown    Jimmy Witherspoon
1946 Amos Milburn    Sunnyland Slim
1947 Roy Brown    Percy Mayfield    Little Walter
1948 Snooky Pryor
1949 Ray Charles    Floyd Dixon    Little Esther Phillips    Professor Longhair 
1950 Little Johnny Jones
1951 Bobby Bland    Willie Love    Sonny Boy Williamson II
1952 Screaming Jay Hawkins    Junior Parker    Junior Wells
1953 James Cotton    King Curtis    Otis Spann    Big Mama Thornton
1954 Clifton Chenier
1955 Ottilie Patterson
1956 Aretha Franklin    Lazy Lester
1957 Slim Harpo    Lazy Lester
1958 Little Sonny    Katie Webster
1962 Janis Joplin
1963 ZZ Hill    Moses Whispering Smith    Koko Taylor
1964 Spencer Davis Group    John Mayall & the Bluesbreakers
1965 Paul Butterfield    Charlie Musselwhite
1968 Charlie Allen    Pacific Gas & Electric
1969 Carey Bell



We widely demarcate rather arbitrarily between early and modern blues from about the Swing period to about World War II. For modern blues guitar see Blues 3. For blues from their inception see either Blues 1 (guitar) or Blues 2 (vocals and other instruments).



Birth of the Blues: Julia Lee

Julia Lee

Photo: Gene Lester

Dave E. Dexter Jr. Collection

Source: MEMIM


Born in 1902 in Boonville, Missouri, Julia Lee was raised in Kansas City. It was about 1920 when she began singing and playing piano in her brother's band, the George E. Lee Novelty Swing Orchestra. That was more a vaudeville operation than a jazz orchestra in its earlier years. George Lee's main rival in Kansas City during the twenties and thirties in Kansas City was Bennie Moten's Kansas City Orchestra. Charlie Parker would briefly play in George Lee's outfit in the thirties. Count Basie would take over Moten's operation upon the latter's death in 1935. Meanwhile Julia had long since recorded 'Waco Blues' and 'Just Wait Until I'm Gone' with the George E. Lee Novelty Swing Orchestra in June of 1923 for Okeh (matrices 8408, 8409). The fate of those is unknown. Working with her brother's orchestra to 1935, Julia made her debut recording to issue in 1927 with pianist, Jesse Stone, in George Lee's band: 'Downhome Syncopated Blues' (Meritt 2206). In 1929 George backed Julia on 'He's Tall Dark and Handsome' and 'Won't You Come Over to My House' (Brunswick 4761), Stone also in the orchestra. [See Brian Rust per above.] Lee ventured upon a solo career in 1935. In 1944 she was with Jay McShann's Kansas City Stompers for Capitol Records on 'Come on Over to My House'/'Trouble in Mind' [per BlackCatRockabilly]. 1946 witnessed 'Dream Lucky Blues'/'Lotus Blossom' for Mercury, after which she recorded by contract with Capitol Records as Julia Lee and Her Boy Friends. [See 45Worlds.] Starting with 'Gotta Gimme Watcha Got' in 1946, Lee placed eight titles on Billboard's R&B Top Ten to 'I Didn't Like It the First Time' ('Spinach Song') in 1949. 'Snatch and Grab It' reached #1 in 1947, as did 'King Size Papa' in 1948. Lee issued titles into the fifties, a major figure in Kansas City until she died of heart attack on December 8 of 1958. Julia's forte was the erotically suggestive song. 'Lotus Blossom' below, however, is clearly about marijuana. Earlier Julia Lee in Rock Development.

Julia Lee   1946

   Julia's Blues

     Composition: Julia Lee

   Show Me Missouri Blues

     Composition: Julia Lee/George Fathead Thomas

Julia Lee   1947

   Lotus Blossom

     Composition: Julia Lee/Titus Turner

Julia Lee   1951

   Lotus Blossom

     Composition: Julia Lee/Titus Turner



Birth of the Blues: Sammy Price

Sammy Price

Source: Andrei Partos

Born in Honey Grove, Texas, in 1908, pianist Sammy Price began his career in the Dallas vicinity, gradually making his way to Kansas City, Chicago and Detroit. Brian Rust shows titles per Vocalion 1461 in Dallas with vocalist, Effie Scott on September 29, 1929: 'Lonesome Hut Blues' and 'Sunshine Special'. Price also put down his first title as a leader in Dallas on October 29, 1929, with His Four Quarters: 'Blue Rhythm Stomp' (Brunswick 7136). That was followed in November by a session with Bert Johnson for 'Nasty But Nice' (Brunswick 7136). November of 1930 in Dallas found Price with Douglas Finnell and His Royal Stompers for 'The Right String But the Wrong Yo-Yo' and 'Sweet Sweet Mama'. He drops out of Lord's discography at that point, not showing up again until Price's move to New York City where he would hire on as a studio musician with Decca for fifteen years to appear on about 300 titles. Lord's disco shows first tracks for Decca on February 19, 1936, for vocalist, Monette Moore: 'Rhythm for Sale' and 'Two Old Maids in a Folding Bed'. Among his early customers in the thirties was Trixie Smith on May 26, 1938, for such as 'Freight Train Blues' and 'Trixie's Blues'. Highlighting the forites was Sister Rosetta Tharpe in late '44 for 'Strange Things Happening Every Day'. A figure who would be more significant in his career arrived in the person of trumpeter, Henry Red Allen, to support vocalist, Blue Lu Barker, on August 11, 1938, on titles like 'New Orleans Blues' and 'He Caught That B & O'. Sessions would follow with Barker into 1939. Twenty years later Price would join Allen's group at the Newport Jazz Festival in 1959 for such as 'Ballin' the Jack' and 'Yellow Dog Blues'. Price would side for Allen numerously into 1962, later in 1965 at the Blue Spruce Inn in Roslyn, Long Island, in August for 'Feelin' Good'. Price formed his group, the Texas Blusicians (variously spelled Bluesicians), in 1940 for 'Jumpin' the Boogie'' and 'Swing Out in the Groove'. Price would operate that band for decades to come. Another amidst the galaxy of musicians Price supported in the forties was Mezz Mezzrow, his first such occasion on July 30, 1945 for titles like 'House Party' and 'Perdido Street Stomp'. A couple more sessions were held the next day, a few more in 1947. Highlighting the fifties were sessions in Belgium and Cannes in 1958 with trumpeter, Teddy Buckner, and soprano saxophonist, Sidney Bechet. Though a blues and jazz musician, Price would come to emphasize boogie woogie. In the seventies he played residencies at the Roosevelt Hotel and Crawdaddy Restaurant in NYC. During the eighties he played at the Fairmont Copley Plaza Hotel in Boston. Price died on April 14, 1992, of heart attack in Harlem. Partial lists of compositions by Price at allmusic and discogs. Songwriting credits to Gershwin titles recorded by Price.

Sammy Price   1929

   Lonesome Hut Blues

      Vocal: Effie Scott

   Sunshine Special

      Vocal: Effie Scott

Sammy Price   1938

   Freight Train Blues

      Vocal: Trixie Smith

      Composition: Everett Murphy/Thomas Dorsey

   Jack I'm Mellow

      Vocal: Trixie Smith

      Composition: Trixie Smith

Sammy Price   1941

   Do You Dig My Jive

      Composition: Sammy Price

   The Goon Rag

      Composition: Sammy Price

Sammy Price   1948

   Low Down Blues

      Composition: Sammy Price

Sammy Price   1955

   Louisiana Lament

      Composition: Sammy Price

Sammy Price   1956

   Blues in My Heart

      Composition: Benny Carter/Irving Mills

      Original LP: 'Blues and Boogie Woogie'

Sammy Price   1959

   One O'Clock Jump

      Filmed live

      Composition: Count Basie

Sammy Price   1965

   2nd Time Around


   Fly Me to the Moon


      Composition: Bart Howard   1954

      Originally 'In Other Words'

      First version by Kaye Ballard   1954

Sammy Price   1970

   133rd Street Boogie

      Composition: Sammy Price

Sammy Price   1975

   Please Don't Talk About Me When I'm Gone

      Filmed live


      Sam Stept/Sidney Clare/Bee Palmer   1930

Sammy Price   1979

   That's a Plenty


      Composition: Lew Pollack/Ray Gilbert   1914

Sammy Price   1995

   Boogie Woogie French Style

      Recording date undetermined



Birth of the Blues: James Oden

St. Louis Jimmy Oden

Source: Discogs

Despite a solid recording career of four decades, and his composition of the blues standard, 'Goin' Down Slow', there is surprisingly little to be found either on the internet or at YouTube as to James Oden ("St. Louis Jimmy"). Born in Nashville in 1903, Oden taught himself to play piano but is better known as a vocalist. He left Nashville for St. Louis at about age fourteen. There he met and worked with Roosevelt Sykes (piano) for several years, until the pair took off for Chicago in 1933. It was there that people began to call him St. Louis Jimmy, despite making Chicago home base the rest of his life. It is thought Oden first recorded in 1932. Rateyourmusic has him on 'I Have Made Up My Mind'/'Sittin' Down Thinkin' Blues' (Champion CH 16540) that year. Throughout the remainder of his career Oden performed throughout the States, releasing further recordings the while. His album, 'Goin Down Slow', saw issue in 1961, including his composition, 'Monkey Face Woman'. Among others that Oden wrote were 'Soon Forget You', 'Dog House Blues', 'Biscuit Roller', 'I'm Sorry Now', 'Come Day, Go Day' and 'Bad Condition'. Better known compilations of his works have been released per 'St. Louis Jimmy Oden ‎– 1932-1948' ('89), 'Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Vol 1 (1932 to 1944)' ('94) and 'Complete Recorded Works in Chronological Order Vol 2 (1944 to 1955)' ('94). Oden died of bronchopneumonia in 1977, 74 years of age. All titles below are Oden's compositions except as noted (* = undetermined).

James Oden   1932

   Patrol Wagon Blues*

James Oden   1941

   Goin' Down Slow

James Oden   1942

   Can't Stand Your Evil Ways

James Oden   1948

   Florida Hurricane

      Guitar: Muddy Waters   Piano: Sunnyland Slim

James Oden   1953

   Hard Luck Boogie

James Oden   1956

   Murder in the First Degree



Born in Indianola, Mississippi, in 1904, with (William McKinley) Jazz Gillum, harmonica, one can hear early blues transitioning toward modern about the period that swing jazz was at its height. Gillum ran away from home at age seven to Charleston, Mississippi, where he began busking. He left Mississippi for Chicago in 1923 where he began his professional career with Big Bill Broonzy. Broonzy likely backed Gillum with Bob Black on June 14, 1934, to record 'Early in the Morning'/'Harmonica Stomp' (Bluebird B5565). American Music (AM) finds Gillum with the State Street Boys on January 10 of 1936 for 'She Caught the Train' (OKeh 8962) and 'Crazy About You' (OKeh 8964). Members of the band on those titles were variously Broonzy, Bill Settles, Black Bob, Carl Martin and Zeb Wright. 1936 saw the issue of the name titles 'Jockey Blues'/'Don't Scandalize My Name' (Bluebird B6409) and 'Sarah Jane'/'I Want You By My Side' (Bluebird B6445). Broonzy again assisted on all of those. Gillum traded Broonzy's guitar for Blind John Davis' piano at the Leland Hotel in Aurora, IL, on October 11, 1937 for 'My Old Lizzie'/'My Old Suitcase' (Bluebird B7253) and 'Alberta Blues'/'Birmingham Blues' (Bluebird B7341). To go by AM, Davis and an unknown drummer were Gillum's first configuration of His Jazz Boys. His next was a different kind of crew on March 14, 1938, also at the Leland Hotel. Along with Broonzy joining him again, Gillum employed Washboard Sam and jazz guitarist, George Barnes, on electric. Those would be among the first recordings of electric guitar, as well as among Barnes' first recordings at age sixteen: 'New Sail On, Little Girl'/'Sweet Sweet Woman' (Bluebird B7524), 'Gillum's Windy Blues'/'Boar Hog Blues' (Bluebird B7563) and 'Just Like Jesse James'/'Reefer Head Woman' (Bluebird B7615). Gillum continued into 1938 and into the forties on numerous tracks both with and without Broonzy. The Segar/Broonzy composition, 'Key to the Highway', was first recorded by blues pianist, Charlie Segar, on February 23, 1940. Next came Broonzy and Gillum's rendering on May 9, 1940, that to become the standard. Gillum served in the Army from 1942 to 1945. Upon discharge he attempted to return to music. But a temporary folding of the Bluebird subsidiary of RCA in the latter forties saw Gillum's musical career largely vanish as well. (The more popular artists were transitioned to Victor but Gillum didn't make the roster.) Howsoever, Gillum attempted a comeback in 1961 with the album, 'Blues by Jazz Gillum', for Folkway Records, also featuring Memphis Slim and Arbee Stidham. But the effort didn't take, such that he retired from the public a couple years later. Another direction then weaved toward finding Gillum shot in the head in Chicago during a street argument on March 29, 1966. Other than titles credited below, Gillum composed such as those at allmusic 1, 2.

Jazz Gillum   1934

   Harmonica Stomp

      Composition: Jazz Gillum

Jazz Gillum   1935

   Crazy About You

      Composition: Jazz Gillum

Jazz Gillum   1938

   Reefer Head Woman

      With George Barnes

      Composition: Gillum/Lester Melrose/Joe Bennett

   New Sail On, Little Girl

      With George Barnes

      Composition: Jazz Gillum

   Sweet Sweet Woman

      With George Barnes

      Composition: Jazz Gillum

   Windy City

      With George Barnes

      Composition: Jazz Gillum

Jazz Gillum   1940

   Key to the Highway

      With Big Bill Broonzy

      Composition: Broonzy from Charlie Segar

Jazz Gillum   1946

   Go Back to the Country

      Composition: Washboard Sam

   Look on Yonder Wall

      Composition: James Clark

Jazz Gillum   1947

   All In All Blues

Jazz Gillum   1948

   Take a Little Walk With Me

      Composition: Robert Lockwood Jr.


Birth of the Blues: Jazz Gillum

Jazz Gillum

Source:  Zen Guitar Blues

Birth of the Blues: Lloyd Glenn

Lloyd Glenn

Source: Jazz Verbatim

Born in 1909 in San Antonio, Texas, pianist Lloyd Glenn is thought have first recorded on November 18 of 1936 with the Don Albert Orchestra, contributing piano to such as 'The Sheik of Araby' and 'Liza'. He left Texas for Los Angeles in 1941, there hooking up with Walter Johnson's trio in '44, also becoming employed as a session musician. 1945 found Glenn with Red Mack and His All Stars for such as 'The Joint Is Jumpin' and 'T'ain't Me'. Working with T-Bone Walker would have been a major highlight in any musician's career, which happened in December of 1946 for Glenn, he backing Walker as one of the Al Killian Quintet in Hollywood for takes of 'Stormy Monday', 'She Had to Let Me Down', et al. Glenn would see Walker again in latter '47, '57 and 1967-68, their last occasion for Walker's 'Funky Town' in Los Angeles. Come December of 1947 for Brown's first name session with his Joymakers, coming up with such as 'Joymakers Boogie' and 'Advice to a Fool'. He took residence in the band of another major figure in 1949, that being trombonist, Kid Ory, joining him for dates such as an AFRS radio broadcast of 'Kid Ory' yielding the likes of 'Wang Wang Blues' and 'Tuxedo Junction'. Glenn would see numerous sessions with Ory's Creole Jazz Band to July 17 of 1953 for titles that would eventually see issue on Ory's 'The Kid's Greatest!' in 1962. [All session data: Lord's Disco.] Others with whom Glenn had occasion to work, either recording or touring, were Lowell Fulson, BB King, Clarence Gatemouth Brown and Big Joe Turner. Compositions by Glenn include those below in alphabetical:

   Angora   1952
   Conga Rhumba   1951
   Cute-Tee   1951
   First Take and Blue   1977
   Heat Wave   1977
   It Moves Me   1952
   Jungle Jubilee   1951
   Levee Blues   1949
   Lover Call   1977
   Low Society   1950
   Old Time Shuffle   1974
   Slow Train #1   1977
   Slow Train Through Paris   1977
   Still My Love Is Your
   Wild Fire   1954

Glenn's most popular compositions had been 'Old Time Shuffle' (Billboard's R&B #3 '50) and 'Chica Boo' (Billboard's R&B #1 '51). He died of heart attack on May 3, 1985, in Los Angeles. More Lloyd Glenn.

Lloyd Glenn   1947

   Blues Hangover

      The Lloyd Glenn Trio

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

   Call It Stormy Monday

      With T-Bone Walker

      Composition: T-Bone Walker

Lloyd Glenn   1950

   Old Time Shuffle

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

Lloyd Glenn   1951

   Chica Boo

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

Lloyd Glenn   1956

   Blue Ivories

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

   Southbound Special

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

Lloyd Glenn   1957

   Ballroom Shuffle

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

   Black Fantasy

      Composition: Lloyd Glenn

Lloyd Glenn   1959

   Honky Tonk Train

      Composition: Meade Lux Lewis

Lloyd Glenn   1984

   How Long Blues

      Composition: See Wikipedia



At the verge of modern blues (about World War II)  is vocalist Lillian Green, who was eighteen when she first recorded in 1937 (unfound). Born in Mississippi in 1919, per Wikipedia she went to Chicago as a teenager upon the death of parents, there to fall in with guitarist, Big Bill Broonzy, with whom she partnered in nightclub performances in the thirties. American Music (AM) begins its discography of Green with Broonzy, Simeon Henry (piano) and Ransom Knowling (bass) on May 9 of 1940 for 'Cherry Tree Blues'/'Just Rockin' (Bluebird B8464) and 'Romance in the Dark'/'What Have I Done?' (Bluebird B8524). It was the same combo through numerous titles in '41 and '42. She would also perform with Tiny Bradshaw's outfit. Green was something unique among blues musicians in that she neither drank nor smoked. But pneumonia didn't care about that, killing her on April 14, 1954, at only age thirty-four. Recordings by Green with songwriting credits at allmusic 1, 2, 3 and discogs 1, 2.

Lillian Green   1940

   Romance in the Dark

      With Big Bill Broonzy

      Composition: Lillian Green

   What Have I Done

      With Big Bill Broonzy

      Composition: George Curry

Lillian Green   1941

   Knockin' Myself Out

      With Big Bill Broonzy

      Composition: Lillian Green

   Why Don't You Do Right

      With Big Bill Broonzy

      Composition: Kansas Joe McCoy

Lillian Green   1946

   It's Bad With My Man And Me

      Composition: Don Redman/Freddy Jenkins


Birth of the Blues: Lil Green

Lil Green

Source: Morose Mississippi

Birth of the Blues: Sonny Terry

Sonny Terry

Source: Last FM

Much like his early partner, Blind Boy Fuller, harmonica player, Sonny Terry (Saunders Terrell), was forced to perform music due to losing his eyesight, one by accident at age eleven, the other by accident at age sixteen. Sources differ as to whether he was born to a farmer in 1911 in Greensboro, Georgia, or Greensboro, North Carolina. He got transferred to Shelby, North Carolina, sometime as a child, he also learning harmonica from his father (Reuben Terrell). Honing old  tunes like 'Camptown Races', Terry soon learned blues in the Piedmont fashion as well. Upon the death of his father (another accident, this time between a mule-drawn wagon and truck-drawn trailer) Terry began to perform at medicine shows, then fell in with his first major partner, Blind Boy Fuller, with whom he performed streets in the Wadesboro region, and at tobacco warehouses. Bruce Bastin ('Red River Blues' '95) notes that warehouses were particularly lucrative. Showing up when the day's shift was letting out, they could earn as much as $10. If you think $10 is a lot now . . . Bastin has Terry leaving the Piedmont region for New York City with Fuller and Floyd Council in 1937. American Music has Terry's first recordings with Fuller on December 15, 1937, for 'Looking for My Woman'/'Ten O'Clock Peeper' (Vocalion 04054, Conqueror 9038). Council (Dipper Boy Council) contributed guitar to 'Ten O'Clock Peeper'. Numerous titles with Fuller ensued in 1938 to Fuller's death in 1941. In the meanwhile Terry had performed at Carnegie Hall for the first time in 1938, playing 'Mountain Blues' in the presentation of 'Spirituals to Swing'. That was due to another accident, this time a crash between Fuller, his wife and the law. Having shot her in the leg, good thing or not that he was blind, Fuller went to jail, Terry thus taking his place at Carnegie. Recordings by Fuller and Terry with compositional credits at allmusic and discogs. Terry recorded his first name titles for Okeh (Columbia) on March 5, 1940: 'Harmonica Blues'/'Harmonica and Washboard Breakdown', followed the next day by 'Harmonica Stomp'/'Harmonica and Washboard Blues' with Oh Red (George Washington) [honkingduck]. He put down 'Blowing the Blues' and '44 Whistle Blues' (Okeh 05684) on June 18 that year. Terry's next major partner was guitarist, Brownie McGhee, with whom Terry formed a famous lifetime relationship, their first track together in New York City in 1941 for 'Workingman's Blues' (Okeh 6698). Along their early path together they were taped by Alan Lomax for the Library of Congress in Washington D.C. on May 11, 1942, such as 'How Long' (composition) alongside Lead BellyMcGhee and Terry parted paths in the latter forties, McGhee to form a group and work as a studio musician, Terry to join the musical, 'Finian's Rainbow' (Burton Lane/Yip Harburg). In 1951 they collaborated with Coyal McMahan on 'Get On Board: Negro Folksongs by The Folkmasters'. Terry then issued his album 'Harmonica & Vocal Solos' in 1952. He released 'Folk Blues' in 1954, 'Sonny Terry's Washboard Band' in '55. Others with whom Terry collaborated during that period were Blind Gary Davis and Alec Stewart. McGhee and Terry got back together again in '55 to accompany the play, 'Cat on a Hot Tin Roof' (Tennessee Williams), after which they remained partners until the mid seventies, they no longer getting along together. Of note during that latter period was their '73 album, 'Sonny & Terry', on which young bluesman, John Mayall, joined the crew. McGhee and Terry managed to issue collaborations into the eighties. Setlist has them touring internationally in '80 and '81. Of note in 1984 was Alligator's issue of 'Whoopin'', Terry paired with (not so young anymore) Johnny Winter. Terry died of natural causes on March 11, 1986, in Mineola, New York.

Sonny Terry   1938

   Lost John

      Composition: Sonny Terry

   The New John Henry

      Composition: Traditional

Sonny Terry   1940

   Precious Lord

      Guitar: Blind Boy Fuller

      Composition: Thomas Dorsey

Sonny Terry   1959

   Crow Jane Blues

      Composition: Sonny Terry

Sonny Terry   1960

   My Baby Done Gone

      Guitar: Stick McGhee

      Composition: Sonny Terry

Sonny Terry   1962

   Blues Ain't Nothing But a Woman

      Bass: Willie Dixon   Drums: Jump Jackson

      Guitars: Brownie McGhee & T-Bone Walker

      Piano: Memphis Slim   Vocalist: Helen Humes

Sonny Terry   1967

   Burnt Child

      Guitar: Brownie McGhee

      Composition: Sonny Terry/Brownie McGhee

   Stranger Blues

      Guitar: Brownie McGhee


      Robert Ellen/Brownie McGhee

      Terry McGhee/Sonny Terry



Birth of the Blues: Big Walter Horton

Big Walter Horton

Source: Hohner Marine Band Harmonica


Being born in Horn Lake, Mississippi, circa 1918, placed harmonica player, Big Walter Horton (Shakey), just south of Memphis, major hub of the Mississippi Delta blues. His earlier career included time with the Memphis Jug Band. He recorded his initial tracks in Memphis for Columbia on July 1, 1939, supporting Little Buddy Doyle on 'Hard Scufflin' Blues' (OKeh 05771) and 'Grief Will Kill You' (Vocalion 05111). 'Slick Capers Blues' went unissued. Titles following on the 14th were 'Renewed Love Blues' (OKeh 05771), 'Bad In Mind Blues' (Vocalion 05111) and 'Three-Sixty-Nine Blues'/'She's Got Good Dry Goods' (Vocalion 05246). Other tracks went unissued. Due to poor health Walter dropped out of the music scene for several years in the forties. Later resuming his career, circa January 1951 he recorded 'Walter's Instrumental' to go unissued. Circa February several titles went down as Mumbles, two issued as 'Little Boy Blue'/'Now Tell Me Baby' (Modern 20-809). Backing are thought to have been Billy Red Love (piano) and Joe Hill Louis (percussion). Of tracks gone down in June as Mumbles two were released: 'Black Gal'/'Jumpin' Blues' (RPM 338). Phineas Newborn Jr. (piano) Calvin Newborn (guitar) and Phineas Newborn Sr. (drums) supported him on those. February 25 of '52 found him recording 'Blues in My Condition'/'Selling My Whiskey' as Little Walter with Jackie Boy (Jack Kelly), those (Sun 174) canceled. He was back to recording as Walter Horton again on April 25, 1952, to back Willie Nix on 'Truckin' Little Woman/'/Just One Mistake' (Checker 756) June 18 witnessed him supporting Joe Hill Louis on 'Dorothy Mae' (Checker 763). If to go by American Music's discography, Horton left Memphis for Chicago in latter 1952, he putting down his first titles in Chicago on January 9, 1953, for Chess, those unissued: 'Cold Love', 'Mean and Evil' and 'Eight Ball'. January 9, however, also saw several titles backing Muddy Waters, 'She's Allright'/'Sad, Sad Day' issued per Chess 1537 with Jimmy Rogers (guitar) and Willie Nix (drums). January 22 saw Horton behind Johnny Shines on 'Evening Sun'/'Brutal Hearted Woman' (JOB 1010). February 25 saw 'Easy' (Sun 180) issued as Jimmy & Walter, that with Jimmy DeBerry on guitar and Houston Stokes at drums. Later on December 1 Horton backed Tampa Red on 'Big Stars Falling Blues' (RCA Victor 20-5594). Horton published as Big Walter and his Combo from a session on November 1, 1954: 'Hard-Hearted Woman'/'Back Home to Mama' (States 145). 1956 saw titles with Arbee Stidham in June and Tommy Brown in August, he also recording as Shakey Horton that summer: 'Have a Good Time'/'Need My Baby' (Cobra 5002). Titles followed later that year for Otis Rush in October and Jimmy Rogers in December. He had also backed Sunnyland Slim and Lee Jackson on unidentified dates that year. Other personnel with whom Horton recorded from '51 to '56 at discogs. Continuing as a studio musician with Chess into the sixties, he supported several titles by Jessie Fortune in '63, as well as Johnny Shine's 'Evening Sun' and 'Brutal Hearted Woman' (JOB 1010). Horton recorded his first album in January of 1964 as Shakey Horton: 'The Soul of Blues Harmonica' (Argo 437). June 30 of '64 saw 'I Got What It Takes'/'What Kind of Man Is This' (Checker 1092) for Koko Taylor. Albeit Walter was largely an accompanist, he thereby came to no little prestige in the blues business. Four years later he issued 'Chicago Blues' with Johnny Young. 1972 saw 'Walter Shakey Horton with Hot Cottage', Kim Humphreys at vocals, as well as 'An Offer You Can't Refuse' with Paul Butterfield. His 'King of the Harmonica Players' was issued as well. 1973 found him on 'Big Walter Horton with Carey Bell' followed by 'Do Nothing Til You Hear from Us' in 1976 with Floyd Jones. Come 'Fine Cuts' in '77. 1980 brought 'Little Boy Blue' and 'Looka Here'. He then contributed several tracks to the 1981 issue of 'Old Friends Together for the First Time' with Kansas City Red and Sunnyland Slim. Horton died relatively young in his early sixties of heart failure in Chicago on December 8, 1981. Among his compositions in alphabetical order were 'Can't Hold Out Much Longer', 'Christine', 'Everything's Gonna Be Alright', 'Hard Hearted Woman', 'I Got the Blues', 'I Need Your Love', 'Last Night' and 'South Indiana'.

Big Walter Horton   1939

   Hard Scufflin' Blues

      With Little Buddy Doyle

      Composition: Little Buddy Doyle

Big Walter Horton   1951

   Hard Hearted Woman

      With Calvin & Phineas Newborn

      Composition: Walter Horton

Big Walter Horton   1953

   Evening Sun

      With Johnny Shines

      Composition: Johnny Shines

Big Walter Horton   1973

   St. Louis Blues

      Live performance

      Composition: WC Handy

   Walter's Slow Blues

      Live performance

      Composition: Walter Horton

Big Walter Horton   1980

   That Aint It/Down Yonder

       Live with Ronnie Earl

       'That Ain't It' written by James Lane

       'Down Yonder' written by Louis Wolfe Gilbert



Born Joseph Vernon Turner Jr. in Kansa City, Missourri, in 1911, vocalist Big Joe Turner (Boss of the Blues), first recorded on December 23 of 1938 at Carnegie Hall with pianist, Pete Johnson, putting out 'It's All Right Baby' and 'Low Down Dog'. December 30 saw 'Going Away Blues' and 'Roll Em Pete' to be issued by Vocalion (4607). Turner had quit school at age fourteen to busk and sing in Kansas City nightclubs, becoming known as the Singing Barman (singing bartender). During that period he also partnered with boogie woogie pianist, Pete Johnson. Turner made his first appearances on the West Coast in 1941 in Los Angeles. His first session there is thought to have been on September 1 contributing vocals with Duke Ellington on piano to 'Rocks in My Bed' for the 'Salute to Labor' broadcast by KFI Radio. He layed his first golden egg on Billboard's Top Ten in R&B with 'SK Blues' in 1945, nesting it at #3. Since his nest was only big enough for one egg it had to hatch and fly off before the rest could follow, including two rock tunes that reached #1: 'Honey Hush' in '53 and 'Shake, Rattle and Roll' in '54. Music VF shows his last of sixteen Top Ten titles in 1956 with 'Corrina Corrina' at #2. Turner released his debut album in 1956: 'The Boss of the Blues'. Turner began performing internationally in 1965, recording in France and Yugoslavia with trumpeter, Buck Clayton, that year, Mexico City (with Bill Haley) and Berlin the next. He would also record with Count Basie in Europe, 'Flip, Flop & Fly' made in Paris and Frankfurt in April of 1972. His final albums were 'Kansas City Here I Come' recorded on February 14, 1984, and 'Patcha, Patcha, All Night Long', made on April 11 of 1985 with Jimmy Witherspoon. Turner was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1983, died of heart failure in California on November 24, 1985, then was included in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1987. Other than those listed below, Turner composed such as (alphabetically) 'Blues on Central Avenue', 'Low Down Dog', 'Nobody in Mind', 'Rebecca', 'SK Blues' and 'Well Oh Well'. Discogs has him writing every title on the Czech compilation, 'Rocks in My Bed', issued in 2000. More Big Joe Turner.

Big Joe Turner   1939

   Going Away Blues

      Composition: Pete Johnson

Big Joe Turner   1941

   Rocks in My Bed

      Composition: Big Joe Turner

Big Joe Turner   1956

   How Long Blues

      Composition: See Wikipedia

Big Joe Turner   1941

   Wee Baby Blues

      Filmed live in London w Humphrey Lyttelton

      Composition: Pete Johnson/Joe Turner


Birth of the Blues: Big Joe Turner

Big Joe Turner

Source: Wikimedia Commons

Birth of the Blues: Champion Jack Dupree

Champion Jack Dupree

Photo: Karlheinz Klüter

Source: Herb Museum

Not known just when or where pianist Champion Jack Dupree was born, he was orphaned at age two and so named because he had been a Golden Gloves boxer. It was at the New Orleans Home for Colored Waifs that he taught himself piano. (Louis Armstrong had been a young resident there as well.) As a young adult Dupree supported his blues career as a cook and would favor that art the rest of his life. He first recorded in Chicago on May 9, 1940, backing vocalist, Lillian Green on 'Cherry Tree Blues', 'Just Rockin'', et al. Dupree would support Green to 1942 when World War II found his career interrupted by service in the Navy, during which he was a Japanese prisoner of war for a couple years. Back to recording in 1945, he would find a constant partner in Brownie McGhee to 1953. In 1955 Dupree alighted at #6 on Billboard's Top Ten R&B with 'Walking the Blues'. 1958 found him recording 'Blues from the Gutter'. Dupree moved to Europe for the remainder of his life in 1960, where he hopped from nation to nation, eventually to settle in Germany. He at first only sang 'Careless Love' (written by William Handy in 1926) for Papa Bue's 1962 rendition, but a later piano solo in 1991 (below) reveals his beautiful command of the keyboard. Highlighting the eighties were titles with clarinetist, Monty Sunshine, contributing to the latter's 'Freedom' in '80, '25 Jahre Old Merrytale Jazz Band' in '81 and 'Live' in '84. He began a partnership with pianist, Axel Zwingenberger, per the Mojo Blues Band in the latter eighties, he contributing vocals to 'Champs Housewarming' in 1988. Zwingenberger and Dupree recorded on several occasions in '88 and '90. Dupree died in Hanover, Germany, on January 21, 1992, at least 82 years of age. Brief accounts of his compositions are given in compilations at discogs 1, 2.

Champion Jack Dupree   1940

   Angola Blues

      Composition: Jack  Dupree

   Black Woman Swing

      Composition: Jack  Dupree

   Cabbage Greens

      Composition: Lucille Dupree

   Junker's Blues

      Composition: Willie Hall

Champion Jack Dupree   1954

   Shim Sham Shimmy

      Composition: Bobby Robinson

Champion Jack Dupree   1955

   Walking the Blues

      Composition: Jack Dupree/Teddy McRae

Champion Jack Dupree   1962

   Careless Love

      Vocal for Papa Bue

      Composition: Traditional   See Wikipedia

Champion Jack Dupree   1963

   Weed Head Woman

      Composition: Jack Dupree/Teddy McRae

Champion Jack Dupree   1971

   Everything's Gonna Be All Right

      Live performance   Saxophone: King Curtis

      Composition: Jack Dupree/King Curtis

   Junker's Blues

      Live performance   Saxophone: King Curtis

      Composition: Willie Hall

   Poor Boy Blues

      Live performance   Saxophone: King Curtis

      Composition: Jack Dupree/King Curtis

Champion Jack Dupree   1991

   Careless Love

      Piano solo

      Composition: Traditional   See Wikipedia



Born in Memphis, Tennessee, in 1915, Memphis Slim (John Chatman, Peter Chatman, LC Frazier) first emitted signals into the cosmos via recordings on August 6, 1940, upon moving to Chicago in 1939. Among those titles were 'The Jive Blues' and 'Blues at Midnight'. Among Slim's many esteemed compatriots was bassist/vocalist, Willie Dixon, who joined Slim in Chicago in time to record titles like 'Kilroy's Been Here' and 'Rockin' the House' in 1946. They would reunite in 1959-60 and 1962-63, their final sessions together are thought to been in Germany in October of 1963 to bear such as 'Jamboree Boogie', 'Wish Me Well' and 'In the Evening'. Slim dressed in high fashion with his House Rockers in 1948 with 'Messin' Around', that topping Billboard's R&B. Five more of his titles saw the Top Ten to as late as 'The Come Back' in 1953, that reaching #3. Slim recorded 'Every Day I Have the Blues' as 'Nobody Loves Me' in 1947. By popular association with the song he became erroneously credited with composing it, though there is an earlier release of it in 1935 by Henry Townsend and the Spark Brothers in Blues 3. Skipping numerous sessions in the decade to come, we arrive to Slim recording the live album, 'At the Gate of Horn', in Chicago on August 18, 1959. His first tour to Europe in 1960 resulted in 'Travelling With The Blues', recorded in Copenhagen, Denmark, on August 25 and 26. He next showed up in Europe in London to put down 'Alone with My Friends' on April 17, 1961. Europe quickly became a favorite venue for Slim. In '62 and '63 he would tour there with Dixon per the American Folk Festival concerts that Dixon organized to take the blues to Europe. Upon that tour Slim decided to leave the United States for Paris, France, permanently. One of the most highly regarded pianists in American music, Slim died of renal failure on February 24, 1988, in Paris. His recently recorded album, 'The Paris Sessions', was released posthumously in July of 1989. The much later CD issued in 2009, 'Fip, Fil and Fim', included titles from that.

Memphis Slim   1940

   Beer Drinking Woman

      Composition: Memphis Slim

   Grinder Man Blues

Memphis Slim   1946

   Don't Ration My Love

Memphis Slim   1947

   Every Day I Have the Blues

       Composition: Lindberg (Marion) & Pinetop Sparks

Memphis Slim   1950

   Slim's Blues

       Composition: Memphis Slim

Memphis Slim   1951

   Mother Earth

       Composition: Memphis Slim/Lewis Simkins

Memphis Slim   1953

   The Comeback

       Composition: Memphis Slim

Memphis Slim   1954

   She's Alright

       Composition: Memphis Slim

Memphis Slim   1958

   Gotta Find My Baby

       Composition: Memphis Slim


Birth of the Blues: Memphis Slim

Memphis Slim

Source: Blues Everyday


Born in 1916 in Muscogee, Oklahoma, bandleader and pianist Jay McShann left Oklahoma for the Kansas City music scene in 1936, forming his own orchestra that same year. He was with his band in Wichita, Kansas, when he was recorded live at the Trocadero Ballroom on August 9, 1940: 'Jumpin' at the Woodside' and 'Walkin' and Swingin'. Those aren't thought to have been issued until several decades later. More broadcasts followed in November and December from KFBI Radio to be issued by Onyx, 'I've Found a New Baby' and 'Body and Soul' from November. McShann won a contract with Decca in 1941, his first recordings for that label in Dallas, Texas, on April 30, 1941: 'Swingmatism', 'Hootie Blues' 'Dexter Blues', 'Vine Street Boogie', 'Confessin' the Blues' and 'Hold 'Em Hootie'. McShann's 'Get Me on Your Mind' sat at #7 on Billboard's R&B in 1943. McShann and/or his orchestra were giant magnets in support of other musicians. Significantly so was vocalist, Jimmy Witherspoon, with whom he began to work after World War II, having been drafted in 1944. McShann backed Witherspoon in 1945-48, later in '57 and '59. His first titles with Witherspoon had been in July of '45 with his Jazz Men: 'Confessiin the Blues' and 'Hard Working Man Blues'. His last in circa January of 1959 were such as 'Goin' Down Slow' and 'I'll Get By'. We back up to 1949 for McShann's second Top Ten R&B title, 'Hot Biscuits', that reaching #9. In 1955 McShann backed Kansas City rocker, Priscilla Bowman, on titles like 'Hands Off' and 'Hootie Blues'. The former topped Billboard's R&B at #1. Highlighting the sixties came saxophonist/vocalist, Eddie Cleanhead Vinson, for numerous recordings in Paris in 1969, later at the 1973 Newport Jazz Festival (at Lincoln Center in NYC) and, finally, the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland in 1974 to bear Vinson's 'Jamming the Blues'. Highlighting the seventies were dual pianos with Ralph Sutton in December of 1979, those to be found on Vol 1 & 2 of 'The Last of the Whorehouse Players'. McShann and Sutton would put two pianos to use again in 1989 for a third issue of 'The Last of the Whorehouse Players'. Dual pianos would come into play again with Axel Zwingenberger at the Jazzland in Vienna, Austria, in March of 1990 for titles that would see issue on 'Swing the Boogie' and 'Blue Pianos'. McShann followed those with June sessions which titles would appear on 'Stride Piano Summit' in 1991. McShann also appeared on 'Eastwood After Hours' released in 1997, an album by various artists in honor of actor, Clint Eastwood, recorded at Carnegie Hall in 1996. McShann is thought to have made his last recordings in Toronto, Ontario, in February 2001 for an album that would be issued as 'Hootie Blues' in 2006 a couple months before his death in June that year, his career spanning more than six decades. Discogs proffers this list of titles by McShann with songwriting credits. See recordings w Charlie Parker as well. More Jay McShann in Big Band Swing.

Jay McShann   1941

   Confessin' the Blues

       Composition: Jay McShann/Walter Brown

   Hootie Blues

       Composition: Charles Parker/Jay McShann

   Vine Street Blues

       Composition: Jay McShann

Jay McShann   1942

   Lonely Boy Blues

      Vocal: Walter Thomas

       Composition: Jay McShann

       Arrangement: Skippa Hall

Jay McShann   1946

   Strange Woman Blues

       Composition: Jay McShann/Jimmy Witherspoon

Jay McShann   1949

   Slow Drag Blues

       Composition: Jay McShann

Jay McShann   1983

   Once Upon a Time

       Composition: Charles Strouse/Lee Adams

Jay McShann   1990

   I'm Just a Lucky So and So

      Bass: Milt Hinton   Tenor sax: Plas Johnson

       Composition: Mack David/Duke Ellington

Jay McShann   1996

   Tain't Nobody's Bizness If I Do


       Porter Grainger/Grahm Prince

       Everett Robbins/Clarence Williams

Jay McShann   2006

   I'll Catch The Sun

      Recorded 2001

       Composition: Rod McKuen


Birth of the Blues: Jay McShann

Jay McShann

Source: Kickmag

Birth of the Blues: Big Maceo Merriweather

Big Maceo Merriweather

Source: Big Road Blues



Born Major Merriweather in 1905 in Newman, Georgia, Big Maceo Merriweather's family took him to Atlanta at age fifteen. Four years later he headed for Detroit to begin a musical career. He there gigged for a good fifteen-sixteen years before moving across Michigan to Chicago in 1941 where he fell in with Tampa Red who helped him acquire his first recording contract. American Music (AM) places his first sessions on June 24, 1941, with Red (guitar) and Ransom Knowling on bass. Six of those titles were for Merriweather: 'Can't You Read'/'So Long Baby' (Bluebird B8772), 'Ramblin' Mind Blues'/'County Jail Blues' (Bluebird B8798) and 'Texas Blues'/'Worried Life Blues' (Bluebird B8890). Another eight were for Red: 'You'd Better Be Ready to Go'/'No Baby No' (Bluebird B8890), 'Georgia, Georgia Blues'/'It's a Low Down Shame' (Bluebird B8919), 'She's Love Crazy'/'So Far, So Good' (Bluebird B8962) and 'I Got a Right to Be Blue'/'Don't Deal with the Devil' (Bluebird B8991). Later on December 15 Red backed Merriweather with Alfred Elkins at bass on 'I Got the Blues'/'Why Should I Hang Around?' (Bluebird B8939), 'It's All Up to You'/'Tuff Luck Blues' (Bluebird B8973) and 'Bye, Bye, Baby'/'Poor Kelly Blues' (Bluebird B9012). February and July of '42 saw several titles for both Merriweather and Red with Clifford Snags Jones on drums. Issued by Red were 'Gin Head Woman'/'Don't Jive It Mama' (Bluebird B9009), 'She Want To Sell My Monkey'/'Mean and Evil Woman' (Bluebird B9024), 'Let Me Play with Your Poodle'/'My First Love Blues' (Bluebird 34-0700) and 'You Gonna Miss Me When I'm Gone'/'I Ain't Fur It' (Bluebird B34-0711). Released by Merriweather were 'Anytime for You'/'Since You Been Gone' (Bluebird 34-0703). Tracks in June had gone unissued. Moving ahead a few years, Merriweather backed Big Bill Broonzy on several titles on February 19 and 24 of '45. Released back to back were 'Oh Baby'/'When I Get to Thinkin'' (OKeh 6739), 'Humble Blues'/'Roll Dem Bones' (Columbia 30002) and 'Cell No. 13 Blues'/'You Got the Best Go' (Columbia 30009). "Partnership Woman' (Feb 19) saw issue in 1949 per Columbia 30143. On February 26 Red supported Merriweather with Melvin Draper on drums for 'Kid Man Blues'/'Things Have Changed' (Bluebird 34-0735), 'Chicago Breakdown'/'Winter Time Blues' (Bluebird 34-0743) and 'Big Road Blues'/'Won't Be A Fool No More' (RCA Victor 20-1870). 'I'm So Worried' saw release in 1947. July 5 of 1945 saw Merriweather backing Red on 'I Can't Get Along With You' and 'Mercy Mama', those released in '46. October 19 of '45 witnessed Merriweather supporting Sonny Boy Williamson I's 'You're an Old Lady'/'Early in the Morning' (RCA Victor 20-1875) as well as 'Stop Breaking Down' (RCA Victor 20-304) and 'The Big Boat' (RCA Victor 20-3218). He also backed Red's ' Up Some Day'/'I Oughta Bite You' (RCA Victor 20-2147) on that date for release the next year. American Music has Merriweather with Jazz Gillum on February 18 of 1946 to put down such as 'Keep On Sailing', 'Fast Woman Blues', 'Reckless Rider Blues', 'Look On Yonder Wall', 'Long Razor Blues' and 'All In All Blues'. Merriweather was back with Red the next day to back him on 'Crying Won't Help You', 'Maybe Some Day', et al. AM has Merriweather and Red supporting each other numerously to as late as April 14, 1949, for Merriweather's 'Do You Remember'/'Big City Blues' (Specialty 320) and 'One Sunday Morning'/'Just Tell Me Baby' (Specialty 346). 1950 saw tracks with the support of guitarist, John Brim: 'Leaving Blues'/'Have You Heard About It?' (Fortune 137) and 'Worried Life Blues No. 2'/'Strange To Me Blues' (Fortune 805). The latter had also gone down with the John Brim Combo for vocalist, Grace Brim: 'Worried Life Blues No. 2'/'Strange to Me Blues' (Fortune 801). Those are thought to have been Merriweather's last sessions to issue. He recorded four more tracks circa January 1952 for Mercury that went unreleased: 'Boogie Jump', 'Goin' Back', 'Mellow Chick' and one untitled. Merriweather died of heart attack the next year in Chicago on February 23, 1953. His most popular composition had been 'Things Have Changed', that finding the #4 spot on Billboard's R&B in 1945. Other of his compositions at allmusic. Songwriting credits for years 1941-42. Songwriting credits for years 1945-50. Covers of his compositions by other artists. Merriweather wrote all titles below.

Big Maceo Merriweather   1941

   Can't You Read

   County Jail Blues

   Poor Kelly Blues

   So Long Baby

   Worried Life Blues

Big Maceo Merriweather   1942

   Bye Bye Baby

Big Maceo Merriweather   1945

   Kid Man Blues

  Things Have Changed

   Winter Time Blues

Big Maceo Merriweather   1946

   Chicago Breakdown



Birth of the Blues: Eddie Cleanhead Vinson

Eddie Cleanhead Vinson

Source: Erwin Boermans

Born in Houston, Texas, in 1917, alto saxophonist and vocalist Eddie Cleanhead Vinson learned his lesson about using hair straightening products when one containing lye left him nary a strand. Though his hair grew back he decided he liked the more elegant look which that accident had brought him, so kept his head shaved thereafter. Vinson joined the Milton Larkin Orchestra in the latter thirties, toured with Big Bill Broonzy shortly thereafter, then joined the Cootie Williams Orchestra, with which he first recorded 'When I Left My Baby' on April 1, 1942. Vinson stuck with Williams into 1945 when he formed his own orchestra to record his debut titles as a leader on an unidentified date in 1945. Be Bop Wino would indicate his first issue to have been 'I’ve Been So Good'/'It’s a Groovy Affair' (Mercury 2030). 'The Billboard' magazine has that released by December 1, 1945. 45Cat and 45Worlds have 'Juice Head Baby'/'Mr. Cleanhead Steps Out' (Mercury 2031) released as Mercury's next plate in December 1945. A session on December 11 yielded the issued titles, 'Cherry Red Blues/Somebody's Got to Go' (Mercury 8003) and 'Too Many Women Blues/Just a Dream' (Mercury 8009) [Michel Ruppli/Ed Novitsky]. Vinson placed two titles on Billboard's R&B Top Ten in 1947 per 'Kidney Stew' at #5 and 'Old Maid Boogie' at #1. 'Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red' found the #6 spot in 1949. His first album as a leader was 'Clean Head's Back in Town' in 1957, followed by 'Back Door Blues' in 1962. His third of several more arrived in 1967: 'Cherry Red'. John Coltrane had been a member of Vinson's band in 1952-53. Vinson himself was a member of Count Basie's operation from the mid fifties into the seventies, that a nonstop outfit touring and recording prolifically in addition to Vinson's career otherwise. The sixties found him working variously with such as Johnny Otis ('Johnny Otis Show'), Cannonball Adderley and Jay McShann. 1987 saw his album with Etta James, 'The Night Show'. He had toured Europe several times, including the Montreux Jazz Festival in Switzerland. Among Vinson's numerous compositions were 'Mr. Cleanhead Steps Out', 'King For a Day Blues' and 'Home Boy'. He also wrote 'Tune Up' and 'Four' for Miles Davis. Other songwriting credits to Vinson's recordings at allmusic 1, 2. Vinson died of heart attack on July 2, 1988, in Los Angeles.

Eddie Vinson   1944

   Somebody's Got to Go

      With the Cootie Williams Orchestra

       Composition: Bob Haggart

Eddie Vinson   1945

  Juice Head Baby

      With the Cootie Williams Orchestra

       Composition: Cootie Williams/Holmes Daylie

   When My Baby Left Me

      With the Cootie Williams Orchestra

       Composition: Vinson/Cootie Williams

Eddie Vinson   1947

   Kidney Stew Blues

       Composition: Vinson/Leona Blackman

   Wait a Minute Baby

       Composition: Vinson

Eddie Vinson   1961

   Bright Lights Big City

      With Cannonball Adderley

       Composition: Jimmy Reed

Eddie Vinson   1967

   Alimony Blues

       Composition: Vinson/Lou Zito

   Cherry Red

       Composition: Pete Johnson/Big Joe Turner

   Somebody's Got to Go

       Composition: Big Bill Broonzy

Eddie Vinson   1987

   Cleanhead Blues/Old Maid Boogie

       Live 1986

       Both composed by Vinson


  Born in 1913 in Columbia, Tennesee, it was as Pvt. Cecil Gant that pianist Cecil Gant first billed himself after having served in the military during World War II. Having been raised in Cleveland, Ohio, he'd begun his musical career in Nashville before the War's debut explosions in '39. Gant served his first plate in 1944 with his compositions, 'I Wonder'/'Cecil's Boogie' (Gilt Edge 501). 'I Wonder' flew to the #1 tier in Billboard's R&B that year. 'Cecil's Boogie' followed in 1945 (#5) along with 'I'm Tired' (#4) and 'The Grass Is Getting Greener' (#7). 1948 witnessed 'Another Day Another Dollar' alight at #6. 'Special Delivery' saw #11 that year, 'I'm a Good Man But a Poor Man' #12 the next. Among Gant's numerous compositions were 'I'm Tired', 'Are You Ready', 'The Grass Is Getting Greener', 'Special Delivery', 'I'm a Good Man But a Poor Man' and 'Cecil's Jam Session'. Other songwriting credits at allmusic 1, 2. Gant died of pneumonia on February 4 of 1951, age only 37, too young to witness the emergence of rock n roll from out the R&B to which he had contributed. Boogie woogie piano by Gant in Rock n Roll 1.

Cecil Gant   1944

   I Wonder

       Composition: Gant

Cecil Gant   1946

   I'll Remember You

Cecil Gant   1948

   I'm a Good Man But a Poor Man

       Composition: Gant

Cecil Gant   1950

   Another Day, Another Dollar

   I Ain't Gonna Cry No More

       Composition: Gant


Birth of Rock & Roll: Cecil Gant

Cecil Gant

Source: The Music's Over

Birth of Rock & Roll: Big Maybelle

Big Maybelle

Source: Rubber City Review

Born Mabel Louise Smith in 1924 in Jackson, Tennessee, rhythm and blues vocalist, Big Maybelle, sang gospel before picking up R&B a child. Wikipedia has her beginning her career at age twelve with Dave Clark's Memphis Band in 1936. She sang with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm from '36 to '44. In the early forties Maybelle became study to Christine Chapman at piano and vocals. She first recorded on April 6, 1944, with the Christine Chapman Orchestra for Decca Records: 'Bottin' the Boogie' and 'Hurry, Hurry'. She then hooked up with the Tiny Bradshaw Orchestra in Cincinnati in winter of '47 for such as 'Indian Giver' and 'Foolin' Blues' (King). Maybelle's first recordings with King Records didn't do well. But her first recording for Okeh Records on October 8 of 1952, 'Gabbin Blues', rose to No. 3 on the charts in January of '53, launching a highly successful career as she followed that later in the year with 'Way Back Home' at No. 10 in June and 'My Country Man' at No. 5 in November. She was given the name, Big Maybelle, by producer, Fred Mendelsohn, of Okeh Records. 'Candy Man' reached No. 11 in June of 1956. Sadly, Maybelle died young (not quite fifty years old) of diabetic coma, in 1972 in Cleveland. Her last recordings were released the next year on an album titled, 'Last of Big Maybelle'. See allmusic for songwriting credits to some of her titles. More Big Maybelle in Rock Development.

Big Maybelle   1947

   Bad Dream Blues

       Composition: Leona Blackman

   Sad and Disappointed

       Composition: Leona Blackman

Big Maybelle   1952

   Gabbin' Blues

       Composition: Leroy Kirkland/Robert Lee McCoy

Big Maybelle   1954

   Maybelle's Blues

       Composition: Mabel Smith (Big Maybelle)

Big Maybelle   1967

   Maybelle Sings the Blues

       Composition: Smith/Taylor/Briggs

Big Maybelle   1973

   The Masquerade Is Over

      Album: 'Last of Big Maybelle'

       Composition: Herbert Magidson/Allie Wrubel



Inheriting Mamie Smith's title of Queen of the Blues, jazz singer Dinah Washington released her first recording, 'Evil Gal Blues', in 1944 with Lionel Hampton. 'Choo Choo Baby' and 'Arkansas' were recorded on an uncertain date about the same time (December 29, 1943). Her first recording of 1944 was for an AFRS (Armed Forces Radio Service) broadcast of 'One Night Stand' (#152): 'A Slip of the Lip'. Born Ruth Lee Jones in 1924 in Alabama, Washington was very much the gospel singer as a child raised mostly in Chicago. She had begun singing in clubs at age fifteen. Her career was made when Hampton visited one of her shows at the Garrick, her first performance with him at the Chicago Regal Theatre. Washington kept with Hampton until venturing upon a solo career in 1946. Washington's brief career saw a remarkable 35 titles reach Billboard's Top Ten in R&B. The first to gain #1 was 'Am I Asking Too Much in 1948, followed by 'Baby Get Lost' in '49. 'This Bitter Earth' found #1 in 1960, as well as two songs with Brook Benton, 'Baby (You've Got What It Takes)' and 'Rockin' Good Way'. Among the most beloved jazz vocalists of the 20th century, Washington died of an accidental drug overdose (diet pills) on December 14, 1963, only 39 years of age. Lord's discography lists her final sessions on October 15 that year, the last three tracks of which were 'Lingering', 'Lord You Made Us Human' and 'They Said You'd Come Back Running'. A brief account of Washington's recordings with songwriting credits. More Dinah Washington in Modern Jazz Song.

Dinah Washington   1943

   Evil Gal Blues

      With Lionel Hampton

       Composition: Leonard Feather/Lionel Hampton

Dinah Washington   1944

   Salty Papa Blues

      With Lionel Hampton

       Composition: Leonard Feather/Sammy Price

Dinah Washington   1948

   Long John Blues

       Composition: Tommy George/Washington

Dinah Washington   1953

   No Hard Feelings

       Composition: Kenny Jacobson/Rhoda Roberts

Dinah Washington   1955

   Birth Of The Blues

       Composition: 1926

       Music: Ray Henderson

       Lyrics: Buddy DeSylva/Lew Brown

Dinah Washington   1958

   Back Water Blues

       Composition: Bessie Smith   1927

Dinah Washington   1963

   How Long, How Long Blues

       Composition: Leroy Carr   1928

       From 'How Long Daddy' by Ida Cox   1925

   Nobody Knows the Way I Feel This Morning

       Composition: Pearl Delaney/Tom Delaney


Birth of the Blues: Dinah Washington

Dinah Washington

Source: ladybret



Born in 1922, pianist Charles Brown was classically trained and already had a degree in chemistry when he left Texas for Los Angeles in 1943 where he played the local blues clubs which led to his first recordings with Johnny Moore & the Three Blazers in late 1944: 'Nightfall and 'Maureen'. Brown recorded with the Blazers until 1948 when he decided to go solo with Aladdin Records to record such as 'Get Yourself Another Fool' 'Ooh! Ooh! Sugar'. Brown placed four titles on Billboard's Top Ten in R&B in 1949 alone, 'Trouble Blues' finding #1. Other titles for Aladdin included such as 'Again' and 'One Never Knows Does One' on January 17, 1950. Black Night' reached Billboard's #1 spot in 1951. Brown would join the Blazers again in 1952 for such as 'In the Day' and 'Strange Love'. Taking quite a leap ahead to the the sixties, Brown began that decade with tenor saxophonist, Clifford Scott, in the winter of 1960 for such as 'Shy-33' and 'Hang Out'. He recorded the album, 'Boss of the Blues', circa 1964. Highlighting the seventies was opportunity to participate in titles to T-Bone Walker's 'Very Rare' in 1973. Among the more highly underrated blues musicians, Lord's disco has latest recordings by Brown per vocals with Maria Muldaur in 1998 to be found on 'Meet Me Where They Play the Blues'. Brown died of heart failure on January 21, 1999, in Oakland, California. A brief compilation of Brown's recordings with compositional credits at discogs. Several of the recordings below are pretty worn and there are few more at YouTube. All tracks below through 'Don't Get Salty, Sugar' are Brown with the Blazers. 'My Last Affair' is among his first recordings in 1948 upon beginning to record in his own name.

Charles Brown   1945

   Blazer's Boogie

       Composition: Three Blazers

   Driftin' Blues

       Composition: Brown

Charles Brown   1946



       Brown/Eddie Williams/Johnny Moore

   You Are My First Love


       Brown/Mack David/Ruth Lowe

Charles Brown   1947


       Composition: Leon René

Charles Brown   1948

   Don't Get Salty, Sugar

       Composition: Buck Ram/Pete Slauson

   My Last Affair

       Composition: Haven Johnson

Charles Brown   1950

   My Baby's Gone

Charles Brown   1951

   Black Night

       Composition: Brown/Jessie Mae Robinson

   Rockin' Blues

       Composition: Johnny Otis

Charles Brown   1962

   Good Time Charlie

       Composition: Buddy Harper/Louis Gooden


Birth of the Blues: Charles Brown

Charles Brown

Source: James'z Rockin' Blues


Birth of the Blues: Jimmy Witherspoon

Jimmy Witherspoon

Photo: Concord Music Group

Source: Black Kudos

Born in Gurdon, Arkansas, in 1920, vocalist Jimmy Witherspoon (aka Spoon), was one of blues' shouters, able to sing with an orchestra unamplified. Performing largely jump blues, Witherspoon ran away from home sometime in the thirties to Los Angeles. He there worked as a dishwasher and such, eventually gigging with local bands until he joined the Merchant Marine in 1941. He was stationed in Calcutta, India, when he climbed aboard Teddy Weatherford's jazz outfit to sing on radio for the Armed Forces Network (AFN). Released from tour in '43, he fell in with jazz pianist and bandleader Jay McShann and His Jazz Men in San Francisco in 44. First recording with McShann in '45, he appeared on 'Confessin' the Blues' and 'Hard Working Man Blues'. McShann and Witherspoon would see a lot of each other one way or another to 1948, to reunite in the latter fifties a couple of times. Witherspoon placed four titles on Billboard's R&B Top Ten in 1949 alone: 'Ain't Nobody's Business' (#1), 'Big Fine Gal' (#4), 'In the Evening' (#5) and 'No Rollin' Blues' (#4). 'The Wind Is Blowin'' reached #7 in 1952. Witherspoon is thought to have issued his first album in 1956 in France with Wilbur De Paris at trombone, that a 10" titled 'Blues Blues Blues' (Atlantic 332007), released the next on LP: 'Wilbur De Paris Plays & Jimmy Witherspoon Sings New Orleans Blues'. 1957 also saw the LP, 'Goin' to Kansas City Blues', with McShann. Recording prolifically throughout his career, Wikipedia has Witherspoon issuing above sixty albums to the year of death. Among the many orchestras with which he worked was Buck Clayton's per his first tour to Europe in 1961, that resulting in 'Olympia Concert'. Upon a career of well above 150 sessions [Lord's Disco], Witherspoon is thought to have put down his last per a concert in Vancouver, B.C., circa 1996, that coming to 'Jimmy Witherspoon with the Duke Robillard Band'. Witherspoon died of throat cancer in 1997 in Los Angeles. Among Witherspoon's numerous compositions were, alphabetically, 'Bags Under My Eyes', 'Big Fine Girl', 'Blue Monday', 'I Made a Lot of Mist', 'Money Is Getting Cheaper', 'Pillar to Post', 'Rain Is Such a Lonesome Sound' and 'Skid Row Blues'. Songwriting credits to Witherspoon's recordings at 45Cat, Allmusic 1, 2 and Discogs 1, 2. Witherspoon also listed in A Birth of Rock and Roll 7.

Jimmy Witherspoon   1945

   Shipyard Woman Blues

      With Jay McShann

       Composition: Jimmy Witherspoon

Jimmy Witherspoon   1947

   Backwater Blues

       Composition: Bessie Smith   1927

Jimmy Witherspoon   1949

   Ain't Nobody's Business

       Composition: Porter Grainger/Everett Robbins

Jimmy Witherspoon   1953

   Back Door Blues

       Composition: Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller

Jimmy Witherspoon   1956

   Still In Love

       Composition: Doc Pomus

Jimmy Witherspoon   1959

   No Rollin' Blues

       Composition: Jimmy Witherspoon

Jimmy Witherspoon   1961

   Nobody Knows You When You're Down And Out

       Composition: Jimmy Cox   1923

Jimmy Witherspoon   1964

   S.K. Blues

       Composition: Saunders King



Born in Houston in 1927, pianist Amos Milburn was playing piano by age five. Much of his work is exemplary of jump blues (up-tempo blues). He enlisted in the Navy during World War II at age fifteen and earned thirteen battle stars in the Philippines before returning to Houston to form his first band. It was 1946 when Milburn released his first recordings gone down in Los Angeles: 'After Midnight'/'Amos's Blues' (Aladdin 159), 'Darling How Long'/'My Baby's Boogie' (Aladdin 160) and 'Don't Beg Me'/'Down the Road Apiece' (Aladdin 161). From 1948 to 1954 Milburn placed no less than 19 titles on Billboard's R&B Top Ten. Four of those reached #1: 'Bewildered' ('48), 'Chicken-Shack Boogie' ('48), 'Roomin' House Boogie' ('49) and 'Bad Bad Whiskey' ('50). Compositional credits to recordings by Milburn at 45Cat, Allmusic 1, 2, 3, 4 and Discogs 1, 2. Milburn died on January 3, 1980. More Amos Milburn in A Birth of Rock n Roll 1.

Amos Milburn   1946

   Amos Blues

       Composition: Lola Anne Cullum/Amos Milburn

Amos Milburn   1947

   Blues at Sundown

       Composition: Lola Anne Cullum/Amos Milburn

   Empty Arms Blues

       Composition: John Erby

   Hard Driving Blues

       Composition: Frank Haywood/Micky Tucker

   Operation Blues

       Composition: Lady Riese

Amos Milburn   1948


       Composition: Leonard Whitcup/Teddy Powell

Amos Milburn   1949

   In the Middle of the Night

       Composition: Jessie Mae Robinson

   It Took a Long, Long Time

       Composition: Jesse Cryor

Amos Milburn   1950

   Bad, Bad, Whiskey

      Television performance

       Composition: Maxwell Davis

   Hard Luck Blues

       Composition: Roy Brown

   Two Years of Torture

       Composition: Lola Anne Cullum/Amos Milburn

Amos Milburn   1952

   Thinkin' and Drinkin'/Trouble In Mind

Amos Milburn   1953

   Let Me Go Home, Whiskey

       Composition: Shifty Henry

   One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer

       Composition: Rudy Toombs

Amos Milburn   1963

   My Baby Gave Me Another Chance

       Composition: Amos Milburn/Clarence Paul


Birth of the Blues: Amos Milburn

Amos Milburn

Source: MP3 XL

Birth of the Blues: Sunnyland Slim

Sunnyland Slim

Source: Mapleshade Records

Born Albert Luandrew in 1907 in Vance, Mississippi, pianist and vocalist, Sunnyland Slim, had a preacher for a father. Slim left home for Memphis at age eighteen where he worked day jobs while applying himself to boogie woogie piano. The next several years saw Slim develop into a popular musician, though yet dependent on odd jobs. It was to work in a factory that found him in Chicago by the early forties. His musical career meanwhile began gaining ground as he performed with such as Baby Face Leroy (Leroy Foster), Tampa Red, Doctor Clayton and Sonny Boy Williamson II [Marion, et al]. His debut recording session fell on September 26 of 1946, singing vocals for Jump Jackson on 'Night Life Blues' (Specialty 507 Nov '46). (Pianist, Roosevelt Sykes, sang vocals on Side A: 'Alley Cat Woman'). Most sources want Slim's first solo name session per Aristocrat (to become Chess in 1950) in late August or early September of '47, backed by Muddy Waters on 'Johnson Machine Gun'/'Fly Right Little Girl' (Aristocrat 1301). He supported Waters on 'Gypsy Woman'/'Little Anna Mae' (Aristocrat 1302). Campbell et al note that a session for Hy-Tone could possibly have preceded that, also put down in latter August or early September on an unidentified date to include: 'Jivin' Boogie'/'Brown Skin Woman' (Hy-Tone 32). Slim also recorded as "Doctor Clayton's Buddy" for RCA Victor in '47, eight sides to include 'Illinois Central' with 'Sweet Lucy Blues' B side. Slim issued his first LP in 1960: 'Chicago Blues Session', followed by 'Slim's Shout' the next year. The blues revival concurrent with the folk revival in the sixties served him well as he toured the States and Europe, such as the American Folk Blues Festival in 1964. Slim formed Airway Records about 1973, releasing four albums with it (: 'She Got That Jive' '74, 'Just You and Me' '81). Slim remained active until dying of renal failure in 1995 in Chicago. Among Slim's numerous recording partners had been Snooky Pryor, Robert Lockwood Jr, Moody Jones, Ernest Cotton, Big Crawford, Alfred Wallace, Big Walter Horton, Jimmy Rogers, Bob Woodfork, Willie Dixon, SP Leary and Canned Heat. Slim wrote all titles below except as indicated. Slim had written titles like 'Johnson Machine Gun', 'My Baby, My Baby', 'Got a Thing Going On' and 'See My Lawyer'. Other of his compositions at allmusic 1, 2, 45cat and discogs. Slim wrote all titles below except as noted. More Sunnyland Slim in Rock Development.

Sunnyland Slim   1947

   Broke and Hungry

   Illinois Central

Sunnyland Slim   1951

   Down Home Child

   Mary Lee

   When I Was Young

Sunnyland Slim   1953

   The Devil Is A Busy Man

   Worried About My Baby

Sunnyland Slim   1960

   The Devil Is A Busy Man

Sunnyland Slim   1964

   Brownskin Woman

      Guitar: Mike Bloomfield

   Come Home Baby

      Guitar: Hubert Sumlin

       Composition: McKinley Morganfield

   It's You Baby

      Guitar: Mike Bloomfield

   Sunnyland's Jump

      Guitar: Mike Bloomfield

Sunnyland Slim   1966

   Bye, Bye Bye Baby, Goodbye

      With Muddy Waters

   Tin Pan Alley

       Composition: Curtis Jones

Sunnyland Slim   1969

   I Am the Blues

       Composition: Willie Dixon



Birth of the Blues: Roy Brown

Roy Brown

Photo: Jerry Haussler

Source: Blues Tour Database

Born in 1920 or 1925 in Linder, Louisiana, Roy Brown Brown left home for Los Angeles in the forties where he held 18 matches as a professional boxer [see Marion 1, 2]. He did some gigs in L.A. before some restless traveling about as a vocalist, first back to Shreveport, Louisiana, then Houston, then Galveston where he sang 'Good Rockin' Tonight' on radio. Come his initial recording session in 1947 to issue Deep Sea Diver'/'Bye Baby Bye' (Gold Star 636). It's said Brown won his contract to record 'Good Rockin' Tonight' by singing it over the phone to DeLuxe Records president, Jules Braun. That was released with 'Lolly Pop Mama' flip side in 1947, reaching #13 on Billboard's R&B. But 'Long About Midnight' rose to #1 four months later in October. Fourteen of Brown's titles penetrated the Top Ten in the next nine years. 'Hard Luck Blues' became another #1 title in 1950. His last Top Ten was 'Let the Four Winds Blow' in 1957 at #5. Brown's titles were largely composed by himself, a few of the numerous in alphabetical being: 'Beautician Blues', 'Boogie at Midnight', 'Lolly Pop Mama', 'Long About Midnight', 'Love Don't Love Nobody', 'Mighty, Mighty Man', 'Miss Fanny Brown' and 'Train Time Blues'. Songwriting credits to other of his recordings at 45Worlds, 45Cat, Allmusic and Discogs. Brown died of heart attack in 1981 in California, only 55 years of age. More Roy Brown in Fifties American Rock.

Roy Brown   1949

   The Blues Got Me Again

       Composition: Roy Brown

Roy Brown   1950

   Hard Luck Blues

       Composition: Roy Brown

   Judgment Day Blues

       Composition: Roy Brown

Roy Brown   1951

   Bar Room Blues

       Composition: Roy Brown

   Wrong Woman Blues



Birth of the Blues: Percy Mayfield

Percy Mayfield

Source: All Music

Percy Mayfield was another class act composer and pianist with similar rivals like Charles Brown, Nat King Cole and Ray Charles. Born in 1920 in Louisiana, Mayfield performed in Texas before going to California in 1942. His first recordings occurred circa December 1947, Parts 1 & 2 of 'Jack, You Ain't Nowhere' [spontaneouslunacy]. His composition originally intended for Jimmy Witherspoon, 'Two Years of Torture' [spontaneouslunacy], saw release in '48 as well, that backed by 'Mama, Get Way Back' with his Gang O'Swing. [See houndblog, soulfulkindamusic.] Mayfield didn't charge everybody's batteries all at once. He issued three more plates in '49 that didn't chart either. He came to national attention in a big way, though, in 1950 when 'Please Send Me Someone to Love' rose to #1 on Billboard's R&B. Mayfield placed six more titles in the Top Ten to 'The Big Question' in 1952 at #6. Unfortunately an auto accident between Las Vegas and L.A. put him off track. He continued to record, though to no success nearing that before his accident. His composing, however, was another matter. He is responsible, for example, for 'Hit the Road Jack', recorded by Ray Charles in 1961. Charles took three more of Mayfield's compositions to the Top Ten in '61 and '62: 'But On the Other Hand Baby', 'At the Club' and 'Hide Nor Hair'. As Charles' career continued volcanically onward, however, Mayfield's gradually dropped away despite several albums. His first, 'My Jug and I', issued in '66. 1969 saw 'Walking on a Tightrope', followed in 1970 by 'Sings Percy Mayfield' and 'Weakness Is a Thing Called Man'. 1971 brought 'Blues... And Then Some' and 'Bought Blues'. Mayfield then went stealth for eight years until 'Hit the Road Again' saw issue in 1983, that with the Phillip Walker Blues Band. He died of heart attack in relative obscurity on August 11, 1984. Among Mayfield's numerous compositions were 'Half Awoke', 'The Hunt Is On', 'Never Say Naw', 'This TIme You Suffer Too' and 'Yes, You'll Play'. Other songwriting credits at 45Cat and Discogs. More of Mayfield in Rock 1.

Percy Mayfield   1947

   Two Years of Torture

       Composition: Percy Mayfield

Percy Mayfield   1950

   Please Send Me Someone to Love

       Composition: Percy Mayfield

Percy Mayfield   1951

   Life Is Suicide

       Composition: Percy Mayfield

Percy Mayfield   1964

   My Jug and I

       Composition: Percy Mayfield



Birth of the Blues: Little Walter

Little Walter

Source: Bon Corretore

Born Marion Walter Jacobs in 1930 in Marksville, Louisiana, harmonica player (also guitar), Little Walter (Marion Walter Jacobs), was the first-known harp player to amplify harmonica, holding the instrument to the microphone. Walter quit school at age twelve to busk the streets of New Orleans. He headed for Chicago at age fifteen where he met Bernard Abrams who operated Ora Nelle Records in the rear room of a record shop. His first recordings, 'Ora-nelle Blues'/'Just Keep Loving Her', were released in 1947 per Ora Nelle 711. He was accompanied by Jimmy Rogers on the former, Othum Brown on the latter. He also recorded a couple unissued takes of 'Little Store Blues' with Rogers on an unidentified date in '47. The next year found Walter working with Muddy Waters. He backed Waters and Sunnyland Slim on 'Blue Baby'/'I Want My Baby' (Tempo-Tone 1002) on May 14 of '49 with Leroy Foster (guitar) and Elga Edmonds (drums). Wirz notes a discographical breakdown per 'Steelin' Boogie' on an unidentified date in 1950 with Gene Pierce at steel guitar, either Robert Jenkins or Walter at harmonica. Walter is otherwise found backing Leroy Foster in January that year with Rogers and Waters on 'Red Headed Woman'/'Boll Weevil' (Parkway 104). Parts 1 & 2 of 'Rollin' and Tumblin' went down with Rogers out. January also saw Foster(?) and Waters supporting the Little Walter Trio on 'Just Keep Lovin' Her'/'Moonshine Blues' (Parkway 502) and 'Muskadine Blues'/'Bad Actin' Woman' (Regal 3296). 'Muskadeen Blues' was possibly with Rogers. 1950 also saw Walter backing Rogers on several titles with Big Crawford at bass in August and October: 'That's All Right'/'Ludella' (Chess 1435) and 'Going Away Baby'/'Today, Today, Blues' (Chess 1442). Those three would support Johnny Shines as Shoe Shine Johnny in October as well: 'Joliet Blues'/'So Glad I Found You' (Chess 1443). July 11 of 1951 saw Walter backing Rogers ('Money, Marbles and Chalk'/'Chance To Love' Chess 1476) and Waters ('My Fault'/'Still a Fool' Chess 1480). December of '51 witnessed Walter supporting Floyd Jones' ('Dark Road'/'Big World' Chess 1498). Come May 12 for Walter's 'Juke'/'Can't Hold Out Much Longer' with his Night Cats consisting of Rogers and Elga Edmonds on drums. October of '52 saw 'Mean Old World/Sad Hours' and two takes of 'Blue Midnight' with a crew of Louis and Dave Myers on guitar and Fred Below at drums. March of '53 saw Walter's first titles with his Jukes: 'Don't Have to Hunt'/'Tonight with a Fool' and 'Off the Wall'/'Tell Me Mama'. Among Walter's most important sidemen in the Jukes were bassist/composer, Willie Dixon, and Fred Below at drums. Walter, Dixon and Below remained fast well into the sixties although Walter also employed Odie Payne, Francis Clay, George Hunter and Billy Stepney on drums. Guitarists who supported Walter along the way were Robert Lockwood Jr. ('My Babe' July '54 unissued and January '55 released), Luther Tucker, Jimmy Lee Robinson, Freddy Robinson and Buddy Guy. He also acquired the assistance of Otis Spann at piano and Billy Emerson at organ on recordings. Walter placed 14 titles on Billboard's Top Ten in R&B from 1952 to 1958 beginning with 'Juke' (Walter) at #1. 'My Babe' (Dixon) alighted at #1 in 1955. His last Top Ten was 'Key to the Highway' (Segar/Broonzy) in 1958 at #6. Walter toured Europe twice, first in 1964, then in 1967 with the American Blues Festival. Walter was simply royalty on a harmonica, with the caveat that alcohol made him unreliable on occasion, he also having a tendency for fisticuffs. Which is how he died in 1968, after a violent encounter while taking a break during a performance at a club in Chicago [Wikipedia]. Walter and Dixon's 'My Babe' has been covered by such as Bo Diddley ('62), the Ravers ('65), Elvis Presley ('69) and Chuck Berry ('75). In 2016 the Rolling Stones covered his compositions, 'Hate to See You Go' and 'I Got to Go'. They also put down Buddy Johnson's 'Just Your Fool' ('53) recorded by Walter in 1960. Songwriting credits to Walter's recordings at 45Worlds, 45Cat and Allmusic 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Little Walter   1947

   Ora-Nelle Blues

       Composition: Othum Brown

Little Walter   1952


       Composition: Little Walter [Walter Jacobs]

    Blue Midnight

       Composition: Little Walter

Little Walter   1954

   Last Night

       Composition: Little Walter

Little Walter   1955

   My Babe

       Composition: Willie Dixon

   Boom, Boom Out Go the Lights

       Composition: Stan Lewis

Little Walter   1957

   Key to the Highway

       Composition: Charles Segar/Big Bill Broonzy

Little Walter   1967

   Little Walter's Jump

      American Folk Festival

      Guitar: Hound Dog Taylor

   Wild About You Baby

      American Folk Festival

       Guitar: Hound Dog Taylor

      Composition: Elmore James/Joe Josea



Born in 1919 or 1921 in Lambert, Mississippi, harmonica player Snooky Pryor, left the Delta region for Chicago about 1940. Wikpedia finds him giving bugle calls in the Army in the early forties before discharge in 1945 back to Chicago. American Music (AM) begins its account of Pryor recording as Snooky & Moody on 'Stockyard Blues'/'Keep What You Got' (Marvel 702) with Moody Jones and Floyd Jones. Floyd is out in 1948 for 'Telephone Blues'/'Boogie' (Planet 101/102). Pryor recorded as Snooky & Johnny that year as well with Johnny Williams and Man Young (Johnny Young): 'My Baby Walked Out On Me'/'Let Me Ride Your Mule' (Planet 103/104). It was Pryor in his Trio in 1949 for 'Boogy Fool'/'Raisin' Sand' (J.O.B. 101) with Leroy Foster (guitar) and Moody Jones (bass). AM has Pryor in Sunnyland Slim's Trio in 1950 with Foster for 'Back to Korea Blues'/'It's All Over Now' (Sunny 101). Come '52 Slim and Moody backed Pryor on 'I'm Getting Tired'/'Going Back On the Road' (J.O.B. 115). Slim, Moody and Floyd Jones would be Pryor's more important collaborators into the fifties, they backing each other variously (Moody's titles unissued). Pryor released his initial LP in 1970: 'Snooky Pryor', recorded in England. Discogs wants him leading or co-leading 15 more albums to his live 'Mojo Ramble' in 2003. Pryor was never to claim a lot commercial success before his death on October 18, 2006, in Cape Girardeau, Missouri.

Snooky Pryor   1952

   Boogie Twist

      Composition: Snooky Pryor

Snooky Pryor   1956

   Judgment Day

      Composition: Snooky Pryor

   Someone to Love Me

      Composition: Snooky Pryor

Snooky Pryor   1994

   Can I Get a Witness?

      Composition: Snooky Pryor

      Album: 'In This Mess Up to My Chest'

   She Tried To Ruin Me

      Album: 'In This Mess Up to My Chest'

      Composition: Snooky Pryor

Snooky Pryor   2003

   Dirty Rat

      Composition: John Mooney/James Edward Pryor

      Album: 'Mojo Ramble'


Birth of the Blues: Snooky Pryor

Snooky Pryor

Source: Wikiwand


Birth of the Blues: Ray Charles

Ray Charles

Source: No Put Thy Footing

Ray Charles Robinson in 1930 in Albany, Georgia, it was 1949 that R&B pianist Ray Charles released his first songs, recording as a member of the Maxim Trio consisting of GD McKee (guitar) and Milton Garred (bass): 'I love You, I Love You' and 'Confession Blues' per Swingtime #171. Charles began losing his sight of glaucoma at age five and was completely blind by age seven. His father died when he was age 10, his mother when he was fifteen. He learned classical and played at school assemblies as a child. Upon his mother's death in 1946, friends of his mother took Charles with them to Jacksonville, Florida, where he began to play professionally at the Ritz Theater for four dollars a night. It was in Tampa that he made his first three unissued recordings in 1947: 'Guitar Blues', 'Walkin' and Talkin'' and 'I'm Wonderin' and Wonderin''. About that time Charles asked a friend what city was furthest away, which is why he went to Seattle the same year, there to form a friendship with boxer, Sugar Ray Robinson, who was a couple years younger. He then took the coastline south to Los Angeles where 'Confession Blues' was recorded, that to rise to the No. 2 spot on the charts. Charles was in like Flint from that point onward. By the time he switched from Atlantic Records to ABC ten years later in 1959 he was worth a $50,000 advance. From '49 to 1993 Charles placed no less than 45 titles on Billboard's Top Ten in R&B, Adult Contemporary and Dance. Fourteen alone rose to #1:

   I've Got a Woman   1955
   A Fool for You   1955
   Drown in My Tears   1956
   What'd I Say   1959
   Georgia on My Mind   1960
   One Mint Julip   1961
   Hit the Road Jack   1961
   Unchain My Heart   1961
   I Can't Stop Loving You   1962
   You Are My Sunshine   1962
   You Don't Know Me   1962
   Crying Time   1965
   Together Again   1966
   Let's Go Get Stoned   1966

Though his heydays were the fifties and sixties, Charles scored a #9 spot in AC as late as 1993 with 'A Song for You'. Of the 149 sessions which Lord's disco ascribes to Charles, the high majority of them were his own projects. Among his more important musical associates was saxophonist, Hank Crawford, who first backed Charles in July of 1958 at the Newport Jazz Festival for titles like 'Hot Rod' and 'The Blue Waltz'. Crawford would support Charles to 1964, Charles also arranging a few titles for Crawford during that time. 1965 saw them backing Percy Mayfield on such as 'Life Is Suicide'. They would reunite in Montreax, Switzerland, in 1978 for a concert with Dizzy Gillespie. Among others with whom Charles worked on projects were Billy Eckstine ('56) and trumpeter/producer, Quincy Jones ('59, '60, '65, '88, '89). Charles' use of heroin, begun as a teenager in Florida, seems to have had relatively little destructive consequence beyond his third arrest in 1965, after which he sought rehabilitation more to stay out of jail than due to need. (Heroin is a sleepy time substance which people averse to living somnolently may find a nice sleeping aid, but less than pleasantly addictive as a functional mode. Unlike cocaine, a "go" drug which is often a sign of having prospered, heroin is more oft a sign of things altogether hopelessly broken down for the leaving.) In 1979 the state of Georgia made Charles' version of 'Georgia On My Mind' its state song. In 1985 he performed at Reagan's second inauguration, then at Clinton's first in 1993. (President Clinton was himself a saxophone player.) Among Charles' favorite pursuits beyond music was chess. He played Grand Master, Larry Evans, in 2002, and lost. Lord's disco has Charles' last recordings in 2003 with Poncho Sanchez for the latter's 'Out of Sight!'. His final performance was in 2004 at the dedication of his music studio in Los Angeles, built in 1964, as an historic landmark. Charles died the same year on June 10 of liver disease. His final studio release was in August, his posthumous 'Genius Loves Company', garnering the Album of the Year Grammy Award in 2005. Compositional credits to some of Charles' recordings at australiancharts. See Rock & Roll 1 for more of the master Ray Charles.

Ray Charles   1949

   Confession Blues

      Composition: Ray Charles

  Going Down Slow

      Composition: Jimmy Oden

   How Long Blues

      Composition: Leroy Carr   1928

      From 'How Long Daddy' by Ida Cox   1926

   You'll Always Miss the Water

      Composition: William York



Born Jay Riggins, Jr. in 1929 in Marshall, Texas (home of boogie woogie), pianist, Floyd Dixon (aka Mr. Magnificent), picked up piano as a child, exposed to all variety of music. He got moved to Los Angeles with family when he was about 13. Dixon might have taken any of a variety of paths upon graduating from high school: golf, hotel management, football [*]. He also recorded 'Dallas Blues' (Hart Wand) around that time ('47) for Supreme Records. That wasn't issued, but the next year he hooked up with pianist and mentor, Charles Brown, resulting in his membership in the Brown Buddies run by Eddie Williams and his first issues with that group in 1949: 'Houston Jump'/'Broken Hearted' (Swing Time 261) and 'You Need Me Now'/'Worried' (Swing Time 287). Striking out on his own in 1949, among titles recorded that year was 'Dallas Blues' (Wand) again, that by accident, not knowing an audition at Modern Records was being taped. Modern liked what he'd already done, payed him for his time, then bought his membership in the musician's union [*]. This time the song got issued to the tune of #10 on Billboard's R&B. Dixon joined the Top Ten again in 1950 at #8 with his composition, 'Sad Journey Blues'. He was with Johnny Moore and his Three Blazers (replacing Charles Brown) for #4 in 1951 per 'Telephone Blues'. He followed that with 'Call Operator 210' in 1952 to alight at #4, that also written by him. Though Dixon was supposed to retire to Paris, Texas, in the early seventies he revived his career in 1975 with a tour to Europe resulting in 'Live in Sweden'. He continued to tour, recording sporadically for a period, until his death of kidney failure in 2006. Songwriting credits to Dixon's early 78s and 45s. See also Dixon in Rock n Roll 4.

Floyd Dixon   1949

   Broken Hearted

      With Eddie Williams

      Composition: John Hogg/Mark Hurley

Floyd Dixon   1950

   Sad Journey Blues

      Composition: Floyd Dixon

Floyd Dixon   1951

   Telephone Blues (Long Distance)

      Composition: Floyd Dixon

Floyd Dixon   1952

   Call Operator 210

      Composition: Floyd Dixon


Birth of the Blues: Floyd Dixon

Floyd Dixon

Source: Past Blues


Born in 1935 in Galveston, Texas, Little Esther Phillips was a bluesy R&B vocalist whose repertoire included jazz, country and soul music. She was discovered by Johnny Otis, with whom she made her first recordings in 1949. (Otis is the pianist on tracks below.) Born Esther Washington, She was 13 and living with her divorced mother in Watts (Los Angeles) when she won a singing contest to the attention of Otis. When she needed a last name to add to Little Esther she noted the name of a gas station. According to vocalgroupsharmony her initial record release was in October of 1949: 'I Gotta Gal' (Modern 20-715) with 'Thursday Night Blues', an instrumental, on Side A. That later got reissued in early 1950 as 'I Gotta Guy' (same Modern 20-715). (Cecil Gant had issued 'I Gotta Gal' in '47 per Gilt Edge 514.) On December 1 of 1949 Phillips recorded 'Double Crossing Blues' (Savoy 731) for issue in January. Three of her titles reached Billboard's Top Ten that year: 'Deceivin' Blues' (#4), 'Misery' (#9) and 'Mistrustin' Blues' (#1). In 1950 Philips left Otis for a solo career but didn't do so well. 'Ring-a-Ding-Doo' charted at '#8 in 1952, but none of the other of above thirty Federal sides received much attention. It was during that period that heroin entered her life, a monkey that would haze her off and on through the years. She spent the fifties working clubs in Houston where her father lived, then soared to Billboard's #1 spot in 1962 with 'Release Me', her first LP by the same title issued in '63. That became Billboard's #1 album in R&B in October. Her second LP, 'And I Love Him!', followed in '65. She maintained presence in the sixties, though her star considerably dimmed behind Dinah Washington's brighter luminance, her main rival in those years. 1970 saw her reunite with Johnny Otis to the result of the double live LP, 'The Johnny Otis Show Live at Monterey'. 1975 saw 'What a Diff'rence a Day Makes' reach #2 on Billboard's Dance chart (#10 in R&B). The next year 'Magic's in the Air'/'Boy, I Really Tied One On' reached #5 in Dance. Phillips died in Carson, California, at the relatively young age of 49 on August 7 of 1984 upon kidney and liver failures due to drug use. She had created her last album, 'A Way to Say Goodbye', in 1983, released posthumously in 1986. See australiancharts for composers to some of her recordings. (More of bandleader Johnny Otis in Rock Development.)

Esther Phillips   1950

   Double Crossing Blues

      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis

   Deceivin' Blues

      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis

   I Gotta Guy

      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis

      Issued as 'I Gotta Gal' in October 1949

   Lost Dream Blues

      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis


      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis

   Mistrustin' Blues

      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis

   Wedding Boogie

      With the Johnny Otis Orchestra

      Composition: Johnny Otis

Esther Phillips   1952

   The Storm


      Music: George Gershwin

      Lyrics: DuBose Heyward

Esther Phillips   1953

   Cherry Wine

      Composition: Henry Glover

   Hound Dog

      Composition: Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller

Esther Phillips   1965

   And I Love Him

      Live performance

      Composition: John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Esther Phillips   1966

   Release Me


      Robert Yount/Dub Williams/Eddie Miller

   A Taste of Honey

      Composition: Bobby Scott/Ric Marlow

   When a Woman Loves a Man

      Composition: Calvin Lewis/Andrew Wright

Esther Phillips   1971

   A Beautiful Friendship

      Music: Donald Kahn

      Lyrics: Stanley Styne

      Album: 'From a Whisper To a Scream'

   One Night Affair

      Composition: Leon Huff/Kenny Gamble

Esther Phillips   1972

   Home Is Where the Hatred Is

      Composition: Gil Scott-Heron

Esther Phillips   1975

   What a Difference a Day Makes

      Television performance

      Composition: Stanley Adams/Maria Grever

Esther Phillips   1976

   A Beautiful Friendship

      Music: Donald Kahn

      Lyrics: Stanley Styne

      Album: 'Capricorn Princess'

Esther Phillips   1983

   A Way to Say Goodbye

      Composition: David Matthews

   We Are Through


      Anthony Dixon/William Peele Jr./Warren Sams


Birth of the Blues: Little Esther Phillips

Little Esther Phillips

Source: Lipstick Alley

Birth of the Blues: Professor Longhair

Professor Longhair

Born Henry Roeland Byrd in 1918 in Bogalusa, Louisiana, pianist Professor Longhair, began his career in music at age 30 in New Orleans in 1948. He first recorded the next year with a band called the Shuffling Hungarians probably in Dallas: 'Mardi Gras In New Orleans/Professor Longhair Boogie' (Star Talent 808) and 'She Ain't Got No Hair/Bye Bye Love' (Star Talent 809). Discogs has both of those issued in 1949 but, as Bill Dahl at allmusic notes, that they had to be removed from shelves due to a union dispute. Longhair's next date that year was with Mercury, that toward the March 1950 release of his compositions, 'Bald Head' b/w 'Hey Now Baby' as Roy Byrd and His Blues Jumpers. That would reach Billboard's #5 tier in August, Longhair's only title to chart. 1972 saw the issue of previously released material on the LPs, 'New Orleans Piano' and 'New Orleans 88'. 'Rock 'N' Roll Gumbo' went down in 1974, followed by live performances in the latter seventies and early eighties which would see various album issues. Longhair put down 'Crawfish Fiesta' for Alligator shortly before his death, the latter in his sleep in New Orleans on January 30, 1980. More Professor Longhair under Earl King in A Birth of the Blues 3.

Professor Longhair   1950

   Bald Head

      As Roy Byrd and His Blues Jumpers

      Composition: Longhair (Henry Roland Byrd)

   Mardi Gras in New Orleans

      Composition: Longhair

Professor Longhair   1957

   No Buts No Maybes

      Composition: Longhair

Professor Longhair   1964

   Big Chief

      Earl King

      Composition: Earl King/Wardell Quezergue

   There Is Something On Your Mind

      Composition: Big Jay McNeely

Professor Longhair   1975

   Philadelphia Folk Festival

      Issue unknown

Professor Longhair   1978

   Tell Me Pretty Baby

      Composition: Big Joe Turner

      Album: 'Live On the Queen Mary'

Professor Longhair   1981

   Hey Now Baby

      Composition: Big Joe Turner

      Album: 'The London Concert'

      Recorded 1978


  Born in Jackson, Mississippi, in 1924, pianist Little Johnny Jones headed north to Chicago in 1946 already experienced at piano. Going by Bill Dahl's account at Allmusic, he fell guest to Big Maceo Merriweather upon his arrival to Chicago's blues scene. Jones took Merriweather's place in Tampa Red's band when Merriweather had a stroke in 1947 leaving his right hand paralyzed. Sometime in 1949 Jones joined Red on such as 'Come On If You're Coming' (RCA Victor 50-0019) and 'It's a Brand New Boogie' (RCA Victor 50-0027), issued in '49 per 45cat. September of 1949 saw Jones in a joint session with Muddy Waters for dual billing on 'Big Town Playboy' b/w 'Shelby County Blues (Aristocrat 405 '50). 'Screaming and Crying'/'Where's My Woman Been' went down on the same date behind Waters (Aristocrat 406 '50). 'Last Time I Fool Around With You' went unissued. Jimmy Rogers and Leroy Foster were in on those. In 1953 Jones released 'Dirty By the Dozen' b/w 'I May Be Wrong' (Flair 1010). Others with whom Jones strung tracks through the years were Elmore James, Albert King, Howlin' Wolf and Billy Boy Arnold, the latter with whom he recorded his only album on June 25 of 1963, 'Johnny Jones with Billy Boy Arnold', issued posthumously in 1979. Jones died young of bronchopneumonia on November 19, 1964, in Chicago, only forty years old.

Little Johnny Jones   1950

   Big Town Playboy

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: Johnny Jones/Eddie Taylor

   Shelby County Blues

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: Johnny Jones

   Where's My Woman Been

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: Muddy Waters

Little Johnny Jones   1953

   Dirty By the Dozen

      Composition: Traditional

   I May Be Wrong

      Composition: Johnny Jones

Little Johnny Jones   1954

   Chicago Blues

   Hoy Hoy

      Composition: Johnny Jones/Mona Conrad

   She's Alright

   Wait Baby

Little Johnny Jones   1963

   Early In the Morning

      Composition: Sonny Boy Williamson I

Little Johnny Jones   1973

   More Dub

      Composition: Joe Gibson (Joe Gibbs)

Little Johnny Jones   1979

   Worried Life Blues

      Composition: Big Maceo Merriweather


Birth of the Blues: Little Johnny Jones

Little Johnny Jones

Source: Blues All Kinds


Born Robert Calvin Brooks in Tennessee in 1930, soul singer Bobby Bland released his first single ('Booted' with 'I Love You Til the Day I Die' flip side) in 1951. He produced several more singles in 1952, one among them below. Abandoned by his father shortly after birth, Bland never went to school and was illiterate his entire life. Following his mother to Memphis in 1947, he started hanging on famous Beale Street, there to make his circle what would come to be referred to as the Beale Streeters: Johnny Ace, BB King, Rosco Gordon, Earl Forrest and Junior Parker. Bland's initial recordings were with that outfit, 'Booted'/'Love You Til the Day I Die' (Chess 1487), issued in '51. Circa August of '52 Bland held his debut sessions with Duke Records toward 'Lovin' Blues'/'I.O.U. Blues' in '52 (Duke 105) and 'Army Blues'/'No Blow, No Show' in '53 (Duke 115). Duke was then absconded into the military for a couple of years. Wikipedia has Bland not knowing how to read getting him shorted by Duke Records upon his return in 1954, which contract stipulated half a cent per record sold rather than the industry standard of two cents. How long that nonsense went on isn't known, but Bland released an extensive list of several top titles while at Duke into the early seventies. It took a few years for Bland to come around, but when he did he did it huge for decades to come. His first title to reach #1 on Billboard's R&B chart was 'Farther Up the Road' in August of '57. 'I Pity the Fool' rose to #1 on February of '61, 'That's the Way Love Is' in January of '63. No less than 27 titles charmed the Top Ten in R&B to as late as 'I Wouldn't Treat a Dog (The Way You Treated Me)' in November of '74. Bland pumped out Top Forty songs until 'Recess in Heaven' in August of '82 at #40. Despite Bland's success Wikipedia has him ceasing to tour in 1968 due to financial pressures. He recorded for Dunhill, distributed by ABC, in 1972-73. When ABC bought Duke Records in '73 Bland signed on toward the sale of a few successful albums followed by his first for MCA in 1979: 'I Feel Good, I Feel Fine'. Bland hung with MCA until upping with the Malaco label in 1985 for 'Members Only', remaining with Malaco ever since. Wikipedia has him leading 30 albums, three of them live, to 'Blues at Midnight' in 2003. Bland died at his home on June 23, 2013, in Germantown (Memphis suburb), Tennessee. More Bobby Bland in A Birth of Rock & Roll 7.

Bobby Bland   1952


   Dry Up Baby

      Composition: Bland

   Good Lovin'/Drifting from Town to Town

      Compositions: Bland/Jules Taub

Bobby Bland   1963

   Farther On Up the Road

      Composition: See Wikipedia

Bobby Bland   1967


      Composition: Deadric Malone (Don Robey)

Bobby Bland   2006

   Ain't No Sunshine

      Composition: Bill Withers   1971


Birth of the Blues: Bobby Blue Bland

Bobby Blue Bland

Source: Last FM

Birth of the Blues: Willie Love

Willie Love

Source: Discogs
Born in 1906 in Duncan, Mississippi, pianist, Willie Love, met Sonny Boy Williamson II in 1942, the pair then to travel the juke joints of the Mississippi Delta region. Nine years later Love would appear on vinyl with Williamson, recording 'Eyesight to the Blind' and 'Crazy About You Baby' in January of 1951 for Trumpet Records in Jackson, Mississippi. The two entered the studio again in March to record 'Cat Hop'. The next month Love recorded 'Take It Easy Baby' and 'Little Car Blues' with his Three Aces. He followed that in July with 'Everybody's Fishing' and 'My Own Boogie'. He joined Williamson on some eight tracks the next August. In October the two recorded 'Gettin' Out Of Town'. The first of December he recorded eight more tracks with his Three Aces. Three days later Love and Williamson were in the studio again to record six tracks ('Cat Hop' and 'Gettin' Out Of Town' getting their other sides, respectively, 'Too Close Together' and 'She Brought Life Back to the Dead'). Love recorded nothing in 1952, but resumed again in March of '53 with seven tracks, followed April by fourteen. Love died of bronchopneumonia the following August. All tracks below are Love with his Three Aces unless otherwise noted. Per 1952 below, Little Milton Campbell plays guitar on all tracks.

Willie Love   1951

   Everybody's Fishing/My Own Boogie

      Compositions: Willie Love

   Eyesight to the Blind/Crazy About You Baby

      With Sonny Boy Williamson II

      Compositions: Sonny Boy Williamson II

  Little Car Blues

      Composition: Willie Love

   Take It Easy Baby


       Willie Love/William Perkins (Pinetop Perkins)

Willie Love   1952

   21 Minutes to Nine

      Composition: Willie Love

  Falling Rain

      Composition: Willie Love

  Feed My Body to the Fishes

      Composition: Willie Love

  Nelson Street Blues

      Composition: Willie Love

  Seventy Four Blues

      Composition: Willie Love

  V8 Ford

      Composition: Willie Love

  Vanity Dresser Boogie

      Composition: Willie Love



Born Alex Miller in 1912 in Tallahatchie County, Mississippi, mouth harp player, Sonny Boy Williamson II (also known as Rice Miller), was yet another Delta blues musician, 'Eyesight to the Blind' among his first recordings in 1951. Williamson began his career as an itinerate bluesman, traveling Arkansas and Mississippi, picking up the name, Rice Miller, due to his taste for rice with milk. He was also called Little Boy Blue. In 1941 Williamson and Robert Lockwood were the first to appear on King Biscuit Time, the longest running daily radio program, broadcast by KFFA out of Helena, Arkansas. (The longest running radio show, period, is the Grand Ole Opry, which began broadcasting as the Barn Dance in 1925, before getting changed to the Grand Ole Opry in 1927.) It was then that he began to be called Sonny Boy Williamson II, to capitalize on the fame of Sonny Boy Williamson I, who was still alive and with whom there was no familial relation. From that time until the death of Williamson I in 1948 there were, for several years, two Sonny Boy Williamsons playing blues harmonica. From 1948 to 1950 Williamson ran his own radio show on KWEM out of West Memphis, Arkansas. ODP (Online Discographical Project) would indicate that he recorded his compositions, 'Eyesight to the Blind' and 'Crazy About You Baby', on January 4, 1951, in Jackson, Mississippi, those issued on an unknown date that year by Trumpet. Come Canton, Mississippi, later that year where he performed on radio with Elmore James. In August of 1951 he joined Leonard Ware (bass) and Frock O’Dell (drums) on James' 'Dust My Broom' (Trumpet), that to rise to Billboard's #9 spot in R&B [see Library of Congress]. Williamson's own composition, 'Don't Start Me Talkin'', arrived to Billboard's #3 tier in 1955. He issued his first LP, 'Down and Out Blues', in 1959. Come 'A Portrait in Blues' and 'The Blues of Sonny Boy Williamson' in 1963. Williamson toured Europe several times. One of those ventures found him at the Crawdaddy Club in Surrey, UK, on December 8 of 1963 to record 'Sonny Boy Williamson and the Yardbirds', issued in '65. That had been preceded by the release of 'Sonny Boy Williamson and Memphis Slim' in 1964. Others with whom he recorded in Europe were the Animals (UK), Roland Kirk (Copenhagen '63) and Hubert Sumlin (UK '64). Williamson composed numerously, also in collaboration with Willie Dixon, performing other of Dixon's compositions as well. Songwriting credits at 45worlds, 45cat, allmusic and australiancharts. Williamson's was an untimely death on May 24, 1965, of heart attack in his sleep. He was elected into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1980, the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1992 and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012.

Sonny Boy Williamson II   1951

   Eyesight to the Blind

      Composition: Williamson

Sonny Boy Williamson II   1953

   Clownin' with the World

      Composition: Williamson

   Shuckin' Mama

      Composition: Williamson

Sonny Boy Williamson II   1954

   Goin’ In Your Direction

      Composition: Williamson

Sonny Boy Williamson II   1963

   Bring It On Home

      Composition: Willie Dixon

  Help Me

      Composition: Williamson


Birth of the Blues: Sonny Boy Williamson II

Sonny Boy Williamson II

Source: Jigsaw

  Born in Cleveland in 1929, vocalist Screamin' Jay Hawkins (Jalacy Hawkins) dropped out of high school in 1944 to join the war against the Axis in Europe. In 1949 he became the middleweight boxing champion in Alaska. Having studied classical piano as a child, he joined Tiny Grimes' ensemble in 1951 as a vocalist in his Highlanders. Surely one of the most greivous examples of cultural appropriation in history was the Highlanders performing in kilts and tam o'shanters [*]. Hawkins' first recording with Grimes' outfit was in latter 1952 in NYC: 'Why Did You Waste My Time' (Gotham 295 Side A in '53 per discogs). Also recorded during that session was 'No Hug, No Kiss' not issued until 1985. BlackCatRockabilly (BCR) has the Highlanders commencing 1953 on January 12 with Parts 1 &2 of 'Screamin' Blues', those unissued. Hawkins issued his initial name plate in 1954 per Timely 1004: 'Baptize Me In Wine'/'Not Anymore'. A couple sessions for Mercury in '55 came to 'She Put the Whammy on Me', 'Well I Tried' and 'Talk About Me'. BCR wants Hawkins recording as Screamin' Jay Hawkins for the first time in '55 per 'Take Me Back'/'I Is' on the Grand label. His first unissued version of 'I Put a Spell On You' went down for Grand as well. His debut session of numerous for Okeh resulted in 'I Put A Spell On You'/'Little Demon'. 'I Put a Spell on You' didn't do enough magic to even chart in 1956. It was apparently one of those slow spells that gradually unfold, everyone and their crone to cover it over the years as well. Per Wikipedia, it was upon recording 'I Put a Spell on You' that Hawkins began mixing theatrical comedy with the blues, inspired by radio disc jockey, Alan Freed, who paid him $300 to rise from a coffin on stage. Hawkins would thereafter become more notable as a performer than a blues vocalist. He issued his first two LPs in 1958: 'Screamin' Jay Hawkins' and 'At Home with Screamin' Jay Hawkins'. Hawkins died ion February 12, 2000, in Neuilly-sur-Seine, France, survived by between 57 to 75 children [Wikipedia]. Compositional credits to early songs at 45cat and discogs.

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1954

   Baptize Me In Wine

      Guitar: Tiny Grimes

      Composition: Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1956

   I Put a Spell On You

      Composition: Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1957


      Composition: Augustus Stevenson/David Hess

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1958

   Alligator Wine

      Composition: Leiber & Stoller

   Deep Purple

      Composition: Peter DeRose

   You Made Me Love You

      Composition: James Monaco/Joseph McCarthy

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1964


      Composition: Walter Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1970

   Constipation Blues

      Composition: Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1973

   Monkberry Moon Delight

      Composition: Paul & Linda McCartney

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1991

   Heart Attack and Vine

      Composition: Tom Waits

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1994

   Constipation Blues

      Live performance

      Composition: Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins   1995

   I Am the Cool

      Composition: Robert Duffey

   Whistling Past The Graveyard

      Composition: Tom Waits


Birth of the Blues: Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Screamin' Jay Hawkins

Source: Canibuk

Birth of the Blues: Little Junior Parker

Little Junior Parker

Source: Discogs

Born Herman Parker Jr. in 1932 in Clarksdale, Mississippi, vocalist Junior Parker began playing mouth harp professionally as a teenager. The first big name he accompanied was Sonny Boy Williamson II, shortly before joining Howlin' Wolf's band in 1949. He formed his own band, the Blue Flames, in 1951, releasing his first record for Modern Records in 1952: 'You're My Angel'/'Bad Women, Bad Whiskey' (Modern 864). In 1953 Parker toured with Bobby Bland and Johnny Ace, the same year 'Feelin' Good' rose to #5 on Billboard's R&B. 'Next Time You See Me' reached #7 in 1957, as did 'In the Dark' in 1961. 'Driving Wheel' drew Billboard's #5 spot in '61, 'Annie Get Your Yo-Yo' #6 in '62. Parker's success began to wane upon leaving Duke Records in 1966. Though he continued recording in pace he wasn't given long to revive his earlier success, dying during an operation for a brain tumor on November 18, 1971, in Blue Island, Illinois. Parker was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2001. Songwriting credits.

Junior Parker   1952

   Bad Women, Bad Whiskey

      Composition: Lil Son Jackson   1948

Junior Parker   1953

   Feel So Bad/Sittin' At The Bar

   Mystery Train

      Composition: Junior Parker

Junior Parker   1954

   Sittin' Drinkin' and Thinkin'

      Composition: Junior Parker

Junior Parker   1957

   My Dolly Bee

      Composition: Oscar Wills

   Next Time You See Me

      Composition: Bill Harvey/Earl Forest

   That's Alright

      Composition: Junior Parker

Junior Parker   1958

   Sweet Home Chicago

      Composition: Robert Johnson

Junior Parker   1959

   Dangerous Woman

      Composition: Deadric Malone

Junior Parker   1961

   Annie Get Your Yo-Yo

      Composition: Deadric Malone/Joe Scott

   Driving Wheel

      Composition: Roosevelt Sykes

Junior Parker   1964

   Jivin' Woman

      Composition: Deadric Malone/Junior Parker

   Strange Things Happening

      Composition: Percy Mayfield

Junior Parker   1965

   These Kind of Blues

      Composition: Deadric Malone/Junior Parker

Junior Parker   1970

   Lady Madonna

      Composition: John Lennon/Paul McCartney

Junior Parker   1971

   Don't Throw Your Love On Me So Strong

      Composition: Albert King

   I Need Love So Bad

      Composition: Percy Mayfield

   Love Ain't Nothin' But a Business Goin' On

      Composition: Bobby Adams

   River's Invitation

      Composition: Percy Mayfield



Birth of the Blues: Junior Wells

Junior Wells

Photo: Steve Tackeff

Source: Rolling Blues

Born in the (West) Memphis area in 1934 as Amos Wells Blakemore Jr., mouth harp player, Junior Wells, was taken by his mother to Chicago about 1947, there to begin his career at parties and bars. Bill Dahl at allmusic has Wells early forming the Deuces with Dave and Louis Myers on guitars, renamed the Aces upon the addition of Fred Below on drums. It was during that period that Leonard Chess had assumed ownership of young Aristocrat Records in Chicago, then formed Chess with his brother, Phil, in 1950, Aristocrat to issue its last titles in 1951. Wells began his recording career the next year in a session for Chess with Muddy Waters, replacing Little Walter. (Pianist, Otis Spann, would join Waters' band for his initial recordings the same year.) Waters' 'Standing Around Crying'/'Gone to Main St.' saw issue per Chess 1526 in November 1952. 'Who's Gonna Be Your Sweet Man' saw release later in March of '53. 'Iodine in My Coffee' eventually got issued in 1984 per Chess 9180. Wells' first name session date was June 8 of '53, backed variously by his comrades from the Aces (above) along with Johnnie Jones (piano), Elmore James (guitar), Willie Dixon (bass) and Odie Payne (drums). Those included 'Cut That Out'/'Eagle Rock' issued that year per States 122. Campbell et al have what's famously shortened to 'Hoodoo Man' w guitar by Elmore James issued erroneously titled as 'Hodo Man' per States 134, later corrected to 'Somebody Hoodooed the Hoodoo Man' (same 134), both issued in '54 with 'Junior's Wail'. Muddy Waters contributed to 'So All Alone' and 'Lawdy! Lawdy!' issued in 1955. Wells saw small exposure on Billboard's charts, not reflecting his otherwise heavyweight prestige in Chicago blues. In 1960 he issued 'Galloping Horses a Lazy Mule'/'Blues in D Natural' (Chief 7016) w Earl Hooker and 'Messing with the Kid'/'Universal Rock' (Chief 7021) w John Lee Hooker. Another of Well's more famous versions of 'Hoodoo Man' was per his debut LP, ''Hoodoo Man Blues', with guitarist, Buddy Guy, recorded and issued in '65 [see Delmark, LOC, Wikipedia]. That brought about one of the more enduring and popular partnerships in blues, they to record numerous albums together [@ 15 per Wikipedia] to what is thought their last collaboration in March of 1993 at Guy's own nightclub in Chicago for 'Last Time Around - Live at Legends'. Allmusic has his final sessions in April and May of 1996 for 'Come on in This House' ('97). Wells died on January 15, 1998, in Chicago. Songwriting credits for early recordings by Wells on 78 and 45. The bottom three edits below are live performances.

Junior Wells   1952

   Gone to Main Street

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: Muddy Waters

Junior Wells   1960

   Messin' With the Kid

      Composition: Mell London

   You Don't Care

      Composition: Willie Cobbs

Junior Wells   1961

   It Hurts Me Too

      Composition: Hudson Whittaker (Tampa Red)

Junior Wells   1966

   Vietcong Blues

      With Buddy Guy

      Composition: Junior Wells

   The Hoodoo Man

      Composition: Junior Wells

   Look On Yonder's Wall

      With the Aces

      Composition: Traditional

Junior Wells   1974

   Got My Mojo Working

      Live with Muddy Waters

      Composition: Preston Red Foster

Junior Wells   1987

   Trouble No More


  Born in 1935 in Tunica, Mississippi, harmonica player James Cotton began his music career at age nine, being placed in the care of Sonny Boy Williamson II upon the death of his parents. Too young to enter the juke joints where Williamson played, Cotton often "opened" for him on the front steps outside. In Cotton's latter teens Williamson left for Milwaukee, after which Cotton connected with Howling Wolf in Arkansas. Cotton began his recording career with Sun Records in Memphis. American Music has him backing drummer/vocalist, Willie Nix, as early as October 9, 1952, for 'Seems Like a Million Years'/'Baker Shop Boogie' (Sun 179). Filling out that crew were Albert Williams (piano) and Joe Willie Wilkins (guitar). Come December 7 for 'Straighten Up Baby/My Baby' (Sun 199) with Pat Hare (guitar), Kenneth Banks (bass), Houston Stokes (drums), Billy Love (piano), Harvey Simmon (tenor sax) and Tom Roane (sax). John Boija has 'My Baby' initially labeled 'Oh Baby' erroneously. Also issued for Sun in '54 was 'Cotton Crop Blues/Hold Me in Your Arms' per #206. Cotton joined Muddy Waters' band in 1954 and would remain a central figure in that group until 1966. His debut LP arrived the next year for Verve in 1967: 'The James Cotton Blues Band'. Issued in '68 were 'Pure Cotton', 'Cotton in Your Ears' and 'Cut You Loose'. Discogs has Cotton leading, co-leading and contributing to 27 more albums from 'Taking Care of Business' in 1971 to his last album, 'Cotton Mouth Man', in 2013. Among them include collaborations with such as Hubert Sumlin, Otis Spann, Muddy Waters and Johnny Winter. Cotton died of pneumonia on March 16, 2017, in Austin, Texas.

James Cotton   1953

   Baker Shop Boogie

      Vocal: Willie Nix   Discogs credits vocals as Joe Hill Louis

      Composition: Willie Nix

James Cotton   1954

   Cotton Crop Blues/Hold Me In Your Arms

      Compositions: James Cotton

   My Baby/Straighten Up Baby

      Compositions: James Cotton

James Cotton   1966

   Got My Mojo Working

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: Preston Red Foster

James Cotton   1968

   Fallin' Rain

      Composition: Luther Tucker

James Cotton   1995

   Dealing With The Devil

       Composition: Sonny Boy Williamson II


Birth of the Blues: James Cotton

James Cotton

Source: Globedia

  Born Curtis Ousley in Ft. Worth in 1934, King Curtis was an R&B and, later, soul saxophonist who swam with the blues, jazzed, and rocked as well. Curtis began playing sax at age twelve. At age eighteen Curtis seems to have known exactly what to do: head for New York City and find employment as a session musician. Which he did, also putting together a quintet and releasing his first 45 the next year in 1953 (Gem 208: 'Tenor In the Sky' b/w 'No More Crying On My Pillow'). Of the 140 sessions that Lord's disco ascribes to Curtis, the majority were R&B customers such as Big Joe Turner ('58, '59), Ruth Brown ('58, '59, '60) and LaVern Baker ('58, '59, '60, '61). He issued his first two albums in 1959: 'The Good Old Fifties' and 'Have Tenor Sax, Will Blow'. Musicvf has Curtis placing his composition, 'Soul Twist', on Billboard's R&B at #1 in February of 1962. It was a hand of years before he saw the Top Ten again, first in August of '67 at #6 for his composition, 'Memphis Soul Stew', followed the next month by Bobbie Gentry's 'Ode to Billy Joe'. Curtis was murdered by knife twelve years later in August of 1971, age only 37, during an altercation with a couple drug dealers outside his residence in New York City. He had recorded 'Live at Fillmore West' that year in San Francisco, and 'Blues at Montreux' in Switzerland on June 17, the latter with Champion Jack Dupree (piano/vocals), Cornell Dupree (guitar) and Jerry Jemmott (electric bass). Assistance with composers on some of Curtis' releases on 45 RPM. Songwriting credits to some of his later soul recordings at Discogs 1, 2, 3. See also australiancharts. More King Curtis in Jazz 4 and Rock 1.

King Curtis   1953

   Tenor In the Sky

        First issue

       Composition: King Curtis (Curtis Ousley)

King Curtis   1959

   Heavenly Blues

       Composition: Jerry Leiber/Mike Stoller

King Curtis   1960

   Jeep's Blues

       Composition: Duke Ellington/Johnny Hodges

King Curtis   1961

   Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

       Composition: Jimmy Cox   1923

King Curtis   1964

   Harlem Nocturne

       Composition: Earle Hagen

   Melancholy Serenade

       Composition: King Curtis

King Curtis   1968

   Sweet Inspiration

       Composition: Lindon Dewey Oldham/Wallace Pennington

King Curtis   1971

   Junker's Blues

        Live   Piano: Champion Jack Dupree

      Composition: Willie Hall

   Mr. Bojangles

        Album: 'Live at Fillmore West'

      Composition: Jerry Jeff Walker

   Poor Boy Blues

        Live   Piano: Champion Jack Dupree

      Composition: Jack Dupree/King Curtis

   A Whiter Shade of Pale


      Gary Brooker/Keith Reid/Matthew Fisher

        Album: 'Live at Fillmore West'


Birth of Modern Jazz: King Curtis

King Curtis

Source: Discogs

Birth of the Blues: Otis Spann

Otis Spann

Source: Time Goes By

Born in 1924 in Jackson, Mississippi, pianist, Otis Spann, began performing locally as a teenager. It was 1946 when pianist, Big Maceo Merriweather, became host to Spann's arrival in Chicago. Per Wikipedia and Bill Dahl at allmusic, he gigged in the ensuing period at the Tic Tac Lounge with guitarist, Morris Pejoe. He replaced Merriweather (having suffered a stroke) in Muddy Waters' band in 1952. His first recording session was September 24 the next year with Waters to yield 'Blow Wind, Blow'/'Mad Love' (Chess 1550). (Junior Wells had begun his recording career with Waters only briefly before.) His first name session arrived on October 25 of '54 for his compositions, 'Five Spot' and 'It Must Have Been the Devil' (Checker 807). Backing him on guitar were BB King and Jody Williams. Spann's early claim to fame was as a session pianist, backing such as Chuck Berry, Big Walter Horton and Robert Lockwood. He issued his debut LP, 'Otis Spann Is the Blues', in 1960, the same year he performed at the Newport Jazz Festival, he now beginning to make a name for himself. Other festivals following in the sixties, including Europe, Discogs has Spann leading or co-leading about 16 more albums to his death n 1970, most in the latter sixties, yet more released posthumously. Notable in '69 were Volumes 1 & 2 of 'Blues Jam at Chess' with Fleetwood Mac, Willie Dixon, Shakey Horton (Big Walter), JT Brown, Guitar Buddy (Buddy Guy), David Honeyboy Edwards and SP Leary. Among others with whom Spann can be heard on recordings were Howlin' Wolf, Little Walter, Bo iddley, Eric Clapton, James Cotton, Lightnin' Hopkins and Jimmy Oden. Among Spann's later compositions were 'The Bible Don't Lie', 'Los Angeles Midnite Groove', 'T-99', 'Love', 'Hungry Country Girl', 'Walkin'', 'Bloody Murder', and 'Blues for Hippies'. See songwriting credits to some of Spann's recordings at australiansharts and discogs 1, 2. Spann passed away of liver cancer in Chicago on April 24, 1970, only 46 years old.

Otis Spann   1954

   Five Spot

      Composition: Otis Spann

   It Must Have Been the Devil

      Composition: Otis Spann

Otis Spann   1963

   Good Morning Mr. Blues

      Composition: Wynonie Harris/Otis Spann

   Sad Day In Texas

      Composition: Otis Spann

Otis Spann   1964

   Keep Your Hand Out Of My Pocket

      Composition: Otis Spann

Otis Spann   1966

   Blues Don't Like Nobody

      Live performance

      Composition: Otis Spann

   Blues Jam

      Live with Muddy Waters

Otis Spann   1967

   Divin' Duck

      Composition: Otis Spann

Otis Spann   1968

   Nobody Knows My Troubles

      Live with Muddy Waters

Otis Spann   1969

   Got My Mojo Mojo Working

      Composition: Preston Red Foster

Otis Spann   1972

   Spann's Stomp

      Composition: Otis Spann



Born Willie Mae Thornton in 1926 in Arlton, Alabama, Big Mama Thornton began her career at age fourteen, upon her mother's death, by joining the Hot Harlem Revue, with which she traveled the South for seven years. In 1948 she settled in Houston, where she signed on to Peacock Records in 1951. Marion has her first shellac in 1950 per 'All Right Baby'/'Bad Luck Got My Ma' (E&W 100) with the Harlem Stars [see also wandandula]. Three plates as Willie Mae Thornton ensued for Peacock Records in '51 and '52 with the orchestras of Joe Scott and Bill Harvey before her first issue as Big Mama (300 plus pounds at the time) in 1953: 'Hound Dog'/'Night Mare' (Leiber/Stoller Peacock 1612). Peacock's investment payed off with 'Hound Dog' reaching Billboard's #1 tier that year in R&B. (Elvis Presley repeated that in 1956.) Gerri Hirshey ['We Gotta Get Out of This Place'] has Thornton being payed one check for $500, though that recording would eventually sell more than two million copies. With 'Hound Dog' her only title to chart at all during those years, she relocated from Houston to San Francisco in the early sixties, there to play clubs until 1965 when Thornton toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival, during which she recorded her first album, 'Big Mama Thornton - In Europe'. Backing her on that were Buddy Guy (guitar), Fred Below (drums), Eddie Boyd (keyboards), Jimmy Lee Robinson (bass), Walter Shakey Horton (harmonica) and Fred McDowell (slide). Thornton's composition, 'Ball & Chain', brought greater fame to Janis Joplin in '68 than her own renditions would. Thornton had first recorded the song in 1961 for Bay-Tone, gone unissued though Bay-Tone retained copyright as part of the deal. Joplin heard Thornton perform the song at a club in San Francisco in 1967, performed it herself at the Monterey Jazz Festival that year, then at Fillmore West to release it on 'Cheap Thrills' in '68. Some sources have Bay-Tone, retaining copyright, receiving royalties rather than Thornton upon that LP reaching Billboard's #1 spot on the LP chart (despite Thornton credited on the album). Thornton would tour with the American Folk Blues Festival again in 1972, the Newport Jazz Festival in '73 and again in 1980. Despite a highly active career and several albums engaging a faithful audience, Thornton never regained the national exposure that 'Hound Dog' had brought in 1960 or that 'Ball & Chain' had transferred to Joplin in '67. Marion wants her final album recorded in England by Ace in 1982: 'Quit Snoopin' Round My Door' ('86). Her last performance was on April 14 of '84 in Los Angeles, she become a frail 120 pounds by then. She died three months later financially gaunt as well, of heart attack on July 25, 1984, in Los Angeles. Others instrumental to her career had been Johnny Otis, Johnny Ace and Muddy Waters. Songwriting credits for recordings in the fifties at Discogs 1, 2. More of Thornton, including, 'Hound Dog', in Fifties Rock.

Big Mama Thornton   1960

   Down Home Shakedown

      Television performance

      Composition: Thornton

Big Mama Thornton   1965

   Little Red Rooster

      Composition: Willie Dixon/Thornton

   Your Love Is Where It Ought to Be

      Guitar: Buddy Guy

      Composition: Thornton

Big Mama Thornton   1966

   Feeling Alright

      Composition: Thornton

   Life Goes On

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: EH Morris/Paul Williams


      Composition: George Gershwin

Big Mama Thornton   1968

   Ball and Chain

      With Muddy Waters

      Composition: Thornton

Big Mama Thornton   1969

   Watermelon Man

      Composition: Herbie Hancock

Big Mama Thornton   1971

   Rock Me

      Composition: Joe Josea/BB King

Big Mama Thornton   1975


      Composition: Thornton

Big Mama Thornton   1984

   Ball & Chain

      Final performance

      Composition: Thornton


Birth of the Blues: Big Mama Thornton

Big Mama Thornton

Source: Music Jam

A Creole born in 1925 in Opelousas, Louisiana, accordion and frottoir player Clifton Chenier, with his cape and crown, would become known as the "King of Zydeco". Zydeco is, basically, Cajun music, usually with accordion and guitar or, accordioning to Chenier: "rock and French mixed together". Among the first to record zydeco was accordion player Amédé Ardoin with fiddler Dennis McGee about 1930, neither of whom had a clue as to rock and roll at the time, nor Chenier's father who taught him accordion. Between officialchenier and Craig Harris at allmusic, Clifton was driving trucks for the oil industry in 1947 when he began performing with his brother, Cleveland (rub board/guitar), in the bayou region between Port Arthur, TX, and Lake Charles, LA. Clifton and Cleveland would partner throughout their careers. They recorded their first seven tracks together at Radio KAOK in Charles Lake, LA, to include 'Cliston Blues' (sic) and 'Louisiana Stomp' (Elko 920), sometime in 1954. That was mistakenly credited to Cliston Chenier. They then formed the Zydeco Ramblers to expand upon their local fame via tour. Phillip Walker would spend some time at guitar with that outfit in 1955-56. See 45cat for titles issued by Chenier on 45 rpm in the fifties and sixties with songwriting credits. Chenier issued the LP, 'Louisiana Blues and Zydeco', in 1965. He led or co-led nigh twenty more to as late as 'My Baby Don't Wear No Shoes' on an unidentified date for posthumous issue in 1988. Chenier died of kidney disease on December 12, 1987, in Lafayette, Louisiana. Cleveland followed in 1990. Per 1954 below, Chenier is very likely the composer, though per contract with Elko producer, JR Fulbright, the latter is officially credited due to ownership at the time.

Clifton Chenier   1954

    Cliston Blues

      Composition: Probably Chenier

   Louisiana Blues

      Composition: Probably Chenier

    Rockin' the Bop

      Composition: Probably Chenier

Clifton Chenier   1955

    Think It Over

      Composition: WE Buyem

Clifton Chenier   1956

    Standing On the Corner

      Composition: Clifton Chenier

Clifton Chenier   1965

    Louisiana Blues

      Composition: Probably Chenier

Clifton Chenier   1970

    I'm a Hog for You Baby

      Composition: Clifton Chenier

Clifton Chenier   1971

    Tighten Up Zydeco

        Live performance

      Composition: Clifton Chenier

Clifton Chenier   1973

    I'm Coming Home

        Live performance

      Composition: Clifton Chenier


Birth of the Blues: Clifton Chenier

Clifton Chenier

Source: Swing Joe

Though virtually unknown in America, Irish vocalist Ottilie Patterson did much to bring blues to the public in the United Kingdom. An art student before turning to music, Patterson began her career in 1951 with the Jimmy Compton Jazz Band. The next year she formed her own ensemble called the Muskrat Ramblers. It is thought she released her first recordings in 1955 with the Chris Barberr Jazz Band. Indeed, to say Chris Barber or Ottilie Patterson is rather to say the other, as Barber and Patterson married in 1959. Patterson retired from the band in 1973. A decade later she and Barber divorced (1983), after recording a number of London performances resulting in her last record release in 1984, an album titled 'Madame Blues and Doctor Jazz'. They had issued about twenty LPs up to that time. John Service at chrisbarber has Patterson retiring to Ayr, Scotland, four years later to pursue art and classical piano. Patterson died on June 20, 2011, 79 blessed years old.

Ottilie Patterson   1955

   Careless Love

      Composition: See Wikipedia

   I Can't Give You Anything But Love

      Music: Jimmy McHugh

      Lyrics: Dorothy Fields

   Make Me a Pallet On the Floor

      Composition: Traditional

   New St. Louis Blues

      Composition: WC Handy

   St. Louis Blues

      Composition: WC Handy

   Trouble In Mind

      Composition: Richard Jones

Ottilie Patterson   1958

   Jailhouse Blues

      Composition: Bessie Smith/Clarence Williams

   Lawdy Lawdy Blues

Ottilie Patterson   1959

   Easy, Easy Baby

      Composition: Oscar Black/Bob Davis/Lou Sprung

Ottilie Patterson   1960

   Mountain of Mourne

      Composition: See Wikipedia

Ottilie Patterson   1962

   Down By the Riverside

      Composition: See Wikipedia

Ottilie Patterson   1984

   Doctor Jazz

      Composition: Joe King Oliver

      Album: 'Madame Blues and Doctor Jazz'


Birth of the Blues: Ottilie Patterson

Ottilie Patterson

Source: Time Goes By


Many aren't aware that soul singer Aretha Franklin was a a blues pianist. She released her first recordings in 1956 for JVB Records. Per below, a touch of blues and gospel, intimate siblings, from back then and later. A fuller history per Franklin at Rock 1.

Aretha Franklin   1956

   Yield Not To Temptation

Aretha Franklin   1960

    Love Is the Only Thing Blues

      Composition: John Leslie McFarland

   Today I Sing The Blues

      Composition: Curtis Lewis

Aretha Franklin   1961

   All Night Long

      Composition: Curtis Lewis

   Sweet Lover

      Composition: John McFarland/Sidney Wyche

Aretha Franklin   1964

   Evil Gal Blues

      Composition: Leonard Feather/Lionel Hampton

Aretha Franklin   1995

   It Hurts Like Hell

      Composition: Kenneth Edmonds (Babyface)

Aretha Franklin   2005

   Amazing Grace

      Composition: See Wikipedia


Birth of the Blues: Aretha Franklin

Aretha Franklin

Source: Altin Madalyon

Birth of the Blues: Lazy Lester

Lazy Lester

Source: Extra Torrent

Born Leslie Johnson in Louisiana in 1933, guitar and mouth harp player Lazy Lester was another Excello label swamp blues musician. Per Lester's own website, he first recorded in 1956 via serendipity. It seems he'd unknowingly taken a seat on a bus next to Lightnin' Slim, the latter on his way to a recording session for Jay Miller (Jerry West) of Excello Records. Apparently Slim's company was more significant to Lester than his own destination, so he got off the bus with Slim, seven miles short of where he was going (Crowley), and accompanied Slim to the studio. As it happens, Slim's harmonica player didn't show for the session so Lester ended up filling his spot. American Music (AM) appears to have that in August for 'Bad Luck and Trouble'/'Have Your Way' (Excello 2096) for issue in '57. Lester got his name from Miller not for sloth, but his performing style. His first name session ensued shortly after his first with Slim, witnessing speedier issue in November of '56 [45cat]: 'I’m Gonna Leave You Baby'/'Lester’s Stomp' (Excello 2095). 'The Billboard' magazine has that reviewed on December 1, 1956. AM has Lester backing Slim on several occasions to as late as 1959 for 'Rooster Blues'/'G.I. Slim' (Excello 2169). They would reunite in 1971 for a performance at the University of Chicago Folk Festival. Discogs wants Lester's first album issued in 1967, that consisting of titles already issued by Excello: 'True Blues'. Retiring from the music industry in the latter sixties, Lester moved to Pontiac, Michigan, in 1975, he meanwhile variously employed. The archive, 'They Call Me Lazy', was issued in '77 while he was hiding out, a decade before the resumption of his career in 1987 with the album 'Lazy Lester Rides Again'. Several more ensued to as late as 'You Better Listen' in 2011 recorded in Norway. Lester was good to enter the Blues Hall of Fame the next year. His website has him performing as will to this date while living in Paradise, CA. Songwriting credits for recordings by Lester at 45cat and allmusic.

Lazy Lester   1957

   Hoo Doo Blues

       With Lightnin' Slim

      Composition: Lightnin' Slim/Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   I'm Gonna Leave You Baby

      Composition: Lightnin' Slim/Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   Go Ahead

      Composition: Lightnin' Slim/Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   I Told My Little Woman

      Composition: Lazy Lester/Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   Tell Me Pretty Baby


      Lloyd Price/Big Joe Turner/Jerry West

Lazy Lester   1958

   I'm a Lover Not a Fighter/Sugar Coated Love

      Compositions: Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

Lazy Lester   1959

   I Hear You Knockin'

      Composition: Dave Bartholomew

   I Love You, I Need You

      Composition: Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   Late in the Evening

      Composition: Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   Through the Goodness of My Heart

      Composition: Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

Lazy Lester   1960

   A Real Combination for Love

      Composition: Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

Lazy Lester   2011

   Scratch My Back

      Live performance

      Composition: Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   Sugar Coated Love

      Live performance

      Composition: Audrey Butler/Jay D Miller (Jerry West)

   That's Alright

      Live performance w Elvin Bishop & Johnny Vernazza

      Composition: Slim Harpo/Jay D Miller (Jerry West)


  Slim Harpo was among the Excello label swamp blues musicians. Swamp blues, centered in Baton Rouge, were a slower version of Louisiana blues that developed after World War II. Born James Isaac Moore in 1924 in Louisiana, Harpo quit school upon the death of his parents to play mouth harp anywhere possible, using the name, Harmonica Slim, until he began recording. (There was another Harmonica Slim so he changed his name to Slim Harpo.) His first recording session was in March of '57 toward 'I'm a King Bee' b/w 'I've Got Love If You Want It (Excello 2113). Joining him were Gabriel Perrodin (guitar), John Perrodin (bass) and Clarence Etienne (drums). That issue made Harpo a local sensation, 'I'm a King Bee' since become a standard covered by numerous from Muddy Waters, to Louisiana Red to pianist, Jimmy Walker. Nevertheless, Wikipedia comments that Harpo was never able to sustain himself by music alone, despite placing a few titles on Billboard's Top Forty in R&B between 1961 and 1968: 'Rainin' in My Heart' (#17 '61), 'Baby Scratch My Back' (#1 '66), 'Tip on In' (#37 '67) and 'Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu' (#36 '68). About 1964 his recordings were selling fairly well in the United Kingdom as well, and big-name British rock bands would cover his material (in no particular order: the Rolling Stones, the Pretty Things, the Yardbirds, the Kinks, Pink Floyd, the Them, the Troggs). The Moody Blues took their name from one of Harpo's songs. 'Moody Blues', below. Among American musicians who have covered him are Clifton Chenier, Warren Smith, Alex Chilton and others listed at allmusic. During his last couple years he toured with Lightnin' Slim before dying of heart attack on January 31, 1970, in Baton Rouge, only 46 years years old. Among Harpo's numerous compositions were such as 'Don't Start Cryin' Now', 'Rainin' In My Heart', 'Mailbox Blues' and 'Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu', the former two with Jerry West with whom he collaborated often. Other songs written by Harpo and West at 45cat and allmusic.

Slim Harpo   1957

   I'm a King Bee

      Composition: Slim Harpo (James Moore)

   I've Got Love If You Want It

      Composition: Slim Harpo

Slim Harpo   1958

   Strange Love/Wondering and Worryin'

      Compositions: Slim Harpo/Jerry West

Slim Harpo   1959

   One More Day

      Compositions: Slim Harpo/Jerry West

   You'll Be Sorry Some Day

      Compositions: Slim Harpo/Jerry West

Slim Harpo   1961

   Moody Blues

      Composition: Slim Harpo/Jerry West

Slim Harpo   1966

   Baby Scratch My Back

      Composition: Slim Harpo

   Shake Your Hips


Birth of the Blues: Slim Harpo

Slim Harpo

Source: Raised On Records

  Born Aaron Willis in 1932 in Greensboro, Alabama, harmonica player Little Sonny (called "Sonny Boy" by his mother) is distinguished on this page largely populated by Chicago bluesmen by being a Detroit musician, yet also in that he invaded Detroit, central to Motown R&B and soul during the sixties, with Chicago blues. (Berry Gordy Jr. founded Tamla Records in 1959, that becoming Motown Records in 1960.) He left the South for Detroit in 1953 where he worked at a used car lot. He had no musical designs until chancing to hear Sonny Boy Williamson II at a local show. His first professional performance was with Washboard Willie at the Good Times Bar, after which he formed his own band in 1956. Sonny's first record release was in 1958 with 'I Gotta Find My Baby'/'Hear My Woman Calling' (Duke 186). Another session was held in '58 at Joe's Record Shop run by Joe Von Battle for 'Love Shock'/'I'll Love You Baby' (JVB 5001) issued in May of '58 per 45cat. That would get leased to Excello in '62. (Battle's record shop would burn down during the Detroit riots of '67 with thousands of original masters lost.)Sonny formed his own label on an unidentified date to record 'The Mix Up'/'Inside My Heart' (Speedway 100) issued on an unknown date. (Per this writing they're wanting $100 for that at popsike.) 1965 saw the release of 'Let's Have a Good Time'/'Orange Pineapple Blossom Pink' (Wheelsville 103). Come six sides issued by Revilot, the first two in August of '67: 'The Creeper'/'Latin Soul'. Sonny signed on with Enterprise, a Stax imprint, in 1969 for 'Baby What You Want Me to Do'/'The Creeper Returns' (#9013). Those appeared on his debut LP, 'New King of the Blues Harmonica', the next year. Wikipedia wants him issuing seven more albums to as late as 'The Best Love I've Ever Had' in 2003, that preceded by 'Live in Japan' in '97, recorded in '94. Sonny is the father of guitarist, Aaron Willis Jr., and bassist, Anthony Willis, the former having long since appeared on Sonny's 'Hard Goin' Up' ('73). Sonny has performed with both in the new millennium. Sonny's 'Love Shock' was covered by Albert King in 1978. Most of Sonny's other recordings were composed by himself as well. Credits for issues on 45 RPM.

Little Sonny   1958

   Hear My Woman Calling

      Composition: Little Sonny (Aaron Willis)

   I Gotta Find My Baby

      Composition: Little Sonny

   I'll Love You Baby (Until the Day I Die)

      Composition: Little Sonny

   Love Shock

      Composition: Little Sonny

Little Sonny   1962

   The Mix Up

      Composition: Probably Little Sonny

Little Sonny   1967

   Latin Soul

      Composition: Little Sonny

Little Sonny   1969

   The Creeper Returns

      Composition: Little Sonny

Little Sonny   1972

   Eli's Porkchop

      Composition: Little Sonny

   Memphis B-K

      Composition: Little Sonny


Birth of the Blues: Little Sonny

Little Sonny

Source: Oakland Press

Birth of the Blues: Janis Joplin

Janis Joplin

Source: Curiosidades

Born in Port Arthur, Texas, in 1943, it was 1962 when blues rock singer Janis Joplin recorded her first blues song: 'What Good Can Drinkin' Do'. She joined the group, Big Brother and the Holding Company, in 1966, which debut album, 'Big Brother and the Holding Company', was released in August of '67. Their second album, 'Cheap Thrills', was released the following year. Joplin last performed with the group in December of '68, after which she formed the Kozmic Blues Band. In 1969 she performed at Woodstock, then put together the Full Tilt Boogie Band in 1970. Her last public appearance was with that band at Harvard Stadium in Boston in August 1970. Her album, 'Pearl' (on which appeared her last recording, the folk song, 'Mercedes Benz' on October 1, 1970), was released in 1971 posthumously. Three days after recording 'Mercedes Benz' Joplin was discovered dead in her hotel room at the Landmark in Hollywood (October 4, 1970). Joplin was a woman with enormous potential. But she vanished young, only 27 years old, of heroin overdose, perhaps in combination with alcohol. (Joplin liked her Southern Comfort, once commenting that she drank before performances because she was otherwise too shy.) Also associated with acid rock (a couple examples of psychedelic below), Joplin's most popular release was the more simple folk song, 'Me & Bobby McGee', that reaching Billboard's #1 spot in January of '71 (posthumously). Songs composed by Joplin. Several live performances below.

Janis Joplin   1962

   Black Mountain Blues

      Composition: JC Johnson

      First version by Bessie Smith   1930

   What Good Can Drinkin' Do

      Composition: Joplin

Janis Joplin   1965

   Apple of My Eye

   Zip Train (219 Train)

Janis Joplin   1967

   Combination of the Two

      Composition: Sam Andrew

Janis Joplin   1968

   Easy Once You Know How

      Composition: Peter Albin/Sam Andrew

      David Getz/James Gurley/Joplin

   Piece of My Heart

      Composition: Jerry Ragovoy/Bert Berns

   Turtle Blues

      Composition: Joplin

Janis Joplin   1969

   Ball and Chain

      Composition: Willie Mae Thornton (Big Mama)

   Dear Landlord

      Composition: Bob Dylan

   Little Girl Blue

      Live on 'This Is Tom Jones'

      Composition: Richard Rodgers   1935


      Composition: George & Ida Gershwin/DuBose Hayward

   Try (Just a Little Bit Harder)

      Woodstock performance

      Composition: Jerry Ragovoy/Chip Taylor

Janis Joplin   1970

   Cry Baby

      Filmed live

      Composition: Jerry Ragovoy/Bert Berns

   Kosmic Blues

      Filmed live

      Composition: Joplin/Gabriel Mekler

Janis Joplin   1971

   Me & Bobby McGee

      Composition: Kris Kristofferson/Fred Foster

   Mercedes Benz

      Composition: Joplin/Bob Neuwirth/Michael McClure


Birth of the Blues: Moses Whispering Smith

ZZ Hill

Source: All Music
Born in 1935 in Naples, TX, vocalist, ZZ Hill (Arzell Hill), was a member of the Spiritual Five, a church group in Dallas, before shifting to professional gigs in R&B. Hill represents blues soul (as distinguished from, say, blues rock). Hill left for Los Angeles in 1963 where he held sessions toward the release of his first record that year: 'The Right to Love'/'Five Will Get You Ten' (Mesa 200). He next held sessions for the MH label belonging to his brother, Mike: 'Tomble Weed'/'You Were Wrong' (MH 200) and 'Come On Home'/'One Way Love Affair' (MH 202). He signed onto Kent Records in 1964, with which he remained into '68. His initial plate for Kent was 'You Don't Love Me'/'If I Could Do It All Over'. Hill never placed a title onto Billboard's Top Ten. But he hung around the Top Forty R&B for nearly twenty years with eleven titles from his composition, 'You Were Wrong', in 1964 at #20 to 'Cheating in the Next Room' in 1982 at #19. 'Whole Lot of Soul' was Hill's debut album six years later in 1969. Wikipedia shows Hill issuing fifteen albums up to his last in 1984: 'Thrill On a Hill'. 'In Memoriam' was released posthumously in 1985, as Hill died at age 49 in Dallas on April 27, 1984, of heart attack. Songwriting credits to recordings released by Hill on 45 RPM.

ZZ Hill   1963

   You Were Wrong

       Composition: ZZ Hill (Arzell Hill)

ZZ Hill   1965

   That's It

       Composition: ZZ Hill

ZZ Hill   1966

   Set Your Sights Higher

       Composition: ZZ Hill

ZZ Hill   1968

   Don't Make Promises

       Composition: Tim Hardin

ZZ Hill   1972

   It Ain't No Use

       Composition: Don Hollinger/Gary Bonds

   Second Chance

       Composition: Don Hollinger/Gary Bonds

ZZ Hill   1975

   Keep on Lovin' You


ZZ Hill   1978

   Universal Love


ZZ Hill   1982

   Cheatin' In the Next Room

       Composition: George Jackso/Robert Alton Miller

       LP: 'Down Home Blues'

   Down Home Blues

       Composition: George Jackson

       LP: 'Down Home Blues'

   Everybody Knows About My Good Thing

       Composition: Miles Grayson/Lermon Horton

       LP: 'Down Home Blues'

   Someone Else is Steppin In

       Composition: Denise LaSalle

       LP: 'The Rhythm & The Blues'

   Wang Dang Doodle

       Composition: Willie Dixon

       LP: 'The Rhythm & The Blues'


  Born in 1932 in Union Church, Mississippi, to a sharecropping family, Moses Whispering Smith was a swamp blues (Baton Rouge blues, basically) harmonica player who began his career in juke joints meeting such as Little Walter and Sonny Boy Williamson II [*]. In 1957 he headed for Baton Rouge to become employed as a house painter, eventually to get together with guitarist, Lightnin' Slim, with whom he made test recordings in January of '63, likely with Excello in Crowley, Arkansas, with which Slim had been since '56. Slim would be a major figure in Smith's career as the latter later replaced Lazy Lester in Slim's operation. Smith would tour Europe with Slim as late as the early seventies (: 'Montreux Blues Festival' '72). Returning to January of '63, Smith also laid out his first name titles, again for Excello producer, Jay Miller (aka Jerry West): 'Mean Woman Blues'/'Hound Dog Twist' (Excello 2232). Other songs included 'Don't Leave Me Baby'/'Live Jive' (Excello 2237). Backing him on those were Ulysses Williams (guitar), Ernest Ambrose (bass) and Sammy Brown (drums). Smith backed guitarist, Silas Hogan, in September of '63 on 'I'm Gonna Quit You Pretty Baby'/'Airport Blues' (Excello 2231) and 'I'm Going in the Valley'/'Lonesome La La' (Excello 2241). Hogan would also be a big figure in Smith's career, the latter supporting Hogan on titles into the early seventies. 1970 saw Hogan's album, 'Louisiana Blues' for which Smith composed "I Love You Baby' and 'On the Dark Road Crying'. As for Smith's recordings, several followed in '64 (: 'Cryin' Blues', 'I Tried So Hard', etc.) he largely backing Hogan thereafter until releasing his only album, 'Over Easy', in '72. Smith followed that the next year with 'Why Am I Treated So Bad'/'It's All Over' (Excello 2338) the next year. Smith died on April 28, 1984, only 52 years of age in Baton Rouge.

Moses Whispering Smith   1963

   Don't Leave Me Baby

       Composition: Jerry West/Smith

   Hound Dog Twist

       Composition: Jerry West/Smith

   Mean Woman Blues

       Composition: Jerry West/Smith

Moses Whispering Smith   1973

   It's All Over

       Composition: Smith

   Why Am I Treated So Bad

       Composition: Pops Staples


Birth of the Blues: Moses Whispering Smith

Moses Whispering Smith

Photo: Norbert Hess

Source: Harmonica Arena

Birth of the Blues: Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor

Source: Dead Celebrity Haiku

Born Cora Walton in 1928 in Tennessee, Koko Taylor, a Chicago blues vocalist, was discovered by Willie Dixon, who produced Taylor's first recordings issued in 1963: 'Like Heaven to Me'/'Honky Tonky' (USA 745). ['Goldmine Standard Catalog of American Records' 9th Ed. Dave Thompson. See also *.] Dixon then helped Taylor acquire a contract with Chess Records, her debut name recordings issued in 1964: 'I Got What It Takes'/'What Kind of Man Is This' (Checker 1092). Among her more cited recordings was 'Wang Dang Doodle' released in 1966. Taylor issued her first name album in 1969 with Chess, titled simply, 'Koko Taylor'. Taylor issued several sides for Yambo in 1970 before the issue of her 2nd LP, 'Basic Soul' in '72, also issued by Chess. Her next album was recorded in Europe for Black And Blue in '73: 'Southside Lady'. The major label that had been Chess since its founding in 1950 sank in 1975. Bruce Iglauer's founding of the Alligator label in 1971 was nigh as if to anticipate Chess' vacant place in the recording and distribution of Chicago blues. Discogs was Taylor's first LP for Alligator issued in '74: 'I Got What It Takes'. In 1982 Taylor recorded 'Wang Dang Doodle' at the Montreus Jazz Festival in Switzerland, that to win her a Grammy per the album by various, 'Blues Explosion' ('84). Among other honors are 29 Blues Music Awards and election into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1997. She won the Blues Foundation Lifetime Achievement Award in 1999 and a NEA National Heritage Fellowship in 2004. Wikipedia has her issuing 15 albums to 'Old School' in 2007. Her final performance was at the Blues Music Awards in Memphis on May 7, 2009, singing 'Wang Dang Doodle'. Taylor died on June 3, 2009, in Kildeer, Illinois. Songwriting credits for some of Taylor's early 45 RPM issues.

Koko Taylor   1963

   Honky Tonky

       Composition: Buck Peddy/Mel Tillis

   Like Heaven to Me

       Composition: Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor   1964

   I Got What It Takes

       Composition: Willie Dixon

   What Kind of Man Is This

       Composition: Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor   1966

  Wang Dang Doodle

       Composition: Willie Dixon

Koko Taylor   1968

   Insane Asylum

      With Willie Dixon

       Composition: Willie Dixon/Milton Bland

   Love You Like a Woman

Koko Taylor   1973

   I'm a Little Mixed Up

       Composition: Elmore James

Koko Taylor   1975

   I'd Rather Go Blind

       Composition: Ellington Jordan/Billy Foster

   That's Why I'm Crying

       Composition: Samuel Maghett/Magic Sam

Koko Taylor   1993

   Bad Case of Loving You

       Composition: John Moon Martin

       Album: 'Force of Nature'

   Can't Let Go

       Composition: Koko Taylor

Koko Taylor   2007

   I'm a Woman

       Composition: Koko Taylor



Birth of the Blues: Spencer Davis Group

Spencer Davis Group

Source: Rok Pool

Formed in Birmingham, England, in 1963, the remarkable Spencer Davis Group consisted of Muff Winwood on bass, his brother, Steve Winwood, on organ (later a member of Cream in 1969), Pete York on drums and Spencer Davis oft on harmonica. Though the group disbanded in 1969 it was reunited again in 1973 with different personnel. (Steve Winwood had left in 1967 to form Traffic.) Spencer Davis yet performs with his group, though its members have changed over the years. The band signed their first record contract in 1964, first recording 'Dimples' with 'Sittin' and Thinkin' flip side, followed by 'I Can't Stand It' with 'Midnight Train'. They next released 'Every Little Bit Hurts' with 'It Hurts Me So' in 1965. All these tracks are on their first album below, 'The Spencer Davis Group', also released in 1965. Recordings below are chronological by year, not month, and most are live performances. More Spencer Davis Group in British Invasion.

Spencer Davis Group   1964


       Composition: John Lee Hooker   1956

Spencer Davis Group   1966

   The Spencer Davis Group

      First album

   Dust My Broom

       Composition: Robert Johnson   1936

   Nobody Knows You When You're Down and Out

      Album: 'Autumn '66'

   The Second Album


   Sittin' and Thinkin'

      Live performance

       Composition: Spencer Davis

   Somebody Help Me

       Composition: Jackie Edwards

   Stevie's Blues

       Composition: Spencer Davis/Muff Winwood

       Steve Winwood/Pete York

   When I Come Home


       Jackie Edwards/Scott McKnight/Steve Winwood

Spencer Davis Group   1967

   Georgia On My Mind

       Composition: Hoagy Carmichael/Stuart Gorrell

   Gimme Some Lovin'


       Steve Winwood/Spencer Davis/Muff Winwood

   I'm a Man

       Composition: Steve Winwood/Jimmy Miller



Born in 1933 in England, John Mayall's was probably my own favorite group in high school. Mayall played multiple instruments such as keyboards and guitar, but is better known for harmonica. Mayall was serving in Korea for three years when he bought his first electric guitar on a leave. Upon discharge from service Mayall acquired a degree from the Manchester College of Art. He thus supported his early days in music as a designer. In 1956 he formed his first group, the Powerhouse Four. When that band became known as the Bluesbreakers in 1963 it was John McVie on bass, Martin Hart on drums and Bernie Watson on guitar. After the band recorded its first release in 1964, 'Crawling Up a Hill' with 'Mr. James' flip side, Hughie Flint took the drums and Roger Dean replaced Watson. (The studio version of 'Crawling Up a Hill' is indexed below. A live version will be found at a Birth of Rock n Roll 6.) Mayall released his first album, 'John Mayall Plays John Mayall', in 1965, after which guitarist Eric Clapton replaced Dean in the Bluesbreakers and the band began to take off with the release of the album, 'John Mayall With Eric Clapton', in 1966. (Mayall plays with Eric Clapton in selections below for the years 1965 through 1966.) Clapton was replaced by Peter Green in 1966, then Green exchanged for Mick Taylor in 1967, Taylor first appearing on the album 'Crusade'. Although Mayall released the album, 'Blues From Laurel Canyon' in 1968, he didn't move to Los Angeles, of which Laurel Canyon is a suburb, until 1969, residing there until 1979. 'Looking Back' ('69)was his last issue before leaving the UK for the States. 'The Turning Point' was issued in 1969 after that move. In 1970 Mayall recruited guitarist, Harvey Mandel, from the band, Canned Heat. Bassist, Larry Taylor, also of Canned Heat, had been with Mayall since the prior year, first appearing on the album, 'Empty Rooms'. 'Jazz Blues Fusion' was issued in 1971 (minus Mandel, plus Freddy Robinson and trumpeter, Blue Mitchell). By the eighties Mayall was a legend, taking his group on an international tour of two years in 1982. Guitarist, Buddy Whittington, joined Mayall in 1993. The album, 'Along for the Ride', appeared in 2001. Having issued a prodigious quantity of music over the decades, Mayall's latest release as of this writing was 'Find a Way to Care' in 2015. All titles below composed by Mayall except as noted (* = undetermined).

John Mayall   1964

   Crawling Up a Hill

  Mr. James

John Mayall   1965

   Blues City Shakedown

  Crawling Up a Hill

      Album: 'John Mayall Plays John Mayall'

  Crocodile Walk

   I'm Your Witchdoctor

   Telephone Blues

John Mayall   1966

   All Your Love

       Composition: Otis Rush   1958

      Album: 'Blues Breakers'

   Hide Away

       Composition: Freddie King/Sonny Thompson

   Parchman Farm

       Composition: Mose Allison

John Mayall   1967

   Drivin' Sideways


       Beverly Bridge/Freddie King/Sonny Thompson

   It Hurts Me Too

       Composition: Mel London

   Oh, Pretty Woman

      Composition: Albert King

John Mayall   1968

   I Can't Sleep*

      Live at the Fillmore

   I Started Walking*

   Walking On Sunset

       Live performance

John Mayall   1969


       Composition: Mayall/Fischer Thompson

      Album: 'The Turning Point'

   Can't Sleep This Night

      Album: 'The Turning Point'

   So Hard to Share

      Album: 'The Turning Point Soundtrack'

John Mayall   1970

   The Laws Must Change

      Live performance

John Mayall   1971

   My Pretty Girl

      Live performance

   Mess Around

       Live performance

       Composition: Charles Fulcher/Mayall

   Gasoline Blues

John Mayall   1982

   Stormy Monday

      Live with Albert King   Composition: T-Bone Walker

John Mayall   1984

   Room to Move

      Live performance

John Mayall   1993

   The Bear

      Live performance

John Mayall   2003

   Oh, Pretty Woman

      Live performance   Composition: Albert Kin

John Mayall   2007

   So Many Roads

       Live performance

       Composition: Marshall Paul

John Mayall   2011

   All Your Love

       Live performance

       Composition: Otis Rush   1958


Birth of the Blues: John Mayall

John Mayall

Source: Spirit of Rock


Born in 1942 in Chicago, Paul Butterfield's studied classical flute in high school before switching to harmonica to play blues. He also played guitar and piano. His earlier performing career included gigs with such as Muddy Waters, Nick Gravenite and Elvin Bishop, he gigging at Big John's in Chicago with the latter in 1963. Bishop would perform guitar for Butterfield to 1968, thus would be an original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band formed in '64. Mike Bloomfield American Music (NBAM) has Butterfield leading the Buttercups with Mike Bloomfield as second guitar to Bishop on unissued private recordings on October 9 of 1963. Bloomfield would remain with Butterfield until 1967 when he departed to form Electric Flag. He would thus be an original member of the Paul Butterfield Blues Band formed the next year alongside Bishop. To the best we can make of NBAM, Chrome Oxide and The Discographer, Butterfield first recorded to issue with the Paul Butterfield Blues Band in latter 1964, including the first version of the Gravenite composition, 'Born in Chicago', released on 'Folksong '65'. Other titles thought recorded in '64 were 'Spoonful' and 'Off the Wall', issued in 1966 on another album by various, 'What's Shakin''. Other sessions thought per '64 saw release much later in 1995 on 'The Original Lost Elektra Sessions' (seven of that issue's nineteen tracks below). The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released its first album in latter 1965, simply titled 'The Paul Butterfield Blues Band'. That included the second version of Gravenite's 'Born in Chicago'. The Paul Butterfield Blues Band released its last of seven albums in 1971: 'Sometimes I Just Feel Like Smilin''. One of those was 'Live' in 1970. The other four were 'East-West' (Bloomfield's last in '66), 'The Resurrection of Pigboy Crabshaw' ('67), 'In My Own Dream' (Bishop's last in '68) and 'Keep On Moving' ('69). Butterfield then went on to form the group, Better Days, resulting in three albums. In 1975 Butterfield joined Muddy Waters on the album, 'The Muddy Waters Woodstock Album', after which he performed at The Band's last concert, The Last Waltz, in 1976. He reunited with Bishop and Bloomfield in 1978 for a recorded concert at the University of California Berkeley. Butterfield died on May 4, 1987, of an accidental drug overdose, only six years after the death by overdose of Bloomfield. (Bishop is active to this date.) Butterfield's final studio release had been 'The Legendary Paul Butterfield Rides Again' in 1986. All the tracks following year 1964 below are live performances with the exception of the last two which are samples of Butterfield upon going disco.

Paul Butterfield   1964

   Goin' Down Slow

      Composition: Jimmy Oden   1941

   Hate to See You Go

      Composition: Little Walter/A. Walker

   Love Her With a Feeling

      Composition: Hudson Whittaker (Tampa Red)

   Nut Popper #1

      Composition: Paul Butterfield

   Our Love Is Driftin'

      Composition: Elvin Bishop/Paul Butterfield

   Poor Boy

      Composition: Traditional

   That's All Right

      Composition: James Lane

Paul Butterfield   1965

   Live at Newport

      Filmed live

   The Paul Butterfield Blues Band

      Debut album

Paul Butterfield   1966

   Got a Mind to Give Up Living

      Composition: Traditional

Paul Butterfield   1967

   Driftin' Blues

      Composition: Charles Brown

Paul Butterfield   1969

   Everything's Gonna Be All Right

      Live at Woodstock

      Composition: Walter Jacobs

Paul Butterfield   1973

   Too Many Drivers

      Composition: Andrew Hogg

Paul Butterfield   1977

   Slow Down

      Composition: Steve Cobb

Paul Butterfield   1979

   Mystery Train

      With Rick Danko and Bob Welch

      Composition: Junior Parker   1953

Paul Butterfield   1980

   Change of Heart

Paul Butterfield   1981

   I Get Excited

     Composition: Julius Bradley/Eddie Fisher


Birth of the Blues: Paul Butterfield

Paul Butterfield

Source: Music Fly

Birth of the Blues: Charlie Mussle white

Charlie Musselwhite

Source: Blues Historian

Born in 1944 in Mississippi, harmonica player Charlie Musselwhite was raised in Memphis where sometime after high school he performed at parties and such, becoming acquainted with the likes of Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash and Johnny Burnettee [Alligator]. Venturing north to Chicago as a restless young man, he had no intention of pursuing a musical career when by twists and turns he found himself jamming with such as Muddy Waters [Chicago Tribune]. He is thought to have first appeared on record in 1965 per 'The Paul Butterfield Blues Band' (recorded '64), Tracy Nelson's 'Deep Are the Roots' and John Hammond's 'So Many Roads'. He then joined Shakey Horton (Big Walter) as Memphis Charlie on 'Rockin' My Boogie', issued in '66 on the album by various, 'Chicago/The Blues/Today! Vol 1-3'. Musselwhite released his first LP, the highly regarded 'Stand Back! Here Comes Charley Musselwhite's Southside Band', in 1967 (recorded in 1966). Come 'Stone Blues' in '68 and 'Tennessee' in '69. Musselwhite has issued above 30 albums during his career to as late as 'I Ain't Cryin'' in 2015. All tracks below for 1967 are from Musselwhite's 'Stand Back!'. The bottom four samples are live recordings. Musselwhite was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 2010.

Charlie Musselwhite   1967

   39th and Indiana

   4 P.M.

     Composition: Harvey Mandel

   Cha Cha the Blues

   Christo Redemptor

     Composition: Duke Pearson

   Early In the Morning

   Help Me

     Composition: Ed Ward

   My Baby

   Sad Day

     Composition: Barry Goldberg

Charlie Musselwhite   1968

   Everything's Gonna Be All Right

     Composition: Little Walter

Charlie Musselwhite   1974

   Finger Lickin' Good

     Composition: Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite   2004


     Composition: Eddie Harris

Charlie Musselwhite   2008

   My Road Lies In Darkness

     Composition: Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite   2009

   River Hip Mama

     Composition: Andrew Jones/Charlie Musselwhite

Charlie Musselwhite   2011

   Uncle Sam Blues

     Composition: Hot Lips Page


Birth of Rock & Roll: Pacific Gas and Electric

Pacific Gas & Electric

Source: San Diego Reader
Pacific Gas & Electric released the single, 'Are You Ready?', in 1970 to great success. The group was formed by drummer, Charlie Allen, who would become vocalist. Electric originated in 1968 to issue its first LP that year: 'Get It On'. It issued 'Pacific Gas & Electric' in '69 followed by 'Are You Ready' in 1970. At the core of the band up to that time were Brent Block (bass), Frank Cook (drums), Glenn Schwartz (lead guitar) and Tom Marshall (rhythm guitar). It was inevitable that the Pacific Gas and Electric utilities company would wish to avoid confusion with the band, the group changing its name to PG&E in 1971, Allen now running a completely different crew with Frank Peticca on bass, Ron Woods at drums and Ken Utterback picking up lead guitar. PG&E issued 'PG&E' that year. Their next and last album in 1973 was nevertheless titled 'Pacific Gas & Electric Starring Charlie Allen'. 'Live 'n' Kicking at Lexington', recorded in 1970, was released in 2007. Allen died in 1990, only 48 years of age, cause unknown for all that can be determined. Per 1968 below, all tracks are from the LP, 'Get It On'. Per 1970 all tracks are from the album, 'Are You Ready'.

Pacific Gas & Electric   1968

   Cry Cry Cry

     Composition: Deadric Malone

   The Hunter


     Booker T Jones/Al Jackson Jr/Junior Wells

   Jelly Jelly

     Composition: James Cotton

   Live Love

     Composition: Tom Marshall

   Long Handled Shovel

   Motor City's Burning

     Composition: Al Smith

   Stormy Times

     Composition: Brent Block

   Wade In the Water

Pacific Gas & Electric   1969

   Pacific Gas and Electric


   Stormy Times


     Composition: Brent Block

Pacific Gas & Electric   1970

  Are You Ready?

     Filmed live

     Composition: Charlie Allen/John Hill

   The Blackberry

     Composition: O'Kelly, Ronald & Rudolph Isley


     Composition: Brent Block/Charlie Allen

     Frank Cook/Glenn Schwartz/Tom Marshall

   Hawg for You

     Composition: Otis Redding

   Love Love Love Love Love

     Composition: David Cochrane/John Hill

   Mother Why Do You Cry

     Composition: Charlie Allen


     Composition: Brent Block


     Composition: Charlie Allen/John Hill




With Pacific Gas & Electric we pause this history of modern blues. We will be entering other notable blues musicians as such occur.




Early Blues 1: Guitar

Early Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 1: Guitar

Modern Blues 2: Vocal - Other Instruments

Modern Blues 3: Black Gospel Appendix


Medieval - Renaissance


Galant - Classical

Romantic: Composers born 1770 to 1840

Romantic - Impressionist

Expressionist - Modern

Modern: Composers born 1900 to 1950




Country Western


Early Jazz 1: Ragtime - Bands - Horn

Early Jazz 2: Ragtime - Other Instrumentation

Early Jazz 3: Ragtime - Song - Hollywood

Swing Era 1: Big Bands

Swing Era 2: Song

Modern 1: Saxophone

Modern 2: Trumpet - Other Horn

Modern 3: Piano

Modern 4: Guitar - Other String

Modern 5: Percussion - Other Orchestration

Modern 6: Song

Modern 7: Latin Jazz - Latin Recording

Modern 8: United States 1960 - 1970

Modern 9: International 1960 - 1970

Rock & Roll

Early - Boogie Woogie - R&B - Soul - Disco

Doo Wop

The Big Bang - Fifties American Rock

UK Beat

British Invasion

Total War - Sixties American Rock

Other Musical Genres - Popular Music Appendix

Musician Indexes

Classical - Medieval to Renaissance

Classical - Baroque to Classical

Classical - Romantic to Modern

The Blues

Bluegrass - Folk

Country Western

Jazz Early - Ragtime - Swing Jazz

Jazz Early - Swing Jazz

Jazz Modern - Horn

Jazz Modern - Piano - String

Jazz Modern - Percussion - Song - Other

Jazz Modern - 1960 to 1970

Boogie Woogie - Doo Wop - R&B - Rock & Roll - Soul

UK Beat - British Invasion

Sixties American Rock - Popular

Latin Recording - Europe

Latin Recording - The Caribbean - South America


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