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Episode #472 – Christine Kittrell

Air Week: May 20-26, 2019

Christine Kittrell

Nashville truly earned its nickname as “Music City” during the 1950s as it was not only the home of Country Music, but also a hotbed for a thriving Rhythm & Blues Scene. Vocalist Christine Kittrell is a great example of how wonderful and vibrant that R&B scene was. She was born and raised in Nashville, getting her musical education from singing at her local Baptist Church. Once she hooked up with Louis Brooks’ band during the mid-1940s, her star began to rise. Songwriter, arranger, producer and talent scout for Tennessee Records, Ted Jarrett signed her in 1951 and soon many markets throughout the South were hip to Kittrell’s blues shoutin’ style and Jarrett’s top-notch arrangements. Her 2nd single, “Sittin’ Here Drinkin’,” gained her airplay around the South and holds up today as her best known record. She would re-record it for Republic Records, which is the label that Tennessee changed its name to in 1953 and again for Vee-Jay Records in the early 60s. She was friends with Little Richard, who had roots in the Nashville scene and he even stopped by for a recording session with Kittrell in 1954. Matt The Cat will dig up those jumpin’ sides, along with a few smooth ballads and all that was in-between from this queen of the Nashville R&B scene. It’s Christine Kittrell’s Tennessee and Republic releases on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

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