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Episode #575 – Jimmy Witherspoon, Pt. 1 – 1945-50

Air Week: May 10-16, 2021

Jimmy Witherspoon, Pt. 1 – 1945-50

Jimmy Witherspoon is one of most influential blues shouters to emerge after WWII and yet he remains just a footnote in the evolution of Rhythm & Blues and Rock n’ Roll. Originally from Arkansas, ‘Spoon settled in Los Angeles after his time in the Merchant Marines during the war. He replaced fellow-shouter Walter Brown in Jay McShann’s band and was featured on McShann’s first single for the fledgling Philo Label in 1945. Witherspoon is best remembered for his 1949 chart-topper, “Ain’t Nobody’s Business,” which was actually recorded at the end of ’47 and released in mid-’48. That would prove to be his signature tune, even though he had strong chart success with “In The Evening,” “No Rollin’ Blues” and “Big Fine Girl” in late ’49. The last 2 were recorded live at the Civic Auditorium in Pasadena and really showcase the excitement of seeing ‘Spoon perform live. His career spanned over 50 years and this week Matt The Cat looks at ‘Spoon’s early records from 1945-50 in part 1 of 2 on this talented and important figure in early Rhythm & Blues on the “Juke In The Back.”

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Episode #574 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 14 – Cat Records

Air Week: May 3-9, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 14 – Cat Records


Atlantic Records was the most influential, significant and important independent record label to come out of the late-1940s, during a time when there were many great, small indie labels being born. What gave Atlantic the advantage over Specialty, Chess, Modern, Vee-Jay, Exclusive, King, etc is the breadth of material, variety of music styles and the sheer number of hit records that led to the Rock n’ Roll explosion of the mid-1950s. Matt The Cat and the “Juke In The Back” present this behemoth series celebrating the first 10 years of Atlantic’s existence: 1947-57. This week in part fourteen, Matt The Cat focuses on Atlantic’s first subsidiary label, Cat Records. Atlantic set Cat up to be their Rock n’ Roll label, but after only a year and a half and 18 single releases, they decided to dissolve it in favor of ATCO Records. During those 18 78s and 45s, Cat issued some smokin’ Rhythm & Blues, jivin’ vocal groups as well as a few pop and novelty records. Cat Records only enjoyed one national hit, “Sh-Boom” by The Chords, but what a spectacular hit it was. It topped out at #2 on the R&B chart and crossed-over to an impressive #5 Pop. R&B greats Floyd Dixon, Jimmy Lewis, Margie Day and songwriter Rose Marie McCoy all stopped by Cat for one or two releases AND the first Mickey & Sylvia record was issued on Cat in 1954. This is the final installment in our 14 part series on the history of Atlantic Records, so buckle in for another audio adventure with the “Juke In The Back.”

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Juke In The Back Promo

1940s & ’50s Rhythm & Blues

At the end of the Second World War, economics forced the big bands to trim their once great size and thus, the Jump Blues combo was born. Between 1946-1954, rhythm and blues laid the tracks for what was to become Rock n’ Roll. So how come, 70 years later, this vibrant and influential music is still so unknown to so many?

Matt The Cat is going to change that with the radio program, “Juke In The Back.” These were the records that you couldn’t hear on the jukebox in the front of the establishment. To hear all this great 1950s rhythm & blues, you had to go to “Juke In The Back.”

Juke In The Back: Demo The Show

 

Click below to hear a demo episode of “Juke In The Back.”