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Episode #355 – Jimmy Reed: 1953-59

Air Week: February 20-26, 2017

Jimmy Reed: 1953-59

Jimmy Reed was a hit-making blues machine back in the 1950s, yet he isn’t as well remembered today as some of his contemporaries. This week, Matt The Cat and the “Juke In The Back” dedicate the entire program to this highly influential bluesman. Reed’s mid-tempo shuffle was unique when first introduced in 1953 and has since become a part of Blues and Rock n’ Roll DNA. Reed, along with The Spaniels, were the first two acts signed to Vivian Carter and James Bracken’s new label, Vee-Jay, out of Gary, Indiana. His first 2 releases didn’t go anywhere, but it was his third, “You Don’t Have To Go,” that put Reed into the R&B top 5. He’d score 19 charting singles over the next 13 years. Some of them, like “Can’t Stand To See You Go,” “Little Rain,” “Honest I Do,” “Take Out Some Insurance,” “Baby What You Want Me To Do,” “Big Boss Man” and “Bright Lights, Big City” have become blues standards. Almost anyone could sing and play a Jimmy Reed tune, but only one man sounded like Jimmy Reed. This week, Matt The Cat loads up the “Juke In The Back” with Reed’s finest sides from 1953-59. 

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