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Episode #463 – Little Willie Littlefield

Air Week: March 18-24, 2019

Little Willie Littlefield

There are many great pianists in the history of boogie woogie that helped push its evolution. Out of the great Pete Johnson and Champion Jack Dupree, pianists Charles Brown and Amos Milburn brought boogie woogie into the R&B combo. But it was Little Willie Littlefield who popularized the triplet style of playing (basically playing 3 notes inside of one beat), which in turn inspired Fats Domino and eventually let to the birth of rock n’ roll. Littlefield, who is a highly underrated player in the development of R&B and rock n’ roll, began recording in Houston in 1948 for the tiny Eddie’s Records. After being discovered by Jules Bihari and signed to Modern Records, Littlefield moved to LA and scored 3 national top ten R&B hits for the Modern Label. In 1952, he moved over to Federal Records and cut some influential sides, such as the Leiber/Stoller-penned classic “Kansas City” (as “K.C. Lovin'”), but never hit the charts again. Matt The Cat digs up some rare and wonderful sides by this pioneering boogie woogie pianist and throws a few listener requests on the ol’ jukebox on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

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