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Episode #525 – R.I.P. Little Richard, Pt. 2: 1955-57

Air Week: May 25-31, 2020

R.I.P. Little Richard, Pt. 2: 1955-57

On May 9, 2020, we lost another one of Rock n’ Roll’s true founders: Little Richard. He stands alone in his uniqueness and his influence to all that would follow him. Matt The Cat presents part two of a two-part tribute to the “Architect of Rock n’ Roll.” No one could pack more frantic soul into a 2 minute record like LITTLE RICHARD. This week, the “Juke In The Back” focuses on Richard’s prime, hit-making period of 1955-57. Matt The Cat will take you from his early 1956 explosion, through his 3 #1 R&B hits up to Richard’s giving up Rock n’ Roll to dedicate himself to the Ministry at the end of 1957. His 2nd single for Specialty Records, “Long Tall Sally” was not only Little Richard’s biggest hit, but also the best selling single in the Specialty Records catalog. Matt The Cat also digs out some demo versions of Little Richard classics and shows the evolutions of songs you thought you knew backwards and forwards. We’ll look at the evolution of “Slippin’ And Sliddin’,” “Heebie Jeebies” and “Keep A Knockin’.” Little Richard didn’t invent Rock n’ Roll, but he did build on the foundation laid down by the blues shouters of the 1940s and helped propel it into the mainstream. You only need to listen to this week’s program to know the truth and greatness of the late, Little Richard. 

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Episode #524 – R.I.P. Little Richard, Pt. 1: 1951-55

Air Week: May 18-24, 2020

R.I.P. Little Richard, Pt. 1: 1951-55

On May 9, 2020, we lost another one of Rock n’ Roll’s true founders: Little Richard. He stands alone in his uniqueness and his influence to all that would follow him. Matt The Cat presents part one of a two-part tribute to the “Architect of Rock n’ Roll.” Growing up in a poor section of Macon, GA wasn’t easy and young Richard Wayne Penniman found himself on his own, singing in clubs before he was 17. However, he was a musical sponge, picking up vocal and performance tips from blues shouters Billy Wright and Roy Brown and some piano licks from the young Esquerita. He landed his first record contract with RCA Victor in late 1951 and cut 4 singles that didn’t go anywhere for the major label. Then in early ’53, Richard was on Don Robey’s Peacock label where he didn’t fare any better. But through all the disappointing record sales, Little Richard was building a style that would burst open when he cut “Tutti Frutti” for Specialty Records in September of 1955. Matt The Cat digs out Little Richard’s long forgotten humble R&B beginnings as we remember one of Rock’s TRUE pioneers on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #523 – R.I.P. Young Jessie

Air Week: May 11-17, 2020

R.I.P. Young Jessie

On April 27th, we lost Young Jessie, one of the unsung heroes of the LA vocal group scene. He was 83 years old. The West Coast is often ignored as a post World War II Rhythm & Blues hot spot, but some mighty fine R&B artists, groups and labels called LA home. This week, “Juke In The Back” spotlights the late, great Obediah “Young” Jessie, who at age 16, cut his first record with the Hollywood Blue Jays, which also included schoolmates Richard Berry and Cornell Gunter. The song, “I Had A Love” was written by Young Jessie and featured Gunter on lead. Soon, the group was renamed The Flairs and were recording for the Bihari Brothers’ Flair Records. Jessie went solo in ’54 and began working with Maxwell Davis’ great band. In ’55, he wrote and cut his more enduring song, “Mary Lou,” which unfortunately wasn’t a hit for Young Jessie, but became a huge hit for Ronnie Hawkins in ’59. His Modern Records output was top-notch ’50s R&B and Young Jessie was working with the best in the business. He was managed by Buck Ram, who also managed The Platters and The Penguins and he was recording with songwriters/producers Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, however, Young Jessie never enjoyed a national hit record. Matt The Cat spins the records that should-have-been hits by an artist that should be legendary. Let’s remember the great Young Jessie on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #520 – 10th Anniversary Show!

Air Week: April 20-26, 2020

10th Anniversary Show!

The “Juke In The Back” celebrates 10 years on the air with this special 10th anniversary program, featuring records that have never been played on any previous “Juke” shows. Matt The Cat loads the ol’ Rockola Jukebox with stacks o’ shellac of the rare and groovy variety to mark this special occasion. There are even some surprise guests on the program as we get a taste of some quality jump blues, honkin’ instrumentals, smooth vocal groups, spectacular ladies and down home blues. Matt plays a few records that didn’t make it on to recent programs due to time constraints as well as other discs by artists that haven’t been covered on any previous programs. So get ready to jump n’ jive to the rhythm as we celebrate 10 years of hanging out in the back of Rosie’s Juke Joint, diggin’ the sounds coming from the Juke In The Back. 

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Juke In The Back: Demo The Show

 

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