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Episode #571 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 11 – 1956

Air Week: April 12-18, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 11 – 1956


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 eleven, we’ll focus on 1956. It’s the first year that Rock n’ Roll was solidly placed in the mainstream of popular music. Atlantic began to soften and smooth out its rough R&B sound a bit during 1956 and onward, in order to appeal to the new Rock n’ Roll audience. Joe Turner scored his only pop hit with “Corrine Corrina,” which hit #41 Pop and #2 R&B and The Drifters continued to chart without Clyde McPhatter as “Ruby Baby” and “I Got To Get Myself A Woman” feature Johnny Moore handing the lead. Chuck Willis makes his Atlantic debut this year with “It’s Too Late,” while Ivory Joe Hunter scores his 4th and final #1 single as an Atlantic artist. His 3 previous chart-toppers were waxed for MGM and Pacific Records. Clyde McPhatter and Ray Charles also top the charts this year, while Ruth Brown has a very quiet 1956, chart-wise. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #570 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 10 – 1955-56

Air Week: April 5-11, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 10 – 1955-56


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 ten, we’ll focus on the last half of 1955 and the beginning of 1956. Clyde McPhatter officially left the Drifters in July of ’55, but his first solo record, “Everyone’s Laughing,” was indeed a Drifters record from their last recording session together. McPhatter would have to wait until early 1956 to have his first solo hit with “Seven Days.” Ruth Brown continued to rack up the hits, including one with her then flame, McPhatter called “Love Has Joined Us Together.” During this time, Ray Charles scores another #1, giving him 3 #1 singles in just over a year. The Clovers, Joe Turner and LaVern Baker continue their hit-streaks, while Atlantic takes very few chances on new, unproven artists. They do groom The Cookies as backup singers to their stars as well as releasing singles on their own. “In Paradise” turns out to be a surprise hit of early 1956. They would soon embark on a new career singing backup for Ray Charles. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #569 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 9 – 1955

Air Week: March 29-April 4, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 9 – 1955


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 nine, we’ll focus on 1955, one of the biggest years in Atlantic’s storied history. Ruth Brown, Joe Turner and LaVern Baker continue to score solid hits, but the real story of 1955 is Ray Charles. He has two #1 records this year with “I’ve Got A Woman,” heard at the end of last week’s program and “A Fool For You,” which topped the charts in early August. Brotha Ray was knocked out of the top spot by Chuck Berry’s “Maybellene.” We’ll also hear some important vocal group records from The Clovers, The Cardinals and The Regals. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #568 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 8 – 1954, Pt. 2

Air Week: March 22-28, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 8 – 1954, Pt. 2


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 eight, we take a look at the last half of 1954, one of the biggest years in Atlantic’s storied history. It was during the last six months of the year that Ruth Brown scored her 4th and 5th #1 records with “Oh What A Dream” and “Mambo Baby” respectively. “Mambo Baby” would end up being Brown’s final #1, though she would still rack up hit records over the next 5 years. LaVern Baker and Ray Charles released career defining records at the very end of 1954 that would make an even greater impact in 1955, just as Rock n’ Roll was beginning to enter the mainstream. We’ll also dig on a killer New Orleans instrumental from Tommy Ridgley and Ivory Joe Hunter’s first release for Atlantic. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #567 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 7 – 1954, Pt. 1

Air Week: March 15-21, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 7 – 1954, Pt. 1


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 seven, we take a look at the first half of 1954, one of the biggest years in Atlantic’s storied history. It was this year that Ray Charles scored his first hit for Atlantic with “It Should’ve Been Me.” It was his first hit after a 2 year dry spell. The Clovers and Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters continued to rack up best-sellers while The Diamonds, Professor Longhair and Hal Paige should’ve had hits this year. Big Joe Turner took a somewhat risque jump blues called “Shake, Rattle & Roll” and turned it into an early Rock n’ Roll anthem. At 43, Turner was the oldest Rock Idol. Next week, we’ll look at the second half of Atlantic’s great releases from 1954. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #566 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 6 – 1953

Air Week: March 8-14, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 6 – 1953


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 six, the entire program is immersed in 1953. The Clovers and Ruth Brown continue to rack up the hits, while Joe Turner enjoys the biggest hit of his career with “Honey Hush.” Atlantic introduces two singers that had been around for a while: LaVern Baker and Clyde McPhatter. Baker had been making records since 1949 with Eddie Penigar, Maurice King and Todd Rhodes, under the names Little Miss Sharecropper and Bea Baker. McPhatter began recording with Billy Ward and the Dominoes in 1950 as their lead tenor and had already racked up several #1 records. Both singers became huge solo artists on Atlantic and their tenures began in ’53. As always, Matt The Cat has thrown in some records that you don’t hear much anymore from Carmen Taylor, Choker Campbell, The Diamonds and Tommy Ridgley. This program is highlighted by an excerpt from an interview Matt The Cat conducted with Atlantic’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, a few years before his death in 2006. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #565 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 5 – 1952-53

Air Week: March 1-7, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 5 – 1952-53


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 five, we’ll pick up in late 1952 and hear Ray Charles’ first release for Atlantic, “The Midnight Hour.” It didn’t chart, but it marks a very important time for both the singer, who would soon find his voice and style and begin racking up hits, and the label, who bought his contract from SwingTime Records and invested in his development. The Clovers continue to score huge records as we make our way into 1953. Along with more hits from Ruth Brown, we’ll also dig up a few one-off singles that have been lost to history from The Tilters, Eunice Davis and guitarist Chuck Norris. This program is highlighted by an excerpt from an interview Matt The Cat conducted with Atlantic’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, a few years before his death in 2006. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #564 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 4 – 1952

Air Week: February 22-28, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 4 – 1952

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 four, we’ll focus on 1952 and dig not only the hits Atlantic scored that year, but also on a few of the should-have-been-hits. The Clovers scored 2 more #1 records with “Fool, Fool, Fool,” their 2nd release and “Ting-A-Ling,” their 3rd and final career #1 record. Ruth Brown continued her hit streak as “5-10-15 Hours” topped the national charts and “Daddy Daddy” made it to #3. Big Joe Turner followed up “Chains Of Love,” his debut release for Atlantic with the massively successful “Chains Of Love” and “Don’t You Cry.” We’ll also hear some gems from Odelle Turner and Lil Green that didn’t chart, but are equally as compelling as Atlantic’s hit material. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #563 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 3 – 1951

Air Week: February 15-21, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 3 – 1951


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 three, we’ll focus on 1951 and hear a few more stellar hits from bandleader Joe Morris and rising star Ruth Brown. Stick McGhee had his final charting record in ’51, but would still turn out some fantastic material for Atlantic and later, King Records. Also, two influential vocal groups make their debut this year for Atlantic: The Clovers and The Cardinals. The Clovers scored a #1 record right out of the gate with the first song ever written by Ahmet Ertegun with “Don’t You Know I Love You So” and Joe Turner releases his first single for the label. This program is highlighted by excerpts of an interview Matt The Cat conducted with Atlantic’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, a few years before his death in 2006. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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Episode #562 – Atlantic Records, Pt. 2 – 1949-50

Air Week: February 8-14, 2021

Atlantic Records, Pt. 2 – 1949-50

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 two, we’ll see how Atlantic continued its sporadic hit streak with a few charting instrumentals from saxophonist Frank “Floorshow” Culley as well as Professor Longhair’s debut record for the label. Ruth Brown, who had a pretty quiet start to 1950, ends the year with the biggest hit of her career and one of Atlantic’s best selling records of all-time. “Teardrops From My Eyes” hit #1 in early December and remained there for 11 weeks, carrying it deep into 1951. This was the beginning of Brown’s decade-long reign that earned Atlantic the nickname, “The House That Ruth Built.” This program is highlighted by excerpts of an interview Matt The Cat conducted with Atlantic’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun, a few years before his death in 2006. So buckle in and prepare yourself for an in-depth, multi-part look at the history of Atlantic Records, which could also be described as a look at the history of American Music itself.

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