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Episode #541 – The Heartbeats

Air Week: September 14-20, 2020

The Heartbeats

With so many wonderful vocal groups present during the 1950s, it took a few distinct ones to lead the pack and blaze the trail. The Heartbeats are always right up there with The Clovers, Harptones, Moonglows, Flamingos and the other leaders who carried the torch lit by the Orioles and Ravens during the late ’40s. The Heartbeats began as the Hearts in 1953, but before making their first record in 1955, changed their name after a female group called The Hearts scored a big hit with “Lonely Nights.” Their first record came out in mid-1955 on Network Records. Although it was not successful, it gave them something to interest Hull Records, a tiny startup looking to enter the vocal group scene. Their first few records for Hull got regional airplay and made the charts in New York, Philadelphia and Baltimore. It was “A Thousand Miles Away,” their 4th Hull single that really took off nationally. Knowing the record would do better on a label with greater distribution and push, they jumped over to George Goldner’s storied Rama Records and “A Thousand Miles Away” went top 5 R&B and #53 Pop. Now one of the biggest vocal groups in the country, they continued to release slightly more polished songs for Rama and Gee, before falling apart by the end of 1959. Matt The Cat presents The Heartbeats’ story and their fantastic music on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 


Episode #540 – Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers

Air Week: September 7-13, 2020

Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers

The “Juke In The Back” digs deep into New Orleans Rhythm & Blues this week to focus on Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers, one of the few vocal groups to come out of a city best known for its blues, jazz and cajun roots. The Spiders were the best known vocal group to come out of 1950s New Orleans, but Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers were probably more versatile in the sense that they could not only shout the blues, like Roy Brown or Wynonie Harris, but they could also harmonize like a top notch doo wop group. Bobby Mitchell is best remembered today as the cat who originally sang “I’m Gonna Be A Wheel Someday,” two years before Fats Domino would cut it, but it was his “Try Rock n’ Roll” from 1956 that would be his only charting hit (reaching #14 nationally). That song capitalized on the emerging rock n’ roll craze and remains a record of its time. Bobby Mitchell and The Toppers were definitely a vocal group of their time, but they are well worth checking out as Matt The Cat gives them the spotlight treatment on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”


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.”

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. 


Juke In The Back: Demo The Show


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