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Episode #334 – LaVern Baker, Pt. 2 – 1954-56

Air Week: September 26-October 2, 2016

LaVern BakerLaVern Baker, Pt. 2 – 1954-56

This week, the “Juke In The Back” looks at how one of R&B’s greatest voices, LaVern Baker, got her start. It’s part two of a two part feature on the early career of LaVern Baker. In part two, we’ll dig on Baker’s prime recording years of 1954-56. She had 4 charting records in ’55, beginning with the crossover smash, “Tweedlee Dee,” which stayed popular for over a year, hitting #4 R&B and crossing over to #14 Pop. In 1956, she scored 5 charters, ending the year with the release of the #1 classic, “Jim Dandy.” She also headlinned the Apollo and was featured in the Alan Freed film, “Rock! Rock! Rock!” starring Tuesday Weld. LaVern Baker’s career began in Rhythm & Blues, but she ended up becoming one of Rock n’ Roll’s first female superstars. Matt The Cat spins all of her records from the end of 1954 to the end of 1956, her most popular period on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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Episode #333 – LaVern Baker, Pt. 1 – 1949-54

Air Week: September 19-25, 2016

LaVern BakerLaVern Baker, Pt. 1 – 1949-54

This week, th “Juke In The Back” looks at how one of R&B’s greatest voices, LaVern Baker, got her start. It’s part one of a two part feature on the early career of LaVern Baker. In part one, we’ll dig on Baker’s first recordings from 1949-1954. She began her recording career with Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar Orch in 1949, then recorded a few sides as Little Miss Sharecropper on National Records. She then started singing with Maurice King and His Wolverines and finally with Todd Rhodes on King Records. After leaving Rhodes’ band, Baker was determined to become a solo artist and signed up with Atlantic Records, just in time for the Rock n’ Roll Explosion of the mid-1950s. None of these early records made the national charts, but you can really hear LaVern Baker evolve as an artist as the music moved closer and closer from Rhythm & Blues to Rock n’ Roll. In part 2, Matt The Cat will feature her breakthrough record of 1955 and the many hits that followed. Don’t miss the story of LaVern Baker, one of the greatest female vocalists of the 1950s on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

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