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Episode #611 – R&B Influences: The Ink Spots

Air Week: January 17-23, 2022

R&B Influences: The Ink Spots


The Ink Spots, along with the Mills Brothers, Delta Rhythm Boys and Golden Gate Quartet built the musical bridge from the vaudevillian barber shop quartets of the early 20th Century to the post WWII vocal groups. These quartets modernized the singing style and even came up with singing innovations of their own. Bill Kenny, the high tenor singing leader of the Ink Spots invented what he called the “Top & Bottom” formula. That’s where he would sing a few verses in his high tenor or “top” and then Hoppy Jones would talk a verse in his bass voice, providing the “bottom.” This formula, begun in 1938, became an integral part of the Ink Spots success. Though they began recording in 1935, the world wouldn’t really take notice until “If I Didn’t Care” in 1939. From there, the hits just kept on comin’ with “Address Unknown,” “My Prayer,” “Maybe,” “I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire,” “Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall” (with Ella Fitzgerald) and “To Each His Own.” The Ink Spots dominated the 1940s and paved the way for the Orioles, Ravens, Flamingos and Moonglows to pick up the torch and carry it into the 1950s and a new genre; Rock n’ Roll. This week, Matt The Cat loads the ol’ Juke In The Back with 78s from the Ink Spots’ beginnings in the mid-1930s up to right before Bill Kenny disbanded the group in 1954. Find out where it all began, this week on the Juke In The Back.

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Episode #610 – 1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

Air Week: January 10-16, 2022

1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 2

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 70 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the second half of 1952. You’ll hear a lot more than just the big #1 R&B hits this week as we dig deep into the jukebox lists to feature seldom heard tunes by Illinois Jacquet, Varetta Dillard and Sonny Thompson with Lula Reed. These are the top requested records that were spinning on the jukebox in the back of the establishment. It’s part 2 of 2 on the 1952 Rhythm Review on the “Juke In The Back.”

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Episode #609 – 1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review

Air Week: January 3-9, 2022

1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 1

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 70 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the first half of 1952. You’ll hear a lot more than just the big #1 R&B hits this week as we dig deep into the jukebox lists to feature seldom heard tunes by John Greer & His Rhythm Rockets, Dinah Washington and Marie Adams. These are the top requested records that were spinning on the jukebox in the back of the establishment. It’s part 1 of 2 on the 1952 Rhythm Review on the “Juke In The Back.”

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Episode #608 – Combo Records

Air Week: December 27, 2021 – January 2, 2022

Combo Records

“Juke In The Back” ends 2021 with a profile of Combo Records, a small, independent Los Angeles record label that only scored one national hit, but had a stellar roster full of the top R&B acts of its day. Combo was formed in 1951 by trumpeter, bandleader and arranger Jake Porter. He kept the label up and running for ten years and released stellar records by some of his musician friends, honkin’ sax cat Joe Houston, bandleader Jack McVea and Blues Shouter Gene Phillips. He recorded established blues stars Smokey Hogg and Betty Hall Jones. Vocal groups from The Squires to The Chanters also graced Combo’s label. Gene & Eunice hit the top ten in late 1954 with their first version of the now-classic and oft-covered, “Ko Ko Mo.” Matt The Cat digs deep into the Combo label and focuses on the early years of 1951-54 on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

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Episode #607 – Cool Yule: R&B Christmas, Pt. 2

Air Week: December 20-26, 2021

Cool Yule: R&B Christmas, Pt. 2

The “Juke In The Back” presents part 2 of our 2 part vintage Christmas Rhythm & Blues extravaganza that Matt The Cat is calling “Cool Yule.” Louis Armstrong presents the title song with a backing group that is often overlooked and we spin a Louis Jordan Christmas record that’s hardly ever played. In-between, you’ll find doo wop morsels from The Cameos, Marvin & The Chips, The Youngsters and a rare early Sun Ra release by The Qualities. Chuck Berry thanks his baby for a wonderful Christmas while Charles Brown asks his sweetheart to come home and Sister Rosetta Tharpe slays us with a traditional hymn. We’ll take a look at our New Year’s plans and Miss Rosie provides a shopping guide for those near and dear or far and away. So grab the nog, light the tree and get ready to dig all the Cool Yule sounds on this week’s holiday “Juke In The Back.”

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Episode #606 – Hey! Santa Claus: R&B Christmas, Pt. 1

Air Week: December 13-19, 2021

Hey! Santa Claus: R&B Christmas, Pt. 1

The “Juke In The Back” begins a 2 part Holiday Music Extravaganza with a tribute to Santa Claus. This week, we find the “man in red” doing the boogie woogie, the mambo and just plain ol’ rockin’ his way into song. We’ll pour some nog and dig on some vintage Rhythm & Blues Santa songs you know and some you might be hearing for the first time. Matt The Cat fills the red and green Rockola Jukebox with classics from The Moonglows, The Hepsters, The Enchanters, Louis Armstrong, The Voices and many more. Did you know that Little Willie John’s very first record was a Christmas song that he recorded at the tender age of 16? Miss Rosie stops by to share her favorite nog recipe as we light up the tree, stoke the fire and spin R&B Santa Claus songs on part 1 of an R&B Christmas with the “Juke In The Back.”

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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.”

Juke In The Back: Demo The Show

 

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