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Episode #605 – R&B Influences: The Mills Brothers

Air Week: December 6-12, 2021

R&B Influences: The Mills Brothers

On a weekly basis, Juke In The Back consistently points out how the Rhythm & Blues music played on the program influenced those that came later, mostly in the Rock n’ Roll genre. What about the music the influenced and inspired the highly influential records played each week on our ol’ Rockola Juke? This week, Matt The Cat begins a sporadic series on the music that influenced the R&B that we love so dearly. What better way to begin such a series than with a program highlighting the granddaddy of vocal groups and doo wop music: The Mills Brothers. The four brothers (John Jr., Herbert, Harry and Donald) were born in Piqua, OH in the early Twentieth Century and began singing tight barbershop harmonies. They became the first African-Americans to host a national radio show in 1930, largely based on their ability to imitate musical instruments with their mouths along with their close harmonies. This led to a record deal with Brunswick and their first hit, “Tiger Rag.” More hit records, radio show appearances, movie cameos and shows followed through the early 1980s, making them one of the longest running groups of all-time. Their group harmony set a new standard, picked up by the Ink Spots, Ravens, Orioles and later the Flamingos, Clovers, Moonglows, Cadillacs and countless other rock n’ roll doo wop groups. The Mills Brothers are the launching pad for nearly every vocal group the followed and it’s a great pleasure and honor to feature their incredible sound on this week’s Juke In The Back.


Episode #604 – Ray Charles, Pt. 4 – 1957-58

Air Week: November 29-December 5, 2021

Ray Charles, Pt. 4: 1957-58

This week, the “Juke In The Back” presents the final part of a 4 part feature on the early musical career of the great, Ray Charles, which will cover 1948-58. In part 4, we’ll dig on the A and B sides of every Ray Charles single release on Atlantic Records from the summer of ’57 through the very end of ’58. This period is truly the cradle of Soul Music, as Ray continues to mesh church-like feeling with secular subject matter. His use of The Raylettes grows and he even gives Mary Ann Fisher (who was not a Raylette) a solo vocal on “What Kind Of Man Are You.” We’ll spin the hits, “Swannee River Rock (Talkin’ ‘Bout That River),” “Rockhouse, Pt. 2” and “(Night Time Is) The Right Time” as well as many should have been hits. Some of Ray Charles’ greatest live recordings from this period will also be highlighted to showcase Ray’s live performances as the road was just as important as the studio during this point in his career. We’ll also hear a few outtakes from the recording session that yielded “The Right Time.” Matt The Cat digs the end of Ray’s first ten years in music as “Juke In The Back”‘s in-depth look at the early work of Ray Charles comes to a close.


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.”