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Episode #545 – R.I.P. Gaynel Hodge & Hal Singer

Air Week: October 12-18, 2020

R.I.P. – Gaynel Hodge & Hal Singer

This week, “Juke In The Back” honors two unsung R&B heroes who passed away over the past six months. Vocal group leader and songwriter Gaynel Hodge died at age 83 on June 2, 2020 and sax honker Hal Singer left us on August 18, 2020 at the age of 100. During the first half of the program, we’ll take a look at Hodge, who was a legendary West Coast vocal group singer. He spent time in The Platters, The Hollywood Flames and The Turks, sometimes handling lead vocals. As a songwriter, his biggest accomplishment was co-writing “Earth Angel” with Jesse Belvin and Curtis Williams as well as many of the Turks best songs. On the second half of the program, we’ll dig into some of the best jump blues instrumentals ever recorded with tenor saxophonist and bandleader, Hal Singer. Born in the Greenwood section of Tulsa, he survived the Greenwood Massacre and came up working in some of the top bands of the day, from Ernie Fields and Jay McShann to Duke Ellington and Hot Lips Paige. In 1948, he formed his own combo and scored a national #1 R&B hit with “Corn Bread.” Dig on the jumpin’ sounds of Hal Singer and the smooth vocals of Gaynel Hodge as we honor two recently departed giants of Rhythm & Blues on this week’s “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat. 

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