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Episode #627

Air Week: May 9-15, 2022

Art Rupe & Specialty Records, Pt. 2 – 1950-53


This week, the “Juke In The Back” pays our respects to one of the great record men of the 1940s and 50s; Art Rupe. Rupe passed away on April 15, 2022 at the age of 104! He started Juke Box Records in 1945, which would become Specialty Records in ’47 and go on to become one of the most important independent labels of Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll. On part 2 of 3, Matt The Cat digs up some gems from Specialty’s golden period of 1950-53 from Roy Milton & His Solid Senders, Lloyd Price, Jesse & Marvin, Percy Mayfield and gospel group, The Swan Silvertones. Matt digs into the “Juke” archives for a Lloyd Price interview so Lloyd can tell us how he first met Specialty owner Art Rupe and how “Lawdy Miss Clawdy” came to be recorded. This series on Art Rupe and Specialty Records wraps up next week, so dig it while the diggin’s good.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Information Blues – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1949
3. Money Blues – Camille Howard & Her Boy Friends– Specialty 1951
4. Please Send Me Someone To Love – Percy Mayfield – Specialty 1950
5. Strange Things Happening – Percy Mayfield – Specialty 1950
6. Everything’s Gonna Be All Right Tonight – King Perry & His Pied Pipers – Specialty 1950
7. I Can’t Lose With The Stuff I Use – Lester Williams – Specialty 1952
8. Wheel Of Fortune – The Four Flames – Specialty 1952
9. Best Wishes – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1951
10. Lost Love – Percy Mayfield – Specialty 1951
11. Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Lloyd Price – Specialty 1952
12. GREAT 78 – Strange Angel – Amos Easton & His Orch. – Specialty 1951
13. Oooh! Oooh! Oooh! – Lloyd Price – Specialty 1952
14. Dream Girl – Jesse & Marvin – Specialty 1952
15. Wine Woogie – Marvin Phillips – Specialty 1952
16. Frantic – Frank Motley & His Crew – Specialty 1952
17. I’m Coming Home – The Swan Silvertones – Specialty 1953
18.After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #626

Air Week: May 2-8, 2022

Art Rupe & Specialty Records, Pt. 1 – 1945-50

This week, the “Juke In The Back” pays our respects to one of the great record men of the 1940s and 50s; Art Rupe. Rupe passed away on April 15, 2022 at the age of 104! He started Juke Box Records in 1945, which would become Specialty Records in ’47 and go on to become one of the most important independent labels of Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll. Part 1 of this 3 part series will focus on Specialty’s early years, featuring not only the enormous hits from Roy Milton & His Solid Senders, Jimmy Liggins, Camille Howard and Joe Liggins, but also the lesser known releases by The Sepia Tones, The Blues Woman, Big Maceo and more. Find out how this great label began on this week’s “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Boogie #1 – Sepia Tones – Juke Box 1945
3. Voo-It! Voo-It! – The Blues Woman – Juke Box 1946
4. Ice Cream Freezer – The Blues Man – Juke Box 1946
5. R.M. Blues – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Juke Box 1946
6. Milton Boogie – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Juke Box 1946
7. Rockin’ Boogie – Joe Lutcher & His Society Cats – Specialty 1948
8. Teardrop Blues – Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy – Specialty 1948
9. Cadillac Boogie – Jimmy Liggins & His Drops Of Joy – Specialty 1948
10. X-Temporaneous Boogie – Camille Howard & Her Trio – Specialty 1948
11. You Don’t Love Me – Camille Howard & Her Trio – Specialty 1948
12. GREAT 78 – Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1948
13. Big City Blues – Big Maceo – Specialty 1949
14. Hop, Skip, Jump – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1948
15. Fiesta In Old Mexico – Camille Howard & Her Trio – Specialty 1949
16. Rag Mop – Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – Specialty 1950
17. Pink Champagne – Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – Specialty 1950
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #625

Air Week: April 25-May 1, 2022

The Flamingos, Pt. 3 – 1957-59

Terry Johnson of The Flamingos joins Matt The Cat this week as the “Juke In The Back” jumps and grooves with part three of our three part feature on The Flamingos, one of the most influential and best remembered vocal groups of the 1950s. In part three, we’ll dig on both sides of all The Flamingos single releases for the Decca and End labels covering 1957-59. With the additions of guitarist, arranger and vocalist Terry Johnson and vocalist Tommy Hunt in 1957, The Flamingos’ music takes on a heavy pop influence. Decca doesn’t provide much promotion, so their 3 original Decca releases flop. Once on George Goldner’s End Label, their fortunes turn as “Lovers Never Say Goodbye” hit the chart at the beginning of 1959. They quickly follow it up with the smash standard, “I Only Have Eyes For You,” which crosses over to the Pop Chart. Terry Johnson tells Matt The Cat the story behind those hits as well as how he came to join the group. He’s still performing as The Flamingos today. Don’t miss the final chapter of The Flamingos on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Interview with Terry Johnson on “The Ladder Of Love”
3. The Ladder Of Love – The Flamingos – Decca 1957
4. Let’s Make Up – The Flamingos – Decca 1957
5. Helpless – The Flamingos – Decca 1957
6. My Faith In You – The Flamingos – Decca 1957
7. Where Mary Go – The Flamingos – Decca 1958
8. The Rock and Roll March – The Flamingos – Decca 1958
9. Interview with Terry Johnson on “Lovers Never Say Goodbye”
10. Lovers Never Say Goodbye – The Flamingos – End 1958
10. That Love Is You – The Flamingos – End 1958
11. But Not For Me – The Flamingos – End 1959
12. I Shed A Tear At Your Wedding – The Flamingos – End 1959
13. GREAT 78 – At The Prom – The Flamingos – End 1959
14. Love Walked In – The Flamingos – End 1959
15. Interview with Terry Johnson on “I Only Have Eyes For You”
16. I Only Have Eyes For You – The Flamingos – End 1959
17. Goodnight Sweetheart – The Flamingos – End 1959
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #624

Air Week: April 18-24, 2022

The Flamingos, Pt. 2 – 1954-56

The “Juke In The Back” jumps and grooves this week as Matt The Cat presents part 2 of a three part feature on The Flamingos, one of the most influential and best remembered vocal groups of the 1950s. In part two, we’ll dig on both sides of all The Flamingos single releases for the Parrot and Checker labels from the end of ’54 to the end of ’56. During this time, the group’s lead tenor Sollie McElroy resigned, but they gained a fantastic lead voice in Nate Nelson. In ’56, while recording for Chess’ Checker subsidiary, The Flamingos scored their first two national R&B hits when “I’ll Be Home” hit number 5 and “A Kiss From Your Lips” topped out at number 12. By the end of ’56, members Zeke Carey and Johnny Carter were drafted and this marked another period of great change for the group. Part 3 will focus on 1957-59 with guitarist and former Whispers’ vocalist Terry Johnson joining the group. Matt The Cat will highlight an interview with Johnson for a first hand account of what went on in one of the greatest vocal groups of all time. Grab some nickels and dig on the fantabulous Flamingos, this week on the “Juke In The Back.” 

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
  2. On My Merry Way – The Flamingos – Parrot 1954
  3. I Really Don’t Want To Know – The Flamingos – Parrot 1954
  4. Get With It – The Flamingos – Parrot 1954
  5. I’m Yours – The Flamingos – Parrot 1955
  6. Ko Ko Mo – The Flamingos – Parrot 1955
  7. When – The Flamingos – Checker 1955
  8. (Chick A Boom) That’s My Baby – The Flamingos – Checker 1955
  9. Please Come Back Home – The Flamingos – Checker 1955
  10. I Want To Love You – The Flamingos – Checker 1955
  11. I’ll Be Home – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  12. Need Your Love – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  13. GREAT 78 – Just For A Kick – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  14. A Kiss From Your Lips – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  15. The Vow – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  16. Shilly Dilly – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  17. Would I Be Crying – The Flamingos – Checker 1956
  18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #623

Air Week: April 11-17, 2022

The Flamingos, Pt. 1 – 1953-54

The “Juke In The Back” jumps and grooves this week as Matt The Cat begins a 3 part feature on The Flamingos, one of the most influential and best remembered vocal groups of the 1950s. In part one, we’ll dig on both sides of all six single releases that the Flamingos had on Chance Records in 1953-54. These are The Flamingos very first recordings and most of them feature the amazing Sollie McElroy on lead tenor. The Flamingos would become known as one of the greatest and smoothest sounding R&B vocal groups of the 1950s and would achieve cross-over success by the end of the decade. In part 2, we’ll focus on their mid-career with their Parrot and Checker singles and then in part 3, their Decca and End recordings will be spotlighted. Dig The Flamingos on the “Juke In The Back.” 

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
  2. How Can You Leave A Man Like This – Lavern Baker – Atlantic 1953
  3. Tryin’ To Get To You – The Eagles – Mercury 1954
  4. Someday, Someway – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  5. If I Can’t Have You – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  6. That’s My Desire – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  7. Hurry Home Baby – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  8. Golden Teardrops – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  9. Carried Away – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  10. Plan For Love – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  11. You Ain’t Ready – Flamingos – Chance 1953
  12. Cross Over The Bridge – Flamingos – Chance 1954
  13. GREAT 78 – September Song – Flamingos – Chance UNRELEASED
  14. Listen To My Plea – Flamingos – Chance 1954
  15. Blues In A Letter – Flamingos – Chance 1954
  16. Jump Children – Flamingos – Chance 1954
  17. Dream Of A Lifetime – Flamingos – Parrot 1954
  18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #622

Air Week: April 4-10, 2022

Marvin Phillips

Marvin Phillips is important to post WWII rhythm & blues, because he, along with Jesse Belvin, helped to popularize the R&B duo. Jesse and Marvin scored an enormous hit in 1952 with the ballad, “Dream Girl,” thus paving the way for future R&B duos like Shirley & Lee, Gene & Eunice, Robert & Johnny, Don & Dewey and Marvin’s own, Marvin & Johnny. This week’s “Juke In The Back” takes a look at Marvin Phillips’ impressive career, from his first record in 1950, singing lead with Richard Lewis & The Barons to Marvin & Johnny’s short stint on Aladdin Records in 1957. Along the way, Jesse Belvin weaves in and out of Marvin’s singing career and a diverse array of records are recorded. Matt The Cat spotlights this oft unsung hero of Los Angeles R&B, Marvin Phillips, on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Forever – Richard Lewis & The Barons – Modern 1950
3. Tall, Brown Woman – Big Jay McNeely w/ 3 Dots & A Dash – Imperial 1951
4. Wine Woogie – Marvin Phillips & The Men From Mars – Specialty 1952
5. Dream Girl – Jesse & Marvin – Specialty 1952
6. Baby Doll – Marvin & Johnny & The Marsmen – Specialty 1953
7. Salty Dog – Marvin Phillips – Swing Time 1953
8. Anna Marie – Marvin Phillips – Swing Time 1954
9. How Long She Been Gone – Marvin & Johnny & The Marsmen – Specialty 1954
10. Cherry Pie – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1954
11. Tick Tock – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1954
12. Kiss Me – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Ain’t That Right – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1955
14. Ko Ko Mo – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1955
15. Will You Love Me – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1955
16. Have Mercy Miss Percy – Long Tall Marvin – Modern 1956
17. Yak Yak – Marvin & Johnny – Aladdin 1957
18. Sweet Dreams – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1955
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #621

Air Week: March 28-April 3, 2022

Jack McVea


Jack McVea is an integral part of the Los Angeles Rhythm & Blues scene of the 1940s. He came up playing banjo in his father’s band, before touring the country on baritone saxophone with Lionel Hampton’s Band. After leaving Hamp in late 1943, McVea spearheaded the idea that the big bands were on their way out and formed his first R&B combo. Soon, the big bands would disappear and the combos would rule the stage and McVea was ahead of the curve. He’s best remembered today as the originator of the recorded version of the “Open The Door, Richard!” routine, scoring a #2 R&B and #3 pop hit with the tune in 1947, setting off a “Richard” craze. There is so much more to McVea’s contribution to Rhythm & Blues beyond, “Richard” and Matt The Cat will showcase his great 1940s sides for the Black & White label as well as his early ’50s discs with Jake Porter’s Combo Records. So open the door to the Juke In The Back and dig the “soul that came before rock n’ roll.”

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
  2. New Deal – Jack McVea’s All Stars – Mellodisc 1945
  3. Ooh Mop – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  4. Wine-O – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  5. Frisco Blues – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  6. My Business Is C.O.D. – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  7. House Party Boogie – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  8. Open The Door Richard! – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  9. Lonesome Blues – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1946
  10. Don’t Let The Sun Catch You Cryin’ – Jack McVea & His All Stars – Black & White 1947
  11. They Key’s In The Mailbox – Jack McVea & His Door Openers – Black & White 1947
  12. Blues With A Feeling – Rabon Tarrant w/ Jack McVea & His Door Openers – Black & White 1947
  13. GREAT 78 – Wino – Jack McVea – Combo 1954
  14. Inflation Blues – Jack McVea & His Orch – Exclusive 1948
  15. Gaucho Hop – Jack McVea Orch – Combo 1956
  16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #620

Air Week: March 21-27, 2022

Sam Cooke

The “Juke In The Back” features a full hour of Sam Cooke, one of the distinctive and expressive voices ever pressed in wax. Cooke’s early period singing gospel with the renowned Soul Stirrers is often cited, but hardly ever featured. Matt The Cat focuses on Sam Cooke’s early days from 1951 to 1957, begriming with his recordings with the Soul Stirrers up through his R&B and pop breakthrough of 1957. Matt is joined by author Peter Guralnick, who wrote the definitive biography on Cooke called “Dream Boogie: The Triumph Of Sam Cooke,” filling in the background on one of the 20th Century’s most revered singers. Cooke was also a noted songwriter, producer and entrepreneur, starting his own SAR Records in the late 1950s. Few African-American artists went further during the 1950s while jamming the juke boxes with tremendous gospel, R&B and pop hits. Hear the man who invented soul, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
  2. You Send Me (Demo) – Sam Cooke – Unreleased 1957
  3. Peter Guralnick Interview 1 – Beginnings
  4. Peace In The Valley – The Soul Stirrers – Specialty 1951
  5. Peter Guralnick Interview 2 – Soul Stirrers
  6. Just Another Day – The Soul Stirrers – Specialty 1952
  7. Peter Guralnick Interview 3 – Sam’s Voice
  8. Touch The Hem Of His Garment – The Soul Stirrers – Specialty 1956
  9. Farther Along – The Soul Stirrers – Specialty 1956
  10. Peter Guralnick Interview 4 – Leaving Soul Stirrers
  11. Wonderful – The Soul Stirrers –Specialty 1956
  12. Peter Guralnick Interview 5 – Switch To Secular Music
  13. Lovable – Sam Cooke – Specialty 1957
  14. That’s Heaven To Me – The Soul Stirrers – Specialty 1957
  15. GREAT 78 – Summertime – Sam Cooke – Keen 1957
  16. I’ll Come Running Back To You – Sam Cooke – Specialty 1957
  17. Mean Old World – Sam Cooke – Specialty 1957
  18. You Were Made For Me – Sam Cooke – Keen 1958
  19. Win Your Love For Me – Sam Cooke – Keen 1958
  20. Somewhere There’s A Girl – Sam Cooke – Unreleased 1961
  21. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #619

Air Week: March 14-20, 2022

R&B of Decca Records

In the 1940s and ’50s, the major record labels didn’t lead the way when it came to releasing Rhythm & Blues, Blues and Rock n’ Roll, but they all did participate in what was known unfortunately as “Race Music” back then. Columbia, Victor and Decca all had major black artists on their roster, but it was the independent labels that broke the new music and usually had the most influential releases. This week, Matt The Cat spotlights the fantastic R&B that was coming out of Decca Records in the late ’40s and early ’50s. As you’ll hear, many major stars of the day, made a stop at Decca before moving on. When Dave Bartholomew was on hiatus from Imperial, he made a few records for Decca as did Little Esther, Margie Day, Billy Ward & The Dominoes and Cecil Gant. Decca would soon help usher in a new musical era with the release of “Rock Around The Clock,” but before that would happen, they were knee-deep in rhythm & blues. Dig on the R&B of Decca Records on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”
1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Damp Rag – Stomp Gordon – Decca 1952
3. Elephant Rock – Charlie Singleton & His Orch – Decca 1950
4. Tra La La – Dave Bartholomew – Decca 1951
5. Cherokee Boogie (Eh-Oh-Aleena) – Joey Thomas & His Orch – Decca 1951
6. Race Horse – Tiny Davis & Her Orch – Decca 1949
7. Take Out Your False Teeth Daddy – Margie Day – Decca 1953
8. My Bucket’s Got A Hole In It – “Fat Man” Robinson Quintet – Decca 1949
9. Hi-Yo – Herold Burrage w/ Horace Henderson & His Orch – Decca 1950
10. Ham Hocks – Cecil Payne & His Orch – Decca 1950
11. He’s A No Good Man – Little Esther – Decca 1954
12. Shot Gun Boogie – Cecil Gant – Decca 1951
13. GREAT 78 – She’s Fit “N” Fat “N” Fine – Billy Valentine – Decca 1951
14. My Kind Of Rockin’ – Rene Hall Trio – Decca 1951
15. Barefoot Susie – Waymon Brown – Decca 1951
16. St. Therese Of The Roses – Billy Ward & The Dominoes – Decca 1956
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #618

Air Week: March 7-13, 2022

The Robins

This week, the “Juke In The Back” features The Robins, one of the earliest and most influential West Coast R&B vocal groups.  They first appeared on wax in April of 1949 as the 4 Bluebirds, backed up by bandleader extraordinaire, Johnny Otis, who had discovered the group at his Barrelhouse Nightclub during a talent competition.  Otis had the Robins duet with Little Esther on the 1950 smash, “Double Crossing Blues,” which spent more than 2 months at the top of the R&B charts.  Real fame came when the group hooked up with the young, talented songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller.  On their Spark Records, the Robins scored with “Riot In Cell Block #9” and “Smokey Joe’s Café,” two early rock n’ roll smashes.  Two members would leave The Robins and form The Coasters with Leiber and Stoller and much of their history is complicated, but host Matt The Cat gets to the bottom of it all with this “Juke In The Back” look at The Robins’ early career.  This truly is the “soul that came BEFORE rock n’ roll” and you’ll only hear it on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. My Baby Done Told Me – The Four Bluebirds – Excelsior 1949
3. Around About Midnight – The Robins – Score 1949
4. If It’s So, Baby – The Robins – Savoy 1949
5. If I Didn’t Love You So – The Robins – Savoy 1949
6. Double Crossing Blues – Johnny Otis Quintet, The Robins & Little Esther – Savoy 1950
7. Turkey Hop – The Robins – Savoy 1950
8. School Girl Blues – The Robins – Recorded In Hollywood 1950
9. That’s What The Good Book Says – Bobby Nunn With The Robins – Modern 1951
10. How Would You Know – The Robins – RCA 1953
11. Get It Off Your Mind – The Robins – RCA 1953 – Dec, Final RCA release with Bobby Nunn on lead.
12. Double Crossin’ Baby – The Robin – Crown 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Rockin’ – Bobby Nunn With The Robins – Modern 1951
14. Riot In Cell Block #9 – The Robins – Spark 1954
15. Framed – The Robins – Spark 1954
16. Smokey Joe’s Café – The Robins – Spark 1954
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #617

Air Week: February 28-March 6, 2022

Roy Byrd aka Professor Longhair

What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than with the “Grandaddy of New Orleans Rhythm & Blues”? That, cats & kittens, is Henry Roeland Byrd, aka Roy Byrd, aka Professor Longhair. Byrd’s piano and singing style are like none that came before or since. He’s influenced all the greats, from Fats Domino and Huey Smith to Allen Toussaint and Dr. John, yet none of them could copy his sound. Matt The Cat features the early and most influential records from Roy Byrd, who was also recording under the name Professor Longhair at the same time and had records out under 3 different record labels. His first recordings were made for the Star Talent label, but a union issue kept them from being released right away, so he then recorded for Mercury and Atlantic, holding recording sessions one month apart. Atlantic was the first to issue a Professor Longhair record (January of 1950), but Mercury and Star Talent both issued singles the following month. For Mercury, he was known as Roy Byrd and he scored his only national hit during the summer of 1950 with “Bald Head.” Still, the records he made for Atlantic are probably the best remembered today. On this week’s “Juke In The Back,” Matt The Cat shares an interview with Atlantic’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun on how he and partner Herb Abramson came to discover and sign Professor Longhair in 1949. So get ready to jump n’ shout and knock it out as we feature the fantabulous Roy Byrd aka Professor Longhair.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. She Ain’t Got No Hair – Professor Longhair & His Shuffling Hungarians – Star Talent 1950
3. Bald Head – Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers – Mercury 1950
4. Hey Now Baby – Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers – Mercury 1950
5. Her Mind Is Gone – Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers – Mercury 1950
6. Mardi Gras In New Orleans – Professor Longhair & His New Orleans Boys– Atlantic 1950
7. Hey Little Girl – Roy (“Bald Head”) Byrd & His New Orleans Rhythm – Atlantic 1951
8. Professor Longhair Blues – Professor Longhair & His New Orleans Boys – Atlantic 1950
9. Curly Haired Baby – Roy “Bald Head” Byrd – Federal 1952
10. Rockin’ With Fes – Roy “Bald Head” Byrd – Federal 1952
11. East St. Louis Baby – Robert Boyd – Wasco 1952
12. GREAT 78 – Oh Well – Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers – Mercury 1950
13. Tipitina – Professor Longhair & His Blues Scholars – Atlantic 1954
14. In The Night – Professor Longhair & His Blues Scholars – Atlantic 1954
15. Ball The Wall – Professor Longhair – Atlantic UNRELEASED until 1972
16. No Buts – No Maybes – Professor Longhair & Band – Ebb 1957
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #616

Air Week: February 21-27, 2022

New Orleans R&B, Pt. 3 – 1955-57

Get ready for Carnival with part 3 of “Juke In The Back”‘s 3 part series on the great, influential and infectious music that came out of New Orleans, one of America’s most fertile musical cities. In fact, the “Crescent City” is often cited as the birth place of Jazz, The Blues, R&B and Rock n’ Roll. While New Orleans certainly had its share of influential talent, from Louis Armstrong and Paul Gayten to Fats Domino and Dr. John, it’s hard to give one single region all the credit. The music that flowed from this fruitful ground is definitely something special and on part 3, Matt The Cat will look at New Orleans R&B from 1955 to 1957, highlighting records by Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Eddie Bo, Huey “Piano” Smith, Smiley Lewis, Annie Laurie and many more. So get ready for some real jumpin’ musical jambalaya on your source for vintage Rhythm & Blues on the “Juke In The Back.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Those Lonely Lonely Nights – Earl King – Ace 1955
3. Poor Me – Fats Domino – Imperial 1955
4. Later, Alligator – Bobby Charles – Chess 1955
5. So Glad She’s Mine – Charles “Hungry” Williams w/ Paul Gayten Orch– Checker 1956
6. Try Rock n’ Roll – Bobby Mitchell – Imperial 1956
7. Long Tall Sally – Little Richard – Specialty 1956
8. Little Liza Jane – Huey Smith & His Rhythm Aces – Ace 1956
9. Cotton Picking Hands – The Dukes – Imperial 1956
10. Rockin’ At Cosimo’s – Lee Allen & Band – Aladdin 1956
11. Blueberry Hill – Fats Domino – Imperial 1956
12. Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence Henry “Frog Man” – Argo 1956
13. GREAT 78 – Hey Bo – Eddie Bo – Apollo 1956
14. It Hurts To Be In Love – Annie Laurie – DeLuxe 1957
15. The Monkey – Dave Bartholomew – Imperial 1957
16. Rockin’ Pneumonia And The Boogie Woogie Flu – Part 1 and 2 – Huey Smith & The Clowns – Ace 1957
17. Let The Four Winds Blow – Roy Brown – Imperial 1957
18. One Night – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1956
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #615

Air Week: February 14-20, 2022

New Orleans R&B, Pt. 2 – 1953-55


Get ready for Carnival with part 2 of “Juke In The Back”‘s 3 part series on the great, influential and infectious music that came out of New Orleans, one of America’s most fertile musical cities. In fact, the “Crescent City” is often cited as the birth place of Jazz, The Blues, R&B and Rock n’ Roll. While New Orleans certainly had its share of influential talent, from Louis Armstrong and Paul Gayten to Fats Domino and Dr. John, it’s hard to give one single region all the credit. The music that flowed from this fruitful ground is definitely something special and on part 2, Matt The Cat will look at New Orleans R&B from 1953 to 1955, highlighting records by Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Lloyd Price, Shirley & Lee, Eddie Bo and many more. Next week on part 3, we’ll wrap up our series with a look at New Orleans R&B from 1955-1957. So get ready for some real jumpin’ musical jambalaya on your source for vintage Rhythm & Blues on the “Juke In The Back.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Ain’t It A Shame – Lloyd Price & His Orch. – Specialty 1953
3. 4-11=44 – Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers – Imperial 1953
4. The Things That I Used To Do – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1953
5. Tipitina – Professor Longhair & His Blues Scholars – Atlantic 1954
6. Jock-A-Mo – Sugar Boy & His Cane Cutters – Checker 1954
7. I Didn’t Want To Do It – The Spiders – Imperial 1954
8. Blue Monday – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1954
9. Toy Bell – The Bees – Imperial 1954
10. Jam Up – Tommy Ridgley & His Band – Atlantic 1954
11. Mardi Gras Mambo – The Hawketts – Chess 1955
12. GREAT 78 – Jump Children – Dave Bartholomew – Imperial 1954
13. Feels So Good – Shirley & Lee – Aladdin 1955
14. I Hear You Knocking – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1955
15. So Glad – Little Bo & Orch – Ace 1955
16. Tutti Frutti – Little Richard & His Band – Specialty 1955
17. Rich Woman – Li’l Millet & His Creoles – Specialty 1955
18. Shrimp & Gumbo – Dave Bartholomew – Imperial 1955
19. Ain’t It A Shame – Fats Domino – Imperial 1955
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #614

Air Week: February 7-13, 2022

New Orleans R&B, Pt. 1

Get ready for Carnival as the “Juke In The Back” begins a 3 part series on the great, influential and infectious music that came out of New Orleans, one of America’s most fertile musical cities. In fact, the “Crescent City” is often cited as the birth place of Jazz, The Blues, R&B and Rock n’ Roll. While New Orleans certainly had its share of influential talent, from Louis Armstrong and Paul Gayten to Fats Domino and Dr. John, it’s hard to give one single region all the credit. The music that flowed from this fruitful ground is definitely something special and on part 1, Matt The Cat will look at New Orleans R&B from 1940 to 1953, highlighting records by Professor Longhair, Fats Domino, Dave Bartholomew, Lloyd Price and Shirley & Lee, just to name a few. Next week on part 2, we’ll look at the years 1953-55 and then we’ll wrap up the series with a look at 1955-57. So get ready for some real jumpin’ musical jambalaya on your source for vintage Rhythm & Blues on the “Juke In The Back.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Where You At – Lloyd Price – Specialty 1953
3. Junker’s Blues – Champion Jack Dupree – Okeh 1940
4. True – Paul Gayten Trio – DeLuxe 1947
5. ‘Long About Midnight – Roy Brown & His Mighty Mighty Men – DeLuxe 1948
6. For You My Love – Larry Darnell – Regal 1949
7. Stack-A’Lee Pt. 1 & 2 – Archibald & His Orch – Imperial 1950
8. Mardi Gras In New Orleans – Professor Longhair & His New Orleans Boys – Atlantic 1950
9. The Fat Man – Fats Domino – Imperial 1950
10. Two Faced Woman (A Two Faced Man) – James Wayne & His Orch. – Imperial 1951
11. Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Lloyd Price & His Orch. – Specialty 1952
12. I’m Gone – Shirley & Lee – Imperial 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Bald Head – Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers – Mercury 1950
14. My Ding-A-Ling – Dave Bartholomew – King 1952
15. Teachin’ & Preachin’ – Royal Kings – Specialty 1952
16. The Bells Are Ringing – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1952
17. Going To The River – Fats Domino – Imperial 1953
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #613

Air Week: January 31-February 6, 2022

Gene Phillips

This week, the “Juke In The Back” is proud to shine the spotlight on guitarist Gene Phillips, one of the unsung heroes of the 1940s Los Angeles Rhythm & Blues scene. Born in St. Louis in 1915, Gene came out to LA as part of the Mills Brothers ensemble in 1941. He remained in LA and made a name for himself as a local guitarist. After befriending trumpeter Jake Porter, who was doing some session work for the Bihari Brothers at their new label, Modern Records, Phillips began getting session gigs at Modern. Soon he was part of their house band, eventually landing his own session as a leader in 1946. This led to a string of mostly jump tunes, done in the Louis Jordan style. However, unlike Jordan, Gene Phillips failed to storm the national charts. He released some great and worthy R&B records and Matt The Cat is filling the “Juke In The Back” with the upbeat jive of Gene Phillips on this week’s program.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Boogie Everywhere – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern Music 1947
3. Big Fat Mama – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947 and RPM 1951
4. Big Legs – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947
5. Hey Lawdy Mama – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947
6. Fatso – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947
7. Rock Bottom – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947
8. Stinkin’ Drunk – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947
9. Punkin Head Woman – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1948
10. Royal Boogie – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1948
11. Slippin’ & Slidin’ – Gene Phillips w/ Jack McVea Orch– Modern 1950
12. Women Women Women – Gene Phillips w/ Jack McVea & His Orch – Modern 1950
13. GREAT 78 – Just A Dream – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces – Modern 1947
14. Rear End Blues – Gene Phillips – RPM 1951
15. Jumpin’ With Lloyd – Lloyd Glenn & His All Stars FEAT Maxwell Davis – RPM 1951
16. I Owe Everybody – Gene Phillips w/ Jack McVea & His Orch – Combo 1954
17. Fish Man – Gene Phillips w/ Jack McVea & His Orch – Combo 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #612

Air Week: January 24-30, 2022

Johnny Ace

He is often called the “first casualty of rock n’ roll,” since his life was brought to a controversial end just as rock n’ roll was picking up steam in the mainstream, but Johnny Ace’s demise does not overshadow his impressive, yet short career.  This week’s “Juke In The Back” highlights Ace’s early session with rising star, B.B. King, as well as a his rare first solo record, cut for the Bihari Brothers in 1951, but not released by them until 1953.  Ace tasted success early, as his first single for the fledgling Duke Records soared to the top of the R&B charts.  He would have 2 more #1 smashes, including “Pledging My Love,” which was released posthumously and hit an impressive #17 on the pop lists.  Yes, Johnny Ace died young and became immortal in verse and tribute and Matt The Cat shows you why he was much revered on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. 3 O’Clock Blues – B. B. King – RPM 1951
3. Midnight Hours Journey – Johnny Ace – Flair 1953
4. My Song – Johnny Ace w/ The Beale Streeters – Duke 1952
5. Angel – Johnny Ace w/ The Beale Streeters – Duke 1953
6. Cross My Heart – Johnny Ace w/ The Beale Streeters – Duke 1953
7. Ace’s Wild – Johnny Ace w/ The Beale Streeters – Duke 1953
8. The Clock – Johnny Ace w/ The Beale Streeters – Duke 1953
9. Saving My Love For You – Johnny Ace w/ Johnny Otis Orch – Duke 1953
10. Yes Baby – Johnny Ace w/ Johnny Otis Orch – Duke 1953
11. Please Forgive Me – Johnny Ace w/ Johnny Otis Orch – Duke 1954
12. Never Let Me Go – Johnny Ace /w Johnny Board & His Orch – Duke 1954
13. GREAT 78 – How Can You Be So Mean – Johnny Ace w/ Johnny Board & His Orch – Duke 1955
14. Pledging My Love – Johnny Ace w/ Johnny Otis Orch – Duke 1955
15. Anymore – Johnny Otis w/ Johnny Otis Orch – Duke 1955
16. No Money – Johnny Otis w/ Johnny Board & His Orch – Duke 1955
17. Johnny Has Gone – Varetta Dillard – Savoy 1955
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #611

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.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Your Feet’s Too Big – Ink Spots – Victor 1935
3. ‘Taint Nobody’s Biz-Ness If I Do – Ink Spots – Decca 1936
4. If I Didn’t Care – Ink Spots – Decca 1939
5. Address Unknown – Ink Spots – Decca 1939
6. My Prayer – Ink Spots – Decca 1939
7. Maybe – Ink Spots – Decca 1940
8. Whispering Grass (Don’t Tell The Trees) – Ink Spots – Decca 1940
9. Java Jive – Ink Spots – Decca 1940
10. I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – Ink Spots – Decca 1941
11. Don’t Get Around Much Anymore – Ink Spots – Decca 1942
12. GREAT 78 – Cow-Cow Boogie (Cuma-Ti-Yi-Yi-Ay) – Ink Spots & Ella Fitzgerald – Decca 1944
13. Into Each Life Some Rain Must Fall – Ink Spots w/ Ella Fitzgerald – Decca 1944
14. Yesterdays – Ink Spots – King 1954
15. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #610

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.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Easy, Easy Baby – Varetta Dillard – Savoy 1952
3. Lawdy Miss Clawdy – Lloyd Price – Specialty 1952
4. I’ll Drown In My Own Tears – Sonny Thompson – King 1952
5. Call Operator 210 – Floyd Dixon – Aladdin 1952
6. Mary Jo – The Four Blazes – United 1952
7. Ting-A-Ling – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
8. My Song – Johnny Ace With The Beale Streeters – Duke 1952
9. Juke – Little Walter & His Night Cats – Checker 1952
10. The Bells Are Ringing – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1952
11. Beside You – The Swallows – King 1952
12. Goodbye Baby – Little Caeser – Recorded In Hollywood 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Rock Me All Night Long – The Ravens – Mercury 1952
14. Five Long Years – Eddie Boyd – J.O.B. 1952
15. You Know I Love You – BB King & His Orch – RPM 1952
16. Port Of Rico – Illinois Jacquet & His Orch – Mercury 1952
17. I Don’t Know – Willie Mabon & His Combo – Chess 1952
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #609

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.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Flamingo – Earl Bostic & His Orch – King 1951
3. Cry – Johnnie Ray & The Four Lads – Okeh 1951
4. She Moves Me – Muddy Waters – Chess 1952
5. 3 O’clock Blues – BB King – RPM 1952
6. Got You On My Mind – John Greer & His Rhythm Rockets– RCA Victor 1952
7. Night Train – Jimmie Forrest – United 1952
8. Wheel Of Fortune – Dinah Washington – Mercury 1952
9. Booted – Roscoe Gordon – RPM & Chess 1952
10. Dust My Broom – Elmo James – Trumpet 1952
11. One Mint Jullep – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
12. I’m Gonna Play The Honky Tonks – Marie Adams – Peacock 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Baby Please Don’t Go – The Orioles – Jubilee 1952
14. 5-10-15 Hours – Ruth Brown – Atlantic 1952
15. Moody’s Mood For Love – King Pleasure – Prestige 1952
16. Have Mercy Baby – The Dominoes – Federal 1952
17. Goin’ Home – Fats Domino – Imperial 1952
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #608

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.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Slowly Go Out Of Your Mind – Jake Porter’s Combo – Combo 1951
3. Goin’ Back To Town (I’m Gonna Leave You On The Outskirts Of Town) – Betty Hall Jones – Combo 1952
4. Where Have You Been – Smokey Hogg – Combo 1952
5. Motor Head Baby – Chuck Higgins & The Mellotones – Combo 1952
6. Pachuko Hop – Chuck Higgins & The Mellotones – Combo 1952
7. Lightning – Joe Houston – Combo 1952
8. No Parking After 8 – Floyd Turnham – Combo 1952
9. Let’s Give Love A Try – The Squires – Combo 1952
10. Sadie Lee – Tal Carter Orch – Combo 1953
11. I Owe Everybody – Gene Phillips – Combo 1954
12. Wino – Jack McVea – Combo 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Nervous – Jimmy Burns – Combo 1952
14. Only A Dream – Jake Porter w/ Gene Moore & The Chimes – Combo 1954
15. Ko Ko Mo (I Need You So) – Gene & Eunice w/ Jonesy’s Combo – Combo 1954
16. Take Off My Wig – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Combo 1954
17. Why – Brother Woodman & The Chanters Feat. Gene Ford – Combo 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #607

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.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Cool Yule – Louis Armstrong & The Commanders – Decca 1953
3. Merry Christmas – The Cameos – Cameo 1957
4. Christmas Presents – Solomon Burke – Apollo 1955
5. I’ll Miss You This Christmas – Marvin & The Chips – Virginia 1955
6. Wonderful Christmas Night – Dan Grissom – Jewel (Unissued) 1948
7. Christmas In Jail – The Youngsters – Empire 1956
8. It’s Christmas Time – The Qualities – Satur 1956
9. Lonesome Christmas – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
10. Merry Christmas Baby – Chuck Berry – Chess 1958
11. Please Come Home For Christmas – Charles Brown – King 1960
12. I’ll Be Home For Christmas – The Pilgrim Travelers – Specialty 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Gonna Have A Merry Xmas – The Nic Nacs – RPM 1950
14. May Everyday Be Christmas – Louis Jordan & His Orch – Decca 1951
15. White Christmas – The Ravens – National 1948
16. Silent Night – Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Rosetta Gospel Singers – Decca 1949
17. After New Year’s Eve – The Heartbeats – Gee 1957

Episode #606

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.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Hey Santa Claus – The Moonglows – Chance 1953
3. Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1950
4. Mambo Santa Mambo – The Enchanters – Coral 1957
5. Rockin N Rollin With Santa Claus – The Hepsters – Ronel 1955
6. Dig That Crazy Santa Claus – Oscar McLollie & His “Honey Jumpers” – Modern 1954
7. Santa Claus Blues – Champion Jack Dupree – Davis 1945
8. Mr. Santa’s Boogie – The Marshall Brothers – Savoy 1951
9. ‘Zat You, Santa Cluas – Louis Armstrong & The Commanders – Decca 1953
10. Big Red And The Cool Yule – Jimmy Bowman – Soma 1961
11. Santa Claus Boogie – The Voices – Cash 1955
12. Hello Santa Claus – Cecil Gant – Decca 1950 – issued in Oct. 1950
13. GREAT 78 – What Will Santa Claus Say (When He Finds Everybody Swinging) – Louis Prima – Vocalion 1936
14. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Cadillacs – Josie 1956
15. Rockin’ Santa Claus – The Martels – Bella 1959
16. Mommy What Happened To Our Christmas Tree – Willie John & The Three Lads & A Lass – Prize 1953
17. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – The Orioles – Jubilee 1950
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #605

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.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Tiger Rag – Mills Brothers – Brunswick 1931
3. Dinah – Bing Crosby w/ The Mills Brothers – Brunswick 1932
4. St. Louis Blues – Mills Brothers – Brunswick 1932
5. Sleepy Head – Mills Brothers – Brunswick 1934
6. Darling Nellie Gray – Mills Brothers w/ Louis Armstrong – Decca 1937
7. Paper Doll – Mills Brothers – Decca 1942 –
8. Til Then – Mills Brothers – Decca 1944
9. You Always Hurt The One You Love – Mills Brothers – Decca 1944
10. I Wish – Mills Brothers – Decca 1945
11. Across The Alley From The Alamo – Mills Brothers – Decca 1947
12. GREAT 78 – Put Another Chair At The Table – Mills Brothers – Decca 1945
13. Gloria – Mills Brothers – Decca 1948
14. Someday (You’ll Want Me To Want You) – Mills Brothers – Decca 1949
15. Smack Dab In The Middle – Mills Brothers – Decca 1955
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #604

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.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Swanee River Rock – Ray Charles w/ Chorus & Orch – Atlantic 1957
3. I Want A Little Girl – Ray Charles w/ Chorus & Orch– Atlantic 1957
4. Talkin’ ‘Bout You – Ray Charles w/ Orch & Chorus– Atlantic 1958
5. What Kind Of Man Are You – Ray Charles w/ Orch & Chorus– Atlantic 1958
6. Yes Indeed – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1958
7. I Had A Dream – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1958
8. You Be My Baby – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1958
9. Rockhouse, Pt. 1 – Ray Charles w/ His Orch – Atlantic 1958
10. Rockhouse Pt. 2 – Ray Charles w/ His Orch – Atlantic 1958
11. Tell All The World About You – Ray Charles w/ The Raylettes – Atlantic 1958
12. The Right Time (Outtake and single edit) – Ray Charles w/ The Raylettes – Atlantic 1958
13. GREAT 78 – My Bonnie – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1958
14. A Fool For You (Live At Newport, 1958) – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1958
15. I’ve Got A Woman (Live At Newport, 1958) – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1958
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #603

Air Week: November 22-28, 2021

Ray Charles, Pt. 3: 1954-57

This week, the “Juke In The Back” presents part 3 of a 4 part feature on the early musical career of the great, Ray Charles, which will cover 1948-58. In part 3, we look at every one of Ray’s Atlantic single releases from December, 1954 to June, 1957. After a long stint in New Orleans, playing with Guitar Slim’s band and arranging the session that yielded the #1 smash, “The Things That I Used To Do,” Ray has his own #1 hit with “I’ve Got A Woman,” the song that introduced the world to the new genre of Soul Music. By 1955, the Ray Charles “sound” was finally solidified. He would score 3 #1 R&B hits in the span of just one year. Some of Ray’s most important records were recorded during this period, like the Gospel-tinged “It’s All Right” and “Hallelujah I Love Her So” as well as the blues classic, “Blackjack.” The addition of The Cookies, singing a churchy backup on “Drown In My Own Tears” and “Lonely Avenue” only serve to expand Ray’s sound. Next week’s show will highlight Ray Charles’ live recordings and single releases through 1957 and ’58.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. I’ve Got A Woman – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1954
3. Come Back Baby – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1954
4. A Fool For You – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1955
5. This Little Girl Of Mine – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1955
6. Blackjack – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1955
7. Greenbacks – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1955
8. Mary Ann – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1956
9. Drown In My Own Tears – Ray Charles & His Band – Atlantic 1956
10. Hallelujah I Love Her So – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1956
11. What Would I Do Without You – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1956
12. Lonely Avenue – Ray Charles His Orch & Chorus– Atlantic 1956
13. GREAT 78 – Leave My Woman Alone – Ray Charles His Orch & Chorus– Atlantic 1956
14. I Want To Know – Ray Charles His Orch & Chorus – Atlantic 1957
15. Ain’t That Love – Ray Charles His Orch & Chorus – Atlantic 1957
16. It’s All Right – Ray Charles with Chorus & Orch – Atlantic 1957
17. Get On The Right Track Baby – Ray Charles with Chorus & Orch – Atlantic 1957 –
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #602

Air Week: November 15-21, 2021

Ray Charles, Pt. 2: 1952-54

This week, the “Juke In The Back” presents part 2 of a four part feature on the early musical career of the great, Ray Charles, which will cover 1948-58. We pick Ray’s musical story up in 1952, just as Atlantic Record acquires his recording contract from Jack Lauderdale’s Swing Time Records for under $3000. Atlantic now has a very talented musician that has yet to sell enough records to be a headliner. It’s co-founder Ahmet Ertegun’s goal to help Ray Charles find his own “voice” and show the world what he has to offer. The first 2 years at Atlantic are a bit rocky, but 1954 shows promise as Ray returns to the national R&B chart after a 2 year hiatus. “It Should’ve Been Me” and “Don’t You Know” both make the R&B Top 10 and start Ray on a long road of hit records. Matt The Cat plays the A and B side of every one of Ray’s singles released from September, ’52 to August, ’54. We’ll also dig on some rehearsal tapes from early 1953, which show the early stages of Ray’s classics “Mess Around” and “It Should’ve Been Me.” Next week’s show will highlight Ray Charles’ mid-’50s output for Atlantic.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Ahmet Ertegun on Ray Charles Interview with Matt The Cat
3. The Midnight Hour – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1952
4. Roll With My Baby – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1952
5. The Sun’s Gonna Shine Again – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1953
6. Jumpin’ In The Mornin’ – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1953
7. Mess Around – Ahmet Ertegun & Ray Charles – Rehearsal Tape 1953
8. Mess Around – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1953
9. Funny (But I Still Love You) – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1953
10. Funny (But I Still Love You) – Ray Charles – Rehearsal Tape 1953
11. Feelin’ Sad – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1953
12. Heartbreaker – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1953
13. GREAT 78 – Sinner’s Prayer – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1954
14. It Should’ve Been Me – Ray Charles & Ahmet Ertegun – Rehearsal Tape 1953
15. It Should’ve Been Me – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1954
16. Losing Hand – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1954
17. Don’t You Know – Ray Charles & His Orch – Atlantic 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #601

Air week: November 8-14, 2021

Ray Charles, Pt. 1: 1948-1952

This week, the “Juke In The Back” begins a four part feature on the early musical career of the great, Ray Charles, which will cover 1948-58. Born in poverty during The Great Depression, the young Ray Charles Robinson overcame the tragedy of losing his younger brother at age 5, going completely blind at age 7 and losing his mother at age 15. These experiences forced Ray to step up his musical game, cut out on his own and make something of himself. He moved to Seattle in 1947 and began recording with Jack Lauderdale’s LA-based Down Beat Records in 1949. His first single hit #2 on the national R&B charts. By 1951, he was back on the charts with 2 more hit singles for Swing Time Records. This week, Matt The Cat takes a look at Ray’s early career BEFORE he hooked up with Ahmet Ertegun and Atlantic Records in ’52. Next week, we’ll look at Ray’s early Atlantic recordings and eventually, we’ll take Ray Charles’ story up to 1958. Some great early sides by Brotha Ray are jumpin’ out of this week’s “Juke In The Back.”