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Episode #647

Air Week: September 26-October 2, 2022

Excello Records

Drop a nickel in the ol’ Rockola Juke as Matt The Cat dedicates the entire hour to the great little Nashville R&B label, Excello Records. Ernie Young started Excello as a sister label to his Nashboro Label and both labels were housed in his Ernie’s Record Mart building in Nashville. For a city mostly known for Country Music, Nashville sure had a lot of great R&B acts and we’re going to hear some of ’em this week. From The Marigolds to Arthur Gunter to Slim Harpo, Excello’s fantastic R&B catalog is in the spotlight on the “Juke In The Back.”

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
  2. Step By Step – The Boyer Brothers – Excello 1952
  3. Wail Daddy – The Charlie Dowell Orch. With Willie Lee Patton – Excello 1953
  4. Down South In Birmingham – Del Thorne & Her Trio – Excello 1953
  5. Skip’s Boogie – Kid King’s Combo – Excello 1953
  6. Banana Split – Kid King’s Combo – Excello 1953
  7. Drive Soldier Drive – “Little Maxie” Bailey – Excello 1953
  8. I’m Your Country Man – Shy Guy Douglas – Excello 1953
  9. Drivin’ Down The Highway – The Blue Flamers – Excello 1954
  10. Baby Let’s Play House – Arthur Gunter – Excello 1954
  11. It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day) – Earl Gaines With Louis Brooks & His Hi-Toppers – Excello 1955
  12. Rollin’ Stone – The Marigolds – Excello 1955
  13. GREAT 78 – Congo Mambo – Guitar Gable – Excello 1956
  14. Calling All Cows – The Blues Rockers – Excello 1955
  15. My Mumblin’ Baby – Rudy Green – Excello 1956
  16. Pleadin’ For Love – Larry Birdsong – Excello 1956
  17. Chicken Hearted Woman – Clarence Samuels – Excello 1956
  18. Little Darlin’ – The Gladiolas – Excello 1957
  19. I’m A King Bee – Slim Harpo – Excello 1957
  20. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #646

Air Week: September 19-25, 2022

The Vocalese Musical Phenomenon

Vocalese is a musical sub-genre of Jazz and R&B that burst on the scene in 1952 and was practically gone by 1954. Before it departed, King Pleasure (real name Clarence Beeks) had managed to rack up 2 top 10 R&B hits in the style, which is a lyrical interpretation of an instrumental solo. Unlike scatting, which uses nonsense syllables to mimic an instrumental solo, Vocalese uses actual lyrics. Eddie Jefferson is credited as its innovator, taking Coleman Hawkins’ 1939 groundbreaking version of “Body & Soul” and setting Hawk’s monumental improved sax solo to lyrics. That set the stage for the biggest record of the Vocalese sub-genre, “Moody’s Mood For Love.” King Pleasure took that record to #2 during the spring of 1952, though the lyrics were written by Jefferson. It was based on James Moody’s 1950 rendition of “I’m In The Mood For Love.” Moody would soon adopt the tune, “Moody’s Mood For Love” as his theme song and play it until his death in 2010. Echoes of the original Vocalese movement were carried on by the trio Lambert, Hendricks and Ross in the late 1950s and revived again by the Manhattan Transfer in the ’70s. This week, Matt The Cat shines the spotlight on this oft-forgotten, but incredible musical form on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Can’t Eat, Can’t Sleep – Dolores Ware – Mercury 1955
3. I’ll Always Be In Love With You – Charles Brown & Band – Aladdin 1956
4. There Goes That Train – Rollee McGill – Piney & Mercury 1955
5. Body & Soul – Coleman Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1939
6. Body & Soul – Eddie Jefferson – Hi-Lo 1952
7. I’m In The Mood For Love – James Moody – Prestige 1950
8. Moody’s Mood For Love – King Pleasure w/ Teacho & Band – Prestige 1952
9. Twisted – Wardell Gray Quartet – Prestige 1949
10. Twisted – Annie Ross – Prestige 1952
11. Lester Leaps In – James Moody & His Band – Prestige 1950
12. I Got The Blues – Eddie Jefferson – Hi-Lo 1952
13. Ornithology – Charlie Parker Septet– Dial 1946
14. The Boss Is Back – Babs Gonzales – Savoy 1953
15. GREAT 78 – Parker’s Mood – King Pleasure – Prestige 1953
16. Red Top – Gene Ammons & His Sextet – Mercury 1947
17. Red Top – King Pleasure w/ Betty Carter & Charlie Ferguson Band– Prestige 1953
18. Every Day I Have The Blues – Lambert, Hendricks & Ross – ABC Paramount 1957
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #645

Air Week: September 12-18, 2022

Motown Artists BEFORE Motown

The entire “Juke In The Back” this week features Motown’s biggest acts,BEFORE there even was a Motown Records and before those acts were household names. Matt The Cat spins the earliest records by The Miracles (1958), The Four Tops (1956), The Supremes (as The Primettes) and many more. Marvin Gaye’s first recordings with The Marquees are discussed with fellow group member, Reese Palmer. You’ll get the real story behind the story as to how DC’s Marquees became the “new” Moonglows as well as hear the original Bo Diddley produced version of the Marquees’ “Wyatt Earp,” which Okeh Records wouldn’t release. All this and more on this week’s, “Juke In The Back.”

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
  2. Whistle My Love – The Pips – Brunswick 1958
  3. Every Beat Of My Heart – The Pips – Huntom 1961 & Vee-Jay 1961
  4. Could It Be You? – Four Tops – Chess 1956
  5. Woke Up This Morning – Four Tops – Chess 1956 – PREV UNRELEASED
  6. Got A Job – The Miracles – End 1958
  7. Money – The Miracles – End 1958
  8. Tears Of Sorrow – The Primettes (The Supremes) – Lu Pine 1960
  9. I’ll Let You Know – Del-Phis (Martha & The Vandellas)– Checkmate 1961
  10. You – Eddie Holland – Mercury 1958
  11. Moments To Remember You By – The Romeos (Lamont Dozier) – Fox 1957, Atco 1958
  12. Shock – Briant Holland (Brian Holland) – Kudo 1958
  13. Roll On – Futuretones (Edwin Starr) – Tress 1957
  14. GREAT 78 – Come On – The Distants (Temptations) – Northern 1960 & Warwick 1960
  15. I know – Futuretones (Edwin Starr) – Tress 1957
  16. Wyatt Earp – The Marquees (Marvin Gaye) – Okeh 1958
  17. Mama Loochie – Harvey & The Moonglows (Marvin Gaye) – Chess 1959
  18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #644

Air Week: September 5-11, 2022

Richard Barrett (The Valentines)

This week, the “Juke In The Back” honors one of the silent architects of Rock n’ Roll, Richard Barrett. On the surface, he’s known today to fans of vocal group music as the lead singer and chief songwriter for The Valentines. They had a string of solid singles on George Goldner’s Rama Records from 1955-57, but due to Rama’s lack of promotion for the group, they never scored a national hit. When you dig a little deeper, you find that Barrett played a pivotal role in getting Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers, The Chantels and Little Anthony & the Imperials signed to Goldner’s Gee and End Records, respectively. Barrett worked with the groups, including The Cleftones, to perfect their sound and produced many of their hit records. He was a immensely talented, driven man, who accomplished a lot more than he ever gets credit for. Matt The Cat fills the ol’ Rockola “Juke In The Back” with Valentines records and sheds some light on the influence that Richard Barrett had on Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll.

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
  2. Summer Love – The Valentines – Old Town 1954
  3. Tonight Kathleen – The Valentines – Old Town 1954
  4. Lily Maebelle – The Valentines – Rama 1955
  5. I Love You Darling – The Valentines w/ Jimmy Wright & His Orch – Rama 1955
  6. K-I-S-S Me – The Valentines w/ Jimmy Wright & His Orch – Rama 1955
  7. The Woo Woo Train – The Valentines – Rama 1956
  8. Twenty Minutes (Before The Hour) – The Valentines – Rama 1956
  9. I’ll Never Let You Go – The Valentines – Rama 1956
  10. Nature’s Creation – The Valentines – Rama 1956
  11. My Story of Love – The Valentines – Rama 1956
  12. I Cried Oh, Oh – The Valentines – Rama 1957
  13. GREAT 78 – Why – The Valentines – Rama 1956
  14. Don’t Say Goodnight – The Valentines – Rama 1957
  15. Don’t It Sound Good Pt. 1 – Billy Mashburn – Atlantic 1963
  16. Summer’s Love – Richard Barrett & The Chantels – Gone 1959
  17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #643

Air Week: August 29-September 4, 2022

Wynonie Harris, Pt. 2 – 1948-54

It’s part 2 of our 2 part series on Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris, one of the greatest blues shouters of all time.  This week, Matt The Cat focuses on Harris’ hit-making years of 1948-1952, when he ruled the rhythm & blues charts.  “Grandma Plays The Numbers,” “All She Wants To Do Is Rock,” “Bloodshot Eyes,” “Lovin’ Machine” and many more Wynonie Harris classics spun in high numbers on the jukeboxes, so drop a nickel in the “Juke In The Back,” cause “Mr. Blues” is gonna ROCK!

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Blowin’ To California – Wynonie Harris – King 1948
3. Grandma Plays The Numbers – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
4. I Feel That Old Age Coming On – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
5. Drinkin’ Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
6. All She Wants To Do Is Rock – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
7. I Want My Fanny Brown – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
8. Battle Of The Blues Pt. 2 – Wynonie Harris & Big Joe Turner – Aladdin 1949
9. Sittin’ On It All The Time – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
10. I Like My Baby’s Pudding – Wynonie Harris – King 1950
11. Good Morning Judge – Wynonie Harris – King 1950
12. Rock Mr. Blues – Wynonie Harris – King 1950
13. GREAT 78 – Mr. Blues Is Coming To Town – Wynonie Harris – King 1950
14. Oh, Babe! – Wynonie Harris & The Lucky Millinder Orch.– King 1950
15. Bloodshot Eyes – Wynonie Harris – King 1951
16. Lovin’ Machine – Wynonie Harris – King 1951
17. Quiet Whiskey – Wynonie Harris – King 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #642

Air Week: August 22-28, 2022

Wynonie Harris, Pt. 1 – 1944-48

The “Juke In The Back” is overflowin’ with records by one of R&B’s greatest blues shouters and entertainers: Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris. Part 1 of this 2 part series focuses on Wynonie’s early recordings from 1944-1948. Matt The Cat digs deep in his “juke” archives to pull out many of Harris’ early records that often get ignored. We’ll dig on Harris’ first 2 singles with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra and cover his releases with Philo, Apollo, Aladdin and King. Three versions of the early rock n’ roll anthem, “Good Rockin’ Tonight” will also be examined. So get ready to shout “Hoy! Hoy!” as Mr. Blues is coming to town on this week’s “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. S.K. Blues Pt. 1 – Joe Turner With Pete Johnson’s All Stars – National 1945
3. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Roy Brown – DeLuxe 1947
4. Hurry, Hurry – Lucky Millinder & His Orch. – Decca 1944
5. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well? – Lucky Millinder & His Orch. – Decca 1945
6. Around The Clock, Part 2 – Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris and Johnny Otis’ All Stars – Philo 1945
7. Young Man’s Blues – Wynonie “Blues” Harris – Apollo 1945
8. Wynonie’s Blues – Wynonie “Blues” Harris – Apollo 1945
9. Playful Baby – Wynonie “Blues” Harris – Apollo 1946
10. My Baby’s Barrel House – Wynonie (Mr. Blues) Harris – Bullet 1946
11. Time To Change Your Town – Wynonie “Blues” Harris – Apollo 1946
12. Mr. Blues Jumped The Rabbit – Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris and His All Stars – Aladdin 1947
13. GREAT 78 – Cock-A-Doodle-Doo – Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris and Johnny Otis’ All Stars – Philo 1945
14. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Wynonie Harris – King 1948
15. Lollipop Mama – Wynonie Harris – King 1948
16. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Elvis Presley – Sun 1954
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #641

Air Week: August 15-21, 2022

Elvis’ Rhythm & Blues Influences

45 years ago this week, we lost the “King Of Rock n’ Roll. Much has been written about Elvis’ enormous impact and popularity over the years, but it’s almost impossible to overstate the cultural shift that took place as he rose to fame in 1956. Elvis was a musical sponge. He absorbed all the music that moved him and those around him, from Country and Hillbilly to Gospel, Pop, R&B and Blues. This week’s “Juke In The Back” focuses solely on the rhythm & blues that motivated Elvis’ early career. During the end of his first session with Sam Phillips, Elvis cut into an inspired rendition of a semi-forgotten Arthur Crudup gem and rock n’ roll was literally born. From the New Orleans R&B of Smiley Lewis, to the jump blues of Wynonie Harris, Elvis dug it all and made each song uniquely his own. He wasn’t copying his R&B idols, he was merely using their material as a springboard for his own blend of the White and the Black. Sam Phillips was right when he said that it would take a White cat with an African-American feel to propel this exciting R&B music into the mainstream and lucky for us, he found that in Elvis Presley. Matt The Cat presents many surprises in this week’s “Juke In The Back,” dedicated to Elvis’ strongest musical influence: Rhythm & Blues.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. That’s All Right – Elvis Presley, Scotty & Bill – Sun 1954
3. That’s All Right – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – RCA Victor 1946
4. Good Rockin’ Tonight – Wynonie Harris – King 1948
5. Trying To Get To You – Elvis Presley – RCA 1956
6. Trying To Get To You – The Eagles – Mercury 1954
7. Don’t Be Cruel – Elvis Presley – Million Dollar Quartet, December 4, 1956
8. Harbor Lights – The Dominoes – Federal 1951
9. Mystery Train – Little Junior’s Blue Flames – Sun 1953
10. Mystery Train – Elvis Presley – Sun 1955
11. One Night – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1955
12. One Night (Of Sin) – Elvis Presley – Recorded, 1957, unreleased until 1983
13. GREAT 78 – Tomorrow Night – Lonnie Johnson – King 1948
14. Hound Dog – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Kansas City Bill & Orch – Peacock 1953
15. Baby Let’s Play House – Arthur Gunter – Excello 1954
16. Baby Let’s Play House – Elvis Presley – Live on Louisiana Hayride, August 20, 1955
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #640

Air Week: August 8-14, 2022

Jimmy Preston

Jimmy Preston made a major contribution to early Rock n’ Roll by ushering in the era of the screamin’ sax. “Messin’ With Preston,” “Hucklebuck Daddy,” “Hay Ride” and his other early sides for Gotham Records were highly influential in the new genre of Rhythm & Blues, but it’s his original version of “Rock The Joint” that he will always be remembered for. “Rock The Joint” from 1949 is a definite contender for the first Rock n’ Roll song, but since you can’t pin an entire musical movement down to just one tune, let’s just say that it was one of the first. It jumps, it wails, it swings and tells the story of how this music is really going to make them rock the joint. It was immediately covered by Chris Powell & The Five Blue Flames for Columbia, then Jimmy Cavallo, but most importantly, Bill Haley laid down a ground-breaking rockabilly version of “Rock The Joint” in 1952. So even though Jimmy Preston is mostly remembered for one major contribution, Matt The Cat has dug up many more noteworthy jump tunes to open your ears and tap your toe to. This week’s “Juke In The Back” is jumpin’ with some pristine shellac from the great and highly unappreciated Jimmy Preston. DIG!

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Messin’ With Preston – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1948
3. Chop Suey Louie – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1948
4. Hucklebuck Daddy – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1949
5. Sugar Baby – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1949
6. Hold Me Baby – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1949
7. Rock The Joint – Jimmy Preston & His Prstonians – Gotham 1949
8. Drinking Woman – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1949
9. Credit Blues – Jimmy Preston & His Prestonians – Gotham 1949
10. They Call Me The Champ – Jimmy Preston & His Orch – Gotham 1950
11. Hay Ride – Jimmy Preston & His Orch – Gotham 1950
12. Do The Bump – Jimmy Preston & His Orch – Gotham 1950
13. GREAT 78 – Let’s Hang Out Tonight – Jimmy Preston & His Orch – Gotham 1950
14. Potato Salad – Jimmy Preston & His Orch – Gotham 1950
15. Oh Babe! – Jimmy Prestion w/ Burnetta Evans & Jimmy Preston’s Orch – Derby 1950
16. Rock With It Baby – Jimmy Preston w/ Burnetta Evans & Jimmy Preston’s Orch – Derby 1950
17. Rock The Joint – Chris Powell & The Five Blue Flames – Columbia 1949
18. Rock The Joint – Bill Haley w/ The Saddlemen – Essex 1952
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #639

Air Week: August 1-7, 2022

Early Billy Stewart & R&B Jail Songs

Many 1960s soul legends had their start in 1950s R&B and this week, the “JukeIn The Back” takes a listen to Billy Stewart’s early records for the Chess and Okeh labels. You can really hear Stewart’s distinctive singing style develop on his early recordings with Bo Diddley’s band providing the musical backing and the DC vocal group The Marquees (Marvin Gaye was a member) singing behind him. We’ll also spend a few days in jail as Matt The Cat spins a few “prison song” 78s. There are other surprises as well, so don’t miss this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Rockin’ At Cosmo’s – Lee Allen – Aladdin 1956
3. Mary Lou – Young Jesse & The Cadets – Modern 1955
4. Love Is Stange – Bo Diddley – Prev. Unreleased 1956
5. Billy’s Blues Part 1 – Billy Stewart – Chess 1956
6. Billy’s Blues Part 2 – Billy Stewart – Chess 1956
7. Billy’s Heartache – Billy Stewart – Okeh 1957
8. Baby, You’re My Only Love – Billy Stewart – Okeh 1957
9. Fat Boy – Billy Stewart – Chess 1962
10. Shirley – The Rainbows – Pilgrim 1956
11. Ten Days In Jail – The Robins – RCA Victor 1953
12. Jailhouse Blues – Andre Williams – Fortune 1958
13. A Prisoner’s Prayer – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953
14. GREAT 78 – Please Mr. Jailer – Wynona Carr – Specialty 1956
15. Prison Blues – T-Bone Walker – Capitol 1947
16. Need Your Love So Bad – Little Willie John – King 1955
17. Little Maiden – The Chords – Cat 1954
18. Baby It’s You – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1953
19. Three Hours Past Midnight – Johnny “Guitar” Watson – RPM 1956
20. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #638

Air Week: July 25-31, 2022

Little Esther

Esther Mae Jones is one of the First Ladies of R&B, yet her 1950s output under the name Little Esther is sadly overlooked. Little Esther was discovered by bandleader Johnny Otis in 1949, when she was only 14 years old. Otis immediately added her to his musical ensemble. He had scored a few hits before, but nothing could have prepared Otis for his HUGE 1950 breakthrough record, “Double Crossing Blues,” featuring Little Esther and The Robins. Otis and his group dominated the R&B lists in 1950, scoring three #1 hit records and six R&B top tens, all featuring Little Esther. This week, Matt The Cat examines Little Esther’s records with Otis as well as her duets with The Dominoes, Bobby Nunn, Little Willie Littlefield and her many solo sides for the Federal and Savoy labels. Esther Jones would gain much recognition as Esther Phillips in the 1960s and ’70s, but as a teen in the 1950s, Little Esther laid the groundwork for musical genius. The spotlight shines bright on Little Esther, this week on the “Juke In The Back.” This is the “soul that came BEFORE rock n’ roll.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Mean Ole Gal – Little Esther with Johnny Otis & His Orch – Modern 1950
3. Double Crossing Blues – Johnny Otis Quintette – Savoy 1950
4. Misery – Little Esther w/ The Johnny Otis Orch. – Savoy 1950
5. Mistrustin’ Blues – Little Esther and Mel Walker w/ The Johnny Otis Orch. – Savoy 1950
6. Cupid’s Boogie – Little Esther and Mel Walker w/ The Johnny Otis Orch. – Savoy 1950
7. Deceivin’ Blues – Little Esther and Mel Walker w/ The Johnny Otis Orch. – Savoy 1950
8. Wedding Boogie – Johnny Otis Congregation – Savoy 1950
9. The Deacon Moves In – Little Esther w/ Earle Warren Orch. – Federal 1951
10. I’m A Bad, Bad Girl – Little Esther w/ Earle Warren Orch. – Federal 1951
11. Heart To Heart – Little Esther & The Dominoes w/ Earle Warren Orch. – Federal 1951
12. Ring-A-Ding Doo – Little Esther w/ The J. & O. Orch. – Federal 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Aged & Mellow Blues – Little Esther – Federal 1952
14. Saturday Night Daddy – Little Esther & Bobby Nunn – Federal 1952
15. Turn The Lamps Down Low – Little Esther & Little Willie Littlefield – Federal 1953
16. Cherry Wine – Little Esther – Federal 1953
17. You Can Bet Your Life – Little Esther – Savoy 1956
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #637

Air Week: July 18-24, 2022

John Lee Hooker: 1949-51

John Lee Hooker was one of the most influential and important musicians of the 20th Century. He single-handedly invented his own electric guitar boogie sound, which he let loose on the world with his first single, “Boogie Chillen'” in 1948. By early 1949, it was a number one R&B hit and Hooker was on his way to infamy. He took the Delta Blues he had learned growing up from his step-father, William Moore and his sister’s boyfriend, Tony Hollins and turned it upside down, creating his own distinct style. A style that was often copied, but never fully coped. Hooker knew that he wasn’t going to make any money getting stuck in record company contracts, so he would record for any company that would pay him up front. He waxed for numerous labels during the late 1940s and early ’50s and recorded under several pseudonyms, in order to protect himself from lawsuits. This week, Matt The Cat digs deep into John Lee Hooker’s early work for the Modern, Sensation, King, Staff and Chess labels as we feature his most important records from 1948-51. This is where it all began for the consummate “boogie man.” It’s in ’em and it’s got to come out, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Boogie Chillen’ – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1948
3. Sally May – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1948
4. Hobo Blues – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1949
5. Hoogie Boogie – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1949
6. Crawlin’ King Snake – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1949
7. Driftin’ From Door To Door – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1949
8. Black Man Blues – Texas Slim – King 1949
9. Weeping Willow Boogie – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Modern 1949
10. Huckle Up Baby – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Sensation 1949
11. Decoration Day Blues – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Sensation 1950
12. Notoriety Woman – John Lee Hooker & His Guitar – Regal 1950
13. GREAT 78 – House Rent Boogie – Johnny Williams & His Guitar – Staff and Gotham 1950
14. Leave My Wife Alone – John Lee Booker (sic) – Chess 1951
15. I’m In The Mood – John Lee Hooker – Modern 1951
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #636

Air Week: July 11-17, 2022

The Cadillacs

The Cadillacs began their journey in 1953 as The Carnations and when they changed their name they helped usher in a new era of automobile names for R&B vocal groups. Lead tenor Earl “Speedo” Carroll and bass singer Bobby Phillips forged a friendship that would carry on from their days growing up in Harlem until the day each of them passed on. While together, The Cadillacs produced some of the coolest jump tunes from the classic “Speedo” to the jazzy “Down The Road” and the killer “No Chance.” As a ballad group, Speedo and the boys recorded the version of the immortal “Gloria” that all other vocal groups are measured against as well as other gorgeous tunes like “You Are” and “The Girl I Love.” Matt The Cat features an interview with Earl Carroll himself, so that he can tell The Cadillacs story in his own words. We lost Earl Carroll and a little piece of early rock n’ roll on November 25, 2012, but Speedo will never be forgotten in the hearts of those who dig REAL vocal group harmony.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Speedo – The Cadillacs – Josie 1955
3. Earl Carroll Interview #1
4. Gloria – The Cadillacs – Josie 1954
5. I Wonder Why – The Cadillacs – Josie 1954
6. Wishing Well – The Cadillacs – Josie 1954
7. No Chance – The Cadillacs – Josie 1955
8. Earl Carroll Interview #2
9. Speedo – The Cadillacs – LIVE on Alan Freed’s Rock & Roll Dance Party 1956
10. Down The Road – The Cadillacs – Josie 1955
11. Earl Carroll Interview #3
12. You Are – The Cadillacs – Josie 1956
13. GREAT 78 – I Want To Know About Love – The Cadillacs – Josie 1954
14. Zoom – The Cadillacs – Josie 1956
16. Woe Is Me – The Cadillacs – Josie 1956
17. The Girl I Love – The Cadillacs – Josie 1956
18. Speedo Is Back – The Cadillacs – Josie 1958
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #635

Air Week: July 4-10, 2022

Larry Darnell

Next to the Johnny Otis Orchestra, no R&B act was bigger in 1950 than Larry Darnell. The Columbus, OH native scored the first #1 rhythm record of 1950 with “For You My Love,” which remained at the top of the chart for 8 weeks! As a member of the black vaudeville tent show, the Brownskin Models, Darnell traveled the country and sang and danced wherever the troop could set up and perform. While performing in New Orleans, Frank Pania of the famed Dew Drop Inn asked Darnell to leave the Models and headline the Dew Drop. Soon, Fred Mendelssohn had him recording for his new label, Regal Records. “For You My Love” was followed by the influential ballad, “I’ll Get Along Somehow,” and hot sellers, “I Love My Baby” and “Oh, Babe!.” Though the hits stopped coming after 1950, Larry Darnell continued to sell well and record strong material. This week, Matt The Cat fills the ol’ Rockola Juke with his greatest records as we feature the seldom-told story of Larry Darnell on this week’s, “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. For You My Love – Larry Darnell – Regal 1949
3. I’ll Get Along Somehow (Part One) – Larry Darnell – Regal 1949
4. I’ll Get Along Somehow (Part Two) – Larry Darnell – Regal 1949
5. Lost My Baby – Larry Darnell – Regal 1949
6. Pack Your Rags And Go – Larry Darnell & Orch – Regal 1950
7. Why Do I Love You – Larry Darnell – Regal 1950
8. I Love My Baby – Larry Darnell – Regal 1950
9. My Baby Don’t Love Me – Larry Darnell – Regal 1950
10. Sundown – Larry Darnell – Regal 1950
11. Oh, Babe! – Larry Darnell – Regal 1950
12. Don’t Go, Don’t Go – Larry Darnell – Regal 1951
13. GREAT 78 – You’re My Kind Of Baby – Larry Darnell – Regal 1950
14. Work Baby Work – Larry Darnell & Orch – Okeh 1952
15. What More Do You Want Me To Do – Larry Darnell w/ Howard Biggs Orch – Okeh 1954
16. Ramblin’ Man – Larry Darnell – DeLuxe 1957
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #634

Air Week: June 27-July 3, 2022

4th of July: R&B Food Songs

What’s more American than celebrating America’s birthday with some good ol’ red, white and Rhythm & Blues about THE Fourth of July staple: food? Dig in on an hour of classic R&B about hot dogs, cole slaw, potato salad, ribs and ice cream sung by Nat “King” Cole, Amos Milburn, Louis Jordan, the “5” Royales and many more. It’s the American “soul that came before rock n’ roll” on the Juke In The Back.

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
  2. Rib Joint – Sam Price & His Texas Bluesicians – Savoy 1956
  3. House Of Blue Lights – Ella Mae Morse With Don Raye – Capitol 1946
  4. Smoky Joe’s Café – The Robins – Spark 1955
  5. Chicken Shack – Amos Milburn – Aladdin 1956
  6. Everybody Eats When They Come To My House – Cab Calloway – Columbia 1947
  7. Pass The Biscuits Please – Andre Williams – Fortune 1957
  8. Beans & Cornbread – Louis Jordan – Decca 1949
  9. Corn Bread – Hal Singer Sextette – Savoy 1948
  10. Hot Dog – Chris Powell & The Five Blue Flames – Okeh 1949
  11. Dumplin’s – Doc Bagby – Okeh 1957
  12. Monkey Hips & Rice – The “5” Royales – King 1954
  13. GREAT 78 – Cole Slaw (Sorgum Switch) – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five – Decca 1949
  14. Pork Chops & Mustard Greens – Ernie Andrews With Maxwell Davis Orch – Imperial 1951
  15. Cabbage Greens #2 – Champion Jack Dupree – Okeh 1940
  16. The Frim Fram Sauce – King Cole Trio – Capitol 1945
  17. Solid Potato Salad – Ella Mae Morse – Capitol 1943 (Prev. Unreleased)
  18. Ice Cream Man – John Brim – Chess 1953
  19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #633

Air Week: June 20-26, 2022

Leiber & Stoller’s Spark Records

The “Juke In The Back” is proud to present one of the premiere, short-lived R&B record labels of the 1950s. Started by songwriters Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller after they were stiffed on royalty payments for Big Mama Thornton’s “Hound Dog,” Spark records only lasted for a year and a half. In that time they wrote and produced some of early rock’s most defining songs like “Riot In Cell Block #9” and “Smokey Joe’s Cafe” for The Robins, “Love Me” for Willie & Ruth (Elvis Presley would go on to cut it), “One Bad Stud” for San Francisco’s The Honey Bears and many more. Spark was cut short in 1955, when Atlantic Records offered Leiber & Stoller an offer they couldn’t refuse. Catch the Spark Records story this week on the “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
  2. Farewell – Willie & Ruth – Spark 1954
  3. Easyville – Gil Bernal – Spark 1954
  4. Riot In Cell Block #9 – The Robins – Spark 1954
  5. One Bad Stud – The Honey Bears – Spark 1954
  6. Love Me – Willie & Ruth – Spark 1954
  7. King Solomon’s Blues – Gil Bernal – Spark 1954
  8. Hoo-Doo Say – The Sly Fox – Spark 1954
  9. If Teardrops Were Kisses – The Robins – Spark 1955
  10. My Four Women – The Sly Fox – Spark 1955
  11. I Gotta New Car – Big Boy Groves – Spark 1955
  12. Bring It On Back – Mister Ruffin – Spark 1955
  13. GREAT 78 – Whadaya Want – The Robins – Spark 1955
  14. Zerlene – Gene & Billy – Spark 1955
  15. Just Say The Word – Frankie Marshall – Spark 1955
  16. Another Fool (Sings The Blues) – Ray Agee – Spark 1955
  17. Tree Stump Jump – Garland The Great – Spark 1955
  18. Smoky Joe’s Café – The Robins – Spark 1955
  19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #632

Air Week: June 13-19, 2022

Jimmy Coe

The “Juke In The Back” is proud to feature Jimmy Coe, a great 1950s saxophonist, bandleader and session man that is often ignored today. Coe came up in the 1940s playing in renown bands including the Jay McShann (at the same time as Charlie Parker) and the Tiny Bradshaw bands. After the war, he settled in Indianapolis, playing clubs until hooking up with vocalist Flo Garvin. He cut a record with her and one on his own for King Records in 1952. Even though King insisted as listing Coe as Jimmy Cole, he still caught the ear of The States Record Company. His 3 singles for States are a shining example of great musicianship, a solid groove and comedic talking blues. Coe and his group then played on records by The Students, Ronnie Haig and The Five Stars. This week, Matt The Cat moves the Jimmy Coe 78s from the back of the Juke and spotlights a true unsung hero of Rhythm & Blues.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. The Last Of The Good Rocking Men – The Four Jacks – Federal 1952
3. Glory Of Love – The Angels – Gee 1956
4. Let Me Keep You Warm – Flo Garvin w/ Jimmy Coe & His Orch – King 1952
5. Cole Tater – Jimmy Cole & His Orch – King 1952
6. I Got It Bad And That Ain’t Good – Jimmy Cole & His Orch – King 1952
7. After Hour Joint – Jimmy Coe & His Gay Cats of Rhythm – States 1953
8. Baby I’m Gone – Jimmy Coe & His Gay Cats of Rhythm – States 1953
9. Raid On The After Hour Joint – Jimmy Coe & His Gay Cats of Rhythm – States 1954
10. He’s All Right With Me – Jimmy Coe & His Gay Cats of Rhythm – States 1954
11. Run Jody Run – Jimmy Coe & His Gay Cats of Rhythm – States 1956
12. Country Blues – Jimmy Coe & The Cohorts – Note 1958
13. GREAT 78 – Everyday Of The Week – The Students – Checker 1958
14. Wazoo – Jimmy Coe & The Cohorts – Note 1958
15. Shuttle Stroll – Jimmy Coe & The Cohorts – Note 1958
16. Home On Alcatraz – Rolling Crew – Aladdin 1955
17. Cryin’ Emma – Rolling Crew – Aladdin 1955
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #631

Air Week: June 6-12, 2022

Howlin’ Wolf: The Early Years

This week, the “Juke In The Back” focuses on the great Howlin’ Wolf’s earliest recordings.  Before he became a huge star on Chess Records in Chicago, Wolf was a local celebrity in Memphis, recording with Sam Phillips (before Phillips started Sun Records).  Matt The Cat spins Wolf’s demo acetates and his 1951 recordings, some of which Phillips sold to RPM Records in LA and others he sold to Chess in Chicago.  Howlin’ Wolf was a mammoth man in both voice and stature and you’ll hear how it all began on the “Juke In The Back.”

  1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
  2. Pachuko Hop – Chuck Higgins & His Mellotones – Combo 1952
  3. New Orleans Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1947
  4. Cherry Red – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson & His Orch – Mercury 1946
  5. Howlin’ Wolf Talks, No. 1 – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess Box 1991
  6. Baby Ride With Me (Ridin’ In The Moonlight) (Demo Acetate) – Howlin’ Wolf – 1951
  7. Riding In The Moonlight – Howlin’ Wolf – RPM 1951
  8. How Many More Years (Demo Acetate) – Howlin’ Wolf – 1951
  9. How Many More Years – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess 1951
  10. Moanin’ At Midnight – Howlin’ Wolf – RPM 1951
  11. Moanin’ At Midnight – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess 1951
  12. GREAT 78 – Mr. Highway Man – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess 1952
  13. Passing By Blues – Howlin’ Wolf – RPM 1951
  14. Crying At Daybreak – Howlin’ Wolf – RPM 1951
  15. Wolf Is At Your Door – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess 1952
  16. Howlin’ Wolf Boogie – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess 1952
  17. Why – Shirley Gunter & The Queens – Flair 1955
  18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #630

Air Week: May 30-June 5, 2022

Mambo / Vita Records

The Juke In The Back is jumpin’ this week with records from the Vita Label and its direct predecessor, Mambo Records. In 1955, record producer Mike Gradney got together with Larry Mead, who owned a record pressing plant in Pasadena, CA to form Mambo Records. They picked that name, because the Mambo was all the rage in ’55. Mambo hit the ground running with a roster of fantastic R&B cats, like Willie Egan (who’s name always appeared on record as either Eggins or Egans), saxophonist Jackie Kelso and vocal groups the Squires and The Colts. Just as Mambo issued The Colts, “Adorable,” they decided that disc jockeys might get confused and think Mambo Records was a Latin label instead of an R&B label. They changed Mambo to Vita and reissued “Adorable” as Vita 112. “Adorable” was Vita’s first hit record and The Colts only hit record. More Vita releases from The Colts, The Squires, Harmonica Slim, Ike Turner and The Titans followed. In late 1956, Vita had a huge hit on their hands when “Confidential” by Sonny Knight took off nationally. Vita couldn’t handle the distribution of such a large seller, so they leased the record out to Dot Records. The tide started turning for Vita in 1957 and Gradney left Mead to form his own label, Spry Records. Unfortunately, he took some of Vita’s best artists with him and by 1959, Mead decided to shut Vita down for good. This week’s Juke In The Back is a look into the musical legacy of Vita Records, another small West Coast label that made a significant contribute to Rhythm & Blues and the formation of Rock n’ Roll.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Don’t Know Where She Went – Lloyd & Willie – Mambo 1955
3. Wow Wow – Willie Eggins & Orch – Mambo 1955
4. Sindy – The Squires – Mambo 1955
5. Blue Moon – Jackie Kelso & Orch. – Mambo 1955
6. Adorable – The Colts – Mambo & Vita 1955
7. Sweet Girl – The Squires – Vita 1955
8. You Can’t Beat The Horses – Ervin (Big Boy) Groves – Vita 1956
9. Sweet Sixteen – The Colts – Vita 1956
10. Wear Your Black Dress – Willie Egans – Vita 1956
11. Peg Leg Woman – Willie King with the Ike Turner Band – Vita 1956
12. Red Tape – The Chavelles – Vita 1956
13. GREAT 78 – Rhythm & Blues – The Titans – Vita 1957
14. Confidential – Sonny Knight w/ Jack Collier Orch – Vita and Dot 1956
15. Drop Anchor – Harmonica Slim & Orch – Vita 1956
16. So Hard To Laugh So Easy To Cry – The Titans – Vita 1957
17. Bitter Wind – Christy Sextet – Vita 1959
18. Jail Bird – Sonny Knight w/ Jack Collier Orch – Vita and Dot 1956
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #629

Air Week: May 23-29, 2022

Billy “The Kid” Emerson

The “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat features Billy “The Kid” Emerson, a talented R&B singer and songwriter who never had a hit record, but his songs were covered by the likes of Elvis Presley and Billy Riley.  Originally from Tarpon Springs, FL, Billy Emerson burst on the scene in 1954, with the help of friend Ike Turner.  He released a string of stellar R&B records for Sun, before moving on to Vee-Jay, Chess and many others.  Elvis recorded Emerson’s very soulful, “When It Rains It Pours” and Billy Riley made Emerson’s “Red Hot” a rockabilly standard.  Billy “The Kid” Emerson’s story and music is the feature of this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Sheik Of Araby – The Colts – Antler 1956
3. Jump, Everybody, Jump – Joe Morris Blues Cavalcade – Atlantic 1951
4. No Teasing Around – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Sun 1954
5. The Woodchuck – Billy (The Kid) Emerson – Sun 1954
6. I’m Not Going Home – Billy (The Kid) Emerson – Sun 1954
7. Move Baby Move – Billy (The Kid) Emerson – Sun 1955
8. When It Rains, It Pours – Billy (The Kid) Emerson – Sun 1955
9. Red Hot – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Sun 1955
10. No Greater Love – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Sun 1955
11. Little Fine Healthy Thing – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Sun 1956
12. Every Woman I know – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Vee-Jay 1957
13. GREAT 78 – If Lovin’ Is Believing – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Sun 1954
14. The Pleasure Is All Mine – Billy “The Kid” Emerson – Vee-Jay 1957
15. Give Me A Little Love – Billy Emerson – Chess 1958
16. Alarm Clock Boogie – Odelle Turner – Atlantic 1952
17. Sweet Dreams – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1955
18. Real Gone – Amos Milburn – Aladdin 1947
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #628

Air Week: May 16-22, 2022

Art Rupe & Specialty Records, Pt. 3 – 1953-56


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. This week, on the third and final part of our tribute to Art Rupe, Matt The Cat looks at Specialty’s hit-making heyday of 1953-56, featuring Marvin & Johnny, John Lee Hooker, Jesse Belvin and Little Richard! Art Rupe was a major force in presenting rhythm & blues to the masses and introducing the world to Little Richard, who’s musical impact is still being felt today. The birth of Rock n’ Roll can be traced back to Specialty Records, find out why on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. She’s Been Gone – H-Bomb Ferguson – Specialty 1953
3. Drunk – Jimmy Liggins & His 3-D Music – Specialty 1953
4. One Room Country Shack – Mercy Dee Walton – Specialty 1953
5. Lucy Mae Blues – Frankie Lee Sims – Specialty 1953
6. Hole In The Wall – Floyd Dixon – Specialty 1953
7. Baby Doll – Marvin & Johnny – Specialty 1953
8. The Things That I Used To Do – Guitar Slim – Specialty 1954
9. No Room In The Hotel – The Chosen Gospel Singers – Specialty 1954
10. Touch The Hem Of His Garment – The Soul Stirrers – Specialty 1956
11. I’m Mad – John Lee Hooker – Specialty 1954
12. Something’s Going On In My Room – Daddy Cleanhead – Specialty 1954
13. GREAT 78 – I’m Your Best Bet Baby – Earl King – Specialty 1954
14. Zindy Lou – The Chimes – Specialty 1955
15. Where’s My Girl – Jesse Belvin – Specialty 1955
16. Nite Owl – Tony Allen & The Champs – Specialty 1955
17. Eternity – Ernest Kador – Specialty 1955
18. Tutti Frutti – Little Richard – Specialty 1955
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

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.”