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Episode #716 – R&B Influences: Delta Rhythm Boys

Air Week: January 22-28, 2024

R&B Influences: Delta Rhythm Boys

The “Juke In The Back” takes a deep look at The Delta Rhythm Boys, one of R&B’s early influences. Bass singer Lee Gaines assembled the original quartet while at Langston University in Oklahoma. After they all transferred to Dillard in New Orleans, things started to really happen. Dillard’s new music program was headed by Professor Fredrick Hall, who worked with the group, writing arrangements for them. Calling themselves the Fredrick Hall Quartet, they met a Buenos Aries DJ and toured South America before moving to New York City and establishing themselves on Broadway. Now calling themselves the Delta Rhythm Boys, they got a recording contract with Decca Records, a daily national radio program with CBS, a motion picture deal with Universal and occasional performances on the Amos and Andy radio program. The Delta Rhythm Boys had more exposure than virtually any other singing group. They never scored the hits like the Mills Brothers or the Ink Spots, but the Deltas were everywhere. They only had one huge national hit on their own with 1947’s “Just A-Sittin’ and A-Rockin’,” but sang on hits by Ella Fitzgerald, Jimmy Lunceford and Ruth Brown. Matt The Cat also presents the Delta Rhythm Boys singing stellar R&B for Atlantic Records, both as themselves and under a pseudonym. So get ready for some superb vocal harmonies with the Delta Rhythm Boys on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”


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