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Episode #735

Air Week: June 3-9, 2024

The Midnighters, Pt. 3 – The Annie Songs

This week, the “Juke In The Back” continues a 3 show look at The Midnighters, one of early R&B’s most successful groups. Before they topped the R&B charts with “Work With Me Annie” in 1954, The Midnighters were known as The Royals, a rough and ready group from the east side of Detroit. Charles Sutton, the Royal’s first great lead singer, shaped their early recordings (1952-53) in the style of The Orioles’ leader Sonny Til. In part 3, the “Annie” songs take the spotlight as we build off the Midnighters’ “Annie” trilogy to the flood of answer records and sequel songs that emerged in “Work With Me Annie”‘s wake. Most of the hit “Annie” follow-ups were done by The Midnighters themselves, like “Annie Had A Baby” and “Annie’s Aunt Fannie,” but there were some notable “Annie” songs by The El Dorados, Linda Hayes, Danny Taylor and of course the “Henry” songs by a very young Etta James. It may sound odd now, but from 1954-56, the R&B juke boxes were jumpin’ to songs about “Annie,” “Henry” and their crazy situations. Matt The Cat puts this R&B fad front and center as we close up our 3 week look at the impact of The Midnighters on Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll. 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Work With Me Annie – The Royals (Midnighters) – Federal 1954
3. Annie Had A Baby – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
4. Annie Pulled A Hum-Bug – The Midnights – Music City 1954
5. Annie’s Answer – The El Dorados w/ Hazel McCollum – Vee-Jay 1954
6. Mama Took The Baby – Lena Gordon & The Sax Kari Orch – Checker 1954
7. Annie’s Aunt Fannie – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
8. I’m The Father of Annie’s Baby – Danny Taylor – Bruce 1954
9. My Name Ain’t Annie – Linda Hayes – King 1954
10. Annie Kicked The Bucket – The Nu-Tones – Hollywood Star 1954
11. The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry) – Etta James & The Peaches – Modern 1954
12. Hey, Henry! – Etta James & The Peaches – Modern 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Annie Met Henry – The Champions – Chart 1955
14. Henry’s Got Flat Feet – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
15. Annie Met Henry – The Cadets – Modern 1955
16. Annie Don’t Love Me No More – The Hollywood Flames – Symbol 1965
17. Let’s Get Married (Annie & Henry) – Shirley Gunter w/ The Flairs – 1955 Unreleased
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #734

Air Week: May 27-June 2, 2024

The Midnighters, Pt. 2 – 1954-56

This week, the “Juke In The Back” continues a 3 show look at The Midnighters, one of early R&B’s most successful groups. Before they topped the R&B charts with “Work With Me Annie” in 1954, The Midnighters were known as The Royals, a rough and ready group from the east side of Detroit. Charles Sutton, the Royal’s first great lead singer, shaped their early recordings (1952-53) in the style of The Orioles’ leader Sonny Til. As 1954 begins, Charles Sutton is out as lead singer and Hank Ballard (real name John Kendricks) is in. Ballard had been with the group since ’52 and he now takes the Royals into a more gospel/blues direction. Syd Nathan, head of King/Federal Records changes their name to The Midnighters and they score one of the biggest records of the year with “Work With Me Annie.” This week, we’ll focus on the Midnighters prime R&B period of 1954-56. They had non-Annie hits “Sexy Ways” and “It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day),” but the Annie’s sequels dominated. We won’t be spinning any of the Annie sequels during this program as next week will be the “Annie” installment, but what you will hear are some fantastic Rhythm & Blues presented by one of the finest groups of the era. Grab some nickels, because “Juke” will be jumpin’ with Detroit’s own Midnighters. 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. That Woman – The Midnighters Formally Known As The Royals – Federal 1954
3. Sexy Ways – The Midnighters Formally The Royals– Federal 1954
4. Don’t Say Your Last Goodbye – The Midnighters Formally The Royals – Federal 1954
5. She’s The One – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
6. Crazy Loving (Stay With Me) – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
7. Stingy Little Thing – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
8. Why Are We Apart – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
9. Switchie, Witchie, Titchie – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
10. Whatsonever You Do – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
11. Don’t Change Your Pretty Ways – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
12. It’s Love Baby (24 Hours A Day) – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
13. GREAT 78 –Tell Them – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
14. Looka Here – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
15. Open Up The Back Door – The Midnighters – Federal 1956
16. Tore Up Over You – The Midnighters – Federal 1956
17. We’ll Never Meet Again – The Midnighters – Federal 1955
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #733

Air Week: May 20-26, 2024

The Midnighters, Pt. 1 – 1952-54 (The Royals)

This week, the “Juke In The Back” begins a 3 show look at The Midnighters, one of early R&B’s most successful groups. Before they topped the R&B charts with “Work With Me Annie” in 1954, The Midnighters were known as The Royals, a rough and ready group from the east side of Detroit. Charles Sutton, the Royal’s first great lead singer, shaped their early recordings (1952-53) in the style of The Orioles’ leader Sonny Til. That influence resulted in the recording of some amazing vocal group records, including the immortal “Moonrise” from 1952. Matt The Cat explores the Royals great early sides, their lineup changes (Hank Ballard joined in 1953) and their legal battles. In part 2, we’ll fill the “Juke In The Back” with The Midnights prime, non-Annie records and then in part 3, it’s an Annie bonanza of answer records, prequels and sequels. So grab your nickel and get ready to jump, jive and wail! 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Deacon Moves In – Little Esther With Earle Warren Orch. – Federal 1951
3. Tell Me So – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
4. Every Beat Of My Heart – The Royals – Federal 1952
5. All Night Long – The Royals – Federal 1952
6. Starting From Tonight – The Royals – Federal 1952
7. Moonrise – The Royals – Federal 1952
8. Fifth Street Blues – The Royals – Federal 1952
9. I’ll Never Let Her Go – The Royals – Federal 1952
10. What Did I Do – The Royals – Federal 1952
11. The Shrine of St. Cecilia – The Royals – Federal 1953
12. Get It – The Royals – Federal 1953
13. GREAT 78 – That’s It – The Royals – Federal 1953
14. Until I Die – The Royals – Federal 1954
15. Work With Me Annie – The Royals (The Midnighters) – Federal 1954
16. Give It Up – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #732

Air Week: May 13-19, 2024

Lowell Fulson

This week, the “Juke In The Back” spotlights Lowell Fulson, one of the blues’ most versatile and vastly underrated talents. In the late 1940s, Fulson stormed the charts with his first hit “Three O’Clock Blues,” a song that B.B. King would take to the top of the charts in 1951. Fulson started the 1950s with a bang, scoring six charted hits for Swingtime Records in 1950 alone. By ’54, he was on Checker Records out of Chicago with a song that would be covered by Elvis in 1960, “Reconsider Baby.” Fulson wrote many of his own songs and was a major inspiration to both B.B. King and Ray Charles, who played in his touring band in 1950. Get the story behind the story on a true rhythm & blues legend, it’s Lowell Folsun, this week on the “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Come Back To Me Baby – T Bone Walker – Mercury 1946
3. Sinner’s Prayer – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1954
4. Three O’Clock Blues – Lowell Fulson – Down Town 1948
5. Come Back Baby – Lowell Fulson & His Trio – Down Beat 1949
6. Everyday I Have The Blues – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
7. Blue Shadows – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
8. Low Society Blues – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
9. Sinner’s Prayer – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
10. Old Time Shuffle Blues – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
11. I’m A Night Owl Pt. 1 & 2 – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1951
12. Great 78 – Rocking After Midnight – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
13. Don’t Leave Me Baby – Lowell Fulson – Aladdin 1953
14. Reconsider Baby – Lowell Fulson – Checker 1954
15. Loving You (Is All I Crave) – Lowell Fulson – Checker 1955
16. 3 O’Clock Blues – B. B. King – RPM 1951
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #731

Air Week: May 6-12, 2024

Jesse Belvin

“Juke In The Back” is proud to dedicate an entire show to Jesse Belvin, one of greatest talents to come out of LA in the 1950s. Belvin was born in Texas, but raised near Central Avenue in Los Angeles, where he soaked up the local R&B scene. After transferring to Jefferson High School, he fell in with Richard Berry, Gaynel Hodge and other budding vocal talents. After meeting Marvin Phillips, whom he would collaborate with on and off for years, Belvin sang his first lead on record for Big Jay McNeely in 1951. From there, he recorded for Specialty Records with Marvin as Jesse & Marvin and scored a #2 hit with “Dream Girl.” He would cut sides for Recorded in Hollywood, Modern, Cash, Money, Tender, RCA and many other labels. Jesse Belvin was respected by his contemporaries and always showed a sophistication in his singing that was far beyond his years. His musical phrasing was impeccable. This week, Matt The Cat will focus on Jesse Belvin’s greatest sides, released between 1951-56, so don’t miss a single minute of the “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. All That Wine Is Gone – Jay McNeely & His Orch – Imperial 1951
3. Sad Story – Jay McNeely & His Orch – Imperial 1951
4. Baby Don’t Go – Jesse Belvin & Orch – Specialty 1952
5. Dream Girl – Jesse & Marvin – Specialty 1952
6. Daddy Loves Baby – Jesse & Marvin – Specialty 1952
7. My Love Comes Tumbling Down – Jesse Belvin – Recorded in Hollywood 1953
8. I’m Only A Fool – Jesse Belvin – Money 1955
9. Trouble and Misery – Jesse Belvin – Money 1955
10. Sugar Mama – Marvin & Johnny – Modern 1955
11. One Little Blessing – Jesse Belvin – Specialty 1955
12. Love, Love Of My Life – Jesse Belvin – Specialty 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Go And Get Some More – The ? Marks – Swing Time 1955
14. The Girl Of My Dreams – The Cliques – Modern 1956
15. Hum De Dum – The Gassers – Cash 1956
16. Goodnight My Love (Pleasant Dreams) – Jesse Belvin – Modern 1956
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #730

Air Week: April 29-May 5, 2024

Elmore James: 1951-55

Elmore James never tried to have crossover success. He was a bluesman through and through; an ambassador of the Mississippi Delta Blues with a modern, 1950s electric twist. Elmore’s blues was as pure as his ambitions when starting out as a sideman for now legendary blues harpist Sonny Boy Williamson II. James played on several Williamson sessions held in 1951 at Trumpet Records in Jackson, MS, until he was coaxed into playing the Robert Johnson tune, “Dust My Broom” in August. Trumpet gave James one side of the original 78 RPM release and in early 1952, “Dust My Broom” became a national R&B hit! Ike Turner, who was scouting for the Bihari Brothers of LA’s Modern Records, found Elmore and got him signed to a four year deal with the Biharis. They issued his first record on their Meteor subsidiary and “I Believe,” a reworking of “Dust My Broom,” also became a top 10 national hit. Elmore James wouldn’t score another hit record until 1960, but in those years in-between, James issued some incredible and highly influential blues sides, featuring his legendary slide guitar style. James would go on to inspire The Rolling Stones, The Yardbirds, early Fleetwood Mac and others, but would not live to see it. This week, Matt The Cat dusts off some prime Elmore James 78s from several labels and in many blues styles. Many of these records built off the original “Dust My Broom” guitar lick, but they are also good enough to stard firmly on their own.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Dust My Broom – Elmo James – Trumpet 1951
3. I Believe – Elmore James – Meteor 1952
4. Baby What’s Wrong – Elmore James – Meteor 1953
5. Country Boogie – Elmore James – Checker 1953
6. Early In The Morning – Elmore James & The Broom Dusters – Flair 1953
7. Hawaiian Boogie – Elmore James & The Broom Dusters – Flair 1953
8. Can’t Stop Lovin’ – Elmore James & The Broom Dusters – Flair 1953
9. Strange Kinda Feeling – Elmore James and The Broomdusters – Flair 1953
10. TV Mama – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – Atlantic 1953
11. GREAT 78 – I Held My Baby Last Night – Elmore James – Meteor 1952
12. Hand In Hand – Elmore James & His Broomdusters – Flair 1954
13. Sho Nuff I Do – Elmore James & His “Broomdusters” – Flair 1954
14. Sunny Land – Elmore James & His “Broomdusters” – Flair 1954
15. Dust My Blues – Elmore James & His “Broom Dusters” – Flair 1955
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #729

Air Week: April 22-28, 2024

The R&B of RCA

It is a popular belief that the seeds of Rhythm & Blues, Rock n’ Roll and even Jazz were planted by the small independent labels and that the major labels exhaustively played catch-up as the music grew in popularity. That is simply not true. The major labels were there from the beginning, often breaking important artists, many with mainstream leanings, while the indie labels promoted the more “grittier” aspects of the music, which we view today as the more “authentic” sound of R&B, Rock n’ Roll and Jazz. And so, like Columbia and Decca, RCA Victor released some stellar Rhythm & Blues during the late 1940s into the early 1950s, before the label signed Elvis in 1955. It’s hard to imagine Rock n’ Roll emerging from a world void of Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup as Elvis and his contemporaries took so much inspiration from him, including covering his songs. Crudup was a star on RCA’s blues roster as was Jazz Gillum. John Greer, The Robins and even Jesse Belvin all spent time on RCA. This week, Matt The Cat shines the spotlight on some great Blues, Jump Blues, Rhythm & Blues and vocal group sounds from RCA Victor during the golden age of R&B. It’s the R&B of RCA on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Looped – Melvin Smith – RCA Victor 1952
3. That’s All Right – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – RCA Victor 1947
4. Signifying Woman – Jazz Gillum – RCA Victor 1949
5. Woman Is A Five Letter Word – John Greer and The Rhythm Rockers – RCA Victor 1951
6. Easy Baby – Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar w/ Little Miss Sharecropper – RCA Victor 1949
7. We’re Gonna Rock This Joint – Jackson Brothers Orch – RCA Victor 1952
8. Heartbreaker – The Heartbreakers – RCA Victor 1951
9. That’s When Your Heartaches Begin – Billy Bunn & His Buddies – RCA Victor 1951
10. (Now and Then) There’s A Fool Such As I – The Robins – RCA Victor 1953
11. Sad Head Blues – Mr. Sad Head w/ Billy Ford & His Orch – RCA Victor 1952
12. Rock Bottom – Milt Trenier – RCA Victor 1953
13. GREAT 78 – My Baby Left Me – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – RCA Victor 1951
14. Here In My Heart – The Chargers w/ Shorty Rogers’ Orch – RCA Victor 1958
15. Guess Who – Jesse Belvin w/ Shorty Rogers’ Orch & Chorus – RCA Victor 1958
16. So Glad You’re Mine – Elvis Presley – RCA Victor 1956
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #729

Air Week: April 15-21, 2024

Groove Records

In late 1953, RCA Victor launched a new subsidiary to focus on the Rhythm & Blues market, called Groove Records.  They intended for Groove to compete with the independent labels like Chess, Atlantic and Vee-Jay that were dominating the genre.  RCA treated Groove as an indie by setting up its own record distribution network, like an indie, ignoring the mighty distribution arm of RCA Victor.  That might have been the label’s downfall.  Groove ended up scoring only one major hit in its 3 year stint, but along the way, Groove issued some fantastic R&B recordings from the superstars of the day.  It’s hard to imagine, but Piano Red, King Curtis, Mickey “Guitar” Baker, Sonny Terry, Sam Butera, Big John Greer AND Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup were all on the same label for a time.  This week, Matt The Cat digs up the grooviest sides from Groove Label and gives them the spins they deserve on the “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Speed King – The Du Droppers – Groove 1954
3. Bottle It Up And Go – Big John Greer – Groove 1954
4. I Got Drunk – Buddy Lucas & His Orch – Groove 1954
5. I Don’t Want To Set The World On Fire – Sam Butera – Groove 1954
6. I Love My Baby – Arthur “Big Boy” Crudup – Groove 1954
7. I’m Tired – Big Red McHouston – Groove 1954
8. Go, Mother, Go – Sam “Highpockets” Henderson and His Jumpers – Groove 1954
9. Big Rock Joe From Kokomo – Piano Red – Groove 1954
10. It Should Have Been Me #2 – Little George Benson – Groove 1954
11. I’ll Follow You – The Five Keys – Groove 1954
12. Oh! What A Babe – Otis Blackwell – Groove 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Women Are The Root Of All Evil – Paul Williams & His Orch – Groove 1954
14. Quicksand – Maymie Watts – Groove 1955
15. Country Boy – Big Tiny Kennedy & His Orch – Groove 1955
16. Ride and Roll – Sonny Terry – Groove 1955
17. Geraldine – The El Venos – Groove 1956
18. Love Is Stange – Mickey & Silvia – Groove 1956
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #727

Air Week: April 8-14, 2024

Lil Greenwood

This week, the “Juke In The Back” pays tribute to a very dynamic, soulful and often passed over R&B female vocalist: Lil Greenwood. Today, Lil Greenwood is best remembered as a vocalist for Duke Ellington during the late ’50s and early ’60s, but it’s her R&B recordings from 1950-1954 that are the real standouts. She recorded for the Modern, Specialty and Federal labels and often had vocal groups like The Four Jacks and The Lamplighters backing her up. Hear Lil’s story and some of her greatest records on the “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Don’t Leave Me This Way – Fats Domino – Imperial 1954
3. The Monkey – Dave Bartholomew – Imperial 1957
4. Jungle King – Hot Lips Page – King 1953
5. Heart Full Of Pain – Lil Greenwood – Modern 1950
6. Ain’t Gonna Cry – Lil Greenwood – Modern 1950
7. Dissatisfied Blues – Lil Greenwood – Modern 1950
8. Sitting And Wondering – Lil Greenwood – Modern 1951
9. Love Will Make You A Slave – Lil Greenwood – Specialty 1952
10. Grandpa Can Boogie Too – Lil Greenwood & The Four Jacks – Federal 1952
11. Never Again – Lil Greenwood & The Four Jacks – Federal 1952
12. I’ll Go – Lil Greenwood – Federal 1953
13. GREAT 78 – Monday Morning Blues – Lil Greenwood & Little Willie Littlefield – Federal 1952
14. Mercy Me – Lil Greenwood – Federal 1954
15. Be Bop Wino – The Lamplighters – Federal 1953
16. Back Trackin’ (Dr. Daddy-O) – Paul Gayten – Regal 1949
17. Middle Of The Night – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

LISTEN BELOW

Episode #726

Air Week: April 1-7, 2024

Percy Mayfield: 1949-60

Some songwriters and singers just know how to tap into deepest regions of sadness, passion and truth. Such is the musical prowess of Percy Mayfield, the “Poet Laureate Of The Blues.” Mayfield was born in rural Louisiana in 1920 and found he had a knack for writing poetry early on in life. By high school, he was putting his poems to music and finding local encouragement. By the early 1940s, he was settled in Los Angeles doing odd jobs, trying to make it as a songwriter and a singer. In ’49, he took his song, “Two Years Of Torture” to Supreme Records in LA, hoping that their artist, Jimmy Witherspoon would record it, but they were so impressed with Mayfield, that they had him wax it instead. “Two Years Of Torture” sold well enough around California to peak the interest of record man, Art Rupe of Specialty Records. He signed Mayfield in 1950 and they struck gold right out of the gate with his composition, “Please Send Me Someone To Love,” his only #1 record. What followed was six consecutive charging singles and a jukebox full of songs about pain, suffering and lonliness.This week, Matt The Cat digs through the musical treasure trove of fantastic 78s by the one and only Percy Mayfield.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Two Years Of Torture – Monroe Tucker & His Orch. Vocal: Percy Mayfield – Supreme 1949
3. Please Send Me Someone To Love – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1950
4. Strange Things Happening – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1950
5. Lost Love – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1951
6. What A Fool I Was – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1951
7. My Blues – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1951
8. Praying For Your Return – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1951
9. Cry Baby – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1952
10. The Big Question – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1952
11. Louisiana – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1952
12. The River’s Invitation – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Leary Blues – Monroe Tucker & His Orch. Vocal: Percy Mayfield – Supreme 1949
14. How Deep Is The Well – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1953
15. Loose Lips – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1954
16. Baby You’re Rich – Percy Mayfield & Orch – Specialty 1955
17. Hit The Road Jack (1960 Demo) – Percy Mayfield – Unreleased
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #725

Air Week: March 25-31, 2024

Guitar Slim

Eddie Jones grew up in Hollandale, MS, pickin’ cotton and dreaming of a better life when ambition and musical talent plucked him from his situation, christened him Guitar Slim and made him a star. After moving to New Orleans and befriending Huey “Piano” Smith, the two became a sensation at the hep Tiajuana Club, landing them a deal with Imperial Records. The two singles released by the label failed to chart and they were dropped, but then serendipitously found themselves in Nashville cutting a record for Jim Bulleit’s J-B Records. “Feelin’ Sad” b/w “Certainly All” got some airplay in major cities and hit #1 on the local New Orleans chart, but failed to hit nationally. That was enough to get bookings at NOLA’s premier club, The Dew Drop Inn, where Slim drove crowds into a frenzy with his stage antics. Johnny Vincent at Specialty Records hounded Guitar Slim until he signed with the label, initially beating out Atlantic Records. Right out of the gate, Guitar Slim scored a monster hit with “The Things That I Used To Do,” which topped the national R&B lists and became the biggest R&B hit of 1954. That success would never be topped or matched, but Guitar Slim tried and this week, Matt The Cat fills the “Juke In The Back” with Slim’s fantastic recordings for Imperial, J-B, Specialty and Atco. 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Bad Luck Is On Me – Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones & His Playboys – Imperial 1951
3. New Arrival – Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones & His Playboys – Imperial 1951
4. Cryin’ In The Morning – Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones & His Playboys – Imperial 1951
5. Feelin’ Sad – Eddie (Guitar Slim) Jones – J-B 1952
6. The Things That I Used To Do – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1953
7. Well, I Done Got Over It – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1953
8. The Story of My Life – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1954
9. A Letter To My Girl Friend – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1954
10. Later For You Baby – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1954
11. Sufferin’ Mind – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1954
12. Stand By Me – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Certainly All – Eddie (Guitar Slim) Jones – J-B 1952
14. You Give Me Nothin’ But The Blues – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1956
15. Down Through The Years – Guitar Slim & His Band – Atco 1956
16. If I Should Lose You – Guitar Slim – Atco 1957
17. If I Had My Life To Live Over – Guitar Slim w/ Lloyd Lambert & His Orch – Atco 1958
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #724

Air Week: March 18-24, 2024

The Cleftones

This week, Matt The Cat looks at one of the greatest Doo Wop groups, The Cleftones, through an archival interview with the late Herbie Cox. Cox was a founding member of this unique sounding vocal group from Queens, NY. Started in 1955, The Cleftones enjoyed two national top 10 R&B records with “Little Girl Of Mine” in 1956 and “Heart & Soul” in 1961 and were one of the few vocal groups to score hits in two decades. Matt The Cat was fortunate enough to have interviewed Herb Cox and this week he shares that wonderful interview, packed with Herbie’s remembrances of the early days of The Cleftones from the first records to the first package tours. This sprawling interview is littered with The Cleftones’ greatest sides jumpin’ out of the ol’ Rockola on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Herb Cox Interview #1
3. You Baby You – The Cleftones w/ Jimmy Wright & His Orch – Gee 1955
4. Herb Cox Interview #2
5. Little Girl Of Mine – The Cleftones w/ Jimmy Wright & His Orch – Gee 1956
6. You’re Driving Me Mad – The Cleftones w/ Jimmy Wright & His Orch – Gee 1956
7. Can’t We Be Sweethearts – The Cleftones – Gee 1956
8. Herb Cox Interview #3
9. Herb Cox Interview #4
10. String Around My Heart – The Cleftones – Gee 1956
11. Herb Cox Interview #5
12. Why Do You Do Me Like You Do – The Cleftones – Gee 1957
13. GREAT 78 – Neki-Hokey – The Cleftones – Gee 1956 – flip of Sweethearts
14. See You Next Year – The Cleftones – Gee 1957
15. Herb Cox Interview #6
16. What Did I Do That Was Wrong – The Cleftones – Gee 1957
17. Herb Cox Interview #7
18. Heart & Soul – The Cleftones – Gee 1961
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #723

Air Week: March 11-17, 2024

Slim Gaillard

This week, we honor the “Prince Of Vout,” Mr. McVouty himself, Slim Gaillard. He was a one-of-a-kind-o-reenee as he spoke 7 languages including his own language of Vout, played guitar, piano, drums and several other instruments, wrote off-beat tunes that were always drenched in rhythm and jive and appeared on TV and in several motion pictures. Slim Gaillard’s beginnings are shrouded in mystery, but we know he burst on the scene with Slam Stewart in 1938 with the classic “Flat Feet Floogee,” which was an international hit. In the ’40s, he worked with bop cats, Dodo Marmarosa, Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. He sang songs about Armenian menus, groove juice cocktails, cement mixers and poodles, jumping back and forth from English to Vout. There is only one Slim Gaillard and you’ve got to dig his amazing story, this week on the “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat-o-roonee. 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Flat Fleet Floogee – Slim & Slam – Vocalion 1938
3. Cement Mixer (Put-ti-Put-Ti) – Frank Sinatra and Slim Gaillard – Live on Song By Sinatra, CBS Radio ca. 1946
4. Jam Man – Slim Gaillard Quarette – Atomic 1945
5. Laguna – Slim Gaillard Quartette – Savoy 1945
6. Groove Juice Jive – Slim Gaillard Quartet – Cadet 1945
7. Three-Handed Boogie – Slim Gaillard Quartet – Cadet 1945
8. Scotchin’ With The Soda – Slim Gaillard Trio – Cadat 1946
9. Yep-Roc-Heresay – Slim Gaillard Quartette – Atomic 1946
10. Drei Six Cents – Slim Gaillard Quartette – Atomic 1946
11. Arabian Boogie – Slim Gaillard & His Trio – MGM 1947
12. GREAT 78 – Flat Foot Floogee – Slim Gaillard & His Orch – Majestic 1946
13. Down By The Station – Slim Gaillard & His Trio – MGM 1948
14. Serenade To A Poodle – Slim Gaillard & His Trio – MGM 1949
15. Laughing In Rhythm – Slim Gaillard & His Peruvians – Mercury 1951
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #722

Air Week: March 4-10, 2024

Duke & Peacock Records

This week, the entire “Juke In The Back” is loaded with records from the catalog of Duke/Peacock Records.  Don Robey started Peacock in 1949 in order to record Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, whom he also managed.  In 1953, Robey took over Duke Records (which was owned by David J. Mattis and Bill Fitzgerald) and a R&B empire was born.  Matt The Cat shares the history and music, which features some of the greatest R&B talents of all-time, including: Bobby “Blue” Bland, Johnny Ace, Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Junior Parker and more.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Atomic Energy – Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Peacock 1950
3. Mary Is Fine – Clarence “Gatemouth” Brown – Peacock 1950
4. I’m So Worried – Floyd Dixon – Peacock 1950
5. Sad Journey Blues – Floyd Dixon – Peacock 1950
6. My Song – Johnny Ace – Duke 1952
7. Hound Dog – Willie Mae Thornton With Kansas City Bill’s Orch. – Peacock 1953
8. Rock-A-Bye Baby – Big Mama Thornton – Peacock 1952
9. No Blow, No Show – Bobby “Blue” Bland – Duke 1953
10. How Deep Is The Ocean – The Sultans – Duke 1954
11. I Wanna Ramble – Little Junior Parker – Duke 1955
12. Pledging My Love – Johnny Ace With the Johnny Otis Orch. – Duke 1955
13. Great 78 – Nightmare – Willie Mae Thornton – Peacock 1953
14. Little Richard’s Boogie – Little Richard w/ The Johnny Otis Orch. – Peacock 1956
15. Pack Fair And Square – Big Walter & His Thunderbirds – Peacock 1956
16. Next Time You See Me – Little Junior Parker – Duke 1957
17. Dance With Me – El Torros – Duke 1957
18. Farther Up The Road – Bobby “Blue” Bland – Duke 1957
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #721

Air Week: February 26-March 3, 2024

Lucky Millinder

The “Juke In The Back” is loaded this week with records by one of R&B’s greatest and most underrated bandleaders, Lucky Millinder.  He worked with vocalists as varied as Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Wynonie Harris, Annisteen Allen, Bull Moose Jackson and Big John Greer, but Lucky Millinder is mostly forgotten by today’s audiences.  Dizzy Gillespie actually played trumpet in Millinder’s Band in the early 1940s for a brief time.  Even though Lucky Millinder is not remembered well today, his records certainly helped lay the foundation that would soon become Rock n’ Roll.  Dig on some of greatest records, this week on the “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Ease The Pain – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1957
3. Bicycle Tillie – The Swallows – King 1953
4. Shout, Sister, Shout – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1941
5. When The Lights Go On Again (All Over The World) – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1942
6. Apollo Jump – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1943
7. Sweet Slumber – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1943
8. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1945
9. Shorty’s Got To Go – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1946
10. D’ Natural Blues – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – RCA Victor 1949
11. Little Girl, Don’t Cry – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – RCA Victor 1949
12. Oh Babe! – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – King 1950
13. GREAT 78 – Who Said Shorty Wasn’t Coming Back – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – King 1950
14. I’ll Never Be Free – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – RCA Victor 1951
15. I’m Waiting Just For You – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – King 1951
16. Can’t Stand To See You Go – Jimmy Reed – Vee-Jay 1956
17. Under A Blanket Of Blue – The Cardinals – Atlantic 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #720

Air Week: February 19-25, 2024

The Ray-O-Vacs

It’s staggering, the number of R&B groups that have been left out of the history books and off radio station playlists just because they don’t fit into an accepted category of “cool.” The Ray-O-Vacs is one of those groups. Though they made the R&B charts 3 times, that didn’t guarantee them inclusion. They were more “middle-of-the-road” than the gospel-tinged groups that were gaining popularity in the early 1950s and they weren’t a vocal group, so they can’t be classified with the emerging doo wop scene of the day. That’s probably why the Ray-O-Vacs are just a footnote in the history of Rhythm & Blues, but this week Matt The Cat brings them into the spotlight on the “Juke In The Back.” Formed in Newark, New Jersey in the late 1940s, The Ray-O-Vacs did produce a unique and light jive sound with Lester Harris (real name Harry Lester) on vocals and tubs, “Flap” McQueen on bass, Joe Crump on piano and a smooth and ever-present saxophone played by “Chink” Kinney. They had a hit right out of the gate with “I’ll Always Be In Love With You” for the tiny Coleman label in early ’49 and then scored again with a double-sider for Decca in 1950. The hits stopped coming and Lester Harris left the group for a solo deal with RCA Victor in ’52, but his replacement, Herb Milliner continued voicing some solid singles. They hung it up after one more shot in ’55 with vocalist Bill Walker for the small Kaiser label and their reputation was sealed for those in the know, especially in Pittsburgh. Dig out those jukebox nickels and get ready to dig on the sound of the Ray-O-Vacs on this week’s R&B spectacular, better known as the “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. I’ll Always Be In Love With You – The Ray-O-Vacs – Coleman 1948
3. Happy Am I – The Ray-O-Vacs – Coleman 1949
4. Why Did You Break My Heart – The Ray-O-Vacs – Coleman 1949
5. Once Upon A Time – Ray-O-Vacs – Decca 1950
6. Besame Mucho (Kiss Me Much) – The Ray-O-Vacs – Decca 1950
7. You Gotta Love Me Baby Too – The Ray-O-Vacs – Decca 1950
8. Got Two Arms (Waiting For Me) – The Ray-O-Vacs – Decca 1951
9. My Baby’s Gone – The Ray-O-Vacs – Decca 1951
10. When The Swallows Come Back To Capistrano – The Ray-O-Vacs – Decca 1952
11. What Can I Say (After I Say I’m Sorry) – The Ray-O-Vacs – Jubilee 1952
12. You Know – The Ray-O-Vacs Feat Herb Milliner – Jubilee 1953
13. GREAT 78 – And The Bull Walked Around Olay – Les Harris – RCA Victor 1953
14. I Still Love You – “Flap” McQueen & His Ray O Vacs Feat Herb Milliner – Josie 1955
15. Party Time – The Ray-O-Vacs Dir by Howard Biggs – Kaiser 1955 & Atco 1957
16. Wine-O – The Ray-O-Vacs Dir by Howard Biggs – Kaiser 1957
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #719

Air Week: February 12-18, 2024

The Hollywood Flames

The Hollywood Flames recorded for nearly 20 different record labels and had numerous personnel changes over their 18 year history, but they always remained popular in their native Southern California. Formed in 1949 at a local talent show, David Ford was the only member of the group to remain for its entire existence. Bobby Byrd, who was there from the beginning, remained until he began to have solo hits as Bobby Day. Other notable R&B names, Curtis Williams, Earl Nelson and Gaynel Hodge, passed through the Hollywood Flames revolving door of vocalists and helped round out their sound. The name of the group changed almost as many times as the record labels and personnel, but there was a constant quality to the records they made. Though they only touched the national chart in a big way with “Buzz-Buzz-Buzz” in 1957 for Ebb records, the Hollywood Flames cut some fantastic sides for Specialty (as the Four Flames), 7-11 (as the Jets), Money (as The Turks) and Class (as Bob & Earl and Bobby Day & The Satellites). This week, Matt The Cat tries to make sense of this group’s very confusing and convoluted history and along the way, discovers some of the best West Coast R&B Vocal Group records every made.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Please Tell Me Now – The Flames – Selective 1950
3. WINE – Hollywood Four Flames – Unique 1951
4. Wheel Of Fortune – The Four Flames – Specialty 1952
5. She’s Got Something – The Hollywood Flames w/ Music by Que Martyn – Recorded In Hollywood 1952
6. Volcano – The Jets – 7-11 1953
7. Gomen Nasai – The Jets – 7-11 1953
8. Keep On Smiling – The Flames – 7-11 1953
9. I Know – The Hollywood Flames – Swing Time 1953
10. One Night With A Fool – The Hollywood Flames – Lucky 1954
11. Ooh La La – The Hollywood Flames – Lucky 1954
12. Emily – The Turks – Money 1955
13. GREAT 78 – You Made a Boo Boo – Bob & Earl – Class 1957
14. Little Bitty Pretty One – Bobby Day & The Satellites – Class 1957
15. Buzz-Buzz-Buzz – The Hollywood Flames – Ebb 1957
16. Crazy – Hollywood Flames – Ebby 1957
17. Over And Over – Bobby Day – Class 1958
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #718

Air Week: February 5-11, 2024

R&B Influences: Lionel Hampton

Lionel Hampton’s big band was a training ground for so many of the all-time great musicians: Dizzy Gillespie, Charles Mingus, Dexter Gordon, Joe Morris, Dinah Washington, Wes Montgomery, Little Jimmy Scott and Clifford Brown. His musical education began on drums and piano while attending the Holy Rosary Academy, near Kenosha, Wisconsin, but it was his exploration of the xylophone that would prove the most fruitful. For when Hamp jumped from the xylophone to the vibraphone, the course of modern jazz was forever enriched. He became the first to use the vibes on a jazz record with Louis Armstrong in 1930, thus paving the way for future vibe virtuosos: Johnny Otis, Milt Jackson and Bobby Hutcherson. Benny Goodman selected Hampton to join his Goodman Trio, making it an interracial quartet, which was ground-breaking in 1936. Hamp and pianist Teddy Wilson helped break the color barrier in popular music. Forming his own big band in 1940, with the help of his business partner and wife, Gladys Hampton, Hamp would score a hugely influential hit in ’42 with “Flying Home,” featuring the honking sax of Illinois Jacquet. That record would open the door to the R&B sax honkers of the Rock n’ Roll era and would forever be Hamp’s theme song. His biggest hit came in early 1946 when “Hey! Ba Ba Re Bop” topped the Harlem Hit Parade for 16 solid weeks! He followed that up with the #5 smash, “Blow Top Blues,” featuring Dinah Washington on vocals. Beyond the hits and musical influence, Lionel Hampton was a humanitarian and supported many charities that brought low income housing projects to Harlem and elsewhere. President Bill Clinton awarded him the National Medal of Arts in 1996 and the University of Idaho named their annual jazz festival after him. There is a lot to be said about the hugely influential Lionel Hampton and this week, Matt The Cat does his best to present a full picture of this renaissance man. So grab some nickels and some jive and meet us at the “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Memories of You – Louis Armstrong & His Sebastian New Cotton Club Orch – Okeh 1930
3. Dinah – Benny Goodman Quartet – Victor 1936
4. Flying Home – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1942
5. Hamp’s Boogie Woogie – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1944
6. Beulah’s Boogie – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1945
7. Hey! Ba Ba Re Bop – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1946
8. Blow Top Blues – Lionel Hampton Septet – Decca 1947
9. I Want To Be Loved (But Only By You) – Lionel Hampton & His Hamptonians – Decca 1947
10. Gone Again – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1948
11. GREAT 78 – Lavender Coffin – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1949
12. Rag Mop – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1950
13. Everybody’s Somebody’s Fool – Lionel Hampton & His Orch – Decca 1950
14. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #717

Air Week: January 29-February 4, 2024

James Brown: 1956-58

This week, the Juke In The Back features one of R&B and Rock n’ Roll’s greatest acts, James Brown. Born into a poor community in South Carolina, James Brown worked his way to the very top in the entertainment business, but it wasn’t without a struggle. As we’ll hear on this week’s program, Brown had to suffer through a mess of unsuccessful records, in order to find his “sound.” His first single for Federal Records, “Please, Please, Please” caught fire and shot into the R&B top 5 in 1956, but it was a blessing and a curse. He wouldn’t make the charts again for almost 3 years. But once “Try Me” topped the R&B lists in early 1959, Brown was on a roll that would extend over the next 20 plus years. Matt The Cat highlights James Brown and the Famous Flame’s string of early singles for Federal as we bear witness to an artist trying to find himself. Along the way, we discover some pretty great and almost forgotten songs and performances. The early recordings of the “Godfather of Soul” are featured on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Please Please Please – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1956
3. Why Do You Do Me? – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1956
4. I Feel That Old Feeling Coming On – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1956
5. No, No, No, No – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1956
6. Hold My Baby’s Hand – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1956
7. Chonnie-On-Chon – James Brown – Federal 1957
8. Just Won’t Do Right – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1957
9. Gonna Try – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1957
10. Messing With The Blues – James Brown – Federal 1957
11. I Walked Alone – James Brown w/ The Famous Flames – Federal 1957
12. That Dood It – James Brown & The Famous Flames – Federal 1957
13. GREAT 78 – Baby Cries Over The Ocean – James Brown & The Famous Flames – Federal 1957
14. That’s When I Lost My Heart – James Brown & The Famous Flames – Federal 1958
15. Try Me (Demo) – James Brown – 1958
16. Try Me – James Brown & The Famous Flames – Federal 1958
17. Tell Me What I Did Wrong – James Brown & The Famous Flames – Federal 1958
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #716

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.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Gimmie Some Skin – Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1941
3. Dry Bones – Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1941
4. Take The A Train – Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1941
5. Rockin’ Chair – Mildred Bailey w/ The Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1941
6. It’s Only A Paper Moon – Ella Fitzgerald and Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1945
7. The Honeydripper – Jimmie Lunceford & His Orch & Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1945
8. Just A-Sittin’ and A-Rockin’ – Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1946
9. Hey John (Keep Your Glasses On) – Delta Rhythm Boys
10. St. Louis Blues – Delta Rhythm Boys – RCA Victor 1949
11. Nobody Knows – The Delta Rhythm Boys – Atlantic 1950
12. GREAT 78 – Don’t Ask Me Why – The Four Sharps – Atlantic 1949
13. If You See Tears In My Eyes – The Delta Rhythm Boys – Atlantic 1950
14. Sentimental Journey – Ruth Brown & The Delta Rhythm Boys – Atlantic 1950
15. Kullerullvisan – Delta Rhythm Boys – Metronome 1952
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #715

Air Week: January 15-21, 2024

The “5” Royales

This week, the “Juke In The Back” features a rhythm & blues vocal group from Winston-Salem, NC that not only influenced James Brown, but quite possibly the entire soul movement of the late ’50s into the 1960s; The “5” Royales. They began their career as a six man gospel group called The Royal Sons Quintet. They kept their six member lineup even after they changed their name to the “5” Royales. They had legal battles with Hank Ballard’s Royals and their own label, Apollo Records, but managed to score two #1 smashes during 1953. Their sound was unique, their harmonies air-tight and their chief songwriter was also their guitarist, Lowman Pauling. His guitar playing influenced Eric Clapton, Steve Cropper and countless other guitar legends. The “5” Royales were much more than just a ’50s R&B vocal group and this week, Matt The Cat & the “Juke In The Back” are going to tell their story.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Let’s Have Some Fun (Honey) – Slim Saunders – Chess 1954
3. You Can Run, But You Can’t Hide – Solomon Burke – Apollo 1956
4. Let Nothing Separate Me – Royal Sons Quintet – Apollo 1952
5. Baby Don’t Do It – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1952
6. Help Me Somebody – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1953
7. Crazy, Crazy, Crazy – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1953
8. Laundromat Blues – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1953
9. Too Much Lovin’ – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1953
10. I Do – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1954
11. Monkey Hips And Rice – The “5” Royales – King 1954
12. Tears Of Joy – The “5” Royales – King 1957
13. GREAT 78 – Women About To Make Me Go Crazy – The “5” Royales – King 1955
14. Think – The “5” Royales – King 1957
15. Dedicated To The One I Love – The “5” Royales – King 1957
16. The Slummer The Slum – The “5” Royales – King 1958
17. Drunk, Drunk, Drunk – The Kidds – Imperial 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch– Bluebird 1946

Episode #714

Air Week: January 8-14, 2024

1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

This week, the “Juke In The Back” transports you back 70 years. 1954 was a pivotal year for American Music. The lines between Rhythm & Blues and Pop were getting blurred as more and more R&B records crossed over into the Pop Chart, causing a brand new “youth market” to open up. American teens of all colors were diggin’ that jump blues sound that had been a staple on Black Radio for years. This would lead to racial integration and eventually, the Civil Rights Movement. There is no doubt that music played an important role in the early days of Civil Rights and those roots can be traced back to the Black Music of 1954. In fact, this was the year that a young, white kid from Memphis named Elvis began recording at 706 Union Avenue. It was also a year of unlikely musical heroes as 43 year old Joe Turner, who had been making records since 1938, topped the R&B Chart twice, helping to propel Rock n’ Roll Music to the forefront. Vocal groups like the Chords, The Charms, The Five Keys and The Drifters were forging a new sub-genre that would come to be called Doo Wop. This week in part 2, Matt The Cat focuses on the biggest jukebox hits of the second half of 1954.  So grab a handful of nickels, ’cause you’re gonna need ‘em to keep the “Juke In The Back” jumping as we highlight the momentous year of 1954.  

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Kings Of Rhythm – Mercury 1947
2. Honey Love – The Drifters Feat. Clyde McPhatter – Atlantic 1954
3. Sh-Boom – The Chords – Cat 1954
4. Sexy Ways – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
5. Oh What A Dream – Ruth Brown & Her Rhythmakers – Atlantic 1954
6. Annie Had A Baby – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
7. I’m Ready – Muddy Waters & His Guitar – Chess 1954
8. Hurts Me To My Heart – Faye Adams – Herald 1954
9. I Don’t Hurt Anymore – Dinah Washington – Mercury 1954
10. Mambo Baby – Ruth Brown & Her Rhythmakers – Atlantic 1954
11. Hearts Of Stone – The Charms – DeLuxe 1954
12. Reconsider Baby – Lowell Fulson – Checker 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Oop Shoop – Shirley Gunter & “The Queens” – Flair 1954
14. Poison Ivy – Willie Mabon – Chess 1954
15. Ling, Ting, Tong – The Five Keys – Capitol 1954
16. You Upset Me Baby – B. B. “Blues Boy” King & His Orch – RPM 1954
17. Earth Angel – The Penguins – Dootone 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #713

Air Week: January 1-7, 2024

1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1

This week, the “Juke In The Back” transports you back 70 years. 1954 was a pivotal year for American Music. The lines between Rhythm & Blues and Pop were getting blurred as more and more R&B records crossed over into the Pop Chart, causing a brand new “youth market” to open up. American teens of all colors were diggin’ that jump blues sound that had been a staple on Black Radio for years. This would lead to racial integration and eventually, the Civil Rights Movement. There is no doubt that music played an important role in the early days of Civil Rights and those roots can be traced back to the Black Music of 1954. In fact, this was the year that a young, white kid from Memphis named Elvis began recording at 706 Union Avenue. It was also a year of unlikely musical heroes as 43 year old Joe Turner, who had been making records since 1938, topped the R&B Chart twice, helping to propel Rock n’ Roll Music to the forefront. Vocal groups like The Crows, The Spiders, The Spaniels and The Drifters were forging a new sub-genre that would come to be called Doo Wop. This week in part 1, Matt The Cat focuses on the biggest jukebox hits of the first half of 1954 and next week, we’ll close out the year. So grab a handful of nickels, ’cause you’re gonna need ’em to keep the “Juke In The Back” jumping as we highlight the momentous year of 1954.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Honey Hush – Joe Turner & His Band – Atlantic 1953
3. You’re So Fine – Little Walter & His Jukes – Checker 1953
4. The Things That I Used To Do – Guitar Slim & His Band – Specialty 1954
5. I’ll Be True – Faye Adams – Herald 1954
6. Good, Good Whiskey – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers – Aladdin 1954
7. I Didn’t Want To Do It – The Spiders – Imperial 1954
8. Such A Night – Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Atlantic 1954
9. You’ll Never Walk Alone – Roy Hamilton – Epic 1954
10. Gee – The Crows – Rama 1954
11. It Should’ve Been Me – Ray Charles & His Orch. – Atlantic 1954
12. Goodnight Sweetheart, Goodnight – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Darling Dear – The Counts – Dot 1954
14. Work With Me Annie – The Midnighters – Federal 1954
15. Please Forgive Me – Johnny Ace w/ Johnny Otis Orch. – Duke 1954
16. Shake, Rattle & Roll – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – Atlantic 1954
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #712

Air Week: December 25-31, 2023

Mabel Scott

Mabel Scott was an incredibly versatile artist. She was a pianist, pop vocalist, R&B chanteuse and could shout the blues with the best of ’em. But like many of her peers, Scott never received the royalties or recognition that she deserved, even on songs that she wrote. Many others made money off her, especially on her two charting tunes, 1948’s “Elevator Boogie” and “Boogie Woogie Santa Clause,” which returns every Christmas Season. Mabel began recording in 1946 with a one-off single for the Hub Label, which should be remembered today as the prototype for her 1950 recording of “Baseball Boogie.” In 1948, she started having hits for Leon Rene’s Exclusive Label, but when that label folded in 1950, she moved to King Records, Coral, Brunswick, Parrot and finally Australia’s Festival Records. This week, Matt The Cat presents the seldom told story of a great heroine of Rhythm & Blues, Mabel Scott on the “Juke In The Back” and the “soul that came before rock n’ roll.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Just Give Me A Man – Mabel Scott & Orch – Hub 1946
3. Good Lookin’ Fella – Mabel Scott – Exclusive 1948
4. Elevator Boogie – Mabel Scott – Exclusive 1948
5. Don’t Cry Baby – Mabel Scott – Exclusive 1948
6. Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Mabel Scott – Exclusive 1948
7. Every Little Doggie Has Its Day – Mabel Scott – Exclusive 1948
8. That Ain’t The Way To Love – Mabel Scott – Exclusive 1949
9. Baseball Boogie – Mabel Scott – King 1950 – EXCERPT Do You Know The Game – Mabel Scott – Hub 1946
10. Fine Fine Baby – Mabel Scott – King 1950
11. Have You Ever Watched Love Die – Mabel Scott – King 1950
12. GREAT 78 – Catch ‘Em Young, Tream ‘Em Rough, Tell ‘Em Nothing – Mabel Scott – Coral 1951
13. Subway Blues – Mabel Scott – King 1950
14. Boogie Woogie Choo Choo Train – Mabel Scott – Coral 1951
15. Mr. Fine – Mabel Scott – Parrot 1953
16. I Want To Be Loved, Loved, Loved – Mabel Scott w/ Les Welch & Orch – Festival 1955
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #711

Air Week: December 18-24, 2023

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. GREAT 78 – Gonna Have A Merry Xmas – The Nic Nacs – RPM 1950
13. May Everyday Be Christmas – Louis Jordan & His Orch – Decca 1951
14. White Christmas – The Ravens – National 1948
15. Silent Night – Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Rosetta Gospel Singers – Decca 1949
16. After New Year’s Eve – The Heartbeats – Gee 1957
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #710

Air Week: December 11-17, 2023

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 #709

Air Week: December 4-10, 2023

T-Bone Walker

Drop a nickel in the ol’ Rockola Juke to hear one of the best selling and most influential bluesmen and guitarists of all-time, T-Bone Walker. This week’s show looks at how T-Bone’s immense guitar talent developed from his first recordings in the early 1940s to his breakthrough after WWII with the now classic, “Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday’s Just As Bad)” for Black & White Records. We’ll also get a taste of T-Bone’s work for the Cornet, Imperial and Atlantic labels. B. B. King, Ray Charles and Chuck Berry have all cited T-Bone Walker as a heavy influence. Find out why on this week’s “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Daddy Rollin’ Stone – Otis Blackwell – Jay-Dee 1953
3. I’ll Wait For You – Ruth Brown – Atlantic 1951
4. Good Lovin’ – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
5. T-Bone Blues – Les Hite & His Orch – Variety 1940
6. Mean Old World – T-Bone Walker – Capitol 1942
7. Bobby Sox Blues – T-Bone Walker With Jack McVea’s All-Stars– Black & White 1946
8. Call It Stormy Monday (But Tuesday’s Just As Bad) – T-Bone Walker – Black & White 1947
9. Long Skirt Baby Blues – T-Bone Walker – Black & White 1948
10. I’m Waitin’ For Your Call – T-Bone Walker – Black & White 1948
11. Midnight Blues – T-Bone Walker – Black & White 1948
12. West Side Baby – T-Bone Walker – Cornet 1948
13. GREAT 78 – Strollin’ With Bone – Imperial 1950
14. Description Blues – T-Bone Walker – Cornet 1949
15. The Hustle Is On – T-Bone Walker – Imperial 1950
16. Railroad Station Blues – T-Bone Walker – Imperial 1953
17. Papa Ain’t Salty – T-Bone Walker – Atlantic 1954
18. Wee Wee Hours – Chuck Berry – Chess 1955
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #708

Air Week: November 27-December 3, 2023

Earl Lewis & The Channels

The “Juke In The Back” is proud to feature The Channels, one of New York City’s finest and most influential vocal groups of the mid-1950s. At only 15 years, Earl Lewis fronted the group who recorded one of Doo Wop’s most classic tunes, the self-penned, “The Closer You Are” for Bobby Robinson’s Whirlin’ Disc label out of Harlem. Earl Lewis joins Matt The Cat to tell his story in his own words. You’ll hear The Channels classic Whirlin’ Disc sides as well as the 2 singles they recorded for George Goldner’s Gone Label in ’57 a fantastic record cut for Robinson’s Fury Records in ’59. Earl Lewis sheds some light on a few long-standing questions and opens up about what it was like to lead a 1950s vocal group. Don’t miss Earl Lewis and the Channels on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Now You Know – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1956
3. The Closer You Are – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1956
4. The Gleam In Your Eye – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1956
5. Stars In The Sky – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1956
6. I Really Love You – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1957
7. What Do You Do – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1957
8. Flames In My Heart – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1957
9. My Lovin’ Baby – The Channels – Whirlin’ Disc 1957
10. That’s My Desire – The Channels – Gone 1957
11. Altar of Love – The Channels – Gone 1957
12. My Love Will Never Die – The Channels – Fury 1959
13. GREAT 78 – Stay As You Are – The Channels – Gone 1957
14. Bye Bye Baby – The Channels – Fury 1959
15. Gloria – Earl Lewis & The Channels – Channel Records 1972 (1956 vocal)
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #707

Air Week: November 20-26, 2023

Van “Piano Man” Walls

Harry Vann began playing piano in Beulah’s Church in Charleston, WV around the age of 10, but thanks to hearing Jay McShann records on the radio, he was bitten by the blues bug while in his teens. After settling in Columbus, Ohio in the late-1940s, Vann was making a name for himself playing in the local clubs. He changed his name to Van Walls, taking Walls as his surname from his step-father. Tenor saxophonist and bandleader Frank Culley passed through Columbus and asked Van Walls to bring his band to New York to make some records for the fledgling Atlantic Label. After the session, the band went home, but Van Walls stayed in New York, becoming one of Atlantic’s star session players. This week, Matt The Cat looks at the incredible debt that early R&B owes to Van “Piano Man” Walls. His boogie woogie piano is featured on Frank “Floorshow” Culley’s hit records, “Cole Slaw” and “After Hour Session,” as well as major hits by Big Joe Turner, The Clovers, Ruth Brown, The Drifters and many of Atlantic’s other early acts. The label released a few records under his own name, which we’ll also hear. The spotlight shines bright on an eccentric R&B legend this week as we get the story behind the story on Van “Piano Man” Walls on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Rhumboogie Jive – Frank “Floorshow” Culley & His Band – Atlantic 1949
3. After Hour Session – Frank “Floorshow” Culley & His Band – Atlantic 1949
4. Feed Me Baby – Brownie McGhee w/ The X-Rays – Savoy 1950
5. Air Mail Boogie – Freddie Mitchell Orch – Derby 1949
6. Tee Nah Nah – Van “Piano Man” Walls & His After Hour Session Boys – Atlantic 1950
7. Chains Of Love – Joe Turner w/ Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch – Atlantic 1951
8. One Mint Julep – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
9. Sweet Sixteen – Joe Turner w/ Van (Piano Man) Walls & His Orch – Atlantic 1952
10. 5-10-15 Hours – Ruth Brown & Her Orch – Atlantic 1952
11. Blue Sender – Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch – Atlantic 1952
12. GREAT 78 –Gone After Hours – Frank “Floorshow” Culley & His Orch Feat. Van “Piano Man” Walls – Atlantic 1950
13. After Midnight – Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch – Atlantic 1952
14. Open The Door – Vann Walls & The Rockets – Atlantic 1953
15. Boogie Woogie Country Girl – Joe Turner & Orch Feat Van “Piano Man” Walls – Atlantic 1956
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #706

Air Week: November 13-19, 2023

Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson

This week, the “Juke In The Back” honors one of the greatest blues shouters of all-time, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson.  He burst on the scene in 1944 with a cover of the Joe Turner classic, “Cherry Red Blues” as the vocalist for the Cootie Williams Orchestra.  He remained with Cootie Williams until 1945, when Vinson cut out and formed his own orchestra.  He signed with Mercury and scored the biggest hit of his career in 1947 with “Old Maid Boogie” and “Kidney Stew Blues.”  He entered that R&B charts one more time in 1949 with the sequel to “Cherry Red Blues” with “Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red.”  For those in the know, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson is an R&B, jazz and blues shoutin’ treasure, but for those who missed the boat, he’s forgotten.  Join Matt The Cat as we remember one of the all-time greats on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. What’s Her Whimsey, Dr. Kinsey – Stomp Gordon – Mercury 1953
3. Queen Of Diamonds – Roy Brown – King 1955
4. Red Blues – Cootie Williams & His Orch. – Hit 1944
5. Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t – Cootie Williams & His Orch. – Hit 1944
6. Somebody’s Got To Go – Cootie Williams & His Orch. – Hit 1945
7. Juice Head Baby – Cootie Williams & His Orch – Capitol 1945
8. Cleanhead Blues – Eddie Vinson & His Orch. – Mercury 1946
9. Old Maid Blues – Eddie Vinson & His Orch. – Mercury 1947
10. Kidney Stew Blues – Eddie Vinson & His Orch – Mercury 1947
11. Oil Man Blues – Eddie Vinson & His Orch – Mercury 1947
12. I Took The Front Door In – Eddie Vinson & His Orch. – Mercury 1947
13. GREAT 78 – When A Woman Loves Her Juice – Eddie Vinson & His Orch. – Mercury 1946
14. Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson – King 1949
15. Ashes On My Pillow – Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson – King 1950
16. Long John Blues – Dinah Washington – Mercury 1949
17. Short John – Dinah Washington – Mercury 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #705

Air Week: November 6-12, 2023

Big Mama Thornton

Willie Mae Thornton was a trailblazer, who in making her own rules paved the way for other groundbreaking female artists like Janis Joplin and Madonna. Known as “Big Mama,” Thornton scored her only hit record in early 1953 when “Hound Dog” topped the national Rhythm & Blues Charts, but her career spanned from 1950 to well into the 1970s. Elvis not only recorded “Hound Dog,” which was written by the young, white songwriting duo of Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller, but he also took much of his swagger from Thornton, who was known to be blatantly tough and sexual on stage. Besides “Hound Dog,” her other signature song, “They Call Me Big Mama,” ranks among her best material, along with “Rock A Bye Baby,” “Mischievous Boogie” and “My Man Called Me.” Big Mama is also uncredited on a duet with friend Johnny Ace called “Yes, Baby” from 1953. She wrote many of her own songs, but like many artists of her day, did not own the publishing rights, so when Joplin recorded her “Ball and Chain,” Big Mama Thornton didn’t get any royalties from it. This week, Matt The Cat dusts off Big Mama Thornton’s best sides from Peacock Records and even digs up her first recordings for the E&W label under the group name, The Harlem Stars (1950).

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Bad Luck Got My Man – The Harlem Stars – E&W 1950
3. Partnership Blues – Willie Mae Thornton – Peacock 1951
4. Mischievous Boogie – Willie Mae Thornton w/ Joe Scott Orch– Peacock 1952
5. Hound Dog – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Kansas City Bill & Orch – Peacock 1953
6. Night Mare – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Kansas City Bill & Orch – Peacock 1953
7. Rock A Bye Baby – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Kansas City Bill & Orch – Peacock 1953
8. They Call Me Big Mama – Wille Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Kansas City Bell & Orch – Peacock 1953
9. I Ain’t No Fool Either – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Johnny Otis Orch – Peacock 1953
10. Yes, Baby – Johnny Ace & Band – Duke 1953
11. I Smell A Rat – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Johnny Otis Band – Peacock 1954
12. Stop Hoppin’ On Me – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton w/ Burt Kendricks Orch. – Peacock 1954
13. GREAT 78 – All Right Baby – The Harlem Stars – E&W 1950
14. The Fish – Willie Mae Thornton – Peacock 1955
15. Tarzan & The Dignified Monkey – Willie Mae Thornton & Elroy Peace – Peacock 1955
16. My Man Called Me – Willie Mae Thornton w/ Johnny Otis Band – Peacock 1957
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #704

Air Week: October 30-November 5, 2023

Rosco Gordon

This week, the “Juke In The Back” spotlights the “Prince of Primitive Cool,” Rosco Gordon. His mostly self-penned tunes, feature his unique blend of mid-tempo shuffle with a slightly behind-the-beat rolling barrelhouse piano line. He was a master at making his recordings sound rough, but there was also a lot of blues sophistication buried under the simplicity. In his early recording days at RPM Records, his name was spelled Roscoe. He would later revert back to its original spelling of Rosco. His 2nd RPM release hit the national R&B top ten in 1951, but it was 1952’s “Booted” and “No More Doggin'” that put Gordon at the forefront of Rhythm & Blues popularity. His biggest hit came in 1959 with “Just A Little Bit” on Vee-Jay. It hit #2 on the R&B lists and crossed over to #64 on the Pop Chart. More people bought this record than of his others. Rosco Gordon is often overlooked, but this week Matt The Cat sets the record straight. He was an innovator, influencing the Jamaican Ska movement of the early ’60s, a hit maker and a unique and talented bluesman. Gordon’s records spin on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Roscoe’s Boogie – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1951
3. Saddled The Cow (And Milked The Horse) – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1951
4. Booted – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1952
5. Cold Cold Winter – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1952
6. No More Doggin’ – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1952
7. Maria – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1952
8. Lucille (Looking For My Baby) – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1953
9. Hey Fat Girl – Rosco Gordon – Duke 1953
10. T Model Boogie – Rosco Gordon – Duke 1953
11. You Figure It Out – Rosco Gordon – Duke 1954
12. Just Love Me Baby – Rosco Gordon – Sun 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Ouch! Pretty Baby – Roscoe Gordon & His Orch – RPM 1951
14. Cheese And Crackers – Rosco Gordon – Sun 1956
15. Tummer Tee – Rosco Gordon w/ Joe Scott Orch – Duke 1957
16. Going Home – Rosco Gordon – Vee-Jay 1959
17. Just A Little Bit – Rosco Gordon – Vee-Jay 1959
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #703

Air Week: October 23-39, 2023

Spooky Halloween Rhythm & Blues

Halloween has always been a frightfully good time of the year for the “Juke In The Back.” This year, Matt The Cat, along with Miss Rosie and Bobby The Bobcat bring you a cauldron of ghoulishly spooky tunes from the 1940s and ’50s. The program is heavy with devilish doo wop delights from The Cadillacs, The Del Vikings, The Verdicts, The Coasters, The Checkers and The Daylighters. There are tunes by Chuck Berry, Mad Man Jones and Louis Armstrong that will make your skin crawl, while Eugene Fox lays a cautionary tale on our ears about the dead returning to keep the living in line. So keep your spooks close, but your records closer and dig on some rarely heard haunted tunes on this week’s Halloween “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Mad House Jump – The Daylighters – Bea & Baby 1959
3. Mummy’s Ball – The Verdicts – East Coast 1961
4. She Made My Blood Run Cold – Ike Turner – Federal 1957
5. Blood is Redder Than Wine – Little Willie Littlefield – Federal 1952
6. Spooks – Louis Armstrong – Decca 1954
7. Evil-Eyed Woman – Christine Kittrell & Band – Republic 1953
8. Voodoo Woman Blues – Jay McShann & His Sextette – Mercury 1946
9. The Voodoo Man – Del Vikings – Mercury 1958
10. The Boogie Man – The Cadillacs – Josie 1960
11. Frenzy – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Okeh 1957
12. The Shadow Knows – The Coasters – Atco 1958
13. GREAT 78 – Lonesome Graveyard – Art Tatum & His Band – Decca 1941
15. The Dream – Eugene Fox – Checker 1954
16. Graveyard Cha Cha – The Three D’s – Square 1959
17. Snake Charmer – Mad Man Jones – Mad 1958
18. Downbound Train – Chuck Berry – Chess 1955
18. Ghost Of My Baby – The Checkers – King 1953
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #702

Air Week: October 16-22, 2023

Lavern Baker, Pt. 2 – 1954-56

This week, the “Juke In The Back” looks at how one of R&B’s greatest voices, LaVern Baker, got her start. It’s part two of a two part feature on the early career of LaVern Baker. In part two, we’ll dig on Baker’s prime recording years of 1954-56. She had 4 charting records in ’55, beginning with the crossover smash, “Tweedlee Dee,” which stayed popular for over a year, hitting #4 R&B and crossing over to #14 Pop. In 1956, she scored 5 charters, ending the year with the release of the #1 classic, “Jim Dandy.” She also headlinned the Apollo and was featured in the Alan Freed film, “Rock! Rock! Rock!” starring Tuesday Weld. LaVern Baker’s career began in Rhythm & Blues, but she ended up becoming one of Rock n’ Roll’s first female superstars. Matt The Cat spins all of her records from the end of 1954 to the end of 1956, her most popular period on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Tweedlee Dee – Lavern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1954
3. Tomorrow Night – Lavern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1954
4. Bop-Ting-A-Ling – Lavern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1955
5. That’s All I Need – Lavern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1955
6. Play It Fair – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1955
7. You Better Stop – Lavern Baker – Atlantic 1954 (1962 LP release)
8. That Lucky Old Sun – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1955
9. My Happiness Forever – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1956
10. Fee Fee Fi Fo Fum – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1956
11. I’ll Do The Same For You – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1956
12. I Can’t Love You Enough – LaVern Baker – Atlantic 1956
13. GREAT 78 – Get Up Get Up ( You Sleepy Head) – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders and Orch – Atlantic 1956
14. Still – LaVern Baker – Atlantic 1956
15. Jim Dandy – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1956
16. Tra La La – LaVern Baker w/ The Gliders & Orch – Atlantic 1956
17. Tweedlee Dee – Lavern Baker – LIVE on Alan Freed’s Rock n’ Roll Dance Party Show – 1956
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #701

Air Week: October 9-15, 2023

Lavern Baker, Pt. 1 – 1949-54

This week, the “Juke In The Back” looks at how one of R&B’s greatest voices, Lavern Baker, got her start. It’s part one of a two part feature on the early career of Lavern Baker. In part one, we’ll dig on Baker’s first recordings from 1949-1954. She began her recording career with Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar Orch in 1949, then recorded a few sides as Little Miss Sharecropper on National Records. She then started singing with Maurice King and His Wolverines and finally with Todd Rhodes on King Records. After leaving Rhodes’ band, Baker was determined to become a solo artist and signed up with Atlantic Records, just in time for the Rock n’ Roll Explosion of the mid-1950s. None of these early records made the national charts, but you can really hear Lavern Baker evolve as an artist as the music moved closer and closer from Rhythm & Blues to Rock n’ Roll. In part 2, Matt The Cat will feature her breakthrough record of 1955 and the many hits that followed. Don’t miss the story of Lavern Baker, one of the greatest female vocalists of the 1950s on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. I Wonder Baby – Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar Orch – RCA 1949
3. Easy Baby – Eddie “Sugarman” Penigar Orch – RCA 1949
4. I’ve Tried – Little Miss Sharecropper – National 1951
5. How Long – Little Miss Sharecropper – National 1951
6. I Want To Rock – Little Miss Sharecropper – National 1951
7. Take Out Some Time – Little Miss Sharecropper – National 1951
8. Good Daddy – Maurice King & His Wolverines – Columbia 1951
9. I Want A Lavender Cadillac – Maurice King & His Wolverines – Okeh 1951
10. Make It Good – Maurice King & His Wolverines – Okeh 1951
11. Trying – Todd Rhodes Orch. – King 1952
12. Pig Latin Blues – Todd Rhodes Orch – King 1952
13. Must I Cry Again – Todd Rhodes Orch – King 1952
14 GREAT 78 – How Can You Leave A Man Like That – LaVern Baker – Atlantic 1953
15. Lost Child – Todd Rhodes Orch – King 1953
16. Soul On Fire – LaVern Baker – Atlantic 1953
17. I Can’t Hold Out Any Longer – LaVern Baker – Atlantic 1954
18. I’m Living My Life For You – LaVern Baker – Atlantic 1954
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #700

Air Week: October 2-8, 2023

Open The Door, Richard!

This week, for the 700th episode of “Juke In The Back,” Matt The Cat digs deep into the racks n’ stacks o’ shellac to bring you a solid hour on that catch phrase craze and cultural phenomenon, “Open The Door, Richard!” In early 1947, you couldn’t avoid hearing someone say “Open The Door, Richard” as the many recorded versions of the old Dusty Fletcher (maybe John Mason) routine were all over the radio. Though it began in the African-American community, “Open The Door, Richard!” soon spread into pop music as well as Country and Western. Dusty Fletcher had been doing this vaudeville routine for years, but it was Jack McVea who recorded it first. McVea’s record was so popular, hitting #2 on the Rhythm & Blues chart that Fletcher recorded his own version, which also went to #2. Soon, Count Basie, Louis Jordan, The Three Flames, The Charioteers and many others had versions of “Open The Door, Richard!” out and on the charts. It crossed over into the pop field and even placed on Your Hit Parade. It infiltrated American Popular Culture deep enough that the catchphrase was even used in Bugs Bunny cartoons. This week, Matt The Cat presents the story behind the “Open The Door, Richard!” phenomenon as he plays as many versions as he can find. You’ll even hear a few “Richard” sequel songs and answer records. So locate your keys as well as some loose change and dig on what everyone else was diggin’ on in 1947 on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” 

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Open The Door Richard! – Jack McVea & His All-Stars – Black & White 1946
3. Open The Door, Richard! Pt. 1 & 2 – “Dusty” Fletcher w/ Jimmy Jones & His Band – National 1947
4. Open The Door, Richard! – Count Basie & His Orch – RCA Victor 1947
5. Open The Door, Richard! – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five – Decca 1947
6. Open The Door, Richard – The Three Flames – Columbia 1947
7. Open The Door, Richard – The Charioteers – Columbia 1947
8. Open The Door, Richard – Your Hit Paraders – Aired March 1, 1947
9. Open The Door, Richard – Walter Brown w/ Tiny Grimes Sextet – Signature 1947
10. GREAT 78 – Open Up That Door Richard! – Bill Samuels & the Cats N’ Jammer Three – Mercury 1947
11. Open The Door, Richard – “Lips” Page & His Band – Apollo 1947
12. Richard Ain’t Gonna Open That Door – The Four Aces – Trilon 1947
13. The Key’s In The Mailbox – Jack McVea & His Door Openers – Black & White 1947
14. Richard Gets Hitched – Jack McVea & His Door Openers – Black & White 1947
15. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #699

Air Week: September 25-October 1, 2023

Red Robin Records

This week, the “Juke In The Back” salutes one of R&B’s greatest unsung labels, Red Robin Records. Bobby Robinson started Robin Records in 1952 as a way to expand the business in his Harlem record store, Bobby Record Shop. He was a natural-born entrepreneur with a keen ear for musical talent and early Robin releases focused on local New York talent ranging from the screaming saxes of Morris Land, Charlie Singleton and Red Prysock to the smooth teen vocal group sound of The Mello-Moods, The Velvets and The Vocaleers. Robinson also recorded the already established Blues titans of Champion Jack Dupree, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee. Robinson was forced to change the name of Robin Records to the now iconic Red Robin Records, after he was threatened with a lawsuit from a Country Music Label of the same name. Matt The Cat digs through the racks of shellac to pull out the most prime sides from Red Robin Records and load them into your source for 1940s and ’50s Rhythm & Blues, the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Bobby’s Boogie – Morris Land & Band – Robin 1952
3. Earthquake – Charlie Singleton – Robin 1952
4. Where Are You (Now That I Need You) – The Mello-Moods – Robin 1952
5. Wiggles – Red Prysock – Robin 1952
6. Can’t Do Sixty No More – The Du-Droppers – Red Robin 1952
7. Stumbling Block Blues – Champion Jack Dupree – Red Robin 1952
8. Harmonica Hop – Sonny (Hootin) Terry – Red Robin 1952
9. Don’t Dog Your Woman – Brownie McGhee, His Guitar and Rhythm – Red Robin 1953
10. Is It A Dream – The Vocaleers – Red Robin 1953
11. Will She Know – The Serenaders – Red Robin 1953
12. Night Prayer – The Blind Wonders of Washington, D.C. – Red Robin 1953
13. GREAT 78 – The Man I Crave – Sadie Birch – Red Robin 1953
14. I – The Velvets – Red Robin 1953
15. Juicy Fruit – Tiny Grimes & His Rockin’ Highlanders – Red Robin 1954
16. Dear One – The Scarlets – Red Robin 1954
17. Mary Lee – The Rainbows – Red Robin 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #698

Air Week: September 18-24, 2023

Chuck Willis, Pt. 2 – 1954-58

“Juke In The Back” completes its 2 part special on the great Chuck Willis.  This week, in part 2, we focus on Chuck’s amazing crossover success in the late 1950s with huge pop hits like “C. C. Rider,” “Betty And Dupree,” “What Am I Livin’ For” and “Hang Up My Rock n’ Roll Shoes.”  Willis’ career ended with him on top after his tragic death in 1958 at the age of 30.  Chuck Willis is one of the many underrated 1950s R&B performers.  Pop audiences only remember him for a handful of tunes, yet he was extremely popular on the R&B-side of the 1950s.  Each week, the “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat brings the music and stories of this oft forgotten part of American Music.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Bacon Fat – Andre Williams & His New Group – Fortune 1956
3. You Better Stop – Lavern Baker – Atlantic 1954
4. Keep A Knockin’ – Chuck Willis – Okeh – Orig. Unissued
5. Give And Take – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1954
6. Two Spoons Of Tears – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1956
7. It’s Too Late – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1956
8. Juanita – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1956
9. Whatcha’ Gonna Do When Your Baby Leaves You – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1956
10. C. C. Rider – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1957
11. Betty And Dupree – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1958
12. What Am I Living For – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1958
13. Hang Up My Rock n’ Roll Shoes – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1958
14. GREAT 78 – Blow Freddy Jackson – Chuck Willis – Okeh Orig. Unissued
15. My Life – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1958
16. Keep A Drivin’ – Chuck Willis – Atlantic 1958
17. I Had A Love – The Flairs – Flair 1953
18. In Paradise – The Cookies – Atlantic 1956
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #697

Air Week: September 11-17, 2023

Chuck Willis, Pt. 1 – 1951-54

This week, the “Juke” features part 1 of a 2 part special on the great and much underrated Chuck Willis.  Most cats n’ chicks know Chuck’s 1957 smash “C. C. Rider,” but many are unfamiliar with the great records Chuck cut in the early 1950s.  That’s a shame, because Willis was a rare talent in that he could sell a ballad as well if not better than his jump sides.  He was also a fantastic songwriter, writing hits for Ruth Brown and The Clovers, just to name a few.  Matt The Cat introduces you to the Okeh and Columbia sides of one of the greatest, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. The Honeydripper, Part 1 – Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – Exclusive 1945
3. The Honeydripper, Part 2 – Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – Exclusive 1945
4. Can’t You See – Chuck Willis – Columbia 1951
5. I Tried (To Get Along With You) – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1951
6. Let’s Jump Tonight – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1951
7. Loud Mouth Lucy – Chuck Willis Okeh 1952
8. My Story – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1952
9. Caldonia – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1952
10. Going To The River – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1953
11. Don’t Deceive Me – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1953
12. You’re Still My Baby – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1954
13. GREAT 78 – It’s Too Late Baby – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1951
14. I Feel So Bad – Chuck Willis – Okeh 1954
15. Money Blues – Camille Howard – Specialty 1951
16. My Baby – James Cotton – Sun 1954
16. Jam Up – Tommy Ridgley – Atlantic 1954
17. Jimmy’s Blues – Count Basie – Columbia 1945
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #696

Air Week: September 4-10, 2023

Willie Mabon

Willie Mabon scored 2 #1 R&B records with “I Don’t Know” and “I’m Mad” in 1952 and ’53 respectively. Having 2 #1s ensured that he would never be forgotten, BUT Matt The Cat believe that this piano playing, harp-blowin’ blues cat should be better remembered and respected. This week, the “Juke In The Back” takes a look at nearly all his recordings for Chess Records, covering his career from his first solo release on Parrot in ’52 to his post-Chess single on Federal in ’57. In-between, you find different variations on his smash hits along side some unique sounding compositions which remain interesting to listen to and dig on some 70 years later. So grab a pocket full of nickels for the ol’ Rock-Ola juke and dig the sounds from Willie Mabon as we spin ’em ’round on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Bogey Man – Big Willie – Apollo 1949
3. I Don’t Know – Willie Mabon & His Combo – Parrot 1952
4. I’m Mad – Willie Mabon & His Combo – Chess 1953
5. You’re A Fool – Willie Mabon & His Combo – Chess 1953
6. I Got To Go – Willie Mabon & Orch – Chess 1953
7. Would You Baby? – Willie Mabon – Chess 1954
8. Late Again – Willie Mabon – Chess 1954
9. Poison Ivy – Willie Mabon – Chess 1954
10. Say Man – Willie Mabon – Chess 1954
11. WOW I Feel So Good – Willie Mabon – Chess 1955
12. The Seventh Son – Willie Mabon – Chess 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Night Latch – Willie Mabon & His Combo – Chess 1953
14. Knock On Wood – Willie Mabon – Chess 1956
15. Got To Let You Go – Willie Mabon – Chess 1956
16. Light Up Your Lamp – Willie Mabon – Federal 1957
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #695

Air Week: August 28-September 3, 2023

The Du-Droppers

Matt The Cat presents another highly underrated R&B vocal group from the 1950s: The Du-Droppers. They didn’t sound like the stereotypical “doo wop” groups of the era and they weren’t your standard rhythm group either. The Du-Droppers had a sound that was all their own. Their leader, JC Ginyard began his career in Gospel groups and you can really hear that influence on the Du-Droppers’ best material. The group’s first single for Bobby Robinson’s Red Robin label was a sequal record to the Dominoes’ smash, “Sixty Minute Man,” called “Can’t Do Sixty No More.” Once they signed with RCA Victor, they scored two of the biggest smashes of 1953. Dig the sound and get the story behind the Du-Droppers, this week on the “Juke In The Back,” the “soul that came BEFORE rock n’ roll.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Texas Hop – Pee Wee Crayton & His Guitar – Modern 1948
3. Sixty Minute Man – The Dominoes – Federal 1951
4. Can’t Do Sixty No More – The Du-Droppers – Red Robin 1952
5. Chain Me Baby (Blues Of Desire) – The Du-Droppers – Red Robin 1952
6. I Wanna Know – The Du-Droppers – RCA Victor 1953
7. Laughing Blues – The Du-Droppers – RCA Victory 1953
8. Come On And Love Me Baby – The Du-Droppers – Red Robin 1953
9. I Found Out (What You Do When You Go ‘Round There) – The Du-Droppers – RCA Victor 1953
10. Whatever You’re Doin’ (Keep On Doin’ It) – The Du-Droppers – RCA Victor 1953
11. The Note In the Bottle – The Du-Droppers – RCA Victor 1953
12. Speed King – The Du-Droppers – Groove 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Don’t Pass Me By – The Du-Droppers – RCA Victor 1953
14. Talk That Talk – The Du-Droppers – Groove 1955
15. I Want To Love You – The Du-Droppers – Groove 1955
16. Smoke From Your Cigarette – The Mellows Feat. Lillian Leach – Jay-Dee 1955
17. Numbers Boogie – Sugar Chile Robinson – Capitol 1949
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #694

Air Week: August 21-27, 2023

Five Keys, Pt. 2 – 1954-57

The Five Keys were undoubtedly one of the finest vocal groups of both the R&B and Rock n’ Roll eras. They didn’t score as many hits as say the Dominoes or the Clovers, but like The Orioles and The Ravens before them, they were highly influential to other vocal groups of the day. This week, in part 2 of our 2 part feature, we’ll focus on the 2nd half of the Five Keys’ career. They signed with Capitol Records at the end of 1954 and had a smash hit right out of the gate with “Ling Ting Tong,” which was also their first crossover into the pop market. More Keys’ classics followed with “Close Your Eyes,” “The Verdict,” “Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind,” “Wisdom Of A Fool” and many more. The Capitol Recordings still feature tenors Rudy West and Maryland Pierce, but the musical arrangements are much fuller, refined and pop oriented as was the material. As the ’50s progressed, The Five Keys stopped scoring R&B hits and began to only chart in the lower regions of the Pop Lists. By mid-1957, the hits had stopped and the group was falling a part, but up to that point, The Five Keys proved that they could sing in many styles and succeed in all. Matt The Cat digs up some very familiar and some unfamiliar Five Keys records as we close down our double feature on this fantastic vocal group, on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Ling, Ting, Tong – The Five Keys – Capitol 1954
3. I’m Alone – The Five Keys – Capitol 1954
4. Close Your Eyes – The Five Keys – Capitol 1955
5. The Verdict – The Five Keys – Capitol 1955
6. I Wish I’d Never Learned To Read – The Five Keys – Capitol 1955
7. Gee Whittakers – The Five Keys – Capitol 1955
8. ‘Cause You’re My Lover – The Five Keys – Capitol 1955
9. You Broke The Rules Of Love – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
10. She’s The Most – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
11. I Dreamt I Dwelt In Heaven – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
12. Out Of Sight, Out Of Mind – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
13. GREAT 78 – My Pigeon’s Gone – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
14. Now Don’t That Prove I Love You – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
15. Wisdom Of A Fool – The Five Keys – Capitol 1956
16. It’s A Groove – The Five Keys – Capitol 1957
17. Let There Be You – The Five Keys – Capitol 1957
18. The White Cliffs Of Dover – The Five Keys – Aladdin (Never Issued) 1953
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #693

Air Week: August 14-20, 2023

Five Keys, Pt. 1 – 1951-54

The Five Keys were undoubtedly one of the finest vocal groups of both the R&B and Rock n’ Roll eras. They didn’t score as many hits as say the Dominoes or the Clovers, but like The Orioles and The Ravens before them, they were highly influential to other vocal groups of the day. One of the “keys” to their unique sound was their use of Ripley Ingram as an “octave tenor.” He sang a half note above the rest and could move in and out and dance around the musical arrangements. Rudy West and his beautiful tenor were featured on many of the Keys’ ballads, including their 1951 R&B chart-topper, “The Glory Of Love.” Maryland Pierce was more of a blues shouter and Dickie Smith gave the group a solid R&B edge. Rafael Ingram sang baritone/tenor and Rudy’s brother, Bernie West, sang bass. In part 1, Matt The Cat focuses on The Five Keys’ early years on Aladdin Records, where they would only have one chart entry, “The Glory Of Love,” but have so many classic recordings. Next week in part 2, their hit-making years on Capitol Records will be featured. At Capitol, they would not only score 6 R&B hits, but also crossover for 4 Pop Chart entries. The Five Keys are lighting up the jukebox for the next 2 weeks, right here on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Too Late – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1951
3. Hucklebuck With Jimmy – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1951
4. Glory Of Love – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1951
5. Old MacDonald – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1951
6. Yes Sir, That’s My Baby – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1952
7. Red Sails In The Sunset – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1952
8. How Long – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1952
9. Hold Me – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1952
10. Can’t Keep From Crying – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1953
11. Mama (Your Daughter Told A Lie On Me) – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1953
12. GREAT 78 – Oh! Babe! – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1953
13. I’m So High – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1953
14. My Saddest Hour – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1953
15. Someday, Sweetheart – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1954
16. Ghost Of A Chance – The Five Keys – Aladdin (Never Issued) 1952
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #692

Air Week: August 7-13, 2023

Faye Adams

This week’s “Juke In The Back” highlights the short, but important career of Faye Adams. DJ Alan Freed called her “The little gal with the big voice” and she scored an impressive 3 #1 R&B hits in just a little over a year (1953-54). Surprisingly, she only had one more hit, before leaving secular music for her first love, Gospel Music. Born Fanny Tuell, Adams got her stage name from bandleader Joe Morris, who hired her after his former female vocalist, Laurie Tate, left to raise a family. Morris’ record label, Atlantic Records was not terribly impressed with the 2 released singles featuring Adams on lead, so they declined to release the new Morris composition, “Shake A Hand.” Morris took Adams over to New York’s Herald Records and right out of the gate, “Shake A Hand” topped the charts for a whopping 10 weeks. Two more #1s followed (“I’ll Be True” and “Hurts Me To My Heart”), before the hits began to fade. Adams had one more hit single in 1957 for Imperial. By the early ’60s, she had left secular music all together and hasn’t been heard from since. Faye Adams’ Herald and Imperial Records output is impressive and is featured throughout this week’s “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. That’s What Makes My Baby Fat – Joe Morris Blues Cavalcade – Atlantic 1953
3. Sweet Talk – Faye Adams w/ Joe Morris & His Orch. – Atlantic 1953
4. Shake A Hand – Faye Adams w/ The Joe Morris Orch. – Herald 1953
5. I’ve Gotta Leave You – Faye Adams w/ The Joe Morris Orch. – Herald 1953
6. I’ll Be True – Faye Adams w/ The Joe Morris Orch. – Hearal 1953
7. Every Day – Faye Adams w/ The Joe Morris Orch. – Herald 1954
8. Somebody, Somewhere, Someday – Faye Adams – Herald 1954
9. Hurts Me To My Heart – Faye Adams – Herald 1954
10. I Owe My Heart To You – Faye Adams – Herald 1954
11. Anything For A Friend – Faye Adams – Herald 1955
12. You Ain’t Been True – Faye Adams – Herald 1955
13. GREAT 78 – I’m Going to Leave You – Joe Morris Blues Cavalcade – Atlantic 1953
14. Shake A Hand – Faye Adams – LIVE on Alan Freed’s Rock n’ Roll Dance Party, May 5, 1956 – CBS Radio
15. The Hammer Keeps A Knockin’ – Faye Adams – Herald 1956
16. Keeper Of My Heart – Faye Adams – Imperial 1957
17. Johnny Lee – Faye Adams – Imperial 1957
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #691

Air Week: July 31-August 6, 2023

The Orioles

This week, the “Juke In The Back” spotlights the most influential rhythm & blues vocal group of all-time. The Orioles hailed from Baltimore and featured lead vocals by Sonny Til, one of the most talented, dynamic and recognizable voices in history. Their first record, “It’s Too Soon To Know” from 1948 ignited a new vocal movement that would develop into doo wop in the rock n’ roll era. Til enjoyed tremendous success until he was vocally dethroned in the early 1950s by Clyde McPhatter and the new school of R&B vocal groups. Matt The Cat shares an interview with the late Diz Russell, who became an Oriole in the mid-1950s. Russell knew Sonny Til personally and provides some prospective on these historic and influential recordings as the “Juke” focuses on the golden era of Orioles. Their biggest hit, “Crying In The Chapel” would also prove to be the group’s undoing. Fly high with the “high flying Orioles” as we celebrate R&B vocal groups in their purest form on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons – King Cole Trio – Capitol 1946
3. It’s Too Soon To Know – The Orioles – It’s A Natural 1948
4. To Be To You – The Orioles – Jubilee 1948
5. Tell Me So – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
6. I Challenge Your Kiss – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
7. A Kiss And A Rose – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
8. Forgive And Forget – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
9. I’d Rather Have You Under The Moon – The Orioles – Jubilee 1950
10. I Miss You So – The Orioles – Jubilee 1951
11. Baby, Please Don’t Go – The Orioles – Jubilee 1951
12. GREAT 78 – Deacon Jones – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
13. Crying In The Chapel – The Orioles – Jubilee 1953
14. In The Mission Of St. Augustine – The Orioles – Jubilee 1953
15. Golden Teardrops – The Flamingos – Chance 1953
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #690

Air Week: July 24-30, 2023

Christine Kittrell

Nashville truly earned its nickname as “Music City” during the 1950s as it was not only the home of Country Music, but also a hotbed for a thriving Rhythm & Blues Scene. Vocalist Christine Kittrell is a great example of how wonderful and vibrant that R&B scene was. She was born and raised in Nashville, getting her musical education from singing at her local Baptist Church. Once she hooked up with Louis Brooks’ band during the mid-1940s, her star began to rise. Songwriter, arranger, producer and talent scout for Tennessee Records, Ted Jarrett signed her in 1951 and soon many markets throughout the South were hip to Kittrell’s blues shoutin’ style and Jarrett’s top-notch arrangements. Her 2nd single, “Sittin’ Here Drinkin’,” gained her airplay around the South and holds up today as her best known record. She would re-record it for Republic Records, which is the label that Tennessee changed its name to in 1953 and again for Vee-Jay Records in the early 60s. She was friends with Little Richard, who had roots in the Nashville scene and he even stopped by for a recording session with Kittrell in 1954. Matt The Cat will dig up those jumpin’ sides, along with a few smooth ballads and all that was in-between from this queen of the Nashville R&B scene. It’s Christine Kittrell’s Tennessee and Republic releases on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons – King Cole Trio – Capitol 1946
3. It’s Too Soon To Know – The Orioles – It’s A Natural 1948
4. To Be To You – The Orioles – Jubilee 1948
5. Tell Me So – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
6. I Challenge Your Kiss – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
7. A Kiss And A Rose – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
8. Forgive And Forget – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
9. I’d Rather Have You Under The Moon – The Orioles – Jubilee 1950
10. I Miss You So – The Orioles – Jubilee 1951
11. Baby, Please Don’t Go – The Orioles – Jubilee 1951
12. GREAT 78 – Deacon Jones – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
13. Crying In The Chapel – The Orioles – Jubilee 1953
14. In The Mission Of St. Augustine – The Orioles – Jubilee 1953
15. Golden Teardrops – The Flamingos – Chance 1953
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #689

Air Week: July 17-23, 2023

Big Joe Turner, Pt. 2 – 1951-56

This week, we continue our salute to the great blues shouter, Big Joe Turner with part 2 of 2. The show opens in 1951, with Turner’s first recording session for his new label, Atlantic and continues through to his cross-over pop success in 1956. This is the most successful stretch in Joe Turner’s long recording career. He would score 19 R&B hits during the 1950s and only 1 of them would ever touch the pop top 50. Matt The Cat talks to the late Ahmet Ertegun about signing Turner to Atlantic and James Austin talks to the late Joe Turner about signing with that great label. Joe Turner’s records almost single-handedly invented rock n’ roll, so don’t miss this great tribute to one of America’s true blues treasures.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Shake, Rattle & Roll – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – Atlantic 1954
3. MTC Interview With Ahmet Ertegun – 2005
4. Chains Of Love – Joe Turner w/ Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch. – Atlantic 1951
5. Chill Is On – Joe Turner w/ Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch. – Atlantic 1951
6. Sweet Sixteen – Joe Turner w/ Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch. – Atlantic 1952
7. I’ll Never Stop Loving You – Joe Turner w/ Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch. 1952
8. Don’t You Cry – Joe Turner W/ Van “Piano Man” Walls & His Orch. – Atlantic 1952
9. Big JT Interview With James Austin – KCSN “Bop Street” 1983
10. Honey Hush – Joe Turner & His Band – Atlantic 1953
11. Crawdad Hole – Joe Turner & His Band – Atlantic 1953
12. TV Mama – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings (with Elmore James) – Atlantic 1954
13. GREAT 78: Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – Atlantic 1954
14. Married Woman – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings– Atlantic 1954
15. Flip, Flop & Fly – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – Atlantic 1955
16. Hide & Seek – Joe Turner & His Blues Kings – Atlantic 1955
17. Corrine Corrina – Joe Turner w/ Chorus & Orch. – Atlantic 1956
18. You’re Driving Me Crazy (What Did I Do?) – Joe Turner – Atlantic 1956 –
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #688

Air Week: July 10-16, 2023

Big Joe Turner, Pt. 1 – 1938-50

This week, the “Juke In The Back” is loaded with nothing but the great recordings of Big Joe Turner, the “Boss Of The Blues.” Part one covers Joe Turner’s early years from his Kansas City beginnings to his big breakthrough in NYC at the first “From Spirituals To Swing” show in 1938 to just before he signed to Atlantic Records in 1951. Turner recorded for many different labels during the 1940s and we’re going to feature the best, including his classics “Roll ‘Em Pete,” “Cherry Red,” “Careless Love,” “SK Blues” and many more. The show also features interview clips with the late Joe Turner taken from a classic 1982 James Austin interview. Next week, we’ll have part two and feature Joe Turner’s highly successful 1950s recordings that led up to the birth of rock n’ roll.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Well All Right – Joe Turner – Atlantic 1954
3. Big JT Interview Segment #1 – Big Joe Turner & James Austin – 1983
4. Roll ‘Em Pete – Joe Turner & Pete Johnson – Vocalion 1938
5. Low Down Dog – Joe Turner With Pete Johnson – Live “From Spirituals To Swing” 1938
6. Cherry Red – Pete Johnson & His Boogie Woogie Boys – Vocalion 1939
7. Big JT Interview Segment #2 – Big Joe Turner & James Austin – 1983
8. Café Society Rag – Pete Johnson & His Boogie Woogie Boys – Vocalion 1939
9. Piney Brown Blues – Joe Turner & His Fly Cats – Decca 1940
10. Careless Love – Big Joe Turner – Decca 1941
11. Rocks In My Bed – Joe Turner With The Freddie Slack Trio – Decca 1941
12. S.K. Blues Pt. 1 – Joe Turner w/ Pete Johnson’s All Stars – National 1945
13. GREAT 78 – Rebecca – Big Joe Turner & The Pete Johnson Trio – Decca 1944
14. My Gal’s A Jockey – Joe Turner w/ Bill Moore’s Lucky Seven Band – National 1946
15. Battle Of The Blues Pt. 1 & 2 – Joe Turner & Wynonie Harris – Aladdin 1949 & 1953
16. Jumpin’ At The Jubilee – Joe Turner – Freedom 1950
16. Still In The Dark – Joe Turner – Freedom 1950
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #687

Air Week: July 3-9, 2023

Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

We throw the word “influential” around a lot on the Juke In The Back, but very few groups can actually claim to have started a sub-genre based on their lead singer. The Teenagers Feat. Frankie Lymon were the first of the “kiddie” lead groups to sing for a teenaged audience. Their tunes had teen themes and when mixed with Lymon’s vocals, a brand-new Rock n’ Roll vocal group sound was created. Copycat groups hit the scene quick with The Juniors, The Kodaks, The Youngsters, The Students and The Schoolboys all trying to ride on Lymon’s coattails, but there was only one. The Teenagers only lasted for around 18 months, but during that short time, they racked up 9 R&B charting hits, including the #1 smash “Why Do Fools Fall In Love,” which crossed over to a respectable #6 on the Pop Chart. Record man George Goldner and Valentines’ leader Richard Barrett guided and shaped the Teenagers sound while Jimmy Wright’s incredible band provided exciting musical backing to create hit after hit, until the overall sound of Rock n’ Roll began to change. Lymon’s voice was maturing and he was pushed into the Pop field, leaving the Teenagers behind. There’s a lot more to this story and on this week’s program, Matt The Cat tries his best to tell it. Matt’s interview with the late Herbie Cox of the Cleftones helps to shed some light as Herbie was in Goldner’s office on the very day that the Teenagers came in to audition for him. So don’t miss this exciting Juke In The Back on the unforgettable Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Please Be Mine – The Teenagers Feat. Frankie Lymon – Gee 1955
3. Why Do Fools Fall In Love – The Teenagers Feat. Frankie Lymon – Gee 1955
4. Interview with Herbie Cox of the Cleftones
5. I Want You To Be My Girl – The Teenagers Feat. Frankie Lymon – Gee 1956
6. I Promise To Remember – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1956
7. Who Can Explain – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1956
8. ABC’s of Love – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1956
9. I’m Not A Juvenile Delinquent – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1956
10. Paper Castles – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1957 –
11. Love Is A Clown – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1957
12. GREAT 78 – Teenage Love – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1957
13. Out In The Cold Again – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Gee 1957
15. I Promise To Remember – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Live on Alan Freed’s Rock n’ Roll Dance Party 1956
16. Why Do Fools Falls In Love – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers – Live on Alan Freed’s Rock n’ Roll Dance Party 1956
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #686

Air Week: June 26-July 2, 2023

4th of July: Summer, Food, Travel & Baseball Songs

The Juke In The Back jumps into summer by spotlighting THE summertime holiday, the 4th of July. We’re diggin’ the 4th in song, ranging from songs about summertime by Sam Cooke, Chuck Berry and The Basin Street Boys to songs about summertime foods from Chris Powell and John Brim. We’ll also focus on America’s pastime with R&B songs about Baseball, honoring some of the top players who crossed over from the Negro Leagues into the Major Leagues. Records from Buddy Johnson, Brownie McGhee and Jack Williams are highlights as we cruise America’s great highways jiving to the true songs of Summer. Grab some nickels, suntan lotion, a hot dog and meet us at the ballpark, where the Juke In The Back will be jumpin’! You can stream “Juke In The Back” below OR on Spotify, TuneIn and iTunes. More info and a list of radio stations airing the program at jukeintheback.org.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Summertime – Same Cooke – Keen 1957
3. Summertime Gal – Basin Street Boys w/ Lucky Thompson’s Orch – Exclusive 1947
4. Vacation Time – Chuck Berry – Chess 1958
5. (Get Your Kicks On) Route 66 – King Cole Trio – Capital 1946
6. Chicken Shack – Amos Milburn – Aladdin 1956
7. Dumplin’s – Doc Bagby – Okeh 1957
8. Monkey Hips & Rice – The “5” Royales – King 1954
9. Hot Dog – Chris Powell & The Five Blue Flames – Okeh 1949
10. Baseball Boogie – Mabel Scott – King 1950
11. My Pinch Hitter – Buddy Lucas Orch w/ Alemta Stewart – Groove 1954
12. Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball – Buddy Johnson – Decca 1949
13. GREAT 78 – Cole Slaw (Sorgum Switch) – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five – Decca 1949
14. Satchel Bounce – Jack Williams – Specialty 1949
15. Robbie-Doby Boogie – Brownie McGhee – Savoy 1948
16. The Ballgame – Sister Wynona Carr – Specialty 1953
17. Say Hey – The Treniers – Epic 1954
18. Ice Cream Man – John Brim – Chess 1953
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #685

Air Week: June 19-25, 2023

Rhythm & Booze: Looped!

We continue our unsober series of vintage Rhythm & Blues drinking songs this week with Rhythm & Booze: Looped! In the past, Matt The Cat has focused on different types of libations and the places where you can consume said libations. This week, we’ll delve into your drunken state-of-mind as we dig on records all about getting looped, loaded, sloppy drunk and beyond. The Rhythm & Blues genre is full of such songs, because the music was aimed at an older audience and the bragging about how drunk you were, shows just how great of a time you were having. We’re gonna find out the ball that Melvin Smith, Peppermint Harris, Young John Watson (before he was Johnny “Guitar” Watson), Gene Phillips and Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson were having. It’s gonna get messy, but that’s what it’s all about when you hang out at Rosie’s Juke Joint and the “Juke In The Back.” Drink up, cats n’ kittens!

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Looped – Melvin Smith – RCA Victor 1952
3. Waiting and Drinking – Calvin Boze & His All Stars – Aladdin 1950
4. I Got Loaded – “Peppermint” Harris w/ Maxwell Davis & His All-Stars – Aladdin 1951
5. We’re All Loaded (Whiskey Made Me Drunk) – Roscoe Gordon – RPM 1953
6. Drunk – Jimmy Liggins & His 3-D Music – Specialty 1953
7. I Ain’t Drunk – Jimmy Liggins w/ Band– Aladdin 1954
8. Drunk, Drunk, Drunk – The Kidds – Imperial 1954
9. Drunk, That’s All – Laverne Ray w/ the Rene Hall Sextet – Unreleased Jubilee 1950
10. Gettin’ Drunk – Young John Watson – Federal 1954
11. Sloppy Drunk – Walter Brown and Jay McShann’s Quartet – Mercury 1947
12. Stinkin’ Drunk – Gene Phillips & His Rhythm Aces– Modern 1947
13. GREAT 78 – It Went Down Easy – Melvin Smith – RCA Victor 1953
14. When I Get Drunk – Eddie Vinson & His Orch – Mercury 1948
15. Drinking Blues – Wynonie Harris – King 1952
16. Thinking & Drinking – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers – Aladdin 1952
17. What’s The Use Of Getting Sober (When You Gonna Get Drunk Again) – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five – Decca 1942
18. Juice Head Man Of Mine – Dinah Washington w/ Teddy Stewart’s Orch – Mercury 1950
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #684

Air Week: June 12-18, 2023

Rhythm & Booze: Hey, Bartender!

The “Juke In The Back” continues our sporadic series Rhythm & Booze with a tribute to bartenders, juke joints and barrel houses as well as a salute to beer and beer drinkin’ women. This installment is called “Hey! Bartender” and it’s sure to take away your blues. We’ll raise a glass of “Pink Champagne” and “Vicious, Vicious Vodka” for good measure while Dave Bartholomew lets you know how upset he is that someone swiped his beer while he was in the rear. Jimmy Witherspoon and Roy Milton sing the praises of our favorite malty beverage while Amos Milburn doesn’t leave anything to chance as the juke joint is closing by ordering “One Scotch, One Bourbon and One Beer.” Matt The Cat also relates the intriguing story of Hadacol. So if your “Bartender’s Juke Like A Mother,” than you best be diggin’ on this week’s program and doing your mama proud. Catch Rhythm & Booze: Hey! Bartender on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Pink Champagne – Joe Liggins & His Honeydrippers – Specialty 1950
3. Vicious, Vicious Vodka – Amos Milburn & His Chickenshakers – Aladdin 1954
4. Beer Drinkin’ Woman – Floyd Turnham w/ Cledus Harrison– Combo Records 1952
5. Drinkin’ Beer (Have A Ball) – Jimmy Whitherspoon – Modern 1950
6. Who Drank My Beer While I Was In The Rear – Dave Bartholomew – Imperial 1952
7. Hadacol Bounce – Roy Byrd & His Blues Jumpers – Mercury 1950
8. Juice Head Baby – Cootie Williams & His Orch. – Capitol 1945
9. My Baby’s Barrel House – Wynonie (Mr. Blues) Harris – Bullet 1946
10. After Hour Joint – Jimmy Coe & His Gay Cats of Rhythm – States 1953
11. Hey Bartender – Red Saunders & His Orch w/ Joe Williams – Okeh 1955
12. Bartender’s Just Like A Mother – Slim Gaillard & His Trio– MGM 1947
13. GREAT 78 – Beer Drinkin’ Baby – Billy Valentine – Mercury 1950
14. Bartender’s Boogie – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1950
15. Hey Bartender – Floyd Dixon & His Band– Cat 1955
16. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers – Aladdin 1953
17. Last Call For Alcohol – Hot Lips Page & His Orch – King 1952
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #683

Air Week: June 5-11, 2023

Rhythm & Booze: Bad, Bad Whiskey!

The “Juke In The Back” once again raises a glass in our Rhythm & Booze series. This time, the entire program is dedicated to that Bad, Bad Whiskey. For some, whiskey ruined their happy home, but for others, a Half-Pint-A Whiskey set the stage for good times. Lucky Millinder along with Wynonie Harris (his first time on record) will ask that musical question of “Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well,” and Bull Moose Jackson will answer it accordingly. Amos Milburn is the star of the show as no other R&B artist sang so often and so thoroughly about booze, especially whiskey. Matt The Cat spins three of Milburns’ whiskey platters as well as two solo whiskey sides from Wynonie Harris. We’ll go swimming in a sea of whiskey with Willie Dixon and his Big Three Trio and find out if whiskey helps your gambling habit with Sticks McGhee. So pour the bourbon, scotch and corn whiskey as we get all hopped up on that juice for this week’s “Juke In The Back” and the “soul that came BEFORE Rock n’ Roll.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Bad, Bad Whiskey – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers – Aladdin 1950
3. Quiet Whiskey – Wynonie Harris – King 1953
4. If The Sea Was Whiskey – Big Three Trio – Columbia 1947
5. Corn Whiskey – Jimmy Witherspoon – Federal 1952
6. Whiskey, Women & Loaded Dice – Sticks McGhee – King 1953
7. Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well – Lucky Millinder & His Orch – Decca 1945
8. I Know Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well – Bull Moose Jackson & His Orch. – Queen 1946
9. Whiskey Do You Stuff – Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five – Aladdin 1954
10. Wine, Women, Whiskey – Papa Lightfoot – Imperial 1954
11. Whiskey, Gin & Wine – Joe Liggins & His “Honeydrippers” – Specialty 1951
12. Half Pint-A-Whiskey – Young John Watson – Federal 1954
13. GREAT 78 – Cheap Old Wine & Whiskey – Jack (The Bear) Parker – 7-11 1953
14. Don’t Take My Whiskey Away From Me – Wynonie Harris – King 1954
15. Let Me Go Home, Whiskey – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers – Aladdin 1953
16. Last Call For Whiskey – Choker Campbell & His Band– Atlantic 1953
17. Good, Good Whiskey – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshackers – Aladdin 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #682

Air Week: May 29-June 4, 2023

Rhythm & Booze: Wine! Wine! Wine!

Raise you glasses as we toast Rhythm & Booze: Wine, Wine, Wine on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” The entire program features the greatest wine R&B drinking songs of the 1940s and ’50s. We’ll dig on some Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee, Cherry Wine, Alligator Wine and a heavy pour of port. You’ll find servers like Floyd Dixon, Mr. Blues, Little Esther, Jimmy Binkley and Marvin Phillips helping Miss Rosie out this week as we salute this classic fermentation. So grab a pocket full of nickels and join Matt The Cat and the be-bop winos at Rosie’s Juke Joint for the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Drinkin’ Wine, Spo-Dee-O-Dee – Wynonie Harris – King 1949
3. Wine, Wine, Wine – Floyd Dixon – Aladdin 1952
4. Be-Bop Wino – The Lamplighters – Federal 1953
5. Wino – Jack McVea – Combo 1954
6. Win-O-Baby Boogie – Joe Turner – Down Beat 1948
7. No Wine, No Women – Mr. Google Eyes – Okeh 1951
8. Alligator Wine – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Okeh 1958
9. Cherry Wine – Little Esther – Federal 1953
10. Port Wine – Bill Samuels & The Cats ‘N Jammer Three – Mercury 1946
11. White Port & Lemon Juice – The Bel-Aires – Flip 1955
12. W-P-L-J – The 4 Deuces – Music City 1956
13. GREAT 78 – Wine, Wine, Sweet Wine – Wynonie Harris – King 1955
14. Wine, Wine, Wine – Jimmy Binkley & His Combo – Checker 1954
15. Wine Woogie – Marvin Phillips & His Men From Mars – Specialty 1952
16. Drank Up All The Wine Last Night – Stick McGhee & His Spo-Dee-O-Dee Buddies – Atlantic 1949
17. All That Wine Is Gone – Jay McNeely & Orch – Imperial 1951
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #681

Air Week: May 22-28, 2023

Sister Rosetta Tharpe

The “Juke In The Back” is proud to salute Sister Rosetta Tharpe, one of the most important and influential musical figures of the 20th Century. Tharpe, who was born Rosetta Nubin, was popular immediately after her first Decca Recordings in 1938. She gained even more exposure while singing in-front of Lucky Millinder’s big band during World War II. In 1944, she crossed musical barriers when her “Strange Things Happening Every Day” single crossed over to #2 on the national R&B lists, marking the first time a Gospel record had charted so high on a secular chart. Looking back, it’s not that surprising when you consider that Rhythm & Blues Music is basically secular content, sung in a Gospel style with rhythm accompaniment. Not only did Sister Rosetta have an inspired, near-acrobatic vibrato voice, but she was also a virtuoso of the guitar. The novelty of a spiritual woman singing and playing the guitar soon gave way to her immense talents at doing both. This week, Matt The Cat presents Rosetta Tharpe’s charting singles as well as her most influential Gospel sides, which become some of the bricks in the foundation of both R&B and Rock n’ Roll. We’ll hear her recordings with Lucky Millinder, Sammy Price, Marie Knight, The Dependable Boys and the Rosette Singers as well as a few of her V-Discs. Hallelujah, this is going to be an inspired show. Can I get an AMEN!

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. The Lonesome Road – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1938
3. This Train – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1939
4. Trouble In Mind – Lucky Millinder & His Orch with Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1941
5. Shout Sister Shout – Lucky Millinder & His Orch with Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1941
6. That’s All – Sister Tharpe with Lucky Millinder & His Orch. – V-Disc 1943
7. What’s The News – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1944
8. Strange Things Happening Every Day – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1944
9. Two Little Fishes and Five Loaves Of Bread – Sister Rosetta Tharpe – Decca 1944
10. Didn’t It Rain – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight with Sam Price Trio – Decca 1947
11. Precious Memories – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight with Sam Price Trio – Decca 1948
12. Beams Of Heaven – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight with Sam Price Trio – Decca 1948
13. GREAT 78 – Rock Me – Sister Rosetta Tharpe with Lucky Millinder & His Orch. – V-Disc 1943
14. Everybody’s Gonna Have A Wonderful Time Up There (Gospel Boogie) – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and The Dependable Boys – Decca 1948
15. Up Above My Head, I Hear Music In The Air – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and Marie Knight with Sam Price Trio – Decca 1947 16. Down By The Riverside – Sister Rosetta Tharpe and The Dependable Boys – Decca 1949
17. Silent Night (Christmas Hymm) – Sister Rosetta Tharpe w/ Rosette Gospel Singers – Decca 1949
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #680

Air Week: May 15-21, 2023

The Story Of The Signifying Monkey

This week, Matt The Cat loads the “Juke In The Back” with a musical history of the old African folktale about The Signifying Monkey. We’ll trace this tale’s journey to America on slave ships from Africa as it became threaded into African-American culture in song, from Big Maceo’s adaptation of the story about the Monkey and the Baboon to the Big Three Trio’s 1947 popular version of “The Signifying Monkey.” Along the way, Cab Calloway, jazzer Hot Lips Page, Rockabilly rarity Smokey Joe and even Chuck Berry have a crack at this classic story of the ultimate trickster. Also on this week’s program, Matt The Cat takes your listener requests, which run across the genre we celebrate, Rhythm & Blues. So don’t miss “the soul that came before Rock n’ Roll” on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Woe Is Me – The Cadillacs – LIVE 1956 – Alan Freed’s Rock n’ Roll Dance Party – REQUEST
3. (Night Time Is) The Right Time – Ray Charles – Atlantic 1958 – REQUEST
4. Without Love (There Is Nothing) – Clyde McPhatter – Atlantic 1956 – REQUEST
5. Can’t You Read – Big Maceo – Bluebird 1941
6. Signifying Monkey – Big Three Trio – Columbia 1947
7. The Jungle King (You Ain’t Done A Doggone Thing) – Cab Calloway & His Cab-Jivers – Columbia 1947
8. The Monkey (The Jungle King) – Hot Lips Page – King 1952
9. The Signifying Monkey – Smoky Joe – Sun 1955
10. Joe Joe Gun – Chuck Berry – Chess 1958
11. Signifying Monkey – Oscar Brown Jr. – Columbia 1960
12. GREAT 78 – Signifying Blues – Bo Diddley – Checker 1960
13. Are You Fer It – King Cole Trio – Decca 1941 – REQUEST
14. Wyatt Earp (First Version) – The Marquees – Okeh 1957 – REQUEST
15. Sugar Lips – Five Chances – States 1956 – REQUEST
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #679

Air Week: May 8-14, 2023

Johnny Bragg

This week, Matt The Cat features the incredible story of Johnny Bragg. It’s one of the greatest stories in all of Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll. At age 17, Johnny Bragg is sentenced to 594 years in prison on six counts of rape. He possesses one of the most beautiful tenors and thanks to prison reforms, he is allowed to record with his group, The Prisonaires for Sam Phillips at Sun Records. Their first release, “Just Walkin’ In The Rain” from 1953 becomes an instant vocal group classic and in 1956 is made into an enormous pop hit by Johnnie Ray. The Prisonaires cut 4 singles for Sun before changing their name to The Marigolds and scoring a top ten R&B hit in 1955 with “Rollin’ Stone.” The “Juke In The Back” honors Johnny Bragg and his immeasurable contribution to popular music through his story, his music and interviews from a new documentary film on The Prisonaires. Bragg’s story is one of the greatest seldom-told secrets from the back alleys of early Rhythm & Blues, but it’s in the forefront on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Surleen – The Prisonaires – Unissued 1954
3. Just Walkin’ In The Rain – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953
4. Baby Please – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953
5. My God Is Real – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953 – Sun 189
6. Softly and Tenderly – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953
7. A Prisoner’s Prayer – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953
8. I Know – The Prisonaires – Sun 1953
9. There Is Love In You – The Prisonaires – Sun 1954
10. What Will You Do Next – The Prisonaires – Sun 1954
11. Rollin’ Stone – The Marigolds – Excello 1955
12. GREAT 78 – Pork & Beans – The Solotones – Excello 1955
13. Love You Love You – The Marigolds – Excello 1955
14. It’s You Darling, It’s You – The Marigolds – Excello 1956
15. Foolish Me – Johnny Bragg – Excello 1956
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #678

Air Week: May 1-7, 2023

Floyd Dixon

This week, “Juke In The Back” features another unsung hero of early Rhythm & Blues, Floyd Dixon. He’s often overlooked or labeled as a Charles Brown sound-alike, but Dixon was a prolific songwriter who made a great contribution to the R&B foundation of Rock n’ Roll. After meeting his piano/singing idol, Charles Brown, Dixon hooked up with Eddie Williams, who had played bass in Brown’s group, Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. They had several hits together before Dixon himself was asked to join The Three Blazers, after Brown went solo. As a solo artist, Dixon is remembered for his top 10 R&B hits “Sad Journey Blues” and “Call Operator 210,” but his most enduring song is “Hey Bartender,” which he cut in 1954 for Cat Records. It was revived in the late ’70s by The Blues Brothers and remains a classic to this day. Dixon recorded for Swingtime, Supreme, Modern, Aladdin, Specialty and many more influential independent labels. Matt The Cat digs up his finest platters, while also highlighting a 2006 interview with Dixon that was recorded shortly before his death at age 77. Dig on “Mr. Magnificent,” Floyd Dixon on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Houston Jump – Floyd Dixon w/ Eddie Williams Trio – Swingtime 1948
3. You Need Me Now – Floyd Dixon w/ Eddie Williams & His Brown Buddies – Supreme 1948
4. Floyd Dixon Interview #1
5. Dallas Blues – Floyd Dixon – Modern 1949
6. Mississippi Blues – Floyd Dixon Trio – Modern 1949
7. Sad Journey Blues – Floyd Dixon & His Orch – Peacock 1950
8. Telephone Blues – Floyd Dixon w/ Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers Feat: Oscar Moore– Aladdin 1950
9. Real Lovin’ Mama – Floyd Dixon w/ Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers Feat: Oscar Moore – Aladdin 1950
10. Rockin’ At Home – Floyd Dixon & His Band – Aladdin 1951
11. Floyd Dixon Interview #2
12. Call Operator 210 – Floyd Dixon – Aladdin 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Broken Hearted – Eddie Williams & His Brown Buddies – Supreme 1949
14. Wine, Wine, Wine – Floyd Dixon – Aladdin 1952
15. Hard Living Alone – Floyd Dixon – Specialty 1953
16. Floyd Dixon Interview #3
17. Hey Bartender – Floyd Dixon Band – Cat 1954
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins and His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #677

Air Week: April 24-30, 2023

Fortune Records

Matt The Cat and the “Juke In The Back” feature Fortune Records, another small, independent record label that made a sizable contribution to Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll. Fortune was a Detroit original, started in late 1946, it paved the way for future greatness. We’ll dig on some of their early releases, before jumping into their biggest star, Andre Williams. Originally from Alabama, Williams packed each single with grit, soul and a touch of weirdness that makes nearly all of his releases remain fresh-sounding today. Williams scored a national top 10 R&B record in 1956-57 with “Bacon Fat.” It was so big, that Fortune Records licensed it to Epic Records for national distribution. A portion of this week’s program is also dedicated to Nolan Strong & The Diablos, one of the smoothest and soulful of the ’50s doo wop vocal groups. Even though The Diablos never had a national hit, they are remembered today for Nolan Strong’s beautiful tenor and their original rendition of “The Wind” from 1954. So get ready to move and groove as the “Juke In The Back” jumps with Andre Williams, The Diablos and some of Fortune Records’ greatest 78 RPM sides.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Nobles’ Shuffle – Jimmy Milner & His Blue Ribbon Band – Fortune 1949
3. Leaving Blues – Big Maceo – Fortune 1950
4. Doctor Baby – The Five Dollars – Fortune 1955
5. Going Down To Tia Juana – Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) & The Don Juans – Fortune 1955
6. Mozelle – Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) – Fortune 1955
7. Bobby Jean – Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) & The Don Juans – Fortune 1956
8. Bacon Fat – Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) & His New Group – Fortune & Epic 1956
9. Jail Bait – Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) – Fortune 1957
10. The Greasy Chicken – Andre Williams (Mr. Rhythm) – Fortune 1957
11. Adios, My Desert Love – The Diablos Featuring Nolan Strong – Fortune 1954
12. The Wind – The Diablos Featuring Nolan Strong – Fortune 1954
13. GREAT 78 – You’re The Only Girl, Dolores – Nolan Strong & The Diablos – Fortune 1956
14. Do You Remember What You Did Last Night – Nolan Strong & The Diablos – Fortune 1955
15. The Way You Dog Me Around – Nolan Strong & The Diablos – Fortune 1956
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #676

Air Week: April 17-23, 2023

The Clovers, Pt. 3 – 1956-58

The Clovers were the most successful rhythm & blues vocal group from 1951 to 1955, racking up 16 top 10 R&B singles during that time-frame. Three of those singles went to #1. Though they didn’t have a huge career defining hit, like The Dominoes did with “Sixty Minute Man,” The Clovers claim to fame was consistency. You always knew what you were going to get with a Clovers record. Most of their songs were mid-tempo with tight, limited instrumentation, beautifully blended harmonies and catchy, memorable lyrics. This week, “Juke In The Back” presents part 3 of a 3 part feature on this ground-breaking pre-rock n’ roll group. In part 3, we’ll cover EVERY Clovers’ release (both A and B sides) from early 1956 to the middle of 1958. 1956 was the group’s last year as hit-makers. They scored two R&B top ten hits with “Hey Doll Baby” and “Love, Love, Love” (which also hit the pop charts) and then they didn’t score another hit until their final hit, “Love Potion #9” in mid-1959. But during this dry spell, The Clovers managed to release some memorable, quality records, such as the Chuck Willis penned, “From The Bottom Of My Heart,” the jivin’, “Down In The Alley” and the catchy, “The Gossip Wheel.” Also, during this time, the group left Atlantic Records and jumped to their manager’s Poplar label before ending up on United Artists in 1959. It’s the final chapter of my 3 part special on the amazing Clovers, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Hey Doll Baby – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
3. Love, Love, Love – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
4. Your Tender Lips – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
5. From The Bottom Of My Heart – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
6. Bring Me Love – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
7. Baby Baby, Oh My Darling – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
8. Here Comes Romance – The Clovers – Atlantic 1957
9. You Good Looking Woman – The Clovers – Atlantic 1957
10. I I I Love You – The Clovers – Atlantic 1957
11. So Young – The Clovers – Atlantic 1957
12. Down In The Alley – The Clovers – Atlantic 1957
13. GREAT 78 – A Lonely Fool – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
14. There’s No Tomorrow – The Clovers – Atlantic 1957
15. Wishing For Your Love – The Clovers – Atlantic 1958
16. All About You – The Clovers – Atlantic 1958
17. The Gossip Wheel – The Clovers – Poplar 1958
18. Please Come On To Me – The Clovers – Poplar 1958
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #675

Air Week: April 10-16, 2023

The Clovers, Pt. 2 – 1953-56

The Clovers were the most successful rhythm & blues vocal group from 1951 to 1955, racking up 16 top 10 R&B singles during that time-frame. Three of those singles went to #1. Though they didn’t have a huge career defining hit, like The Dominoes did with “Sixty Minute Man,” The Clovers claim to fame was consistency. You always knew what you were going to get with a Clovers record. Most of their songs were mid-tempo with tight, limited instrumentation, beautifully blended harmonies and catchy, memorable lyrics. This week, “Juke In The Back” presents part 2 of a 3 part feature on this ground-breaking pre-rock n’ roll group. In part 2, we’ll cover EVERY Clovers’ release (both A and B sides) from mid-1953 to the beginning of 1956. During this time, lead vocalist Buddy Bailey was drafted, so Charlie White, formally of the Dominoes and The Checkers was brought in to sing on “Good Lovin’,” which hit #2 on the R&B charts as well as the classic “Lovey Dovey.” When things didn’t work out with White, the group hired Billy Mitchell, who lends his versatile voice to “Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash” and “In The Morning Time,” until Buddy Bailey was discharged and could return to lead the group. It’s part 2 of 3 on the amazing Clovers, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Good Lovin’ – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
3. Comin’ On – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
4. The Feeling Is So Good – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
5. Lovey Dovey – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
6. Little Mama – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
7. Your Cash Ain’t Nothin’ But Trash – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
8. I’ve Got My Eyes On You – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
9. I Confess – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
10. Blue Velvet – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
11. If You Love Me – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
12. Love Bug – The Clovers – Atlantic 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Alrighty Oh Sweetie – The Clovers – Atlantic 1954
14. In The Morning Time – The Clovers – Atlantic 1955
15. Nip Sip – The Clovers – Atlantic 1955
16. If I Could Be Loved By You – The Clovers – Atlantic 1955
17. Devil Or Angel – The Clovers – Atlantic 1956
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #674

Air Week: April 3-9, 2023

The Clovers, Pt. 1 – 1950-53

The Clovers were the most successful rhythm & blues vocal group from 1951 to 1955, racking up 16 top 10 R&B singles during that time-frame. There of those singles went to #1. Though they didn’t have a huge career defining hit, like The Dominoes did with “Sixty Minute Man,” The Clovers claim to fame was consistency. You always knew what you were going to get with a Clovers record. Most of their songs were mid-tempo with tight, limited instrumentation, beautifully blended harmonies and catchy, memorable lyrics. Atlantic co-founder Ahmet Ertegun oversaw their quality control, writing every one of their #1 records. This week, “Juke In The Back” begins a 3 show feature on this ground-breaking pre-rock n’ roll group. In part 1, we’ll cover EVERY Clovers’ release (both A and B sides) from their debut on Rainbow Records in 1950 to their mid-1953 Atlantic releases. In-between, you’ll find almost #1s, “One Mint Julep” and “Crawlin'” as well as their monster hits, “Don’t You Know I love You So,” “Fool, Fool, Fool” and “Ting-A-Ling.” We even get the inside scoop on how the Clovers were signed to Atlantic from an interview Matt The Cat conducted with the late Ahmet Ertegun several years ago. It’s part 1 of 3 on the amazing Clovers, this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Yes Sir, That’s My Baby – The Clovers – Rainbow 1950
3. When You Come Back To Me – The Clovers – Rainbow 1950
4. Don’t You Know I Love You So – The Clovers – Atlantic 1951
5. Skylark – The Clovers – Atlantic 1951
6. Fool, Fool, Fool – The Clovers – Atlantic 1951
7. Needless – The Clovers – Atlantic 1951
8. One Mint Julep – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
9. Middle Of The Night – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
10. Ting-A-Ling – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
11. Wonder Where My Baby’s Gone – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
12. Hey Miss Fannie – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Yes, It’s You – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
14. I Played The Fool – The Clovers – Atlantic 1952
15. Crawlin’ – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
16. Here Goes A Fool – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #673

Air Week: March 27-April 2, 2023

DooTone Records

Matt The Cat takes a look at another Black-owned, independent, LA-based record label that contributed greatly to the birth of Rock n’ Roll and the popularity of R&B Vocal Groups during the 1950s. This week, the “Juke In The Back” puts Dootsie Williams’ little label, DooTone Records into the spotlight for a solid hour of stunning Rhythm & Blues from the ’40s and ’50s. We’ll dig on Dootsie’s first label Blue Records, which was born out of the Musicians Union Strike of ’48. Dootsie, a big band trumpeter had been in the business since 1930 and saw there was a profit to be made of lewd party records as well as Blues and R&B. He expanded his enterprise in 1951 by starting DooTone Records and began releasing records from LA’s emerging vocal group scene. The Medallions, Don Julian & The Meadowlarks and DooTone’s only huge national hit, The Penguins’ “Earth Angel” were issued by the end of 1954. He continued into ’55 and ’56 with The Dootones, The Pipes, The Cuff-Links, The Calvanes and a slew of great Los Angeles R&B, before deciding that the independent record business wasn’t going to get any better. This week, we take a snap-shot of a regional sound being discovered by a nation who’s musical tastes were changing as young people were buying records and Rock n’ Roll was emerging. It’s a piece of history that sounds best when played on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. I Got A Country Gal – Bobby Nunn & His Hot Five – Blue 1949
3. Everybody’s Jumpin’ Tonight – Joe Turner – Blue 1949
4. I Love Ya, I Love Ya, I Love Ya – Big Joe Turner w/ Pete Johnson & His Orch – DooTone 1952
5. The Letter – The Medallions – DooTone 1954
6. Buick 59 – The Medallions – DooTone 1954
7. No There Ain’t No News Today – The Penguins – DooTone 1954
8. Earth Angel (Will You Be Mine) – The Penguins – DooTone 1954
9. Heaven & Paradise – Don Julian & The Meadowlarks –DooTone 1955
10. Tonky Honk – Chuck Higgins & His Band – DooTone 1955
11. Teller of Fortune – The Dootones – DooTone 1955
12. You Got Me Reeling & Rocking – Roy Milton & His Band – DooTone 1955
13. GREAT 78 – Hey Senorita – The Penguins – DooTone 1954
14. Don’t Take Your Love From Me – The Calvanes – DooTone 1955
15. Be Fair – The Pipes – DooTone 1956
16. Guided Missiles – The Cuff Links – DooTone 1956
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #672

Air Week: March 20-26, 2023

The Lutchers: Nellie & Joe

The “Juke In The Back” is proud to feature The Lutchers, a brother and sister who’s separate works helped define early Rhythm & Blues. Older sister, Nellie Lutcher, the piano playing vocalist, scored more hits and made much more of a national impact than her younger brother Joe. Her style combined blues, jazz, R&B, pop and small elements of what would become Vocalese. She hit the big time in 1947 after more than a decade of working the clubs of Los Angeles. Her firs 2 singles, “Hurry On Down” and “He’s A Real Gone Guy” both went to #2 nationally for Capitol Records. She’d score another #2 with the self-penned “Fine Brown Frame” less than a year later. Her younger brother, the saxophonist Joe Lutcher, made a name for himself fronting many combos at some of LA’s most prestigious clubs. He hit the national charts in 1948 with the instrumental, “Shuffle Woogie” for Capitol. Then he jumped over to Specialty Records for catchy “Rockin’ Boogie” and then to Modern Records for the now classic “Mardi Gras.” They never recorded together, but separately their careers would set the stage for the mainstreaming of Rhythm & Blues Music into Rock n’ Roll. Matt The Cat gives both of these great artists the exposure they so rightly deserve and so decisively earned, on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Kings Of Rhythm – Mercury 1947
2. Hurry On Down – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1947
3. He’s A Real Gone Guy – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1947
4. The Song Is Ended (But The Melody Lingers On) – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
5. Do You Or Don’t You Love Me – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
6. Fine Brown Frame – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
7. Come And Get It, Honey – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
8. Cool Water – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
9. Lake Charles Boogie – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
10. Alexander’s Ragtime Band – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1948
11. For You My Love – Nellie Lutcher & Nat King Cole – Capitol 1950
12. Shuffle Woogie – Joe Lutcher’s Jump Band – Capitol 1948
13. GREAT 78 – Wish I Was In Walla Walla – Nellie Lutcher & Her Rhythm – Capitol 1949
14. Rockin’ Boogie – Joe Lutcher & His Society Cats – Specialty 1948
15. The Traffic Song – Joe Lutcher & His Society Cats – Specialty 1948
16. Mardi Gras – Joe Lutcher & His Orch. – Modern 1949
17. Ojai – Joe Lutcher & His Orch – Modern 1949
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch. – Bluebird 1946

Episode #671

Air Week: March 13-19, 2023

Huey “Piano” Smith
1934-2023

Unfortunately, Huey Smith is another “hard luck” story of R&B and early Rock n’ Roll. He was a talented boogie woogie pianist and as a session player, he contributed to some great New Orleans gems by Earl King, Smiley Lewis, Little Richard and Guitar Slim. As a solo artist, he wrote and recorded some of the most memorable R&B and early Rock n’ Roll, but didn’t receive all the credit and royalties he deserved. This week, Matt The Cat pays respects to the late, great Huey “Piano” Smith, who passed away on February 13, 2023 at the age of 89. We dig deep to feature the iconic records that Smith played on as well as his early work with Huey Smith and the Rhythm Aces and his legendary records with The Clowns. He had 2 national hits with “Rockin’ Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu (1957) and “Don’t You Just Know It” (1958). His greatest contribution may have been “Sea Cruise,” a song he wrote and originally recorded with Gerri Hall, but Johnny Vincent, owner of Ace Records issued it with a new vocal recorded by white teen idol, Frankie Ford. Huey Smith persevered through much discrimination in the music industry and this week, we celebrate all he achieved on a very special edition of the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Feeling Sad – Eddie “Guitar Slim” Jones – J-B 1952
3. You Made Me Cry – Huey Smith – Savoy 1953
4. Lonesome & Blue – Little Richard – Specialty 1959
5. I Hear You Knocking – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1955
6. Those Lonely Lonely Nights – Earl King Feat. Fats on Piano – Ace 1955
7. We Like Mambo – Huey Smith – Ace 1956
8. Everybody’s Walin’ – Huey Smith & His Rhythm Aces – Ace 1956
9. Little Liza Jane – Huey Smith & His Rhythm Aces – Ace 1956
10. Rockin’ Pneumonia & The Boogie Woogie Flu, Pt. 1 – Huey “Piano” Smith – Ace 1957
11. Just For You and I – The Supremes – Ace 1957
12. Just A Lonely Clown – Huey Smith & His Clowns – Act 1957
13. GREAT 78 – Free Single and Disengaged – Huey Smith & His Clowns – Ace 1957
14. Don’t You Just Know It – Huey (Piano) Smith & The Clowns – Ace 1958
15. High Blood Pressure – Huey (Piano) Smith & The Clowns – Ace 1958
16. Loberta – Huey Smith – Unissued Ace 1958
17. Sea Cruise – Huey Smith – Unissued Ace 1958
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #670

Air Week: March 6-12, 2023

Camille Howard
“Boogie Woogie Chanteuse”

The pre-Rock n’ Roll era is full of unsung performers who’s style directly impacted those who came after. This week’s “Juke In The Back” spotlight on Camille Howard is one such example. Her boogie woogie piano style was inventive, fluid and pure joy. It left a lasting impression on Ike Turner, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. As heard on last week’s program, Howard rose to fame as the pianist for Roy Milton & His Solid Senders in the mid-1940s. Their breakthrough smash, “R.M. Blues” featured her fantastic piano style and the public took notice. Soon, Art Rupe of Specialty Records had her releasing solo records under The Camille Howard Trio while she remained with Roy Milton. Matt The Cat will dig into Howard’s best work with The Solid Senders as well as her solo material up through 1956, when she left music for good. Camille Howard, along with Hadda Brooks must be remembered as pioneering instrumentalists in the developing field of Rhythm & Blues, which of course led to the birth of Rock n’ Roll. Camille Howard’s star shines on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. R.M. Blues – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Juke Box 1946
3. Camille’s Boogie – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1947
4. Thrill Me – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1947
5. X-Temporaneous Boogie – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1948
6. You Don’t Love Me – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1948
7. The Mood I’m In – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1949
8. Fiesta In Old Mexico – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1949
9. O Sole Mio Boogie – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1950
10. Shrinking Up Fast – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1950
11. That’s The One For Me – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1950
12. Money Blues – Camille Howard & Her Boy Friends – Specialty 1951
13. GREAT 78 – I’m Blue – Camille Howard Trio – Specialty 1950
14. Excite Me Daddy – Camille Howard – Federal 1953
15. Are You Losing Your Mind – Camille Howard – Federal 1953
16. Business Woman – Camille Howard – Vee-Jay 1956
17. Mr. Fine – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Miltone 1947
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #669

Air Week: February 27-March 5, 2023

Roy Milton

The “Juke In The Back” is proud to shine the spotlight on one of the granddads of Rock n’ Roll, Roy Milton. His group, The Solid Senders, was composed of top-notch musicians, including Camille Howard, who was one of the greatest boogie woogie pianists of all-time. Milton, a drummer, songwriter, singer and bandleader who was part Native American and part African American. He was the first artist signed to Art Rupe’s Juke Box Records in 1945 and after scoring an enormous hit in 1946 with “R.M. Blues,” made the transition over to Rupe’s next label, the trend-setting Specialty Records. Between Rupe’s two labels, Milton started his own Miltone Records in order to showcase his recordings and those of his contemporaries. He was one of Specialty’s biggest acts, remaining with the label until 1955 and scoring 17 charting singles along the way. Matt The Cat is going to make sure Roy Milton gets the respect he deserves on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. To Be Alone Blues – Roy Milton’s Sextet – Hamp-Tone 1945
3. I’ll Always Be In Love With You – Roy Milton’s Sextet – Hamp-Tone 1945
4. Milton’s Boogie – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Juke Box 1946
5. R.M. Blues – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Juke Box 1946
6. Rainy Day Confession Blues Pt. 1 – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Miltone 1946
7. Red Light – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Miltone 1946
8. True Blues – Roy Milton and His Solid Senders – Specialty 1947
9. Keep A Dollar In Your Pocket – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1948
10. Hop, Skip, and Jump – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1948
11. Huckle-Buck – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1949
12. Information Blues – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1950
13. GREAT 78 – Everything I Do Is Wrong – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1948
14. Oh Babe! – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1950
15. I Have News For You – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1951
16. Best Wishes – Roy Milton & His Solid Senders – Specialty 1951
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #668

Air Week: February 20-26, 2023

Billy Wright: Prince of the Blues

He was flamboyant, over-the-top and often called the “Prince of the Blues,” but Billy Wright was also an incredible, influential vocalist and an integral part in propelling Rhythm & Blues into the mainstream. Though he wouldn’t be able to transition to Rock n’ Roll, the new music he was helping to create, his influence shined bright in that of Little Richard, both in singing style and on-stage persona. Born and raised in Atlanta, Wright remained in that city until the day he died. He got his start dancing and singing as part of the Bailey’s 81 Theater stage show and later, their traveling troupe which played summer tent shows across the South and Midwest. After cutting out on his own, he was the opening act one night for Charles Brown, Wynonie Harris and Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams. Williams was so impressed with Wright, that he helped him get signed to Savoy Records. Billy Wright scored 4 hits for Savoy from late 1949 to early 1952 and even though he stopped recording after ’59, Wright never stopped performing. This week, Matt The Cat, digs up the true story of one of music’s first openly gay artists who helped pave the way for the energy, flamboyance and glitter that soon become commonplace in Rock n’ Roll. Billy Wright is the feature on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Blues For My Baby – Billy Wright – Savoy 1949
3. You Satisfy – Billy Wright – Savoy 1949
4. Billy’s Boogie Blues – Billy Wright – Savoy 1949
5. Back Biting Woman – Billy Wright – Savoy 1950
6. After Dark Blues – Billy Wright – Savoy 1950
7. Empty Hands – Billy Wright – Savoy 1950
8. Keep Your Hands On Your Heart – Billy Wright – Savoy 1950
9. Stacked Deck – Billy Wright – Savoy 1951
10. Mercy, Mercy – Billy Wright – Savoy 1951
11. Heh Little Girl – Billy Wright – Savoy 1951
12. Gotta Find My Baby – Billy Wright – Savoy 1951
13. GREAT 78 – Turn Your Lamps Down Low – Billy Wright – Savoy 1951
14. Married Woman’s Boogie – Billy Wright – Savoy 1952
15. Every Evening – Billy Wright – Savoy 1952
16. Do Something For Me – Billy Wright – Recorded Live at The Harlem Theater in Atlanta, 1952

Episode #667

Air Week: February 13-19, 2023

The Treniers

There were so many influential Rhythm & Blues artists who had a great impact on the development of Rock n’ Roll, but were never able to profit from the new genre they helped to create. The Treniers were just one such group. Their core were the twins Cliff and Claude Trenier, who were later joined by their younger brothers Milt and Buddy. Their sound formed a great bridge from the swing bands of the 1940s to the rock n’ roll jump combos of the early ’50s. Matt The Cat digs up Claude Trenier’s first records as a vocalist for The Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra as well as some early singles for the legendary Charles Mingus. We’ll dig into The Trenier Twins’ early sides for Mercury Records and then rock, roll and swing to their hep sides for the Okeh label. The Treniers only scored one national R&B hit, but they left their mark on the new music they helped to create and popularize; Rock n’ Roll. The Treniers’ story lights up this week’s “Juke In The Back” with Matt The Cat..

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. That Someone Must Be You – Jimmie Lunceford Orchestra – Decca 1944
3. Young Man’s Blues Pt. 1 – Claude Trenier With The Lamplighter All-Stars – Lamplighter 1946
4. Ain’t Jivin’ Blues – Charlie Mingus Sextet – Excelsior 1946
5. Buzz Buzz Buzz – The Trenier Twins – Mercury 1947
6. My Convertible Cadillac – The Trenier Twins – Mercury 1948
7. Everybody Get Together – The Treniers – London 1950
8. Go! Go! Go! – The Treniers – Okeh 1951 – June ’51
9. It Rocks, It Rolls, It Swings – The Treniers – Okeh 1952
10. Hadacol (That’s All) – The Treniers – Okeh 1952
11. Poon-Tang! – The Treniers – Okeh 1952
12. Rockin’ Is Our Business – The Treniers – Okeh 1953
13. GREAT 78 – The Moondog – The Treniers – Okeh 1952
14. This Is It – The Treniers – Okeh 1953
15. Rock Bottom – Milt Trenier & His Solid Six – RCA Victor 1953
16. (Uh! Oh!) Get Out Of The Car – The Treniers – Okeh 1955
17. Rock n’ Roll Call – The Treniers – Epic 1956
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #666

Air Week: February 6-12, 2023

Hadda Brooks

Hadda Brooks is one of the most talented boogie woogie musicians of all-time, yet her name doesn’t come up nearly as often as Pete Johnson, Champion Jack Dupree or Professor Longhair. That’s a shame! This week, the “Juke In The Back” sets the record straight with a heavy dose of the “Queen Of The Boogie.” All three of her R&B hits will be played as well as some of her tunes with Pete Johnson and Smokey Hogg. So grab a nickel, a glass of bourbon and your dancin’ shoes, as the “Juke In The Back” spotlights Hadda Brooks.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. You Better Believe It – Paul Gayten – Checker 1956
3. Bluesy Me – Dave Collins & The Scrubs – Imperial 1954
4. Swingin’ The Boogie – Hadda Brooks – Modern 1945
5. That’s My Desire – Hadda Brooks – Modern 1947 – #4
6. Out Of The Blue – Hadda Brooks – Modern 1948 – #9
7. Variety Boogie – Hadda Brooks & Pete Johnson – Modern 1948
8. What Have I Done? – Hadda Brooks – Modern 1948 – #3
9. Long Tall Mama – Smokey Hogg – Modern 1948 – #9
10. Little School Girl – Smokey Hogg – Modern 1950 – #5
11. Jump Back Honey – Hadda Brooks – Okeh 1952
12. All Night Long – Hadda Brooks – Okeh 1952
13. Great 78 – Humoresque Boogie – Hadda Brooks – Modern 1947
14. Brooks Boogie – Hadda Brooks – Okeh 1953
15. Stinkin’ Drunk – Gene Phillips – Modern 1947
16. Such A Night – Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Atlantic 1954
17. Cuttin’ Out – Annie Laurie With The Paul Gayten Orch. – Regal 1949
18. Goodbye Baby – Little Caesar with Que Martyn & His Orch. – Recorded In Hollywood 1952
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #665

Air Week: January 30-February 5, 2023

Smiley Lewis

There are so many forgotten legends along Rhythm & Blues’ evolutionary highway. This week, the “Juke In The Back” looks at the great Smiley Lewis, another influential force out of New Orleans that time has chosen to forget. Lewis was born Overton Lemons, but took the name “Lewis” along with the nickname “Smiley” which poked fun at his missing teeth. He played the New Orleans clubs and cut his first single for DeLuxe Records in 1947. After it failed to go anywhere, Lewis was fortunate enough to fall into admiration of bandleader and Imperial Records talent scout, Dave Bartholomew. After signing to Imperial in 1950, it would be 2 years before Lewis would have his first national hit with “The Bells Are Ringing.” He’d fail to chart again for another 3 years even though his recordings were jumpin’, catchy and selling well in New Orleans and the South. 1955 saw his biggest success with the #2 R&B smash, “I Hear You Knockin’.” He’d have 2 more R&B hits before his star faded by 1957. Lewis recorded many Bartholomew compositions, such as the original “Blue Monday” and “One Night,” but Fats Domino (another of Bartholomew’s discoveries) and Elvis would have hits with those songs respectively. Bartholomew once called Smiley Lewis a “hard luck singer,” due to the fact that didn’t have an extended career, even though he laid down some of the greatest tunes of the 1950s. Matt The Cat spins those 78s on this week on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Here Comes Smiley – Smiley Lewis – DeLuxe 1947
3. Tee-Nah-Nah – Smiley Lewis & His Sextet – Imperial 1950
4. Slide Me Down – Smiley Lewis & His Sextet – Imperial 1950
5. If You Ever Loved A Woman – Smiley Lewis & His Sextet – Imperial 1950
6. The Bells Are Ringing – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1952
7. Lillie Mae – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1952
8. Gumbo Blues – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1952
9. Big Mamou – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1953
10. Caldonia’s Party – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1953
11. Blue Monday – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1954
12. Too Many Drivers – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1954
13. GREAT 78 – (I Love You) For Sentimental Reasons – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1954
14. I Hear You Knocking – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1955
15. Bumpity Bump – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1955
16. One Night – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1956
17. Please Listen To Me – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1956
18. She’s Got Me Hook, Line & Sinker – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1956
19. Shame, Shame, Shame – Smiley Lewis – Imperial 1957
20. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #664

Air Week: January 23-29, 2023

Swing Time Records

In the fall of 1949, Down Beat Records owner Jack Lauderdale had a problem. DownBeat Magazine was threatening to sue him over the use of the name. Unsure of a new name, Lauderdale decide to use Swing as a placeholder along with Swing Beat Records before finally settling on Swing Time Records in March of 1950. Besides the name, not much changed at the company. Lauderdale continued to release material he had bought up from labels going out of business, such as Supreme Records, Exclusive, Excelsior and Gilt-Edge, while also scoring hits with Lowell Fulson, Ray Charles and his newcomer A&R man, Lloyd Glenn. Fulson and Glenn scored #1 records for Swing Time in 1950 and ’51, respectively, but without fostering new talent, Lauderdale’s sales were flat and Swing Time went out of business in 1954. This week, Matt The Cat tells the story of Swing Time Records, a label that may have only lasted for a short time, but is still talked about today. So grab some nickels and prepare to drop a stack of shellac on the Swing Time Label on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. The New Look – Jimmy Witherspoon – Swing 1949
3. Levee Blues – Lloyd Glenn & Trio – Swing 1949
4. Rocket Boogie “88”, Pt. 2 – Pete Johnson – Swing Time 1950
5. Radar Blues – Joe Turner’s Orch Featuring Pete Johnson at the Piano – Swing Time 1950
6. Everyday I Have The Blues – Lowell Fulson’s Combo Featuring Lloyd Glenn at the “88” – Swing Time 1950
7. Blue Shadows – Lowell Fulson – Swing Time 1950
8. Old Time Shuffle Blues- Lloyd Glenn w/ The Fulson Unit – Swing Time 1950
9. Baby Let Me Hold Your Hand – Ray Charles Trio – Swing Time 1951
10. Chica Boo – Lloyd Glenn – Swing Time 1951
11. Rockin’ Man – Jimmy McCracklin & His Blues Blasters – Swing Time 1951
12. Kissa Me Baby – Ray Charles & Orch – Swing Time 1952
13. GREAT 78 – Korea Blues – Clifford Blivens – Swing Time 1950
14. Love Me Til Your Dying Day – The Muskateers (sic) – Swing Time 1953
15. End Of The Road – Play Boy Thomas – Swing Time 1953
16. I Know – Hollywood Flames – Swing Time 1953
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #663

Air Week: January 16-22, 2023

1953 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 1953. 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 The Clovers, Eddie Boyd and The Coronets. The juke will also be jumpin’ with top tunes from Faye Adams, Johnny Ace and Big Joe Turner. 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 1953 Rhythm Review on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Please Love Me – B. B. King & His Orch – RPM 1953
3. Good Lovin’ – The Clovers – Atlantic 1953
4. The Clock – Johnny Ace – Duke 1953
5. Third Degree – Eddie Boyd – Chess 1953
6. Crying In The Chapel – Sonny Til & The Orioles – Jubilee 1953
7. Nadine – The Coronets – Chess 1953
8. Shake A Hand – Faye Adams w/ Joe Morris Orch – Herald 1953
9. One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer – Amos Milburn & His Aladdin Chickenshakers – Aladdin 1953
10. Blues With A Feeling – Little Walter & His Jukes – Checker 1953
11. Rags To Riches – The Dominoes – Federal 1953
12. Money Honey – Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Atlantic 1953
13. GREAT 78 – Drunk – Jimmy Liggins & His 3-D Music – Specialty 1953
14. Marie – The Four Tunes – Jubilee 1953
15. I Had A Notion – Joe Morris & His Orch w/ Alan Savage – Herald 1953
16. Honey Hush – Joe Turner – Atlantic 1953
17. I’ll Be True – Faye Adams & Joe Morris Orch – Herald 1953
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #662

Air Week: January 9-15, 2023

1953 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 1953. 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 Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, The Emitt Slay Trio and King Pleasure. The juke will also be jumpin’ with top tunes from The “5” Royales, Ruth Brown and Fats Domino. 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 1953 Rhythm Review on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Kings Of Rhythm – Mercury 1947
2. Baby Don’t Do It – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1953
3. Dream Girl – Jesse & Marvin – Specialty 1953
4. Soft – Tiny Bradshaw – King 1953
5. My Kind Of Woman – Emitt Slay Trio – Savoy 1953
6. (Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean – Ruth Brown – Atlantic 1953
7. Red Top – King Pleasure w/ Betty Carter & Charlie Ferguson Band – Prestige 1953
8. Hound Dog – Willie Mae “Big Mama” Thornton – Peacock 1953
9. Going To The River – Fats Domino – Imperial 1953
10. I Wanna Know – The Du Droppers – RCA Victor 1953
11. Bear Cat – Rufus “Hound Dog” Thomas Jr. – Sun 1953
12. I’m Mad – Willie Mabon – Chess 1953
13. GREAT 78 – Gabbin’ Blues – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1953
14. Is It A Dream – The Vocaleers – Red Robin 1953
15. Help Me Somebody – The “5” Royales – Apollo 1953
16. Dragnet Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Modern 1953
17. Get It – The Royals – Federal 1953
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #661

Air Week: January 2-8, 2023

Charles Brown: 1949-52

Charles Brown was the “King of Smoky Blues” for over 50 years. Growing up in Texas City, TX, he studied classical piano while focusing his interests on science, becoming a chemistry teacher for a short time. A move to Los Angeles in 1943, hooked him up with Johnny Moore, who hired him to sing and play piano with The Three Blazers. Right out of the gate, they scored a huge, #2 R&B record in 1946 with “Driftin’ Blues” and would go on to hit the top ten no less than 10 times over the next 2 years. This week’s “Juke In The Back” focuses on Charles Brown’s career after he left Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers in 1948. As a solo artist, Brown kept the hits coming, racking up 5 top 10 records in 1949 alone. He scored 2 #1s with “Trouble Blues” in ’49 and “Black Night” in ’51, 2 of the best selling records in their respective years of release. Brown’s star began to fade as Rock n’ Roll entered the mainstream during the mid-’50s, but he would have a giant comeback in the 1980s and ’90s, finally getting inducted into the Rock n’ Roll Hall Of Fame in ’99. Matt The Cat examines his hit-making years of 1949-52 on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Johnny Moore’s Three Blazer’s Medley Of Hits w/ Charles Brown – Philo, Modern & Exclusive Records 1946-48
3. Get Yourself Another Fool – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
4. Long Time – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
5. It’s Nothing – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
6. Trouble Blues – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
7. Honey Keep Your Mind On Me – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
8. In The Evening When The Sun Goes Down – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
9. Homesick Blues – Charles Brown & His Smarties – Aladdin 1949
10. Let’s Have A Ball – Charles Brown & His Smarties – Aladdin 1949
11. I’ll Miss You – Charles Brown w/ Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1949
12. My Baby’s Gone – Charles Brown & His Band – Aladdin 1950
13. GREAT 78 – Oh! Oh! Sugar – Charles Brown Trio – Aladdin 1949
14. Black Night – Charles Brown & His Band – Aladdin 1951
15. I’ll Always Be In Love With You – Charles Brown & His Band – Aladdin 1951 16. Seven Long Days – Charles Brown & His Band – Aladdin 1951
17. Hard Times – Charles Brown & His Band – Aladdin 1952
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #660

Air Week: December 26, 2022-January 1, 2023

Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers

This week’s “Juke In The Back” is dedicated to one of the true unsung heroes of 1940s and ’50s rhythm & blues, Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers. The group is mostly remembered as the springboard for vocalist/pianist Charles Brown and today they are generally only recognized for their 1946 smash, “Driftin’ Blues.” However, back in the late 1940s, The Three Blazers scored R&B hit after hit. Between Johnny Moore’s influential guitar licks and Charles Brown’s tasty piano, The Three Blazers were at the top of their genre. However, their sound fell out of favor as soon as the blues shouters and jump blues combos took over, setting the stage for the coming rock n’ roll explosion. Their first records were made for the tiny Atlas label in 1944 and featured an uncredited Frankie Laine on vocals. They then backed up Ivory Joe Hunter in 1945, before Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers hit the bigtime in 1946. Matt The Cat will cover Johnny Moore’s years with Charles Brown as well as those following Brown’s departure. This week’s “Juke In The Back” is the definitive look at Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers, vintage R&B icons.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Melancholy Madeline – Oscar Moore w/ The Three Blazers – Atlas 1944
3. Blues At Sunrise – Ivory Joe Hunter w/ Johnny Moore’s 3 Blazers – Exclusive 1945
4. Driftin’ Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Philo 1946
5. Sunny Road – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1946
6. So Long – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Modern 1946
7. New Orleans Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1947
8. Changeable Woman Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1947
9. Groovy Movie Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1948
10. Jilted Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1948
11. More Than You Know – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Modern 1948
12. Lonesome Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1948
13. GREAT 78 – Johnny Ace’s Last Letter – Johnny Moore’s Blazers – Hollywood 1955
14. Where Can I Find My Baby – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1949
15. Walkin’ Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – RCA Victor 1949
16. Dragnet Blues – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Modern 1953
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #659

Air Week: December 19-25, 2022

Rhythm & Blues Christmas, Pt. 2 (Leftovers & New Year’s Resolutions)

Matt The Cat has dug up some more R&B Christmas treasures and added a few tunes about New Years for this week’s continuation of the “Juke In The Back” R&B Christmas Spectacular. The holiday juke is jumpin’ with cool tunes by Big John Greer, Champion Jack Dupree, Lowell Fulson, The Moonglows, Marvin & Johnny and many more. The range of topics is wide, from dancing Santas to lonely Christmases to making up with your baby on New Year’s Eve. Miss Rosie stops by with her New Year’s resolution. So get hungry for some Christmas leftovers and plan to end 2022 on a high note with Matt The Cat on the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Far Away Christmas Blues – Little Esther With The Johnny Otis Orch – Savoy 1950
3. It’s Christmas – Marvin & Johnny  – Aladdin 1958
4. Santa Claus Blues – Champion Jack Dupree – Davis 1945
5. Santa Claus Got Stuck In My Chimney – Ella Fitzgerald – Decca 1950
6. We Wanna To See Santa Do The Mambo – Big John Greer – Groove 1955
7. Lonesome Christmas – Lowell Fulson – Swingtime 1950
8. Just A Lonely Christmas – The Moonglows – Chance 1953
9. I’ll Miss You This Christmas – Marvin & The Chips – Virginia 1955
10. Be Bop Santa Claus – Babs Gonzales – Bruce 1954
11. Mr. Santa’s Boogie – The Marshall Brothers – Savoy 1951
12  Wonderful Christmas Night – Dan Grissom – Jewel (Unissued) 1948
13. GREAT 78 – Merry Xmas – Little Willie Littlefield – Modern 1949
14. Hello, Mr. New Year – The Coolbreezers – Bale 1958
15. Happy New Year Baby – Johnny Otis & His Orch – Excelsior 1947
16. Ringing In A Brand New Year – Billy Ward & His Dominoes – Federal 1953
17. What Are You Doing New Year’s Eve – The Orioles – Jubilee 1950
18. After New Year’s Eve – The Heartbeats – Gee 1957
19. White Christmas – Charlie Parker – Recorded Live, 12/25/1948

Episode #658

Air Week: December 12-18, 2022

Rhythm & Blues Christmas, Pt. 1

It’s the Holiday Season, so why not grab a glass of ‘nog, sit back and relax and dig on some great vintage Rhythm & Blues Christmas tunes. This entire “Juke In The Back” is loaded with fantabulous Christmas records from the late 1940s and 1950s. It’s the yuletide soul that came before rock n’ roll. From the all-time classics by Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters and The Orioles to some rarer Christmas plattahs from Amos Milburn, JB Summers and The Five Keys. So get all lit up like a Christmas Tree and groove to the Cool Yule with Matt The Cat.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Rockin N Rollin With Santa Claus – The Hepsters – Ronel 1955
3. Jingle Jangle – The Penguins – Mercury 1955
4. Christmas In Jail – The Youngsters – Empire 1956
5. Boogie Woogie Santa Claus – Mabel Scott – Excelsior 1948
6. Hey Santa Claus – The Moonglows – Chance 1953
7. Christmas Date Boogie – Joe Turner – Downbeat 1948
8. Dig That Crazy Santa Claus – Oscar McLollie – Modern 1954
9. Christmas In Heaven – Billy Ward & His Dominoes – Federal 1953
10. Christmas Spirits – Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends – Capitol 1947
11. Rudolph, The Red-Nosed Reindeer – The Cadillacs – Josie 1956
12. (It’s Gonna Be A) Lonely Christmas – The Orioles – Jubilee 1949
13. I Want A Present For Xmas – J.B. Summers & The Blues Shouters – Gotham 1949
14. GREAT 78 – Let’s Make Christmas Merry, Baby – Amos Milburn – Aladdin 1950
15. It’s Christmas Time – The Five Keys – Aladdin 1951
16. White Christmas – Clyde McPhatter & The The Drifters – Atlantic 1954
17. Merry Christmas Baby – Johnny Moore’s Three Blazers – Exclusive 1947
18. Silent Night – The Ravens – National 1948
19. White Christmas – Charlie Parker – Recorded Live, 12/25/1948

Episode #657

Air Week: December 5-11, 2022

Down Beat Records

This week, “Juke In The Back” focuses on Down Beat Records, another of the early, small, independent R&B record labels. Afro-American businessman Jack Lauderdale founded the label in Los Angeles in 1947, after working the market as a small distributer. He built a roster of artists along with aquiring the rights to masters from other little labels that were going out of business. He could cut costs by reissuing those sides with better distribution than the original labels had. Right off the bat, he had jazz tenor great, Lucky Thompson and a very promising young bluesman, Lowell Fulson. Soon, Jay McShann’s group would be Down Beat’s house band and McShann would bring his current vocalist, Jimmy Witherspoon with him. Throw in a few seldom heard bluesmen; Felix Gross and Sylvester Mike and the legendary team of Joe Turner and Pete Johnson and you’ve got the building blocks for a spectacular R&B record label. Lauderdale was fortunate enough to discover and record a young Ray Charles and his group, The Maxim Trio. Their, “Confession Blues” hit #2 in the spring of 1949, giving Down Beat a tremendous hit record. In October, Lauderdale was forced to rename the label after DownBeat, the popular jazz magazine, threatened a lawsuit. In a future “Juke In The Back,” Matt The Cat will explore Lauderdale’s Swing Beat and Swing Time record labels, but this week we focus on where it all began with Down Beat Records.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Dodo’s Bounce – Lucky Thompson’s Quartet – Down Beat 1947
3. He’s My Rock – Five Soul Stirrers – Down Beat 1947
4. Don’t Make Me Late, Baby – Felix Gross & His Sextette – Down Beat 1948
5. Crying Blues – Lowell Fulson & Trio – Down Beat 1948
6. Television Blues – Lowell Fulson & Trio – Down Beat 1948
7. You Can’t Do That No More – Felix Gross & His Sextette – Down Beat 1948
8. Thinking About My Baby – Lois Booker – Down Beat 1948
9. Tell Me Pretty Baby – Joe Turner’s Orch w/ Pete Johnson at the “88” – Down Beat 1948
10. Rubber Leg Woman – Sylvester Mike – Down Beat 1948
11. Call My Baby – Jimmy Witherspoon – Down Beat – 1948
12. M. R. Boogie – Maxine Reed and the D.B. All Stars – Down Beat 1948
13. GREAT 78 – Hot Biscuits – Jay McShann & The Band The Jumps The Blues – Down Beat 1948
14. Skid Row Boogie – The Pete Johnson Sextette – Down Beat 1949
15. Confession Blues – The Maxim Trio – Down Beat 1949
16. Come Back Baby – Lowell Fulson & His Trio – Down Beat 1949
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #656

Air Week: November 28-December 4, 2022

B. B. King

The “Juke In The Back” pays its respects to a true musical icon, B.B. King. Riley B. King was raised on plantations as his mother was a sharecropper. He wanted to play guitar and sing on the radio like his mother’s cousin, Bukka White. He moved from Mississippi to Memphis in the mid-’40s to pursue his dream and finally in 1948, Riley got his big break, filling in for blues harpist Sonny Boy Williamson on his radio program. Soon, Riley became the “Beale Street Blues Boy” and later just “Blues Boy” or “B.B” and scored his own radio show on WDIA. Matt The Cat focuses on B.B.’s first records for Nashville’s Bullet Records and LA’s RPM label. His early sides were cut in Memphis with Sam Phillips at the controls. After a few years of non-charting records, B.B. hit the big time with a smokin’ #1 R&B hit, “Three O’Clock Blues” at the beginning of 1952. From there, he would score 3 more #1s. “Juke In The Back” features all of B.B. King’s great R&B hits from 1949-1955. Many of these you never get to hear these days. B.B. had a life of accomplishments as a great ambassador for the blues. We know how great he became and on this week’s program, we’ll see just where he started from.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Miss Martha King – B. B. King – Bullet 1949
3. Mistreated Woman – B. B. King – RPM 1950
4. 3 O’Clock Blues – B. B. King – RPM 1951
5. You Know I Love You – B. B. King – RPM 1952
6. Story From My Heart And Soul – B. B. King – RPM 1952
7. Woke Up This Morning (My Baby, She Was Gone) – B. B. King – RPM 1953
8. Please Love Me – B. B. King & His Orch.– RPM 1953
9. Please Hurry Home – B. B. King & His Orch. – RPM 1953
10. When My Heart Beats Like A Hammer – B. B. King & His Orch. – RPM 1954
11. You Upset Me Baby – B. B. “Blues Boy” King & His Orch. – RPM 1954
12. Whole Lotta’ Love – B. B. “Blues Boy” King & His Orch – RPM 1954
13. GREAT 78 – B. B. Blues – B. B. King – RPM 1951
14. Every Day I Have The Blues – B. B. “Blues Boy” King & His Orch. – RPM 1955
15. Sneakin’ Around – B. B. “Blues Boy” King & “The Kings Men” – RPM 1955
16. Ten Long Years – B. B. “Blues Boy” King & His Orch. – RPM 1955
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #655

Air Week: November 21-27, 2022

Pookie Hudson (The Spaniels)

Pookie Hudson spent his entire life close to the music he loved. Growing up in Gary, Indiana, he spent his younger days trying to emulate the sound of BIlly Williams, the leader of the Charioteers. In high school, he began to develop his own style using his falsetto with just a touch of quiver to drive the girls crazy. Soon, he and his new group, The Spaniels were in the studio cutting a record for the newly formed Gary-based Vee-Jay label, owned by DJ Vivian Carter and her soon-to-be husband Jimmy Bracken. “Baby It’s You,” heavily based on Shirley & Lee’s “I’m Gone” started getting local radio play and began to take off nationally. Vee-Jay couldn’t handle the early distribution, so they leased it out to Chance Records in Chicago. When Chance folded soon after, Vee-Jay managed to get the single to #10 R&B nationally. Quite a success for a young label and group from Indiana. Unlike many vocal groups of this era, The Spaniels were able to match their vocal greatness with chart success and sales. “Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite,” “You Painted Pictures” and “Everyone’s Laughing” would grace the charts between 1953-58. Matt The Cat had the pleasure of interviewing the great Pookie Hudson in July, 2006, just six month before his death at the age of 72. On this week’s special “Juke In The Back,” Matt features clips from that interview to shed some light on the man, the group and the circumstances that made those songs so memorable.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Pookie Hudson Interview 1
3. Baby It’s You – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay & Chance 1953
4. Pookie Hudson Interview 2
5. Bounce – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay & Chance 1953
6. Bells Ring Out – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1953
7. Let’s Make Up – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1954
8. Pookie Hudson Interview 3
9. Goodnite, Sweetheart, Goodnite – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1953
10. Pookie Hudson Interview 4
11. You Painted Pictures – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1955
12. Don’cha Go – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1955
13. GREAT 78 – You Don’t Move Me – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1953
14. You Gave Me Peace Of Mind – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1956
15. Pookie Hudson Interview 5
16. Everyone’s Laughing – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1957
17. I Lost You – The Spaniels – Vee-Jay 1957
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #654

Air Week: November 14-20, 2022

Cab Calloway

If you’re “hep to the jive” and can “dig the scene,” then you’re in for a treat on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” Matt The Cat presents Cab Calloway: the “Father of R&B,” the “Grandfather of Rock n’ Roll” and the “Hi De Ho Man.” There is no question that Cab Calloway planted the seeds that would grow into Rhythm & Blues on his 1931 Brunswick single “Minnie The Moocher.” That song would go on to have a life of its own, inspiring sequels and re-recorded versions for the rest of Calloway’s career. The tune would be revived yet again in 1980, when it and Cab Calloway were featured in the “Blues Brothers” film. Cab accomplished so much in his career, from breaking down the color barrier in motion pictures to introducing the world to scat singing and jive talking. He had a musical language and style all his own and we celebrate the great, influential Cab Calloway on this week’s “Juke In The Back.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1931
3. St. Louis Blues – Cab Calloway & The Missourians – JSP 1930
4. St. James Infirmary – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1931
5. Kickin’ The Gong Around – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1931
6. Reefer Man – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1932
7. Chinese Rhythm – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1934
8. (Hep-Hep!) The Jumpin’ Jive – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Vocalion 1939
9. Are You Hep To The Jive – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Okeh 1940
10. Blues In The Night – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Okeh 1942
11. The Honeydripper – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Columbia 1946
12. GREAT 78 – Are You All Reet – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Okeh 1941
13. Everybody Eats When They Come To My House – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Columbia 1947
14. The Calloway Boogie – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Columbia 1948
15. Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway & His Orch – RCA 1978
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #653

Air Week: November 7-13, 2022

Cobra Records

Cobra Records left quite a bite, even thought this little West Side Chicago label was only in existence for three short years. Cobra was started by television repair shop owner Eli Toscano in the summer of 1956. Toscano was lucky enough to snag Willie Dixon from Chess Records to write, produce and scout talent for his new label. They hit gold right out of the gate, when Cobra’s first release, “I Can’t Quit You Baby” by Otis Rush went to #6 on the national R&B charts. Cobra would not score another hit record, but they are credited with popularizing the West Side blues style of their young artists; Otis Rush, Magic Sam and Buddy Guy. In fact, Magic Sam’s “All You Love” and Otis Rush’s “Double Trouble” are considered bonafied blues classics today. Betty Everett recorded her first sides for Cobra and Ike Turner recorded some of his last before forming Ike & Tina Turner. So get ready to fall under the spell of Cobra Records as Matt The Cat spins this little label’s best sides on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1931
3. St. Louis Blues – Cab Calloway & The Missourians – JSP 1930
4. St. James Infirmary – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1931
5. Kickin’ The Gong Around – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1931
6. Reefer Man – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1932
7. Chinese Rhythm – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Brunswick 1934
8. (Hep-Hep!) The Jumpin’ Jive – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Vocalion 1939
9. Are You Hep To The Jive – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Okeh 1940
10. Blues In The Night – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Okeh 1942
11. The Honeydripper – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Columbia 1946
12. GREAT 78 – Are You All Reet – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Okeh 1941
13. Everybody Eats When They Come To My House – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Columbia 1947
14. The Calloway Boogie – Cab Calloway & His Orch – Columbia 1948
15. Minnie The Moocher – Cab Calloway & His Orch – RCA 1978
16. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #652

Air Week: October 31-November 6, 2022

Big Maybelle

Big MaybelleThe “Juke In The Back” highlights the often ignored early career of Big Maybelle, one of the great female blues shouters. She was born Mabel Louise Smith in 1929 and cut her first record with Christine Chatman’s Orchestra for Decca in 1944. Mabel Smith made her first solo recordings for King in 1947 before being signed to Okeh Records by Fred Mendelsohn in 1952. He renamed her Big Maybelle and she hit the R&B charts right out of the gate with her first Okeh release, “Gabbin’ Blues.” Maybelle would score a few more hits for them before following Mendelsohn over to Savoy Records in 1956. That year, she hit the national spotlight with her interpretation of the standard, “Candy.” Matt The Cat reviews the vocal power and soul of this truly original blueswoman, Big Maybelle, on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. The Thrill Is Gone – Roy Hawkins – Modern 1951
3. Hurry Hurry – Christine Chatman & Her Orch – Decca 1944
4. Too Tight Mama – Mabel Smith – King 1947
5. Gabbin’ Blues – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1952
6. Way Back Home – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1953
7. Jimmy Mule – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1953
8. My Country Man – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1953
9. I’ve Got A Feelin’ – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1954
10. Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1955
11. One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show – Big Maybelle – Okeh 1955
12. Candy – Big Maybelle – Savoy 1956
13. GREAT 78 – Bad Dreams Blues – Mabel Smith – King 1947
14. That’s A Pretty Good Love – Big Maybelle – Savoy 1956
15. Mean To Me – Big Maybelle – Savoy 1956
16. All Night Long (Live at Newport, 1958) – Big Maybelle
17. Rock House – Big Maybelle – Savoy 1957
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #651

Air Week: October 24-30, 2022

Halloween Rhythm & Blues

This week, the ol’ Rockola Jukebox is haunted by a strange spirit of rhythm & ghouls. Where is Matt The Cat? We don’t know, but the spirit tells us he will return next week. In his absence, the “Juke In The Back” still fulfills the weekly promise of delivering a solid hour of 1940s and ’50s Rhythm & Blues, but with a Halloween theme this week. Dig on some of your old favorites by Screamin’ Jay Hawkins, LaVern Baker and The Hollywood Flames, while also getting a good fright off of seldom heard records by Mad Man Jones, The Sly Fox and Chuck Berry. Plus, a rare 1937 test pressing from Victoria Spivey makes its “Juke” debut with “Witchcraft Blues.” Also, Bobby The Bobcat returns with another spooky Halloween tale from his incredible imagination. So hang on to your souls as the haunted jukebox presents Spooky Halloween Rhythm & Blues.

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. Witchcraft Blues – Victoria Spivey – Vocalion Test Pressing 1937
3. Castin’ My Spell – The Johnny Otis Show – Captiol 1959
4. I Put A Spell On You – Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – Okeh 1956
5. Peek-A-Boo – The Cadillacs – Josie 1958
6. Spooks – Louis Armstrong – Decca 1954
7. Snake Charmer – Mad Man Jones – Mad 1958
8. Bo Meets The Monster – Bo Diddley – Checker 1958
9. King Kong – Big T Tyler – Aladdin 1957
10. Frankenstein’s Den – Hollywood Flames – Ebb 1958
11. Legend Of Sleepy Hollow – The Monotones – Argo 1958
12. Screamin’ Ball (At Dracula Hall) – The Duponts – Roulette 1958
13. GREAT 78 – The Downbound Train – Chuck Berry – Chess 1955
14. The Voodoo Man – Del Vikings – Mercury 1958
15. Hoo-Doo Say – The Sly Fox – Spark 1954
16. Voodoo Voodoo – Lavern Baker – Atlantic 1961
17. Evil – Howlin’ Wolf – Chess 1954
18. Monster’s Party – Bill Doggett – King 1959
19. Mummy’s Ball – The Verdicts – East Coast 1961
20. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #650

Air Week: October 17-23, 2022

Pee Wee Crayton

The “Juke In The Back” honors one of the greatest, yet more underrated originators of electric blues guitar: Pee Wee Crayton.  Matt The Cat digs deep into Crayton’s musical catalog and dusts off more than just his three charting R&B hits.  You’ll also get to hear the fantastic and inspired recordings he cut in New Orleans with bandleader Dave Bartholomew as well as his Vee-Jay Records sides.  Pee Wee Crayton’s story comes to life through his music on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons – Mercury 1947
2. Disc Jockey Nightmare – Earl Bostic – King 1949
3. Bip Bam – Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters – Atlantic 1954
4. Blues After Hours – Pee Wee Crayton – Modern 1948
5. Texas Hop – Pee Wee Crayton – Modern 1948
6. I Love You So – Pee Wee Crayton – Modern 1949
7. Daybreak – Pee Wee Crayton – Aladdin 1952
8. When It Rains It Pours – Pee Wee Crayton – Aladdin 1952
9. Every Dog Has His Day – Pee Wee Crayton – Imperial 1954
10. Hurry Hurry – Pee Wee Crayton – Imperial 1954
11. You Know Yeah – Pee Wee Crayton – Imperial 1955
12. Runnin’ Wild – Pee Wee Crayton – Imperial 1955
13. Great 78 – Central Avenue Blues – Pee Wee Crayton – Modern 1948
14. Telephone Is Ringing – Pee Wee Crayton – Vee-Jay 1956
15. I Found Peace Of Mind – Pee Wee Crayton – Vee-Jay 1957
16. Oh, Oh, Oh Baby – The Checkers – King 1953
17. I’m Living My Life For You – Lavern Baker – Atlantic 1954
18. I’ll Be Forever Loving You – The El Dorados – Vee-Jay 1955
19. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins – Bluebird 1946

Episode #649

Air Week: October 10-16, 2022

Little Miss Cornshucks

Little Miss Cornshucks was an influential figure in post WWII Rhythm & Blues. For one thing, she inspired Ahmet Ertegun to start Atlantic Records and when he couldn’t locate her to record her, he launched the career of Ruth Brown instead. Her version of the classic, “Try A Little Tenderness” updated 1930s torch singing by bringing it into the R&B realm, introducing Aretha Franklin and Otis Redding to the song. Lavern Baker copied Cornshucks’ country girl stage act down to the name, calling herself Little Miss Sharecropper and finding success in confusing people as to who the real Cornshucks was. Little Miss Cornshucks has an almost mythical reputation and her impact on R&B and soul is immeasurable, but she’s hardly ever mentioned today. Matt The Cat digs up the REAL Cornshucks on this week’s “Juke In The Back.” Her name was Mildred Cummings and she was born in Dayton, OH in 1923. She began recording for Marl Young’s Sunbeam label in Chicago in late 1946. Then she cut some sides for Roy Milton’s Miltone Label, as well as Aladdin, Coral and even Columbia (though those sides have never been released). Her voice is as powerful as it is personal. Her stage act was part country girl, part Vaudevillian comedienne, part torch singer and soul sister. These sides are rare and historically significant and this week, they’re jumping right out of the “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. So Long – Marl Young’s Orch w/ Little Miss Cornshucks – Sunbeam 1946
3. Gonna Leave Here Walkin’ – Marl Young’s Orch w/ Little Miss Cornshucks – Sunbeam 1946
4. Have You Ever Loved Somebody – Marl Young’s Orch w/ Little Miss Cornshucks – Sunbeam 1947
5. I Don’t Love You Anymore – Marl Young’s Orch w/ Little Miss Cornshucks – Sunbeam 1947
6. He’s Funny That Way – Little Miss Cornshucks w/ The Blenders – Miltone 1948
7. Cornshucks Blues – Little Miss Cornshucks w/ The Blenders – Miltone 1948
8. In The Rain – Little Miss Cornshucks w/ The Blenders – Miltone 1948
9. True (You Don’t Love Me) – Little Miss Cornshucks w/ The Blenders – Miltone 1948
10. Waiting In Vain – Little Miss Cornshucks & Her All-Stars – Aladdin 1949
11. Time After Time – Little Miss Cornshucks & Her All-Stars – Aladdin 1949
12. Papa Tree Top Blues – Little Miss Cornshucks w/ Benny Carter & His Orch – Coral 1950
13. GREAT 78 – When Mommy Sings A Lullaby – Marl Young’s Orch w/ Little Miss Cornshucks – Sunbeam 1947
14. Rock Me To Sleep – Little Miss Cornshucks w/ Benny Carter & His Orch – Coral 1950
15. Try A Little Tenderness – Lil’ Miss Cornshucks – Coral 1951
16. So Long – Lil’ Miss Cornshucks – Coral 1951
17. No Teasing Around – Little Miss Cornshucks – Chess 1960
18. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

Episode #648

Air Week: October 3-9, 2022

The Ravens

The “Juke In The Back” features The Ravens, an R&B vocal group that set the stage for all the groups that would follow.  With Jimmy Ricks’ bass lead and some tremendous harmony behind him, The Ravens were the predecessors to the doo wop music that would follow in the 1950s.  They formed in New York City in 1945 and quickly built a solid following, even before they had hits on the radio.  Their “Ol’ Man River,” and “Write Me A Letter” were instant smashes in 1948, but it was their non-charting “Count Every Star” that proved to be the most influential.  Music historian Billy Vera stops by the “Juke” to discuss the impact of “Count Every Star” while Matt The Cat examines the overall influence of this wonderful group.  The Ravens along with The Orioles moved vocal group singing from its gospel and Ink Spots / Mills Brothers roots into the next phase…rock n’ roll.  The Ravens story and star shine bright on this week’s “Juke In The Back.”

1. Swanee River Boogie – Albert Ammons & His Rhythm Kings – Mercury 1947
2. I Dreamt I Dwelt In Harlem – Delta Rhythm Boys – Decca 1941
3. Bye Bye Baby Blues – The Ravens – Hub 1946
4. Ol’ Man River – The Ravens – National 1947
5. Mahzel – The Ravens – National 1947
6. Write Me A Letter – The Ravens – National 1947
7. Be I Bumble Bee Or Not – The Ravens – National 1947
8. There’s No You – The Ravens – National 1948
9. September Song – The Ravens – National 1948
10. Be On Your Merry Way – The Ravens – National 1948
11. Ricky’s Blues – The Ravens – National 1949
12. GREAT 78 – The House I Live In (That’s America To Me) – The Ravens – National 1949
13. Send For Me If You Need Me – The Ravens – National 1948
14. I Don’t Have To Ride No More – The Ravens – National 1949
15. Count Every Star – The Ravens – National 1950
16. Rock Me All Night Long – The Ravens – Mercury 1952
17. After Hours – Erskine Hawkins & His Orch – Bluebird 1946

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.”