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Episode #688 – Big Joe Turner, Pt. 1 – 1938-50

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.


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Episode #687 – Frankie Lymon & The Teenagers

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.


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Episode #685 – Rhythm & Booze: Looped!

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!


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Episode #684 – Rhythm & Booze: Hey, Bartender!

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.”


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Episode #683 – Rhythm & Booze: Bad, Bad Whiskey!

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.”


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Episode #682 – Rhythm & Booze: Wine! Wine! Wine!

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.”


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Juke In The Back Promo

1940s & ’50s Rhythm & Blues

At the end of the Second World War, economics forced the big bands to trim their once great size and thus, the Jump Blues combo was born. Between 1946-1954, rhythm and blues laid the tracks for what was to become Rock n’ Roll. So how come, 70 years later, this vibrant and influential music is still so unknown to so many?

Matt The Cat is going to change that with the radio program, “Juke In The Back.” These were the records that you couldn’t hear on the jukebox in the front of the establishment. To hear all this great 1950s rhythm & blues, you had to go to “Juke In The Back.”

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Juke In The Back: Demo The Show


Click below to hear a demo episode of “Juke In The Back.”

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