Entries tagged with “Noble Watts”.



ARTISTSONGALBUM
Buddy Lucas Hustlin Family BluesTitanic And 23 Unsinkable Sax Blasters
Buddy LucasBig BerthaJubilee Honkers And Shouters
Wynonie Harris w/ Buddy Lucas Triflin' WomanRockin' The Blues
Joseph "Google Eyes" August w/ Buddy TateRock My SoulJubilee Honkers And Shouters
Rene Hall w/ Buddy Tate Blowin' AwhileJubilee Honkers And Shouters
Wynonie Harris w/ Buddy Tate Mr. Blues Is Coming To TownRockin' The Blues
Arbee Stidham w/ Hal SingerStidham JumpsHam Hocks & Cornbread
Hal Singer Buttermilk And BeansHal Singer 1948-1951
Frank Floorshow CulleyAfter Hours SessionThe Big Horn: Honkin' And Screamin' Saxophone
Jimmy Rushing w/ Frank CulleyLonesome Daddy BluesJimmy Rushing 1946-53
Frank Floorshow CulleyFloorshowThe Big Horn: Honkin' And Screamin' Saxophone
Freddie Mitchell Moondog BoogieHam Hocks & Cornbread
Honey Brown w/ Freddie MitchelRockin' And Jumpin'I'm A Bad, Bad Girl
Bullmoose Walker w/ Sam Taylor Big Fat Mamas Are Back In Style AgainThe Big Horn: Honkin' And Screamin' Saxophone
Sam "The Man" TaylorOo-WeeBlues Masters Vol. 13
Champion Jack Dupree w/ Jesse PowellFifth Avenue BluesEarly Cuts
Fluffy Hunter w/ Jesse PowellThe Walkin' BluesThe R&B Hits of 1952
Jesse PowellHot BoxThe R&B Years
Sammy Price w/ King CurtisJuke Joint Rib Joint
Roy Gaines w/ King Curtis Dat Dat De Dum DumGroove Jumping
H-Bomb Ferguson w/ Charlie SingletonRock H-Bomb, RockRock H-Bomb, Rock
Charlie SingletonBlow Mr. SingletonHam Hocks And Cornbread
Eddie “Cleanhead” VinsonI'm Gonna Wind Your ClockHonk For Texas
Eddie “Cleanhead” VinsonBald Headed BluesHonk For Texas
Sil AustinSubamarine MamaTitanic And 23 Unsinkable Sax Blasters
Sil Austin & Red Prysock No. 1 SilBattle Royal
Noble “Thin Man” Watts Hard Times (The Slop)Scratchin': The Wild Jimmy Spruill Story
Paul Williams35-30 (Thirty-Five-Thirty)Paul Williams Vol.1 1947 -1949
Tiny Bradshaw w/ Red Prysiock Bradshaw BoogieBreakin' Up the House
Warren Lucky Paradise Rock Thunderbolt!
Little Willie John w/ Willis JacksonAll Around The WorldFever
Willis JacksonWine-O-WineThe Big Horn: Honkin' & Screamin' Saxophone
Johnny Hodges With Big Al Sears Castle RockThe Big Horn: Honkin' & Screamin' Saxophone
Morris Lane Bobby's BoogieBobby's Boogie: Red Robin Records

Show Notes:

Blow Man BlowToday's show is part two our look at some great New York based sax men who's honkin' sound was heard on hundreds of records in the 40's and 50's. This show is one of several sax based shows this year starting a few months ago with one based in Chicago , followed two spotlighting some great L.A. Horn blowers. Illinois Jacquet is cited as the one who kicked off the era of honkin' sax in 1945 with his famous solo on "Flying Home" while working with Lionel Hampton's band. As Big Jay McNeely said of of the songe, "every time we picked up our horns we were just elaborating on that, trying to make it bigger, wilder, give it more swing, more kick. If you want to know where rhythm and blues began, that's it brother."  Today we spin some great honkin' sax records, some cut by the horn men themselves and others featuring their raucous playing behind some great blues singers, both well known and obscure. The records were issued on a myriad of small New York independent labels labels such as Atlas, Derby, Coral,  Apollo, Groove, Savoy and bigger players such as King and Atlantic. Among those featured today are legendary horn men such as Hal Singr and Freddie Mitchell who played on countless sessions as well as recording some exciting sides under their own names. Then there were sax men primarily know for their session work such as the prolific Sam “The Man” Taylor, Budd Johnson and Big Al Sears. There were the sax men who lead their own band and were stars in their own right such as Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson, Paul “Hucklebuck” Williams, Red Prysock, Earl Bostic and Bullmoose Jackson. Others heard today include the incendiary Noble “Thin Man” Watts, the rising star King Curtis, Willis “Gator” Jackson, Buddy Lucas, Frank Culley, Sil Austin, Buddy Tate, Jesse Powell and others. We'll provide some background on some of today's artists that we didn't discuss last week.

From the late 1940s onward, Buddy Lucas was a much-in-demand session saxophonist who also recorded quite a few vocal sides. Lucas made his first (vocal) recordings in 1951, for Jerry Blaine's Jubilee label, where he also became leader of the house band. After the first release, "Soppin' Molasses"/"Whoppin' Blues" (Jubilee 5058), Frank CulleyBuddy renamed the combo "The Band Of Tomorrow". In 1953 Buddy moved to RCA, where he had two singles released on the parent label and three on its subsidiary Groove. Until 1964, Lucas went on to record for a host of other labels. The list of artists on whose records he has played is very long and includes Nappy Brown, Big Joe Turner,, LaVern Baker, Mickey and Sylvia,Big Maybelle, Bill Doggett, Little Willie John, Ray Charles, Aretha Franklin, among many others.

Buddy Tate began his professional career in the late 1920s playing around the Southwest in bands led by Terrence Holder, Andy Kirk, and Nat Towles. For a brief period in 1934 he played with the Count Basie Band who he recorde with in 1939. Tate decided to leave the band, hoping to tour less and perform closer to his home in New York. Eventually Tate secured residency for his own band in 1953 at the Celebrity Club on 125th Street in Harlem, a position he held for twenty-one years. He did a fair bit of session work on R&B sessions for sveral New York labels.

Frank Culley began learning the tenor sax at the age of 10 and made his first professional mark playing with Johnson's Happy Pals around Richmond, Virginia. He formed his own R&B group in the mid-40s, recording for the Lenox label in NYC and backing Wynonie Harris on King. In 1948, he was signed by Atlantic and led its first house band, backing the early stars of R&B as well as recording some thirty tracks under his own name. Culley's first release on Atlantic, "Coleslaw", was a # 11 R&B hit in 1949. The follow-up was "Floorshow" the song gave him his nickname. The next single, "After Hour Session" went to # 10 on the R&B charts. Culley recorded for RCA Victor, Parrot, Chess and Baton without success.

Texas tenorman Jesse Powell worked his early years with Hot Lips Page, Louis Armstrong, and Luis Russell. He joined Count Basie's Band in 1946, replacing the great sax player Illinois Jacquet. Powell appears on a number of blues recordings in the late 1940s with people like Brownie McGhee, Willie Jordan, and Doc Pomus. He also worked with Champion Jack Dupree and continued to play jazz, touring France with Howard McGee in 1948. He played bop and recorded with Dizzy Gillespie in 1949. During the 1950s, as bebop fell out of favor, Powell found steady work with a variety of R&B artists. He recorded as a leader for Federal in 1951 and 1953 and had established himself with the Josie label by 1954.

Sil Austin & Red PrysockBorn in Kansas City around 1930, alto and tenor saxophonist Charlie Singleton he started making records under his own name in New York City at the age of 19 for the Apollo label. Singleton made a handful of recordings in 1950 and recorded sides for the Atlas label during the early '50s. He also backed several singer including H-Bomb Ferguson.

Sil Austin won the Ted Mack Amateur Hour in St. Petersburg, Florida in 1945, playing "Danny Boy". His performance brought him a recording contract with Mercury Records, and he moved to New York. Austin played with Roy Eldridge briefly in 1949, and with Cootie Williams in 1951-52 and Tiny Bradshaw in 1952-54, before setting up his own successful touring group. He recorded over 30 albums for Mercury, and had a number of Top 40 hits with pop tunes. Austin described the sound of his 1950s singles to author Wayne Jancik. "Exciting horn, honking horn, gutbucket horn is what kids wanted to hear, so I made sure I played more of that. They called it rock 'n' roll. And the records sold."

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ARTISTSONGALBUM
Champion Jack DupreeStumbling Block Blues Early Cuts
Champion Jack DupreeShake Baby ShakeEarly Cuts
Eddie MackSeven Days Blues Eddie Mack 1947-1952
Eddie MackLast Hour Blues Eddie Mack 1947-1952
Paul Williams w/ Larry DaleShame Shame Shame Paul Williams Vol. 3 1952-1956
Paul Williams w/ Larry DaleThe Woman I Love Is DyingPaul Williams Vol. 3 1952-1956
Paul Williams w/ Larry DaleWomen Are The Root Of All Evil Paul Williams Vol. 3 1952-1956
Allen BunnToo Much CompetitionBobby's Boogie: Red Robin Records
Big MaybelleI'm Getting 'Long Alright Blues Masters Vol. 13 New York City Blues
Larry Dale You Better Heed My Warning Still Groove Jumping
Mickey Baker w/ Larry Dale Stranger BluesRock With A Sock
Mr. BearI'm Gonna Keep My Good Eye on YouStill Groove Jumping
Larry DaleLet The Doorbell RingOld Town Blues Vol. 1
Alonzo Scales Left My Home BluesRub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Alonzo Scales Hard Luck ChildRub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Champion Jack DupreeStory Of My LifeShake Baby Shake!
Bob Gaddy Operator Rub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Mr. Bear Hold Out BabyHarlem Heavies
Cousin Leroy Up the River Rub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Cousin Leroy Goin' Back Home Rub a Little Boogie: New York Blues 1945-56
Buddy & Ella Johnson Don't Be Messin' With My ManOld Town Blues Vol. 2
Buddy & Ella Johnson You'll Get Them BluesBuddy and Ella Johnson 1953-1964
Hal Paige & His Wailers After Hours BluesHarlem Rock 'n' Blues Vol. 2
Dr. HorseJack, That Cat Was CleanFire/Fury Records Story
Jimmy SpruillHard GrindHarlem Rock 'n' Blues Vol. 1
Buster Brown Don't Dog Your WomanThe New King Of The Blues
Jimmy SpruillKansas City MarchHarlem Rock 'n' Blues Vol. 2
Bob GaddyStormy Monday BluesHarlem blues Operator
Riff Ruffin All My LifeHarlem Rock 'n' Blues Vol. 2
Noble "Thin Man" WattsJookin Fire/Fury Records Story
Tarheel Slim & Little Ann You Got My Nose Wide OpenOld Town Blues Vol. 2
June BatemanGo Away Mr. Blues Fire/Fury Records Story
Sammy PriceRib JointRib Joint

Show Notes:

We've done a couple of shows on the New York blues scene including last year's show on ace session man Larry Dale and more recently a show devoted to recordings revolving around Brownie McGhee and Sonny Terry's New York recording activities. New York City has never had a big reputation as a blues town, compared to Chicago and L.A. It did however have a very lively postwar R&B scene. The R&B scene had its peak between 1945 and 1960 and has always been closely associated with the local jazz scene. There were nationally important clubs like the Apollo and Savoy and numerous other spots for live entertainment. The recording scene was dominated by a group of small but enterprising independent companies like Apollo, DeLuxe, Fire/Fury, Herald, Baton, Joe Davis, Old Town and in particular, Atlantic and Savoy. There was also out of town companies that recorded local talent like Federal and RCA’s Groove and Vik subsidiaries. Literally hundreds and hundreds of R&B recordings were made, aimed at the black market with occasional cross over success. Today's show spans the early 50's through the early 60's spotlighting a slew of great lesser known blues artists as well as bigger names like Big Maybelle, Paul Williams and Champion Jack Dupree. We also spotlight the contributions of trio of sizzling session guitarists: Larry Dale, Mickey Baker and Jimmy Spruill.

Larry DAle: Let The Doorbell RingBorn in Texas, Larry Dale had moved to New York City in 1949 and quickly fell into the local blues scene. Dale made his start with Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams’ band in the early 50’s. Dale was much in-demand on the New York blues scene during this period working with Bob Gaddy, Mickey Baker (as a vocalist), Champion Jack Dupree, Cootie Williams and others. He also cut scattered sides under his own name for several New York labels.

We first hear Dale in the company of Paul Williams on three sides from 1953 and 1954. Williams moved with his family from the south to Detroit where he began playing sax professionally after high school. His song "The Hucklebuck" stayed on the charts for 32 weeks in 1949. Nothing else matched this success the fame form that hit kept Williams busy recording and performing live for years. He led the house band at Harlem's Apollo Theater  in the mid-50's and later directed the bands of Lloyd Price and James Brown. He retired from music in 1964. Our selections find Williams laying down some tough R&B with New york Larry Dale taking the vocals and playing guitar on the blistering 'Shame Shame Shame" and "The Woman I Love Is Dying" and playing guitar on the jumping "Women Are The Root Of All Evil" featuring Jimmy Brown on vocals.

We also hear Dales' playing behind Champion Jack Dupree, Mr. Bear, Cousin Leroy, Bob Gaddy, Mickey Baker as well as sides cut under his own name.  Dale played on all four of Dupree's 1956-58 sessions for RCA's Groove and Vik subsidiaries, and on the best known Dupree LP, 1958's Blues from the Gutter, for Atlantic. Today we hear Dale backing Dupree on the rocking  "Shake Baby Shake" from 1952 and 1956's "The Story of my Life." Teddy McRae also known as Mr. Bear cut a few isolated titles as a leader, including two songs for King in 1945, six for Groove in 1955 and two numbers for Moonshine in 1958, and recorded with Champion Jack Dupree from 1955-56. Prior to this he was an important an arranger and tenor-saxophonist for several bands including Cab Calloway, Jimmie Lunceford, Lionel Hampton and Chick Webb's. In 1955 and 1957, Cousin Leroy recorded eight tough tracks that had a little something extra that drove blues fans crazy when they came out on unauthorized records in the 60s. Nothing is known about his background. Both as a session man and featured recording artist, pianist Bob Gaddy made his presence known on the New York blues scene during the 1950's. He arrived in New York in 1946. Gaddy gigged with Brownie McGhee and guitarist Larry Dale around town, McGhee often playing on Gaddy's waxings for Jackson, Jax, Dot, Harlem, and from 1955 on, Hy Weiss' Old Town label. There Gaddy stayed the longest into 1960. Both Gaddy and Dale remained active on the New York scene for decades after. Larry Dale is featured on guitar. We hear Dale backed by Mickey Baker on "Stranger Blues" and the menacing "You Better Heed My Warning." In 1960, Dale did another vocal session, for the Old Town subsidiary Glover in New York City, resulting in two fine singles, "Big Muddy" and the song that gives today's show its title, the scorching party number "Let the Door Bell Ring" which hit the R&B charts.

In the early and mid-'50s, Mickey Baker did countless sessions for Atlantic, King, RCA, Decca, and OKeh, playing on such classics as the Drifters' "Money Honey" and "Such a Night," Joe Turner's "Shake Rattle & Roll," Ruth Brown's "Mama, He Treats Your Daughter Mean," and Big Maybelle's "Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On." He also released a few singles under his own name. Baker was also recorded as half of the duo Mickey & Sylvia. We hear Baker on several numbers today, including those already mentioned backing Larry Dale, such as Champion Jack Dupree's "Stumbling Block Blues", Big Maybelle's "I'm Getting 'Long Alright" and a pair of sides by blues shouter Eddie Mack. Mack was part of the Brooklyn blues scene in the late 40's and early 50's but his subsequent career is a mystery. He fronted various groups by Cootie Williams & His Orchestra (he replaced Eddie Vinson), Lucky Millinder & His Orchestra and others. He cut some two-dozen sides between 1947-1952. Baker also  appeared on a series of instrumental sides by piano pounder Sam Price cut for the Savoy label in the late 50's such as "Bar-B-Q Sauce", "Chicken Out" and our selection, "Rib Joint." All these sessions were collected on the now out-of-print 2-LP set Rib Joint. He also cut several instrumentals under his own name during this period.

Jimmy Spruill landed in new York in 1955 where he worked steadily as a session sideman, appearing on records by King Curtis, Little Anthony and the Imperials, the Shirelles, Tarheel Slim and Elmore James, in addition to putting out singles under his own name. He most frequently worked for the record producers Danny and Bobby Robinson, who ran record labels called Fire, Fury, Everlast, Enjoy and VIM out of Bobby's Happy House of Hits record store in Harlem. In May 1959, "The Happy Organ" by Dave "Baby" Cortez reached #1 on the Billboard chart, before giving way only one week later to Wilbert Harrison's "Kansas City", both of which featured guitar solos by Spruill. He almost duplicated this feat in 1961 when Bobby Lewis's "Tossin' and Turnin'", featuring Spruill's guitar solo, hit #1 was followed up the charts by the Shirelles' "Dedicated To The One I Love", which peaked at #3. Another well-known recording on which Spruill plays is "Fannie Mae" by Buster Brown. His rhythm work in the background of some of Elmore James' last records is also notable. In 1957 Bobby Robisnon began issuing  Jimmy Spruill's solo 45's, on Fire and its subsidiary labels Enjoy, Vest, and VIM where cut tough instrumentals like "Hard Grind", "Scratchin'", "Slow Draggin'", "Scratch 'n Twist" and "Cut and Dried."  Those tracks and more are available on the Night Train CD Wild Jimmy Spruill: Scratch & Twist (Released and  Unreleased Recordings 1956-1962). We hear Sprull today ripping it up on a couple of his own killer instrumentals, "Hard Grind" and "Kansas City March", as well as backing Bob Gaddy, Buster Brown, Noble "Thin Man" Watts' and Hal Paige.

A few other artists worth mentioning are Buddy & Ella Johnson, Buster Brown, Noble "Thin Man" Watts and Tarheel Slim. In 1939, Buddy Johnson waxed his first 78 for Decca and shortly thereafter, Ella joined her older brother. Buddy had assembled a nine-piece orchestra by 1941 and visited the R&B charts often for Decca during the mid-40's. The Johnson band barnstormed the country to sellout crowds throughout the '40s. Buddy moved over to Mercury Records in 1953 and scored several R&B hits. Buddy kept recording for Mercury through 1958, switched to Roulette the next year, and bowed out with a last session for Hy Weiss' Old Town label in 1964.

Buster Brown played harmonica at local clubs and made a few recordings, including ‘I’m Gonna Make You Happy’ in 1943. Brown moved to New York in 1956 where he was discovered by Fire Records owner Bobby Robinson while working in a chicken and barbecue joint. In 1959, he recorded the "Fannie Mae", whose tough harmonica riffs took it into the US Top 40. In later years he recorded for Checker Records and for numerous small labels including Serock, Gwenn and Astroscope.

The Griffin Brothers, one of Dot Records' most popular touring R&B acts, hired Noble Watts right after he finished college, and he toured with them for a time. In 1952, he joined famed baritone saxophonist Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams as a member of the house band for the groundbreaking TV show “Showtime At The Apollo.” Later on, he had a stint playing with Lionel Hampton's big band. He also played on late '50s tour packages behind the likes of Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers. Watts first recording came in 1954 on DeLuxe Records. A 1956 single for VeeJay Records preceded his two-year association with New York's Baton label. The song “Hard Times (The Slop)” brought Watts to the pop charts in 1957. Countless tours and performances – as well as a string of singles for various labels – kept Watts busy through the 1960s and into the 1970s. We hear Watts today on the fine instrumental "Jookin."

As Tarheel Slim, Allen Bunn,  encored on Bobby Robinson's Red Robin logo in 1953. He also sang with  R&B vocal groups, the Wheels and the Lovers. As Tarheel Slim he made his debut in 1958 with his wife, Little Ann, in a duet format for Robinson's Fire imprint. He cut a pair of rockabilly raveups of his own, "Wilcat Tamer" and "No. 9 Train" (both featuring Jimmy Spruill). After a few years off the scene, Tarheel Slim made a bit of a comeback during the early 1970's, with an album for Trix, his last recording. He died in 1977.

In January of this year the hard working Bobby Robinson passed away and pay a sort of mini tribute to him, playing several records he produced and issued. He was the owner of Harlem's most successful record store, Bobby's Happy House of Hits, he worked as an amateur talent scout and, as well as advising major blues record companies, he ran his own now legendary labels Red Robin, Whirlin' Disc, Fire and Fury. n 1951, he launched Robin Records (which later became Red Robin Records), and began recording doo wop. He claimed that being stuck in traffic at the New Jersey turnpike cost him the chance to sign Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers. In 1956, he formed Whirlin' Disc Records, but after falling out with his business partner formed Fury Records in 1957.Passing blues musicians would often offer to record for Robinson. The most spectacular result in his career was when he gave Harrison studio time in 1959. The resulting single, "Kansas City", went on to sell more than 3m copies, topping both the R&B and pop charts. Other blues artists he recorded included Bobby Marchan, Lee Dorsey, Lightnin' Hopkins, Elmore James, Arthur Crudup, Champion Jack Dupree, Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee among numerous others.

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