|Big Joe Turner||Johnson & Turner Blues||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Big Joe Turner||Low Down Dirty Dog||Radio Broadcast 1939-1947|
|Big Joe Turner||Battle Of The Blues Pt. 1||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Walter Brown||Lonely Boy Blues||The Charlie Parker Story|
|Gatemouth Moore||I Ain't Mad At You||Cryin' And Singin' The Blues|
|Calvin Boze||Working With My Baby||The Complete Recordings 1945-1952|
|Roy Brown||Hard Luck Blues||Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B|
|Roy Brown||Too Much Loving Ain't Good||Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B|
|Roy Brown||Butcher Pete Pt. 1||Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B|
|King Perry||Going To California Blues||King Perry 1945-1949|
|Carl Davis||Sure Likes To Run||The Shouters|
|J.B. Summers||Hey Mr. J.B.||Tiny Grimes Vol. 5 1950-1954|
|Wynonie Harris||Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well||Rockin' The Blues|
|Wynonie Harris||Hard Ridin' Mama||Rockin' The Blues|
|Wynonie Harris||Mr. Blues Is Coming To Town||Rockin' The Blues|
|Harry Crafton||It's Been A Long Time Baby||Harry Crafton 1949-1954|
|Tiny Bradshaw||The Blues Came Pouring Down||Breakin' Up The House|
|Big Joe Turner||Miss Brown Blues||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Big Joe Turner||My Gal's A Jockey||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Big Joe Turner||Mardi Gras Boogie||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Eddie Mack||Good Time Woman||The Shouters|
|H-Bomb Ferguson||Bookie's Blues||The Shouters|
|Sonny Parker||She Sets My Soul On Fire||Ham Hocks And Cornbread|
|Roy Brown||Big Town||Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B|
|Roy Brown||I've Got the Last Laugh, Now||Roy Brown & New Orleans R & B|
|Roy Brown||Up Jumped The Devil||Mighty Mighty Man|
|TNT Tribble||Cadillac Blues||Red Hot Boogie Vol. 1|
|Max "Blues" Bailey||Drive Soldiers Drive||Nashville Jumps|
|Mr. Sad Head||Sad Head Blues||Rhythm 'n' Blues Shouters|
|Crown Prince Waterford||Driftwood Blues||Nashville Jumps|
|Nappy Brown||Am I||Night Time Is The Right Time|
|Wynonie Harris||Stormy Night Blues||Rockin' The Blues|
|Wynonie Harris||Battle of the Blues Pt. 2||Classic Hits 1938-1952|
|Wynonie Harris||I Feel That Old Age Comin' On||Bloodshot Eyes|
Around the mid-30’s the big bands were all the rage and most of the bands had a big voiced blues and ballad singer who could be heard over the band. Big Joe Turner was the archetype of the blues shouter who’s lengthy recording career spanned from the late 30’s through shortly before his death in the 80’s. The blues shouters period lasted just up until the dawn of rock and roll when it became too expensive to maintain the big bands and there was increasing competition from jukeboxes and small combos. Artists like Jimmy Witherspoon, Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson and Jimmy Rushing where able to have successful careers after the big band period while many others faded into obscurity. In the immediate post-war era blues shouters like Wynonie Harris and Roy Brown dominated the charts for several years. In part one of our look at the blues shouters we spotlight big names like Big Joe Turner, Wynonie Harris and Roy Brown plus a slew of fine lesser known singers.
Big Joe Turner was born in Kansas City and first discovered his love of music through involvement in the church. Turner's father was killed in a train accident when Joe was only four years old. He began singing on street corners for money, leaving school at age fourteen to begin working in Kansas City's nightclub scene, first as a cook, and later as a singing bartender. He eventually became known as The Singing Barman, and worked in such venues as The Kingfish Club and The Sunset, where he and his piano playing partner Pete Johnson became resident performers. His partnership with boogie-woogie pianist Pete Johnson proved fruitful. Together they headed to New York City in 1936, where they appeared on a bill with Benny Goodman, but as Turner recounts, "After our show with Goodman, we auditioned at several places, but New York wasn't ready for us yet, so we headed back to K.C.". Eventually they were spotted by the talent scout, John H. Hammond in 1938, who invited them back to New York to appear in one of his "From Spirituals to Swing" concerts at Carnegie Hall. Due in part to their appearance at Carnegie Hall, Turner and Johnson scored a major hit with "Roll 'Em Pete". As 1938 came to a close, Turner and Johnson waxed "Roll 'Em Pete" for Vocalion. a song Turner would re-record many times over the decades. In 1940 Turner shouter moved over to Decca where he stayed until 1944.Turner ventured out to the West Coast during the war years, building quite a following on the L.A. circuit. In 1945, he signed on with National Records and cut some fine small combo sides where he remained through 1947. There were also sessions for Aladdin that year that included a wild vocal duel with one of Turner's rival, Wynonie Harris, on the two-part "Battle of the Blues.” The shouter bounced from RPM to Down Beat/Swing Time to MGM to Texas-based Freedom to Imperial in 1950. Atlantic Records signed him to a recording contract, where he scored a drove of R&B hits, staying with the label until 1959.
Born in New Orleans, Roy Brown conjured up "Good Rockin' Tonight" while fronting a band in Galveston, TX. Ironically, Harris wanted no part of the song when Brown first tried to hand it to him. When pianist Cecil Gant heard Brown's knockout rendition of the tune in New Orleans, he had Brown sing it over the phone to a DeLuxe boss, Jules Braun, in the wee hours of the morning. Though Brown's original waxing (with Bob Ogden's band in support) was a solid hit, Wynonie Harris' cover beat him out for top chart honors.Roy Brown didn't have to wait long to dominate the R&B lists himself. He scored 15 hits from mid-1948 to late 1951 for DeLuxe. Brown was unable to cash in on the rock & roll era, though he briefly rejuvenated his commercial fortunes at Imperial Records in 1957. Working with New Orleans producer Dave Bartholomew, Brown returned to the charts with the original version of "Let the Four Winds Blow" (later a hit for Fats Domino). He briefly returned to King in 1959.After a long dry spell, Brown's acclaimed performance as part of Johnny Otis' troupe at the 1970 Monterey Jazz Festival and a 1973 LP for ABC-BluesWay began to rebuild his long-lost momentum. Brown died of a heart attack in 1981 at age 56.
|Billboard Magazine May 6, 1944|
Wynonie Harris was already a seasoned dancer, drummer, and singer when he left Omaha for L.A. in 1940. He found plenty of work singing and appearing as an emcee on Central Avenue. Harris' reputation was spreading fast — he was appearing in Chicago at the Rhumboogie Club in 1944 when bandleader Lucky Millinder hired him as his band's new singer. With Millinder's orchestra, Harris made his debut on "Who Threw the Whiskey in the Well" that same year for Decca. By the time it hit in mid-1945, Harris left Millinder's band. He debuted on wax under his own name in July of 1945 at an L.A. date. A month later, he signed on with Apollo Records, an association that provided him with two huge hits in 1946: "Wynonie's Blues" and "Playful Baby." After scattered dates for Hamp-Tone, Bullet, and Aladdin, Harris joined the star-studded roster of Cincinnati's King Records in 1947. Few records made a stronger impact than Harris' 1948 chart-topper "Good Rockin' Tonight." After that, Harris was rarely absent from the R&B charts for the next four years. Harris' hit streak came to a halt in 1952. Harris cut sides for Atco in 1956, King in 1957, and Roulette in 1960. The touring slowed accordingly. In 1963 Harris moved back to L.A., scraping up low-paying local gigs whenever he could. Chess gave him a three-song session in 1964, but sat on the results. Throat cancer silenced him for good in 1969.
Less than a week after Walter Brown began singing with Jay McShann's orchestra, the band traveled from Kansas City to a recording studio in Brown's hometown of Dallas, TX, where McShann and his rhythm section backed the singer on "Confessin' the Blues" which included young alto saxist Charlie Parker). It became one of the best-selling records of 1941 and would ultimately define Brown's entire career. Brown remained with McShann from 1941 to '45 before going solo with less successful results.
Gatemouth Moore's heyday as a blues career was short lived, cutting a couple of dozen sides between 1945 and 1947 that saw release on Gilmore’s Chez Paree, Savoy, National with his final records cut for King at the very end of 1947. His most famous number was the immortal “Did You Ever Love A Woman” although his output was consistently high cutting fine sides backed by swinging big bands featuring top flight jazz musicians such as Budd Johnson, Jimmy Hamilton, Harry Carney, Tiny Grimes, and John Hardee. His blues career came to a close in 1949 when he had a religious conversion on stage at Chicago’s Club DeLisa.He passed in 2004 at the age of 90.
After wartime service Calvin Boze settled in Los Angeles and, as singer and trumpet player, heavily influenced by Louis Jordan. Boze first recorded in 1945, but his biggest successes came with Aladdin Records after 1949. In May 1950 he released "Safronia B", which made it to made #9 on the Billboard R&B chart in June 1950.
In the late 1930s, King Perry attended Storr College in West Virginia to study piano and arrangement, and by the early 1940s he had formed his own band and was playing in Detroit and Chicago. The band made their debut for the Melodisc label.Further sessions were recorded for Excelsior, United Artists, De Luxe, Specialty, Dot, RPM, Lucky, Hollywood, Specialty and a number of smaller West Coast indies.
|Billboard Magazine January 19, 1946|
Tiny Bradshaw really had a two-part career, in the 1930's in swing and from the mid-'40s on as a best-selling R&B artist. In 1934, he put together his own orchestra and they recorded for Decca later that year. A decade of struggle lie ahead and, when Bradshaw's big band recorded again, in 1944, the music was more R&B and jump-oriented. The majority of Bradshaw's recordings were cut during 1950-1954, although there would be one session apiece made in 1955 and 1958. All of his post-1947 output was made for King including the seminal "Train Kept A-Rollin'" in 1951.
Eddie 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.
By age 19, H-Bomb Ferguson was on the road with Joe Liggins & the Honeydrippers. When they hit New York, Ferguson branched off on his own. Comedian Nipsey Russell, then emcee at Harlem's Baby Grand Club, got the singer a gig at the nightspot. Back then, Ferguson was billed as "the Cobra Kid."Singles for Derby, Atlas, and Prestige preceded a 1951-1952 hookup with Savoy Records that produced some of Ferguson's best waxings.Ferguson eventually made Cincinnati his home, recording for Finch, Big Bang, ARC, and the far more prestigious Federal in 1960.He cut his long over due full-length album, "Wiggin' Out" for Earwig in 1993. He passed in 2006.
Sonny Parker began singing and dancing as a protégé of Butterbeans and Susie. He joined Lionel Hampton’s band in 1949 and was touring France in 1955 when he suffered an onstage stroke. He never recovered and passed in 1957 at the age of 32. Between 1948 and 1954 he cut some three dozen sides.
Drummer and singer T.N.T. Tribble first came to fame in 1951 and soon after began recording for Gotham. He often recorded with the exciting trumpet great Frank Motley and even led his own eclectic band, T.N.T. Tribble and His Crew. Tribble also was a much in-demand session man. He recorded as the drummer with Ike and Tina Turner in the early '60s on "A Fool In Love" and "It's Gonna Work Out Fine."
|Billboard Magazine March 23, 1946|
Charles “Crown Prince” Waterford was from Jonesboro, Arkansas. He sang with Leslie Sheffield’s Rhythmaires and Andy Kirk’s Twelve Clouds of Joy before beginning his career as “The Crown Prince of the Blues” in Chicago in the 1940s. Waterford shouted the blues for labels like Hy-Tone, Aladdin and Capitol. In 1949, he joined the King stable. In the 1950’s he recorded for small companies and later dedicated his life to the Church and became known as Reverend Charles Waterford.
Nappy Brown spent his formative years singing gospel. He joined the Selah Jubilee Singers whom he recorded with, and eventually the Heavenly Lights, who were signed to the roster of Savoy Records. When owner Herman Lubinsky heard Brown he convinced him switch to R&B in the early 50’s. Throughout the 50’s he scored with numbers such as "Pitter Patter" and the oft covered "Little by Little.” He cut the "The Right Time" in 1957 ( covered by Ray Charles in 1958). With renewed interest in his music, mainly from Europe, he began a comeback in the 80’s and recorded steadily through the 90's.