Jukeboxheart 005: A Good Shellackin'

Jukebox Heart 005:
A Good Shellackin’
72.98 MB | 1:17:50

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

This week’s Jukebox Heart podcast is all about the blues. Postwar blues and R&B specifically,and all presented in the period media format of choice: the 10″ 78RPM shellac disc. Each track is culled from a record from my own personal stash of these priceless wonders, 27 of them in all. It’s all about the surface noise, baby. Actually, I’ve cheated a little; these 78’s have been played back on my modern turntables, equipped with 78 RPM, so the sound in some cases rivals vinyl records.

Below are some thumbnail images of the labels on these priceless records. Right click on any of them for a larger image.

The playlist is found after the cut.

1. Jimmy Brinkley – Midnight Wale (Chance 1953) Tough, Chicago inner-city R&B sax instrumental. Chance was a pivotal label in the Chicago independent label scene in the early 50’s. They launched the careers of several famous groups, such as the Flamingos, the Moonglows and the Spaniels.

2. The Angels – Leaving You Baby (Irma 1956) Great girl-group sound.

3. The Robins – Smokey Joe’s Cafe (Spark Records, 1955) The breakthrough record for the band that worked for many years with Johnny Otis and Savoy Records. This would be reissued under the group name The Coasters as the group got signed to Atlantic’s Atco division. The rest is history…

4. Big Mama Thornton – Hound Dog (Peacock Records 1952) Lieber & Stoller’s original version, made massively popular in a more sanitary version by the King…

5. The Empires – Corn Whiskey (Empire 1954) Great NY Booze jump tune.

6. Chuck Higgins – Motor Head Baby (Combo 1953) Los Angeles blues rock.

7. The Pearls – Lets You & I Go Steady (Onyx 1956) A great rocker from the label that would go on to become MGM’s subsidiary, Cub.

8. Pigmeat Peterson – Everybody Loves A Fat Man (Federal 1952) Perhaps my own theme?

9. Dorothy Logan – Small Town Man (Drexel 1954) A really racey tune from Chicago.

10. Louise Baker & The Ebony Moods – I’ve Got News For You (Theron 1955) Before you hurt someone you’d better think twice…

11. Zilla Mays And Her Blues Caravan featuring Her Boyfriends – Why Do You Cry (Brunswick 1953) I don’t know that much about this one. A great tune, though.

12. Deltairs – Lullabye of the Bells (Ivy 1957) Another great girl group with a deep bass line that must have raised a lot of eyebrows in 1957.

13. The Cuff-Links – Guided Missiles (Dootone Records 1954) The classic, often covered tune.

14. Don Julian and the Meadowlarks – Heaven and Paradise (Dootone Records 1954) One of my favorite records ever…

15. The Royals – Moonrise (Federal Records 1952). This group would become the Midnighters and spawn the career of Hank Ballard.

16. The Orchids – You’re Everything To Me (Parrot Records, 1955) A terrific vocal group record from Chicago on the legendary Parrot label. One of the best sax breaks of the era.
17. Bobby Sue and the Freeloaders – Relief Check (Harlem Records, 1954) This will become one of your favorites.

18. Billy Wright – Four Cold Cold Walls (Savoy 1951) Another LA singer on this classic Newark label. He was openly gay, which was professional suicide, especially for a black performer, and rumor has it he was rejected from Specialty records because they “already had one faggot (referring to Little Richard) and that was enough.”

19. Wynona Carr – Should I Ever Love Again (Specialty 1957) Los Angeles lamenting sound.

20. Oliver Jones – “What I Say” An early release on George Goldner’s second R&B label.

21. Al Hibbler – Fat and Forty (Chess 1951 reissue) A wonderful southern blues tune, almost crossing over into big-band territory. Al Hibbler reached national success with his incredible version of Unchaned Melody. Al Hibbler was the first blind performer to achieve large-scale popularity, which makes him a predecessor of sorts to Ray Charles. He had a deep, Southern voice. He tried out for Duke Ellington’s orchestra, came drunk and didn’t get the job the first time. He played for another band for a while, then reapplied with Ellington, wrote a song for him called Do Nothing Till You Hear From Me. This time he was hired, and he was the lead singer for the Ellington Orchestra for 8 years.

22. Morris Pejoe – Tired of Cryin’ Over You (Checker 1951) Electric Chicago blues. Awesome.

23. John Perry – Love Crazy (Rama 1953) This is an early release from a label that would become one of the largest R&B labels in NYC, giving us many rock standards.

24. Lucky Davis and His Blues Kings – Cold Love (Atlantic 1950) – Really great, tense blues.

25. Roscoe Thorne – Delores (Atlas 1953) This one is in kinda rough shape. It’s a classic example of early street-singing ballad harmony. It is an >extremely< rare record, a clean copy on 45 fetching up to $5000 in collector circles. The backing group is not credited, but believed to be The Fi-Tones.

26. Eddie “Tex” Curtis- Brown (Gee 1954) This is a stunning spiritual about a black man coming to terms with his victimization of racism. Singing about “brown”, the color of his skin, he sings “but God never pushes me behind, God makes no trouble for my kind, God evidently doesn’t mind…there’s lotsa brown folks in heaven.” This is an early release on another George Goldner imprint, the Gee label, named for the hit record which broke his Rama imprint nationally, and which years later gave us Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers, The Cleftones, the Regents (orignal version of “Barbara Ann”) and much more.

27. Joe Smith – Dedicated To You (Cal West 1955) This is really a fantastic timeless ballad. listen to the guitar playing on this! A lesser version was covered by Sonny Knight ( which was *really* Joe Smith’s stage name! – on Starla Records) which charted nationally. This is the first version.