%s1 / %s2

Playlist: Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri's Portfolio

Caption: PRX default Portfolio image
No text

Featured

Juke In The Back #032 - R&B Christmas

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:59

The entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with the greatest R&B Christmas records from the late 1940s and 1950s. It's the yuletide soul that came before rock n' roll. So grab some 'nog and get groovin'.

Jitbtitlemedium_small R&B ChristmasRhythm & Blues Christmas

The entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with the greatest R&B 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 grab some 'nog and get groovin'.

Juke In The Back #033 - Christmas Leftovers & New Year's Resolutions

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

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 Special.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

Christmas Leftovers & New Year's ResolutionsChristmas 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 Special.  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.  So get hungry for some Christmas leftovers and plan your New Year’s resolutions this week with Matt The Cat on the “Juke In The Back.”

Juke In The Back #034

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:16

The juke is jumpin' with records focusing on classic R&B songs about cars. Musicologists Billy Vera and Steve Propes drop by the "Juke In The Back" to make their cases that the first rock n' roll song might have been about a car

Jitbtitlemedium_small R&B Car SongsRhythm & Blues Car Songs

The juke is jumpin' with records focusing on classic R&B songs about cars.  The automobile is a "road tested" symbol of the American Dream.  We have all this land and the car gives us the freedom to get from one place to another.  We'll dig on some tunes about Cadillacs, Buicks, Mercurys and Model Ts.  Plus, musicologists Billy Vera and Steve Propes drop by the "Juke In The Back" to make their cases that the first rock n' roll song might have been about a car.  "Juke In The Back" focuses on the "soul that came before rock n' roll," the records that inspired Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and countless others

Juke In The Back #035

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:11

Drop a nickel in the ol' Rockola Juke for an hour of pre-rock rhythm & blues. This week, we feature the very first recordings made by Jackie Wilson. His first sides, cut as Sonny Wilson as well as leader of Billy Ward & His Dominoes from 1952-3 are in the spotlight. Also, we examine the brief vocal jazz phenomenon known as Vocalese, which top-notch records from King Pleasure and Annie Ross as well as much more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Early Jackie WilsonEarly Jackie Wilson & The Sound of Vocalese

Drop a nickel in the ol' Rockola Juke for an hour of pre-rock rhythm & blues.  This week, we feature the very first recordings made by Jackie Wilson.  His first sides, cut as Sonny Wilson as well as leader of Billy Ward & His Dominoes from 1952-53 are in the spotlight.  Everyone must start somewhere and these early recordings give us a glimpse of Jackie's amazing power as a singer.  Also, we examine the brief vocal jazz phenomenon known as Vocalese, which top-notch records from King Pleasure, Annie Ross and many more.  Vocalese hit hard in 1952 and then virtually disappeared.  Since many R&B records during this time were made with jazz musicians playing the sessions, it only makes sense to feature some jazz on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #036

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:34

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)" and beyond.

Jitbtitlemedium_small T-Bone WalkerT-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.

Juke In The Back #037

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:13

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is full of old records from one of the greatest record labels of all-time, Specialty Records. Art Rupe started the label in 1944 as Juke Box Records and at the age of 93, Rupe is FINALLY being inducted into the Rock Hall this year.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Roy Milton was Specialty Records biggest act of the 1940sSpecialty Records Pt. 1

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is full of old records from one of the greatest record labels of all-time, Specialty Records.  Art Rupe started the label in 1944 as Juke Box Records and at the age of 93, Rupe is FINALLY being inducted into the Rock Hall this year.  Part 1 of this multi-part feature 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.

Juke In The Back #038

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:05

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' with records all hailing from the Specialty Label out of LA on part 2 of The Specialty Records Story. Matt The Cat digs up some gems from Specialty's golden period of 1950-53.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Specialty Records Pt. 2Specialty Records Pt. 2

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' with records all hailing from the Specialty Label out of LA on part 2 of The Specialty Records Story.  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.  Lloyd Price even drops by the "Juke" to tell us how he first met Specialty owner Art Rupe and how "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" came to be recorded.  Matt The Cat wraps up his series on Specialty Records next week, so dig it while the diggin's good. 

Juke In The Back #039

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:56

This is the third and final part of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to Specialty Records. This week, host Matt The Cat looks at Specialty's hit-making heyday of 1953-56, featuring Marvin & Johnny, John Lee Hooker, Jesse Belvin and Little Richard! The birth of Rock n' Roll can be traced back to Specialty Records, find out why on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Specialty Records Pt. 3Specialty Records Pt. 3

This is the third and final part of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to Specialty Records.  This week, host Matt The Cat looks at Specialty's hit-making heyday of 1953-56, featuring Marvin & Johnny, John Lee Hooker, Jesse Belvin and Little Richard!  The label's founder, Art Rupe is finally getting inducted into the Rock n' Roll Hall Of Fame this year.  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."

Juke In The Back #040

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:04

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 and Big John Greer, but Lucky Millinder is mostly forgotten by today's audiences. "Juke In The Back" will change that with this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Bandleader Lucky MillinderLucky 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.

Juke In The Back #041

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:57

This week, the "Juke In The Back" honors one of the greatest blues shouters of all-time, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. Matt The Cat covers Vinson's early period vocalizing with the Cootie Williams' Orchestra to his successful solo sides with both Mercury and King Records.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Eddie VinsonEddie "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."

Juke In The Back #042

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The "5" RoyalesThe "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 thief 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.

Juke In The Back #043

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:17

Matt The Cat presents another highly underrated vocal group from the 1950s: The Du-Droppers as part of a full hour of 1940s and '50s rhythm & blues on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Du-DroppersThe 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 sequa 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."

Juke In The Back #044

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:14

The entire "Juke In The Back" focuses on a tiny Chicago R&B record label with a big sound; Parrot Records. The label was started by Chicago DJ Al Benson in late 1952 and it closed its doors in 1956. Get the story behind the story on the history of Parrot Records with Matt The Cat on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Parrot Records StoryParrot Records

The entire "Juke In The Back" focuses on a tiny Chicago R&B record label with a big sound; Parrot Records.  The label was started by Chicago DJ Al Benson in late 1952 and it closed its doors in 1956.  During its period of operation, Parrot recorded some smokin' R&B and smooth vocal group sounds from Willie Mabon and J.B. Lenoir to The Flamingos and the 5 Thrills.  Matt The Cat highlights both the hits and misses and bring you the story behind the story on this often forgotten R&B label on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #045

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:05

This week's "Juke In The Back" digs deep into a group that is usually only remembered for one, incredibly influential tune, "Sh-Boom." The Chords cut that tune in 1954, right at the height of America's fear of the Atomic Bomb and this song did more for helping to launch rock n' roll than almost any other. Matt The Cat digs up the story of The Chords and their great recordings on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Chords on The Juke In The BackThe Chords

This week's "Juke In The Back" digs deep into a group that is usually only remembered for one, incredibly influential tune, "Sh-Boom."  The Chords cut that tune in 1954, right at the height of America's fear of the Atomic Bomb and this song did more for helping to launch rock n' roll than almost any other.  In fact, the tittle "Sh-Boom" was meant to simulate the sound of an A-Bomb explosion.  Even though their label didn't believe in "Sh-Boom," they just couldn't stop it, but unfortunately, they didn't do much to promote The Chords subsequent releases.  They were forced to change their name to The Chordcats, due to a lawsuit and then dropped that name in favor of The Sh-Booms.   Matt The Cat digs up the story behind the story of The Chords and their great recordings on this episode of the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #046

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:16

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the first half of 1951. 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 Margie Day, Ray Charles and Lloyd Glenn. It's part 1 of the 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review

Part 1

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the first half of 1951.  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 Margie Day, Ray Charles and Lloyd Glenn.  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 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In the Back #047

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the second half of 1951. 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 Hodges, Dinah Washington and Jimmy Nelson. It's part 2 of the 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small

1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review

Part 2

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the second half of 1951.  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 Hodges, Dinah Washington and Jimmy Nelson.  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 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #048

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:31

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Wynonie Harris Pt. 1Wynonie Harris

Part 1


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.

Juke In The Back #049

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

It's part 2 of our 2 part series on Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris, one of the greatest blues shouters of all time. Matt The Cat focuses on Harris' hit-making years of 1948-1952, when he ruled the rhythm & blues charts. Drop a nickel in the "Juke In The Back," cause "Mr. Blues" is gonna ROCK!

Jitbtitlemedium_small Wynonie Harris Pt. 2Wynonie Harris

Part 2


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!

Juke In The Back #050

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:12

This week, The "Juke In The Back" features the songs of one of R&B's greatest songwriters: Rudy Toombs. This underrated cat wrote some of the most fabulous drinking songs of all-time as well as many other memorable classics. Matt The Cat spins Rudy Toombs best on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Songwriter Rudy ToombsRudy Toombs: R&B Songwriter

This week, The "Juke In The Back" features the songs of one of R&B's greatest songwriters: Rudy Toombs.  This underrated cat wrote some of the most fabulous drinking songs of all-time for Amos Milburn, The Clovers, The Five Keys and a young Johnny "Guitar" Watson.  Beyond drinking songs, Toombs wrote some mega-hits for Ruth Brown, Varetta Dillard and Little Willie John, just to name a few.  Matt The Cat gives you the story behind the story of one of early rock n' roll's greatest cleffers.  It's Rudy Toombs best songs, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #051

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:20

This week, "The Juke In The Back" looks at how one of R&B's greatest voices, Lavern Baker, got her start. Matt The Cat collects ALL of Baker's early records together in one place. Plus, celebrate America's National Pastime with a collection of R&B baseball songs from the time of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lavern BakerEarly Lavern Baker & R&B Baseball Songs

This week, "The Juke In The Back" looks at how one of R&B's greatest voices, Lavern Baker, got her start.  Matt The Cat collects ALL of Baker's early records together in one place.  From her first recordings with the Eddie "Sugarman" Penigar Orch to her breakthrough sides with The Todd Rhodes Orch and all the records in-between.  You can really hear how Baker's sound evolved between 1949 and 1953.  Her true breakthrough wouldn't come until "Tweedlee Dee" became a huge R&B and pop hit in 1955.

Plus, in our "Harlem Hit Parade," celebrate America's National Pastime with a collection of R&B baseball songs.  Soon after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and Larry Doby went to the Indians, blues and rhythm artists started singing about a game that could now be enjoyed by everybody.

"The Juke In The Back" features the underground R&B music that directly influenced the birth of rock n' roll, but is seldom heard or respected on the radio.

Grab a nickel and dig on "The Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #052

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, we take a look at two of the most famous "characters" from 1940s and '50s R&B: Deacon Jones and Fanny Brown. Sometimes these two were referenced in the same song, as in "Good Rockin' Tonight" and sometimes they got their own songs. Matt The Cat gets the story behind the story on these two R&B mainstays.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Roy BrownDeacon Jones & Fanny Brown In Song

This week, we take a look at two of the most famous "characters" from 1940s and '50s R&B: Deacon Jones and Fanny Brown.  Sometimes these two were referenced in the same song, as in "Good Rockin' Tonight" and sometimes they got their own songs, as in Louis Jordan's "Deacon Jones" and Roy Brown's "Miss Fanny Brown."  Matt The Cat gets the story behind the story on these two R&B mainstays on the Juke In The Back.

Juke In The Back #053

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:30

The "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' this week as we take a look at the history and influence of the Champion Jack Dupree classic, "Junker's Blues." We'll also make some long distance rhythm & blues phone calls. Grab a nickel and dig on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Champion Jack DupreeHistory Of “Junker’s Blues” And R&B Telephone Songs

The “Juke In The Back” is jumpin’ this week as we take a look at the history and influence of the Champion Jack Dupree classic, “Junker’s Blues.”  He learned the tune from New Orleans boogie woogie pianist Drive ‘Em Down, but it was Dupree’s recording that influenced Fats Domino, Lloyd Price and Professor Longhair.  We’ll also make some long distance rhythm & blues phone calls from Floyd Dixon, Sonny Terry, Muddy Waters and Big Walter. Grab a nickel and dig on the “Juke In The Back.”

Juke In The Back #054

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:26

Matt The Cat focuses on one of the most influential and important West Coast Doo Wop groups: The Flairs.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The FlairsThe Flairs

This week, the "Juke In The Back" focuses on the beginnings of West Coast Doo Wop.  In the early 1950s, the East Coast had most of the great vocal groups of note, but in 1952, that statistic was about to change.  It took a group of LA teenagers, mostly from Jefferson High, to introduce those great West Coast Harmonies to the world and start a new scene which would eventually include The Platters, The Calvanes, Don Julian & The Meadowlarks, The Penguins and literally hundreds more.  The Flairs talent broke down to three main voices: Cornell Gunter, Richard Berry and Obediah Jessie (Young Jessie).  Matt The Cat presents their story and their influential ballad and jump sides, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #055

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:58

The "Juke In The Back" honors one of the greatest, yet more underrated originators of electric blues guitar: Pee Wee Crayton. Matt The Cat presents his story, his music and a whole lot more on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Pee Wee CraytonPee 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."

Juke In The Back #056

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:54

The "Juke In The Back" takes a look at one of New York's greatest, but almost unheard of R&B vocal groups: The Diamonds. Matt The Cat also features R&B songs about Detroit on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The DiamondsThe (original) Diamonds & R&B Songs About Detroit


The "Juke In The Back" takes a look at one of New York's greatest, but almost unheard of R&B vocal groups: The Diamonds.  They only got 3 singles released by Atlantic Records during 1952 and '53 and would fade into history by 1955, but their harmonies are second to none.  "Sonny" Wright's lead baritone remains much admired as does Myles Hardy's tenor.  Hear all six of the Diamond's known songs this week.  Plus, Matt The Cat also features R&B songs about Detroit with Blind Blake, Tampa Red, John Lee Hooker and Fats Domino weighing in on the Motor City and Hastings Street, the cultural center of African-American life during the 20s to the 60s. 

Juke In The Back #057

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:32

The "Juke In The Back" is loaded with records by the 1950s R&B vocal group, The Crickets. They only recorded from late 1952 to 1954, but man did they lay down some sweet harmonies. Matt The Cat shares their story on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The CricketsThe Crickets

The "Juke In The Back" is loaded with records by the 1950s R&B vocal group, The Crickets.  They hailed from The Bronx and only recorded from late 1952 to 1954, but man did they lay down some sweet harmonies.  Buddy Holly would take the name to the top of the charts, but these guys had it first.  Grover "Dean" Barlow led the group vocally, but it was record label owner Joe Davis that would ultimately control their fate.  Matt The Cat tells the story of the original Crickets and their 3 group incarnations on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #058

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:29

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is loaded with nothing but the great recordings of Big Joe Turner, the "Boss Of The Blues." The show also features interview clips with Joe Turner taken from a classic 1982 James Austin interview. This is part one of a two part series on the "greatest blues shouter of all-time."

Jitbtitlemedium_small

Big Joe TurnerBig Joe Turner Pt. 1

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.

Juke In The Back #059

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:40

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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Big Joe TurnerBig Joe Turner Pt. 2

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.

Juke In The Back #060 (#008 - 4th Of July)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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 the heroes of the "soul that came before rock n' roll" on the Juke In The Back.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

4th Of July Special on R&B Songs About Food

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 the heroes of the “soul that came before rock n’ roll” on the Juke In The Back.

Juke In The Back #061

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" features another highly underrated R&B vocal group from the 1950s: The Checkers. They never scored a national hit, but they're one of the finnest examples of polished 1950s R&B and their story deserves to be shared.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

The CheckersThe Checkers

The "Juke In The Back" features another highly underrated R&B vocal group from the 1950s: The Checkers.  They never scored a national hit, but they're one of the finest examples of polished 1950s R&B and their story deserves to be shared.  The Checkers were formed after tenor Charlie White and bass Bill Brown split from Bill Ward & His Dominoes.  They had some region success with "House With No Windows," an uptempo version of "White Cliffs Of Dover" and "Don't Stop Dan," the sequel to "Sixty Minute Man."  Matt The Cat digs through a mess of King Records 78s to bring you the best and most influential sides that this great R&B vocal group has to offer on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #062

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:28

The "Juke In The Back" jumps and grooves this week as Matt The Cat features both sides of all six single releases for The Flamingos on Chance Records in 1953-54. Plus, Matt spins a whole lot more of the "soul that came before rock n' roll," classic 1950s rhythm and blues.

Jukeinthebacklogomedium_small The Flamingos On Chance RecordsEarly Flamingos' Recordings

The "Juke In The Back" jumps and grooves this week as Matt The Cat features both sides of all six single releases for The Flamingos 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.  You'll hear how it all began, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #063

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:04

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. Matt tells his story on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Billy "The Kid" EmersonBilly "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."

Juke In The Back #064

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' with a whole program dedicated to the short-lived 1950s record label started by songwriters Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller in 1954. Matt The Cat brings you the story behind the story on Spark Records.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Spark Records StoryThe Spark Records Story

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.

Juke In The Back #065

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Miracles Before MotownBefore 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, ReesePalmer. 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."

Juke In The Back #066

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" pays tribute to the great R&B vocalist, Lil Greenwood, who passed away on July 19, 2011. You'll hear her greatest early recordings from 1950-1954, before she joined Ellington's band.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lil GreenwoodLil 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. She died on July 19, 2011 at the age of 86. 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. Hear Lil's story and some of her greatest records on the "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat.

Juke In The Back #067

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the "Juke In The Back" spotlights one of the most underrated hit-makers of the 1940s and '50s, Ivory Joe Hunter. Today, most people only know a handful of Hunter's hits, but between the years 1945-1958, he scored 21 R&B hits. This week, Matt The Cat plays all of his charting hits from the 1940s.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ivory Joe HunterIvory Joe Hunter Part 1

This week, the "Juke In The Back" spotlights one of the most underrated hit-makers of the 1940s and '50s, Ivory Joe Hunter. Today, most people only know a handful of Hunter's hits, but between the years 1945-1958, he scored 21 R&B hits. He was a prolific piano player who constantly blurred the lines between rhythm & blues and country & western music and was very successful for it. This week, Matt The Cat plays all of his charting hits from the 1940s. Next week on part 2, Matt will featuring all of Hunter's hits from the 1950s.

Juke In The Back #068

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:07

The "Juke" continues its feature on Ivory Joe Hunter this week with part 2 of 2. This week's show looks at Hunter's successful run of hits from 1950-1958, including his biggest crossover success with "Since I Met You Baby" and many, many more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ivory Joe HunterIvory Joe Hunter Pt. 2

The "Juke" continues its feature on Ivory Joe Hunter this week with part 2 of 2. On this week's show, Matt The Cat looks at Hunter's successful run of hits from 1950-1958, including his biggest crossover success with "Since I Met You Baby" and "Empty Arms." You'll also get to hear a live performance of "Since I Met You Baby" performed on the Ed Sullivan Show from 1957! Ivory Joe Hunter had 21 hit R&B records from 1945-1958. Last week, you heard all of his charting hits from the 1940s and this week, we complete the series with all of his hits from the 1950s. Finally, this versatile R&B and Country performer gets the recognition that he so rightfully deserves on the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #069

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:59

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. 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."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Excello Records StoryThe Excello Records Story

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."

Juke In The Back #070

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:16

The "Juke In The Back" looks at the very beginnings of one of early R&B's biggest groups, The Midnighters. Before "Work With Me Annie," they were known as The Royals. You'll hear the Royals story and their great music on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The RoyalsThe Royals (Early Midnighters)

This week, the "Juke In The Back" looks at the humble beginnings of 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.  You'll only hear this great early rhythm & blues jumpin' out of the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #071

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:17

This week, the "Juke In The Back" explores the rhythm and blues phenomenon of the "Annie" song. This is the giant wave of sequel songs and answer records that emerged after the enormous success of The Midnighters' "Work With Me Annie."

Jitbtitlemedium_small "Annie" Sequel and Answer Songs"Annie" Songs (Sequel Songs & Answer Records to "Work With Me Annie")

This week, the "Juke In The Back" explores the rhythm and blues phenomenon of the "Annie" song.  This is the giant wave of sequel songs and answer records that emerged after the enormous success of The Midnighters' "Work With Me Annie."  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," her 15 of the best on this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat.

Juke In The Back #072

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. Matt The Cat spins Wolf's demo acetates and much more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Howlin' WolfEarly Howlin' Wolf

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."

Juke In The Back #073

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The RavensThe 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."

Juke In The Back #074

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" spotlights a true blues legend, Lowell Fulson. From his 1948 breakthrough, "Three O'Clock Blues" to his 1954 legendary smash "Reconsider Baby," Matt The Cat will present the story behind the story on the great Oklahoma bluesman, who became one of the guiding lights of West Coast Blues.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lowell FulsonLowell 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.

Juke In The Back #075

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" features the legendary Ray Charles 1953 rehearsal tapes. This is Ray at his most raw as he learns some new tunes that he will record at his second Atlantic session. Matt The Cat also shares an interview with Ahmet Ertegun, who explains how he came to sign Ray Charles to Atlantic Records in 1952.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ray CharlesRay Charles: The 1953 Rehearsal Tapes

The "Juke In The Back" features the legendary Ray Charles 1953 rehearsal tapes.  This is Ray at his most raw as he learns some new tunes that he will soon record at his second Atlantic session.  These rehearsal tapes represent Ray at a crossroads in his early career as he begins to develop his own unique musical style.  Up to this point, Ray had been emulating his idols, Charles Brown and Nat King Cole.  Matt The Cat also shares an interview with Ahmet Ertegun, who explains how he came to sign Ray Charles to Atlantic Records in 1952.  The R&B music featured on the "Juke In The Back" directly effected the birth of rock n' roll and the course of American music history.

Juke In The Back #076

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

Matt The Cat & The "Juke In The Back" feature a look at one of most significant little record labels in history: Trumpet Records. Based in Jackson, MS, Trumpet only lasted for 5 years and only scored one national hit (Elmore James' "Dust My Broom," but they recorded some of the greatest delta blues artists

Jitbtitlemedium_small Trumpet RecordsTrumpet Records

Matt The Cat & The "Juke In The Back" feature a look at one of most significantlittle record labels in history: Trumpet Records. Based in Jackson, MS, Trumpet only lasted for 5 years and only scored one national hit (Elmore James' "Dust My Broom," but they recorded some of the greatest delta blues artists.  Sonny Boy Williamson II (Rice Miller) began his career on Trumpet, while Arthur Crudup's Trumpet sides came after his enormous success on RCA Victor.  Blues legend Big Joe Williams also recorded for Lillian McMurry's little Mississippi label.  So get the "story behind the story" of Trumpet Records on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #077

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" features the most important and influential vocal group of the post World War II era, The Orioles. Baltimore's finest singing group sparked a movement that would soon turn into Doo Wop during the rock n' roll era with the release of their 1948 smash "It's Too Soon To Know." Matt The Cat shares their story on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The OriolesThe Orioles

The 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 is joined by Diz Russell, who became an Oriole in the mid-1950s and still leads a group of Orioles today. 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."

Juke In The Back #078

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Lloyd Price joins Matt The Cat in the "Juke In The Back" this week to discuss his early career on Specialty Records and the recording of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Lloyd paints a picture of New Orleans during the early 1950s that you won't hear anywhere else. His greatest records from 1952-3 are also featured on this very special edition of the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lloyd PriceLloyd Price

Lloyd Price joins Matt The Cat in the "Juke In The Back" this week to discuss his early career on Specialty Records and the recording of "Lawdy Miss Clawdy." Lloyd paints a picture of New Orleans during the early 1950s that you won't hear anywhere else. Mr. Price also gives us the "story behind the story" on how he wrote "Just Because" and how is cousin Larry Williams tried to take it away from him. His greatest records from 1952-3 are also featured on this very special edition of the "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #079

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week's "Juke In The Back" spotlights the most influential and important record label of all-time, Sun Records. In part 1 of this 2 part series, you'll hear nearly all of Sun's legendary rhythm & blues releases during 1952 and '53 as Matt The Cat gives you the story behind the story on Sun's R&B sides.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Sam Phillips of Sun RecordsSun Records R&B Story: Pt. 1

This week, the "Juke In The Back" salutes the most influential and important record label of all-time, Sun Records. Sam Phillips started the legendary label in Memphis, TN in March, 1952 after successfully recording the debut sides from B.B. King, Ike Turner, Phineas Newborn and Howlin' Wolf and selling the masters to RPM Records in LA and Chess Records in Chicago. This is part one of a two part feature, leading up to Phillips' groundbreaking, pop culture shifting discovery of Elvis Presley in July, 1954. Matt The Cat examines nearly every rhythm & blues side that Sun Released during 1952 and '53 on this in-depth look into one of America's most treasured music catalogs. That little yellow label from Memphis is in the spotlight all week on the "Juke In The Back," America's showcase for 1940s and '50s Rhythm & Blues.

Juke In The Back #080

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

On Part 2 of the "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to Sun Records' early R&B releases, Matt The Cat features Elvis' first, historic professional recording as well as other great records from Little Milton, James Cotton and many more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Sam Phillips & Elvis at Sun RecordsSun Records R&B Story: Pt. 2

On Part 2 of "Juke In The Back"'s 2 part series on Sun Records' early R&B releases, Matt The Cat spotlights 1954 and '55. This was the most important year and a half in Sun's history. In July, 1954, a young former truck driver named Elvis Presley entered 706 Union Avenue in Memphis and laid down the a song that would lead to the rock n' roll explosion of the mid-1950s. Sun founder, the late Sam Phillips recalls that historic recording as Matt The Cat spins classic Sun R&B from the likes of Billy "The Kid" Emerson, Little Milton, James Cotton and Roscoe Gordon. This is the thrilling conclusion to the "Juke In The Back" tribute to the most important and influential label in the history of rock n' roll.

Juke In The Back #081

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Many 1960s soul legends had their start in 1950s R&B and this week, the "Juke In The Back" takes a listen to Billy Stewart's early records. We'll also spend a few days in jail as Matt The Cat spins a few "prison song" 78s

Jitbtitlemedium_small Billy StewartEarly Billy Stewart

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."

Juke In The Back #082

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" spotlights two extremely underrated R&B pioneers this week: Titus Turner and saxophonist Buddy Lucas. Matt The Cat tells their stories and plays some of their greatest sides. Hear what you've been missing on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Titus TurnerTitus Turner & Buddy Lucas

The "Juke In The Back" spotlights two extremely underrated R&B pioneers this week: Titus Turner and saxophonist Buddy Lucas.  Turner recorded some amazing R&B sides for Regal, Okeh, Wing, King and many other top labels, but he just couldn't score a sizable hit on his own.  Today he is mostly remembered as a songwriter and his songs were hits by the likes of Little Willie John ("All Around The World," "Leave My Kitten Alone") and Ray Charles ("Sticks And Stones," "Get On The Right Track").  Buddy Lucas is mostly remembered today as a great session player, but he scored a few hits under his own name in the early 1950s for the Jubilee Label.  Matt The Cat tells their stories and plays some of their greatest sides.  Hear what you've been missing on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #083

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

This week's "Juke In The Back" features every record Bo Diddley recorded during his debut year of 1955. You'll hear where it all began with one of rock n' roll's most unique and dynamic personalities, Bo Diddley.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Bo DiddleyBo Diddley: 1955

This week's "Juke In The Back" takes a look at the breakthrough year of one of rock n' roll's true architects and innovators, Bo Diddley. His first recording session was held at Chess Records in Chicago on March 2nd and 3rd, 1955, where he laid down 4 original tunes. One of those songs, "I'm A Man," would inspire blues great Muddy Waters' "Manish Boy," while the other, "Bo Diddley," would be the igniting spark for rock n' roll. Diddley was a complicated and compelling artist, who's talents go way beyond his signature "hambone" rhythm, his vibrato guitar and his crazy lyrics. Bo's spirit is the spirit of rebellion, the true ingredient for rock music. It all began in 1955 and this week's "Juke In The Back" will explore those roots.

Juke In The Back #084

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

"Juke In The Back" digs deep into New Orleans R&B this week for the highly underrated 1950s vocal group, Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers. Best known for recording the original version of "I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday," Matt The Cat presents a wealth of great music on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Bobby Mitchell & The ToppersBobby Mitchell & The Toppers

The "Juke In The Back" digs deep into New Orleans Rhythm & Blues this week to focus on Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers, one of the few vocal groups to come out of a city best known for its blues, jazz and cajun roots. The Spiders were the best known vocal group to come out of 1950s New Orleans, but Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers were probably more versatile in the sense that they could not only shout the blues, like Roy Brown or Wynonie Harris, but they could also harmonize like a top notch doo wop group. Bobby Mitchell is best remembered today as the cat who originally sang "I'm Gonna Be A Wheel Someday," two years before Fats Domino would cut it, but it was his "Try Rock n' Roll" from 1956 that would be his only charting hit (reaching #14 nationally). That song capitalized on the emerging rock n' roll craze and remains a record of its time. Bobby Mitchell and The Toppers were definitely a vocal group of their time, but they are well worth checking out as Matt The Cat gives them the spotlight treatment on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Juke In The Back #085 - R&B Christmas

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with the greatest R&B Christmas records from the late 1940s and 1950s. It's the yuletide soul that came before rock n' roll. So grab some 'nog and get groovin'.

Jitbtitlemedium_small R&B ChristmasRhythm & Blues Christmas

The entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with the greatest R&B 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 grab some 'nog and get groovin'.

Episode #087 - Early Solomon Burke

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week we solute Solomon Burke, the "King of Rock n' Soul and the "Juke In The Back" is loaded with his very first recordings from 1955 to 1960. Hear how the "Bishop Of Soul" evolved into the giant he became on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Early Solomon BurkeSolomon Burke: His First Recordings (1955-1960)

This week we solute Solomon Burke, the "King of Rock n' Soul" and the "Juke In The Back" is loaded with his very first recordings from 1955 to 1960.  As a teenager in Philadelphia, Burke was recording for Apollo Records in NYC, but none of his nine Apollo singles charted.  He then cut two singles for the Singular Label before his fortunes turned around and he began recording with Atlantic Records.  You won't hear anything that will blow you mind from Burke's early recordings, but they all have a quality that would stick with him for the rest of his career.  Hear how the "Bishop Of Soul" evolved into the giant he became on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #088 - Duke / Peacock Records Story

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, the entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with records from the catalog of Duke/Peacock Records. Don Robey created one of the great R&B label empires with an artist roster that included Bobby "Blue" Bland, Johnny Ace, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown, Big Mama Thornton, Junior Parker and more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Duke / Peacock Records StoryThe Duke/Peacock Records Story

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.

Episode #089 - Hadda Brooks

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' this week with one of the most underrated boogie woogie piano ladies of all-time, Hadda Brooks. You'll hear a lot more than just her three charting hits, so don't miss out on this tribute to an amazing R&B artist.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Hadda BrooksHadda 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.

Episode #090 - Johnny Otis

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

Johnny Otis was one of the most important figures in rhythm & blues and contributed greatly to the birth of rock n' roll. He passed away on Tuesday, January 17, 2012 and this week's "Juke In The Back" pays tribute to his legacy.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

Johnny OtisJohnny Otis

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is proud to honor the late, great Johnny
Otis, who passed away at the age of 90 on January 17, 2012. Johnny Otis was
a true renaissance man. He was a singer, songwriter, drummer, bandleader,
talent scout, record label owner and radio / TV show host and that's not
everything he did. He was the son of Greek immigrants, growing up in a
mostly Black section of Vallejo, CA during the 1920s and '30s. He not only
absorbed Black Culture, he became a part of it, changing his last name to
Otis in order to sound more Black. He went from playing drums at the Club
Alabam on Central Ave. in LA to opening his own Barrelhouse Club in Watts in
1947, creating a scene of his own. His first records were made just as the
big bands were dying off and the jump combos were rising. Johnny Otis did
not interpret rhythm and blues, Johnny Otis WAS rhythm & blues. From his
first recordings for Leon Rene's Excelsior Label in 1945 to his commercial
breakthrough in 1949-50 for Herman Lubinsky's Savoy Label to his great rock
n' roll success with "Willie And The Hand Jive" for Capitol in 1958, Johnny
Otis did more than almost anyone to push Black Music into the mainstream,
creating rock n' roll. "Juke In The Back" highlights the early part of
Otis' amazing career from 1945-1958. It's not an overstatement to say that
the music we enjoy today is here because of what Johnny Otis recorded,
played and produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s. This "Juke" is truly
The Johnny Otis Show.

Episode #091 - Etta James

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:59

Etta James was one of the grittiest and most influential R&B singer of all-time. We lost her on January 20th at the age of 73. This week, Matt The Cat focuses on Etta's early records from 1954-1960 on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Etta JamesEtta James

Producer Jerry Wexler called Etta James, "The greatest of all modern blues singers."  That's great praise coming from a guy who worked with the greatest of the greats for 50 years.  Etta James, who passed away at the age of 73 on January 20, 2012 had an amazing talent for mixing a bit of tenderness and heartbreak into her gritty, tough and soulful voice.  She had a style all her own and she played by her own rules.  Her success on record was equally matched by her personal failures off-mic, dealing with drug addiction, bad relationships and financial problems.  On this week's "Juke In The Back," Matt The Cat looks at how this incredible legend got started, focusing on Etta's first recordings from 1954 to her great rise in 1960.  Through these records, you'll hear that even in her early days, Etta's music had great depth and variety.  We honor the late, great Etta James, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

***Please let me know if there is any interest in a 55 minute version of the show as I have that available as well***

Episode #092 - T-Bone Walker

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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)" and beyond.

Jitbtitlemedium_small T-Bone WalkerT-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.

Episode #093 - 1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as we feature part one of a two part series on the top R&B jukebox hits of 1952.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 1

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 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.”

Episode #094 - 1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as the "Juke In The Back" features part 2 of a part series on the biggest R&B jukebox hits of 1952!

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review1952: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 2

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 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.”

Episode #095 - Chuck Willis: Part 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:59

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. Matt The Cat changes that with this week's episode of the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Chuck WillisChuck Willis: Part 1

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."

Episode #096 - Chuck Willis: Part 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

"Juke" 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 ("C. C. Rider," "What Am I Livin' For") and his tragic death in 1958 at age 30

Jitbtitlemedium_small Chuck WillisChuck Willis Pt. 2

"Juke" 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.

Episode #097 - The Swallows

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Eddie Rich, the original lead tenor of The Swallows, one of the greatest and most underrated R&B vocal groups of the 1950s joins Matt The Cat for a rare interview. The Swallows' tremendous recordings are featured throughout.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The SwallowsThe Swallows

The Swallows were one of the most underrated R&B vocal groups of the early 1950s. Hailing from Baltimore, they only scored 2 top 10 R&B hits during their 3 year stint with King Records, but collectors and aficionados know their catalog inside and out. The Swallows' original lead tenor, Eddie Rich, joins Matt The Cat on the "Juke In The Back" with his first-hand account of scoring a hit record, life on the road, segregation and playing with the top artists of the day. So dim the lights, turn up the juke and get ready for a full hour of some of the greatest vocal group harmonies you're ever going to hear. The Swallows, this week on your source for 1950s rhythm & blues, the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #098 - Chuck Berry: His First Year

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

This week, Matt The Cat looks at Chuck Berry's very first year of recording, featuring everything he recorded between May, 1955 and April, 1956. You will actually hear Rock n' Roll music being born on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Chuck BerryChuck Berry: His First Year

Chuck Berry has been called the "Father of Rock n' Roll" and with good reason. He took the blues of T-Bone Walker and B.B. King, the guitar riffs of Carl Hogan and mixed it with the fiddle and Western Swing music of Bob Wills & His Texas Playboys. Then he rolled it all into one big sonic blast. Rhythm & Blues become Rock n' Roll when Chuck Berry began writing songs aimed at teenagers, finally granting them their own music. In this week's "Juke In The Back," Matt The Cat explores Chuck Berry's first full year of recording for the legendary Chess Records in Chicago. We'll look at his recordings from his first session, held in May, 1955 to his fourth session from April, 1956 and everything in-between. Some of the titles you'll know by heart, like "Maybellene," "You Can't Catch Me" and "Roll Over Beethoven," but others might be new to your ears, like the eerie "Down Bound Train" and the very bluesy "Wee Wee Hours." Chuck Berry defined Rock n' Roll guitar and his influence is felt every time some one picks up a guitar with the intention of tearing the house down. Hear Berry's beginnings on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #099 - Lucky Millinder

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

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 and Big John Greer, but Lucky Millinder is mostly forgotten by today's audiences. "Juke In The Back" will change that with this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lucky MillinderLucky 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.

Episode #100 - Big Jay McNeely

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Matt The Cat is joined by the greatest of all the West Coast Sax Honkers, Big Jay McNeely. You'll hear Big Jay tell his story in his own words as Matt The Cat spins his wild and crazed records that helped define the sound of early rock n' roll.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Big Jay McNeelyBig Jay McNeely

The juke is jumpin' this week with some of the wildest, craziest and most gloriously blistering honking sax records of all-time by the master, Big Jay McNeely. Not only will Matt The Cat spin Big Jay's greatest sides, but he'll also be talking to the man behind the sax as Big Jay tells his own story in his own words. From the shuffle fire of "Deacon's Hop," a number one R&B smash from 1949 to the crazed "3-D," "Mule Milk" and "The Goof," Jay's best instrumentals will be highlighted. McNeely was also successful with a few vocal records like the pop crossover success of 1959's "There Is Something On Your Mind" with Little Sonny on vocals and his early '50s singles with his vocal group, Three Dots And A Dash, which included a very young Jesse Belvin and Mercy Dee. Don't miss Matt The Cat's interview with Big Jay McNeely and the birth of rock n' roll on this week's "Juke In the Back.".

Episode #101 - Lavern Baker & R&B Baseball Songs

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:04

This week, "The Juke In The Back" looks at how one of R&B's greatest voices, Lavern Baker, got her start. Matt The Cat collects ALL of Baker's early records together in one place. Plus, celebrate America's National Pastime with a collection of R&B baseball songs from the time of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lavern BakerEarly Lavern Baker & R&B Baseball Songs

This week, "The Juke In The Back" looks at how one of R&B's greatest voices, Lavern Baker, got her start.  Matt The Cat collects ALL of Baker's early records together in one place.  From her first recordings with the Eddie "Sugarman" Penigar Orch to her breakthrough sides with The Todd Rhodes Orch and all the records in-between.  You can really hear how Baker's sound evolved between 1949 and 1953.  Her true breakthrough wouldn't come until "Tweedlee Dee" became a huge R&B and pop hit in 1955.

Plus, in our "Harlem Hit Parade," celebrate America's National Pastime with a collection of R&B baseball songs.  Soon after Jackie Robinson broke the color barrier and signed with the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947 and Larry Doby went to the Indians, blues and rhythm artists started singing about a game that could now be enjoyed by everybody.

"The Juke In The Back" features the underground R&B music that directly influenced the birth of rock n' roll, but is seldom heard or respected on the radio.

Grab a nickel and dig on "The Juke In The Back."

Episode #102 - Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the "Juke In The Back" honors one of the greatest blues shouters of all-time, Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson. Matt The Cat covers Vinson's early period vocalizing with the Cootie Williams' Orchestra to his successful solo sides with both Mercury and King Records.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Eddie "Cleanhead" VinsonEddie "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."

Episode #103 - Little Willie John

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the "Juke In The Back" features one of the great big talents of early R&B, Little Willie John. From interviews with people who knew Willie to the music that made him a star. Little Willie John's talent shines through on this episode of "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Little Willie JohnLittle Willie John

The "Juke In The Back" is proud to spotlight one of R&B's most underrated singers and showmen, Little Willie John. Born in Arkansas, Willie was raised in Detroit and took advantage of its thriving music scene from an early age. By 18, he was recording for the influential King Record Label out of Cincinatti and by 19, he was on top of the R&B charts with "Fever" in the spring of 1956. Enlightening interviews with Otis Williams of the Charms as well as Willie's older sister, Mable John add depth to Willie's story. Matt The Cat explores the breadth of Willie's catalog, from his first hit "All Around The World" in 1955, to his big comeback in 1958 with "Talk To Me, Talk To Me," to his final recordings, which have only recently been released. The spotlight shines bright on a great big talent, Little Willie John on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #104 - The Spiders

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

New Orleans is not known for its R&B vocal groups. In a city where jazz, blues and zydeco thrive, one vocal group rose to the top: The Spiders. In two short years, the Spiders landed enduring hits like "I Didn't Want To Do It," "I'm Slippin' In" and "Witchcraft." Matt The Cat explores The Spiders' story on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The SpidersThe Spiders

New Orleans is not known for its R&B vocal groups.  In a city where jazz, blues and zydeco thrive, one vocal group rose to the top: The Spiders.  In two short years, the Spiders landed enduring hits like "I Didn't Want To Do It," "I'm Slippin' In" and "Witchcraft," led by brothers Chuck and Chick Carbo.  They were produced by the legendary Dave Bartholomew and recorded at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studios with the cream of New Orleans' session musicians.  When the hits stopped coming, Chuck Carbo left the group for a solo career, thus ending their time in the spotlight.  Matt The Cat explores The Spiders' story on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #105 - Specialty Records Story Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is full of old records from one of the greatest record labels of all-time, Specialty Records. Art Rupe started the label in 1944 and used it to record the R&B and Gospel music that was being ignored by the major labels. This is part 1 of 3.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Specialty RecordsSpecialty Records Pt. 1

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is full of old records from one of the greatest record labels of all-time, Specialty Records.  Art Rupe started the label in 1944 as Juke Box Records.  Part 1 of this multi-part feature 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.

Episode #106 - Specialty Records Story Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' with records all hailing from the Specialty Label out of LA on part 2 of The Specialty Records Story. Matt The Cat digs up some gems from Specialty's golden period of 1950-53

Jitbtitlemedium_small Specialty RecordsSpecialty Records Pt. 2

This week, the "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' with records all hailing from the Specialty Label out of LA on part 2 of The Specialty Records Story.  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.  Lloyd Price even drops by the "Juke" to tell us how he first met Specialty owner Art Rupe and how "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" came to be recorded.  Matt The Cat wraps up his series on Specialty Records next week, so dig it while the diggin's good. 

Episode #107 - Specialty Records Story Pt. 3

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This is the third and final part of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to Specialty Records. This week, host Matt The Cat looks at Specialty's hit-making heyday of 1953-56, featuring Marvin & Johnny, John Lee Hooker, Jesse Belvin and Little Richard! The birth of Rock n' Roll can be traced back to Specialty Records, find out why on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Specialty Records Pt. 3Specialty Records Pt. 3

This is the third and final part of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to Specialty Records. This week, host Matt The Cat looks at Specialty's hit-making heyday of 1953-56, featuring Marvin & Johnny, John Lee Hooker, Jesse Belvin and Little Richard! The label's founder, 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."

Episode #108 - Sam Cooke

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Few African Americans accomplished so much (songwriter, revered singer, entrepreneur) during the 1950s as the legendary Sam Cooke. This week, Matt The Cat, along with author Peter Guralnick look at the life and early music of Sam Cooke, from his gospel roots to his R&B/pop breakthrough.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Sam CookeSam 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."

Episode #109 - Paul Gayten

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Pianist Paul Gayten is one of the true unsung heroes of R&B and rock n' roll, but he is often overlooked in the history of the genre. Matt The Cat sets the record straight with this week's entire program dedicated to the late, great Paul Gayten.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Paul GaytenPaul Gayten

Paul Gayten is one of the unsung heroes of rhythm & blues and one of the many architects of rock n' roll. This week, Matt The Cat spotlights Gayten's great contributions to music on the "Juke In The Back." Paul Gayten scored the first New Orleans' hit of the post World War II R&B era with "True (You Don't Love Me)" in 1947, thus kicking off a legacy of rhythm hit-making and influence from the Crescent City. His work with vocalists Annie Laurie and Chubby "Hip Shakin'" Newsome is legendary. As a songwriter, producer and talent scout for Chess Records, Gayten discovered and signed Clarence Henry and Bobby Charles and worked with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Gayten made great contributions to R&B and Rock n' Roll, but gets very little recognition these days. Matt The Cat and the "Juke In The Back" are out to change that with this week's heartfelt dedication to the late, great Paul Gayten.

Episode #110 - Aladdin Records Story Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" presents part 1 of a 2 part series on Aladdin Records. Aladdin was one of the independent LA record labels that launched in the 1940s and helped put rhythm & blues into the mainstream, paving the way for Rock n' Roll. Dig on Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Illinois Jacquet, Helen Humes and more...The Aladdin Records Story, Part 1.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Aladdin Records Story, Pt. 1Aladdin Records Story, Pt. 1The Aladdin Records Story: Part 1

The "Juke In The Back" begins a two part special on one of the most important record labels of the pre-rock era, Aladdin Records. Eddie and Leo Mesner started Aladdin as Philo Records in 1945. It was one of the first independent labels on the West Coast and sought to fill in the R&B void left by major labels like Victor, Decca and Columbia. The Mesners hired Maxwell Davis to help with musical arrangements and back up their artists and got the label off to a jumpin' start. In February of 1946, Philo became Aladdin and a record label icon was born. With artists like Johnny Moore's Three Blazers featuring Charles Brown, Helen Humes, Illinois Jacquet, Wynonie Harris, Amos Milburn and some rare releases from a young Robins group, how could Aladdin possibly fail? They didn't and in the process, they helped propel rhythm & blues into the mainstream, paving the way for the emergence of Rock n' Roll. This week's show focuses on the beginning of the label from 1945-49 and next week's show will feature 1950 to the birth of Rock n' Roll. Grab some nickels, because the party's getting ready to start down at the Chicken Shack...with Matt The Cat and the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #111 - Aladdin Records Story Pt 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

This week, "Juke In The Back" features the conclusion of our 2 part series on Aladdin Records. Matt The Cat features Aladdin's releases from 1950-54 and features hit records from Amos Milburn, Charles Brown, Peppermint Harris, Calvin Boze, Floyd Dixon, The Five Keys and many more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Aladdin Records Story, Pt. 2Aladdin Records Story, Pt. 2Aladdin Records Story, Part 2

The "Juke In The Back" concludes its two part series on Aladdin Records, one of the most important independent labels of the pre-rock era. Part 2 will pick up the Aladdin Records Story in 1950 and carry it through til rock n' roll began hitting the mainstream in 1954. This week, we'll hear more hits from Aladdin's early hit-makers, Amos Milburn and Charles Brown. We'll also dig some of the newcomers, like Floyd Dixon, Peppermint Harris, Calvin Boze, Shirley & Lee, the Five Keys and more. Aladdin was a rare label in that almost everything they pressed was worth hearing. If you ever see a discarded Aladdin 45 by an artist you've never heard before, pick it up, because chances are it'll make you very, very happy. Matt The Cat hosts the Aladdin Records Story, Part 2, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #112 - 4th of July Special - R&B Songs About Food

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

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 the heroes of the "soul that came before rock n' roll" on the Juke In The Back.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

4th Of July Special on R&B Songs About Food

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 the heroes of the “soul that came before rock n’ roll” on the Juke In The Back.

Episode #113 - The "5" Royales

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

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

Jitbtitlemedium_small The "5" Royales 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 thief 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.

Episode #114 - Roy Brown

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

"Juke In The Back" features one of early R&B's greatest blues shouters, Roy Brown. From his early hits for the DeLuxe Label in the late 1940s to his big New Orleans comeback in 1957, all of Roy's charting hits are featured on this week's program.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Roy Brown Roy Brown

Roy Brown was one of early R&B's undisputed blues shouters. He burst on the scene in 1947 with the original recording of "Good Rockin' Tonight," which would become a rock n' roll and blues classic when covered by Wynonie Harris, Elvis Presley and countless others. He managed to chart 16 R&B hits from 1947-1957, most of them in the late '40s and early '50s. Many of these songs never get played on the radio anymore, but this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat will set the record straight as we spin every charting hit of Roy Brown's career. We'll dig on Brown's jump blues, his ballads and his late career New Orleans comeback. So get down to the sound of Good Rockin' Roy Brown on this week's "Juke In The Back," the "soul that came BEFORE rock n' roll!"

Episode #115 - The Robins

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" features The Robins, one of the earliest and most influential R&B vocal group to come out of Los Angeles in the late '40s and early '50s. From their early work with Johnny Otis to their breakthrough with Leiber and Stoller, The Robins' shine bright on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Robins 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.”

Episode #116 - The Du-Droppers

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

Matt The Cat presents another highly underrated vocal group from the 1950s: The Du-Droppers as part of a full hour of 1940s and '50s rhythm & blues on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Du-Droppers 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 sequa 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."

Episode #117 - Johnny Ace

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

This week, "Juke In The Back" highlights the short career of one of R&B's greatest talents: JOHNNY ACE. His great records usually get overshadowed by the legend surrounding his sudden death, but not this time as Matt The Cat spins all his hits from the early to mid-1950s.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Johnny Ace 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."

Episode #118 - Elvis' R&B Influences

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Elvis Presley's early music was a blend of Hillbilly, Country, Gospel and R&B. This week's "Juke In The Back" explored the enormous debt Elvis owed to his Rhythm & Blues idols and in turn, the debt the music owes to Elvis.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Elvis' R&B Influences Elvis' R&B Influences

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.

Episode #119 - Ike Turner

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Much has been said about Ike Turner's personal life, but not enough has been said about his musical legacy. This week's "Juke In The Back" looks at musical debt that rock n' roll and rhythm & blues owes to Ike Turner. His 1950s recordings are highlighted.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ike Turner Ike Turner

One of Rhythm & Blues' greatest innovators was also one of its most notorious personalities. Ike Turner was born in the same place that the blues was born, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in Clarksdale in 1931. He learned boogie woogie piano was the legendary Pinetop Perkins and soon taught himself how to play guitar. His band, The Kings Of Rhythm, recorded what some would come to name as the "first Rock n' Roll Record" with "Rocket 88" in 1951. The Chess label called them "Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats," but it didn't matter, Ike Turner's stamp is all over that groundbreaking record, which was based on Jimmy Liggins' 1948 R&B classic, "Cadillac Boogie." From there, Turner became a talent scout for both Sam Phillips at Sun Records and The Bihari Brothers at RPM Records. He played behind Howlin' Wolf, Little Milton, Elmore James, Otis Rush and many others while also releasing his own important sides. Matt The Cat sorts through the many record labels and incarnations of The Kings Of Rhythm on this week's "Juke In The Back," as we honor one of music's most tragic, but important figures, the legendary Ike Turner.

Episode #120 - The Parrot Records Story

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The entire "Juke In The Back" focuses on a tiny Chicago R&B record label with a big sound; Parrot Records. The label was started by Chicago DJ Al Benson in late 1952 and it closed its doors in 1956. Get the story behind the story on the history of Parrot Records with Matt The Cat on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Parrot Records Story Parrot Records

The entire "Juke In The Back" focuses on a tiny Chicago R&B record label with a big sound; Parrot Records.  The label was started by Chicago DJ Al Benson in late 1952 and it closed its doors in 1956.  During its period of operation, Parrot recorded some smokin' R&B and smooth vocal group sounds from Willie Mabon and J.B. Lenoir to The Flamingos and the 5 Thrills.  Matt The Cat highlights both the hits and misses and bring you the story behind the story on this often forgotten R&B label on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #121 - Jimmy Liggins

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

Jimmy Liggins may not have been as successful as his older brother Joe, but Jimmy's 1948 recording of "Cadillac Boogie" just might be the first rock n' roll record. Dig on the story and music of Jimmy Liggins, an unsung R&B hero on this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Jimmy Liggins Jimmy Liggins

Jimmy Liggins didn't have the chart success or popularity of his older brother Joe Liggins, but he did have a killer band, a raw sound and quite possibly the "first rock n' roll record."

Both brothers traveled to California from their native Oklahoma in order to make it in the music business. Jimmy started out as a professional boxer before hanging up the gloves in order to drive his older brother around after the success of Joe's "The Honeydripper" in 1945. By the end of '46, Jimmy told Joe that he was cuttin' out on his own to form his own band and make his own records. He hit the charts with his 2nd single "Teardrop Blues" in 1948. Its flipside was "Cadillac Boogie," which was Ike Turner and Jackie Brenston's inspiration for "Rocket 88." Jimmy Liggins only scored four R&B chart hits during his career, but he cut a trove of groovy plattahs worth hearing. He is definitely one of R&B's unsung heroes. Get Jimmy Liggins' story and all the great music that comes with it on this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat.

Episode #122 - The Chords

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week's "Juke In The Back" digs deep into a group that is usually only remembered for one, incredibly influential tune, "Sh-Boom." The Chords cut that tune in 1954, right at the height of America's fear of the Atomic Bomb and this song did more for helping to launch rock n' roll than almost any other. Matt The Cat digs up the story of The Chords and their great recordings on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Chords The Chords

This week's "Juke In The Back" digs deep into a group that is usually only remembered for one, incredibly influential tune, "Sh-Boom."  The Chords cut that tune in 1954, right at the height of America's fear of the Atomic Bomb and this song did more for helping to launch rock n' roll than almost any other.  In fact, the tittle "Sh-Boom" was meant to simulate the sound of an A-Bomb explosion.  Even though their label didn't believe in "Sh-Boom," they just couldn't stop it, but unfortunately, they didn't do much to promote The Chords subsequent releases.  They were forced to change their name to The Chordcats, due to a lawsuit and then dropped that name in favor of The Sh-Booms.   Matt The Cat digs up the story behind the story of The Chords and their great recordings on this episode of the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #123 - 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 61 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the first half of 1951. 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 Margie Day, Ray Charles and Lloyd Glenn. It's part 1 of the 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review

Part 1

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the first half of 1951.  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 Margie Day, Ray Charles and Lloyd Glenn.  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 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #124 - 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 61 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the second half of 1951. 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 Hodges, Dinah Washington and Jimmy Nelson. It's part 2 of the 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2 1951: Jukebox Rhythm Review

Part 2

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 61 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the second half of 1951. 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 Hodges, Dinah Washington and Jimmy Nelson. 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 1951 Rhythm Review on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #125 - The Cardinals

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Even though The Cardinals only scored 3 R&B hits, they are remembered as one of the most important vocal groups of the 1950s. This week, Matt The Cat digs into the Cardinals music and legacy on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Cardinals The Cardinals

The Cardinals only scored 3 R&B hits, but all 3 made the top ten and are considered classics today. The group formed in Baltimore in late 1946 and came to the attention of Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson, co-founders of Atlantic Records in very early 1951. They were signed immediately and soon Atlantic sent their house arranger, Jesse Stone, down to Baltimore to work with the group and prep them for their first recording session, which was held in March, 1951. The Cardinals, who were known as the Mellotones at that time, were used to singing pop songs. Jesse Stone had to give them that R&B sound. Their first release, "Shouldn't I Know," climbed the R&B charts and put The Cardinals on the map. Their version of "The Wheel Of Fortune" in 1952 is considered the definitive R&B version of that song today as is their 1955 rendition of the Chuck Willis penned tune, "The Door Is Still Open." Lead tenor Ernie Warren has one of the most beautiful and distinguishable voices in all of early R&B and Matt The Cat brings The Cardinals' music and legacy to life on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #126 - Marvin Phillips

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

Marvin Phillips is one of LA's unsung heroes of 1950s rhythm & blues. He, along with Jesse Belvin popularized R&B duos with their 1952 smash, "Dream Girl" and paved the way for future duo groups. This week's "Juke In The Back" features Marvin Phillips' work with Jesse Belvin, Marvin & Johnny and as a solo artist.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Marvin Phillips 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."

Episode #127 - Rudy Toombs: R&B Songwriter

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

This week, The "Juke In The Back" features the songs of one of R&B's greatest songwriters: Rudy Toombs. This underrated cat wrote some of the most fabulous drinking songs of all-time as well as many other memorable classics. Matt The Cat spins Rudy Toombs best on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Rudy Toombs Rudy Toombs: R&B Songwriter

This week, The "Juke In The Back" features the songs of one of R&B's greatest songwriters: Rudy Toombs.  This underrated cat wrote some of the most fabulous drinking songs of all-time for Amos Milburn, The Clovers, The Five Keys and a young Johnny "Guitar" Watson.  Beyond drinking songs, Toombs wrote some mega-hits for Ruth Brown, Varetta Dillard and Little Willie John, just to name a few.  Matt The Cat gives you the story behind the story of one of early rock n' roll's greatest cleffers.  It's Rudy Toombs' best songs, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #128 - Little Esther Phillips

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" honors Little Esther, the 14 year old phenom that scored 3 #1 hits in 1950, singing with Johnny Otis' musical ensemble. She would go on to have a successful career of her own as Esther Phillips, but this week, Matt The Cat looks at her early career in the 1950s.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Little Esther 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."

Episode #129 - Halloween Rhythm & Blues

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

Matt The Cat celebrates Halloween with the scariest, spookiest and most sinister vintage rhythm & blues records ever made! It's the disembodied "soul that came before rock n' roll" on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Halloween Rhythm & Blues Halloween Rhythm & Blues

Matt The Cat experiences some paranormal rhythms coming out of his “Juke In The Back” as we celebrate the truly spooky, sinister and down-right crazy sounds of a vintage rhythm & blues Halloween. Eugene Fox meets the devil, The Hollywood Flames take us to Frankenstein’s Den and Bill Doggett throws a Monster’s Party. It’s a treat, not a trick to hear an alternate take of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ 1956 classic, “I Put A Spell On You,” with EXTRA screaming and a killer sax solo payed by Sam “The Man” Taylor. So clear your voodoo calendar and dig the sounds from the outer bounds on this week’s Halloween edition of the “Juke In The Back.”

Episode #130 - Wynonie Harris, Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:03

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Wynonie Harris Wynonie Harris, Pt. 1

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.

Episode #131 - Wynonie Harris, Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

It's part 2 of our 2 part series on Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris, one of the greatest blues shouters of all time. Matt The Cat focuses on Harris' hit-making years of 1948-1952, when he ruled the rhythm & blues charts. Drop a nickel in the "Juke In The Back," cause "Mr. Blues" is gonna ROCK!

Jitbtitlemedium_small Wynonie Harris Wynonie Harris

Part 2


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!

Episode #132 - The Penguins

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The Penguins' "Earth Angel" was the first rhythm & blues song to crossover into the pop world in such a big way that it announced the beginning of what was to be called "rock n' roll." The Penguins' history is explored on this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Penguins The Penguins

The Penguins' "Earth Angel" was the first rhythm & blues song to crossover into the pop world in such a big way that it announced the beginning of what was to be called "rock n' roll." 

"Earth Angel" remains one of the most eduring songs in the history of recorded music and yet when it was released in late 1954, it received very little promotion from the record company.  It's a rare example of a song that became a huge hit based on its own merits.  The Penguins' lead vocalist, Cleve Duncan, who passed away on November 6, 2012 while waiting in line to vote, talks with Matt The Cat about The Penguins' beginnings, "Earth Angel" and the 1950s music scene.  Cleve Duncan tells the Penguins' story in his own words, while Matt The Cat digs deep into the archives to pull out some surprises, like both of the Penguins' live performances from a 1956 Alan Freed show.  Grab a few nickels, as we pay tribute to one of LA's great vocal groups while the juke jumps with the best of The Penguins.

Episode #133 - Richard Berry

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Richard Berry is truly one of the unsung heroes of early rhythm & blues and rock n' roll. That he wrote and recorded the original version of "Louie Louie" is only scratching the surface of this renaissance man of R&B.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Richard Berry Richard Berry

Richard Berry is truly one of the unsung heroes of early rhythm & blues and rock n' roll. That he wrote and recorded the original version of "Louie Louie" is only scratching the surface of this renaissance man of R&B. As a teenager at LA's Jefferson High School, he was a founding member of The Flairs, one of the first great vocal groups to hit the LA Scene. From there, Berry recorded some solo sides for the Flair, Modern, RPM and Flip labels. Matt The Cat takes a look and listen to Richard Berry's early catalog, digging out some of his greatest sides from his first record with The Flairs to the solo ballad, "One Little Prayer," his uncredited vocals on The Robins' "Riot In Cell Block #9" and Etta James' "The Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry)" to the classic "Have Love Will Travel." Plus, we'll hear Richard Berry's story in HIS own words through an interview conducted by former DJ James Austin from the mid-1980s (used with permission). In the interview, Berry gives a detailed history of how "Louie Louie" was inspired, written and received. So catch an intimate visit with the late Richard Berry, a rhythm & blues icon, on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #134 - Pee Wee Crayton

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" honors one of the greatest, yet more underrated originators of electric blues guitar: Pee Wee Crayton. Matt The Cat presents his story, his music and a whole lot more on the "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Pee Wee Crayton 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."

Episode #135 - The Cadillacs

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The Cadillacs were one of the most versatile R&B vocal groups of the 1950s, handling uptempo gems like "Speedo" and classic doo wop ballads like "Gloria" with ease. Matt The Cat features an interview with Earl Carroll who fronted the group up until his death on November 25, 2012.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Cadillacs 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.

Episode #136 - The (original) Diamonds

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" takes a look at one of New York's greatest, but almost unheard of R&B vocal groups: The Diamonds. Matt The Cat also features R&B songs about Detroit on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Diamonds The (original) Diamonds & R&B Songs About Detroit


The "Juke In The Back" takes a look at one of New York's greatest, but almost unheard of R&B vocal groups: The Diamonds.  They only got 3 singles released by Atlantic Records during 1952 and '53 and would fade into history by 1955, but their harmonies are second to none.  "Sonny" Wright's lead baritone remains much admired as does Myles Hardy's tenor.  Hear all six of the Diamond's known songs this week.  Plus, Matt The Cat also features R&B songs about Detroit with Blind Blake, Tampa Red, John Lee Hooker and Fats Domino weighing in on the Motor City and Hastings Street, the cultural center of African-American life during the 20s to the 60s.

Episode #137 - R&B Christmas

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with the greatest R&B Christmas records from the late 1940s and 1950s. It's the yuletide soul that came before rock n' roll. So grab some 'nog and get groovin'.

Jitbtitlemedium_small R&B Christmas Rhythm & Blues Christmas

The entire "Juke In The Back" is loaded with the greatest R&B 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 grab some 'nog and get groovin'.

Episode #138 - R&B Christmas Leftovers & New Year's Resolutions

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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 Special.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

Happy New Year! Christmas 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 Special. 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. So get hungry for some Christmas leftovers and plan your New Year’s resolutions this week with Matt The Cat on the “Juke In The Back.”

Episode #139 - The Crickets

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:59

The "Juke In The Back" is loaded with records by the 1950s R&B vocal group, The Crickets. They only recorded from late 1952 to 1954, but man did they lay down some sweet harmonies. Matt The Cat shares their story on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Crickets The Crickets

The "Juke In The Back" is loaded with records by the 1950s R&B vocal group, The Crickets.  They hailed from The Bronx and only recorded from late 1952 to 1954, but man did they lay down some sweet harmonies.  Buddy Holly would take the name to the top of the charts, but these guys had it first.  Grover "Dean" Barlow led the group vocally, but it was record label owner Joe Davis that would ultimately control their fate.  Matt The Cat tells the story of the original Crickets and their 3 group incarnations on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #140 - 1953: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1953: Jukebox Rhythm Review 1953: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 1

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 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.”

Episode #141 - 1953: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 years and highlights the top jukebox hits of the second half of 1953. It's part 2 of 2. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1953: Jukebox Rhythm Review 1953: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 2

This week, the jukebox is in the spotlight as Matt The Cat takes you back 60 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.”

Episode #142 - Johnny Moore's Three Blazers

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:58

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Johnny Moore's Three Blazers 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.

Episode #143 - The Clovers Pt. 1 (1950-53)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Clovers 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."

Episode #144 - The Clovers Pt. 2 (1953-56)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. 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

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Clovers 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."

Episode #145 - The Clovers Pt. 3 (1956-58)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Clovers Pt. 3 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."

Episode #146 - Billy "The Kid" Emerson

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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. Matt tells his story on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Billy "The Kid" Emerson 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."

Episode #147 - Cab Calloway

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

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."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Cab Calloway 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."

Episode #148 - Cobra Records

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Cobra Records left quite a bite, even thought this little West Side Chicago label was only in existence for three short years. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Cobra Records 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."

Episode #149 - The Checkers

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" features another highly underrated R&B vocal group from the 1950s: The Checkers. They never scored a national hit, but they're one of the finnest examples of polished 1950s R&B and their story deserves to be shared.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Checkers The Checkers

The "Juke In The Back" features another highly underrated R&B vocal group from the 1950s: The Checkers.  They never scored a national hit, but they're one of the finest examples of polished 1950s R&B and their story deserves to be shared.  The Checkers were formed after tenor Charlie White and bass Bill Brown split from Bill Ward & His Dominoes.  They had some regional success with "House With No Windows," an uptempo version of "White Cliffs Of Dover" and "Don't Stop Dan," the sequel to "Sixty Minute Man."  Matt The Cat digs through a mess of King Records 78s to bring you the best and most influential sides that this great R&B vocal group has to offer on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #150 - Camille Howard

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Camille Howard Camille Howard

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. 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."

Episode #151 - Spark Records

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' with a whole program dedicated to the short-lived 1950s record label started by songwriters Jerry Leiber & Mike Stoller in 1954. Matt The Cat brings you the story behind the story on Spark Records.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Spark Records 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.

Episode #152 - Fats Domino Pt. 1 (1950-53)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" is proud to feature Fats Domino, one of the most influential and popular recording stars of both Rhythm & Blues and Rock n' Roll music. In part one of this two part series, Matt The Cat will spin the A and B sides of EVERY Fats Domino R&B charting single from 1950 to 1953.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Fats Domino Fats Domino Pt. 1 (1950-53)

The "Juke In The Back" is proud to feature Fats Domino, one of the most influential and popular recording stars of both Rhythm & Blues and Rock n' Roll music. Fats' streak of hit records was nearly unbroken from 1950-1963 and he did it without changing his core sound. He just kept on playin' the New Orleans boogie woogie music that he grew up with. Antoine "Fats" Domino Jr. got his first recording contract in early December of 1949 as bandleader Dave Bartholomew introduced him to Lew Chudd, the head of LA's Imperial Records. Within days, they were in Cosimo Matassa's famous J&M studios cutting Fats' first record, "The Fat Man," which sold over one million copies and made him a star. In part one of this two part series, Matt The Cat will spin the A and B sides of EVERY Fats Domino R&B charting single from 1950 to 1953. Part 2 will pick it up and spin the charting singles up through Domino's big Pop crossover success with "Ain't It A Shame" in 1955. We're diggin' on the R&B roots of Fats Domino, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #153 - Fats Domino Pt. 2 (1953-55)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" is proud to feature Fats Domino, one of the most influential and popular recording stars of both Rhythm & Blues and Rock n' Roll music. In part two of this two part series, Matt The Cat will spin the A and B sides of EVERY Fats Domino R&B charting single from mid-1953 thru his enormous crossover success in 1955 with "Ain't It A Shame."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Fats Domino Pt. 2 Fats Domino Pt. 2 (1953-55)

The "Juke In The Back" is proud to feature Fats Domino, one of the most influential and popular recording stars of both Rhythm & Blues and Rock n' Roll music. Fats' streak of hit records was nearly unbroken from 1950-1963 and he did it without changing his core sound. He just kept on playin' the New Orleans boogie woogie music that he grew up with. Antoine "Fats" Domino Jr. got his first recording contract in early December of 1949 as bandleader Dave Bartholomew introduced him to Lew Chudd, the head of LA's Imperial Records. Within days, they were in Cosimo Matassa's famous J&M studios cutting Fats' first record, "The Fat Man," which sold over one million copies and made him a star. In part two of this two part series, Matt The Cat will spin the A and B sides of EVERY Fats Domino R&B charting single from mid-1953 thru his enormous crossover success in 1955 with "Ain't It A Shame." That record not only spent 11 weeks on top of the R&B charts, but it also crossed over and hit #10 on the Pop charts. Pat Boone would take his cover version to #1, thus giving Fats Domino even more Pop exposure. This show will also feature some great non-charting records and fabulous instrumentals from this time period as well. So c'mon and dig the R&B roots of Fats Domino, this week on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #154 - Jukebox Listener Request #1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week's "Juke In The Back" is completely turned over to YOU, the hep cats and crazy kittens who dig on these vintage Rhythm & Blues sounds each week. Matt The Cat is taking requests from all over the world and putting your voices on the air. So gather up your nickels and dimes and prepare to hear the wildest show yet. It's the first of hopefully more ALL REQUST "Juke In The Back" shows.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Jukebox Request #1 Jukebox Listener Request #1

This week's "Juke In The Back" is completely turned over to YOU, the hep cats and crazy kittens who dig on these vintage Rhythm & Blues sounds each week. Matt The Cat is taking requests from all over the world and putting your voices on the air. We'll hear from Germany, The Netherlands and Madison, Wisconsin, just to name a few of the exotic locales that called into the Juke Hotline at 812-JUKE-MTC. Our Jukers chose an eclectic mix of R&B going back to early Memphis Slim, a rarely heard duet between Earl Bostic and Bill Doggett, some LIVE Lavern Baker from 1956 and many more surprises. So gather up your nickels and dimes and prepare to hear the wildest show yet. It's the first of hopefully more ALL REQUST "Juke In The Back" shows.

Episode #155 - Lil Greenwood

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" pays tribute to the great R&B vocalist, Lil Greenwood. You'll hear her greatest early recordings from 1950-1954, before she joined Ellington's band.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Lil Greenwood 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.

Episode #156 - The Royals (Early Midnighters)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" looks at the very beginnings of one of early R&B's biggest groups, The Midnighters. Before "Work With Me Annie," they were known as The Royals. You'll hear the Royals story and their great music on this week's show.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Royals The Royals (Early Midnighters)

This week, the "Juke In The Back" looks at the humble beginnings of 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.  You'll only hear this great early rhythm & blues jumpin' out of the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #157 - The Treniers

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. They 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The Treniers 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.

Episode #158 - Johnny Bragg (The Prisonaires & The Marigolds)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Matt The Cat presents the seldom-told story of Johnny Bragg, a prisoner serving six 99 year sentences at the Tenn State Penn when his group The Prisonaires gets a recording deal with Sam Phillips at Sun Records in Memphis. The group records Bragg's immortal "Just Walkin' In The Rain" and becomes part of R&B history, but that's only the beginning of the story...find out the rest on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Johnny Bragg (Prisonaires & Marigolds) Johnny Bragg (The Prisonaires & The Marigolds)

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."

Episode #160 - Ruth Brown Pt. 1 (1949-50)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" begins a 3 part feature celebrating the music and influence of "Miss Rhythm." Part 1 will focus on Brown's beginnings with Atlantic from 1949 through 1950.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ruth Brown Pt. 1 (1949-50) Ruth Brown Pt. 1 (1949-50)

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" begins a 3 part feature celebrating the music and influence of "Miss Rhythm." Part 1 will focus on Brown's beginnings with Atlantic. She came to the attention of co-founders Ahmet Ertegun and Herb Abramson in 1948, thanks to Voice of America DJ Willis Conover. They signed her up, but a terrible car accident sidelined the chanteuse for several months. By May, 1949, Brown was in the studio cutting her first single, which also turned out to be her first hit, the #6 smash, "So Long." Matt The Cat digs out an interview with the late Ertegun, explaining how Atlantic came to sign Ruth Brown. She may have hit pay dirt right out of the gate, but still they didn't know how to record her. Brown wanted to sing pop songs and standards and Ertegun and Abramson wanted her to sing in the Rhythm & Blues style. So there were quite a few missteps before Ruth Brown landed her next hit at the very end of 1950 with the #1 smash, "Teardrops From My Eyes." We'll dig on every single released by Ruth Brown from 1949-1950 on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #161 - Ruth Brown Pt. 2 (1951-53)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" continues its 3 part feature celebrating the music and influence of "Miss Rhythm." Part 2 will focus on the hayday of Brown's recordings from the start of 1951 through the middle of 1953.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ruth Brown Pt. 2 Ruth Brown Pt. 2 (1951-53)

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" continues its 3 part feature celebrating the music and influence of "Miss Rhythm." Part 2 will focus on the hayday of Brown's recordings from the start of 1951 through the middle of 1953. During this period, she would score 2 more #1 hits with "5-10-15 Hours" and "(Mama) He Treats Your Daughter Mean" as well as 3 more top ten entries. Matt The Cat digs out an interview with the late co-founder of Atlantic Records, Ahmet Ertegun, explaining how Atlantic marketed Ruth Brown during the early days. Next week, part 3 will focus on Brown's 1954-'55 recordings just as Rock n' Roll was hitting the American mainstream.

Episode #162 - Ruth Brown Pt. 3 (1953-55)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" continues its 3 part feature celebrating the music and influence of "Miss Rhythm." Part 3 will feature another hour of Brown's gritty, tough R&B and sweet ballads beginning in the middle of 1953 and continuing up through her first single release of 1955

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ruth Brown Pt. 3 Ruth Brown Pt. 3 (1953-55)

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" continues its 3 part feature celebrating the music and influence of "Miss Rhythm." Part 3 will feature another hour of Brown's gritty, tough R&B and sweet ballads beginning in the middle of 1953 and continuing up through her first single release of 1955. During this period, she would score 2 more #1 hits with "Oh What A Dream," which was written for her by Chuck Willis and "Mambo Baby." These Ruth Brown sessions were co-produced by Jerry Wexler, who had joined Atlantic Records in '53 as Atlantic's co-founder Herb Abramson was drafted into the Army. Rock n' roll was about to hit the mainstream as we close this final part of our Ruth Brown complete singles chronology. Next week, our look at Ruth Brown continues as we introduce a bonus show that will feature every one of her remaining charting singles from 1955-1960.

Episode #163 - Ruth Brown: More Rhythm (1955-60)

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" adds to its three previous shows on "Miss Rhythm" by breaking from playing every single chronological release and focusing on all her remaining R&B charting hits from 1955 to her final R&B chart entry in 1960.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ruth Brown pt. 4 Ruth Brown: More Rhythm (1955-60)

Ruth Brown was Atlantic Records first big star. She was so successful, racking up 24 R&B hits for the fledging label, that Atlantic was often called the "house that Ruth built." This week, "Juke In The Back" adds to its three previous shows on "Miss Rhythm" by breaking from playing every single chronological release and focusing on all her remaining R&B charting hits from 1955 to her final R&B chart entry in 1960. During these five years, Ruth Brown failed to expand on her five previous #1 hit records, but she did rack up ten more Top 10 singles, with "I Want To Do More" hitting #3 in early 1956. "Lucky Lips" from 1957 became her first big crossover record, hitting #25 on the Pop Charts, while making #6 on the R&B Charts. Even though Atlantic was trying for a big Pop single for Ruth Brown, she continued to record some great R&B records like the Brook Benton-penned "I Don't Know" and the Leiber-Stoller-penned "I Can't Hear A Word You Say." Matt The Cat will also dig out some non-charting B sides to round out the show. This "Juke In The Back" program concludes a mammoth four-part musical examination of one of Rhythm & Blues' biggest stars, Ruth Brown.

Episode #166 - Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

This week, "Juke In The Back" presents one of the architects of the "honkin'" sax, Paul Williams. Williams' Sextette released some moderately successful instrumentals early on, before they hit paydirt with "The Huckle-Buck" in 1949. Matt The Cat digs deep into Williams' catalog for a plethora of killer R&B jump tunes that deserve more exposure on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams

This week, "Juke In The Back" presents one of the architects of the "honkin'" sax, Paul Williams. Many people associate that "honkin'" sax sound with West Coast Jump Blues, but it actually originated in 1947 with Paul Williams in Detroit. Savoy Records dug Williams' style as it was very different than their other sax great at the time, Charlie Parker. Williams' Sextette released some moderately successful instrumentals early on, before they hit paydirt with "The Huckle-Buck" in 1949. It was at a show in late 1948 that Williams and his group played a slowed down version of Parker's "Now's The Time" and saw the kids going crazy doing a new dance called The Hucklebuck. He knew he was on to something and rushed into the studio to cut "The Huckle-Buck." The record sparked a national dance craze and hit #1 on the R&B chart, where it remained for 14 week. "The Huckle-Buck" was the best selling record of 1949. From then on out, Paul Williams was known as Paul "Hucklebuck" Williams and the rest is history. Matt The Cat digs deep into Williams' catalog for a plethora of killer R&B jump tunes that deserve more exposure on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #169 - Little Willie Littlefield

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

There are many great pianists in the history of boogie woogie that helped push its evolution, but it was Little Willie Littlefield who popularized the triplet style of playing (basically playing 3 notes inside of one beat), which in turn inspired Fats Domino and eventually let to the birth of rock n' roll. Matt The Cat digs up some rare and wonderful sides by this pioneering boogie woogie pianist and throws a few listener requests on the ol' jukebox on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Little Willie Littlefield Little Willie Littlefield

There are many great pianists in the history of boogie woogie that helped push its evolution. Out of the great Pete Johnson and Champion Jack Dupree, pianists Charles Brown and Amos Milburn brought boogie woogie into the R&B combo. But it was Little Willie Littlefield who popularized the triplet style of playing (basically playing 3 notes inside of one beat), which in turn inspired Fats Domino and eventually let to the birth of rock n' roll. Littlefield, who is a highly underrated player in the development of R&B and rock n' roll, began recording in Houston in 1948 for the tiny Eddie's Records. After being discovered by Jules Bihari and signed to Modern Records, Littlefield moved to LA and scored 3 national top ten R&B hits for the Modern Label. In 1952, he moved over to Federal Records and cut some influential sides, such as the Leiber/Stoller-penned classic "Kansas City" (as "K.C. Lovin'"), but never hit the charts again. Matt The Cat digs up some rare and wonderful sides by this pioneering boogie woogie pianist and throws a few listener requests on the ol' jukebox on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #171 - Sun Records R&B Story Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week's "Juke In The Back" spotlights the most influential and important record label of all-time, Sun Records. In part 1 of this 2 part series, you'll hear nearly all of Sun's legendary rhythm & blues releases during 1952 and '53 as Matt The Cat gives you the story behind the story on Sun's R&B sides.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Sam Phillips of Sun Records Sun Records R&B Story Pt. 1

This week, the "Juke In The Back" salutes the most influential and important record label of all-time, Sun Records. Sam Phillips started the legendary label in Memphis, TN in March, 1952 after successfully recording the debut sides from B.B. King, Ike Turner, Phineas Newborn and Howlin' Wolf and selling the masters to RPM Records in LA and Chess Records in Chicago. This is part one of a two part feature, leading up to Phillips' groundbreaking, pop culture shifting discovery of Elvis Presley in July, 1954. Matt The Cat examines nearly every rhythm & blues side that Sun Released during 1952 and '53 on this in-depth look into one of America's most treasured music catalogs. That little yellow label from Memphis is in the spotlight all week on the "Juke In The Back," America's showcase for 1940s and '50s Rhythm & Blues.

Episode #173 - Little Miss Cornshucks

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Little Miss Cornshucks was an influential figure in post WWII Rhythm & Blues. 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."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Little Miss Cornshucks 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."

Episode #177 - R&B Novelty Songs

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" is jumpin' this week with a salute to the lighter side of classic 1950s rhythm and blues. These “novelty” R&B tunes come from jump blues masters from Louis Jordan to Bull Moose Jackson and all the side-splittin' jive in-between.

Jitbtitlemedium_small R&B Novelty Songs on "Juke In The Back" R&B Novelty Songs

The juke is jumpin' this week with a salute to the lighter side of classic 1950s rhythm and blues.  These “novelty” R&B tunes come from jump blues masters from Louis Jordan to Bull Moose Jackson and all the side-splittin' jive in-between.  You'll hear all about Richard Berry, Wynonie Harris, Andre Williams and Dusty Fletcher getting in trouble with the law as well as a wacky song about crazy food.  Join Matt The Cat for a hilarious look at the “soul that came before rock n' roll” on “Juke In The Back.”

Episode #178 - Floyd Dixon

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Floyd Dixon 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."

Episode #179 - Rhythm & Blues Car Songs

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The juke is jumpin' with records focusing on classic R&B songs about cars. Musicologists Billy Vera and Steve Propes drop by the "Juke In The Back" to make their cases that the first rock n' roll song might have been about a car.

Jitbtitlemedium_small R&B Car Songs Rhythm & Blues Car Songs

The juke is jumpin' with records focusing on classic R&B songs about cars.  The automobile is a "road tested" symbol of the American Dream.  We have all this land and the car gives us the freedom to get from one place to another.  We'll dig on some tunes about Cadillacs, Buicks, Mercurys and Model Ts.  Plus, musicologists Billy Vera and Steve Propes drop by the "Juke In The Back" to make their cases that the first rock n' roll song might have been about a car.  "Juke In The Back" focuses on the "soul that came before rock n' roll," the records that inspired Elvis, Buddy Holly, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and countless others.

Episode #180 - The Griffin Brothers

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

This week, "Juke In The Back" features The Griffin Brothers, one of the unsung Rhythm & Blues groups from the early 1950s. The Griffin Brothers were an important part of R&B's rise, scoring a #1 smash in early 1952 with "Weepin' & Cryin'" (featuring Tommy Brown on lead vocals) and now they're finally getting their due, even if time has left them behind.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Griffin Brothers The Griffin Brothers

This week, "Juke In The Back" features The Griffin Brothers, one of the unsung Rhythm & Blues groups from the early 1950s. Jimmy and "Buddy" Griffin began in their hometown of Norfolk, VA in the late '40 playing jump blues. They settled in Washington, DC and were asked to backup Roy Brown on "Hard Luck Blues" in April, 1950. That recorded went to #1 in August and soon the brothers had their own record deal with Randy Wood's Dot Records out of Gallatin, TN. With vocalists Margie Day and Tommy Brown, The Griffin Brothers Orchestra scored six charting R&B hits from 1950-52, before embarking on separate solo careers in 1954. Matt The Cat features The Griffin's biggest hits, jumpin' B-sides and solo records on this week's "Juke." The Griffin Brothers were an important part of R&B's rise, scoring a #1 smash in early 1952 with "Weepin' & Cryin'" (featuring Tommy Brown on lead vocals) and now they're finally getting their due, even if time has left them behind.

Episode #181 - Halloween Rhythm & Blues

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

Matt The Cat celebrates Halloween with the scariest, spookiest and most sinister vintage rhythm & blues records ever made! It's the disembodied "soul that came before rock n' roll" on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Halloween Rhythm & Blues - Juke In The Back Halloween Rhythm & Blues

Matt The Cat experiences some paranormal rhythms coming out of his “Juke In The Back” as we celebrate the truly spooky, sinister and down-right crazy sounds of a vintage rhythm & blues Halloween. Eugene Fox meets the devil, The Hollywood Flames take us to Frankenstein’s Den and Bill Doggett throws a Monster’s Party. It’s a treat, not a trick to hear an alternate take of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ 1956 classic, “I Put A Spell On You,” with EXTRA screaming and a killer sax solo payed by Sam “The Man” Taylor. So clear your voodoo calendar and dig the sounds from the outer bounds on this week’s Halloween edition of the “Juke In The Back.”

Episode #182 - Early Jackie Wilson & Vocalese

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Drop a nickel in the ol' Rockola Juke for an hour of pre-rock rhythm & blues. This week, we feature the very first recordings made by Jackie Wilson. His first sides, cut as Sonny Wilson as well as leader of Billy Ward & His Dominoes from 1952-3 are in the spotlight. Also, we examine the brief vocal jazz phenomenon known as Vocalese, which top-notch records from King Pleasure and Annie Ross as well as much more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Jackie Wilson Early Jackie Wilson & The Sound of Vocalese

Drop a nickel in the ol' Rockola Juke for an hour of pre-rock rhythm & blues.  This week, we feature the very first recordings made by Jackie Wilson.  His first sides, cut as Sonny Wilson as well as leader of Billy Ward & His Dominoes from 1952-53 are in the spotlight.  Everyone must start somewhere and these early recordings give us a glimpse of Jackie's amazing power as a singer.  Also, we examine the brief vocal jazz phenomenon known as Vocalese, which top-notch records from King Pleasure, Annie Ross and many more.  Vocalese hit hard in 1952 and then virtually disappeared.  Since many R&B records during this time were made with jazz musicians playing the sessions, it only makes sense to feature some jazz on the "Juke In The Back."

Episode #187 - Joe Liggins

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Today's popular culture has left so many musical pioneers behind and this week the "Juke In The Back" features Joe Liggins, one such pioneer who's been largely forgotten. Liggins scored one of the biggest hits of all-time when his "The Honeydripper" hit #1 on the R&B Chart for 18 staggering weeks in 1945. The "Juke In The Back" is proud to honor one of the great musical pioneers of the last century as Matt The Cat plays every chart hit from the fantastic Joe Liggins.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Joe Liggins Joe Liggins

There were so many important figures in post WWII Rhythm & Blues that helped build what would become Rock n' Roll. Today's popular culture has left so many musical pioneers behind and this week the "Juke In The Back" features Joe Liggins, one such pioneer who's been largely forgotten. Liggins scored one of the biggest hits of all-time when his "The Honeydripper" hit #1 on the R&B Chart for 18 staggering weeks in 1945. Singer/songwriter and music historian, Billy Vera drops by the "Juke" to tell us how "The Honeydripper" became such an enormous hit. Liggins scored 10 solid hits for Leon Rene's Exclusive Records before moving to Art Rupe's Specialty Records in 1950. At Specialty, Liggins had the biggest R&B hit of 1950 when "Pink Champagne went to #1 for 13 weeks and ended up selling more copies than "The Honeydripper." It looked like Joe Liggins' career couldn't be stopped, but soon Rock n' Roll, the music he helped create, pushed him and his contemporaries aside to make way for the youth movement. The "Juke In The Back" is proud to honor one of the great musical pioneers of the last century as Matt The Cat plays every chart hit from the fantastic Joe Liggins.

Episode #191 - Faye Adams

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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). Faye Adams' Herald and Imperial Records output is impressive and is featured throughout this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Faye Adams 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.

Episode #191 - Faye Adams

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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). Faye Adams' Herald and Imperial Records output is impressive and is featured throughout this week's "Juke In The Back" with Matt The Cat.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Faye Adams 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.

Episode #194 - Big Jay McNeely

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Matt The Cat is joined by the greatest of all the West Coast Sax Honkers, Big Jay McNeely. You'll hear Big Jay tell his story in his own words as Matt The Cat spins his wild and crazed records that helped define the sound of early rock n' roll.

Jitbtitlemedium_small
Big Jay McNeely
Big Jay McNeely


The juke is jumpin' this week with some of the wildest, craziest and most gloriously blistering honking sax records of all-time by the master, Big Jay McNeely. Not only will Matt The Cat spin Big Jay's greatest sides, but he'll also be talking to the man behind the sax as Big Jay tells his own story in his own words. From the shuffle fire of "Deacon's Hop," a number one R&B smash from 1949 to the crazed "3-D," "Mule Milk" and "The Goof," Jay's best instrumentals will be highlighted. McNeely was also successful with a few vocal records like the pop crossover success of 1959's "There Is Something On Your Mind" with Little Sonny on vocals and his early '50s singles with his vocal group, Three Dots And A Dash, which included a very young Jesse Belvin and Mercy Dee. Don't miss Matt The Cat's interview with Big Jay McNeely and the birth of rock n' roll on this week's "Juke In the Back.".

Episode #195 - 1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1

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. 

Episode #196 - 1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. This week in part 2, Matt The Cat focuses on the biggest jukebox hits of the second half of 1954 as we close out the year.

Jitbtitlemedium_small

1954: Jukebox Rhythm Review Pt. 21954: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

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.  

Episode #197 - Little Willie John

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, the "Juke In The Back" features one of the great big talents of early R&B, Little Willie John. From interviews with people who knew Willie to the music that made him a star. Little Willie John's talent shines through on this episode of "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Little Willie JohnLittle Willie John

The "Juke In The Back" is proud to spotlight one of R&B's most underrated singers and showmen, Little Willie John. Born in Arkansas, Willie was raised in Detroit and took advantage of its thriving music scene from an early age. By 18, he was recording for the influential King Record Label out of Cincinatti and by 19, he was on top of the R&B charts with "Fever" in the spring of 1956. Enlightening interviews with Otis Williams of the Charms as well as Willie's older sister, Mable John add depth to Willie's story. Matt The Cat explores the breadth of Willie's catalog, from his first hit "All Around The World" in 1955, to his big comeback in 1958 with "Talk To Me, Talk To Me," to his final recordings, which have only recently been released. The spotlight shines bright on a great big talent, Little Willie John on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #202 - New Orleans R&B, Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, it's 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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small New Orleans R&B, pt. 2New Orleans R&B, Pt. 2

This week, it's 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.

Episode #204 - Paul Gayten

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Pianist Paul Gayten is one of the true unsung heroes of R&B and rock n' roll, but he is often overlooked in the history of the genre. Matt The Cat sets the record straight with this week's entire program dedicated to the late, great Paul Gayten.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Paul GaytenPaul Gayten

Paul Gayten is one of the unsung heroes of rhythm & blues and one of the many architects of rock n' roll. This week, Matt The Cat spotlights Gayten's great contributions to music on the "Juke In The Back." Paul Gayten scored the first New Orleans' hit of the post World War II R&B era with "True (You Don't Love Me)" in 1947, thus kicking off a legacy of rhythm hit-making and influence from the Crescent City. His work with vocalists Annie Laurie and Chubby "Hip Shakin'" Newsome is legendary. As a songwriter, producer and talent scout for Chess Records, Gayten discovered and signed Clarence Henry and Bobby Charles and worked with Chuck Berry and Bo Diddley. Gayten made great contributions to R&B and Rock n' Roll, but gets very little recognition these days. Matt The Cat and the "Juke In The Back" are out to change that with this week's heartfelt dedication to the late, great Paul Gayten.

Episode #208 - The Moonglows, Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The Moonglows were one of the few groups to come out of the post World War II, pre-Elvis era, who were extremely talented and had the sales figures and notoriety to back it up. This week, Matt The Cat presents part 1 of a 2 part feature on the fantastic Moonglows, covering their career from 1953 to 1955.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The MoonglowsThe Moonglows, Pt. 1

Much has been written about the great R&B vocal groups of the 1950s. Many of the classic groups were either great musicians and vocalists and never had the recognition or record sales to back it up or these groups were thrown together, they couldn't sing very well and scored one, solid hit that still spins in the eternal jukebox of public consciousness. The Moonglows were one of the few groups to come out of the post World War II, pre-Elvis era, who were extremely talented and had the sales figures and notoriety to back it up. Originally called The Crazy Sounds, Harvey Fuqua and Bobby Lester led The Moonglows to a #1 R&B smash in 1954 with "Sincerely" on Chess, but that was after a somewhat bumpy start on Alan Freed's Champagne Records and Chicago's Chance Records. This week, Matt The Cat presents part 1 of a 2 part feature on the fantastic Moonglows, covering their career from 1953 to 1955. Vocal harmony doesn't get much sweeter than this, so don't miss one note of this week's "Juke In The Back" radio program. 

Episode #209 - The Moonglows, Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The Moonglows were one of the most innovative and important vocal groups to come out of the 1950s. This week, Matt The Cat presents part 2 of a 2 part feature on the fantastic Moonglows, covering their career from 1956 through their breakup in 1958 and the singles that followed through the end of 1961

Jitbtitlemedium_small The MoonglowsThe Moonglows, Pt. 2

Much has been written about the great R&B vocal groups of the 1950s. Many of the classic groups were either great musicians and vocalists and never had the recognition or record sales to back it up or these groups were thrown together, they couldn't sing very well and scored one, solid hit that still spins in the eternal jukebox of public consciousness. The Moonglows were one of the few groups to come out of the post World War II, pre-Elvis era, who were extremely talented and had the sales figures and notoriety to back it up. Originally called The Crazy Sounds, Harvey Fuqua and Bobby Lester led The Moonglows to a #1 R&B smash in 1954 with "Sincerely" on Chess, but that was after a somewhat bumpy start on Alan Freed's Champagne Records and Chicago's Chance Records. This week, Matt The Cat presents part 2 of a 2 part feature on the fantastic Moonglows, covering their career from 1956 through their breakup in 1958 and the singles that followed through the end of 1961. An interview with the late Reese Palmer reveals how Harvey Fuqua came to hire his group, The Marquees as the "new" Moonglows. This week's "Juke In The Back" shares the rest of the story on this influential and important 1950s vocal group. 

Episode #214 - Rosco Gordon

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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 an innovator, influencing the Jamaican Ska movement of the early '60s, a hit maker and a unique and talented bluesman.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Rosco GordonRosco 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." 

Episode #216 - Memphis Slim

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Memphis Slim dubbed himself the "Ambassador Of The Blues" and for good reason. He spread the gospel of America's music around the world during his almost 50 year career. This week, Matt The Cat and the "Juke In The Back" take a look at Slim's prodigious contribution to the genre.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Memphis SlimMemphis Slim

Memphis Slim dubbed himself the "Ambassador Of The Blues" and for good reason. He spread the gospel of America's music around the world during his almost 50 year career. This week, Matt The Cat and the "Juke In The Back" take a look at Slim's prodigious contribution to the genre. He began recording as Pete Chatman (his real name is John Chatman) in 1940 and by the end of the year was already known as Memphis Slim, a name given to him by a producer at Bluebird Records. His prolific career really took off after WWII, when he cut some incredible sides for Miracle Records, a little Chicago independent label. He scored a #1 R&B hit in 1948 with "Messin' Around," which is seldom heard or celebrated today. He would enter the R&B lists four more times during the late 1940s and twice in the early '50s for the Premium and United Labels. Even though the US Senate honored Memphis Slim in the early '70s with an "Ambassador of Good Will" title, he is hardly recognized today for his important contribution to Blues, Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n' Roll. Get the story behind the story of Memphis Slim on this week's "Juke In The Back." 

Episode #219 - Motown Artists Before Motown

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Motown Artists Before MotownMotown 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."

Episode #220 - The Flamingos, Pt. 1 - 1953-54

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The FlamingosThe 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." 

Episode #221 - The Flamingos, Pt. 2 - 1954-56

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 58:59

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The FlamingosThe 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." 

Episode #222 - The Flamingos, Pt. 3 - 1957-59

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small The FlamingosThe 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." 

Episode #224 - Howlin' Wolf: The Early Years

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. Matt The Cat spins Wolf's demo acetates and much more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Howlin' WolfHowlin' 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."

Episode #226 - Back Of The Box: Rare 78rpm Shellac

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, Matt The Cat digs deep inside the back of the "Juke In The Back" to dust off some 78rpm shellac plattahs that never get played. It's a great opportunity to hear rare records by Edith Mackey, Dillard Croon Jr. & The Croon Brothers, Little Mr. Midnight, Albert Collins' first single and many more.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Rare 78rpm ShellacBack Of The Box: Rare 78rpm Shellac

This week, Matt The Cat digs deep inside the back of the "Juke In The Back" to dust off some 78rpm shellac plattahs that never get played. It's a great opportunity to hear rare records by Edith Mackey, Dillard Croon Jr. & The Croon Brothers and Little Mr. Midnight. We'll also load the juke with Albert Collins' first single for the Kangaroo Label as well as Sollie McElroy's first record after leaving The Flamingos. Have you ever heard of Gladys De Vore & The Flips? Dig on their 1956 single for Sapphire Records. We'll also throw in a Wynonie "Mr. Blues" Harris side just for good measure. So get ready to jump, jive and wail to some seldom heard gems on this week's "Juke In The Back." 

Episode #229 - Ray Charles, Pt. 1: 1948-1952

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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. Part 1 focuses on Ray's first recordings from 1948-52 for Jack Lauderdale's Down Beat and Swing Time labels. These are the pivotal years before he joined Atlantic Records.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ray Charles, Pt. 1: 1948-1952Ray 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." 

Episode #230 - Ray Charles, Pt. 2: 1952-54

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

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. 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."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ray CharlesRay 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. 

Episode #231 - Ray Charles, Pt. 3: 1954-57

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. 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."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ray CharlesRay 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. 

Episode #232 - Ray Charles, Pt. 4: 1957-58

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

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. 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.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Ray CharlesRay 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. 

Episode #237 - Underrated R&B Pioneers: Titus Turner & Buddy Lucas

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" spotlights two extremely underrated R&B pioneers this week: Titus Turner and saxophonist Buddy Lucas. Matt The Cat tells their stories and plays some of their greatest sides. Hear what you've been missing on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Titus TurnerUnderrated R&B Pioneers: Titus Turner & Buddy Lucas

The "Juke In The Back" spotlights two extremely underrated R&B pioneers this week: Titus Turner and saxophonist Buddy Lucas.  Turner recorded some amazing R&B sides for Regal, Okeh, Wing, King and many other top labels, but he just couldn't score a sizable hit on his own.  Today he is mostly remembered as a songwriter and his songs were hits by the likes of Little Willie John ("All Around The World," "Leave My Kitten Alone") and Ray Charles ("Sticks And Stones," "Get On The Right Track").  Buddy Lucas is mostly remembered today as a great session player, but he scored a few hits under his own name in the early 1950s for the Jubilee Label.  Matt The Cat tells their stories and plays some of their greatest sides.  Hear what you've been missing on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Episode #239 - Little Caesar

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

Today Harry "Little" Caesar is best remembered as an actor from movies and TV and the voice behind 1952's "Goodbye Baby," one of the strangest R&B hits of all-time. But the story of Little Caesar and his slow rise to fame is one of American folklore. Matt The Cat is proud to bring this underrated R&B singer into the spotlight. We'll dig on his recorded output for John Dolphin's Recorded In Hollywood Label, RPM Records and Big Town Records from 1952-53

Jitbtitlemedium_small Little CaesarLittle Caesar

Today Harry "Little" Caesar is best remembered as an actor from movies and TV and the voice behind 1952's "Goodbye Baby," one of the strangest R&B hits of all-time. But the story of Little Caesar and his slow rise to fame is one of American folklore. He was raised by his steel working father after his mother died before his first birthday. While working various jobs to help support his family, Caesar got into trouble and spend six months in jail. After getting out of the military, he found himself on the West Coast with a budding musical career. He practically invented the story song, complete with acting between him and his platter co-star "Rusty" Russell. "Goodbye Baby" may have been his only national hit, topping out at #5, but there is so much more to Little Caesar and this week Matt The Cat is proud to bring this underrated R&B singer into the spotlight. We'll dig on his recorded output for John Dolphin's Recorded In Hollywood Label, RPM Records and Big Town Records from 1952-53 on the "Juke In The Back." 

Episode #240 - 1945: Jukebox Rhythm Review

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

This week, the "Juke In The Back" brings the jukebox into the spotlight as we journey back 70 years and dig on the top requested jukebox records from the entire year of 1945.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1945: Jukebox Rhythm Review1945: Jukebox Rhythm Review

This week, the "Juke In The Back" brings the jukebox into the spotlight as we journey back 70 years and dig on the top requested jukebox records from the entire year of 1945. This was a pivotal year for Rhythm and Blues Music as 1945 marked the beginning of a new sound in Black Music. As the war raged on, many of the African-American big bands found it hard to afford such large ensembles, so they slimmed down to rhythm combos. Around the same time, blues singers were expanding their sound to go beyond just a guitar or piano accompaniment. They began adding rhythm sections and thus, Rhythm and Blues was born. 1945 marked the first year that this new style of music dominated the Black Community and the juke joints they patronized. 1945 was a strong year for jump blues cats like Louis Jordan, Joe Turner and Lionel Hampton. The blues cats faired well this year as Pvt. Cecil Gant had one of the year's biggest hits with his self-penned, "I Wonder," which was also successfully covered by Roosevelt Sykes and Louis Armstrong. Joe Liggins burst on the scene with "The Honeydripper," the biggest selling record of the year and quite possibly the entire decade! Matt The Cat's got a pocket full of nickels and he's ready to warm up the "Juke In The Back," so we can all dig that big beat jive of 1945! 

Episode #244 - Charles Brown: 1949-52

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

Charles Brown was the "King of Smoky Blues" for over 50 years. 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. After a 2 year stint, Brown left The Three Blazers. Matt The Cat examines his hit-making years of 1949-52 on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Charles BrownCharles 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." 

Episode #246 - 1955: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The ol' Rockola Jukebox is back in the spotlight as we present part 1 of a 2 part feature on the biggest R&B jukebox records of 1955. It was a year of many firsts. 1955 was the first full year of Rhythm & Blues records consistently crossing over into the Pop Chart. Matt The Cat will point out just how popular some of these records were in the Pop Market. Part 1 covers the jukebox hits from January to June, 1955.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1955: Jukebox Rhythm Review1955: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 1

The ol' Rockola Jukebox is back in the spotlight as we present part 1 of a 2 part feature on the biggest R&B jukebox records of 1955. It was a year of many firsts. 1955 was the first full year of Rhythm & Blues records consistently crossing over into the Pop Chart. Matt The Cat will point out just how popular some of these records were in the Pop Market. 1955 was also the debut year for Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Etta James. It was the last year for Johnny Ace, who scored the biggest hit of his career, posthumously. 1955 was the year of "Blackboard Jungle"'s tremendous success in helping to deliver Rock n' Roll music to the mainstream through the popularity of its theme song, "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock." In Part 1, we'll look at just how big a record "Unchained Melody" was, with 2 versions topping the R&B Chart and crossing over to the Pop Top 10. Little Walter, Ray Charles and Ruth Brown continued to score hits and make 1955 a year to remember. Part 1 covers the jukebox hits from January to June and Part 2 will focus on July through December. 

Episode #247 - 1955: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The ol' Rockola Jukebox is back in the spotlight as we present part 2 of a 2 part feature on the biggest R&B jukebox records of 1955. It was a year of many firsts. 1955 was the first full year of Rhythm & Blues records consistently crossing over into the Pop Chart. Matt The Cat will point out just how popular some of these records were in the Pop Market. Part 2 covers the jukebox hits from July through December.

Jitbtitlemedium_small 1955: Jukebox Rhythm Review1955: Jukebox Rhythm Review, Pt. 2

The ol' Rockola Jukebox is back in the spotlight as we present part 2 of a 2 part feature on the biggest R&B jukebox records of 1955. It was a year of many firsts. 1955 was the first full year of Rhythm & Blues records consistently crossing over into the Pop Chart. Matt The Cat will point out just how popular some of these records were in the Pop Market. 1955 was also the debut year for Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Etta James. Fats Domino had 6 charting singles this year, 3 of which topped the R&B chart. 1955 was the year of "Blackboard Jungle"'s tremendous success in helping to deliver Rock n' Roll music to the mainstream through the popularity of its theme song, "(We're Gonna) Rock Around The Clock." In Part 2, we'll spin the last R&B chart-topper to NOT cross over into the Pop Chart as well as a healthy dose of vocal group records gaining jukebox spins. Smiley Lews, The Clovers and The Drifters, with a new lead singer, continued to score hits and make 1955 a year to remember. Part 2 covers the jukebox hits from July through December. 

Episode #249 - Big Maybelle

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" highlights the often ignored early career of Big Maybelle, one of the great female blues shouters. Matt The Cat highlights her very first recordings as well as her hit-making years of 1953-56 on this week's program.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Big MaybelleBig Maybelle

The "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." 

Episode #252 - Louis Jordan, Pt. 1 - 1938-41

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" begins a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. Part 1 features Jordan's earliest recordings from 1938 to 1941. There are no certified hits, but these records show the blueprint for the future superstar.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Louis Jordan, Pt. 1Louis Jordan, Pt. 1 - 1938-41

The "Juke In The Back" begins a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 56 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Jordan was born in Brinkley, AR in 1908 and thanks to his musician father, began touring with the Rabbit Foot Minstrels before he was even in his teens. His love of music, performing and baseball took him to Arkansas Baptist College and soon he was playing in bands in Philadelphia and New York. He started his own band after being fired by legendary drummer Chick Webb. His first records with the Elk's Rendezvous Band were not hits, but they cast a light on the tight arrangements, the comedic delivery and good feelin' jump blues that was to become Louis Jordan's trademark. Part 1 features Jordan's earliest recordings from 1938 to 1941. There are no certified hits, but these records show the blueprint for the future superstar. Matt The Cat's series on Louis Jordan will cover all his important records up through 1951, so don't miss a show!

Episode #253 - Louis Jordan, Pt. 2 - 1942-45

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:02

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 2 of a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. This week's show picks up in 1942, right before Jordan's first hit record, "I'm Gonna Leave You On The Outskirts Of Town," and covers his first 5 #1 records, which began with "What's The Use Of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again" in 1943. So don't miss one fantabulous Louis Jordan record on this week's "Juke In The Back."

Jitbtitlemedium_small Louis Jordan Pt. 2Louis Jordan, Pt. 2 - 1942-45

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 2 of a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 56 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Part 2 of our series picks up in 1942, right before Jordan's first hit record, "I'm Gonna Leave You On The Outskirts Of Town," and covers his first 5 #1 records, which began with "What's The Use Of Getting Sober (When You're Gonna Get Drunk Again" in 1943. The hits started as Decca assigned legendary jazz producer Milt Gabler to produce his sessions. Their first session together took place right before the Recording Ban of 1942 went into effect. During the ban, the musicians union refused to let artists record for any recording company until their royalty demands were met. This kept Jordan out of the studio for over a year. Once the ban ended in September of '43, Jordan was back in the studio cutting hit record after hit record. It's during this time that he became the "King Of The Jukeboxes." So don't miss one fantabulous Louis Jordan record on this week's "Juke In The Back." 

Episode #254 - Louis Jordan, Pt. 3 - 1946

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 3 of a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Part 3 of our series focuses on the entire year of 1946. Jordan scored 5 #1 records that year and spent 35 out of 52 weeks at the top of the Race Record Chart (the name of the R&B chart at that time).

Jitbtitlemedium_small Louis Jordan Pt. 3Louis Jordan, Pt. 3 - 1946

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 3 of a mammoth, multi-part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 56 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Part 3 of our series focuses on the entire year of 1946. Jordan scored 5 #1 records that year and spent 35 out of 52 weeks at the top of the Race Record Chart (the name of the R&B chart at that time). One of those #1s was a duet with the great Ella Fitzgerald. We'll also hear Jordan duetting with another musical titan, Bing Crosby. Decca Records put their 2 biggest stars together, but unfortunately that tune only hit #14 on the Pop Chart. "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" topped the chart for 18 weeks and then it was knocked out of the top spot by another Louis Jordan record, "Ain't That Just Like A Woman." He was at the top of his game in 1946, selling more records than any other African-American artist. We'll also dig on a V-Disc Jordan cut for those serving overseas in the Armed Forces as well as some choice B sides. The "Juke" is jumpin' with Jordan this week on part 3 of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to the "King Of The Jukeboxes, Louis Jordan. 

Episode #255 - Louis Jordan, Pt. 4 - 1947-48

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 4 of our mammoth, 6 part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Part 4 of our series focuses on the incredible hit-making years of 1947 and '48. Jordan scored 4 #1 records in 1947, spending an amazing 40 weeks at the top of the Race Record Chart (the name of the R&B chart at that time). The "Juke" is jumpin' with Jordan this week on part 4 of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to the "King Of The Jukeboxes, Louis Jordan.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Louis Jordan, Pt. 4 Louis Jordon, Pt. 4 - 1947-48

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 4 of our mammoth, 6 part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 56 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Part 4 of our series focuses on the incredible hit-making years of 1947 and '48. Jordan scored 4 #1 records in 1947, spending an amazing 40 weeks at the top of the Race Record Chart (the name of the R&B chart at that time). The year was kicked off with "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens," which topped the chart for 17 weeks and nearly every record that Decca issued on Jordan that year was a major seller. "Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens" became the catchphrase of 1947, along with "Open The Door, Richard." The latter was a tune based on a Black Vaudeville routine, which hit #2 on the R&B charts by 4 different artists, including Louis Jordan. Count Basie's version of "Richard" crossed over to #1 on the Pop Chart, making "Richard" a huge crossover success. We're also highlighting the first half of 1948. It's still a big year for Jordan, but the hits begin to slow down a bit. He only scored 1 #1 in '48. The "Juke" is jumpin' with Jordan this week on part 4 of "Juke In The Back"'s tribute to the "King Of The Jukeboxes, Louis Jordan. 

Episode #256 - Louis Jordan, Pt. 5 - 1948-50

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 5 of our mammoth, 6 part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Part 5 of our series focuses on mid-1948 thru the beginning of 1950. During this time, Jordan only scored 2 #1 records and so it has become a much overlooked period in his career, even though he released some very strong singles. Though the hits weren't as strong as previous years, Jordan did score a career highlight with "Saturday Night Fish Fry," which topped the R&B Chart for an impressive 12 weeks. This is the second to last part of my loving tribute to the great and influential Louis Jordan.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Louis Jordan Pt. 5Louis Jordan, Pt. 5 - 1948-50

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 5 of our mammoth, 6 part series, featuring the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 54 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Part 5 of our series focuses on mid-1948 thru the beginning of 1950. During this time, Jordan only scored 2 #1 records and so it has become a much overlooked period in his career, even though he released some very strong singles. We'll hear two songs that were featured in motion pictures as well as 2 duets, one with Martha Davis and another one with Ella Fitzgerald. Though the hits weren't as strong as previous years, Jordan did score a career highlight with "Saturday Night Fish Fry," which topped the R&B Chart for an impressive 12 weeks. His competition in the R&B Field was getting much stronger, but Louis Jordan and His Tympany Five continued to record and release top-notch material. Pianist Bill Doggett is even featured on a few sides. This is the second to last part of my loving tribute to the great and influential Louis Jordan.

Episode #257 - Louis Jordan, Pt. 6 - 1950-56

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:00

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 6, the final part of our mammoth, 6 part series, on the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Matt The Cat closes the series focusing on 1950 through '56, just as Rock 'n Roll was breaking. He made some strong efforts at trying to capture the Rock n' Rollers, but his time in the musical limelight was over. There is no denying that Louis Jordan is almost single-handily responsible for the development of post War Rhythm & Blues as well as the birth of Rock n' Roll.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Louis Jordan Pt. 6Louis Jordan, Pt. 6 - 1950-56

The "Juke In The Back" presents Part 6, the final part of our mammoth, 6 part series, on the most important musical figure of the 1940s, Louis Jordan. He was the most successful African-American artist of the decade, selling millions of records to both Black and White audiences. Jordan charted 57 singles between 1942 and 1951, scoring 18 #1 R&B hits and 54 top 10s. Several of his records even crossed over into the Pop Top 10, which was an almost unheard of feat at the time. Matt The Cat closes the series focussing on 1950 through '56, just as Rock 'n Roll was breaking. Jordan scored his 18th and final #1 R&B record in 1951 with "Blue Light Boogie Pt. 1 & 2" and experimented with fronting a big band for a time in '52. By the end of '53, Jordan's 15 year stint with Decca Records ended. He next recorded some stellar sides for Aladdin Records, Vic, X and Mercury, but the hits were long gone. The singles on this week's program show that even in the lean times, Louis Jordan still put out quality records. He made some strong efforts at trying to capture the Rock n' Rollers, but his time in the musical limelight was over. There is no denying that Louis Jordan is almost single-handily responsible for the development of post War Rhythm & Blues as well as the birth of Rock n' Roll. The "Juke In The Back" is proud to have dedicated 6 programs to this legendary performer and American Icon.

Episode #262 - Unsung Ladies of R&B

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

This week, the "Juke In The Back" solutes the Unsung Ladies of R&B! We'll dig deep into a stack of shellac from some women you know, like Varetta Dillard, Ann Cole and The Cookies, as well as from some that you may not know, such as Gwen Johnson and Bonita Cole.

Jitbtitlemedium_small Gwen Johnson: Unsung Ladies of R&BUnsung Ladies of R&B

This week, the "Juke In The Back" solutes the Unsung Ladies of R&B! We'll dig deep into a stack of shellac from some women you know, like Varetta Dillard, Ann Cole and The Cookies, as well as from some that you may not know, such as Gwen Johnson and Bonita Cole. Matt The Cat will also feature an audition tape by the seldom heard Olive Brown, which was never issued at the time. None of the chanteuses on this week's program have catalogs deep enough to be main features, so we've gathered them together so they can shine on their own program. Pick up on what these ladies are puttin' down on this week's "Juke In The Back" and the "soul that came before Rock n' Roll." 

Episode #266 - B. B. King

From Matt "The Cat" Baldassarri | Part of the Juke In The Back With Matt The Cat series | 59:01

The "Juke In The Back" pays its respects to a true musical icon, B.B. King. When he passed away at the age of 89 on May 14, 2015, we lost one of our last connections to the true blues. Matt The Cat focuses on B.B.'s first records for Nashville's Bullet Records and LA's RPM label.

Jitbtitlemedium_small B.B. KingB. B. King

The "Juke In The Back" pays its respects to a true musical icon, B.B. King. When he passed away at the age of 89 on May 14, 2015, we lost one of our last connections to the true blues. 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. The late, great B.B. King on this week's "Juke In The Back." 
 B.B. King & Matt The Cat