This is an extract from my book. It is a book that is comprehensive and titillating. You won’t find anything like it anywhere else.
Big Band Jump Blues & R & B Shouters
This was another branch of R & B that gave rise to another style of early Rock ‘n’ Roll. It reached it’s peak between 1945-56 and fed into mainstream Rock ‘n’ Roll, influencing Elvis Presley and Bill Haley.
This Big Band sound evolved out of the big Jazz Bands of the 1940s. These combos set about adding an R&B beat and merging it with Boogie Woogie and Swing. It was a wide diverse style. At one end of the scale there was the swinging freeform Be-Bop of Charlie ‘The Bird’ Parker and other luminaries of Jack Kerouac’s 1950s Beat Jazz era. At the other end there was the Blues Shouting of Wyonie Harris and Roy Brown.
The music was ‘Good Time’ music and one of the first forms of R&B to prove commercially successful with white audiences.
The whole scene was dominated by ‘larger than life’ colourful characters – Roy Brown, Wynonie Harris, Gatemouth Brown, Bullmoose Jackson, H-Bomb Ferguson, Big Maybelle, Ruth Brown and Laverne Baker on labels such as the Savoy. H-Bomb Ferguson produced ‘Rock H-Bomb Rock’ as early as 1951. Both Roy Brown and Wyonie Harris produced ‘Good Rockin’ Tonight’ covered by Elvis Presley.
Another branch of R&B came out of the Specialty label with Louis Jordan. This was lighter and used a lot more humour. Louis had a string of big hits with songs such as Caldonia, Saturday Night at the Fish Fry, and Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie. His was a style that went on to influence Bill Haley.
Bill Haley, coming out of Country & Western, rocked it up with a lot of showmanship and incorporated any other R&B he could find, including ‘Shake Rattle & Roll’ from Joe Turner and ‘See you later alligator’ – Bobby Charles.
These bands were very large with many instruments including saxophones, trumpets, piano, drums, clarinets, and electric guitars. They came out of the Mid-West and most were signed to the Savoy Label and their sound can be heard on a series of albums starting with ‘Honkers and Shouters’.
|Artist||Stand out tracks|
|Roy Brown||Good Rockin tonightRockin’ at midnight
Hard luck blues
Miss Fanny Brown
|Wynonie Harris||Good Rockin’ tonightGood morning judge
All she wants to do is rock
Sittin’ on it all the time
Blood shot eyes
|Gatemouth Brown||Okie Dokie stompMary is fine|
|Bullmoose Jackson||I want a bow-legged womanI can’t go on without you|
|H-Bomb Ferguson||Rock H-bomb RockHard Lovin’ woman|
|Big Maybelle||Whole lotta shakin’ going onCandy|
|Louis Jordan||Saturday night fish-fryChoo Choo Ch-boogie
Ain’t nobody here but us chickens
Is you is or is you aint my baby
Let the good times roll
I like ‘em fat like that
Open the door Richard
Don’t let the sun catch you crying
Aint it just like a woman