My Favourite Rand B male vocal groups from the fifties and Sixties

I make a distinction between Doo-wop and male vocal groups. I’ll deal with Doo-wop separately.

These vocal groups had a huge impact on the British Beat Groups. I loved their stuff

The Contours

The Drifters

The Coasters

The Platters

The Dominoes

The Midnighters

The Clovers

The Miracles

Isley Brothers

Four Tops



Hollywood Argyles

My Favourite US 1950s Male R&B Bands

Of Course, all of the solo R&B singers had bands behind them. Some were definite groups of individuals. The R&B combos had a huge impact on the development of the British Beat scene of the 1960s. I do make a disction between these R&B and other Doo-Wop bands.

Here are my favourites:




Don and Dewey

Isley Brothers






My Favourite 50s R&B singers

Black 50s R&B was not heard in the UK. All these fabulous singers were unknown in Britain. Merchant seamen brought singles and albums back into the ports. They were like gold dust. All the local bands in the early sixties were eager to get their hands on these songs so that they could incorporate them into their act. We see these songs surfacing on all the early albums of bands such as the Beatles and Stones.

Here’s my favourite US R&B singers:

Bo Diddley

Arthur Alexander

Rufus Thomas

Screaming Jay Hawkins

Jimmy Reed

Ray Charles

Ruth Brown

Little Willie John

Ike Turner

James Brown

Tina Turner

Irma Thomas

Fats Domino

Huey Piano Smith

Sam Cooke

Big Mama Thornton

Johnny Otis

I bet I missed a few off!

My Favourite Merseybeat Bands

I was only a kid when Merseybeat started up in 1962/3. Most of the stuff on record was highly sanitised Pop stuff but occasional stuff sneaked through showing what a good, hard rocking club scene it was based on early R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

The highlights for me were (apart from the Beatles) the Big Three EP, the Merseybeats EP, the two volumes of This Is Merseybeat on Oriole and occasional singles – like the Mojos Everything’s Alright.

My top bands would be:

Beatles (obviously)

Big Three


Faron’s Flamingos

Rory Storm & the Hurricanes


Gerry & the Pacemakers (surprisingly very powerful live)

Merseybeats (that EP)

Earl Preston and the TTs

Sony Webb and the Cascades

Gerry & the Pacemakers and RandB

The trouble with Merseybeat was that all the rawness was lost in the production. The bands were smartened up and given pop songs to play. The raw live acts were really R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll, not pop.

Gerry and the pacemakers gave an inkling of that R&B on their first album. It’s a shame they didn’t stick with it.

The reason why Merseybeat died out so quickly was because it was too pop and twee. It was blown away by a less poppy raw R&B sound.

Slow Down – Gerry & The Pacemakers 1963 – YouTube

Gerry and the Pacemakers A shot of rhythm and blues – YouTube

Gerry And The Pacemakers – Maybellene (Chuck Berry Cover) – YouTube

Today’s Music to Keep eM enAS in Lockdown – Tommy Tucker

The rumour was that Tommy Tucker died on a UK tour from eating a Wimpy Burger and getting food poisoning. Lol. Probably a bit of fake news put out by McDonalds or Burger King.

There were many R&B staples of the British Beat boom of the sixties and Tommy Tucker was one of them.

I wonder how many different bands played ‘Long Tall Shorty’  and Hi-Heeled Sneakers’? Absolute classics!

Today I’m going to be playing them too – but I’ll play the originals by Tommy Tucker:


Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – The Coasters

After a foray into the sixties underground I thought it would be nice to have a bit of good-time music from the fifties. The Coasters, with their array of Leiber and Stoller songs were always a favourite of mine.

They were much covered by the sixties Beat Groups, including the Beatles.

They were a black US R&B outfit, not quite Doo-Wop, but in the same general area. Some of their songs were humorous but some weren’t. I think they’re great.

So today I’m filling the house with 50’s R&B and the sound of the Coasters.


Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Booker T and the MGs

It all started for me with that fabulous ‘Green Onions’, recorded in 1962.  An R&B classic.

It knocked me out when I heard it. They were a fabulously tight band and certainly made a statement back in the early sixties both as the Stax house band behind all those brilliant Soul acts and the fact that they were a multicultural band. I just loved Steve Cropper’s guitar sound.

When I was in Memphis I visited Stax Studios. Awesome.

5 great Fifties RnB tracks

The Fifties was a great time for raw R&B.

  1. Coasters – Poison Ivy –
  2. James Brown – I Feel Good –….0…1.1.64.serp..0.12.1356…35i39k1j0i131k1.W20yBwdurFI
  3. Chuck Willis – Hang up my Rock ‘n’ Roll shoes –
  4. Don and Dewey – Justine –
  5. Big Mama Thornton – Hounddog –


In the UK:

In the USA: