Thursday, October 28, 2010

Forgotten Music: Big Joe Turner


Here's one of the real Daddies of Rock and Roll. Big Joe Turner was a 1930s bluesman who led the charge into R&B in the 40s and rolled out some of the first Rock recordings in the 50s. Among his big hits were "Honey Hush" in 1953, "Shake, Rattle and Roll" (prior to the cover version by Bill Haley & His Comets)  in 1954 and "Flip, Flop and Fly" in 1955.

The sound quality in these YouTube videos is sometimes poor, but they should get you in the groove. His stuff sounds much better on CD. I like the very expensive 3-disc box set Big, Bad & Blue, but the 21-track Greatest Hits collection shown here is a fine substitute.

Jump for Joy


Flip, Flop and Fly


Shake, Rattle and Roll (1954)


Boogie Woogie Country Girl


Shake, Rattle and Roll (1966)


Jump over to Scott Parker's blog for more of the Forgotten Music in this week's virtual jukebox.

29 comments:

Bill Crider said...

I have a couple of CDs with this material on them. Big Joe was one of the greats, for sure.

Charles Gramlich said...

Don't know a lot about him but I like the songs I've heard

Deka Black said...

Sure was big. Good way to start the morning.

Paul D. Brazill said...

Good stuff. Clears out the cobwebs alright!

Walker Martin said...

My favorite music for a long time now has been Blues and Jazz. Big Joe was BIG back then.

Richard R, said...

I like these, and it sure does bring back memories, especially "Shake, Rattle and Roll" probably his biggest hit.

Maybe someone will do a Forgotten Music post on JIMMY REED one day soon? That would be great.

George said...

Wow, I haven't heard Big Joe Turner in a long, long time. Not TOP 40 or EASY LISTENING material. I'll have to dig out my Big Joe recordings and give them a listen.

Todd Mason said...

I'm gonna roll like a big wheel...through the Georgia cotton fields...

Well, he isn't Top 40 now, but at one time...on the R&B or "race" charts at least...

The Atlantic compilation album JOE TURNER was my mother's only rcok album not to be stolen and/or destroyed by her younger sister by the time my mother moved to Alaska and eventually met my father. Hence, it was one of the items I loved to listen to among my parents' record collection in my childhood. My mother had gone to see Turner in concert sometime around 1958/59, and also saw a young woman open for him who was just starting her secular career, Aretha Franklin.

Bill Haley's covers might've been more likely in the pop Top 40, but I knew what I preferred. The first album I purchased as a gifr for my mother was the (1975?) Pablo Records album JOE TURNER, and while it wasn't quite to her taste (as it was a straightforward blues album with jazz players such as Milt Jackson on hand), it certainly was to mine, as well.

Evan Lewis said...

Great story about Aretha. I wish my parents' taste had been that good. They had mostly Nat King Cole (post King Cole Trio) records. He was no Big Joe.

Todd Mason said...

Well, Nat Cole, like Wes Montgomery in the next decade, was cashing in...Cole wasn't Joe Turner, but he was closer to Art Tatum when he was playing jazz piano than Oscar Peterson was...I like Cole's pop recordings, but to the extent that his pop career took him away from his jazz career, we're poorer for it (though he certainly wasn't).

Sadly, by the time (in the early '70s) I was tearing through my parents' album collection (and my father's open-reel tapes), my folks had chosen to listen to Way Way too much Easy Listening radio of the 101 Strings variety--and that almost exclusively. In the last five years, they've started to discover '70s rock, so perhaps it was a mid-life aberration...

It's a busy day, hence all the typos in the earlier comment!

Todd Mason said...

Nope, must've been as late as '77... and it was the Pablo THE BEST OF JOE TURNER, thus:

2310-848 The Best Of Joe Turner
Sonny Stitt (as, ts) J.D. Nicholson (p) Pee Wee Crayton (g) Chuck Norris (el-b) Washington Rucker (d) Joe Turner (vo)
Los Angeles, CA, March 3, 1975
Everyday (I Have The Blues)
Roy Eldridge (tp) Milt Jackson (vib) J.D. Nicholson (p) Pee Wee Crayton (g) William Walker (el-b) Charles Randall (d) Joe Turner (vo)
Los Angeles, CA, August 27, 1975
How Long, How Long Blues
Juke Joint Blues
Bob Smith (as) J.D. Nicholson (p) Herman Bennett, Pee Wee Crayton (g) Winston McGregor (el-b) Charles Randall (d) Joe Turner (vo)
Los Angeles, CA, March 10, 1976
Too Late, Too Late
Corrine, Corrina
J.T. Blues
Blue Mitchell (tp) Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (as) Rashid Ali, Wild Bill Moore (ts) Lloyd Glenn (p) Gildo Mahones (org) Greg Beck, Gary Bell (g) Lawrence Gales (b) Bruno Carr (d) Joe Turner (vo)
Los Angeles, CA, February 8, 1977
The Things That I Used To Do
Hey Little Girl

...while the Atlantic album JOE TURNER ran thus:
8005 Joe Turner
unknown (brass) unknown (ts) Harry Van Walls (p) unknown (g) unknown (b) unknown (d) Joe Turner (vo) unknown (vocal group)
NYC, April 19, 1951
603 Chains Of Love
Taft Jordan (tp) Budd Johnson (as) Freddie Mitchell (ts) Arleem Kareem (bars) Harry Van Walls (p) Rector Bailey (g) Leonard Gaskin (b) Connie Kay (d) Joe Turner (vo)
NYC, January 20, 1952
787 Sweet Sixteen
Pluma Davis (tb) Lee Allen (ts) Red Taylor (bars) Fats Domino (p) unknown (g) unknown (b) unknown (d) Joe Turner (vo) unknown (vocal group)
NYC, May 12, 1953
1073 Honey Hush
1074 Crawdad Hole
Sonny Cohn (tp) Harlan "Booby" Floyd or John Avant (tb) Grady Jackson, Joe Tillman (ts) McKinley Easton (bars) Johnnie Jones (p) Elmore James (el-g, el-slide g) Jimmy Richardson (b) Red Saunders (d) Joe Turner (vo)
Chicago, IL, October 7, 1953
1127 Oke-She-Moke-She-Pop
unknown (tp) Wilbur DeParis (tb) Sam Taylor (ts) Haywood Henry (bars) Jesse Stone (p) Mickey Baker (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Connie Kay (d) Joe Turner (vo) unknown (vocal group)
NYC, February 15, 1954
1209 Shake, Rattle And Roll
1212 Well All Right
unknown (tp) unknown (as) Al Sears (ts) unknown (bars) Jesse Stone (p, dir) unknown (g) unknown (b) probably Connie Kay (d) Joe Turner (vo)
NYC, January 28, 1955
1426 Hide And Seek
1427 Flip, Flop And Fly
unknown (tp) Wilbur DeParis (tb) unknown (ts) Haywood Henry (bars) Harry Van Walls (p) unknown (g) unknown (b) Connie Kay (d) Joe Turner (vo) unknown (vocal group)
NYC, November 3, 1955
1687 The Chicken And The Hawk (Up, Up And Away)
1688 Boogie Woogie Country Girl
Jimmy Nottingham, Dick Vance (tp) Earl Warren (as) Sam Taylor (ts) Ernie Hayes (p) George Barnes, Billy Mure (g) Lloyd Trotman (b) Panama Francis (d) Joe Turner (vo) The Cookies (doo wop group)
NYC, February 24, 1956
1884 Corrine, Corrina
unknown (brass) unknown (sax) unknown (p, org, g, b, d) Joe Turner (vo) unknown (vocal group)
NYC, November 20, 1956
2220 Midnight Special Train
2222 Feelin' Happy

Todd Mason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Todd Mason said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
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