stevecutway's blog

Clyde McPhatter’s Atlantic solo sides from 1955-1959 this week on The Juke In The Back

Clyde McPhatter had one of the sweetest and most powerful tenor voices in all of Rhythm & Blues and early Rock n’ Roll. His issue throughout his 22 year recording career, was getting the recognition he thought he deserved. After singing memorable leads on many hit records for Billy Ward & The Dominoes, Clyde left because Billy Ward wouldn’t put his name on the records or pay him a fair share of the profits. Ahmet Ertegun of Atlantic Records was ready to sign McPhatter and give him his own group, The Drifters.

Clyde McPhatter and The Drifters this week on The Juke In The Back

The Drifters would become the most successful vocal group in history, charting hit after hit for over 20 years, with no less than a dozen different lead singers. This week, the “Juke In The Back” spotlights The Drifters’ first chapter with the great high tenor of Clyde McPhatter out front. The group was created by Atlantic Records in order to showcase McPhatter’s beautiful and powerful voice after his 2 year stint with Billy Ward & The Dominos ended.

The Checkers this week on The Juke in the Back

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 be

Lowell Fulson this week on The Juke in the Back

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.

R&B Novelty Songs this week on The Juke in the Back

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”, Saturday afternoon at 03:00 PM Eastern, with an encore presentation Thursday morning

Memphis Slim, the “Ambassador Of The Blues”, this week on The Juke in the Back

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.

It's the Groove Records Story this week on The Juke In The Back

In late 1953, RCA Victor launched a new subsidiary to focus on the Rhythm & Blues market, called Groove Records.  They intended for Groove to compete with the independent labels like Chess, Atlantic and Vee-Jay that were dominating the genre.  RCA treated Groove as an indie by setting up its own record distribution network, like an indie, ignoring the mighty distribution arm of RCA Victor.  That might have been the label’s downfall.

Halloween Rhythm & Blues comes to The Juke in the Back on Mushroom FM

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 played by Sam “The Man” Taylor.

Join me in The Early Years on Mushroom FM

When you hear the dying strains of Van Halen's Happy Trails signalling the end of The Mosen Explosion for another week, don't touch that PC, that device or that internet radio and join me in The Early Years on Mushroom FM.
Hello, I'm Steve Cutway and my musical horizon is the 50s and 60s. You can contact me any time by e-mail at steve@mushroomfm.com. Requests from the 50s and 60s are welcome but because the show is prepared ahead of time and pre-recorded, I'll play your requests on a future show.

Annie Songs: Prequels, Sequels & Answer Records this week on The Juke in the Back

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

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