Smiley Lewis this week on The Juke In The Back!

The 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.
There are so many forgotten legends along Rhythm & Blues’ evolutionary highway. This week, the “Juke In The Back” looks at the great Smiley Lewis, another influential force out of New Orleans that time has chosen to forget. Lewis was born Overton Lemons, but took the name “Lewis” along with the nickname “Smiley” which poked fun at his missing teeth. He played the New Orleans clubs and cut his first single for DeLuxe Records in 1947. After it failed to go anywhere, Lewis was fortunate enough to fall into admiration of bandleader and Imperial Records talent scout, Dave Bartholomew. After signing to Imperial in 1950, it would be 2 years before Lewis would have his first national hit with “The Bells Are Ringing.” He’d fail to chart again for another 3 years even though his recordings were jumpin’, catchy and selling well in New Orleans and the South. 1955 saw his biggest success with the #2 R&B smash, “I Hear You Knockin’.” He’d have 2 more R&B hits before his star faded by 1957. Lewis recorded many Bartholomew compositions, such as the original “Blue Monday” and “One Night,” but Fats Domino (another of Bartholomew’s discoveries) and Elvis would have hits with those songs respectively. Bartholomew once called Smiley Lewis a “hard luck singer,” due to the fact that he didn’t have an extended career, even though he laid down some of the greatest tunes of the 1950s. Matt The Cat spins those 78s this week on the “Juke In The Back.”
Join Matt the Cat for Juke in the Back, tomorrow afternoon at 03:00 PM Eastern, after John and before Anne, on Mushroom FM, the home of the fun guys, making four decades of magic mushroom memories!