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Eddie “Cleanhead” Vinson

It’s hard to top the joyous sound of Cleanhead's asthmatic howl over some swingin’ horns and a hard-grinding rhythm section.

Wynonie Harris: Mr. Blues is Coming to Town

The Voice just kicked off its 7th season on NBC… Seems like a good excuse to talk about Wynonie Harris – a truly badass blues shouter who would send the smug, preening judges on (insert [...]

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Amos Milburn

I think I grew up in the wrong era. Toss me in a time machine and set it for 1946, Central Avenue, Los Angeles… and give me some greenbacks too, because I’ll need a sharp zoot suit with a [...]

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Moon Mullican, Hillbilly Piano

They called him the King of the Hillbilly Piano Players. I like to think of Moon Mullican as one of the lost heroes of rock ‘n roll – a vital link between R&B piano pounders like Amos Milburn [...]

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Monkey Hips and Rice: The “5” Royales

Think of the many streams that flow into that big river called early rock ‘n roll – blues, gospel, R&B, doo-wop, country… You can hear all of those influences and maybe a few others (Southern [...]

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Vintage Video Madness, Round 2

Speaking of March Madness, who’s idea was it to borrow so heavily from the President’s brackets? All top seeds? All gone. Although I must admit, it’s made the games far more entertaining. I don’t [...]

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Big Maybelle: The Okeh Sessions

What if Lady Gaga turned out to be The Antichrist? Imagine armies of her meat-clad minions cutting a huge swath of destruction across the country. Entire towns are being leveled by massive, [...]

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Jumpin’ the Blues

Another big, sprawling topic – more than one post can handle. And another cheap excuse to share a few of my favorite examples of the form. But what is jump blues, exactly? Some would describe it [...]

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King of the Independents

In the early 1980s, I lived in Cincinnati and edited one of those free entertainment newspapers you see blowing through the streets of big cities throughout the country.  The following piece [...]