Jimmy McCracklin (August 13, 1921 – December 20, 2012) was
an American pianist, vocalist, and songwriter. His style contained West Coast
blues, Jump blues, and R&B. Over a career that spanned seven decades, he
said he had written almost a thousand songs and had recorded hundreds of them.
McCracklin recorded over 30 albums, and earned four gold records. Tom Mazzolini
of the San Francisco Blues Festival said of him, "He was probably the most
important musician to come out of the Bay Area in the post-World War II
McCracklin was born James David Walker on 13 August 1921.
Sources differ as to whether he was born in Helena, Arkansas or St. Louis,
Missouri. He joined the United States Navy in 1938, later settled in Richmond,
California, and began playing at the local Club Savoy owned by his
sister-in-law Willie Mae "Granny" Johnson. The room-length bar served
beer and wine, and Granny Johnson served home-cooked meals of greens, ribs,
chicken, and other southern cuisine. A house band composed of Bay Area based musicians
alternated with and frequently backed performers such as B. B. King, Charles
Brown, and L. C. Robinson. Later in 1963 he would write and record a song
"Club Savoy" on his I Just Gotta Know album.
His recorded a debut single for Globe Records, "Miss
Mattie Left Me", in 1945, and recorded "Street Loafin' Woman in 1946.
McCracklin recorded for a number of labels in Los Angeles and Oakland, prior to
joining Modern Records in 1949-1950. He formed a group called Jimmy McCracklin
and his Blues Blasters in 1946, with guitarist Lafayette Thomas who remained
with group until the early 1960s.
His popularity increased after appearing on the TV pop Dick
Clark's American Bandstand in support of his self-written single "The
Walk" (1957), subsequently released by Checker Records in 1958. It went to
No. 5 on the Billboard R&B chart and No. 7 on the pop chart, after more
than 10 years of McCracklin selling records in the black community on a series
of small labels.
He died in San Pablo, California, in the San Francisco
Bay Area, on December 20, 2012, after a long illness, aged 91.
(Check out this track from 1999...it's my favorite McCracklin tune)
William Thornton Blue (1902 – 1968), sometimes credited as
Bill Blue, was an American jazz reed player.
Blue grew up playing in local bands in St. Louis, Missouri,
where his father was a part-time music instructor. He played with Wilson
Robinson's Bostonians, a territory band, and worked with Charlie Creath and
Dewey Jackson in the middle of the 1920s. Later that decade he worked with
Andrew Preer's Cotton Club Orchestra in New York City and on tour in Europe as
a member of Noble Sissle's ensemble. He remained in Paris briefly, playing with
When he returned to New York, he joined The
Missourians, led by Cab Calloway, then worked with Luis Russell. Due to failing
health, Blue played little in the late 1930s and afterwards; he spent the last
several years of his life in a sanatorium.
Cab Calloway v, dir / Edwin Swayzee, Lammar Wright, Reuben
Reeves t / De Priest Wheeler, Harry White tb / Arville Harris, William Thornton
Blue cl, as / Andrew Brown bcl, ts / Walter Thomas as, ts, bar, f / Bennie
Payne p / Morris White bj / Jimmy Smith bb, sb / Leroy Maxey d.
Recorded in New York on July 9, 1931. Cab's sister, Blanche, recorded It Looks Like Susie a little less than a month earlier...that date being one of Ben Webster's earliest on wax. Click here to take a listen.
Lawrence Leo "Snub" Mosley (December 29, 1905,
Little Rock, Arkansas – July 21, 1981, Harlem) was an American jazz trombonist.
Mosley played trombone in high school and then joined
Alphonse Trent's territory band, playing with him from 1926 to 1933. Following
this he played with the Jeter-Pillars Orchestra (1934), Claude Hopkins
(1934–35), Fats Waller, and Louis Armstrong with the Luis Russell Orchestra
(1936–37), in addition to playing with his own groups. After this Mosley
settled in New York City.
Mosley spent most of his career on trombone, but also
invented an instrument called the slide saxophone, which had both the slide portion
of a trombone and a saxophone mouthpiece. The instrument is prominently
featured in his 1940 recording The Man with the Funny Little Horn.
He recorded for Decca in 1940-1942, Sonora in 1946, Penguin
in 1949, Columbia in 1959, and Pizza in 1978.
He died on July 21, 1981 at his home at 555 Edgecombe
Avenue in Harlem. Courtney Williams t / Snub Mosley slide s, tb, v / Don Stovall as / Hank Duncan p / John Brown sb / A.G. Godley d / The Tampa Boys v. Recorded in New York on October 21, 1941.