Doles Dickens & His Quintet - Decca 48110 (1949)

I went looking for 78's a few days ago and found this chocolate colored wax (never seen one before) Decca record in the middle of a bunch of Perry Comos, Tony Pastors and the like. I had never heard of Doles Dickens but the song titles and description prompted me to get it. The tracks were "Rock And Roll" and "Hold Me Baby" and the latter was described as a "Blues Vocal."

A little bit of internet searching netted me the information that Dickens was a bass player that hit the scenes with Eddie South's group in 1940. Further reading mentioned his role in the early rock & roll / rhythm & blues styles.

With one of the songs being called "Rock And Roll," it got me curious as to what may be considered the first R&R record. I have read that The Dominoes' "Sixty Minute Man" and Jackie Brenston's (with Ike Turner) "Rocket 88," which were both recorded in 1951, are widely argued as being the first.

Are there any other serious contenders out there? Anything earlier? What makes a song "Rock & Roll?"

"Rock And Roll" - Personnel: Louis Judge (tenor sax); Clarence Harmon (piano); Sam Hendricks (guitar); Doles Dickens (bass); Jimmy Crawford (drums); Joe Gregory (vocals). Recorded in 1949.

Joe Venuti & Eddie Lang - Columbia 914 (1926)

Giuseppe Venuti & Salvatore Massaro on violin and guitar respectively.

Recorded in New York during 2 sessions between September and November 1926.


Blind Lemon Jefferson - Paramount 12872 (1929)

This is one of two Blind Lemons that I found as part of my single biggest blues find while traveling through Georgia.

That day is recounted in the story linked above...Thrill Of The Hunt.

Recorded on September 24, 1929.


Lightnin' Hopkins - Gold Star 634 & 662 (1948-49)

Whoever said, "Lightnin' doesn't strike twice in the same place" sure didn't click here.

Here we have 2 discs waxed by Hopkins on the fabled Gold Star Records label.

Gold Star was founded in 1941 in Houston and was instrumental in launching the careers of artists such as Lightnin' Hopkins, George Jones & Freddy Fender. They also recorded ZZ Top's Billy Gibbons' first band in the '60's.

In 1983, Gibbons bought Gold Star which lays claim to being the oldest registered recording studio in the southeast.




Is It Live Or Is It Memorex? Neither...It's Ella On Scroll Victor! (1936)

Story has it that Benny Goodman brought in a teenaged Ella Fitzgerald to fill in for an ill Helen Ward on three vocals.

After the sides had been cut, the records hit the store shelves. But, even though Ella's name was not printed on the label, Decca, with whom she had a contract, threatened to sue Victor.

After a very short time available to the public, the records were recalled and reissued with another singer, Francis Hunt (Goodnight My Love), or deleted from the catalog all together.

I've read from those that say these sides are rare and others that say that they're not as rare as people might think. I'm not sure who is more accurate. Would anyone care to chime in?

Personnel: Benny Goodman cl, dir / Gordon Griffin, Zeke Zarchy, Ziggy Elman t / Red Ballard, Murray McEachern tb / Hymie Schertzer, Bill DePew as / Arthur Rollini, Vido Musso ts / Jess Stacy p / Allan Reuss g / Harry Goodman sb / Gene Krupa d / Ella Fitzgerald v.

Recorded on November 5, 1936 in New York.