Newsletter for April 2020



Due to the virus outbreak all Birmingham public libraries are closed until further notice. When info on the month of May is posted I will pass along our plans at that time. Take care during this time and we will get together ASAP.


Epidemics may come and go, meeting places may close but music will always be a part of our lives. Here are 4 more parts of the R&R project Mike has been working on. And you don’t have to be six feet away from it when you read it. Hope everyone is doing well.

PART 9: Tiny Murphy was born and raised in Paducah, Kentucky. He moved to Chicago in the 1940s, worked for many years in the Chicago clubs and dance halls, and recorded for the Chicago independent record label United in the late 1940s and the early 1950s. Murphy was a very versatile guitarist who could play in any style, as he displays in this 1953 release which, once again, features that high speed, 8 to the bar boogie rhythm that fueled Rock & Roll from 1954 through 1959, and beyond.

‘Hot Steel’
Tiny Murphy (1953)

PART 10: The first “Southern Pacific” railroad in the U.S.A. was not the one that originated in San Francisco CA. The first “Southern Pacific” railroad originated in NE Texas, near Marshall, TX, in 1856. In that year the “Texas Western” railroad changed its name to the “Southern Pacific” railroad. This railroad was then sold to the newly formed “Texas & Pacific” railroad in 1872. At that time, the Texas & Pacific RR began to lay new tracks from the hub near Marshall, TX, moving South to Houston and Galveston, TX, and West to Dallas, Ft. Worth and San Antonio, TX. The pine forests of NE Texas supplied the RR ties for the new track being laid. The steel rails were delivered from Mississippi river steamboats.

As the new track was laid from the NE Texas hub, many logging and lumber camps, sawmills, and turpentine camps suddenly appeared, quickly followed by cheap housing for the workers, alongside saloons, dance halls, honky-tonks and barrel houses, all following the newly laid track. Black piano players flocked to these entertainment places up and down the tracks. They got from one barrel house to the next by hopping on and off the trains. They incorporated the rhythm of the steam locomotives and the moans of the steam whistles into the new music they were playing in the new places along the new tracks. In the process, Boogie-Woogie, first known as “Fast Western”, forever changed American music, as the piano players transformed their instrument into a polyrhythmic RR train. This is the way that the new music got around all over Texas, and in time, to New Orleans, Memphis, St. Louis, Chicago, and across the U.S.A. It was no accident that the title of Meade Lux Lewis’ first Boogie-Woogie hit record in the 1930s was “Honky-Tonk Train Blues”. The Boogie rhythm was quickly appropriated by all American popular and gospel musicians, including of course the musicians who created Rock & Roll music from 1954 through 1959. Consider the following lyrics from these historic Rock & Roll tunes:
From “Mystery Train”, Elvis Presley (1955), verses 1 through 4: Train I ride, 16 coaches long…well that long black train got my baby and gone…Train, Train, comin’ ‘round the bend… well it took my baby, but it never will again…Train, Train, comin’ down the line… well it’s bringin’ my baby ‘cause she’s mine all mine… Train, Train, comin’ ‘round, ‘round the bend…well it took my baby, but it never will again
From “Folsom Prison Blues”, Johnny Cash (1955), verses 1 and 4: I hear the train a comin’, it’s rollin’ ‘round the bend, and I ain’t seen the sunshine, since I don’t know when, I’m stuck in Folsom Prison, and time keeps draggin’ on, but that train keeps a rollin’, on down to San Antone…well if they freed me from this prison, if that railroad train was mine, I bet I’d move it on a little farther down the line, far from Folsom Prison, that’s where I want to stay, and I’d let that lonesome whistle blow my blues away
From “Johnny B. Goode”, Chuck Berry (1958), verse 2: He used to carry his guitar in a gunny sack, and sit beneath the tree by the railroad track, oh the engineers would see him sitting in the shade, strumming with the rhythm that the drivers made, people passing by would stop and say, oh my that little country boy can play!

‘Honky Tonk Train Blues’
Meade Lux Lewis (1937)

‘Choo Choo Ch’Boogie’
Louis Jordan (1946)

PART 11: BONUS TRACKS – Hank Williams Live Performances – Move It On Over, in occupied Berlin, Germany – Jambalaya, at The Grand Ole Opry, Ryman Auditorium, Nashville, before he went into the studio to record it!

Move It On Over’ (1949)
‘Jambalaya (On The Bayou)’ (1952)

PART 12: Merrill Moore was born September 26, 1923, in Algona, Iowa. He learned to play the piano as a child. Moore served in the U.S. Navy during World War II. He married after the war, moved to Tucson AZ, then moved to San Diego, CA. Moore kept a day job in San Diego and played piano in the dance halls and night clubs after his daytime employment. In 1950, he quit his day job and he became a full time professional musician, playing Western Swing, Honky-Tonk and Boogie-Woogie. Moore signed a recording contract with Capitol Records in 1952. Here you can find maid near me. He developed a piano style that fused Western Swing, Boogie-Woogie and R&B more than anyone who had come before. Because of this, he is recognized as an important pioneer of Rock & Roll. Moore, together with Amos Milburn and Moon Mullican, influenced every piano player who played Rock & Roll in the years 1954-1959, including Ike Turner, Fats Domino, Johnny Johnson (his piano is heard on Chuck Berry’s 1950s records), Little Richard, Charlie Rich, and Jerry Lee Lewis.
In 1955, Moore moved to Los Angeles CA where he became a session piano player for Capitol Records and played on many hits by Capitol recording artists. In 1962, he moved back to San Diego and resumed playing piano in hotels and clubs. He died of cancer at age 76 in the year 2000.

‘House Of Blue Lights’
Merrill Moore (1952)

‘Big Bug Boogie’
Merrill Moore (1952)


Don’t forget to check out all the new internet radio shows the club has on its website. Go to and click on ‘RADIO’. New shows added weekly.
See ya,


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