Newsletter for February 2020



If you have been reading the R&R project that Mike Maddox has been working on then you will want to be at the February meeting. Mike will be there to discuss the who, what, when, and where of his research. Of course as with food, sports and many other things, music brings about different opinions as well but I think what Mike has embarked upon is very thought provoking. Hope to see you there this Sunday. Bring a friend.

And now for more of Mike’s project:


PART 5: There is really no need for very much commentary here. Master musician, sax player, singer, songwriter, bandleader, record seller and entertainer Louis Jordan has all the elements assembled and put to work in this historic record. Louis Jordan was born on July 8, 1908 in Brinkley, Arkansas. His father was a music teacher, bandleader and founder of the Rabbit’s Foot Minstrels. Louis was taught to sing, play and entertain by his father and his musical associates. Louis lived his entire life in a more or less segregated society. Nevertheless, he sold records to both white and black people by the thousands. He was known as the “King of the Jukebox”, the “Father of Jump Blues and R&B”, the “Grandfather of Rock & Roll”, and the “Pioneer of Music Short Films”. He was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1987 as an early influence.

There is a controversy about who composed “Saturday Night Fish Fry”. Jordan’s piano player Bill Doggett is heard on the record. Doggett claimed that he wrote both the words and music of the tune. Jordan also claimed to have composed the entire song by himself. Jordan, together with New Orleans drummer and lyricist Ellis Walsh, are credited as the composers on the Decca record label. The lyrics of the song clearly set the scene as Rampart Street in New Orleans. Perhaps Jordan, Ellis and Doggett collaborated in composing the song with Doggett not sharing in the credits or the royalties. As we know, “That’s Show Biz”. If that be true, Doggett later evened the score in the mid ‘50s with his composition and record “Honky-Tonk Parts 1 & 2”, arguably the most famous instrumental in the history of Rock & Roll. Louis Jordan died in Los Angeles on February 4, 1975.

Meanwhile, turn those little computer speakers up almost to the point of distortion and enjoy this slice of rhythm from 1949.

Saturday Night Fish Fry
Louis Jordan

PART 6: Who was Paul Bigsby? Who was Les Paul? Who was Leo Fender?

Paul Bigsby was an American inventor who was a pioneer of the solid body electric guitar. He built such a guitar for singer, songwriter and guitarist Merle Travis in 1948. This instrument made brand new guitar sounds, with more volume, and with no electronic feedback. Later, Bigsby designed and built, and then mass-produced, the Bigsby Vibrato Guitar Tailpiece, which was installed and featured on many different electric guitar brands and models.
Les Paul was an American guitarist, guitar builder, inventor, and also a pioneer of the solid body electric guitar. He taught himself how to play the guitar, and created many innovative electric sound effects for use in live performance and in the recording studio. Les Paul, inducted into Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the year 1988. Inducted into National Inventors Hall of Fame in the year 2005. Died at the age of 94 in the year 2009.
Leo Fender was an American inventor, musical instrument builder, and electric guitar and amplifier manufacturer who was also a pioneer of the electric solid body lap steel and six string guitar. What Henry Ford was to the automobile, Leo Fender was to electric solid body guitars and amplifiers. Fender founded the Fender Electric Instrument Manufacturing Co. the electric guitars, electric bass guitars, and guitar amplifiers he mass-produced in the late 1940s and early 1950s are still widely used today. The Fender Telecaster, the grandchild of the Fender Esquire, Broadcaster and Nocaster, was the first mass-produced solid body electric guitar. In 1951, Fender introduced the Fender Precision Electric Bass, followed by the Fender Stratocaster Electric guitar in 1954, and the Fender Jazz Electric Bass a few years later. His mass-produced Fender Bassman amplifier was the direct ancestor of the later guitar amplifiers that dominated Rock & Roll Music.
It is interesting that all three of these men not only knew one another, they were fast friends who shared a love for experimenting and building electric sound machines. They got together and hung out often at Les Paul’s home workshop where they designed and tinkered with getting new sound effects from their guitars and amps such as echo, tremolo and reverb.
In the next few emails we will get to hear some of those brand new guitar sounds of the early 1950s.

How High The Moon
Les Paul & Mary Ford

Bye Bye Blues
Les Paul & Mary Ford

PART 7: This is an up-tempo R&B record from 1951, produced in Memphis, TN by Sam Phillips, the man who would three years later produce and release, on his own Sun label, the first records of Elvis Presley.
Ike Turner and his band traveled by car from Clarksdale, MS to Memphis for the record date with Phillips. The electric guitar player’s amplifier was damaged during the trip. The cone speaker, and possibly a tube, was jarred loose/damaged. At Phillips’ studio in Memphis, the guitarist stuffed newspaper behind the speaker cone in an effort to keep it from vibrating around inside of the amplifier. The band was dissatisfied with the fuzzy, distorted sound, but Phillips liked the sound and used it, or so the story goes. Band member Jackie Brenston sings and plays one of the two saxophones heard on the record. Ike Turner plays the piano. Little Richard copied Ike’s piano intro a few years later when he recorded Good Golly Miss Molly in New Orleans. Phillips leased the record to the Chess record label in Chicago. Chess released it in 1951. Sam Phillips persuaded white Memphis radio D.J Dewey Phillips to play the record. Both white and black listeners liked it and bought it. Sam Phillips immediately began searching for a white man who could sing black R&B in his own distinctive style. He found him three years later.
Sam Phillips was one of the first to be inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in the year 1986. He was inducted into the Alabama Music Hall of Fame in 1987. He received a Lifetime Achievement Grammy in 1991. Phillips was inducted into the Blues Hall of Fame in 1998; the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2001; and the Memphis Music Hall of Fame in 2012. Ike and Tina Turner were inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1991.
Sam Phillips died in Memphis on July 30, 2003, one day before his Sun Studio was designated as a National Historic Landmark.

Rocket 88
Jackie Brenston & His Delta Kats (Ike Turner’s band)

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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