What a sad week for fans of R&B with two of the all time greats gone. There have been plenty of tributes and appreciations elsewhere so Be Bop Wino marks the passing of Johnny Otis and Etta James with a couple of streamed audio playlists.
The Johnny Otis tracks date from his big band days of the mid 1940s (with his first hit "Harlem Nocturne" plus the raunchy "My Baby's Business" with Jimmy Rushing) to the jump and boogie of his smaller groups of the late 1940s and early 1950s (with great contributions from the likes of Big Jay McNeely and Pete "Guitar" Lewis).
|My first Etta James record - the Ace 10 inch LP from the early 1980s|
The tributes to Etta James have tended to concentrate on her great soul sides for Chess such as "I'd Rather Go Blind" but my little playlist is made up of some of her 1950s sides for the Bihari Brothers' Modern label, starting with her first ever release - "Roll With Me Henry" - an answer record to The Midnighters' "Work With Me Annie." Recorded towards the end of 1954 (and subsequently renamed "The Wallflower") it was a big hit for the young Etta James who had been introduced to the Biharis by Johnny Otis. The list also includes "The Pick-Up" which is one of my all time favourite R&B records.
Thanks to Joan for the two Crown LP covers shown below.