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Friday, 20 May 2016

Ivory Joe Hunter - 7th Street Boogie

Side 1:
01. 7th Street Boogie
02. Blues At Sunrise *
03. Boogin' In The Basement
04. Reconversion Blues
05. High Cost Low Pay Blues
06. Grieving Blues
07. Siesta With Sonny
08. Send Me Pretty Mama

Side 2:
01. I Quit My Pretty Mama
02. Woo Wee Blues
03. Don't Fall In Love With Me
04. What Did You Do To Me
05. I Got Your Water On
06. SP Blues
07. Leave Her Alone
08. Don't You Believe Her

*Ivory Joe Hunter with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers

Download from:

Go West, young man! Ivory Joe Hunter ('twas his actual name) was one of a number of Texas pianists / singers who moved to California during and after World War Two and helped kick start the growth of R&B on the West Coast. Charles Brown, Amos Milburn, Floyd Dixon and Little Willie Littlefield all spring immediately to mind.

When Ivory Joe arrived in Oakland, California in 1942, he was already an experienced club pianist, deejay and bandleader. He formed a jump band while performing at Slim Jenkins' club on 7th Street in Oakland, but was unable to attract the attention of any of the new West Coast record labels that were springing up. His first record, "Blues At Sunrise" was therefore recorded for his own short lived label, Ivory. It became a hit when it was picked up by Exclusive, reaching number 3 in the R&B charts at the end of 1945. In 1946/7 Ivory Joe issued singles on Pacific, a label in which he was a co-owner.

Sales of the Pacific records were poor, so Joe sold his masters to 4 Star who re-issued some sides which had originally appeared on Pacific and also gave a first time issue to some of Joe's hitherto unreleased masters. It was a reissue, "Pretty Mama Blues" (Pacific 637, 4 Star 1254) which became Joe's biggest success so far, reaching number 1 on the R&B chart in September 1948. By this time Joe had been recording for King for a year. He stayed with them until August 1949, having hits with "Don't Fall In Love With Me", "What Did You Do To Me", "Guess Who" / "Landlord Blues", and "Jealous Heart."

In October 1949 Joe started recording for MGM and hit it big, reaching the number 1 R&B spot with "I Almost Lost My Mind." His next MGM disc, "S.P. Blues" was a top ten hit and he was back at number 1 again with "I Need You So." "It's A Sin" was a lesser hit but as all of these chart successes came in 1950, Ivory Joe Hunter was the 3rd top selling R&B artist of that year, ahead of such luminaries as Roy Brown, Dinah Washington and Louis Jordan. There were no more hits on MGM and in 1954 Ivory Joe signed with Atlantic Records where he recorded more hit material, most noticeably "Since I Met You Baby" which was an R&B and pop hit in 1957. In the same year he had another hit with "Empty Arms."

In 1959 he recorded for Dot without much success and the 1960s were spent label hopping but without achieving any significant sales. He did, however, have a more productive time as a songwriter in both the Soul and Country & Western fields. A successful appearance at the Monterey Jazz Festival in 1970 led to recording sessions for Epic and Paramount, but in late 1973 he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Ivory Joe Hunter passed away in November 1974.

Most of the above info is from an article by Dik De Heer on Additional information from Big Al Pavlow's "R & B Book" and Bill Millar's sleevenotes to this LP. There is an extended essay on Ivory Joe Hunter by Bill Millar in his excellent book "Let The Good Times Rock."

Article by Dik De Heer:

Original release details:

01. 7th Street Boogie - Pacific 601
02. Blues At Sunrise - Originally on Ivory, then Exclusive 56
03. Boogin' In The Basement - Pacific 602
04. Reconversion Blues - Pacific 601
05. High Cost Low Pay Blues - Pacific 630
06. Grieving Blues - Pacific 634
07. Siesta With Sonny - King 4220
08. Send Me Pretty Mama - King 4424
09. I Quit My Pretty Mama - King 4326
10. Woo Wee Blues - King 4455
11. Don't Fall In Love With Me - King 4220
12. What Did You Do To Me - King 4232
13. I Got Your Water On - King 4347
14. SP Blues - MGM 10618
15. Leave Her Alone - MGM 10663
16. Don't You Believe Her - MGM 10818

Many of the Pacific sides were re-released on 4 Star.

Explore further with:

"Jukebox Hits 1945 - 1950" on Acrobat,

"Blues, Ballads & Rock 'N' Roll" - collection of Atlantic sides on Ace,

"Woo Wee!" - collection of King sides on Ace.

And, joy of joys, Bill Millar's book "Let The Good Times Rock" is still available at reasonable prices on Amazon marketplace. A rippingly good read.


KurtGS said...

I got a request: the only record missing in my Ivory Joe Hunter collection (as far as I know) is "The Return Of Ivory Joe Hunter" from 1970. If you could locate and post that I would be very grateful!
By the way, thanx for posting so much wonderful music!

boogiewoody said...

Hi Kurt

Thanks very much for your comment! All I can do is keep an eye open for "The Return Of Ivory Joe Hunter" on my occasional visits to second hand record shops. I don't hold out much hope though ...

Perhaps some kind reader can help?


teddy cat baz said...

thanx again boogiewoody

Anonymous said...

I'm a fan of Danny Cedrone since I heard him with The Esquire Boys playing "St. Louis Blues". It's a Guitar Classic, IMHO. I was really keen to pick up the Danny Cedrone CD his grandson put out a few years back, but it has so far eluded me.

Maybe it's a "rotten" request, and I wouldn't want to rip anyone off, but due to the scarcity of the collection, isn't it time someone made the music more readily available?