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Sunday 19 October 2014

Howlin' Winds / Rocks In My Bed (National 9144) - Joe Turner

Released April 1951. "Rocks In My Bed" recorded in Chicago, November 29th, 1947. "Howlin' Winds" recorded in Chicago, December 9th, 1947.

Personnel: Joe Turner (vocal), accompanied by: Charles Gray (trumpet); Riley Hampton (alto sax); Otis Finch (tenor sax); Robert Moore (piano); Ike Perkins (guitar); Ellsworth Liggett (bass); James Adams (drums). Meade Lux Lewis replaces Moore on piano on "Howlin' Winds."

"Howlin' Winds" was the last track recorded by Big Joe Turner for National. It was a rerecording of a track he'd originally laid down for that label back in 1945 (that version was never released as a single). After his last session for National, Big Joe spent a few years label hopping from Modern to Swing Time to MGM to Freedom to Imperial before finally landing at Atlantic in 1951 where his flagging career would be revived in a spectacular manner.

National continued to release Big Joe Turner disks right through to 1951, with "Howlin' Winds" being their last Turner release in April of that year. The disk was reviewed in Billboard on the 28th of April. "Howlin' Winds" was deemed to be a "fine mood blues by Turner with first-rate jazz combo backing" while "Rocks In My Bed" was hailed as "one of Turner's standout blues jobs; could make a dent."

It was indeed a rousing release but by the time the review was written, Big Joe had already recorded his first session for Atlantic on April 19th. On the 19th May Billboard reviewed Big Joe's first Atlantic release - "After My Laughter Came Tears" / "Chains Of Love" - which entered the national R&B chart at number ten on the 30th June. It would spend six months on the chart, peaking at number two, and was followed by a series of further hits for Big Joe - "Sweet Sixteen", "Honey Hush", "TV Mama" and "Shake, Rattle And Roll."

And what of the fine "Howlin' Winds" and "Rocks In My Bed"? No chart action, although National did make a gesture on 9th June with this rather low key Billboard advert:

I'm sure Big Joe wasn't particularly worried as thanks to Atlantic he was on his way to being restored to his rightful position as King of the Blues Shouters.

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