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Monday 6 April 2015

Todd Rhodes - Dance Music That Hits the Spot!

Side One:
1. Blues For The Red Boy
2. Pot Likker
3. Teardrops
4. Beet Patch
5. Blue Autumn
6. Specks
7. Echoes
8. Chicken Strut

Side Two:
1. Bell Boy Boogie
2. Rocket 69
3. Feathers
4. Thunderbolt Boogie
5. Red Boy Is Back
6. Snuff Dipper
7. Silver Sunset
8. Gin Gin Gin

I guess this should count as a re-up as I originally posted this LP back in October 2007 in the very earliest days of Be Bop Wino. This time round I've included brand new cover and label scans, so you now get the complete front and back covers for the very first time. In my view that makes it a kind of new post!

This is a 1980s reissue of King LP 658, originally issued in August 1959. The music spans the entirety of Todd's recording career with "Bell Boy Boogie" originating from his very first session with Sensation in July 1947 and "Silver Sunset", "Specks" aka "Space", "Echoes" and "Chicken Strut" being the complete last session for King in July, 1954.

Todd Rhodes was a native of Kentucky (born 1900), a trained musician who attended the Springfield School of Music (Ohio) and a big band veteran who played piano with McKinney's Cotton Pickers in the 1920s and 1930s. In the 1940s he settled in Detroit and led small bands which played around the many clubs in that city.

His first recording contract was with local label Sensation and his records were simultaneously released on the Chicago label Vitacoustic for national distribution. Before 1947 was out, Vitacoustic had gone belly up and a new national distribution deal was arranged with King Records. Detroit issues were still put out on Sensation but tension between the two companies led to a legal dispute which was won by King in 1951. From then on, all Todd Rhodes releases were exclusively through King who also bought out all existing Sensation masters. The information on the back cover of this LP only lists King release numbers.

The full story of Todd's early career is told in the notes to the excellent Ace CD "Blues For The Red Boy - The Early Sensation Recordings" CDCHD 856.

This is a CD I can highly recommend. It has superb sound quality (being from original masters) and gives a marvelous insight into the versatility  of the Todd Rhodes band - capable of sounding equally good on boppers, lush jazzers, boogies, blues and even occasional reworkings of classical pieces! If ever a jump band lived up to the title of "little big band", it was the Todd Rhodes outfit.

The "Dance Music That Hits the Spot!" LP can't match the CD for sound quality. In fact this release sounds like echo has been added to most of the tracks. It's still a cracking jump collection. The boogies are especially powerful and let's not forget that "Blues For The Red Boy" was chosen by Alan Freed as the introductory theme to his first "rock 'n 'roll" radio show in Cleveland.

Todd was credited with starting the career of Lavern Baker and also being an important influence on the career of Johnnie Ray as he worked with them both at Detroit's Flame Show Bar. He also backed Wynonie Harris on two sessions for King in July 1951 and January 1952, including a couple of memorably raunchy releases in "Lovin' Machine" and "Keep On Churnin' (Till The Butter Comes)".

Download from here:


malcee said...

thanks for this one. I have downloaded and will listen after a nice long Easter Monday walk and a pint. Cheers again !

boogiewoody said...

Enjoy your pint malcee! And enjoy Todd Rhodes too ...

JohnnyDiego said...

I visit too often without saying thank you. So here I am saying, Thank You!

boogiewoody said...

Thank you Johnny, for taking the trouble to say thank you! Every bit of encouragement is important.