01. Wine-O-Baby Boogie - Joe Turner
02. B & O Blues - Joe Turner
03. Rocket Boogie "88" Part 1 - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra
04. Old Piney Brown's Gone - Joe Turner
05. Baby, Won't You Marry Me - Joe Turner
06. Skid Row Boogie - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra
01. Christmas Date Boogie - Joe Turner
02. Radar Blues - Joe Turner
03. Tell Me Pretty Baby - Joe Turner
04. Rocket Boogie "88" Part 2 - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra
05. Trouble Boogie - Joe Turner
06. Half Tight Boogie - Pete Johnson & His Orchestra
When Big Joe Turner left Decca in 1944 having recorded a series of classic sides from November 1940 to October 1944, he couldn't have foreseen that he would spend nearly seven years hopping from label to label in the search for recording success. In 1945 and 1946 he was with National, in July 1947 he recorded a couple of sides for Imperial ("Ice Man Blues" and "Roll 'em Pete"). In November 1947 he recorded a version of "Around The Clock Blues" for Stag under the pseudonym Big Vernon and in the same month he had a session for Aladdin, and at the end of that month and in early December he had his final sessions for National.
At the end of 1947 he was recorded live at a Gene Norman promoted "Just Jazz" concert for RPM. The AFM recording ban brought a temporary halt to Joe's discographic wanderings, but when he resumed recording in June 1948, it was for yet another label, Jack Lauderdale's Down Beat which was renamed Swing Beat in October 1949 and then six months later Swing Time.
On June 28th, 1948, in Los Angeles, Joe Turner and his longtime collaborator, boogie pianist Pete Johnson, recorded eight sides for release on Down Beat. They were accompanied by what was essentially the Jay McShann band at that time. Personnel - Joe Turner (vocals) with: James Ross, Art Farmer (trumpets); Frank Sleet (alto sax); Pete Peterson (tenor sax); Milburn Newman (baritone sax); Pete Johnson (piano); unknown (guitar); Addison Farmer (bass) Robert Brady (drums).
Four singles were released from the session. Tracking down the original release dates of these singles has proved to be more difficult than usual and indeed there seems to be some contradiction in the information I found. For once I've failed to find label shots for all of the original discs, so I can't be sure of the original artist attribution on the first of these records. Anyway, here goes -
Down Beat 151 - Radar Blues / Trouble Blues presumably issued in 1948.
Down Beat 152 - Wine-O-Baby Boogie / B&O Blues - Joe Turner with orchestral accompaniment featuring Pete Johnson at the "88". This disc was reviewed in Billboard on 28th May 1949 and also featured in an ad in Billboard on 9th April 1949. The take of "B&O Blues" on this LP is probably a different take to the one issued on 78rpm single.
Down Beat 153 - Tell Me Pretty Baby / Christmas Date Boogie - Joe Turner's Orchestra with Pete Johnson at the "88". Release date unknown. Presumably before Christmas 1948. This disc was re-released on Swing Time 269 as "How D'Ya Want Your Rollin' Done" / "Christmas Date" in December 1951 and was credited to Joe Turner, with no mention of Pete Johnson.
Down Beat 154 - Baby Won't You Marry Me / Old Piney Brown's Gone - Joe Turner's Orchestra with Pete Johnson. "Old Piney Brown Is Gone" was number 10 in the Hot In New Orleans chart in The Cash Box magazine on October 9th, 1948. Either this disc was issued before Down Beat 152 or else "Wine-O-Baby Boogie" was issued earlier than the Billboard review and ad of 1949. It may be that all 4 Joe Turner discs were issued in the second half of 1948.
adapted from audiopreservationfund.org
In late 1948 or early 1949 (exact date unknown), Pete Johnson was back in the studio to record some sides for Down Beat, this time without Joe Turner but instead in the company of a group led by Maxwell Davis. Three singles were released from this session, two of which are on this LP. The missing single is Wrinkle Head Boogie / Roadhouse Boogie (Swing Time 175).
Personnel - Jewell Grant (alto sax); Maxwell Davis (tenor sax); Pete Johnson (piano); Herman Mitchell (guitar); Ralph Hamilton (bass); Jesse Sailes (drums).
Down Beat 168 - Skid Row Boogie / Half Tight Boogie - Pete Johnson Sextette. Released in February 1949. The single was featured in Billboard ads on the 12th February and 9th April 1949. "Skid Row Boogie" was number 4 in The Cash Box magazine's "Hot In Other Cities" chart for Merion, Pennsylvania, on March 19th, 1949.
Billboard, 12th February 1949
adapted from Discogs.com
Swing Time 169 - Rocket Boogie "88" Part I / Rocket Boogie "88" Part II - Pete Johnson. Probable release in November 1950. Reviewed in the "Hot Jazz" section of Billboard, 11th November 1950.
adapted from rateyourmusic.com
"Rocket Boogie 88 - Part I" and "Rocket Boogie 88 - Part II" are virtually identical on this LP. It's possible that the "Part - II" issued on the original 78rpm single was a different track.
Joe Turner's label hopping continued after his Down Beat session. In the second half of 1948 he had two Los Angeles sessions for MGM in which he was backed by much the same band which featured in Pete Johnson's Down Beat session. He recorded two sides for the small Coast label with the same musicians in October 1948.
After a barren recording period which lasted most of 1949, he cut sides for Houston label Freedom in December 1949 and early 1950. The 1949 session was with Connie Johnson's band which included Joe Houston, Lonnie Lyons and Goree Carter, while the early 1950 session was backed by the Pluma Davis Orchestra.
April 1950 found Joe in New Orleans recording for Imperial with Dave Bartholomew's band. Joe was then without a recording contract for a year until April 1951 when he was signed by Atlantic. And the rest is history ...
Elsewhere On The Blog
That's all on Joe Turner for the moment. Once I get round to buying a new turntable I'll be able to add another LP with sides from Big Joe's pre-Atlantic years.