I first heard Rose Maddox when my friend Steve England made a tape of old-time music – bluegrass, country, western swing and hillbilly boogie – after starting his club Son of Redneck with Jo Hagan. (more…)

Well this is pure filth. And the last thing you’d expect from a god-fearing gal raised in the church. But there you are: Dinah Washington was one of a kind. (more…)

I’m not normally one for novelty songs but this one is different – perhaps because it’s almost 75 years old. I remember it featuring in the film Thank You For Smoking and I know it’s been covered countless other times. (more…)

I can’t find out much about Jimmy Smith, except that this one is not the famous jazz musician of the same name, who popularised the Hammond B-3 organ that became a signature sound in soul music. (more…)

It’s easy to imagine an electrified audience getting down to do the Twist the moment they heard this tune in 1948. Except that the Twist wouldn’t be invented for another decade. (more…)

Roy Brown may not be a household name but he is another of the under-appreciated innovators of the pre-rock’n’roll era, and a big influence on everyone from Elvis to Little Richard. (more…)

Albennie Jones is another of the small handful of women to build the foundations of rock’n’roll with her song Hole In The Wall in 1949.

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Fats Domino’s debut single rocks and rolls, and that’s enough to make it another of the building blocks of rock’n’roll. (more…)

Erline Harris, whose career burned brightly and briefly at the end of the 1940s, was a rare female artist in the proto-rock’n’roll era.

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Sticks McGhee launched a career of booze-related songs with a profanity-strewn Army chant called Drinking Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee back in 1946.

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