Monday, 31 July 2017

Hank Jones born 31 July 1918

Henry "Hank" Jones (July 31, 1918 – May 16, 2010) was an American jazz pianist, bandleader, arranger, and composer.
Born in Vicksburg, Mississippi, Henry "Hank" Jones moved to Pontiac, Michigan, where his father, Henry Jones Sr. a Baptist deacon and lumber inspector, bought a three-story brick home. One
of seven children, Jones was raised in a musical family. His mother Olivia Jones sang; his two older sisters studied piano; and his two younger brothers—Thad, a trumpeter, and Elvin, a drummer—also became prominent jazz musicians.
He studied piano at an early age and came under the influence of Earl Hines, Fats Waller, Teddy Wilson, and Art Tatum. By the age of 13 Jones was performing locally in Michigan and Ohio. While playing with territory bands in Grand Rapids and Lansing in 1944 he met Lucky Thompson, who invited Jones to work in New York City at the Onyx Club with Hot Lips Page. 

In New York, Jones regularly listened to leading bop musicians, and was inspired to master the new style. While practicing and studying the music he worked with John Kirby, Howard McGhee, Coleman Hawkins, Andy Kirk, and Billy Eckstine.
In autumn 1947, he began touring in Norman Granz's Jazz at the Philharmonic package, and from 1948 to 1953 he was accompanist for Ella Fitzgerald, and accompanying her in England in the Fall of 1948, developed a harmonic facility of extraordinary taste and sophistication. During this period he also made several historically important recordings with Charlie Parker, which included "The Song Is You", from the Now's the Time album, recorded in December 1952, with Teddy Kotick on bass and Max Roach on drums.
                   Here's "If I Love Again" from above 1958 EP


Engagements with Artie Shaw and Benny Goodman followed, and recordings with artists such as Lester Young, Cannonball Adderley, and Wes Montgomery, in addition to being for a time, 'house pianist' on the Savoy label. From 1959 through 1975 Jones was staff pianist for CBS studios. This included backing guests like Frank Sinatra on The Ed Sullivan Show. He played the piano accompaniment to Marilyn Monroe as she sang "Happy Birthday Mr. President" to John F. Kennedy on May 19, 1962.  
By the late 1970s, his involvement as pianist and conductor with the Broadway musical Ain't Misbehavin' (based on the music of Fats Waller) had informed a wider audience of his unique qualities as a musician. 
During the late 1970s and the 1980s, Jones continued to record prolifically, as an unaccompanied soloist, in duos with other pianists (including John Lewis and Tommy Flanagan), and with various small ensembles, most notably the Great Jazz Trio. The group took this name in 1976, by which time Jones had already begun working at the Village Vanguard with its original members, Ron Carter and Tony Williams by 1980 Jones' sidemen were Eddie Gomez and Al Foster, and in 1982 Jimmy Cobb replaced Foster.  

The trio also recorded with other all-star personnel, such as Art
Farmer, Benny Golson, and Nancy Wilson. In the early 1980s Jones held a residency as a solo pianist at the Cafe Ziegfeld and made a tour of Japan, where he performed and recorded with George Duvivier and Sonny Stitt. Jones' versatility was more in evidence with the passage of time. He collaborated on recordings of Afro-pop with an ensemble from Mali and on an album of spirituals, hymns and folksongs with Charlie Haden called Steal Away (1995). 

Some of his later recordings are For My Father (2005) with bassist George Mraz and drummer Dennis Mackrel, a solo piano recording issued in Japan under the title Round Midnight (2006), and as a side man on Joe Lovano's Joyous Encounter (2005). Jones made his debut on Lineage Records, recording with Frank Wess and with the guitarist Eddie Diehl, but also appeared on West of 5th (2006) with Jimmy Cobb and Christian McBride on Chesky Records. He also accompanied Diana Krall for "Dream a Little Dream of Me" on the album compilation, We all Love Ella (Verve 2007). He is one of the musicians who test and talk about the piano in the documentary Note by Note: The Making of Steinway L1037, released in November 2007. 

In early 2000, the Hank Jones Quartet accompanied jazz singer Salena Jones at the Lionel Hampton Jazz Festival in Idaho, and in 2006 at the Monterey Jazz Festival with both jazz singer Roberta Gambarini and the Oscar Peterson Trio. 

Hank Jones lived in upstate New York and in Manhattan. He died at a hospice in Manhattan, New York, on May 16, 2010, just a few weeks after returning from performance dates in Japan. (Info edited mainly from Wikipedia)

Sunday, 30 July 2017

Dick McDonough born 30 July 1904

Dick McDonough (July 30, 1904 – May 25, 1938) was an American jazz guitarist and banjoist. He was best known for his duets with guitarist Carl Kress. 

McDonough began playing banjo and mandolin in high school. An athlete, he played left-handed because, according to McDonough, that was how he held his hockey stick. At Georgetown University, he performed professionally at weekend dances and two years later started a band. He attended Columbia Law School after college and while there played with bands in New York City.  

McDonough played with Red Nichols in 1927 as a banjoist, and soon after played with Paul Whiteman. He began studying the guitar, and eventually was in demand for session work, recording with The Dorsey Brothers, Red Nichols, and Miff Mole. In the 1930s, he performed in a duo with jazz guitarist Carl Kress. 

Other credits include session work with Mildred Bailey, Smith Ballew, The Boswell Sisters, Rube Bloom, Chick Bullock, The Charleston Chasers, Cliff Edwards, Gene Gifford, Benny Goodman, Adelaide Hall, Annette Hanshaw, Billie Holiday, Baby Rose Marie, Glenn Miller, Irving Mills, Red McKenzie, Johnny Mercer, Red Norvo, Fred Rich, Adrian Rollini, Pee Wee Russell, Ben Selvin, Artie Shaw, Frank Signorelli, Jack Teagarden, Claude Thornhill, Frankie Trumbauer, Joe Venuti, Don Voorhees, and Ethel Waters. He played in the Jam Session at Victor with Fats Waller, Bunny Berigan, and George Wettling. 

A strong acoustic guitarist who emphasized chords in his solos (influencing Marty Grosz decades later), Dick McDonough's alcoholism cut short his life much too early. Despite a relatively short career, his influence can be heard in a generation of jazz guitarists who learned from his complex harmonies and syncopated rhythms. (Info mainly from Wikipedia)

Saturday, 29 July 2017

Vic Lewis born 29 July 1919

Vic Lewis (29 July 1919 – 9 February 2009) was a British jazz guitarist and bandleader. He also enjoyed success as an artist's agent and manager. Primarily known as a conductor and composer than a performer, Vic Lewis was an important figure in British jazz from the early 1940’s onwards. 

Victor Joseph Lewis was born at Brent, north London, on July 29 1919, the son of a jeweller. He took up the banjo as a young boy, later switching to the guitar. At the age of 16 he formed his first band, the Vic Lewis Swing String Quartet. This won first place in a radio talent contest, which launched his career and was soon being broadcast by the BBC and Radio Luxembourg. His debut recording was in 1938 on a New York session featuring Eddie Condon, Pee Wee Russell and Bobby Hackett.  

During World War Two Lewis served in the Royal Air force and formed a band with drummer Jack Parnell – The Lewis-Parnell Jazzmen. They were a popular group who often topped music polls and recorded for Parlophone. Lewis also made a number of recordings with the Buddy Featherstonehaugh Sextet on HMV and formed his first professional band with Carlo Krahmer as co-leader featuring George shearing on piano. Shearing wasn’t the only international name to have an association with Lewis – a seven year old Victor Feldman made his recording debut alongside Lewis. Between 1944-1945, Lewis worked with Stephane Grappelli & Ted Heath before starting his own band. 

Lewis put together his first big band in 1946 to play swing jazz, but soon after its formation Lewis began to direct the ensemble toward the sound of Stan Kenton. Often billed as “The Music Of Tomorrow By the Band Of Today,” his sound was regarded as ‘progressive’ for the times, frequently featuring the arrangements and compositions of pianist Ken Thorne.

Many comparisons were made with Stan Kenton at the time and there’s no doubt that Lewis had a healthy regard for Kenton’s sound. Indeed, Kenton would give Lewis charts for music by the likes of Bill Holman and Pete Rugolo (including Rugolo’s ‘Hammersmith Riff’, performed at the inauguration of a twenty piece orchestra at the Hammersmith Palais).  

Lewis visited the US with his band during a tour in 1956-57 and again during 1958-59 and was one of the most respected British jazzers of the era, recording with the likes of Nelson Riddle on the July 1962 recording ‘Vic Lewis Swings Nelson Riddle’ Throughout the 1950s the orchestra toured with popular singing stars of the day, such as Frankie Laine and Johnnie Ray, with Lewis as conductor. 

As the 60s moved on and with the demise of his orchestra, Lewis set up as a booking agent, his first client being Dudley Moore. In the years that followed he dealt with most of the established names in show business, on both sides of the Atlantic, with most of whom he was photographed, smiling broadly. His one failure, which he shared with every other agent, came with a vain attempt to lure Elvis Presley to Britain.  

In 1965 he sold his agency to Brian Epstein, The Beatles’ manager, and gained a seat on the board of NEMS, Epstein’s company. When Epstein died in 1967, Lewis became managing director, overseeing the careers of stars such as Elton John and Cilla Black.  

Lewis went on to represent many other pop stars, including Robin Gibb and produced tracks on Gibb’s 1970 solo album ‘Robin’s Reign’ during Robin’s brief split from his brothers. Lewis also booked Elton John's first tour, as a support act at £60 a night. 

Lewis was an avid cricketer and established his own cricket club. Between 1976 and 2001, he also served as a General Committee Member of Middlesex County Cricket Club. In 1987 Lewis published an autobiography, Music and Maiden Overs and collaborated with Robert Feather on a collection of photographs, My Life in Jazz, published in 2007.  

Lewis also had a foot in the door of more serious music and conducted recordings of his own and others with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra on Vocalion, CDLF 8112 which included excerpts from his Russian Suite, a Romance for Violin, and two movements (Red and Jade) from a multi-composer suite called Colours.
Vic Lewis was appointed MBE in 2007 and died in London on February 9, 2009 at the age of 89. 

For Vic’s Discography go here: 

(Info compiled mainly from Wikipedia & The Telegraph)

Friday, 28 July 2017

Corky Cocoran born 28 July 1924

Gene Patrick "Corky" Corcoran (July 28, 1924 - October 3, 1979) was an American jazz tenor saxophonist.
Born in Tacoma, Washington up in the Pacific North West, a slightly built teenager called Gene "Corky" Corcoran was perfecting his tenor sax style based on his hero Coleman Hawkins. His reputation spread out from his native Tacoma and by his sixteenth birthday in 1941 he joined the very successful Harry James Orchestra. In fact to allow the youngster to go on tour with the band the leader had to become his legal guardian. He remained with James throughout the war years and gained an even greater reputation as a soloist not only due to his musicality but his extraordinary powers of endurance and invention in his capacity to take chorus after chorus. Not till Paul Gonsalves with Duke Ellington in the mid fifties was there an equal in that arena.
As the war neared its close Los Angeles had become a hub town for many big bands appearing in the many ballrooms in the area and of course the film studios. During this time Corky in company with some leading sidemen from bands in the area played jazz clubs and also recorded for the burgeoning independent record labels. The quality of these sessions is exemplified on the Hep CD "The Lamplighter All Star Broadcasts" from May 1945. On this CD Corky performs "Talk of the Town" which was a ballad that became the best known of his preferred repertoire and reveals the other side of the "Hawkins" influence full of tenderness and great sensitivity.
He made a few sides with a small band around this time but never broke away from big band work. Had he struck out on his own and with astute management he might have become a bigger star although the Lestorian influenced Stan Getz and Zoot Sims and the other cool school tenor men were now gaining acceptance and the Hawkins followers were no longer regarded as at the cutting edge.

                      Here's "Love" from above 1957 album.
His association with James came to temporary halt in December 1946 when the trumpeter leader broke up his band. However a few months later an equally famous leader, Tommy Dorsey, reformed and engaged Corky as his tenor sax star. A fine example of the boiling energy he brought to Dorsey is the extended "Well Git It" on "At The Fat Mans". By the end of 1947 Corcoran rejoined Harry James with whom he would remain with a few breaks for the next 25 years. Harry's band in middle 50s throughout the next decade was a thoroughly Basie influenced organisation with many Ernie Willkins arrangements which suited the fundamental jazz core of Corky's musical being.    
Unfortunately life on the road with a touring Orchestra brings temptations and challenges and sadly Corcoran fell prey to alcohol. He joined AA and for the remaining twenty years of his life beat that demon, but could not beat the throat cancer which caused his death. He died in St Joseph's Hospital, in his hometown of Tacoma on 4th October 1979. He was 55 years old.

(sourced mainly from

Here’s a clip from Harry James and his Orchestra's 1964 tour of Japan. Harry introduces band soloists Joe Riggs on alto sax, Ray Sims on trombone and Corky Corcoran on tenor sax. They are supported by the great James rhythm section of Jack Perciful on piano, Red Kelly on bass, and Buddy Rich on drums. These medleys were a staple of the James band dance gigs.


Thursday, 20 July 2017

PC Down

During a Windows 10 upgrade my PC crashed. Am unable to access desktop or anything. So not posting until it gets fixed.

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

Mari Trini born 12 July 1947

Mari Trini (12 July 1947 – 6 April 2009), born Maria Trinidad Perez Miravete, was a Spanish pop singer and actress from Caravaca de la Cruz. Her intensity, with a strong undercurrent of melancholy, expressed in an intimate, slightly rasping voice, brought comparisons with Edith Piaf. 

She was born María Trinidad Pérez de Miravete in Murcia, in south-east Spain. Her life and character were marked by chronic kidney disease that confined her to bed from the ages of 7 to 14. Corticoid treatment deformed the left side of her face for life. In a crisis when she was 11, she was administered the last rites. During these years, she read widely, studied music, learnt to play the guitar and developed ambitions to be a singer. Then, when she was 14, the doctor pronounced her condition incurable. "Stubborn, violent, possessive and radically independent," in her own words, she got out of bed, "put on my first pair of heels" and fled her nightmare childhood.  

In Madrid, she sang with her guitar at the American film director Nicholas Ray's nightclub Nicha's in Avenida de América. Impressed, Ray arranged for her to go to London to study dramatic art. Ray's promise of a film part came to nothing and she moved on to Paris in 1963, where she stayed for five years. Here she got to know Jacques Brel and had her first record issued (Bonne Chance).

After her father died in 1967, Mari Trini, as she now styled herself, returned to Spain, set on becoming the Spanish Juliette Greco. It was a rich period for Spanish popular music. Opposition to the Franco dictatorship, spurred on by the shockwaves of the events of May 1968 in Paris, created an audience for protest singers. Songs of personal freedom, like Trini's, took on a political edge. 

In 1968 she cut three singles, but it was in 1970 with her first album, Amores (Loves), that Trini became famous, singing her own songs. Her intonation, phrasing and Parisian-bohemian style (wearing jeans on television, as she did, was considered outrageous) brought French song to Spain in a series of pop ballads, such as the 1972 Yo no soy esa (That's not me). Franco's Spain was so repressive that this song by a woman refusing a subordinate role ("That's not me/I'm not your simple quiet young miss") was heard by a new generation as a call to freedom.

During the 1970s, Trini composed and performed several songs that are now standards, with titles such as Acércate (Come close), Un hombre marchó (One man left) or Una estrella en mi jardín (A star in my garden). Small, she dressed soberly in jeans or trouser suits. She relied on her magnificent voice and complex songs about the difficulties of love. As a lesbian, at a time when it was impossible to come out and have a career, she had to endure endless questions about her lack of boyfriends. She handled this by becoming fiercely protective of her private life. 

In the early 80s, her style became closer to pop, with fuller orchestral backings. By the 1990s, however, she was no longer filling concert halls. In 2001, she made a comeback with the CD Mari Trini con Los Panchos, in which she and the three-man Los Panchos sang their greatest hits with new arrangements.  

Trini made 25 records and was awarded a special diamond disc in 2005 by the Spanish Society of Authors and Publishers for reaching sales of 10m. In March 2008, on International Women's Day, the regional government of Murcia gave her the "Struggle for Equality" prize "for portraying through her songs women's needs, problems and inequalities". 

She suffered from ill health in her last years: in 2004 she had a kidney removed. She died at a hospital in Murcia, Spain on April 6th, 2009 at the age of 61 from lung cancer.

(Compiled mainly from Guardian obit by Michael Eaude.)

Tuesday, 11 July 2017

Joe Houston born 11 July 1926

Joseph Abraham "Joe" Houston (July 11*, 1926 – December 28, 2015) was an American tenor saxophonist who played jazz and rhythm and blues.

He was born in Bastrop, a suburb of Austin, Texas, and studied trumpet in school, changing to saxophone later. As a teen he began emulating a touring band by buying a red suit with white pants. One night in 1941 a saxophone player did not show for a gig with the band and Houston took his place. Between 1943 and 1946, Houston toured with King Kolax's band through Kansas City and Chicago and throughout the Mid-West. 

After World War II Houston returned to Texas, and recorded with the pianist Amos Milburn and singer Big Joe Turner. Initially playing alto sax, he switched to tenor in the wake of such "honking" saxophonists as Big Jay McNeely and Paul Williams. Turner got Houston his first recording contract on Freedom Records in 1949. Houston moved to Baton Rouge, Louisiana and played with Betty Roche and Wynonie Harris. 

Eventually, Houston formed his own band The Rockets, and moved to Los Angeles in 1952 and commenced recording for labels big and small: Modern, RPM, Lucky, Imperial, Dootone, Recorded in Hollywood, Cash, and Money (as well as the considerably better-financed Mercury, where he scored his only national R&B hit, "Worry, Worry, Worry," in 1952). Houston's formula was simple and savagely direct -- he'd honk and wail as hard as he could, from any conceivable position: on his knees, lying on his back, walking the bar, etc.
Another chart hit singles in 1952 was "Hard Time Baby"  which peaked at #10 on Billboard's R&B singles chart. His output for the Bihari Brothers' Crown label (where he was billed as "Wild Man of the Tenor Sax") is positively exhilarating: "All Nite Long," "Blow Joe Blow," and "Joe's Gone" are herculean examples of single-minded sax blasting.

Houston was based in Los Angeles throughout most of his career. He toured and recorded with his band the Defrosterz, started by the bassist Mark St. John, who acted as his bassist and manager almost 20 years, plus the keyboardist Mike Malone. They toured North
America and recorded throughout the 1990s and 2000s. The band was signed to the Shattered Records label. 

Houston's musical career ended after he suffered a stroke in 2006. Joe returned to the stage in July 2008 and performed at The Long Beach lobster Festival. He continued to entertain until 2012 when he had another stroke, from which he did not recover and remained unresponsive until his death on December 28, 2015 in Long Beach, California. 
Although Houston was respected by his peers in the music world, he never reached the popularity he deserved. Critically, some fine words were offered by the dean of American rock critics, Robert Christgau, in his review of a collection of Houston tunes, about which he wrote, “This is how I explain rock and roll saxophone.”
(Compiled from info at Wikipedia, All Music & (*a few sources give birthdate as 12 July)


Monday, 10 July 2017

Eileen Rodgers born 10 July 1930

Eileen Rodgers (July 10, 1930 – July 13, 2003) was an American singer and Broadway performer.
Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania in 1930, Eileen Rodgers grew up in South Oakland and graduated from Cathedral High School. She began her career as a nightclub performer.  

The liveliness of the Pittsburgh night club scene in the early 1950s is suggested in Dave Goodrich's history of Pittsburgh entertainment, where he records Ms. Rodgers' appearances at the Carnival, Johnny Brown's, V.T.W. Club, Tommy Carlyn's, Pat McBride's and the Vogue Terrace in the period 1950 to 1954, alone. In 1953, she was part of a four-hour Cerebral Palsy telethon from the Nixon Theatre along with Nat King Cole and Tony Bennett.
Soon, Ms. Rodgers took to the road as lead vocalist with the Charley Spivak Orchestra, which led to her being signed by Columbia records, for whom she recorded some 30 singles and one album in the late 1950s and early 1960s. 

She had a half-dozen songs make the charts, her most successful single being "Miracle of Love" in 1956, which reached number 18 and 24 respectively, on the Billboard and Cash Box pop charts. 

In New York, she appeared in a musical revue, "Chic," which led to Broadway, where her debut was as Mitzi in "Fiorello!" singing the show-stopper, "Gentleman Jimmy." Her second show was another Jerry Bock-Sheldon Harnick musical directed by the famed George Abbott, "Tenderloin," about which the fastidious critic, Harold Clurman, said her good looks was one of only two things he could remember. 

Her other Broadway shows were the one-performance flop, "Kelly," directed by Herbert Ross, and a stint as standby to Ethel Merman in the 1966 revival of "Annie Get Your Gun." She also starred as Reno Sweeney opposite Hal Linden in a big 1962 off-Broadway revival of "Anything Goes" which later played Las Vegas, where Linden was replaced by Peter Marshall. Its cast album is still in demand. The show won the New York Outer Circle Critics' Award as Best Revival of 1962.
In 1958, Ms. Rodgers became Mrs. Thompson. Even though he was another native Pittsburgher, just a year her junior, who grew up in Oakland and went to Cathedral's brother school, Central Catholic, they first met in New York on a 1957 blind date at Toots Shor's. 

At that point, she had just recorded her Columbia album, "Blue Swing" with Ray Coniff. She did most of the musical TV shows of the day -- "Ed Sullivan," "Dick Clark," "Tonight, "Jimmy Dean" -- as well as a black tie Carnegie Hall tribute to Cole Porter with Vic Damone and the New York Philharmonic. 

Her final professional appearance was with comedian Bob Newhart in 1967 at Chicago's Palmer House. Her husband flew out for the opening with Ethel Merman, a friend since "Annie Get Your Gun." There was a huge flurry of offers to take the act to other cities, but they had just learned Mrs. Thompson was pregnant. Rodgers gave up her career at its height in favour of marriage and motherhood. She never performed again. When her husband retired, the Thompsons moved from Long Island to their former summer home in North Carolina.
Eileen Rodgers Thompson died of lung cancer on July 13, 2003 in Charlotte, North Carolina, three days after her 73rd birthday.  

(Info mainly edited from an article by Christopher Rawson, Post-Gazette Drama Editor)

Sunday, 9 July 2017

Joe Liggins born 9 July 1916

Joseph Christopher "Joe" Liggins, Jr. (born Theodro Elliott; July 9, 1916 – July 26, 1987) was an American R&B, jazz and blues pianist and vocalist who led Joe Liggins and his Honeydrippers in the 1940s and 1950s. His band appeared often on the Billboard magazine charts. The band's biggest hit was "The Honeydripper", released in 1945. Joe Liggins was the older brother of R&B performer Jimmy Liggins. 

The son of Harriett and Elijah Elliott, he was born in Guthrie, Oklahoma, and took his stepfather's surname, Liggins, as a child. He apparently dropped the name Theodro and adopted the names Joseph Christopher during the 1930s. The family moved to San Diego in 1932. He studied music and arranging at the local State College. He began playing piano, trumpet and drums with various local bands in 1933. 

By 1939 he was ready to move up to Los Angeles and try his luck. One of his earliest bands there included future saxophone legend Illinois Jacquet. While working with Sammy Franklin's California Rhythm Rascals, Liggins wrote a tune called "The Honeydripper", which would become his signature song. Reluctance on Franklin's part to record "Honeydripper" caused Joe to form his own band, the Honeydrippers, in 1944.  

Joe Liggins' Honeydrippers was formed in the basement of the Los Angeles home of the saxophonist Little Willie Jackson, who co-founded the group and who, at the time of his death in 2001, was the last original surviving member of the Honeydrippers.

The band were packing them in with "The Honeydripper" at the Samba Club in early 1945, when Leon Rene (owner of Exclusive Records) came to check out what all the fuss was about. He arrived early in the evening, but Liggins told him that if he wanted to hear "The Honeydripper", he would have to wait until 11:45, like every night. It was a long song, 15 minutes, and saved for the climax of the show, which had to end at midnight, as there was still a wartime curfew. Leon did wait and was treated to an evening's worth of Joe Liggins songs, which made him even more determined to record the band. "The Honeydripper" was cut down to six minutes, and divided over two sides of Joe's first release on Exclusive. 

It was a giant hit, reportedly selling 2 million copies, and topping the R&B charts for 18 weeks (still a record, jointly with Louis Jordan's "Choo Choo Ch'Boogie" from 1946). It also crossed over to the pop charts (# 13), as did the # 2 hit from 1946, "Got A Right To Cry" (# 12 pop). Other Liggins hits on Exclusive included "Left A Good Deal In Mobile" (# 2), "Tanya" (# 3), "Blow Mr. Jackson" (# 3), "Dripper's Blues" (# 9) and "Roll 'Em" (# 9), all between 1945 and 1948. 

The success of "Honeydripper" put Joe on the road and for the next five years he was constantly touring. In 1949, Exclusive Records went bankrupt, due to bootlegging, the inability to adjust to the introduction of the 45 RPM record and other calamities. Art Rupe, the president of Specialty Records, wanted to buy Exclusive's masters of Joe's hits for reissue on Specialty. When he couldn't come to terms with the creditor's committtee, Rupe signed Liggins to Specialty (Joe's younger brother Jimmy was already contracted to the label) and had him rerecord several of his Exclusive tracks. Some say the Specialty remakes of "The Honeydripper" and "I've Got A Right To Cry" are superior to the original versions and the condensed 1950 arrangement of "Honeydripper" is now the better known version.  

In 1950, Joe had two big hits, "Rag Mop" (# 4 R&B) and "Pink Champagne" (# 1 for 13 weeks, the biggest R&B record of 1950). Over the next three years, Joe continued to come up with good songs, good records and solid if unspectacular sellers. But he was unable to adapt to changing times. By 1954 his records sounded tame compared to the popular R&B hits of the day and Rupe dropped him.

Subsequent recordings for Mercury, Aladdin, Vita and Dot went nowhere amidst the rock 'n' roll turmoil. Liggins returned to Mercury in 1962, where he cut an album of his old hits along with some new songs aimed at the twist market, alas to no avail. That was his last major label affiliation. Some scattered sides on obscure labels fill out the Joe Liggins discography. He kept his own Honeydrippers working right up until his death, at age 71, on July 31, 1987. The honey never stopped dripping.
(Info edited mainly from

Here's Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers performing The Honeydripper Los Angeles 1983.