Saturday, January 11, 2014
Joe Tuner Rock & Roll Atlantic 1957
Known as Big Joe Turner, credited here as Joe Turner for this Atlantic LP. The Kansas Citian is easily Kansas City's best link to the birth of rock and roll. He started as an underage blues shouter in Kansas City clubs of the1930's. Rumor has it that he was so "big," that no one questioned his age and as a minor, tended bars and shouted blues at Kansas City night clubs. The term "shout blues" stems from the fact these guys were performing without a microphone. The shout out style would become a genre and lead to jump blues, to which Big Joe excelled at. In his early days, he began performing boogie-woogie after meeting pianist Pete Johnson.
Johnson and Turner would leave Kansas City for New York and begin a professional recording career. Cutting sides and scoring some substantial R&B hits for various labels. He wound up on Atlantic by chance. At the famed Apollo theater, Turner was singing for Count Basie and only filling in for Jimmy Rushing. Atlantic was there to catch Count Basie, but were encourged to sign Turner to contract despite that most accounts indicate Turner struggled to fill Rushing's shoes. With Atlantic, Turner was able to reach everybody.
His shout style latched on with rock and roll pioneers. Black and white artists covered his tunes, songwriters were influenced by his delivery. At the time of this release in 1957, Turner was somewhat of an icon in rock n' roll circles, a grandfather figure to the genre. Atlantic wasn't stupid and capitalized on Turner's clout, releasing records like this that contained his most rocking sides.
Turner's version of "Shake, Rattle & Roll" is here, which is clearly the biggest link to the development of Rock and Roll as a genre. Bill Haley would later polish up the arrangement and make a massive hit out of it. However, Turner's versions of "Flip, Flop & Fly", "Honey Hush," "Corrine Corrina," and "Sweet Sixteen" are all just as fundamental to early rock and roll and all placed on this LP. Outside a greatest hits compilation, this is great starting point for his work.
Shake, Rattle & Roll