WYNONIE HARRIS Good Rockin' Blues

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Another in the great "King Blues Master Series" and a great companion to "Risky Blues" is this 1970 collection of postwar rhythm & blues by the fantastic Wynonie Harris (biographies of Harris are available on Wikipedia here and Allmusic here). The majority of King's output aimed at the postwar "race" market was the type of R&B exemplified by Harris, and most of the LPs in this series focused on this kind of material.

The liner notes (by William "Hoss" Allen of WLAC Radio, Nashville) are as follows:

You may be strong as a lion, you may be humble as a lamb.
You may be strong as a lion, you may be humble as a lamb.
Just take your mind of f your wife and put it on Uncle Sam.

                                                 Roosevelt Sykes, November 1941

As the 1940’s began, the most significant event in the lives of all Americans, black and white, took place on December 7, 1941. The requirements of the armed forces and of the industry which supported the war effort brought about population shifts, changes in social patterns and the transplanting of musical tastes.
Blues recording very nearly came to a halt in the early forties because of the war, the shortage of shellac, a musicians strike and because the national effort, which the war required, dominated the energies of the black community.
It was during the war that the term “race” was changed to “rhythm and blues”, a phrase which is useful because it describes a category of music wide enough to cover most of the many styles originally listed as “race”.
Out of this grouping jumped Wynonie “Mr. Blues” Harris, sometimes also known as “Sugar (Peppermint) Cane” and the “Mississippi Mockingbird’”, even though he was born in Omaha, Nebraska and as far as anyone knows never was in Mississippi unless it was for a show date.
In his later years Wynonie made his home in Oakland, California, and it is believed he was around sixty-one or sixty-two years at the time of his death. He made his way up in the music world as a “buck-dancer”. And in the early thirties people who knew Wynonie referred to him as “Sugar Cane”. He picked up the “Mississippi Mockingbird” tag when he joined the Lucky Millender band, one of the great music groups of the middle and late forties. He also recorded his first national hit with Lucky, WHO THREW THE WHISKEY IN THE WELL? Then came GOOD ROCKIN’ TONIGHT, GOOD MORNING JUDGE and BLOODSHOT EYES.
These all came, after the recording ban was lifted in 1945 and with the advent of the disc-jockey as an important element in the entertainment field, records began to reach a greater segment of the public. In areas where there were heavy Negro populations, radio programs playing R and B began to appear.
Wynonie Harris and many other great blues artists sired some of the best blues of the era. Some of Wynonie’s best have already been mentioned but for the whalloping, shouting happy style of blues so reminiscent of Harris, grab an earful of GRANDMA PLAYS THE NUMBERS or ALL SHE WANTS TO DO IS ROCK. Wynonie was a “shouter” most of the way, but members of the Lucky Millender band I’ve talked with say he could handle a ballad with the best of them when he felt like
As Melvin Moore, now an executive with Brunswick Records, and who followed Wynonie on the Millender band show with his sister, Anisteen Allen, says, “Wynonie was a mess, man, all he wanted to do was rock ‘em and roll ‘em.”
So Starday-King, from its Blues Master Series, gives you a “mess” of blues featuring Wynonie Harris.

Includes jacket and label scans.


1. Good Rockin' Tonight
2. I Feel That Old Age Coming On
3. Bloodshot Eyes
4. Rot Gut
5. Mr. Dollar
6. Grandma Plays The Numbers
7. Good Morning Judge
8. Adam Come And Get Your Rib
9. All She Wants To Do Is Rock
10. Quiet Whiskey
11. Lovin' Machine
12. Tremblin'

*download here*


zephyr said...

Thank you very much Lefty