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Johnny Angel's Ginchy Stuff

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Feature Friday: R&B Rosco n' Blues?

Posted on April 3, 2020 at 10:15 AM

Hey Ginchers,

It's Feature Friday and diggin' some Rhythm N' Blues (R&B)?  What is Rhythm N' Blues?  Let's disect it a bit...There was a time at the end of the Big Band Era where a new sound was born.  When it grew up people called it Rock n' Roll or Soul music but, let's talk about it's early days.  The Big Bands were slowly fizzling out but there was a need for that style of music.  Let's take a soulful singer with a kick ass rhythm section (Drums, Bass, Guitar and Piano) add a scalled down horn section (Multiple sax's maybe a Trumpet) mix in the swing culture and the Gospel feel and let it fly!  Enter Rosco Gordon. Born in Memphis Tennessee, learned to play piano from his sister who took lessons, became associated with Johnny Ace, Bobby Bland and B.B. King often referred to as the Beale Streeters and pioneered  a sound soon to become known as the Memphis Blues style.  The Rosco Rhythm was a style that highlighted the off beat giving it a new feel.  I had the pleasure of meeting Roscoe and it had a life long affect on me as a musician.  His personality was kind, loving and soulful.  Listening to him talk about the birth of the new sound was an incredible experience from his stories about  the Sam Phillips days to his introduction to the Chess record days.  But the thing that stuck with me more than the music stories was his aviators hat.  Yes, you read that correctly...he was wearing a lined aviators hat and it was a hot day.  This caught me flat floot and I just had to ask him ... "Why are you wearing that hot aviators hat on such a hot day?"  Roscoe got a big smile on his face and looked up at me and responded... "My Grandson got me this hat and asked me to wear when I perfomed".  This expression of love and family just blew me away.  That evening Roscoe took the stage under hot lights and a performance of hard hitting Rhythm n' Blues ... and yes, he wore the Aviators Hat the entire performance!  After seeing this and talking with one of the greats of R&B ... I thought to myself, maybe I should call this music Roscoe N'  Blues instead of Rhythm N' Blues ... just sayin'.  Till tomorrow Ginchers, stay safe, stay healthy and help a neighbor when you can.  God Bless!

Johnny 


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