Otis, Johnny - Rock Me Baby: The Mercury and Peacock Sides 1951-55 (Mega Blowout Sale)

SKU 23-CR Band9
Legendary r'n'b bandleader, father of Shuggie and one of Frank Zappa's favorites from the 50s!

"The legendary Johnny Otis has been THE champion DJ of black music in America since...well.. anyone can remember...before Huggy Boy, Alan Freed, Bill Haley, Dewey Phillips or Rufus Thomas, there was JOHNNY OTIS!!

Born Johnny Veliotes in the naval port of Vallejo, California, on 28th December 1921 Johnny Otis was something of an iconoclast. While it is common nowadays for young white people to emulate the style and speech of young African-Americans, during the first half of the 20th century the opposite was true; because of the overt racism prevalent in that era, many people of black descent whose colouring allowed them would pass for white if they could, and Otis was considered strange that he, a man born white, would forego all the racial privileges that that birth-right entailed to buck the trend and pass for a black man. He had black friends, lived in the black neighbourhood and married a black woman, and his reward was the support of the black community during his record-making years making him the most successful white act of the 1950s on the Billboard R&B chart.

Learning to play the drums as a child, he embarked on a musical career in his late teens, playing with the black territory bands led by Count Otis Matthews, Willard March, Lloyd Hunter and Harlan Leonard, among others.

Following the widespread trend of reducing to a smaller combo in 1947, he retained old sidemen like George Washington and Lem Talley and added fresh rhythmic blood like Devonia Williams, Pete Lewis and Mario Delagarde to emulate the burgeoning West Coast "Central Avenue" R&B style. Consequently, Otis was rewarded with a Top Ten R&B hit: "That's Your Last Boogie" in late 1948. But, as much or more than his own recordings, Johnny Otis will go down in history as being the catalyst in a stream of classic recordings produced or directed by him and on which he and his band were the accompanists. From Wynonie Harris' groundbreaking "Around The Clock Blues" and Joe Swift's "That's Your Last Boogie", Big Mama Thornton's "Hound Dog", and Johnny Ace's "Pledging My Love", to Little Esther's "Ring-A-Ding-Doo" and Etta James' "Roll With Me, Henry", he undertook a mission to present and record the greatest voices in popular black music. He continued this campaign when, in September 1970, he presented "The Johnny Otis Show Live At Monterey", which spotlighted many long neglected performers such as Roy Brown, Roy Milton, Ivory Joe Hunter and Pee Wee Crayton.

With this CD we present the early 1950s recordings of Johnny Otis, which are the rarest and least-reissued of his career. We kick off with a short blast from his radio and TV show signature theme to introduce proceedings and allow Johnny himself to describe what will follow: Rockin' R'n'B, greasy doo-wop, mighty jump blues and swing sides give us THE JOHNNY OTIS SHOW in full effect!!"
  • LabelRev-Ola
  • UPC5013929480926
Your Price $4.00

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