The Legends of the Rocking Dutchman - episode 25

Race Music Chart

This transcript of the radio show is an approximation of what I said in the show. The real spoken parts may differ slightly.

And number one top legends is what you're gonna get today, surely, because today I will get you the top of the Rhythm & Blues chart of 1947 and a part of 1948 and you sure can say that Rhythm & Blues as a style had really started off and quickly has grown into maturity in these years. The big bands that you got so many of in the previous episodes where I featured the number ones on the list, they have completely been wiped away and today's playlist will contain mostly the latest novelty of the moment, the jump blues. And I start off with the number one starting January, 17 of 1947, and who else can that be but Louis Jordan. Here's his epic mover Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens, that in total peaked the list for a solid seventeen weeks, just one less than his Choo Choo Ch'Boogie from one year earlier. Get up and dance to Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens.

01 - Louis Jordan - Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens
02 - Louis Jordan - Texas and Pacific

And more Louis Jordan, with Texas and Pacific, that hit number one for two weeks starting April 26. Like I said in my show on the number one hits of 1945 and 46, these were the vicory days of Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five. No-one has ever scored so many number one hits on the Rhythm & Blues list in such a short time. He ran like an unstoppable hit train and we'll hear more of him further on this show.

But first we get, from the Manor label, Savannah Churchill with her classic ballad I want to be loved (but only by you), that peaked the race music chart for 8 weeks from May 17 for 8 weeks. She is being backed up by the Sentimentals, a vocal group that later got better known as the Four Tunes.

03 - Savannah Churchill & the Sentimentals - I want to be loved (but only by you)
04 - Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson - Old Maid Boogie

Eddie 'Cleanhead' Vinson with the Old Maid Boogie on the Mercury label, his first hit with his own combo. He got his nickname for his bald head, that was caused by an accident with a wrong hair straigtener containing caustic soda. Before going solo he already had a long career in music playing alongside great musicians including Milton Larkin, Arnett Cobb, Illinois Jacquet, Tom Archia, Big Bill Broonzy and Cootie Williams. The Old Maid Boogie topped the Race Chart, as the R&B chart was named back then, for two weeks on May, 24.

Two more now from Louis Jordan again, who provided the summer hits for 1947. Jack You're Dead was #1 for seven weeks from June 28 and the Boogie Woogie Blue Plate again brought in the big money for Decca with a solid 14 weeks on number one starting at August, 30.

05 - Louis Jordan - Jack You're Dead
06 - Louis Jordan - Boogie Woogie Blue Plate

(rocking dutchman jingle)

07 - Julia Lee and her Boy Friends - (Opportunity Knocks But Once) Snatch And Grab It

And pardon me for the hiss and scratches in this one. This comes straight from a Capitol Americana 78 - Julia Lee and her Boy Friends with (Opportunity Knocks But Once) Snatch And Grab It. It took over the top of the list on November, 12 for 12 weeks and with that we end the year 1947 and it sold half a million copies and that was quite a lot in these days.

We start the year 48 with another great star of the Rhythm & Blues of the forties - Bull Moose Jackson. He's most known for his jump blues with often naughty lyrics, but his first number one hit is a crooning ballad. Here is I love you yes I do that hit number one for three weeks starting January 21, 1948.

08 - Bull Moose Jackson - I Love You Yes I Do
09 - Julia Lee & Her Boyfriends - King Size Papa

And another number one for Julia Lee and Her Boyfriends that was the King Size Papa. Julie Lee was born in 1902, so she was already in her mid-forties when she had her big hits. All of them were what you can call dirty blues - or as she stated - "the songs my mother taught me not to sing". The King Size Papa was released on the Capitol Amaricana label and it hit number one on March 20 and it kept that spot for nine weeks in a row.

Next up another blues veteran - guitarist and singer Lonnie Johnson was 49 years old when he had his massive number one hit Tomorrow Night that peaked the chart from May 22 for nine weeks. It also sold well for the white audience and it was good for a three million copies. He had a long and succesful career behind him in jazz and blues during the twenties and thirties. But this song was pretty much unlike what he'd done before. Listen to Tomorrow Night from the King label.

10 - Lonnie Johnson - Tomorrow Night
11 - Wynonie Harris - Good Rockin' Tonight

Wynonie Harris with his cover of Roy Brown's Good Rockin' Tonight, and that became a major classic and it's widely seen as one of the forerunners of Rock 'n Roll - covered by many artists including, of course, Elvis. Yet Good Rocking Tonight spent just one week on the top op the Race music chart, on June 19.

On July 10 we find Sonny Thompson on the top op the list, with a great and easy shuffling double-sided instrumental. Here is, from the Miracle label, Long Gone

12 - Sonny Thompson - Long Gone
13 - Louis Jordan - Run Joe

Run Joe, that was Louis Jordan again, as always on the Decca label.

Now while preparing these shows on the hit lists, I used the list of number ones that's available on Wikipedia and I was puzzled that sometimes for one date, two songs were listed as number one. Both Sonny Thompson's Long Gone and Louis Jordan's Run Joe were said to be number one on July, 10. And so I had to look that up in Billboard Magazine itself, that is available on-line through Google Books. And I found out that there wasn't one Race music chart - there were two. One was for best selling retail and the other one for most played in jukeboxes. Wikipedia mixed these two - Sonny Thompson was number one in retail and number two in the juke box, and Louis Jordan the other way 'round. So I'll stick to that and that explains the overlaps in time that I found. Well as always you can review the play list on my web site, just do a google search for the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman and it will show up first, and for this episode I will do some explanation about this.

For July 24 we find another song of Bull Moose Jackson and His Buffalo Bearcats on number one and it's another crooning ballad. Here is I Can't Go On Without You.

14 - Bull Moose Jackson - I Can't Go On Without You
15 - Memphis Slim - Messin' Around

On Miracle 125 that was Memphis Slim with his House Rockers singing Messin' Around and that hit number one on September, 4 for two weeks. His best known single was still to come, in '49, the classic Nobody loves me, better known as Every day I have the blues. By 48 he already had a long running career, in the thirties playing in honkytonks and juke joints in Memphis and other places. He started recording, only after he'd moved to Chicago in 1939. Later, in the sixties he moved to Paris and contributed a lot to the blues revival.

As we reach the end of this episode of the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman, I have time for one more record to play, from a pretty forgotten bluesman - Arbee Stidham. He learnt to play several instruments as a child and already at the age of only thirteen years old, in the early thirties, he backed up Bessie Smith on tour, with his own-formed band the Southern Syncopators, and he played live on radio in Arkansas and in Memphis. His first recording was much later, in 1947, for RCA Victor, and it was that song that hit the number one on Billboard's Race music chart on September, 11 of 1948. Here is Arbee Stidham with My Heart Belongs To You.

16 - Arbee Stidham - My Heart Belongs To You

And with Arbee Stidham we leave the Race music chart in mid-September of 1948, where I will pick up in a later episode of the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman. Well I hope you agree with me that 1947 and 48 were - to say the least - interesting years for the Rhytm & Blues. I hope you enjoyed the show as much as I did compiling it. And you know, you can always tell me what you thought of it, or ask questions, on my email address And as I said before, more information on the hit lists of Billboard, and today's playlist of course, is to be found on my website. Just do a google search for the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman and it will show up first. As for now, byebye and have a great day. No, have a rocking day. See you again on the Legends of the Rocking Dutchman!