Boogie’s The Thing

The two attached selections are the final “Early Influences” in this project. All future parts will feature what we believe to be Rock & Roll Music from 1954-1959.

The Mercury 78 rpm disc was recorded at National Recorders Studio in New Orleans, LA in 1950. It features Lee Allen on Sax and Duke Burrell on Piano. The Dot 45 RPM disc was recorded in Nashville, TN in May of 1954. It features Rusty Bryant on Sax.

Lee Allen was born in 1927 in Kansas and grew up in Denver, CO. He learned to play the saxophone as a child. He won a combined athletics and music scholarship to Xavier University in New Orleans. Allen fell into the New Orleans music scene in the late 1940s, performing and recording with the leading players in the early days of New Orleans Boogie and R&B. He is heard on countless R&B and Rock & Roll records recorded in New Orleans between 1954 and 1959, including those of Little Richard, Fats Domino, Lloyd Price, Roy Byrd, and Earl King. King described Lee Allen as “part of the wallpaper” at Cosimo Matassa’s recording studio. He played on all of New Orleans R&R piano player Huey “Piano” Smith’s records in the 1950s. Allen was described by bandmate Phil Alvin as “one of the most important instrumentalists in R&R”, his sax tone as “one of the defining sounds in R&R”, and “one of the DNA strands of R&R”.

Pink Champagne

Duke Burrell was born in New Orleans in 1920. He was one of the leading piano players in the New Orleans dance halls and night clubs from the late 40s through the 1950s. He was also a frequent recording session musician in New Orleans. Burrell later moved to Los Angeles CA where he continued his musical career. He died there in 1993.

Rusty Bryant was born in West Virginia in 1929. He grew up in Columbus, Ohio where he learned to play the sax. He developed a reputation as a versatile sax stylist in Columbus in the early 1950s. In 1954 Bryant signed a recording contract with Dot records in Nashville. He relocated there in 1954, working and recording for Dot until the end of his contract in 1957. Bryant returned to Columbus at that time and continued his career, working as a bandleader for many years.

The selection that features Rusty Bryant is a speeded up cover of a Joe Liggins R&B number from 1950. This version is much closer to R&R than the Liggins original, played at a breakneck pace, with the electric guitar turned up and overdriven.

These two selections, one from 1950, the other from early 1954, have in place all the elements that we will hear in the 1954-1959 R&R selections to come.
Rock on!

Boogie’s the Thing-George Miller & his Mid’Driffs-Mercury 78 rpm No. 8183 (1950)
Pink Champagne-Rusty Bryant-Dot 15164 (1954)

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