I want to thank Steve Schneider for his awesome creativity in helping me bring you this classic R&B Tour de Force–my all time Juke Box R&B Top 100. I own each of these 45 records and play them on a German-made replica of the 1948 Wurlitzer (bubbler) Juke Box. You would not believe the sound.
To get started, click #12 Elmore James’ “Dust My Broom,” #85 Hammond B-3 legend Billy Prestons’ “Billy’s Bag” and #70 “Shoppin For Clothes” by The Coasters (that’s King Curtis on the tenor). Regarding #10 Green Onions, Booker T. & The MG’s classic was first released Aug 1962 as Volt 102. After many years of searching I recently landed an original Volt 102. Green Onions was next released on both Stax & Atlantic.
My #1 R&B Juke Box Top 100 selection comes from New Orleans in 1960. You’ll see the original orange Minit 45 featuring eccentric drummer and singer Jessie Hill. My #8 selection features the lead tenor of King Curtis and soulful guitar work by my easy #1 R&B guitar favorite Billy Butler. You’ll also hear Butler on “Honky Tonk.” Click on #16 for Red Prysock’s “Hand Clappin.” In the early 60s, this was the song you would here blaring out of the open doors of the Palace Cafe in Boston’s Combat Zone. #18 features the ever distinctive guitar work of my telephone friend New Mexico’s George Tomsco. I remember exactly where I was when I first heard “Torquay” nearly fifty years ago. “I Need Your Loving” featuring Don Gardner comes in at #11. Only true R&B mavens remember Don, but he was a classic.
In closing go back to #51 and #68 and hear the long forgotten piano of Huey “Piano” Smith. Huey didn’t travel with the Clowns and didn’t sing lead parts (often Bobby Marchan), but he was special. We couldn’t get videos for all of my top 100 juke box favorites most often because of their obscurity. My R&B Top 100 has no bearing on sales numbers or popularity. Almost without exception, these are the songs most related to Boston’s dozens of sleazy bars, music clubs, and taverns in the early 60s and on the radio in Cleveland, Ohio, where I grew up in the 50s. The classic R&B era ended with the emergence of the Beatles. The great R&B bars and their B-3 organ combos and tenor sax led horn bands largely faded into history. Bill Doggett, The Olympics, and Nat Kendrick’s golden era was over. But a memorable era it sure was. Enjoy!