Rhythm and Blues

Jeannie Cheatham played roots music before anyone was calling it that. She grew up on church music, and progressed to the blues in a time and place where black women were encouraged to express their emotions through music.  Jeannie was there when rhythm and blues became popular and played her own...
Charles Connor was a pioneer in the early beat of rock and roll. As a drummer in New Orleans in the early 1950s, he played with Professor Longhair and became the original drummer for Little Richard. In fact, it was Little Richard who asked Connor if he could produce a rhythm that sounded like a...
Tommy Couch was born in Tuscumbia, not too far from Muscle Shoals, Alabama and grew up with many of the studio musicians and engineers at the Fame Recording Studio. He later moved to Jackson, Mississippi to form his own studio, Malaco Records, with the help and advice of his old friends. The label...
Papa John DeFrancesco was taught music by his father, a saxophonist for several big bands during the great Swing era. Papa John first played trumpet and later began playing the organ, which became his main instrument. He turned his two sons, Johnny and Joey, onto music and recorded with both over...
Bo Diddley was the pioneering rhythm and blues performer who taught the industry one main point in the early days of the electric guitar era. With his square cigar box guitar, patented by Gretsch, Bo demonstrated that, if it’s electronic, it could be any shape and size. Soon after he played the...
Lamont Dozier is one of the most successful songwriters in popular music history.  From 1962-1967 he teamed with Brian and Eddy Holland to write a string of impressive hit records for Motown Records, 25 of which hit number one on the Billboard Record Charts!  Their list of hits includes “Baby Love...
Rick Estrin and Charles Baty started playing blues together and decided to form a group in 1976.  They brought in two other players and called themselves Little Charlie & the Nightcats.  They began touring and soon began to feature at many of the top blues festivals.  Ten years later they cut...
Mike Finnigan has become a leading Hammond B3 performer who has recorded with many of the top performers in pop, rock, and jazz over the years, although his soul has always been rooted in rhythm and blues. In the late 60s, he recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker. In recent years he has toured...
James Gadson is among the most recorded drummers in history!  His career began as a member of the Charles Wright band in the late 1960s and soon expanded to studio work.  James can be heard on thousands of hit recordings with artists ranging from Paul McCartney to Rose Royce.  His Hal Leonard DVD...
Grady Gaines jumped onto the piano during a gig with Little Richard and wailed on his saxophone back in the early 1950s.  The photograph of that event has become iconic as it represents the rhythm and blues roots of rock and roll.  Grady played his King saxophone with hundreds of artists over the...

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