Rhythm and Blues

Willie Chambers and his brothers fell in love with gospel music while growing up singing in church. Even though they received some strong criticism, they expanded the places where church music was heard, including night clubs and bars in the late 1950s and early 1960s. With the support of Pete...
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...
Dennis Coffey was a member of the studio musicians at Motown known as the Funk Brothers. Dennis recorded a string of hits with the group in the 1960s and 70s. He later joined the songwriting team of Holland-Dozier-Holland when they formed the record company Hot Wax. Dennis’ guitar skills can be...
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...
Sal Cracchiolo learned how to play the trumpet on his mother’s horn. As his love of the instrument grew she saw to it that Sal received classical trumpet lessons with some of the top teachers in their neighborhood of Long Beach, California. At 15 Sal began performing and recording with Jr. &...
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...
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 was a leading Hammond B3 performer who recorded with many of the top performers in pop, rock, and jazz for nearly 60 years, although his soul had always been rooted in rhythm and blues. In the late 60s, he recorded with Jimi Hendrix and Joe Cocker. Up until the 2020s he toured and...

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