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Roy Hawkins - Why Do Everything Happen To Me

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Published on Jul 15, 2010

VARIOUS: LET ME TELL YOU ABOUT THE BLUES - THE EVOLUTION OF WEST COAST BLUES

California experienced a phenomenal growth in independent recording in the postwar years, after decades of dominance by the major labels. Millions had flocked there during the war years and they needed entertainment. It all began with 'The GI Sing-sation', Cecil Gant and his 'I Wonder', a blues ballad that caught the public's imagination. It was also a time for downsizing; the full Johnny Otis Orchestra backed Jimmy Rushing singing 'Jimmy's Round The Clock Blues' but such aggregations quickly broke up and the trend was for small quintets led by the likes of Joe Liggins ('The Honeydripper'), Saunders King ('SK Blues'), Buddy Banks ('Fluffy's Debut'), Jack McVea ('Open The Door Richard') and Roy Milton ('R.M. Blues'). Charles Brown ('Drifting Blues'), Jimmy Witherspoon ('Ain't Nobody's Business') and T-Bone Walker ('Call It Stormy Monday') set the fashion for cool, laidback blues, while Gene Phillips ('Stinkin' Drunk'), Amos Milburn ('Chicken Shack Boogie'), Joe Lutcher ('Rockin' Boogie') and Jimmy Liggins ('Cadillac Boogie') added a little heat to the pot. After Big Jay McNeely's 'The Deacon's Hop' and Wild Bill Moore's 'Rock And Roll', honking sax instrumentals became a major sales incentive. The market was crowded with pianist/singers like Little Willie Littlefield ('It's Midnight'), Ivory Joe Hunter ('I Almost Lost My Mind'), Jimmy McCracklin ('Beer Drinkin' Woman'), Roy Hawkins ('Why Do Everything Happen To Me') and a young Ray Charles ('Late In The Evening Blues'). As the 1950s began, rhythm and blues took centre stage, preparing the ground for the advent of rock'n'roll. Percy Mayfield ('The River's Invitation') remained cool but newcomers like Lloyd Price ('Lawdy Miss Clawdy'), Young John Watson ('Motorhead Baby'), Willie Mae Thornton ('Hound Dog'), Etta James ('The Wallflower') and Linda Hopkins ('Yes I Know') sang to a stronger beat. Meanwhile, the blues had not been forgotten, Pee Wee Crayton ('When It Rains It Pours'), Jimmy Wilson ('Tin Pan Alley'), James Reed ('Things Ain't What They Used To Be') and Johnny Fuller ('Roughest Place In Town') could still stir the emotions. Saxophonists still made the charts but as an indication of what was to come, guitarists like Pete 'Guitar' Lewis ('Louisiana Hop') and Jimmy Nolen ('Strollin' With Nolen') also found themselves popular. By 1956, the year of Jimmy McCracklin's 'Savoy's Jump', rock'n'roll had knocked down the door. Public taste was changing and within a couple of years the music celebrated here was old-fashioned and passed by.

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