Memphis – City Of Music: Interactive Map – History Of Soul, Blues, Gospel And Rock ‘n’ Rol

Learn about the music history of Memphis. Or plan your next trip to Memphis, Tennessee with this map.

Memphis’ contribution to the history of popular music is amazing. Soul, gospel, funk, blues or rock ‘n’ roll wouldn’t be the same without the musical creativity of this city.

The map shows the places where music history was made. See where the music was played and recorded. Find the homes of Aretha Franklin, Maurice White or W.C. Handy. Learn about forgotten swing legend Jimmy Lunceford.

Al Green, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, B.B. Kind, O.V. Wright, Albert King, Memphis Minnie and many more contributed to the great music of Memphis.

Great Rockabilly-Country-Rock ‘n’ Roll Online Discography: Rockin’ Country Styleen

The rockabilly discography Rockin’ Country Style (RCS) is a hard labor of love. In 1979 Terry Gordon started working on it and it has been growing ever since.

Terry Gordon’s rockabilly discography concentrates on the years 1951 – 1964 and includes music that blends country,  rhythm and blues and rock ‘n’ roll. The meticulous discography include dates, label and numbers, label shots and sometimes music samples. It also links the original songs to compilations.

The database is very user friendly because you can access it through artists, labels,  song titles, and chronological or geographical listing.

So, if you love rockabilly, check this site out. But be careful, it can be addictive.

Rene Hall: Influential But Forgotten Guitarist And Arranger Of Rock ‘n’Roll And Rhythm And Blues

Rene Hall is one of the most important founders of rock’n’roll and rhythm and blues.

If you don’t know his name, don’t worry. Unfortunately his name is only known to a few insiders. Although it’s him who’s  playing that raunchy guitar on Ritchie Valens’ “La Bamba” and who wrote the arrangement for Sam Cooke’s “A Change Is Gonna Come”.

TheHoundDog published a wonderful article with Rene Hall that gives some insight into his great achievements. Be sure to read it and learn more about a very important musician.

Shot & Found: Nellie Lutcher

Selected music photographs from the Google LIFE photo archive

-> Visit the music photographs gallery

Nellie Letcher (Lutcher?)

Nellie Letcher (Lutcher?)

Source: Google LIFE Photo Archive

I think that this is singer/pianist Nellie Lutcher, although in the Google LIFE Photo Archive she is labeled “Letcher”. Does anybody know for sure? Please let me know.

Who Do You Love? – Follow Up To “Bo Diddley And His Women”

In the recent entry Bo Diddley And His Women I wrote about some of the female musicians Bo Diddley worked with. The article Who Do You Love? by Ned Sublette mentions his collaborations with women:

At a time when black men were not allowed overt expressions of sexuality in mainstream popular music, Bo Diddley, like his Chicago colleagues, was unequivocally masculine. But that did not make him antifeminist: he was the first major rock ‘n’ roll performer—and one of the few ever—to hire a female lead guitarist, Lady Bo (Peggy Jones), in 1957, and he employed female musicians throughout his career.

Please make sure to read the original article, it’s a wonderful tribute to the late Bo Diddley.

Bo Diddley And His Women

Bo Diddley, Long Beach Blues Festival (1997). Photo: Masahiro Sumori.

The world of rock ‘n’ roll was full of Little Sixteens, Suzie Qs, Pretty Things, Donnas, Bette Jeans, Little Queenies, Peggy Sues or Lucillas. Rock ‘n’ Roll was mainly a male business and you could find women only in song titles and in the audience – but not on stage. Well, maybe as background singers, but certainly not on guitar.

Rock ‘n’ roll innovator Bo Diddley (1928-2008) was the exception to the rule. Throughout his long career he worked together with female instrumentalists. Let’s have a closer look at them.

Guitarist and Singer Lady Bo (Peggy Jones)

Guitarist and singer Lady Bo (Peggy Jones).

In 1957 Peggy Jones aka Lady Bo replaced Bo Diddley’s guitarist Jody Williams, who had been drafted for military service. Jones played with Diddley until 1961 in the recording studios and on stage. Her contribution to Bo Diddleys music was essential.

She played electric guitar on classic songs like “Hey, Bo Diddley”, “Mona”, “Say Man”, “Crackin’ Up”, “The Story of Bo Diddley”, “Say Man, Back Again”, “Road Runner” and “Bo Diddley’s A Gunslinger”. She not only played electric guitar, but sometimes she also sang or played piano. Besides working with Bo Diddley, she performed and recorded with many different groups and singers. From 1962 on Lady Bo concentrated on her own career, but she still played with Bo from time to time until 1993. (Sources: Lady Bo… Rock & Roll’s First Lady of Guitar and Allexperts, both by David Blakey).

The Duchess (Norma-Jean Wofford).

The Duchess (Norma-Jean Wofford).

Guitarist Norma-Jean Wofford (1942? – 2005) took  over  Lady Bo’s position. Soon she was named “The Duchess” by Bo Diddley.  There’s not much information available about Norma-Jean Wofford. According to Spectropop and Wikipedia she accompanied Bo Diddley on his first England tour in 1962 and played on following Bo Diddley albums: “Bo Diddley & Company”, “Bo Diddley’s Beach Party”, “Hey! Good Lookin’”, “500% More Man” and “The Originator”. Norma-Jean Wofford left the band in 1966 when she got married. See also her biography on allmusic.

Andi Deily.

Bo Diddley and Debby Hastings at Central Park Summerstage (1990). Photo: Andi Deily.

Another important collaborator of Bo Diddley was Debby Hastings. She stayed much longer with him than the Duchess and Lady Bo. The electric bass player joined him around 1984 and worked with him until his death in 2008. From 1994 on she was also his music director. She played with him live and in the studio. You can hear her on Bo Diddley’s Grammy nominated album “A Man Amongst Men”.

Debby Hastings started her career in Wisconsin and then moved to Memphis, TN where she opened for Muddy Waters and recorded at Stax Records under Isaac Hayes. She later settled in New York before joining Bo Diddley. Besides Bo Diddley, Debby Hastings played with many soul, rock ‘n’ roll, blues and rock legends like Sam Moore (of Sam and Dave), Willie Dixon, Edgar Winter,  Dr. John, Chuck Berry, Little Richard, and Jerry Lee Lewis. She toured with Ron Wood and Bo Diddley playing for both of them on the Gunslinger Tour and the subsequent DVD and live album called “Live At the Ritz”. In 2005 she played with Eric Clapton and  Robbie Robertson at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.

Debby Hastings was with Bo Diddley in May 2007 when he had the stroke that ended his performing career. At the memorial for Bo Diddley she said: “He was the rock that the roll is built on.” (Sources: Beat lives On at a Memorial for Bo Diddley, Debby Hastings – The lady still rocks with the blues and Bo Diddley, email from Debby Hastings).

More about Bo Diddley:

Atlantic Records Producer Jerry Wexler dies at 91

Jerry Wexler

Record producer Jerry Wexler dies at 91 in Florida. He produced  musicians such as Aretha Franklin, Ray Charles, Dusty Springfield and Bob Dylan. From 1953 to 1975 he worked for Atlantic records. Read more about Jerry Wexler: