Big Joe Turner the Singing Blues Bartender

Big Joe Turner the Singing  Blues Bartender

Joe Turner was born in Kansas City in 1911. Big Joe started as the  singing Blues bartender at the Hole in The Wall at Independence Avenue in Kansa City. Later on he worked at the Sunset for owner Piney Brown. At that time Big Joe made money as a singing-bartender, but Turner became a sensation when he met Pete Johnson.

Big Joe and Pete Johnson

They became a sensational team, Johnson behind the piano, Joe Turner with his shouting voice. Joe is an example for Blues, Jazz, Rock ‘n Roll and Boogie Woogie musicians. He recorded all kind of songs, from slower songs like Beale Street to loud songs like Shake Rattle and Roll. What you should like about Big Joe Turners music is de scene he sketches.

Blues Music to drink

The music of Big Joe was made in the bar, and that is what you feel even 60 years later. Songs like Shake It And Break It are relaxing, jazzy but also groovy like the old piano blues song from the nineteen thirties.

Westcoast Blues

Big Joe Turner the singing blues bartender, Hamburg 1974 (Heinrich Klaffs)
Big Joe Turner the singing blues bartender, Hamburg 1974 (Heinrich Klaffs)

Flip Flop and Fly is a Swinging Boogie dance, a drinking in the bar song with a Blues Brother feeling. During 1947 and 1950 Joe Turner and Pete Johnson stayed at the Westcoast. They worked at the Momo Cocktail Lounge in San Fransisco and later in Long Beach and Los Angeles, together with Art Farmer on Trompet and Maxwel Davis on Tenor Sax they formed a swinging group.

Joe Turner Died in 1985 in Inglewood. Blues, Boogie Woogie and Rock ‘n Roll changed by that time in more electric, harder and less swinging music. A different generation, maybe not better but definitely different. Big Joe Turner was great.

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