Classic Rhythm and Blues: Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers
In the rural post WW II era Joe Liggins made a whole lot of fame at the West Coast. He scored hit after hit with his combo Joe Liggins & The Honeydrippers. In the video above you see Joe performing in Los Angeles in 1983. aT age of seventeen Liggins moved from Oklahoma to San Diego and studied music theory. Joe spent most part of his life in California writing and playing music.
California Rhythm Masters in the Oaks Ballroom
Bruce Schmiechen producer and writer for Bluelight Productions filmed a beautiful interview with Joe Liggins in 1987, just before his death. In this interview he talks about the sensational 1945 hit “The Honeydripper,” his early life and musical inspirations. It is very nice to see Liggins talk about the old days. You feel the joy Liggins has and had in making music.
The interview includes a live version of his classic ” Honeydripper with original saxophonist, Little Willie Jackson. For every songwriter this will be junk food. Start playing a simple bass line, ad a groovy melody, freestyle some lyrics and top with a saxophone tune. That’s how Liggins and the Honeydrippers made their music.
Playing the Piano
At age of five Joe got interested in music, and started performing. With a little luck a concert pianist offered Liggins’ mother to buy Joe a piano, and she did. Joe managed to teach himself “When the saints go Marchin’ in”. From that song, and a whole lot of time performing in church Liggins became a bluesman.
Photo Credit: Screenshot from the interview ‘Joe Liggins: The Honeydripper’,by Bruce Schmiechen