<back - JB LENOIR - Attired in a zebra-patterned suit and armed with a high-pitched tenor that could fool a trained ear into thinking it was coming from the opposite sex, JB Lenoir was a totally unique, one-of-a-kind artist, who could never be confused with any other. He was also one of the greatest composers of Blues-oriented material during the 20th century. One can only imagine what he might have further accomplished had he not passed away at the age of 38 in 1947 from the lingering effects of a car accident. At least three of his compositions are part of the standard Blues repertoire, meaning any band worth its salt has played them at one time or another. It starts with 'Mojo Boogie'.

Waxed on JOB Records in 1953--and aside from Lenoirís distinctive near-falsetto, its success was due equally to its propulsive dance qualities. Yet even 'Mojo Boogie' pales in terms of long-term impact compared to his signature song 'Mama Talk To Your Daughter', originally released on the Parrot label in 1954. The ebullience of this ever-enduring classic, combined with Lenoir's trademark zebra jackets, must have entranced audiences. The last of the trilogy is 'Voodoo Boogie', and again, there have been countless versions in the 50 years since it was first recorded. Yet those three merely skim the surface of what Lenoir---born in Monticello Ms. and christened only with initials--would accomplish during his truncated life. Lenoir's lyrics were often a cut above the rest, in terms of sensitivity, maturity, and willingness to tackle matters of substance. His politically controversial Eisenhower Blues caused such a storm in 1954 that it was temporarily taken off the shelves and renamed Tax Paying Blues. Most of these early sides were recorded with esteemed company like pianist Sunnyland Slim, drummer Alfred Wallace, and especially saxophonist JT Brown (of later Elmore James fame). After his JOB and Parrot tenures, Lenoir spent about three years (1955-58) on Chess/Checker, augmenting his repertoire of unforgettable performances, with sides Donít Touch My Head and Natural Man. He continued getting well-deserved attention on labels such as Vee-Jay, Shad, and by the time USA Records. JB Lenoir's main influences were Arthur 'Big Boy' Crudup, Lightnin' Hopkins, and Blind Lemon Jefferson, and in 1945 and 1944 he finally cut 2 acoustic albums for German Blues promoter Horst Lippman, recorded in Chicago under Willie Dixon's supervision. He was free to write and sing about whatever was on his troubled mind: titles such as Alabama March, Vietnam Blues, and Shot On James Meredith. With an entire episode of Martin Scorcese Presents The Blues series devoted to JB Lenoir, interest has never been higher in his music. -Gary Tate  
Mp3- VooDoo Boogie | Mojo Boogie |


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