Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A Century of Big Joe

Big Joe Turner lookin’ east and west
From the dark room of his mind

He made it to Kansas City

Twelfth Street and Vine

-Bob Dylan "High Water (for Charley Patton)"

Big Joe Turner was born one-hundred years ago today. I could listen to him all day long. In fact, I may just do that. It's my birthday too. Bob Dylan is gonna be seventy next week. That's pretty old to be dragging your ass and a rock' n roll band all over the world every year. I tip my hat to him, and he tips his hat to Big Joe at least twice on 2001's Love & Theft. First, by name check (cited above) and second, by melody on "Summer Days." Songwriter, Doc Pomus said his life was changed when as a fifteen year old kid he first heard Joe Turner's record, "Piney Brown Blues," a recording that merged Jazz and Blues into an intersection of what would become R & B and eventually Rock 'n Roll. Pomus modeled his early singing style after Turner's deep wide shout, and later wrote songs for him including "Boogie Woogie Country Girl" which you can hear below. The other side of that record, "Corrine, Corrina," was a blues standard and recorded by dozens artists. It was written by Bo Chatmon, fiddler for the Mississippi Sheiks, (whose music Dylan is well acquainted with). However, I'd venture to say that it was most likely this version that Bob Dylan first heard as a teenager.

"Get it Daddy, get it!"


"Boogie Woogie Country Girl"
by Joe Turner, 1956.
available on Very Best of Big Joe Turner

"Corrine, Corrina" mp3
by Joe Turner, 1956.
available on Very Best of Big Joe Turner


"Boogie Woogie Country Girl" mp3
by Bob Dylan, 1995.
available on Till the Night Is Gone: Tribute to Doc Pomus
out of print

"Corrina, Corrina" mp3
by Bob Dylan, 1962.
available on The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan Outakes
out of print


Retro Hound said...

My birthday is tomorrow. Pete Townsend, Joey Ramone, André the Giant, Malcolm X, and Pol Pot share the day with me.

jazzportrait said...

The Dylan version is incredible-Joni does a lovely version on " Chalk Mark in a Rain Storm"

Anonymous said...

that photo is joe turner the piano player, not big joe

Ted Barron said...

Shit, I think you're right. Thanks. They do bear a resemblance to one another.