Air Week: September 13-19, 2021
One of Rhythm & Blues’ greatest innovators was also one of its most notorious personalities. Ike Turner was born in the same place that the blues was born, in the heart of the Mississippi Delta in Clarksdale in 1931. He learned boogie woogie piano was the legendary Pinetop Perkins and soon taught himself how to play guitar. His band, The Kings Of Rhythm, recorded what some would come to name as the “first Rock n’ Roll Record” with “Rocket 88” in 1951. The Chess label called them “Jackie Brenston & His Delta Cats,” but it didn’t matter, Ike Turner’s stamp is all over that groundbreaking record, which was based on Jimmy Liggins’ 1948 R&B classic, “Cadillac Boogie.” From there, Turner became a talent scout for both Sam Phillips at Sun Records and The Bihari Brothers at RPM Records. He played behind Howlin’ Wolf, Little Milton, Elmore James, Otis Rush and many others while also releasing his own important sides. Matt The Cat sorts through the many record labels and incarnations of The Kings Of Rhythm on this week’s “Juke In The Back,” as we honor one of music’s most tragic, but important figures, the legendary Ike Turner.