Monday, July 25, 2011

R.I.P. Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton

R.I.P. Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton
 (December 11, 1926 – July 25, 1984) 

     Willie Mae Thornton toured the south as a blues singer in the 1940s.

     In 1948 Big Mama landed a five-year contract, singing with the Louis Jordan Band in Houston, Texas. She wrote and sang blues songs, played the harmonica and taught herself to play the drums (I got tired of everbody messin' up so I just started bangin') 

      In the 1960s "Big Mama" Thornton moved to California and continued to tour throughout America and Europe.
Thornton was well received at such festivals as the Monterey Jazz Festival, the Newport Folk Festival, and the Ann Arbor Blues Festival. She also toured Europe with the American Folk Blues Festival in 1964.
     In 1966 Big Mama recorded "Big Mama Thornton With The Muddy Waters blues band."   The players on this album were: Muddy Waters (guitar), Sammy Lawhorn (guitar), James Cotton (harmonica), Otis Spann (piano), Luther Johnson (bass guitar), and Francis Clay (drums). Songs included "Everything Gonna Be Alright", "Big Mama's Blues", "I'm Feeling Alright", "Big Mama's Bumble Bee Blues", "Looking The World Over", "Big Mama's Shuffle", and "Since I Fell For You".
   Big Mama's next major release was in 1968  with Lightnin' Hopkins: Lightnin' Hopkins (guitar) and Larry Williams (vocals)  "Hound Dog", "Wade in the Water", "Little Red Rooster", "Ball 'n' Chain", "Money Taker", and "Prison Blues".

In 1984 Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thornton was inducted into the Blues Foundation's Hall of Fame

Check out Big Mama's last appearance in 1984; that same year she died from heart and liver complications. 350 pounds of Big Mama Thornton had withered to a mere of 95 pounds.

Big Mama was nominated for the Blues Music Awards six times. One of Thornton's last albums was Jail (1975) that captures her charm during a couple of mid-'70's gigs at two northwestern prisons, enjoy !!!


Presented under fair use for educational purposes, materials all rights reserved by the original owners.

Monday, July 11, 2011


Terry Lee at WMCK early 60s
If you lived within the broadcast signal range of radio station WMCK (McKEESPORT, PA) and/or anywhere up and down the Mon Valley near Pittsburgh or drag raced and hung at "The Park" (Eat 'n Park Restaurants in the Pittsburgh area), downed a few quarts of Schmidts or Iron City and made history with and in your car or just "had a clue" about being cool in the 1960s, you were hip to "TL" and his hot radio shows coming out of  WMCK's hillside transmitter-- after hours, when WAMO had shut down the Porky Chedwick show for the evening and the kids were still rockin' in the valley. 
     Those were the hours when DJs like Terry Lee (and Mike Metrovich R.I.P.) took over the airways with the soundtrack of the night with tunes from The Shells, Eldorados, Skyliners, Cufflinks, Classics IV and other great doo wop classics and his own "exclusives"; as well as the national monsters, which gained notoriety in the Burgh: 
     Without a doubt, Porky started it all, but his disciples, "TL" among the chosen few with an actual radio presence, carried it on:

Terry Lee sign-off

In 1967 WIIC-TV (now WPXI) hired Lee to host Come Alive--A TV show which featured national and local acts when they doing concert dates in Pittsburgh.  When "Do Something to Me" became popular on his radio show, Lee brought the Mysterians to town as a guest on the TV show, and that same weekend took them around to the area's numerous teen-age dance clubs

     Terry Lee Trunzo grew up in New Eagle, PA. Even before he graduated from Monongahela High School, he was playing records at dances--That was when he was 16. "TL" started his radio career at WESA-AM in Charleroi and worked at WZUM-AM in Carnegie and the former WARO-AM in Canonsburg.
He was 21 years old in 1964, when he joined McKeesport station WMCK-AM, ( the station became became WIXZ in 1969).

In the '60s and '70s, he was one of the most popular DJs among teen listeners in the Mon Valley and surrounding areas. He also made the move to TV, hosting dance shows on WIIC (now WPXI), KDKA and WPGH. He later branched out into other career paths, including record producer for several local bands and radio station owner.

He left town more than two decades ago for Phoenix, Ariz., where he hosted a syndicated oldies show.

Mr. Lee left broadcasting in 1992 when he sold his radio station in Marco Island, Fla., and had no plans to return to the microphone. But a visit to the Pittsburgh area in February of 2010 to host an oldies dance at the Palisades in McKeesport changed all that.
(Thanks for this background goes to Adrian McCoy, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 4-23-2010)
In 2010, Lee returned to Pittsburgh airwaves playing "TL" music. He worked briefly for WJAS 1320 AM, now  at WLSW 103.9 FM. He also DJs occasional oldies dances. His MC'ing of local concerts ended in the 1970s. "It's something I don't like to do," he says. "Leave me alone in the studio and let me do my radio show."

Listeners can get acquainted -- or reacquainted -- with Terry Lee via his weekly oldies show on  Pittsburgh radio station WJAS-AM (1320).
  The Terry Lee Show show airs live on Sundays from 8 p.m. to midnight.
Sadly, TL passed away on July 30, 2013
AND a bit more on TL's life and times...

R.I.P. "TL"

Thursday, July 7, 2011


July 5, 2011
A judge in Texas has rejected a plea agreement from Willie Nelson because she feels that the country star was let off easy for a pot possession charge because he is famous. Earlier this month, Nelson agreed to pay a $500 fine, along with a court cost charge of $280.

Judge Becky Dean-Walter of Hudspeth County, Texas claims that Kit Bramblett, the prosecutor in the case, was overly deferential to the country star. "He’s supposed to file the charge he feels is appropriate," Judge Dean-Walker said of Bramblett in an interview with the New York Times. "Not what he feels he should do for his favorite singer. It is up to the judge to agree or not." Judge Dean-Walker says that she previously shot down Bramblett's request to have Nelson's charge reduced to a Class C misdemeanor.

Nelson was busted for marijuana possession in Hudspeth County in November when a Border Patrol officer smelled pot smoke inside his tour bus at a checkpoint on Interstate 10.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

ROCK CRITIC JANE SCOTT: University of Michigan graduate (May 3, 1919 - July 4, 2011)

ROCK CRITIC JANE SCOTT: University of Michigan graduate
(May 3, 1919 - July 4, 2011)
"The World’s Oldest Rock Critic."   

Photo courtesy of the Cleveland Plain Dealer.
Photographer: Larry Hamel-Lambert, Plain Dealer staff
                                                                                                                                                                            "The thing about rock is, it gets you up on your feet and dancing and you forget everything else," she said. "The beat gets you going." --Jane Scott 

Jane Scott graduated from the University of Michigan in 1941 where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree, majoring in English, Speech and Drama: Scott’s first experience with journalism was as a staff member of the school newspaper, the Michigan Daily.

In 1958, she inherited the “Boy & Girl” column; at the time, it was a full page in the newspaper each Saturday. Aimed at seven- and eight-year-olds, it was the beginning of the present day rock coverage in The Plain Dealer. The column name became “Young Ohio” and eventually was called “Teen Time.” Scott described her reporting beat as “covering everything from pimples to pensions.” Scott covered the Beatles' first Cleveland performance at Public Hall on September 15, 1964 and traveled to England in 1966 to cover their tour. She also interviewed the Beatles before their August 14, 1966 show at Cleveland Municipal Stadium. “When the Beatles appeared on Ed Sullivan’s show, I knew what the kids really wanted to read. Once I found rock, I was never interested in anything else.” At the time, The Plain Dealer was the only major American newspaper to have a full time music critic on staff, thus Scott is considered to be the world’s first rock critic. In the 1960s, in preparation for her eventual work as The Plain Dealer's Rock Editor, she spent every Saturday night for six straight years at the WEWS television station for the tapings of the "Upbeat" show.

Jane Scott, rock reporter for The Plain Dealer, poses with Adam Clayton, bass player for U2, during U2's Popmart tour at OSU Stadium in Columbus May 24, 1997.
Photo by Mary Cipriani.

Over the years, she interviewed many of the biggest names in pop music, including Paul McCartney (“such a nice boy,” she said afterward); Mick Jagger (“sweet and funny”); and Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix (“I loved them both”) and The Who...

Jane Scott interviewing The Who...
Picture courtesy
90th Birthday Tribute <iframe width="350" height="292" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen></iframe>


In four happy decades as a rock writer for The Cleveland Plain Dealer, Ms. Scott, who died on Monday at 92, braved mud and mosh pits, foul weather and fouler language, “a drop of bleached blond and pink polyester in a roiling sea of blue denim and black leather,” as The Philadelphia Inquirer once described her

She appreciated all forms of rock and made friends of many musicians. Lou Reed said she was one of the only people to treat him with respect in his early years as a performer; Lyle Lovette called her a "true friend"; she herself often told the story of accompanying Jimi Hendrix to buy a blue Corvette.
                                                                  Jimi's blue Corvette

In 1987, The Plain Dealer attempted to replace Scott but was met with strong public outcry and backlash, including feature stories in People Magazine, MTV News and The Wall Street Journal, resulting in the newspaper’s editors backing down from their plans. Scott was inducted in 1991 into the Cleveland Press Club Hall Of Fame,
Scott retired in April 2002, after 50 years at The Plain Dealer. Scott estimated that she had attended over 10,000 concerts and music events during her career. Jane’s signature interview question was: ‘What was the name of your high school?’

What others have to say:

·         Growing up in Cleveland, I devoured every word she wrote: about Jackson Browne, Gil Scott Heron, Springsteen, the Ramones, the Stray Cats and Heart. She made me feel like I knew them, because she did. Not only did she, she got the very best out of exhausted, often cranky, certainly entitled stars. Because she could -- and did with unwavering dignity -- I believed I could too. -- Los Angeles Times: Holly Gleason

·         She was always one to take the high road. I heard a story about Elvis Costello being less than kind to her backstage at an Agora show - Jane's response on the following day didn't involve slamming Costello in print, but instead, she gave additional column space to the young opener, Eddie Money. -- Addicted to Vinyl: Matt Wardlaw

·         She was one of a kind in an era where an emerging music scene in a vibrant music city met the perfect woman at the perfect time. -- Honesty is such a shallow grave: Eric Broz

·         I remember sitting next to her at a Kinks concert. Jane opened up that tote bag and offered a stack of photocopied pages from some encyclopedia of rock on the Kinks. “I have extras,” she said. -- Warren Tribune Chronicle: Andy Gray

  • OBIT By: Dave Gapinski,
CLEVELAND - Jane Scott wrote decades worth of rock 'n' roll news for Cleveland and beyond. She spent her career writing for the Cleveland Plain Dealer, and she died early Monday morning at the age of 92.
Scott began working at The Plain Dealer at the age of 33. She originally covered the Cleveland social scene and worked as a general assignment reporter.

One of Scott's first concert assignments was covering the Beatles in 1964. All in all, Jane is said to have attended over 10,000 concerts during her 50 years as a journalist.

The Upbeat Show, which aired on WEWS in the 1960's and early 70's, was another one of her regular stops. Scott was in attendance for most all of the Saturday night tapings to interview up-and-coming artists like Simon and Garfunkel and Otis Redding.
Scott interviewed the biggest names in the business like Brian Wilson, McCartney, Springsteen, and Dylan. She also spent a lot of time with lesser known local musicians.
Scott was an early supporter of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. She campaigned hard to make sure that it was built in

Cleveland. She even appeared on ABC's Good Morning America the day the Rock Hall had it's grand opening in 1995.
Funeral services will be held in Ann Arbor, Michigan. A memorial service will be held in Cleveland at a later date.


Play Jimmie Lee's ANGRY LOVER

                              SEE SEE BABY

                            FORTY DAYS FORTY NIGHTS

Jimmie's blues resume was long and illustrious. Born in Chicago's Cook County hospital and raised in the nearby Maxwell Street neighborhood, he began playing guitar on the bustling Maxwell Street market scene when he was in his early teens in the mid 1940s. By the late '40s he was good enough to have played behind blues legends Memphis Minnie and Big Bill Broonzy among others. Around 1950 he formed his first band, The Every Hour Blues Boys, which consisted of Frank "Sonny" Scott on drums, with Jimmie Lee and a young Freddie King sharing guitars and vocals. In the mid 1950s Jimmie was playing on local gigs with Elmore James when Little Walter recruited him into his band, where he spent the next few years. He recorded on a couple of sessions with Little Walter, appearing on "Confessing The Blues", "Temperature", "Ah'w Baby" and several other of Walter's well-known recordings. He also moonlighted on sessions with his long-time friend Eddie Taylor on the Vee Jay label. In the late '50s Jimmie left Walter's band and joined up with Magic Sam for a while, and around this time cut a few singles of his own for the local Bandera label (backed by Luther Tucker and Eddie Clearwater, among others.) It was for Bandera that Jimmie Lee recorded his single "Times Getting Harder" and "Twist it Baby", notable now because future Delmark label-mate Jimmy Burns was then a member of The Medallionaires vocal group that provided the backing vocals.

In  the late '80s, he was working as a cab driver. He got back into music, sitting in on the regular gigs at a club called Lilly's with The Ice Cream Men. This led to appearances on the Chicago Blues Festival in 1991 and '93, and eventually to Jimmie Lee's his first full-length album, LONLEY TRAVELER released on Delmark in 1994 to widespread praise. He took off from there and started working again pretty regularly, but found it both financially and artistically advantageous to work as an acoustic solo artist rather than in a full band setting as he had for most of his professional career. Over the last decade he stayed busy doing festivals and short tours, including numerous trips overseas, and released four or five CDs of mostly acoustic material on various labels, including his own Amina Records. He retired from cab driving, but continued to drive his cab, emblazoned on the sides with "Delmark Recording Artist Jimmie Lee Robinson - The Lonely Traveler", around town as a rolling advertisement for his musical comeback. In addition to his own recordings, he also occasionally recorded as a sideman for several of his old friends and musical cronies on the Chicago blues scene.

In the early 1990s he wholeheartedly threw his support behind the fight to preserve what little remained of the historic Maxwell Street neighborhood he grew up in during the '30s and '40s, and became one of the most active and vocal spokespersons for this cause in his final years.
"Maxwell Street gave the world and Chicago its blues.Those buildings are very historic and important to me. When I seen that wrecking ball, it made me feel like my soul was being destroyed and my neck was hanging from a tree..."--Jimmie Lee Robinson
On July 6, 2002 Jimmie Lee was found dead in his car, a single gunshot wound to the head. The death was ruled a suicide. R.I.P. Jimmie Lee Robinson "The King of Maxwell Street"
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                REMEMBER JIMMIE LEE ROBINSON (CLICK ON VIDEO)