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Satchmo.com - On This Day in Louisiana Music History

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

DECEMBER 01
1950 Drummer and child actor Keith Thibodeaux was born in Lafayette, LA in 1950; Thibodeaux portrayed Little Ricky, the son of Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, in the 50's TV series "I Love Lucy"; Thibodeaux, who was often confused with Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz's real life son Desi Jr., published his autobiography "Life After Lucy" in 1994
1971 Drummer Greg Upchurch (Puddle of Mudd and 3 Doors Down) was born in Houma, LA in 1971
1972 Late great tuba player Kerwin James was born (Kerwin Bernard James) in New Orleans in 1972; Kerwin played with the Young Olympia Brass Band and the New Birth Brass Band, among others. He passed away in 2007 at age 34.
1975 Tuba man Jeffrey Hills was born in New Orleans in 1975; Jeffrey has worked with the Treme Brass Band, Lil' Rascals Brass Band, Forgotten Souls, and others.
1986 Singer, boxer, and body & fender man Lee Dorsey passed away in New Orleans in 1986 at age 59; Dorsey had 10 songs in the R&B Chart between 1961 and 1978, including "Ya Ya" (which hit #1), "Ride Your Pony", "Working In The Coal Mine" and "Holy Cow"; Allen Toussaint once remarked, "If a smile had a sound, it would be the sound of Lee Dorsey's voice".
1998 In 1998, The Rhythm & Blues Foundation announced the Pioneer Award winners for 1999, which included Johnny Adams (posthumously), Barbara Lynn and Joe Simon; the award ceremonies were held in Los Angeles on 02/25/99
1998 Big Chief Donald Harrison, Sr. passed away in New Orleans in 1998 at age 65; Harrison was Big Chief of the Creole Wild West, Cherokee Braves, and White Eagle Mardi Gras Indian tribes before establishing the Guardians of the Flame in 1988; he was also a Mardi Gras Indian ambassador throughout the country and abroad, visiting and performing at such diverse institutions as Yale University, Native American Pow Wows in the southwest, and at public schools in New Orleans; he recorded with his son, acclaimed saxophonist Donald Harrison, Jr., on the 1992 album "Indian Blues"

DECEMBER 02
1890 Late band leader, pianist, and calliope player Fate Marable was born in Padukah, KY in 1890; Marable was the band leader for the Streckfus Steamboat Line in the 20's and 30's, where many New Orleans musicians got their professional starts and their first opportunity to venture outside of Louisiana; noted Marable sidemen included Louis Armstrong, Baby Dodds, Johnny Dodds, Johnny St. Cyr, "Pops" Foster, David Jones, Zutty Singleton, and Henry "Red" Allen.
1893 Trad jazz snare drummer Baptiste Mosely was born in Algiers, LA in 1893; Mosely didn't take up music until age 31; his first job was with a band led by trombonist Joe Harris; he later worked with his brother Edgar (bass drum) in Kid Rena's Brass Band; together, they were the most popular street drummers in New Orleans during this era
1950 Country music singer and songwriter John Wesley Ryles was born in Bastrop, LA in 1950; Ryles had his first #10 hit ("Kay") at age 18.
1971 Trad jazz trumpeter and band leader Ernest "Punch" Miller passed away in New Orleans in 1971 at age 77; Miller worked with many artists in New Orleans and Chicago, including Jack Carey, Kid Ory, Jelly Roll Morton, and Freddie Keppard; in later years, he led his own bands and also toured Japan with George Lewis; Miller was profiled in the 1971 documentary "Til The Butcher Cuts Him Down".
1981 Pop star Britney Spears was born (Britney Jean Spears) in McComb, Mississippi in 1981. Britney was raised in nearby Kentwood, Louisiana.
1986 Rockabilly wild man Jerry Lee Lewis checked into the Betty Ford Clinic in 1986 for treatment of painkiller addiction.
2003 Community activist, musician and jazz historian, Donald "Moose" Jamison passed away in New Orleans in 2003 at age 76 (more)

DECEMBER 03
1902 Late trad jazz clarinetist and band leader Joseph "Brother Cornbread" Thomas was born in New Orleans in 1902; Thomas had a long association with Papa Celestin and the Original Tuxedo Jazz Band
1907 Late jazz vocalist Connee Boswell was born in New Orleans in 1907; Connee performed with The Boswell Sisters (with siblings Martha and Helvetia) in the 30's; she later worked as a solo artist and appeared in films and on TV.
1929 Late trad jazz trombonist Fred Assunto was born in Jennings, LA in 1929 (Dukes of Dixieland)
1929 Late saxophone great and session player Clarence Ford was born in New Orleans in 1929; the long time member of Fats Domino's band began his career working with the Eureka Brass Band and Wallace Davenport's Be-Bop Jockeys in the 40's; a prolific session player, Ford recorded with Little Richard, Frankie Ford, Shirley & Lee, Guitar Slim, and many others
1954 Late honky tonk star Webb Pierce recorded his #1 single, "In the Jailhouse Now," for Decca in 1954
1963 Louis Armstrong & His All Stars (with orchestra backing) recorded "Hello Dolly" (Kapp 573) in New York in 1963; Louis was unaware of the Broadway play when he recorded the song, but it turned out to be the biggest hit of his career; five years later, Louis was cast in the film "Hello, Dolly!" in which he sang the tune to leading lady, Barbra Streisand; in May 1964, the song reached No. 1 on the Billboard Pop Chart, dislodging The Beatles who had held the top spot for the previous 14 weeks; in doing so, Satchmo became the oldest person (at age 63) to ever have a number one song
1967 Trad jazz cornetist, violin player, trombonist, bandleader and composer Peter Bocage passed away in New Orleans in 1967 at age 80; Bocage first began actively playing in 1905; his lengthy career included a nine year stint with the Armand Piron's Orchestra.

DECEMBER 04
1892 Late trumpeter and bandleader Johnny DeDroit was born in New Orleans in 1892; he played at the Orpheum Theater before going on to lead the Grunewald Cave Band at the Grunewald Hotel (now The Fairmont) and the Johnny DeDroit Orchestra
1917 Late trumpeter and vocalist Russell Jacquet was born in Saint Martinville, LA in 1917; he was the older brother of tenor sax titan Illinois Jacquet
1956 Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Presley, Carl Perkins and Johnny Cash got together for an impromptu jam session at Sun Records studios in Memphis on this day in 1956. Luckliy, the tape recorders were rolling to capture the musical "super group." The resulting recording was later released as "The Million Dollar Quartet", and the event inspired the Broadway hit musical "Million Dollar Quartet" which opened April 11, 2010.
1965 "The Duck" by Jackie Lee (actually Lake Charles native Earl Nelson, of Bob & Earl fame) entered the Billboard R&B Chart in 1965; it peaked at No. 4 and remained on the chart for 18 weeks
1972 Trumpet great Melvin Lastie passed away in New Orleans in 1972 at age 42
1976 Late country music star Amie Comeaux was born in Brusly, LA in 1976; sadly, Amie was killed in an auto accident near her home in Brusly, Louisiana in 1997; the 21 year old singer had just completed work on her second solo album in Nashville
1980 Community radio station WWOZ, founded by brothers Walter and Jerry Brock, first hit the airwaves on this day in 1980
1999 The Hackberry Ramblers made their debut at the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville in 1999

DECEMBER 05
1925 Late saxophone legend Alvin "Red" Tyler was born in New Orleans in 1925; Tyler, a member of Dave Bartholomew's famed session band recording at Cosimo's J&M Studios in the 50's, wailed on the baritone in tandem with Lee Allen on tenor; playing exciting solos and great riffs, Tyler helped create the New Orleans R&B sound on hits by Little Richard, Fats Domino, Smiley Lewis, Lloyd Price, and many others; in later years, Tyler became nationally known for his work in contemporary jazz; he passed away on April 3rd, 1998 from natural causes at age 72
1928 Louis Armstrong (trumpet) and Earl Hines (piano) recorded their classic duet "Weather Bird" for the Okeh label in Chicago in 1928
1964 Late country music giant Faron Young left the Grand Ole Opry on this day in 1964; he had been with the show for 12 years
1987 Tenor sax man David Lastie passed away in New Orleans in 1987 at age 53; Lastie worked with Guitar Slim, Sugarboy Crawford, Smiley Lewis and Eddie Bo in the 50's; a sought after session player, he recorded with Jessie Hill, James Booker, Dr. John, Earl King, and many others.
1999 New Orleans R&B great Bobby Marchan passed away in Gretna, LA in 1999 at age 69; Marchan (born Oscar James Gibson in Youngstown, Ohio) had a #1 R&B hit in 1960 with "There's Something On Your Mind (Part 2)"; he was also the vocalist on the Huey Smith and The Clowns classics "Rockin' Pneumonia", "Don't You Just Know It", and "High Blood Pressure".

DECEMBER 06
1910 Late trad jazz pianist Armand Hug was born in New Orleans in 1910; Hug often recorded as a sideman and leader, including 1956 sessions for the Good Time Jazz label; he was also featured at the 1969 Jazz & Heritage Festival with Sharkey Bonano, Tony Parenti and Murphy Campo
1941 Legendary rural folk and blues figure Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter passed away in New York City in 1949 at age 64; the Mooringsport, LA native was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 1988 as an early influence.
1995 Hole leader Courtney Love and drummer Patty Schemel accused three security guards of roughing them up at a Green Day concert held at Lakefront Arena on this day in 1995; Love alleged that she and Schemel were signing autographs when the guards demanded that they "keep moving"; when they refused, the three security men, who were later charged with battery, became physically abusive; according to Love, she was grabbed by the neck and hair, put in a headlock, and had her head banged into a steel pole.
2005 New Orleans jazz great Sidney Bechet's soprano saxophone sold at auction in Paris for more than $140,000. The instrument, which Bechet used to compose many of his standards, inspired the highest bid among 32 pieces up for sale at the Hotel Drouot auction house on Wednesday 12/06. The total selling price, including fees, was $140,900, the auction house said. A handwritten love letter from the New Orleans jazzman to his wife, Jacqueline, sold for $2,817. Golden cuff links decorated with the initials "SB" went for $2,957. Daniel Bechet, a drummer who lives in France, organized the auction to finance a foundation dedicated to his father's memory in the south of France. Born in New Orleans in 1897, the clarinet and saxophone player died in France in 1959.

DECEMBER 07
1910 Legendary trumpeter, vocalist, band leader and entertainer Louis Prima was born in New Orleans in 1910
1928 Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five recorded their classic "Muggles" for the Okeh label in Chicago in 1928
1941 Big Chief Joseph "Monk" Boudreaux of the Golden Eagles Mardi Gras Indian Tribe was born in New Orleans in 1941; Boudreaux has also collaborated with Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias since the 1970's
1968 The single "Release Me" by Johnny Adams entered the Billboard R&B Chart in 1968; it peaked at No. 34 and remained on the chart for 6 weeks
1982 New Orleans born songwriter Sam Theard passed away in Los Angeles in 1982; Sam is noted for penning the classic's "I'll Be Glad When You're Dead (You Rascal You)" and "Let The Good Times Roll"
1995 Country star Tim McGraw's third album, "All I Want", received double platinum certification from the RIAA in 1995

DECEMBER 08
1913 Trad jazz guitarist, banjo player and vocalist Fred "H.E." Minor was born in New Orleans in 1913; Minor worked with Sidney Desvigne, Paul Barbarin, Noon Johnson, Kid Sheik, the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, and others
1941 New Orleans soul singer Willie West was born (Millard Leon in Raceland, Louisiana in 1941.
1945 Pianist, composer, arranger, and producer Richard M. Jones passed away in Chicago in 1945 at age 56; the Donaldsonville, LA native played in New Orleans with local brass bands (on alto horn) and in Storyville (piano) before migrating north in 1919; Jones continued to perform, ran his own record store, and worked for the Okeh, Decca and Mercury record labels; his compositions included "Jazzin' Babies Blues", "Trouble in Mind", and "Riverside Blues", among many others
1957 The Red Allen All-Stars, Billie Holiday, and other jazz greats appeared on the historic CBS TV special "The Sound of Jazz" in 1957
1973 Trombone great Winston Turner (Soul Rebels Brass Band, Brass-A-Holics) was born in New Orleans in 1973.
1988 Eclectic music club The Howlin' Wolf first opened it's doors in 1988; founded by brothers Jack and Jeff Groetsch, the "Wolf" was located in Fat City (Metairie) before moving to South Peters Street in the Warehouse District in 1991; Jack sold "The 'Wolf" to Howard Kaplan in September of 2000. The club moved to bigger digs (formerly The Praline Connection) one block away in 2005. A second club, Howlin' Wolf NorthShore, opened in Mandeville, LA in 2009.
1999 New Orleans rapper Juvenile's 1998 release "400 Degreez" was named R&B Album of the Year at the Billboard Music Awards, held in Las Vegas in 1999.

DECEMBER 09
1919 Late blues man Polka Dot Slim (real name Vincent Monroe; also recorded as "Mr. Calhoun") was born in Woodsville, MS in 1919; Slim worked the New Orleans blues scene for many years (backed by Little Freddie King among others); he recorded for J.D. Miller in Crowley under his real name, and later as Polka Dot Slim for the Instant label ("Ain't Broke, Ain't Hungry" and "It's A Thing You Gotta Face") in New Orleans in 1964; Slim passed away in obscurity on the West Coast in the early 1980's
1932 Late R&B vocalist Jessie Hill was born in New Orleans in 1932; Hill made his mark on R&B history with the 1960 New Orleans party classic, "Ooh Poo Pah Doo".
1938 Late country music giant David Houston was born in Bossier City, LA in 1938; Houston made his debut on Louisiana Hayride at the age of 12; he signed with Epic in 1963, and his first release, "Mountain Of Love", reached No. 2 on the country charts; during his career, Houston had seven No. 1 country records and 61 chart entries, including his 1966 recording of Billy Sherrill and Glenn Sutton's Almost Persuaded, which topped the chart for 9 weeks and netted 3 Grammy's; he was also a member of the Grand Ole Opry from 1972 until his death.
1989 Linda Ronstadt and Aaron Neville were musical guests on NBC's Saturday Night Live on this day in 1989; the duo performed their hits "Don't Know Much" and "When Something Is Wrong"
1999 Pop star Britney Spears' debut album "... Baby One More Time" was certified with sales of 10 million copies by the RIAA in 1999, making her the youngest person ever to reach "Diamond" certification

DECEMBER 10
1912 Late trad jazz reeds man Irving Fazola was born in New Orleans in 1912; Fazola got his start with Louis Prima and Candy Candido in New Orleans in 1927; he later migrated north and played with Ben Pollack, Glenn Miller, Bob Crosby, Muggsy Spanier, and others; illness forced him to return to New Orleans in the early 40's, but he later resumed playing with Pinky Vidacovich, Louis Prima, etc.
1926 Late New Orleans blues legend Guitar Slim was born (Eddie Jones) in Greenwood, MS in 1926; Slim's "The Things That I Used to Do" (recorded for Specialty at Cosimo Matassa's J&M Studio, with Ray Charles on piano) topped the R&B chart for an amazing 14 weeks in 1954

Guitar Slim
1932 Late producer and founder of the Lanor Records label Lee Lavergne was born in Church Point, LA in 1932
1949 Dave Bartholomew brought a young Fats Domino into Cosimo Matassa's J&M Recording Studio in New Orleans to record Domino's first single, "The Fat Man" (Imperial 5058), in 1949. Fats was backed by Bartholomew's band, which included Earl Palmer, Frank Fields, Ernest McLean, Herbert Hardesty, Clarence Hall, Joe Harris, and Alvin "Red" Tyler. The tune became a national hit, reaching #6 on the R&B Chart and selling over a million copies. "The Fat Man" is often cited as being the first rock & roll recording.
1996 Country music legend Faron Young died in Nashville in 1996 at age 64, one day after shooting himself in the head (obit); the Shreveport native, who suffered from emphysema, left a note saying he was depressed about his failing health
1997 Harry Connick, Jr., Mariah Carey, Boys II Men, Emmylou Harris, Jewel and Sinead O'Conner performed at the Nobel Peace Concert in Oslo, Norway in 1997; the event honored Nobel Peace Prize winner Jody Williams for her work towards the banning and clearing of anti-personnel mines
1999 Cosimo Matassa's J&M Recording Studio at 838-840 North Rampart Street was designated as a historic landmark in 1999. The date also marked the 50th anniversary of the recording of Fats Domino's hit "The Fat Man". Matassa, Dave Bartholomew and Fats Domino all attended the event.

DECEMBER 11
1920 Chicago tenor sax great Eddie Johnson was born (Edwin Johnson) in Napoleonville, LA in 1920 (see bio); Johnson passed away in 2010 at age 89.
1931 New Orleans R&B vocalist Benny Spellman was born in Pensacola, FL in 1931; Spellman reached #28 on the R&B chart with the 1962 Allen Toussaint-penned "Lipstick Traces (On a Cigarette)" (Minit 644); the "A" side was "Fortune Teller", which was later covered by the Rolling Stones; Spellman can also be heard doing the bass vocals on the Ernie K-Doe classic "Mother-In-Law"
1997 New Orleans rapper Mystikal's third album, "Unpredictable", was certified Gold by the RIAA on this day in 1997

DECEMBER 12
1928 Louis Armstrong & His Hot Five recorded "Hear Me Talkin' To Ya", "Tight Like This", and "St. James Infirmary" for the Okeh label in Chicago in 1928
1928 Late swamp blues guitarist and vocalist Lonesome Sundown was born (Cornelius Green) on the Dugas Plantation near Donaldsville, LA in 1928; early in his career, Green played in Clifton Chenier's band (who's other guitarist was Phillip Walker); he later recorded on his own for Jay Miller on the Excello label
1956 Gospel and soul music legend Sam Cooke made his solo recording debut at Cosimo's Studio in New Orleans in 1956. The pop tunes, "Lovable" backed by "Forever" (Specialty 596), were attributed to Dale Cook, as Sam (then a member of The Soul Stirrers) did not want to offend his gospel fans. Backing Cooke on the session were Warren Myles, Edgar Blanchard, Frank Fields and Earl Palmer.
1957 Rocker Jerry Lee Lewis married Myra Brown, his cousin's 13 year old daughter, in 1957; Lewis was still legally married to his second wife, Jane Mitcham, at the time
1965 Drummer Russell Batiste (Funky Meters, Papa Grows Funk) was born in New Orleans in 1965
1970 Rock legends The Doors performed at The Warehouse in New Orleans in 1970; it was the last concert performance by the group before the passing of leader Jim Morrison
1987 The "King of Zydeco" Clifton Chenier passed away in Lafayette, LA in 1987 at age 62
1991 Aaron Neville performed on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson in 1991 ("Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire" and "O Holy Night").

DECEMBER 13
1929 Louis Armstrong and the Luis Russell Orchestra recorded "St. Louis Blues" and "Rockin' Chair" (with Hoagy Carmichael on vocals) for the Columbia label in New York in 1929; the backing band included Henry "Red" Allen, Albert Nicholas, Pops Foster and Paul Barbarin
1944 Zydeco guitarist, accordionist and vocalist Joe Walker was born in Lafayette, LA in 1944; Walker backed Rockin' Dopsie and Rockin' Sidney in the 60's; he recorded on his own in the 90's for the Lanor label
2000 Wynton Marsalis and the Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra performed on a televised tribute to Louis Armstrong in celebration of the centennial of his birth; the PBS special, titled "Armstrong - When the Saints Go Marching In", featured guest appearances by Don Vappie, Lucien Barbarin and Troy Andrews (aka Trombone Shorty),

DECEMBER 14
1924 Versatile blues & jazz vocalist and stage/film actress Linda Hopkins was born in New Orleans in 1924.
1957 Drummer, composer, vocalist and educator Eddie Dejean was born in New Orleans in 1957. Eddie has worked with Michael Ray & The Cosmic Krewe, the James Rivers Movement, and The Johnson Extension.
2009 Former New Orleans rapper T.T. Tucker (real name Kevin Ventry) was arrested in 2009 and charged with burglary and felony theft. The charges were related to heists in New Orleans and St. Bernard Parish of over $18,000 worth of cigarettes. T.T. Tucker and DJ Irv's 1991 single "Where Dey At" is considered by many as the inception of the New Orleans Bounce genre.

DECEMBER 15
1936 Late Chicago blues vocalist Andrew "Big Voice" Odom was born in Denham Springs, LA in 1936; the album "Goin' to California", recorded shortly before his death, is considered to be the highlight of his career
1954 Trumpeter, bandleader and legendary New Orleans trad jazz figure Oscar "Papa" Celestin passed away in New Orleans in 1954 at age 70; the Napoleonville native led his first band at the Tuxedo Dance Hall from 1910 to 1913; Celestin founded the Tuxedo Brass Band, co-led the Tuxedo Orchestra, and then formed Celestin's Tuxedo Jazz Band in 1925; he was featured at the Paddock Lounge during the late 40's and early 50's; he also performed in Washington for President Eisenhower in 1953
1958 "That Old Black Magic", by Louis Prima and Keely Smith (backed by Sam Butera & The Witnesses) entered the R&B Chart on this day in 1958
1990 The Neville Brothers were musical guests on NBC's Saturday Night Live on this day in 1990; Dennis Quaid hosted, and the Neville's performed "Brother Jake" and "River of Life."
1993 Artist, author, and longtime New Orleans jazz supporter Al Rose passed away in New Orleans in 1993
2001 Punk rock singer Bianca Halstead (aka Bianca Butthole) was killed in an auto accident in Metairie, LA in 2001; Halstead's band, Betty Blowtorch, had performed at the Howlin Wolf in New Orleans a few hours before the accident

DECEMBER 16
1964 Late, great trumpeter Al Hirt's album "Cotton Candy" received Gold certification in 1964
1967 "Judy In Disguise (With Glasses)", by John Fred & His Playboy Band entered the Billboard Top 40 on this day in 1967; it ultimately reached the No. 1 position on 01/20/68
1991 Harry Connick, Jr.'s album "Blue Light, Red Light" received Platinum certification in 1991
1995 "Use Me" by Aaron Neville entered the Billboard R&B Chart on this day in 1995
2005 Local music & special events venue Republic New Orleans opened up at 828 South Peters Street on December 16, 2005. The club took over space formerly occupied by The Howlin' Wolf (who relocated one block away).

DECEMBER 17
1922 Big Chief of the Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indian tribe Allison "Tootie" Montana was born in New Orleans in 1922
1937 Neville Brothers and Funky Meters vocalist and keyboards man Art Neville was born in New Orleans in 1937; in earlier times, Art was a member of The Hawketts, who recorded the 1954 carnival classic "Mardi Gras Mambo".
1939 Late New Orleans piano prince James Booker was born (James Carroll Booker III) at Charity Hospital in 1939
1966 "Tell It Like It Is" by Aaron Neville entered the Billboard Top 40 in 1966; it peaked at No. 2 on the Pop Chart, and also had a 5 week run at the top of the R&B Chart
1975 Lil' Rascals Brass Band bass drummer Terrence Andrews was born in New Orleans in 1975.
1989 R&B vocalist Little Sonny Jones passed away in New Orleans in 1989.
1998 New Orleans rapper Mystikal (Michael Tyler) was arrested in Kenner, LA in 1998 for possession of a firearm and possesion of marijuana; police pulled the rap star over, allegedly after they saw him smoking a reefer; Mystikal claimed he was the target of police because he was driving a fancy car; "I wasn't doing anything. The joint was in the ashtray for I don't know how long" Mystikal said after his arrest; he added that the gun he had in his possession was legally registered and that he carried it for protection.

DECEMBER 18
1869 Pianist Louis Moreau Gottschalk passed away in Tijuca, Brazil in 1869 at age 40. The New Orleans native was one of the most famous American composers of the 19th century; his works drew on elements of Creole, African American, French, Caribbean, and Southern U.S. culture; Gottschalk performed to acclaim throughout the world and was hailed as a "titan" of the keyboard. He was honored by the U.S. Postal Service with a commemorative stamp in 1997.
1906 Traditional jazz pianist and vocalist Jeanette Kimball was born (Jeanette Salvant) in Pass Christian, MS in 1906; Kimball had a long association with Papa Celestin (who she recorded with in 1926; see photo) and Papa French; she later worked at Dixieland Hall and Preservation Hall. Read more.
1933 Blues great Lonnie Brooks was born (Lee Baker, Jr.) in Dubuisson, Louisiana in 1933.
1996 Hot 8 Brass Band trumpeter Jacob Johnson passed away in New Orleans in 1996 at age 18

DECEMBER 19
1918 New Orleans piano legend Professor Longhair was born (Henry Roeland Byrd) in Bogalusa, LA in 1918
1964 Fashiggidy -- it's New Orleans-born trumpeter Kermit Ruffins' birthday today.

DECEMBER 20
1943 Noted R&B guitarist and vocalist Walter "Wolfman" Washington was born in New Orleans in 1943.
1952 "I'm Gone" by New Orleans duo Shirley & Lee (Shirley Goodman and Leonard Lee) entered the R&B Chart in 1952; the duo paid Cosimo Matassa $2.00 to cut the demo, which was later "discovered" by Aladdin Records owner Eddie Mesner, who went on to record the duo's hits "Feel So Good", "Let The Good Times Roll", and "I Feel Good".
1943 Dirty Dozen Brass Band trumpeter Efrem Towns was born in New Orleans in 1960
1983 Rapper and producer Dappa (nee Daniel Torregano) was born in New Orleans in 1983.
2010 New Orleans bounce & hip-hop singer Magnolia Shorty (nee Renetta Yemika Lowe) was murdered in New Orleans in 2010. She was 28 years old.

DECEMBER 21
1907 Late New Orleans blues man Cousin Joe was born (Pleasant Joseph) in Wallace, LA in 1907; his bio is the subject of the book "Cousin Joe: Blues From New Orleans"
1932 Louis Armstrong, working with a pickup group, recorded "Medley of Armstrong Hits, Part 1" (featuring "You Rascal You", "When It's Sleepy Time Down South", and "Nobody's Sweetheart") and "Medley of Armstrong Hits, Part 2" ("When You're Smiling", "St. James Infirmary", and "Dinah") for the Victor label in Camden, NJ in 1932
1997 Rising country music star Amie Comeaux was killed in an automobile accident near her home in Brusly, Louisiana in 1997; the 21 year old singer had recently completed work on her second album in Nashville

DECEMBER 22
1924 Alberta Hunter & the Red Onion Jazz Babies (featuring Louis Armstrong and Sidney Bechet) recorded "Nobody Knows The Way I Feel Dis Mornin'", "Early Every Morn'", and "Cake Walking Babies From Home" for the Gennett label in New York in 1924
1931 Swamp Pop singer and songwriter King Karl was born (Bernard Jolivette) in Grand Coteau, Louisiana in 1931. He came to fame as vocalist with Guitar Gable's band in the mid to late 1950s. Songwriting credits included the Swamp Pop staples "Irene," "Life Problem," and "This Should Go On Forever" (a Top 20 hit for Rod Bernard in 1959). King Karl enjoyed a resurgence in the mid-90s and early 2000s, performing at Festival International de Louisiane, Ponderosa Stomp (3 times), and the 2005 New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. He passed away in December of 2005 at age 73. Look for King Carl & Guitar Gable recordings on the albums "Lafayette Saturday Night," "House Rockin' & Hip Shakin', Vol. 3: Killer Swamp Blues Guitar," "The Excello Story Volume 2: 1955-1957" and "The Excello Story Volume 3: 1957-1961."
1937 Legendary session guitarist and vocalist Alvin "Shine" Robinson was born in New Orleans in 1937; Shine was a long time protege of Dr. John, and backed the Dr. up on many albums, including "Gris Gris", "Gumbo", and "Tango Palace"
1963 Trombone great Roy Palmer passed away in Chicago in 1963 at age 71; the New Orleans native recorded with Richard M. Jones, Louis Armstrong, Jelly Roll Morton, Johnny Dodds, and others; he is most noted for his stints in Chicago with the State Street Ramblers, Memphis Nighthawks, and Chicago Rhythm Kings in the 30's
1968 Royal Fingerbowl guitarist, vocalist, song writer Alex McMurray was born in New Jersey in 1968
1999 Soulful crooner & pianist Roland Stone passed away in 1999 at age 59; Stone had a hit on Ace in the 50's with "Just a Moment of Your Time"; his early work was featured on the "Not Just Another Pretty Face" compilation; Stone resurfaced in 1993 with the critically acclaimed CD "Remember Me".

DECEMBER 23
1877 Late trad jazz trumpeter and band leader Tom Albert was born in New Orleans (Algiers) in 1877; Albert's early bands included members Manuel Manetta and John Handy; he was also one of the original members of the Eureka Brass Band (founded circa 1920)
1958 Singer and songwriter Victoria Williams was born in Forbing, Louisiana in 1958.
1967 "Baby You Got It" by Shreveport native Brenton Wood began a seven week run on the Billboard R&B Chart in 1967; it peaked at the No. 30 position
1977 Los Hombres Calientes trumpter and co-leader Irvin Mayfield was born in New Orleans in 1977.
1995 New Orleans music advocate and co-founder of the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival Allison Miner passed away in New Orleans in 1995 at age 46

DECEMBER 24
1894 Pioneering trad jazz drummer Warren "Baby" Dodds was born in New Orleans in 1894
1920 Legendary trumpeter, song writer, producer, band leader, and Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member Dave Bartholomew was born in Edgard, LA in 1920
1924 Late, great R&B singer Lee Dorsey was born in New Orleans in 1924; Dorsey had 10 songs in the R&B Charts between 1961 and 1978, including "Ya Ya" (which hit No. 1), "Ride Your Pony", "Working In The Coal Mine" and "Holy Cow"; Allen Toussaint once remarked, "If a smile had a sound, it would be the sound of Lee Dorsey's voice."
1952 Trumpeter, band leader, and funk meister Michael Ray (Michael Arthur Ray) was born in Trenton, NJ in 1952; before forming his own band, the Cosmic Krewe, Mike was a member of the Sun Ra Arkestra for fifteen years, and he also toured and recorded with R&B greats Kool & The Gang

DECEMBER 25
1878 Early trad jazz drummer Louis Cottrell, Sr. was born New Orleans in 1878; Cottrell paraded with the Excelsior Brass Band and was a long time member of A.J. Piron's orchestra
1886 Legendry trombonist, composer, and trad jazz pioneer Kid Ory was born (Edward Ory) in La Place, LA in 1886 (see Kid Ory bio).
1892 Trombone great Jim Robinson was born Deering, LA in 1892
1895 Cornetist and trombone player Merritt J. Brunies was born New Orleans in 1895; Brunies began his musical career with a family band before organizing his own band; he went to Chicago with the New Orleans Five at age 20; he later brought Dixieland to Los Angeles, before settling in Biloxi, MS; there he worked with brother Abbie performing in and around the Gulf Coast for many years
1907 String bass player Joseph "Kid Twat" Butler was born Algiers, LA in 1907; Butler is noted for his association with Kid Thomas and also Preservation Hall
1929 Late R&B vocalist Chris Kenner was born in Kenner, LA in 1929; his Grammy nominated hit "I Like It Like That" reached No. 2 on both the pop and R&B charts in 1961
1933 Late music producer Tom Ayres was born in Sabine Parish, LA in 1933; Ayres was credited with boosting the careers of singer and songwriter Victoria Williams and rock superstar David Bowie, among others
1997 Pastor of Galilee Baptist Church The Rev. Thomas Taylor passed away in New Orleans on 12/25/97 at age 62; Taylor organized the Crescent City Gospel singers with his three brothers in 1954; he was also the founder of the Christian Community Youth Against Drugs Foundation

DECEMBER 26
1922 Legendary Cajun fiddler Harry Choates (of "Jole Blon" fame) was born in Vermillion Parish, LA in 1922
1934 "Man" Abshire was born on December 26, 1934 in Crowley, Louisiana and began playing music at the age of 12. He started playing drums and singing with Lawrence Walker in 1950 at the age of 16 and played with Mr. Walker for two years. In 1953 he started playing with Aldus Roger and "The Lafayette Playboys" and played music with Mr. Roger until the time of his death. This band was seen every Saturday afternoon on KLFY Television out of Lafayette, Louisiana. During his musical career, Mr. Abshire wrote and/or recorded such songs as "One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer," "Family Waltz," "I Passed in Front of Your Door," "Flames of Hell," "Chère Tout Tout," "Lafayette Two Step," and "La Valse a Nonc Alcée," "Lonesome Waltz," "You Want me Back Waltz," "La Valse de Parasol," Tous Les Deux Pour la Même." Mr. Abshire played with such great musicians as Lawrence Walker, Aldus roger and the Lafayette Playboys, and Belton Richard and the Musical Aces. He also went with Aldus Roger and The Lafayette Playboys to represent the State of Louisiana at the Folklore Festival in Washington, D.C., which was the first Louisiana band to go to Washington. "Man" died in 1964 of Leukemia.
1947 Bassist, session player and founding member of The Meters George Porter, Jr. was born in New Orleans in 1947
1971 Actor/musician Jared Leto (30 Seconds to Mars) was born December 26, 1971 in Bossier City, Louisiana.

DECEMBER 27
1889 Trumpeter and trad jazz pioneer Bunk Johnson was born (William Geary Johnson) in New Orleans in 1889 (this is one of several reported birth dates for Johnson; more).
1938 Sax man and vocalist Charles Neville was born in New Orleans in 1938
1965 Louis Armstrong appeared as a guest on TV's "I've Got A Secret" in 1965. Satchmo was joined by Peter Davis, his first music teacher at the New Orleans Colored Waif's home. You can watch the segment on YouTube: Part 1 and Part 2.
1992 Crooner Harry Connick, Jr. was arrested in 1992 when he was caught at New York's JFK Airport trying to carry an unloaded pistol aboard a flight to New Orleans

DECEMBER 28
1927 Vocalist Leonard "Chick" Carbo was born in Houma, LA in 1927; Chick sang with his brother Chuck Carbo in The Spiders in the 1940's and 50's
1948 Drummer extraordinaire and founding member of The Meters, Joseph "Zigaboo" Modeliste was born in New Orleans in 1948
1963 Country singer & Shreveport native Hank Williams, Jr. made his first recording in 1963 at age 14; it was a rendition of his father's song "Long Gone Lonesome Blues", recorded for MGM Records.
1974 "People Say" (Reprise 1314) by The Meters began an eleven week run on the Billboard R&B Chart in 1974; it peaked at the No. 52 position
1980 Trad jazz drummer Walter "Popee" Lastie died of a heart attack in Jackson Square in 1980 while playing "When The Saints Go Marching In"; Lastie was 42 years old at the time of his death

DECEMBER 29
1900 Late trad jazz clarinetist Willie Humphrey, Jr. was born in New Orleans in 1900; Humphrey's early career included stints with the Excelsior Brass Band, Lawrence Duhe, and King Oliver; in later years he worked with Paul Barbarin, Sweet Emma Barrett, and at Preservation Hall; Willie and his brother Percy (trumpet) were honored with Big Easy Lifetime Achievement Awards in 1994

DECEMBER 30
1957 United Artists released Edward R. Murrow's Louis Armstrong documentary "Satchmo The Great" on this day in 1957.
1967 Deejay, bandleader (All That) and actor (HBO's "Treme") DJ Davis Rogan was born in New Orleans in 1967.

DECEMBER 31
1912 A young Louis Armstrong was arrested in 1912 for firing a pistol into the air at the corner of Perdido and Rampart Street.
1933 Singer, songwriter, guitarist and noted Nashville session player Fred Carter Jr. was born in Winnsboro, LA in 1933. Carter's career included stints with Werley Fairburn, Dale Hawkins, The Hawks, Conway Twitty, and The Band. Recording sessions include albums by Elvis Presley, Simon & Garfunkel and Roy Orbison, among many others. He was the father of country superstar Deana Carter. He passed away in 2010 at age 76.
1955 The Fats Domino single "Poor Me" (Imperial 5369) hit #1 on the R&B Chart in 1955. The track featured Fats backed by Ernest McLean, Frank Fields, Herb Hardesty, Clarence Ford and Cornelius Coleman.
1968 Legendary clarinetist and bandleader George Lewis passed away in New Orleans in 1968 at age 68. Lewis played with The Black Eagles as a teen, and had long associations with the Eureka Brass Band and trumpeter Bunk Johnson. He recorded and toured extensively in the 1950s, and was a regular at Preservation Hall in the 1960s. His life is covered in detail in Ann Fairbairn's book "Call Him George: A Biography of George Lewis".
1980 Noted country blues artist Robert Pete Williams passed away in Rosedale, LA in 1980 at age 66.
1997 Pianist, session man, songwriter and multiple Grammy nominee Floyd Cramer passed away in Nashville, TN in 1997 at age 64. The Campti, Louisiana native recorded with Elvis Presley, Patsy Cline, Eddy Arnold, Roy Orbison, and the Everly Brothers, among many others. Cramer recorded more than 50 solo albums during his career. His hits included "Last Date," "San Antonio Rose," "Fancy Pants," and "On the Rebound." Cramer was inducted into both the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame and the Country Music Hall of Fame in 2003. His single "Last Date" was added to the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2004.
1998 Rev. Joseph Anotale Mitchell Jr., a minister and musician, passed away in New Orleans in 1998 at age 38. Mitchell, a graduate of NOCCA, was a former member of the Gospel Soul Children.


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