Jape was a Texan and most of his career was spent as a disk jockey in that state. He was also a songwriter and wrote for his friends and recorded some himself.
You all know his biggest hit and how he came to be on that plane. I’ve gone for another of his tunes, Big Bopper's Wedding.
As mentioned above, we have BIG BROTHER AND THE HOLDING COMPANY just to bring a bit of rock & roll into proceedings.
This is the group that first brought Janis Joplin to a wider audience, particularly their appearance at the Monterey Pop Festival and more especially the fine film that was made of that event.
This led to the group being signed by a major label. However, before that, they had recorded an album with an obscure label that maybe a dozen people bought. Here is a track from that early record, Turtle Blues.
BIG BILL BROONZY was born in either Mississippi or Arkansas in either 1893 or 1903. His birth name was either William or Lee Bradley or William or Lee Broonzy or some combination of all of them.
The family was certainly in Arkansas when he was young where Bill made himself a fiddle from a cigar box. He used this instrument to play spirituals and folk songs. He took up the guitar and was taught the instrument by a medicine show man.
Bill took a bunch of different jobs but he also performed at rent parties and other gatherings. A friend of his got him an audition at a record company and he recorded several songs, some successful, others not.
His reputation gained ground and he was asked to fill in at the Spirituals to Swing concerts at Carnegie Hall to replace Robert Johnson who had met his demise in interesting circumstances.
From there he had a great influence on the folk and blues booms of the forties and later in the sixties. Alas, he died 1958 from cancer of the throat. This is Bill with Lonesome.
Now to someone even more mysterious than Big Bertha Henderson, BIG MAC. We don’t even know his real name. Apparently he was a truck driver from Arkansas who recorded only one song that anyone knows about.
He had the help of the great guitarist, Hubert Sumlin on that track. After recording it, he left the studio and was never heard from again. The record was released in 1967 with an instrumental version of the tune on the flip side.
Here is Big Mac with Rough Dried Woman. On the basis of this one, it’s a shame he only recorded the one song - Rough Dried Woman.
BIG MAYBELLE, or Mabel Smith, was from Jackson, Tennessee and sang gospel music as a youngster before switching to blues.
Maybelle’s career began in 1936 as a member of Dave Clark’s Memphis Band. She later toured with the International Sweethearts of Rhythm, an all female band.
Maybelle made her recording debut as a member of Tiny Bradshaw’s Orchestra where she also played piano. Initially, she released records under her given name but a producer gave her the name, Big Maybelle.
Maybelle died in a diabetic coma at the age of 47, no doubt exacerbated by her penchant for food and drugs. Here she performs Gabbin' Blues (Don't Run My Business), the first of her recordings released under the name Big Maybelle.
BIG MACEO MERRIWEATHER was a self taught pianist who was born in Atlanta.
He moved to Detroit when he was in his twenties and played in clubs there as well as performing for rent parties and the like. He always had an inkling to go to Chicago, so he did.
There he met Tampa Red, master of the slide guitar, and they became firm friends as well as recording partners. His music had a huge impact on just about every post-war blues pianist and his songs were also influential on the blues revival in the sixties.
Unfortunately, he suffered a stroke in 1946 that put paid to his performing career and years of hard living caused a heart attack that killed him in 1953 at the age of 47. Here, with the help of Tampa Red, is County Jail.