Tab Smith (1956) Red Hot and Cool Blue Moods (LP) United Records 003

 

Tab Smith

Red Hot and Cool Blue Moods

United Records 003

1956

*** noteworthy

 

While few remember Tab Smith today, he was flying high with success in the mid 50s, perhaps United Records’ (Chicago) answer to Earl Bostic.


This long player houses most of the instrumental sides Tab recorded for United during the mid 50s and provides a window to a world now mostly forgotten. And that’s unfortunate because artists such as Tab helped bridge the jazz of earlier decades to the music the masses would embrace in the decades that followed.  On the other hand, this isn’t part of the wild R&B of this era that clearly welcomes in rock and roll, and it’s not cutting edge jazz, so perhaps it’s not surprising that Tab’s music has been mostly forgotten.  It’s not proto-this or proto-that, and that’s often all the masses find interest in exploring.  But this is enjoyable music, earthy yet urban, full of tone and focused on feeling rather than showing off.  While this lacks the abandonment of much of the R&B from this era, this has more depth than much of the music of the 50s, without ever getting too serious like the innovative jazz of this decade.  It’s mood music with some meat.

There’s a sadness that runs through even the “red hot” numbers, and it’s sad that black artists such as Tab Smith aren’t remembered more.

— winch

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Piano Red: Rockin’ With Red

William Lee Perryman…aka Piano Red…aka Dr. Feelgood…an essential part of the story of American music…1950 “Rockin’ with Red” and “The Wrong Yoyo” the next year, years before Bill Haley…rock and roll was mostly just a racist term trying to convince people that white artists had invented something…Red’s boogie woogie and barrelhouse blues (as well as Louis Jordan’s jump blues) clearly giving Haley his cues…Red’s music clearly showing a bridge back to ragtime…and while the so-called rock and roll is said to have brought black music to white audiences, ragtime had done that in a big way over fifty years earlier…and Red recorded for and played for white audiences years before the so-called rock and roll hit the charts….if Red don’t put a grin to your chin and a tap to your toes you might as well give it up and give up the ghost. — winch