ROSCOE GORDON … R&B Pioneer … Legend!

As many of you know, I am a fan of Rhythm and Blues Music … the roots of the music that eventually became DooWop, Rock and Roll and Soul. It was Pioneers like Roscoe Gordon that gave birth to a sound that still exists today in modern music. A sound that would become known as the “Roscoe Rhythm” a rhythm that hi-lights the off beat instead of the down beat. As a drummer I immediately hear that stye of playing. Roscoe came from a family of eight children and learned how to play piano from his sister. He became associated with some other famous musicians from Memphis, Tennessee the likes of Johnny Ace, Bobby Bland and B.B. King and were often referred to as the “Beale Streeters”. In 1950 Roscoe won a talent contest at the Palace Theater on Beale Street. The Emcee of the show was Rufus Thomas who invited Roscoe to play on his radio show. Things seemed to be going well for him after meeting Ike Turner and he began recording his new style of playing. Roscoe recorded on so many early record labels like, Sun, Chess, RPM, Duke and Vee-Jay. I was introduced to Roscoe Gordon by my DJ mentor, the great Porky Chedwick, who played his crazy sounds that I picked up on my transistor radio! I had the honors of spending some time with Roscoe and listened to his stories that I absorbed like a sponge. One particular memory I have of Roscoe was him telling me about the hat that he was wearing … a fuzzy, leather type, aviator looking hat that matched his fringed, leather suit! I asked him if it was hot and uncomfortable on stage … he looked up at me and with a huge smile on his face, said … “My Grandson gave me this hat, it means alot to me … and that’s why I wear it!” … best answer to an honest question. I have been blessed to meet, spend time with and work with my musical heroes over the years. Roscoe is one of my favorites … I love his music, I love his story, I love his gift to music but most of all … I love his warmth of being a grandfather! Roscoe Gordon …R&B Pioneer … LEGEND!

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