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Billy "The Kid" Emerson

Slashing blues, infectious R&B, formulaic rock & roll, moving gospel -- keyboardist Billy "The Kid" Emerson played all those interrelated styles during a lengthy career that began in Florida and later transported him up to Memphis and Chicago.

Emerson had already learned his way around a piano when he entered the Navy in 1943. After the war, he began playing around Tarpon Springs, attending Florida A&M during the late '40s and early '50s. He picked up his nickname while playing a joint in St. Petersburg; the club owner dressed the band up in cowboy duds that begged comparison with a certain murderous outlaw.

A 1952-53 stint in the Air Force found Emerson stationed in Greenville, MS. That's where he met young bandleader Ike Turner, who whipped Emerson into shape as an entertainer while he sang with Turner's Kings of Rhythm. Turner also got Emerson through the door at Sun Records in 1954, playing guitar on the Kid's debut waxing "No Teasing Around."

Emerson's songwriting skills made him a valuable commodity around Sun -- but more as a source for other performers' material later on. His bluesy 1955 outing "When It Rains It Pours" elicited a cover from Elvis a few years later at RCA, while Emerson's "Red Hot" (a takeoff on an old cheerleader's chant from Emerson's school days) became a savage rockabilly anthem revived by Billy Lee Riley for Sun and Bob Luman on Imperial.

After his "Little Fine Healthy Thing" failed to sell, Emerson exited Sun to sign with Chicago's Vee-Jay Records in late 1955. Despite first-rate offerings such as the jumping "Every Woman I Know (Crazy 'Bout Automobiles)" and a sophisticated "Don't Start Me to Lying," national recognition eluded Emerson at Vee-Jay too.

It was on to Chess in 1958, recording "Holy Mackerel Baby" and the unusual novelty "Woodchuck" (a remake of an earlier Sun single) during his year or so there. 45s for Mad, USA, M-Pac! (where he waxed the dance workout "The Whip"), and Constellation preceded the formation of Emerson's own logo, Tarpon, in 1966. In addition to Emerson's own stuff, Tarpon issued Denise LaSalle's debut single.

A prolific writer, Emerson penned songs for Junior Wells, Willie Mabon, Wynonie Harris, and Buddy Guy during the early '60s, often in conjunction with Willie Dixon. When recording opportunities slowed, Emerson played jazzy R&B in lounges and supper clubs (guitarist Lacy Gibson was a member of his trio for a while). Emerson took Europe by surprise with a dynamic segment on the American Blues Legends 1979 tour. More recently, he's rumored to have reverted to playing gospel in his native state of Florida. A generous 33-track collection, Red Hot: The Sun Years, centered on Emerson's Sun years, but also including tracks from his stay at the Vee Jay and Chess labels, was released by Bear Family Records in 2009. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Memphis Blues - Important Postwar Blues

Disc 1

4. Little Soldier Boy

5. Country Clown

6. County Farm Blues

7. They Call Me Talkin' Boy

8. Easy

9. Before Long

10. Lonesome Ol' Jail

11. Greyhound Blues

12. Registration Day Blues

13. Rats In My Kitchen

14. Rattlesnake Mama

15. Forty Four Blues

18. Shorty The Barber

19. The Last Time

20. Train Is Comin'

21. Pinetop's Boogie Woogie

23. Wolf Call Boogie

24. Harmonica Jam

25. Take A Little Chance

26. Tailor Made

27. The Boogie Disease

Disc 2

1. Moanin' At Midnight

2. Bluebird

3. Move On Down The Line

4. The Hucklebuck

7. Midnight Showers Of Rain

8. Prison Bound Blues

9. Bear Cat

10. Married Woman

11. Roscoe's Boogie

12. City Women

13. Baby, Baby

14. Rock The Bottle

15. Bad Women, Bad Whiskey

16. You're My Angel

17. Good Lovin'

18. Drifting From Town To Town

19. My Baby

20. Straighten Up Baby

21. Work With Her Boy

22. Detroit Arrow Blues

23. Carry My Business On

24. Crying In The Courthouse

25. Walked All Night

26. Baby I'm Coming Home

27. I'm Gonna Murder My Baby

28. Bonus Pay

Disc 3

1. T Model Boogie

2. Saddled The Cow And Milked The Horse

3. Seems Like A Million Years

4. Riding In The Moonlight

5. Can't Love Me And My Money Too

6. Flypaper Boogie

7. Somebody Told Me

8. If You Love Me

9. Feelin' Good

10. Fussin' And Fightin' Blues

11. Hart's Bread Boogie

12. Blues Leave Me Alone

16. Mistreating Boogie

17. Worry You Off My Mind

18. Lucy Done Moved

19. Don't Dog Me Around

21. Dead Letter Blues

22. Ugly Woman

23. You'll Be Sorry

25. Long Gone Raymond

26. I'm Back Pretty Baby

27. Blue Man

28. High

Disc 4

1. Tiger Man

2. Save That Money

3. Lookin' For My Baby

4. Homesick For My Baby

5. Feel So Worried

6. So Long Baby Goodbye

7. Cotton Crop Blues

8. Hold Me In Your Arms

9. Come Back Home

10. Chocolate Drop

11. Blue Guitar

12. Believe I'll Settle Down

15. Love My Baby

16. Mystery Train

17. Dry Up Baby

18. Crying All Night Long

19. Way After Midnight

20. Hey Now

22. I Can't Forgive You

23. Midnight Hours Journey

24. My Baby Left Me

25. You're Driving Me Insane

26. Trouble And Heartaches

27. When It Rains It Pours

28. Move Baby Move

x

Track List: Move With The Groove: Hardcore Chicago Soul

Disc 1

1. Damper Down

4. The Town I Live In

5. I've Got A Claim On You

6. Come Back Home

7. Master Key

9. I'm A Big Man

10. Shake A Tail Feather

12. The Whip Pt. 1

14. Don't Turn Your Back On Me

15. You Told A Lie

16. Tell It Like It Is

17. Who Is She

18. New Girl

19. You Did Me Wrong

20. Twine Time

22. Do The 45

23. Got To Find A Way

25. Every Beat Of My Heart

Disc 2

2. Give Me Back My Ring

4. I Still Can't Get You

5. The Philly Freeze

7. I Made A Mistake

8. More Power To You

9. I Stand Alone

10. Ordinary Guy

11. One Man's Poison

13. Behave Yourself

18. A Lasting Love

19. You Got Your Finger In My Eye

21. The Funky Judge

22. I Get A Groove

24. Move With The Groove

x

Track List: The Best Of Bob Dylan's Theme Time Radio Hour Volume 2

Disc 1

1. Jamaica Hurricane

2. Just Walking In The Rain

3. Mother Fuyer

4. One Mint Julep

5. Did You See Jackie Robinson Hit That Ball

6. Forty Cups Of Coffee

7. Folsom Prison Blues

8. My Son Calls Another Man Daddy

10. Divorce Me C.O.D.

12. Bonny Bunch Of Roses

13. Every Woman I Know

14. Get Rich Quick

15. Must Have Been The Devil

16. 20/20 Vision

17. Ain't I'm A Dog?

21. Take Me Back To Tulsa

23. Atomic Telephone

24. Water, Water

25. 24 Hours

26. Shotgun Boogie

Disc 2

1. Hoo-Doo Say

3. I Can't Dance (I've Got Ants In My Pants)

6. Let's Be Friends

7. Tennessee Border

8. Havana Moon

9. 3 X 7 = 21

10. Christmas Morning

11. Peggy Sue

12. Red Headed Woman

13. Uncle Pen

14. Bad Luck Blues

17. Hearts Of Stone

18. Paper In My Shoes

19. Pink Cadillac

20. Drifting Texas Sand

22. All Aboard

23. (Now And Then There's) A Fool Such As I

24. Let Me Off Uptown

25. Tax Payin' Blues

26. Bad, Bad Whiskey

x

Track List: The Sun Records Story

Disc 1

1. Cool Down Mama

2. Boogie In The Park

3. Howlin' Tom Cat

4. Highway Man

5. Juiced

7. Tiger Man

8. Love My Baby

9. Come Back Baby

10. Cotton Crop Blues

11. I'm Gonna Murder My Baby

12. Time Has Made A Change

13. Red Hot

15. Dark Muddy Bottom

16. Hello, Hello Baby

17. Listen To Me, Baby

18. Boogie Blues

20. Gonna Dance All Night

21. Don't Believe

22. Defrost Your Heart

23. Sure To Fall

24. Fool Proof

26. Jump Right Out Of This Jukebox

27. You're The Only Star In My Blue Heaven

28. Fool For Lovin' You

29. I'd Rather Be Safe Than Sorry

30. Come In Stranger

Disc 2

1. Rockin' Daddy

2. Crazy Arms

3. Mean Little Mama

4. Got Love If You Want It

5. Crawdad Song

6. Her Love Rubbed Off

7. Mad Man

8. Love My Baby

9. Miss Froggie

10. Pearly Lee

11. Deep Elem Blues

12. That Don't Move Me

14. Come On Little Mama

15. Rock With Me Baby

16. Fine Little Baby

17. Rockin' With My Baby

18. Baby That's Good

19. My Baby Don't Rock

20. Miss Pearl

21. That's Right

22. So Glad You're Mine

23. Willing And Ready

24. Shake Around

26. Judy

27. Good Rockin' Tonight

29. Tough, Tough, Tough

30. (Take Me From This) Garden Of Evil

31. Have Faith In My Love

Disc 3

2. Just Walkin' In The Rain

3. Bear Cat

4. Blue Suede Shoes

5. When It Rains It Pours

6. Mystery Train

7. Boppin' The Blues

8. Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On

9. Flyin' Saucer Rock 'n' Roll

10. I Walk The Line

11. Ooby Dooby

12. We Wanna Boogie

13. Dixie Fried

14. Great Balls Of Fire

15. Red Hot

16. Big River

17. Rock 'n' Roll Ruby

18. Breathless

19. Honey Don't

20. Red Headed Woman

21. Ballad Of A Teenage Queen

22. High School Confidential

23. Matchbox

24. Lonely Weekends

25. I'm Coming Home

26. Who Will The Next Fool Be?

27. What'd I Say

28. Guess Things Happen That Way

29. Raunchy

30. Mona Lisa

31. Whirlwind

Comments

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cooper_2
This guy rocks!!!!

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