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Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson

An advanced stylist on alto saxophone who vacillated throughout his career between jump blues and jazz, bald-pated Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson (he lost his hair early on after a botched bout with a lye-based hair-straightener) also possessed a playfully distinctive vocal delivery that stood him in good stead with blues fans.

Vinson first picked up a horn while attending high school in Houston. During the late '30s, he was a member of an incredible horn section in Milton Larkins's orchestra, sitting next to Arnett Cobb and Illinois Jacquet. After exiting Larkins' employ in 1941, Vinson picked up a few vocal tricks while on tour with bluesman Big Bill Broonzy. Vinson joined the Cootie Williams Orchestra from 1942 to 1945. His vocals on trumpeter Williams' renditions of "Cherry Red" and "Somebody's Got to Go" were in large part responsible for their wartime hit status.

Vinson struck out on his own in 1945, forming his own large band, signing with Mercury, and enjoying a double-sided smash in 1947 with his romping R&B chart-topper "Old Maid Boogie" and the song that would prove his signature number, "Kidney Stew Blues" (both songs featured Vinson's instantly identifiable vocals). A 1949-1952 stint at King Records produced only one hit, the amusing sequel "Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red," along with the classic blues "Person to Person" (later revived by another King artist, Little Willie John).

Vinson's jazz leanings were probably heightened during 1952-1953, when his band included a young John Coltrane. Somewhere along about here, Vinson wrote two Miles Davis classics, "Tune Up" and "Four." Vinson steadfastly kept one foot in the blues camp and the other in jazz, waxing jumping R&B for Mercury (in 1954) and Bethlehem (1957), jazz for Riverside in 1961 (with Cannonball Adderley), and blues for Blues Time and ABC-BluesWay. A 1969 set for Black & Blue, cut in France with pianist Jay McShann and tenor saxophonist Hal Singer, beautifully recounted Vinson's blues shouting heyday (it's available on Delmark as Old Kidney Stew Is Fine). A much later set for Muse teamed him with the sympathetic little big-band approach of Rhode Island-based Roomful of Blues. Vinson toured the States and Europe frequently prior to his 1988 death of a heart attack. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: The Very Best Of Eddie "Cleanhead" Vinson Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red

1. Ashes On My Pillow

2. I'm Gonna Wind Your Clock

3. Wineola

4. Somebody Done Stole My Cherry Red

5. Eddie's Bounce

6. I'm Weak But I'm Willing

7. Sittin' On It All The Time

8. Featherbed Mama

9. No Good Woman Blues

10. Bald Headed Blues

12. Peas And Rice

13. Big Mouth Gal

14. My Big Brass Bed Is Gone

15. Queen Bee Blues

16. If You Don't Think I'm Sinking

17. Jump And Grunt

18. Rainy Mornin' Blues

19. Home Boy

20. The People On My Party Line

22. Lonesome Train

23. Person To Person

24. I Need You Tonight

25. Good Bread Alley

x

Track List: Blues, Boogie & Bebop - Meat's Too High

1. Old Maid Boogie

2. Somebody's Got To Go

3. Travellin'

4. Homeboy

5. Meat's Too High

6. If You Were My Buddy

7. Investigation Blues

8. That's All

9. Race Track Blues

10. Somebody Else Has Taken My Place

11. Cleanhead's Thing

12. Roxanne

13. Fun In London

14. High Class Baby

15. Straight Away

x

Track List: Kidney Stew Is Fine

3. Juice Head Baby

4. Wait A Minute Baby

5. I'm In An Awful Mood

6. Just A Dream

7. Things Ain't What They Used To Be

8. Old Maid Boogie

9. Wee Baby Blues

10. Please Send Me Someone To Love

Comments

Report as inappropriate
shaydeegrove
We pay a nickel for our coffee, Sergeant sandwich costs a dime (Repeat)
And with a coupla dollars, You can eat a long long time
I live in Good Bread Alley, Ain't ashamed to say I do (Repeat)
If you want to keep your woman, You can live in Good Bread Alley, too
Report as inappropriate
shaydeegrove
I live in Good Bread Alley, Ain't shamed to say I do
(Repeat)
Any woman I love, She lives in Good Bread Alley, too
She's a good lookin' woman, Walks just like she owns the World (Repeat)
Well, she's almost forty-seven, But looks just like a teenage girl
We have no trouble with our women, 'Cause there ain't no pimps around (Repeat)
If we find somebody cheatin', We'll run 'em out of town.


Report as inappropriate
poppa_bear49
Another true master of the craft...and if they don't know, better ask somebody.
Report as inappropriate
Caldonya (sp) What makes your big head so hard I will never forget my Dad singing that to me as a baby..Jazzy little girl was I ;-) I use to laugh so hard. Jazz is in my bones and it surprises most people I Love it!
Report as inappropriate
Well, I have a tendency to relate jazz music to architectura l visualizatio n ; Clean head has smooth lines with a harmonic stable presentation ; does not take risks in regards to creating complicated elemental configuratio n s - - w h a t you see is a modern design that's functional..
David Allen, Professional Architectura l Engineer
Report as inappropriate
One thing can be said about Cleanhead, he sure had a great band behind him. Without that great backing he would have been a laughing matter.

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