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J.B. Lenoir

Newcomers to his considerable legacy could be forgiven for questioning J.B. Lenoir's gender upon first hearing his rocking waxings. Lenoir's exceptionally high-pitched vocal range is a fooler, but it only adds to the singular appeal of his music. His politically charged "Eisenhower Blues" allegedly caused all sorts of nasty repercussions upon its 1954 emergence on Al Benson's Parrot logo (it was quickly pulled off the shelves and replaced with Lenoir's less controversially titled "Tax Paying Blues").

J.B. (that was his entire legal handle) fell under the spell of Blind Lemon Jefferson as a wee lad, thanks to his guitar-wielding dad. Lightnin' Hopkins and Arthur Crudup were also cited as early influences. Lenoir spent time in New Orleans before arriving in Chicago in the late '40s. Boogie grooves were integral to Lenoir's infectious routine from the get-go, although his first single for Chess in 1951, "Korea Blues," was another slice of topical commentary. From late 1951 to 1953, he waxed several dates for Joe Brown's JOB logo in the company of pianist Sunnyland Slim, drummer Alfred Wallace, and on the romping "The Mojo," saxophonist J.T. Brown.

Lenoir waxed his most enduring piece, the infectious (and often-covered) "Mama Talk to Your Daughter," in 1954 for Al Benson's Parrot label. Lenoir's 1954-1955 Parrot output and 1955-1958 Checker catalog contained a raft of terrific performances, including a humorously defiant "Don't Touch My Head" (detailing his brand-new process hairdo) and "Natural Man." Lenoir's sound was unique: saxes (usually Alex Atkins and Ernest Cotton) wailed in unison behind Lenoir's boogie-driven rhythm guitar as drummer Al Galvin pounded out a rudimentary backbeat everywhere but where it customarily lays. Somehow, it all fit together.

Scattered singles for Shad in 1958 and Vee-Jay two years later kept Lenoir's name in the public eye. His music was growing substantially by the time he hooked up with USA Records in 1963 (witness the 45's billing: J.B. Lenoir & his African Hunch Rhythm). Even more unusual were the two acoustic albums he cut for German blues promoter Horst Lippmann in 1965 and 1966. Alabama Blues! and Down in Mississippi were done in Chicago under Willie Dixon's supervision, Lenoir now free to elaborate on whatever troubled his mind ("Alabama March," "Vietnam Blues," "Shot on James Meredith").

Little did Lenoir know his time was quickly running out. By the time of his 1967 death, the guitarist had moved to downstate Champaign -- and that's where he died, probably as a delayed result of an auto accident he was involved in three weeks prior to his actual death. ~ Bill Dahl
full bio

Selected Discography

x

Track List: Mama, Talk To Your Daughter (Digital 45) - Single

1. Mama, Talk To Your Daughter

2. Eisenhower Blues

x

Track List: Legendary Bop, Rhythm & Blues Classics: J.B. Lenoir (Digitally Remastered)

1. Mama, Talk To Your Daughter

2. Eisenhower Blues

3. Sitting Down Thinking

4. What Have I Done

5. Mama, Your Daughter's Gonna Miss Me

6. I'm In Korea

7. We Got To Realize (We Can't Go On This Way)

8. I Lost My Baby

9. Man, Watch Your Women

10. Give Me One More Shot

11. Fine Girls

12. I'm Gonna Die Someday

13. Eisenhower Blues (Take 1)

x

Track List: The Very Best Of

1. Play A Little While

2. The Mountain

3. Sitting Down Thinking

4. My Baby Told Me

5. Louise

6. Deep In Debt Blues

7. Let's Roll

8. Korea Blues

9. People Are Meddling

10. I Want My Baby

11. Tax Paying Blues

12. I'll Die Tryin'

13. Mama Talk To Your Daughter

14. How Much More

15. The Mojo

16. I Have Married

17. I'm In Korea

18. I'm Gonna Die Someday (I Must Die)

19. Carrie Lee

20. Eisenhower Blues

21. How Can I Leave

22. Man Watch Your Woman

23. Slow Down Woman

x

Track List: The Parrot Anthology

1. Mama, Talk To Your Daughter

2. Eisenhower Blues

3. Sitting Down Thinking

4. What Have I Done

5. Mama, Your Daughter's Gonna Miss Me

6. I'm In Korea

7. We Got To Realize (We Can't Go On This Way)

8. I Lost My Baby

9. Man, Watch Your Women

10. Give Me One More Shot

11. Fine Girls

12. I'm Gonna Die Someday

13. Eisenhower Blues (Take 1)

x

Track List: An Introduction To J.B. Lenoir

1. The Mojo (Take 1)

2. (I Wanna) Play A Little While

3. Let's Roll (Take 2)

4. Louise

5. How Much More

6. I'll Die Tryin'

7. I Want My Baby (Take 4)

8. How Can I Leave

9. I Feel So Good

10. I Sing Um The Way I Feel

11. I Want To Know (Live)

12. J.B.'s Harp-Rack Blues (Live)

13. My Dear Old Mother (Live)

14. Alabama Blues (Live)

15. Mama Talk To Your Daughter

16. I Had My Trouble (Live)

x

Track List: Alabama Blues

1. Alabama Blues

2. God's Word

3. The Whale

4. Remove This Rope

5. I Feel So Good (Live)

6. Ma'm Talk To Your Daughter (Live)

7. My Name Is J B Lenoir

8. I Want The Whole World To Know

9. Alabama March

10. Fox Squirrel

11. I Feel So Good

12. One Of These Mornings

13. Mumble Low

14. When My Left Eye Jumps

15. Mama Talk To Your Daughter (Live)

16. My Mama Told Me

x

Track List: The Blues Effect - J.B. Lenoir

1. Carrie Lee

2. I've Been Down So Long

3. Low Down Dirty Shame

4. Man Watch Your Woman

5. Mama Talk To Your Daughter

6. If You Love Me

7. Eisenhower Blues

8. My Baby Told Me

9. Good Lookin' Woman

10. She Don’t Know

11. When I'm Drinking

12. Voodoo Boogie

13. Everybody Wants To Know

14. Give Me One More Shot

15. JB's Rock

16. Deep In Debt Blues

17. We Can't Go On This Way

18. Daddy Talk To Your Son

19. Korea Blues

20. Sitting Down Thinking

21. Mama Your Daughter Is Going To Miss Me

x

Track List: His Job Recordings 1951-1954

1. Let's Roll (Take 2)

2. People Are Meddling

3. I Have Married

4. I'll Die Tryin'

5. The Mountain

6. How Much More

7. Let's Roll (Take 1)

8. The Mojo (Take 1)

9. Slow Down Woman (Take 1)

10. I Want My Baby (Take 1)

11. How Can I Leave?

12. Play A Little While

13. Louise

14. The Mojo (Take 4)

15. Slow Down Woman (Take 2)

16. I Want My Baby (Take 4)

17. When I Was Young

18. Bassology

19. Worried About My Baby

20. Livin' In The White House

21. Please Don't

Comments

Report as inappropriate
lostboy.1957
You better talk to your daughter.
Report as inappropriate
John Mayall's classic live album The Turning Point featured a tribute song entitled I'm Gonna Fight For You J.B. about how the blues pioneers wouldn't be forgotten
Report as inappropriate
Heard J.B. for the first time when I was 19, I've never looked back. He changed my idea of music for ever.
Report as inappropriate
J.B.'s social commentary is among the best. For intensity check out Born Dead. His Vietnam Blues is timeless.
Report as inappropriate
Real Blues from a real Blues-man
Report as inappropriate
THE best!!! Got many of his L.P.'s. Big G
Report as inappropriate
This is very cool.

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