Jimmy McCracklin - Rockin' Man! Recorded 1951

Total Length: 32:32

Rockin' Man - 2:45
I've Got News For You - 2:46
Take A Chance - 2:58
My Love For You - 2:34
The Good Book - 2:27
You Don't Love Me - 3:04
It's All In The Feeling - 2:43
Life Is What You Make It Be - 2:56
No Matters What You Say - 2:44
Blues For The People - 2:22
Movin' On Down The Line - 2:38
Farewell Baby - 2:35

Jimmy McCracklin was born James David Walker in 1921. The blues pianist, singer and songwriter improbably claims the actual year is 1931, which would have made him a teenager when he made his recording debut and even younger when he joined the U.S. Navy prior to World War II. He is still actively performing over six decades later, though his work as a recording artist has slowed. Among his influences is the blues pianist Walter Davis (1912-1963), while McCracklin had several gold records, appeared on Dick Clark’s American Bandstand and his songs were waxed by Lowell Fulson, Magic Sam, in addition to a duet by Otis Redding and Carla Thomas.

Following McCracklin discharge from military service in 1945 after the war, he moved to Southern California, making many of his records in Los Angeles, though he has long lived in Richmond, in the San Francisco metro area. Because tiny independent blues labels were erratic about compiling and keeping discographical information, the information for these singles is sketchy, though most of them likely come from a series of dates in early 1951.

McCracklins humorous Rocking Man has a train-like chugging rhythm, foreshadowing the dawn of rock and roll, describing a series of one nighters playing gigs and entertaining local women, with the threat of being run out of town, punctuated by his understated vocal and playful piano. His breezy, infectious Take a Chance is a closer step toward rock, with the pianist trading fours with the two man sax section playing in unison, plus a blistering two choruses by the guitarist. McCracklin lumbering You Donot Love Me features some of his best work on piano, plus a spirited vocal. Blues For the People (also known as Melancholy Evening), is a deliberate instrumental with alto saxophonist Joe Conwright and tenor saxophonist Charles Sutters taking center stage alternating the lead, with McCracklin remaining in the background. His raucous, uptempo Its All in the Feeling sounds like it was recorded at the dawn of the rock era in the mid-1950s.

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