Big Joe Turner is best described as one of the critical link between R&B, Blues and Rock N Roll. The Kansas City musician was a vital musical factor for almost five decades and stands as one of the most influential singers of the second half of the 20th century. ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll’ boldly illustrates classic Blues in form, but was billed as R&B and charted to audiences as Rock N Roll. The song transmuted the sound of Kansas City Blues into something to which a wide audience could dance. The listeners did not recognize the song as Blues but heard the Blues crying in Turner’s every word. Songwriter Charles Calhoun (birthname: Jesse Stone) was the primary house arranger at Atlantic Records during the label’s reign as the home of R&B. His compositions can be heard behind such Atlantic stars as Ruth Brown and Ray Charles.

Released as Atlantic 1026 (78 and 45 rpm single) in 1954.

Suggested Listening: Big Joe Turner – The Very Best of Big Joe Turner (Rhino R272968)

–(Blues Foundation press release, 2001.)