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20 August 2010

Ray Charles Is In Town - Chronology 1957

These girls never backed Ray. The Cookies after Margie Hendricks left. From left to right: Beulah Robertson, Ethel Darlene McCrea, Dorothy Jones, c.  1957.

Swanee River Rock will peak at #34 on Billboard Pop Chart and #14 on R&B chart,
 Ain't That Love at #9 on R&B chart.
Billboard, Jan. 26, 1957.
January 1957
Concert in Shreveport.
(Coll. Carol Golemon).

5 January 1957
El Dorado, Houston TX.

19 January 1957
Billboard Review Spotlight on Aint That Love / I Want To Know ("either of these can do it").

From Cashbox, Jan. 26, 1957.
26 January 1957
“Jam With Sam” at Trianon Ballroom in Chicago IL, with Mickey & Silvia, Jerry Rogers, King Kolax, The Moroccos and Harold Burrage.

28 January 1957
The "Big Show of '57" at the Graystone in Detroit MI; with Dinah Washington, Charlie Ventura and Sil Austin. Also read this.

February 1957
Charles does a tour with The Cookies and Gene Allison.

12 - 13 February 1957
Palace (Knoxville Civic) Auditorium, Knoxville, TN.

17 February 1957
8:30 - 12:30 dance gig at Muncie Armory, Muncie IN, Ind.

24 February - 1 March 1957
Gleason's Musical Bar in Cleveland OH ("There is none in the world better at adapting the delightful and infectuous rhythm of gospel music to the medium of the blues").

2 March 1957
Rosedale Beach Club, Verona PA.

4 March 1957
"There was nothing blithe [at the Off-Shore Club] in Blythedale [...] when 1,500 screaming and frenzied, table-top dancing rock 'n' roll fans of blues singer Ray Charles roched the Off-Shore Club like a boat in a squall, thus making the action truly off-shore." When management couldn't restore order, "Joe Mitchell, co-manager of the spot, climbed upon a table and started to shoot blanks into the ceiling in an attempt to gain attention and control the mob. After that, doors were made where there had been none before." (Source: Pittsburgh Courier, Mar. 9).

6 March 1957
Club Hi Fi, Baltimore MD.
Ad in Baltimore Sun, 6 March 1957.

12 March 1957
Dance engagement from 9 to 1 at Knights of Columbus Hall, Indianapolis IN ("has been aptly called the most sensational piano-playing vocalist of the new half century", "has been drawing capacity houses all over the country with their unique swing styling and blues singing"; cf. this).

21 March 1957
Gig at Sports Center, Tucson AZ ("Blind" has disappeared from copy of poster):

April 1957
A series of one nighters throughout the Midwest, a.o. Uptown Theater in Philadelphia, headlining a double bill with Ruth Brown, and ending up at the Pershing Ballroom in Chicago.

10 and 12 April 1957
On NBC Bandstand. See this.

26 April 1957
With Ruth Brown at Uptown, Philadelphia PA.

9 May 1957
Article in Los Angeles Sentinel of this day: manager Jeff Brown and 'driver Shakleford' taking flying lessons.

18 May 1957
2-hour rock and roll stageshow at the Syria Mosque Theater in Pittsburgh PA; emceed by Barry Kaye of WJAS; bill headed by Ray, George Hamilton IV, Ruth Brown, The Moonglows, Otis Williams, The Charms, The G-Clefs, Johnny and Joe, The Clovers and Bo Diddley.

19 May 1957
Arch Tavern, Monessen PA.

20 May 1957
Billboard Review Spotlight on Get On The Right Track / It's All Right ("really powerful pair of sides", "Charles in top form").
From Billboard, May 20.

From Cashbox, Jun. 1, 1957.
26 May 1957
Recording session for Atlantic in New York.

28 May 1957
Recording session for Atlantic in New York.

30 May 1957
Memorial Day opening at Carr's Beach, Annapolis MD ("Columbia recording star" - sic!).
Ad in Baltimore Afro-American.

June 1957
Two week appearance at Detroit's Flame Show Bar.
Release of album Ray Charles (aka Hallelujah I Love Her So).

2 June 1957
Rosedale Beach.

8 June 1957
Town (Center) Club, Virginia Beach VA.

12 June 1957
Magnolia Ballroom, Atlanta GA.

Summer 1957
John Hunt on trumpet and Leroy Cooper on baritone join the band. 

July 1957
Charles stars at the Cavalcade of Jazz, at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles.
From Billboard, Jul. 15.

28 July 1957
Sparrow's Beach, Annapolis MD (with Chuck Berry).

August 1957
From Cashbox, Aug. 31, 1957.

Billboard, Aug. 19, 1957.

Release of album The Great Ray Charles.
Release of the single Swanee River Rock / I Want A Little Girl.

From Cashbox, Sep. 21, 1957.
Billboard ad, 7 October.
23 – 28 August 1957
Howard Theatre, Washington DC ("[...] the sensational recording ace of I've Got A Woman and Get On The Right Track fronts his great band as the headliner [...]"; with Jimmy Witherspoon, Nappy Brown, The Turbans; see announcement here).

Ad from Billboard, May 27.

August – September 1957
The Ray Charles band is enlarged, featuring in the "Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57" that tours the South and Southeast for six weeks of one nighters.

Tour brochure of the Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57.

9 September 1957
Billboard Review Spotlight on Swanee River Rock / I Want A Little Girl ("equally strong"). Also 'awarded' in Cashbox:
From Cashbox, Sep. 14, 1957.

12 September 1957
Recording session with Milt Jackson at Atlantic in New York.

Mid-September 1957
Week at the Club Bel-Aire in Chester ("knocked the crowds out").

Rest of September - into November 1957
Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 with Mickey and Sylvia,  Larry Williams, Joe Turner, Bo Diddley, The Del Vikings; a.o. in Knoxville, Louisville, Chattanooga, and Atlanta.
Billboard, Nov. 25, 1957.
2 October 1957
At a recording session for Atlantic in New York City NY, Ray Charles backs Big Joe Turner on Wee Baby Blues.

4 October 1957
 Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 in Fayetteville NC.
After this, the group was slated to also show in Bluefield, Raleigh, Chattanooga, Louisville, Birmingham, Houston, Dallas and Oklahoma City.

10 October 1957
 Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 at Syria Mosque, Pittsburgh PA.

15 October 1957
With Micky & Sylvia, The Del Vikings, The Moonglows, Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Bo Diddley a.o. in  the Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 at Bell Auditorium in Augusta GA (cf. this).
Ad from Augusta Chronicle.

16 October 1957
Memorial Auditorium in Nashville.

17 October 1957
With the Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 at the New Memorial Coliseum in Winston-Salem NC.

20 October 1957
Two runs of the Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 with Mary Ann Fisher and "his concert and dance orchestra" at Auburn Ave. Casino in Atlanta GA; with Mickey & Sylvia, Larry Williams, Big Joe Turner, Roy Brown, Bo Diddley, The Del Vikings, Tiny Topsy, The Moon Glows, Nappy Brown, The Velours, Vikki Nelson, Annie Laurie.
 Ad in Atlanta Daily World, Oct. 20. 

28 October 1957
Private Function, New Orleans.

31 October 1957
Fantabulous Halloween Rock 'n' Roll Blues Show and Dance at the Municipal Auditorium in San Antonio.
Ad from San Antonio Register, Oct. 25.
2 November 1957
Coliseum in Waco.

5 November 1957
Liberty Hall in El Paso.

6 November 1957
Sports Center in Tucson.

7 November 1957
Coliseum in Phoenix.

8 November 1957
Civic Auditorium in Albuquerque.

10 November 1957
Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 at Main Arena, Municipal Auditorium, Kansas City.

12 November 1957
Cincinnati Garden.

14 November 1957
Fantabulous Rock & Roll And Blues Show of '57 at Tomlinson Hall, Indianapolis IN; with Mickey and Sylvia, Larry 'The Short Fat Fannie' Williams and his orchestra, Big Joe Turner, Bo Diddley and his Trio, Ray Charles "and his dance orchestra [...] of nine men who were also the house-band", Mary Ann Fisher, Roy Brown, The Del Vikings, Nappy Brown, Vikki Nelson, Annie Laurie; cf. this).
Ad in Indianapolis Reporter, Nov. 2.
15 November 1957
Kiel Opera House in St. Louis.

29 November - 5 December 1957
From Billboard, Nov. 25.
Apollo, New York; billed as Ray "Swannee River Rock" Charles: "new revue", as Dr. Jive returns with Ray, Mickey and Sylvia, The Velours, The Kodacks, The Jesters, Bobby Dair and The Satillites, Screaming Jay Hawkins, Jo Ann Campbell and Tiny Topsy. Schiffman index card: "4500.00", "12 musicians plus a girl vocalist [= Mary Ann Fisher]. Quite popular. Shows were not uniformly good. But did register well."
Ad from New York Amsterdam News.
Most or all of the photos in this collage were taken in '57.

On the 29th also two concerts at benefit for the Morningside Community Center at Carnegie Hall.
The show is aired on Voice Of America. (The tape still exists, but the audio has never been released; see this). Eye witness here.

End of 1957
Hank Crawford joins the band.
B.B. King and Ray Charles, Memphis, 1957. Probably taken at the yearly WDIA goodwill revue, and if so probably in early December. Photo by Ernest Withers. 

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