of the Rhythm & Blues came out of the blues world of Brinkley, Arkansas,
to play in Chick Webb's swing band from 1932 to 1938; he played alto sax
and participated in comedy routines.
He began recording for Decca in 1938 with his
own Tympany Five, remaining on the label until 1953. He had his first
million-seller in 1944 with "Is You Is Or Is You Ain't Ma Baby?" -- having
previously attracted attention with "Knock Me A Kiss" and "I'm Gonna Move
To The Outskirts Of Town," the latter a classic Blues.
His second million-seller was "Caldonia (What
Makes Your Big Head So Hard?)," followed in 1946 by two million-sellers,
"Beware, Brother, Beware" and "Choo Choo Ch 'Boogie," the biggest seller
In all these, he pursued a basic rhythm of Shuffle
Boogie, later taken over by early Rock 'n' Roll. As he said, he "made
the blues jump," and in so doing, influenced B. B. King, Chuck Berry, and
Shaw -- American Dictionary of Pop / Rock.