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Chapter 25: Mess Around

Early R&B and pre-rock

When the iconic Sister Rosetta Tharpe was asked about the phenomenal success of rock n’ roll music, she said “This is just sped up rhythm and blues - I've been doing that forever.” It’s hard to doubt her when listening to these R&B cuts from the pre-rock era. Maybe there’s a little more piano, a little less guitar - but between the rollicking party songs of Louis Jordan, the Treniers’ cheeky “Poontang,” and Lucille Bogan’s beyond-cheeky “Shave Em Dry,” all the elements of rock are already here. (Seriously, you aren’t prepared for “Shave Em Dry.”)
1. Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five

Saturday Night Fish Fry

2. Sister Rosetta Tharpe

Strange Things Happening Every Day

3. Ella Mae Morse

The House of Blue Lights

4. Jimmy Forrest

Night Train

5. Ella Mae Morse

Cow-Cow Boogie

6. Lucille Bogan

Shave 'Em Dry II

7. Louis Jordan & His Tympany Five


8. Ray Charles

Mess Around

9. The Treniers


10. Tiny Bradshaw

Well, Oh Well