Newstalgia Pop Chronicles - The Blues & Rhythm Midnight Matinee - 1951

Considered the first rock concert (at least one of the first recorded), Los Angeles R&B Disc Jockey Hunter Hancock M.C.'s a star-studded lineup of Rhythm & Blues musicians for a "midnight matinee" broadcast from Olympic Auditorium in Los Angeles, September 29, 1951


In what has been billed "The first rock n' roll concert", The Olympic Auditorium in downtown Los Angeles played host to what was originally intended to be a weekly series of midnight Rhythm & Blues concerts broadcast live and hosted by local DJ Hunter Hancock. There is some dispute as to whether this was the first of its kind or the another series of concerts, hosted by local record impresario Gene Norman was actually the first. Norman did a weekly concert series called Just Jazz from both the Pasadena Civic Auditorium and The Olympic Auditorium but he also had a Just Blues series that also featured many of the R&B greats from the late 1940's and early 1950's. I've heard one program from the Norman series featuring Roy Milton and His Solid Senders as the house band, but the badly damaged discs had no dates. So the mystery continues.

In any event, this concert is (from all reports) a 20 minute distillation of two concerts, broadcast on the 28th and 29th of September 1951. In addition to an over-the-top Hancock, there also such luminaries as Smilin' Smokey Lynn, Duke Henderson, gospel group The Golden Keys and L.A. favorite, Big Jay McNeely and others.

In case, after listening to last week's Chronicles, you were under the impression that all music of the 1950's before Elvis Presley sounded like Eddie Fisher, I'm here to tell you that just wasn't so.

And the audience by all accounts, was in hysterics.

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