September 12, 2010

Jack McVea - when Rock n' Roll was in its infancy, it relied heavily on guys like him to get it jumping.

Once again, looking at the early days of Rock n' Roll and how mainstream media tried to capitalize on it. With all the radio audience heading over to top-40 and favorite disc jockey's, conventional (i.e. network) radio was left somewhat in the cold. So the movement was afoot to try and win some of that missing audience over, or at least get them to come visit every once in a while. CBS and ABC Radio were about the first ones to try doing for rock n' roll what they had been doing for Jazz and Big Band for years, spotlighting it in live settings. ABC ran a shortlived radio series from The Apollo in Harlem and CBS tinkered with shows like this one - aimed directly at the teen audience (even though they had Burgermeister Beer, a California brewery for sponsorship) and tried to ease the audience who wasn't used to Rock n Roll in with the audience that was. The result was interesting, especially as this show proves. Headliners Jack McVea (who immortalized "Open The Door Richard" in the 1940s) and Jake Porter (going under the pseudonym King Porter), ran through their catalog of Jump Blues and the Platters were called in to supply the teen-oriented bits.

Jake Porter was a label owner in his own right, having started the L.A. based Combo Records, who churned out many hits on the R&B charts.

This particular show, even though it claims to be an hour, is really only a half-hour so I suspect it was a demo and maybe not actually aired. But in any event, the show was recorded on May 10, 1956 and gives you some idea of what was going on with radio aside from the local DJ's.

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