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Rosco Gordon


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Rosco Gordon (April 10, 1928 – July 11, 2002) was an American, Memphis blues and rhythm & blues, singer and songwriter. He is best known for his 1952, number 1, rhythm & blues hit single, “Booted”, and two number 2 singles, “No More Doggin’” (1952 RPM 350) and “Just a Little Bit” (1960 Vee-Jay 332).

Born on Florida Street, in Memphis, Tennessee, Gordon was one of the “Beale Streeters”, a group of musicians in 1949 that also featured Johnny Ace, B.B. King, and Bobby “Blue” Bland a.o., who helped to develop the style known as Memphis Blues. Gordon used a style of piano playing known as ‘The Rosco Rhythm’, he placed the accent on the off beats, and although other influential rhythm & blues pianists such as Professor Longhair (on “Willie Mae” among other songs) recorded in the same off beat style before him, through his influence on the Jamaican pianist, Theophilus Beckford (“Easy Snappin’”), Gordon was cited as the foundation of Jamaican ska, bluebeat and reggae music.
Rosco Gordon made a number of his early recordings for Sam Phillips at Sun Records.
“Booted” (1952) gave his career a sound start, and was followed by “No More Doggin’” the same year. Sam Phillips later sold the master tape of “Booted” to two competing record labels, Chess and RPM, both of whom released it as a single as he had done with some early Howlin’ Wolf songs. The RPM release reached #1 on the Billboard R&B record chart. Chess and the Bihari Brothers later settled the conflict with the Biharis getting exclusive rights to Gordon and Chess signing Wolf to an exclusive contract.


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