Small House of Everything

Small House of Everything

Thursday, March 21, 2019


Today is the 67th anniversary of the first major rock and roll concert, The Moondog Coronation Ball.  (Well, the first major almost rock and roll concert, in reality.)  It was organized by WJW disc jockey Alan Freed and was held at the Cleveland Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, and featured artists whose songs were played on freed's radio program, including Paul Williams, Tiny Grimes,  The Rocking Highlanders, The Dominos, Varetta Dillard, and Danny Cobb.

Due to counterfeiting and a printing error more tickets were issued than the arena could hold.  The audience that showed up was estimated to be twice the arena's capacity.  Fire Department officials closed the concert soon after it had begun.  In fact, only one song was played by the opening act Paul Williams and his Hucklebuckers before the music was stopped.

Paul Williams, a jazz and blues saxophonist and bandleader had been gaining popularity with his 'race' records by 1948.  While playing "D'Natural Blues," a song written for artist Andy Gibson, Williams noticed his audience dancing a new dance, The Hucklebuck, to the song.  Willimas changed the words to the song and began singing 'The Huckle-Buck."  Recorded in Decemebr 1948, the song reached #1 on the R&B charts and stayed there for an incredible 14 weeks.  That song, along with Williams' driving saxophone beat and vigorous showmanship, became a "hallmark of rhythm and blues and rock and roll during the Fifties and early Sixties.

I don't now what song Paul Williams actually played at the very truncated 1952 show, but in honor of him and anniversary of rock and roll concerts, here's "The Huckle-Buck."

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