The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Datebook: December 28 – Godfather of R&B Turns 90

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Johnny Otis was born on December 28, 1921 (still alive). He’s an American musician commonly referred to as the “Godfather of Rhythm and Blues.” The son of Greek immigrants, he grew up in the ethnically mixed neighborhood in Vallejo, California and identified himself with the culture of his black neighborhood friends. He founded his own band in 1945 and became a hit with the song “Harlem Nocturne,” followed by a long string of R&B hits. He discovered Big Jay McNeely (“Barrelhouse Stomp”), Etta James (“Roll With Me, Henry”), He also produced the original recording of “Hound Dog.” In 1958, he recorded his best-known recording “Willie and the Hand Jive.” He was inducted to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1994.

It’s Wednesday, December 28

This Sunday St. John’s Episcopal Church, 1620 West Main in Murray opens a Free Warming Center. Its hours are 6 to 8 p.m. through Saturday March 3. The Center provides dinner and breakfast as well as lodging. No pre-registration is required, but arrival should be before 10 p.m. Call 270-753-1881 for more.

The Art Guild of Paducah meets for the first time in 2012 next Tuesday. Regular guild meetings with a program are the first Tuesday monthly — from 6 to 8 p.m. at the McCracken County Public Library. The Library’s at 555 Washington Street.

Lake Barkley State Resort Park near Cadiz hosts the Nashville band Pink Cadillac for Saturday’s Barkley Bash. The Park’s package includes overnight lodging in a lake view room, dinner buffet for 2, Barkley Bash dancing, drinks during dance and breakfast buffet for two. This is an age 21 and older event with no outside alcohol permitted. Call 270-924-1131.

Hear A Season’s Griot 2011 tomorrow at noon. See more at wkms.org. Thanks.

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