A Few Questions About Some Of The Forgotten ©1999JCMarion
Question : Was there really a Mitzi Mars ?
Answer : With a great name like that, which sounds like a natural for the super hero comic book world (like Lana Lang or Lois Lane), I was quite inquisitive when I saw that name flash across the page in reading something about the early days of Rhythm & Blues music. And so I decided to investigate. I found only a few tidbits of information that have survived from those days. In late 1951 or early 1952, Joe Brown of Detroit, owner of the independent label J.O.B., issued a recording by Mitzi Mars with the Henry Palmer Combo called "Jump Boy" and "Scrunch". The next mention of our Mitzi does not occur until the middle of June in the following year, as she has a new record out on Checker Records in Chicago. It is #773 and it is "Roll 'Em" and "I'm Glad". She is backed by the local Sax Mallard Combo. The record supposedly does well in the South, and Mallard is the beneficiary of the good advance as he gets "name" recognition in and around Chicago. There is also a mention in the trade press about Mitzi doing a personal appearance at the Club Los Angeles in Chicago. And that, unfortunately, is the last mention of the mysterious Miss Mitzi Mars.
Question : Was there really a group called the Four Plaid Throats ?
Answer : Oh absolutely ! Hidden in the back pages of record label listings is this one for Mercury Records #70143 called "My Inspiration" / "The Message". It is by the afore mentioned Four Plaid Throats. The name is never seen again, but it exists, I swear !
Who was and whatever happened to Madeline Greene ?
Answer : Madeline Greene was a big band vocalist with Erskine Hawkins and Earl Hines. Her recordings with the Three Varieties with the Hines orchestra were classic sides, especially their version of "Sunny Side of the Street" with great lag-time style by Greene. Moving into the R & B years, Greene was signed with the independent Domino label owned by Seymour Goldblum. Her first release for the label was "Be Sure" and "I've Got A Right To Be Blue" with backup by The Magichords and the Rene Hall combo. The record was out on the streets on April 1, 1950. Evidently Madeline kept at it in the music field, because the next mention of her is five long years later when she is one of the performers in a big R & B extravaganza in her home town of Cleveland. On the bill for the show at the Cleveland Arena on Easter Sunday 1955, were the Ravens, Clyde McPhatter & The Drifters, Willie Mabon, Todd Rhodes and his orchestra, and Bull Moose Jackson & his Buffalo Bearcats. Quite a show !
Question : Muvva Hubbard ???
Answer : Yes indeed. One of my two favorite "guitar" nicknames (such as "Guitar" Red, "Guitar" Slim, Johnny "Guitar" Watson, "Guitar" Gable), and many others. Muvva "Guitar" Hubbard recorded for ABC-Paramount and released #9744 - "Congo Mambo" and "Pony Tail" in late 1956. My other favorite name is Guitar Crusher who put out a great side that I remember called "I Feel The Pain".
Question : Who was Willie (not Billie) Holiday ?
Answer : Willie Holiday was a seventeen year old performer, a protege of Don Robey and his Houston, Texas R & B empire which included Duke / Peacock Records and the Bronze Peacock, a famous Houston nightclub that featured many R & B performers. Willie was given the big buildup and released a record on the Peacock label #1531 - "I've Played This Town" and "My Woman Put Me Down". The record was released in April of 1950. It evidently did not make much of an impression, because the young man was never heard from again, musically speaking.
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