Previous Vocal Group Record of the Week
#619 (Week of 5/30/09 - 6/5/09)


"Baby You're Always On My Mind"
by Buddy Johnson And His Orchestra
Vocal Chorus By Ella Johnson And The Bee Jays
on Decca 28293
released in 1952

Above: Picture of Ella And Buddy Johnson from November 29, 1951 Jet Magazine.

"Natural Blues" Make Johnson No. 1 Band
JET MAGAZINE, Nov. 29, 1951 Of all the big bands few can match the amazing box office drawing power of Buddy Johnson's outfit when the buses head for Dixie. Considered the most "clannish" group of musicians in the business, "the band that plays the blues," enjoys an almost fanatical following in the South. Fans idolize both their hero, Woodrow (Buddy) Johnson and his blues-singing sister, Ella, considered most under-rated of all the popular vocalists.
A thumping, rocking "revival meeting" touch to the music Buddy plays is perhaps responsible for his phenomenal success in the South. This is due, he says, to his North Carolina background where he learned early to interpret in blues patterns, the thinking of the people on the sidewalks. "We play the natural blues," he says modestly. Decca Records, however, not quite so modest, considers him one of its top money makers on wax, and promoters agree that his aggregation ranks at the top as a money-making dance band.

Click HERE for an article about Buddy Johnson by J.C. Marion.
(Above link will open in a separate window)

Above: January 15, 1949 clipping from Billboard Magazine. The Buddy Johnson Orchestra had a long career with Decca starting in 1939 with their first record, featuring Buddy's lead singing backed by The Mack Sisters.

Above: Label image of Decca 28293 recorded on 1/24/52 and released in July 1952. It was the second of two sides by Ella And The Bee Jays on Decca (1952). They later had two sides released on Mercury, one with Ella (1956) and one without (1957). The Bee Jays consisted of members of Buddy Johnson's Orchestra, who on Decca were Purvis Henson, Steve Pulliam, and Julius Watson.

Billboard, September 25, 1954:
Mercury Records has signed Ella Johnson to a new recording contract as a solo performer. The rhythm and blues thrush has for the past 10 years sung with brother Buddy Johnson's band on personal appearances and records. She will continue to record and work with the band but also make single disks for the label's rhythm and blues chief, Bob Shad. Shad, meanwhile, leaves on a 10-city promotional tour next Monday (20).

Listen to this week's selection by Ella Johnson And The Bee Jays on Decca 28293 from 1952:
[Audio restoration by Dave Saviet.]
Above: Ella Johnson (1952)
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