1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Willie Mae "Big Mama" Thorton

Discussion in 'Blues & Jazz' started by Truckin, Feb 22, 2010.

  1. Truckin

    Truckin Ride Captain Ride

    Posts:
    671
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    December 11


    Big Mama Thornton was born on December 11, 1926. She was an African-American blues singer, songwriter, drummer and harmonica player.

    Willie Mae Thornton was raised in a religious setting in Montgomery, AL. Her father was a minister and her mother sang in the choir. Thornton's musical aspirations led her to leave home in 1941 at age 14 and join the Georgia-based Hot Harlem Revue. Her seven-year tenure with the Revue gave her significant singing and stage experience and enabled her to tour the South, settling in Houston in 1948.

    Thornton was a self-taught drummer and harmonica player and regularly played both instruments on stage. She was singing on the Houston circuit when Peacock Records signed her in 1951. She opened the recording with "Partnership Blues" that year, backed by trumpeter Joe Scott's band. But it was her third Peacock date with Johnny Otis's band that proved the winner. She was the first to record the hit song "Hound Dog" in 1952. The song was #1 on the Billboard R&B charts for seven weeks

    Elvis Presley's rocking 1956 cover was even bigger, which concealed Thornton's chief claim to immortality, although Thornton's menacing growl was something special. With Pete Lewis laying down some truly nasty guitar behind her, Big Mama shouted "Hound Dog," a song whose lyrics remain a bone of contention to this day. Though Thornton recorded some fine follow-ups such as "I Smell a Rat," "Stop Hoppin' on Me," "The Fish, and "Just like a Dog," through 1957, she never again reached the hit parade.

    Early 1960s 45 records for labels Irma, Bay-Tone, Kent, and Sotoplay did little, but a series of dates included her first vinyl rendition of "Ball and Chain" in 1968 and two albums for Mercury in 1969-70 put her back in motion. Along with her imposing vocals, Thornton began to emphasize her harmonica skills during the 1960s. Thornton was a tough woman. She dressed like a man and took no crap from anyone, even as the pounds fell off her once large frame during the last years of her life.

    Medical personnel found her lifeless body in a rooming house; Big Mama Thornton died July 25, 1984, in Los Angeles, California.






     
  2. Flower

    Flower retired

    Posts:
    7,687
    Likes Received:
    12
    Joined:
    Apr 27, 2007
    Location:
    In a maze, under a rainbow




    :)
     
  3. Truckin

    Truckin Ride Captain Ride

    Posts:
    671
    Likes Received:
    2
    Joined:
    May 24, 2006
    Location:
    NE Ohio
    Little Red Rooster..... listening to that I see a smoke filled room filled with people getting their groove on... good song Flower.:clap:
     
  4. Phil B.

    Phil B. Far Out Man!

    Posts:
    9,587
    Likes Received:
    125
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    Tejas
    Big Mama is sadly missed as one of the foundations of Rock and Roll.

    Elvis' cover of her "Hound Dog" really was instrumental. Too bad more people don't know about her. She could really belt them out. She probably wasn't a woman you wanted to mess with. :D

    Rolling Stone



    Let's Go Get Stoned



    and this video shows off her Harp skills



    thanks to Electric Funeral, I stole this video from his "Rock Me Baby" thread. I believe it is from the same concert as the video posted above.

     
    Last edited: Oct 16, 2011
  5. Sunny

    Sunny Settled down at last and very happy.

    Posts:
    15,769
    Likes Received:
    155
    Joined:
    Jan 1, 2010
    Location:
    On a far away island .....
    She's so good Mr B :grinthumb
     
  6. Phil B.

    Phil B. Far Out Man!

    Posts:
    9,587
    Likes Received:
    125
    Joined:
    Sep 22, 2010
    Location:
    Tejas
    ^^^ I agree Sunny, Big Mama can belt them out!

    They Call Me Big Mama




    I'm Feelin' Alright



    Jail (Live)

     
  7. Metal Head Mike

    Metal Head Mike Senior Member

    Age:
    45
    Posts:
    854
    Likes Received:
    8
    Joined:
    Dec 23, 2011
    Location:
    Louisville,Ky
    Love me some Big Mama Thornton. Love her great Blues Vocals. This song kicks major ass

     

Share This Page

defer="defer" charset="utf-8">