Big Maybelle Candy
Known as “Americas Queen Mother of Soul” Big Maybelle had a voice to match her tall stature, with a deep and gravelly voice she was able to sing anything from the softest melody to the most booming ballads, all with an immense amount of passion.
At the age of eight Maybelle gained top honors at a Memphis amateur contest. She owed much of her emotional vocal style to singing Gospel Music but eventually the church became to small to contain her and she went on to join up with Memphis Bandleader Dave Clark.
Producer Fred Mendelsohn discovered Smith in the Queen City and after being re-christened Big Maybelle, she was signed up to Columbia’s OKeh R&B subsidiary in 1952. Her first Okeh platter, the unusual “Gabbin’ Blues” (written by tunesmith Rose Marie McCoy and arranger Leroy Kirkland) was a great hit, which climbed to the upper rungs of the R&B charts
She continued doing what she loved up until the day she slipped into a diabetic coma and never awoke, but no one can deny the huge impact that she had left on the world of Blues music.
Also known by his pseudonyms “Charles Calhoun” and “Chuck Calhoun” Jesse was born and raised in Kansas where he was enveloped in a wide variety of musical styles.
Starting early in life, Jesse came from a musical family of Minstrels and at the age of 4 had already begun putting on shows with a trained dog.
By 1926 he had started up a group of his own, the “Blue Serenaders” and had created his first record “Starvation Blues”
For a few years he stayed in Kansas, working as a Pianist and arranger before finally hitting the big leagues.
In 1945 he joined National Records, and two years later found himself on the staff at Atlantic Records. At the time, Stone was the only black person on the Atlantic payroll.
From there on out he went on to become an exceptional musician and songwriter whose influence spanned a wide range of genres, before he retiring in 1975 and marrying Evelyn Mcgee, formerly of the International Sweethearts of Rhythm.
Another Blues revolutionist, Arnett was born in Texas in 1918 and was taught to play the piano by his Grandmother, a single instrument wasn’t enough to fuel his musical creativity though and he went on to learn the violin, before taking up the tenor saxophone in his high school band.
Arnett moved around a few bands before finally starting his own, but soon after suffered a serious illness in 1950. He survived and after a few years of recuperation the band was reformed, only to have their success interrupted once more by a new disaster.
Arnett was involved in a car crash which involved periods in hospital and the permanent use of crutches. Never the less, he and his band persevered and he is now known today as the “Wild Man of the Tenor Sax” because of his uninhibited stomping style.