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KCBS Blues Hall of Fame

2016 Inductees
 

"K.C. Loving" - Little Willie Littlefield

Little Willie Littlefield,  a popular singer/pianist with a slew of cheerful blues and boogie on Modern record label,  recorded 'K.C. Lovin'' (Federal 12110) in 1952 on the Federal label, a subsidiary of King Records. 

 

Littlefield claims that he wrote the song and sold it to Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller in a moment of weakness. Leiber and Stoller tell the story that they were asked by Littlefield’s producer, Ralph Bass to write a song about Kansas City for Little Willie Littlefield.

In either case, Kansas City, with its bars and bordellos (not to mention Count Basie and Charlie Parker) was the epicenter of cool in 1952.  “K.C. Lovin’’ sold 100,000 copies, a good showing but which pales in comparison to the rerecording of it-- by Wilbert Harrison in 1959 as “Kansas City.”  Many critics feel the Littlefield version is superior to Harrison's, especially for the sax solo by Maxwell Davis.

Lottie Kimbrough

Lottie Kimbrough was an American country blues singer.  

She was a famously large woman, nicknamed "the Kansas City Butter-ball".  Her vocal power and the unique arrangements of several of her best pieces rank her as one of the sizable talents of the 1920s blues tradition.”

She recorded and performed under several pseudonyms.  She recorded between the years 1924 to 1929 for Gennett, Champion, Supertone, Superior, Merritt and Paramount record labels. She performed in Kansas City nightclubs and speakeasies in the ‘20s. By 1930 she had disappeared from the Kansas City music scene. 

Her self-penned song "Rolling Log Blues" has  been recorded by Son House, The Blues Band, Rory Block, Eric Bibb, Maria Muldaur, Buffy Sainte-Marie, and others.

 

Pete Johnson

Pete Johnson was one of the three great boogie-woogie pianists (along with Albert Ammons and Meade Lux Lewis) whose sudden prominence in the late '30s helped make the style very popular.

 

He was part of the Kansas City scene in the 1920s and '30s, often accompanying singer Big Joe Turner. Producer John Hammond discovered him in 1936 and got him to play at the Famous Door in New York.

 

After taking part in Hammond's Spirituals to Swing Carnegie Hall concert in 1938, Johnson started recording regularly and toured with Ammons and/or Lewis. He also backed Turner on some classic records.

 

Johnson was in obscurity for much of the 1950 decade. A stroke later in 1958 left him partly paralyzed.

 

Johnson made one final appearance at John Hammond's January 1967 Spirituals to Swing concert, playing the right hand on a version of "Roll 'Em Pete" two months before his death.—allmusic.com

 
 

Lindsay Shannon

The blues have always been in Lindsay Shannon's blood.  Proud owner of BB’s Lawnside Blues & BBQ in Kansas City, Lindsay’s credentials are impressive: founding member of the Kansas City Blues Society in 1980, blues radio DJ, and booking agent for the blues stage at Kansas City’s (now defunct) Spirit Festival.

 

Lindsay’s successful radio show on KCFX, 101FM, The Fox, “The Kansas City Blues Show,” earned him the Blues Foundation’s “Keeping the Blues Alive” award for blues in commercial radio in 1992. 

When he was a boy, the Kansas City Blues, a farm team of the New York Yankees, played ball at a stadium close to all the barbecue places in the 18th and Vine district, and eating barbecue became part of the ritual. As a college student, he developed BBQ recipes while listening to the blues on regional radio. When he opened his restaurant, it seemed a natural to feature live blues with his barbeque.

When you come to Kansas City, be sure to stop by his friendly, family place. It’s easy to get there. As Lindsay says, “To find it, turn right on 85th, then go south about 60 years.”

Casey Bill Weldon

Casey Bill Weldon, billed as the “Hawaiian Guitar Wizard”, was a pioneer of electric blues and a songwriter whose three best-known tunes are  "Somebody's Got to Go," "Somebody Changed the Lock on My Door," and "We Gonna Move to the Outskirts of Town." 

 

He had two legal names, William Weldon and Nathan Hammond, and may have used other names as well. His nickname “Casey Bill” was derived from a reference to K.C.  

 

Weldon played a Hawaiian steel guitar, unusual in the blues, and his playing influenced the steel guitar tradition in Western swing and country & western. His style of playing was highly influential on the emerging Chicago Blues style as well.  He was one of the first blues artists to record with an electric amplifier in 1938.