Saturday, 19 February 2011

Welcome to Earl Diablo's Blog!

First up is an article I wrote for Milkcow Magazine about the fabulous Merrill E Moore.

Rock ‘n’ Roll is not just one style of music but it is diverse with many sounds and many different angles, the Country music angle which is Rockabilly, the black angle which is Rhythm ‘n’ Blues, the vocal angle which is Doo-Wop and the piano angle which is Boogie Woogie.....hold on....Boogie Woogie....say more!

Boogie Ma Blues....

Boogie Woogie was a repetitive piano style with roots that date right back in history to the very early years of the 20th century in the turpentine camps and oil boomtowns of Texas and Louisiana, where the Boogie Woogie baseline and pattern was created. By night the workers in such camps drunk themselves into oblivion, they cheated at cards, brawled and murdered each other but each camp had a Barrelhouse and in these houses the Boogie Woogie style was forming. This is why you often hear Boogie Woogie called Barrelhouse Piano.
Possibly the first Boogie Woogie to be recorded was in 1924 and called Chicago Stomps by Jimmy Blyth, by the 1930s and 40s this piano based form of the Blues had it’s hold on America, big time. Boogie Woogie music was so popular and its creators suddenly became famous names; Meade Lux Lewis, Pete Johnson, Jimmy Yancey, Albert Ammons and Pinetop Smith.

As music progressed and times changed, things moved on but some folks were still possessed by the spirit and drive of Boogie Woogie.

One name brings a smile to every Rock ‘n’ Roll fans face as they remember the name of Merrill E Moore.....yeah daddy...Merrill E Moore.....

Down The Road a Piece....
The story of Merrill E Moore...

Merrill E Moore was a truly holy man for he performed Boogie Woogie on his piano but his music was a blend of Western Swing and R&B which produced something so special.....Rock ‘n’ Roll.
Merrill E Moore was born on a farm near Algona in Iowa in September of 1923 and by the age of just 7 he had taken to the piano. By 12 he was performing on a radio station in the nearby town of Des Moines and in the evenings when school was through he played his piano in a band on the Midwestern ballroom circuit. By December of 1941 America had entered the 2nd WorldWar so Merrill joined the U.S Navy. After he left the service Merrill tied the knot with his high-school sweetheart and relocated to San Diego.

In the late 1940’s the Hillbilly lead Boogie Woogie sounds of Moon Mullican totally amazed Merrill and some day he wanted to play in the same hypnotic Boogie Woogie style.
By 1950 Merrill began to perform regularly at the Buckaroo Club and with it’s manager Jimmy Kennedy they formed the Saddle, Rock & Rhythm Boys. In 1952 with this band to back him and with Jimmy Kennedy’s help Merrill signed to Capitol Records and in that same year released Big Bug Boogie. Come 1952 Corrine Corrina was released and in 1953 Red Light, Bartender Blues, Bellbottom Boogie and House of Blue Lights. House Of Blue Lights became a national hit but Jimmy had say and he didn’t want the band to tour to promote the record. A 7 year deal had been signed between Merrill and Jimmy, a deal in which Merrill E Moore and the Saddle, Rock & Rhythm Boys appeared at his club 6 nights a week and Jimmy had also helped get Merrill signed to Capitol so Jimmy Kennedy thought he had some kinda say.

Roll on to 1955 and Merrill became a regular musician on Hillbilly entrepreneur Cliffie Stones television and radio show called Hometown Jamboree. Merrill had walked out on his contract with Jimmy Kennedy but he still recorded Boogie Woogie for Capitol Records, Buttermilk Baby and Down The Road A Piece are prime examples of his 1955 recordings. Merrill also became a session musician for Capitol too and played piano for Skeets McDonald, Wanda Jackson, Sonny James, Faron Young and Tommy Sands.

In 1958 Merrill recorded an album of instrumentals but it was not released, at the time. He did not record again for some time and by 1962 Merrill was performing on cruise ships and in hotels.
A European rediscovery of his music began in 1969 and he played in England which lead to the Tree Top Tall album being released, however this didn’t lead to anything big for Merrill he still played clubs in his local area and at times ventured out to Arizona or Nevada. A car crash in 1986 laid Merrill up for a few years but in 1998 he was called back to England to appear at the Hemsby Rock ‘n’ Roll weekender in Great Yarmouth where he was hailed a hero and adored.
Life is strange and cancer set in and in June of 2000 Merrill E Moore died....R.I.P oh hallowed one....

The exceptional recordings that Merrill laid down are truly something so powerful and extraordinary. Lead by his almost frenzied Boogie Woogie piano with his vocals lazy and easy going that are recognisably Rock and Roll.....bless ma soul....

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