PAUL "HUCKLEBUCK" WILLIAMS (By Phil Davies)
Born Paul Williams, 13 July 1915, Lewisburg, Tennessee
Paul Williams was a honking sax player and bandleader who carved out a place in R & B history with his 1949 Savoy label million selling smash The Hucklebuck, charting in February 1949. The highly inflential song spent 32 weeks in the R & B best sellers, reaching number one, where it stayed for an amazing 14 weeks!!. A certain " Cretinous Goon" cut a cover version of this r&b classic, roll over Francis Albert ;-). Be-bop jazz legend Charlie Parker had also recorded a tune called Now's The Time for Savoy in 1945. Paul renamed the tune The Hucklebuck after a popular late 40s dance. Apparently the original riff/tune emanates from the 1920s. Paul also charted in 1949 with a sequel called He Knows How To Hucklebuck, which reached 13 in the R & B charts.Hits like 35-30 and Walkin' Around built up his band's reputation. He cut some cool stuff for Savoy but nothing matched the sales of Hucklebuck. Williams played in Clarence Dorsey's band in 1946 and then made his recording debut with King Porter in 1947 for Paradise before forming his own band late that year. Saxophonists Noble "Thin Man" Watts and Wild Bill Moore, trumpeter Phil Guilbeau, and vocalists Danny Cobb, Jimmy Brown, Joan Shaw and Connie Allen were among Williams' band members. Paul played on some of Amos Milburn's great booze n blues tracks. Williams' Orch played in the legendary Moondog's Coronation Ball in Cleveland in 1952, before the overflowing crowd rioted. The band became the houseband on the famous 50s tv prog Showtime At The Apollo. They also backed many acts on the now legendary Alan Freed type 50s tours, check out Jim Lowe's great stories on the link below, check out those mouth watering show bills and notice our boy on there.
He was later part of Atlantic Records' house band, backing greats like Ruth Brown on songs like Hello Little Boy. He also played with Elmore James (the Fire sessions) and Dave "Baby" Cortez. Later he directed the Lloyd Price and James Brown Orch. until 1964. He played with Otis Redding, Tommy Tucker and even on the Fatback band's disco lp Gigolo. After leaving the music business temporarily, Williams opened a booking agency in New York in 1968. He died on September 4th 2002 in NY City, forever more to be associated with the Hucklebuck. Chubby Checker, the Royal Showband and Coast To Coast kept the Hucklebuck name alive in the later charts. Recommended Listening: Honkers & Shouters -Roots of RnR Vol 6 Savoy lp Dinah Washington -Live 48-55 Elmore James -the Fire Sessions Ruth Brown -Hello Little Boy Atlantic Amos Milburn -Proper 2cd Great R & B Instros -Ace Cd CDCHD 819 ( Hucklebuck) Sax Appeal -V Artists Vee Jay Savoy 60s Anniversary Timeless- V A cd, has both Hucklebuck and Parker's Now's The Time for comparison Recommended link: http://www.dumboozle.com/randb/rbdex.html
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