One of the top R&B records of 1952, a tribute to that legendary woman who "went up to Alaska just to melt the snow", "Mary Jo" provided a moment in the national spotlight for one of Chicago's hottest vocal combos. The single was released in April of '52 and entered the national charts in the middle of July. It moved rapidly to the top, displacing Lloyd Price's "Lawdy Miss Clawdy" as the #1 R&B song in the nation at the end of August. Born in the waning years of the Depression, The Four Blazes brought vitality and showmanship to the early years of R&B. Bassist Tommy Braden was the main lead singer while all members provided backup harmony vocals. "Jelly" Holt was the founder and drummer in the group, while Floyd McDaniel and "Shorty" Hill played guitars. (Floyd stayed active in music throughout his life including the 1991 album Let Your Hair Down! and the 1994 recording West Side Baby.) With special guest Eddie Chamblee on tenor sax.

Part of our United Series.


Song List:
1. Mary Jo
2. Not Any More Tears
3. Raggedy Ride
4. Mood Indigo
5. Perfect Woman
6. My Great Love Affair
7. Rug Cutter
8. Lovin' Man
9. All Night Long
10. Never Start Living
11. Snag The Britches
12. Please Send Her Back To Me
13. Night Train
14. Ella Louise
15. Stop Boogie Woogie
16. My Hat's On The Side Of My Head
17. Perfect Woman
18. Do The Do
19. Drunken Blues
20. She Needs To Be Loved
21. Women, Women
22. Did You Ever See A Monkey Play A Fiddle
23. Done Got Over
24. Don't Lose Your Cool

Reaction Report:

"The Chicago based quartet the Four Blazes had one of the hottest sounds of 1952, bursting onto the charts with 'Mary Jo,' a tight vocal/instrumental combo number that replaced Lloyd Price's 'Lawdy Miss Clawdy' at the top.

"Mary Jo, the 9th trip into the United vaults for Delmark, features the complete United recordings of the Blazes, founded in 1940 by drummer Paul 'Jelly' Holt, a regular in the Chicago after-hours jam sessions that combined the best Chicago had to offer with the best of the national touring acts that were in town.

"Holt gathered together Shorty Hill, Floyd McDaniel and Prentice Butler to form the Four Blazes. All crack players, the group rocked with the 'hot jive' sound popular in the day. Guitarists Hill and McDaniel were multi-instrumentalists who added variety to the band's sound and all fourmembers sang harmony. In '45 they added Pittsburgh pianist Ernie Harper and in '47 recorded for Aristocrat as the Five Blazes. After the death of bassist Prentice Butler in '50, the band shuffled again, dropping the piano and bringing in bassist and lead vocalist Tommy Braden.

"...Fabulous guitar work from McDaniel and Hill delivers the music's drive while the tenor sax of guest Eddie Chamblee gives it its hop. Highlights include "Perfect Woman" ("She's built like a Coca-Cola bottle from her head down to her toes"), "Not Any More Tears" and "Please Send Her Back to Me," while smooth harmony numbers like "Mood Indigo" and "My Great Love Affair" slide along like skates on ice.

"Great music, great grooves and excellent production. If you have any interest in early '50's R&B, don't miss this one."

- Brett J. Bonner, Blues Access

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