The Four Blazes – Mary Jo
Delmark DE 704 (1998) – United Series
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 Great 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! (Delmark 671) and the 1994 live recording West Side Baby (Delmark 706). With special guest Eddie Chamblee on tenor sax.