IVORY JOE HUNTER: SINCE I MET YOU BABY. Yep we're going back to dinosaur times with this one, a great song from 1956. Although many of you hadn't been born yet, thanks to Oldies Radio Stations many of these songs were heard by folks 30 or 40 years later.
Hunter was born in Kirbyville, Texas in 1914, and by the age of 13 was quite a good piano player. He made his first recording for Alan Lomax and the Library of Congress in 1933 as a teenager. In the 40's he moved to Los Angeles and played in several groups and founded Pacific Records.
In 1956 with over 100 records already under his belt he went to Atlantic Records, the place that understood his kind of music. "Since I Met You Baby" was his first recording to make the Pop Chart at #12, and #1 R&B, but he'd never have another Pop Hit, his success continued in the R&B genre.
Ivory Joe was a big man, 6'4" and dressed in flashy suits...the ladies loved him, and he became known as "The Baron of the Boogie" and "The Happiest Man Alive," (which might have had something to do with the ladies). As unlikely as it seems, Hunter also became popular in the Country Music field at the time, leading him to be one of the only artists to be honored at both the Monterey Jazz Festival and the Grand Ole Opry.
Fun Fact: In 1957 Ivory Joe Hunter was invited to visit Elvis at Graceland and The two spent the day together, singing "I Almost Lost My Mind," R&B and Gospel songs. Later Hunter commented, "He is very spiritually minded... he showed me every courtesy, and I think he's one of the greatest."
Hunter died of Lung Cancer in 1974 at age 60. It occurred to me that maybe sometimes Elvis slides over in Rock and Roll Heaven to Jam with Big Joe in the R&B area, and sing like angels. @therealdonrocks
A version of this post originally appeared on The Don Rocks Facebook page. For more stories like these every day, join us on Facebook and Twitter.