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Bill Doggett -Honky-Tonk Live – Live From France

Bill Doggett -Honky-Tonk 

Bill Doggett performs without a doubt one of his best instrumental pieces ever.  Every time I hear this song, it makes me want to get up and bust a move on the dancefloor.  Recording for King Records back in the day, this song is still one of the highest charting tracks for King Records.

No surprise here! You have Bill Doggett riding the rails of rhythm and blues and taking prisoners along for the ride. Furthermore, you have equally stunning guitar work and a full band backing them up. Below is a live performance in France circa 1972.

Bill Doggett – Early Years

An American jazz and rhythm and blues pianist and organist as well as his work with the Ink Spots, Johnny Otis, Wynonie Harris, Ella Fitzgerald, and Louis Jordan. But like most musicians from Philly, you grow up on church music.

For Bill, he had choice but to go to church since his mother was the church pianist. But lucky for us, she taught him some amazing piano music so by the time he turns fifteen, he joins a Philadelphia area combo and hits the clubs and theaters while still going to high school.

The Ink Spots

In 1942 he is hired as the Ink Spots’ pianist and arranger which garners him some nice notoriety. By the end of 1947, he becomes the replacement pianist for Louis Jordan’s “Tympany Five”. While he was in this band, he first achieves success playing the Hammond organ which he played an important part on Jordan’s biggest hit “Saturday Night Fish Fry” which he reputed to have written and yet, Jordan takes the credit for it.

Doing Things His Way…

Alas, he has bigger fish to fry and in 1951, things start to fall into place when he creates his own trio and starts recording for King Records. His hit Honky Tonk which becomes a hit in 1956 sells four million copies (reaching No. 1 R&B and No. 2 Pop) which he co-wrote with Billy Butler.

Who’s crying now? Obviously not Doggett! Furthermore, He wins the “Cash Box” award for best rhythm and blues performer in 1957, 1958, and 1959. He also arranges for many bandleaders and performers, including Louis Armstrong, Count Basie, Ella Fitzgerald, and Lionel Hampton. 

Not too shabby to say the least…Enjoy!

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