Saturday, December 13, 2008

One more instructional dance tune

It's Finger Poppin' Time by Hank Ballard and the Midnighters.

By 1961 and the release of this tune, R&B performer Hank Ballard had already established his sound and a strong influence on early rock and roll. He had the sexy Work with me Annie in 1954, The Twist in 59 and then Let's Go Let's Go Let's Go. Chubby Checker recorded The Twist in 1960 and that's the version most people remember, as Checker had a whole Twist franchise happening.

Mr. Ballard died in 2003 in his late 70s. He came to Toronto sometime back in the late 80s or early 90s. I don't recall the year, although I recall the show vividly. I think it was at the Horseshoe Tavern and it was packed and very hot. Ballard had a full band with a horn section and singers and groovy outfits. I was used to bands showing up in their grubbies, with a guitar or two, bass and drums, but Ballard was there to put on a show. I believe he wore a white tux, perhaps with a bow-tie. It was really an amazing show, remarkable. I really enjoyed that rich-textured R&B punctuated with punched up horns and lots of backup singing. I wonder if any of my readers were there, or have had the pleasure of attending one of Mr. Ballard's shows.

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