Born: 1926 Birmingham, AL

R&B Piano, Vocals Johnny Moore

Source: Alabama Music Hall of Fame

Johnny Moore (who was not related to the singer with The Drifters) and his younger brother Oscar grew up in Texas and then Phoenix, Arizona, where they both started playing guitar and formed their own string band. In the mid 1930s they relocated to Los Angeles, where Oscar Moore, who had become influenced by Charlie Christian and turned to jazz, joined the King Cole Trio.

Johnny Moore remained devoted to rhythm and blues, his guitar style being considered to be an influence on Chuck Berry. He joined and formed several groups, before forming The Three Blazers with two fellow Texans, bassist Eddie Williams and pianist and singer Charles Brown, who was newly arrived in the city. After the Cole Trio moved from Atlas Records to Capitol in 1943, Oscar Moore suggested to Atlas boss Robert Scherman that he replace them with his brother's group. Scherman agreed to record the Blazers if Oscar Moore would play with them, and the recordings were released as by 'Oscar Moore with The Three Blazers'. Although this upset Johnny Moore, it brought the group some exposure, and in 1945 they had their first hit, backing Ivory Joe Hunter on "Blues At Sunrise".

In 1946, they had greater success with "Driftin' Blues", sung by Charles Brown. Although Brown was the group's star attraction, Johnny Moore refused to allow him his own credit on the records. He also refused to sign an exclusive contract with any label, so that the group’s early records appeared on various labels, particularly Philo, Exclusive and Modern. The group followed up the success of “Driftin' Blues” with a number of other big R&B hits, including “Sunny Road” (1946), “New Orleans Blues” (1947) and “Merry Christmas Baby” (1947, but also a hit in 1948 and 1949).

In 1948, frustrated by his lack of recognition and financial reward, Brown left the group for a successful solo career. The remaining two Blazers continued with a succession of vocalists, notably Billy Valentine, Mari Jones, Floyd Dixon, and, in the mid-1950s, Frankie Ervin. After the Cole Trio broke up, Oscar Moore also played occasionally as a guest musician with the group. Johnny Moore and his group continued to record occasionally for small labels until the early 1960s.


Allmusic discography:


billy valentine album

Amazon: How Blue Can You Get ?

iTunes: Greatest R&B Hits of 1949, Vol. 5 - Various Artists

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