World’s 2nd rock & roll record: Roll ‘Em Pete by Big Joe Turner with Pete Johnson in 1938

A young Big Joe Turner

BluesMuse 12 
If  Albert Ammon’s ‘Boogie Woogie Stomp’ was the
world’s first rock & roll record in 1936, what was the second? Allow me to
put forward ‘Roll ‘Em Pete’, another rollicking piano-based boogie woogie, this
one released in 1938.
Pete doing the rolling was 34-year old Pete Johnson, playing boogie piano for
his young blues-shouting partner, Big Joe Turner, 25. Like Albert Ammons, the
African-American duo of Turner and Johnson from Kansas City was recording a
faster, more rhythmic style of blues that one day would be called rock &
Joe, of course, made the original recording of ‘Shake, Rattle & Roll’ in
1954, covered and made famous worldwide by Bill Haley. Born in 1911 and known
as Boss of the Blues, Big Joe Turner died in 1985.

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