A short film featuring the first ever record mentioning rock & roll (from the 1920s), Ike Turner as Jackie Brenston, Muddy Waters and Jimmy Preston

Jackie Brenston was Ike’s sax player. Check out the band above

As you know, Ike Turner’s Rocket 88 in 1951 is often referred to as the world’s first rock & roll record, which came out under the name of Jackie Brenston and the Delta Cats. You can blame that wily old record-label owner, and Elvis and Howlin’ Wolf discoverer, Sam Phillips for that bit of misinformation. Sam was a great spruiker for his product. And Ike’s song was a great track, regardless.

In this short film – just over seven minutes long – we hear Ike’s version of Rocket 88; plus the first record EVER to mention rock and roll in the same title. This was a 1922 blues sang by a university-educated, middle class black woman called Trixie Smith. She later appeared in four early films.

Jimmy Preston

Since no footage of Trixie was available, her song is accompanied by some of the strangest dancing you’re ever likely to see. Muddy Waters then comes into the picture, re-emphasizing, in song, his observation that “The blues had a baby and they named it rock & roll”.

We finish off the clip with Rock The Joint” by Jimmy Preston and his Prestorians, recorded in Philadelphia in May, 1949. Watch out for more short films as we countdown the top ten earliest rock & roll records.

While you’re waiting, may I suggest a companion to this theme, my new book, America’s Gift, which climaxes by highlighting the 20 rock & roll records that pre-empted rock & roll.

And here’s the link to the book, to order or just take a preview: http://goo.gl/At5AZe


Shelton James ‎@sheltonjames360 USA, 22 February 2016. “Keep it going. Blues needs a voice & you are it.”