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Album Review

Although Tommy Ridgley was a big star in his native New Orleans for close to half a century, he never really broke nationally with any of his blues-inflected R&B sides. This set includes his very earliest recordings, including sessions with Imperial (1949-1953), Decca (1951), and his two Atlantic releases from 1953 and 1954. Ridgley wasn't a particularly distinctive singer — although he certainly got the job done — and most of these sides are fairly generic R&B outings. When he dips into some of that Crescent City gumbo atmosphere like he does on the slow stroll "Got You on My Mind," the derivative but winning "Lavinia," or his version of Melvin Smith's "Looped" (which features some crisp drumming from the great Earl Palmer), things fare a good deal better. Ridgley's later Atlantic sides (not included here) are probably his best, although he released a pair of nice comeback albums in the mid-'90s.


Born: 30 October 1925 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: R&B/Soul

Years Active: '60s, '80s, '90s

Tommy Ridgley was on the Crescent City R&B scene when it first caught fire, and he remained a proud part of that same scene until his death in 1999. That was a lot of years behind a microphone, but Ridgley never sounded the slightest bit tired; his 1995 Black Top album Since the Blues Began rated as one of his liveliest outings. Ridgley cut his debut sides back in 1949 for Imperial under Dave Bartholomew's direction. His "Shrewsbury Blues" and "Boogie Woogie Mama" failed to break outside of his...
Full Bio
1949-1954, Tommy Ridgley
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