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Earl Forest & The Beale Streeters

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In 1949 several musicians in Memphis, Tennessee, having found themselves frequently in company with one another, decided to form a loose coalition they named the Beale Streeters. Sometimes one was leader, the others sidemen; then another of the group would lead. Sometimes they backed outsiders. As a group, they recorded for Modern Records in 1951. Also at the start of the 50s, they were on many sides made by B.B. King (b. Riley B. King, 16 September 1925, Indianola, Mississippi, USA) for RPM Records in Memphis. Among those in King’s recording band were vocalist Bobby Bland (b. Robert Calvin Bland, 27 January 1930, Rosemark, Tennessee, USA), saxophonist Billy Duncan, drummer Earl Forest, singer/guitarist/drummer Willie Nix (b. 6 August 1922, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 8 July 1991, Leland, Mississippi, USA) and singer/pianist Johnny Ace (b. John Marshall Alexander Jnr., 9 June 1929, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 24 December 1954, Houston, Texas, USA). King’s 1951 hit, ‘Three O’Clock Blues’, led to his making a national tour and Ace took over leadership of the band back in Memphis. The Beale Streeters, which from time to time also included singer/harpist Junior Parker (b. Herman Parker Jnr., 3 March 1927, West Memphis, Arkansas, USA, d. 18 November 1971, Blue Island, Illinois, USA) and vocalist/pianist Rosco Gordon (b. 10 April 1928, Memphis, Tennessee, USA, d. 11 July 2002, Queens, New York City, New York, USA), continued to perform in its own right and also to appear on records made under the name of one or another of its members, including, for example, Bland’s 1951 ‘A Letter From A Trench In Korea’ and the following year’s ‘I.O.U. Blues’.