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Andrew Tibbs

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b. Melvin Andrew Grayson, 2 February 1929, Columbus, Ohio, USA, d. 5 May 1991, Chicago, Illinois, USA. Although little-known now, Tibbs was an important contributor to the early success of the Aristocrat record label, the precursor of Chess Records and Checker Records. His father, Rev. S.A. Grayson, was one of Chicago’s most prominent Baptist ministers and the young Tibbs sang in choirs directed by Mahalia Jackson and Ruth Jones (who later married his brother, Robert, and changed her name to Dinah Washington). He based his blues singing style on Roy Brown, Ivory Joe Hunter and Gatemouth Moore. He was spotted while singing at the Macomba Lounge by owner Leonard Chess, who was in the process of buying Aristocrat Records. Still aged only 18, both sides of his first single, ‘Bilbo Is Dead’ and ‘Union Man Blues’, caused controversy; the first was seen as a criticism of the recently deceased Mississippi segregationist senator, Theodore Bilbo, while local Chicago teamster unions objected to the b-side. Tibbs recorded another six singles for Aristocrat, including ‘Married Man Blues’, and ‘You Can’t Win’ for Chess and ‘Rock Savoy Rock’ for Peacock. After an unissued session for Savoy, he and his brother Kenneth recorded a single for Atco Records in 1956, which featured King Curtis on his first Atlantic Records session. Tibbs’ last single, ‘Stone Hearted Woman’, was recorded for M-Pac! in 1965. He retired from singing thereafter and worked for West Electric for the rest of his life.

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Birth Name:

Melvin Andrew Grayson


02 February 1929 in Columbus, OH

Years Active:

'40s, '50s