Little Known Black History Fact: Jimmy McCracklin

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  • Jimmy McCracklin, an R&B sensation from the 1950’s, passed away at age 91 this month. McCracklin was known for his hit song “The Walk” which he recorded on Chess Records and performed on “American Bandstand“. The song hit number seven on the Billboard charts. The music of Jimmy McCracklin has been sampled and remade by a range of artists including The Beatles, Otis Redding, Grateful Dead and Salt-N-Pepa, who used his music for the hit rap song “Tramp.”

    The song legend’s recordings include “Just Got To Know” (1962), “Every Night, Every Day” (1965), “My Answer” (1966) and “Think” (1965).

    McCracklin has been called “one of the great composers in blues history, with his depth of feeling, his sense of phrasing and his conciseness” by the Encyclopedia of the Blues at the University of Arkansas. He made his first recording in 1945 then moved to Richmond, California two years later.

    McCracklin was born in Helena, Arkansas in 1921. At nine years old, McCracklin moved to St, Louis, MO where he learned to play the blues piano from Walter Davis, a popular blues singer and pianist of the 1930s.

    In 2003, McCracklin told Lee Hildebrand during an interview, ‘What I write, I put the truth in there because I want to tell you about what happened to me could happen to you or what happened to you could happen to me.”

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