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I started a quest to find terrific blues music and incredible musicianship when I was just a little kid. I also have a tremendous appreciation of fine musical instruments and equipment. One of my greatest joys all of my life was sharing my finds with my friends. I'm now publishing my journey. I hope that you come along!

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Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Sumpin' Jumpin - Bumps Blackwell

Robert "Bumps" Blackwell (May 23, 1918 – March 9, 1985) was an American songwriter, arranger, and record producer, best known for his work overseeing the early hits of Little Richard, as well as grooming Ray Charles, Quincy Jones, Lloyd Price, Sam Cooke, Herb Alpert, Larry Williams, and Sly and the Family Stone at the start of their music careers. He should not be confused with another songwriter: Otis Blackwell.
Born Robert Alexander Blackwell in Seattle, Washington, he led a jazz group in the late 1940s that included pianist Ray Charles and trumpeter Quincy Jones. He moved to Hollywood, California to continue study composition, but he instead took a job at Art Rupe's Specialty Records as an arranger and producer. He worked with Larry Williams, Lloyd Price and Guitar Slim, as well as producing Little Richard's rise to stardom in 1955.

In addition to producing Little Richard's breakthrough hit "Tutti Frutti" following hearing him sing the song in the studio, Blackwell also produced Little Richard's other mid-50s hits, co-writing some as them as well, including: "Long Tall Sally"; "Good Golly Miss Molly"; "Ready Teddy"; and "Rip It Up". They all quickly became rock and roll standards, and have subsequently been covered by hundreds of artists including Elvis Presley, The Beatles and Creedence Clearwater Revival.

He also produced Sam Cooke's hit "You Send Me". Blackwell left Specialty in 1957, taking Sam Cooke with him to Keen Records. He was the West Coast A&R director for Mercury Records from 1959 to 1963, and produced Little Richard's gospel recordings for that label. He became Richard's manager and continued to work with him into the 1970s.

In 1981 Blackwell produced some songs for Bob Dylan's album, Shot of Love, including the title track.

Blackwell died at his home in Hacienda Heights in Whittier, California in 1985 of pneumonia.
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