“In the fifties, that powerful melancholy force, that Afro-American art form called the blues began to develop into Rhythm and Blues. At first we were stepchildren, but we blew all those other pop artists out of the water. Rhythm and Blues became known as Rock and Roll and, of course, it’s the folk music of the entire world.” - Johnny Otis
|Johnny Otis, with the West Oakland HouseRockers, circa 1939|
EVERY BEAT OF MY HEART - the documentary currently in post-production - is a personal and musical biography of Johnny Otis, the musician, bandleader, producer and songwriter who is often called the Godfather of Rhythm & Blues. But it is more than the biography of one man, just as the story of R&B is about much more than music. Johnny's odyssey through the world of African-American music in the 20th Century is a window into arenas of race and culture that have defined and transformed contemporary America - and, in turn, have touched the whole world.
the Central Avenue R&B scene: Boss of the Blues