Texan Cal Green was a talented and versatile guitarist who started out imitating his favourite local Blues players, then got a gig playing with one of the biggest R&B acts of the 50s, co-wrote a worldwide hit, then switched to Jazz in the 60s but returned to the Blues in later life.
Cal was born in Dayton Texas in 1937 and in the early days he would copy the guitar style of his hero Clarence ‘Gatemouth’ Brown while his classmate Roy Gaines would copy T-Bone Walker as the kids would imitate the ‘cutting contests’ of Chicago club legend.
‘The Big Push’ gave Cal the chance to show off his chops;
In 1959, Hank and Cal co-wrote ‘The Twist’ after adapting an idea from a Brother Joe Wallace spiritual. The song was the B-side of Hank and The Midnighters’ single ‘Teardrops on Your Letter’, which went to No.4 in the Billboard R&B charts, but when Chubby Checker covered ‘The Twist’ the following year, it went global. By then Cal’s name had slipped from the credits, but that was not his biggest problem as he had just been busted for marijuana and was serving 21 months in jail, which put a serious crimp in his career. He re-joined the Midnighters for a while, but decided to move to LA and got into the West Coast jazz scene. He appeared on keyboard player Charles Kynard’s acclaimed ‘Professor Soul’ album of 1963 and went on to play with Jack McDuff and Lou Rawls while making a good living as a session man around the LA studios.