Tiny Bradshaw was a successful big-band leader in the 30s who re-invented himself as an R&B shouter after WWII, in the hey-day of Jump-Blues. He co-wrote many of his songs, including ‘Train Kept Rollin’ which was a much bigger hit for Johnny Burnette in 1956, and has become a rock standard, covered by many bands. With 25 singles released on the King label, Tiny was a regular visitor to the R&B charts in the early 50s with records that sounded a lot like Rock’n’Roll.
Tiny’s original cut of his song ‘Train Kept Rollin’;
The change of style captured the post-War party mood, when young people wanted to cut loose and juke-boxes boomed with up-tempo dance music. With his big, bold voice and a driving sax-powered band, Tiny was picked up by King Records and a string of chart singles followed. The rowdy ‘Tearing Up the House’ was typical Bradshaw good-time stuff, and songs like ‘Well, Oh Well’, ‘I’m Gonna Have Myself a Ball’ and ‘Walkin’ The Chalk Line’ all made the R&B Top Ten in 1950/51, some staying in the charts for months. In 1954, Tiny had a stroke that slowed him down a little and when the incident re-occurred two years later, he took some time off in Florida to recover. He returned to the studio in 1958, recording the saucy ‘Short Shorts’, but later that year a third stroke proved fatal. Tiny rode the wave of two great musical sea-changes of the mid-century, with his big band playing swinging jazz and his jump-blues combo taking off in the direction of R&B, and he also wrote a rock classic, all of which amounts to a fine career.