Todd Rhodes Biography

31 August 1900, Hopkinsville, Kentucky, USA, d. 4. June 1965, Detroit, Michigan, USA. Pianist Rhodes first came to prominence in the late 20s as a founder member of McKinney’s Cotton Pickers, recording several dozen tracks for RCA - Victor Records between 1928 and 1931. Leaving the Cotton Pickers in 1934, Rhodes became a popular act on the Detroit jazz scene and formed his own band in the early 40s, recording for the local Sensation label between 1947 and 1950. He hit the R&B charts with ‘Bell Boy Boogie’, and gave Alan Freed his famous signature tune ‘Blues For The Red Boy’. Rhodes’ material was leased to Vitacoustic in Chicago and King Records in Cincinnati. In 1951, Todd Rhodes And His Toddlers began recording for King Records proper, and for the following three years produced some of the best R&B of the 50s, both alone and as backing band for artists including Wynonie Harris and Dave Bartholomew. Rhodes was also instrumental in giving R&B singer LaVern Baker her big break. Rhodes disbanded his group in 1957, although he continued to play as a solo act until his death in 1965. Many of his sidemen and associates progressed to become respected jazz musicians or session players for the mighty Motown Records empire.

Source: The Encyclopedia of Popular Music by Colin Larkin. Licensed from Muze.

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