Grady Gaines: A Virtual History of R&B

Grady Gaines’ musical career is like a timeline for the history of contemporary R&B in America. From the 1950s, when Grady struck musical gold with Little Richard to playing at President Clinton’s inaugural party in the 1990s, Gaines and the Upsetters have been bringing blues, rock & roll, and American standards to people all over the world. Take a glance at Grady’s bio, from his own website, which grazes over some of the highlights of his musical prowess…

1950s
Grady Gaines, Houston saxophonist and recording bandleader for Don Robey, met Richard Penniman. They recorded together at Duke/Peacock. Richard Penniman later became Little Richard, and asked Grady to lead the Upsetters. They recorded many classics such as “Long Tall Sally,” “Send Me Some Lovin,” and “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On,” and Grady appeared in three movies with Richard. At Little Richard’s retirement, Grady hired Dee Clark as band vocalist, and continued to tour.

Over in the corner
Creative Commons License photo credit: nzgabriel

1960s
Sam Cooke hired Grady and the Upsetters to be his band. They recorded “Bring It On Home,” “Twisting The Night Away,” and many more. After Cooke’s death, Grady and the Upsetters continued playing at all the great houses such as The Apollo, and the Paladium, with all the great artists: Diana Ross and the Supremes, Gladys Knight and the Pips, Bo Didley, Etta James, Jackie Wilson, and many, many others.

1970s
Grady came off the road, and returned home to Houston. He recorded “There Is Something On Your Mind,” and formed the House Rockers, who performed in Houston as Don Robey’s house band until Robey’s death.

1980s
Disco took its toll on live music in the U.S. Grady toured Europe, and recorded his first solo album, “Full Gain.” In the late ’80s, Grady performed at Blues Festivals across the nation.

1990s
Grady recorded “Down and Dirty, Live At Tipitina’s,” and “House Of Plenty.” He toured Europe with Fats Domino; and the Texas Blues Preservation Society honored Grady with its first annual Blues Heritage Award, citing him as being a Texas Blues Ambassador Around the World and a Pioneer in the Creation of Rock & Roll. In 1993, Grady Gaines played at one of President Clinton’s inaugural parties and was proclaimed Blues Artist Of The Year at the Juneteenth Festival in Houston.

Grady Gaines & the Texas Upsetters continually draw one of the biggest Mixers crowds of the year because Grady’s experience shines through every time he gets on stage. His presence, ability to work the crowd into a dancing frenzy, and booming voice lets you know who’s bringing the party. Don’t miss your opportunity to see a true to life Texas legend this Friday from 6 – 10pm at Mixers, Elixirs, & IMAX - Grady Gaines & The Texas Upsetters!

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