Father of the Rhythm & Blues came out of the blues
world of Brinkley, Arkansas, to play in Chick Webb's
swing band from 1932 to 1938; he played alto sax and
participated in comedy routines.
He began recording for Decca in
1938 with his own Tympany Five, remaining on the
label until 1953. He had his first
million-seller in 1944 with "Is You Is Or Is You
Ain't Ma Baby?" -- having previously attracted
attention with "Knock Me A Kiss" and "I'm Gonna Move
To The Outskirts Of Town," the latter a classic
His second million-seller was
"Caldonia (What Makes Your Big Head So Hard?),"
followed in 1946 by two million-sellers, "Beware,
Brother, Beware" and "Choo Choo Ch 'Boogie," the
biggest seller of all.
In all these, he pursued a
basic rhythm of Shuffle Boogie, later taken over by
early Rock 'n' Roll. As he said, he "made the
blues jump," and in so doing, influenced B. B. King,
Chuck Berry, and Bill Haley.
-- American Dictionary of Pop / Rock.