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Willie Headen

Though he never had a substantial national hit, Willie Headen made a series of respectable R&B records in the mid- to late '50s in a small combo piano-based style, though that approach was getting slightly out of fashion with the onset of rock & roll. Headen began his career in gospel music and formed his own group to sing at churches in Austin, TX, later joining the Kansas City Gospel Singers, though he doesn't appear on their early-'50s recordings. Moving to Los Angeles in the early '50s, he was working as a shoeshine man in the Watts neighborhood when he caught the attention of customer Dootsie Williams, who liked the way Headen sang while he worked. Williams signed Headen to his label, Dootone (though Bumps Blackwell of Specialty had also expressed some interest), and Headen cut his debut 45 for Dootone in 1954. About a dozen singles followed in the rest of the 1950s on Dootone and its affiliated Authentic and Dooto labels, some of them, oddly, issued under the name Willie Hayden, and one under the name Clifford Chambers. Dootone also issued an LP in 1960, but the singer left the music business around that time, though he did do a couple of soul singles for Kent in the late '60s. ~ Richie Unterberger, Rovi
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Comments

Great voice. love that SAX.
This guy is a bit more on the "R&B" side of the spectrum but still a great blues man.

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