Who was/is The Nitehawks (Bo Melvin) ? - CDs, Vinyl LPs, DVD and more

The Nitehawks (Bo Melvin)

It seems that the Nitehawks band was first formed in the mid-'50s around guitarist and singer Boogie Jake Jacobs and that it contained a number of Baton Rouge's finest players until it became the band of Boe Melvin, really Melvin Boe Hill, a young but talented multi-instrumentalist born in 1940 in Jackson, some thirty miles north of Baton Rouge. Melvin would soon bring younger members of his family into the band and take it in a soulful direction, but at the time he recorded for MONTEL the band included Sammy Thornton and two men who had played with Slim Harpo, Thomas Kinchen and Wilbert Byrd. On this disc there is also a pianist, possibly the singer Joe Darden. Boe Melvin and the Nighthawks were managed by Shirley 'Cadillac' Jackson, a former blues shouter and owner of Club 33, one of the band's hangouts.

They played for white audiences at the Catholic Youth club organised by Sam Montalbano, owner of MONTEL RECORDS, where, the local paper said they previewed their recorded version of John Lee Hooker's Boogie Chillun in October 1962. It's a guitar tour de force from Melvin, even if he's playing a well-worn favorite. A decade later Melvin would be found playing the clubs that catered to the black community, particularly Byrd's Satellite Lounge and the Jaguar, but found those people wanted to hear something a little more up to date than the blues of the EXCELLO style of the 1950s and 1960s. Guitarist Phil Guy remembered in the 1980s, "The Nighthawks didn't really get caught up in the blues, but they can play the blues like crazy." Musician Kenny Neal described how when Melvin was "one of those guys can hit a note and make your hundred notes look like, y'know, half a note." In the days of blues revival festivals Melvin appeared occa- sionally at the annual River City Blues Festival in Baton Rouge, until his early death in 1995.

© Bear Family Records
Extract from: Various Artists - Blues Kings Of Baton Rouge (2-CD) - BCD17512

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