Baby Face Leroy
Baby Face Leroy
Calling themselves the Headhunters, the trio were known for going from club to club and “cutting” (i.e. engaging in musical duels with) other bands. Foster’s first recordings were made with pianist Lee Brown in 1945 for J. Mayo Williams' Chicago label. In 1946, he appeared on another session with Lee Brown and recorded with James "Beale Street" Clark for Columbia.
He also accompanied Sunnyland Slim on a 1947 or 1948 session for the Opera label. Further recordings followed, both under his own name and backing Sunnyland Slim, Muddy Waters, Little Walter and pianist Johnny Jones, before his most notable session, for the Parkway label in 1950. This session featured the personnel of Muddy Waters' band of the time: Foster, Waters, Little Walter and (on two tracks only, since he was late for the session), Jimmy Rogers. Four singles were released from the session, two by Foster and two by Little Walter. One of the singles, the two-part "Rollin' and Tumblin'" was notable enough to be reviewed, unusually for a down home blues release, by Edward Myers in the Chicago Defender.
The track featured only Foster’s drumming and singing, Walter’s harmonica and Waters’ slide guitar, with hummed ensemble vocals on one side. Unfortunately, Waters’ guitar playing and backup singing were distinctive enough for it to come to the attention of Leonard Chess of Chess Records, who had Waters under an exclusive recording contract. As a result, Waters was made to record his own version of the song for the larger Chess label in order to "kill" the Parkway recording. After the Parkway session, Foster left Waters’ band, possibly in the hope of a solo career resulting from the releases on Parkway, but unfortunately the label soon folded. Afterwards, Foster recorded a further three sessions under his own name for the JOB label between 1950 and 1953, but died from a heart attack, possibly as a result of alcoholism, at the age of 35 in 1958. Foster sang in a style influenced by Sonny Boy Williamson and Dr.
Clayton, and while he played guitar and drums competently, the talents for which he was popular have been described as “drinking, singing and clowning”. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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