Sponsored by the Detroit Blues Society,
& RJ's Rhythm Rockers
New Dodge Lounge
8850 Jos Campau St
Motor City R&B Pioneer Kenny Martin passed away on Sunday, September 6 and in an effort to honor this fallen R&B legend and raise funds to cover his funeral expenses, there will be a performance at the New Dodge Lounge on Thursday, September 17, at 8 pm. Music will be provided by Kenny's back-up band, RJ's Rhythm Rockers, lead by his manager (& drummer), RJ Spangler. The Rhythm Rockers were his band on all road dates and around town for many years They will do a short set and then back up Kenny's old friends like the great singer & former Stax songwriter Sir Mack Rice as well as Detroit's undisputed queen of the blues, 92 year old Alberta Adams. Also on the bill will be the Party Stompers, the last band to back Kenny up around town. The Stompers are a Detroit band that puts their own twist on the primitive, gritty sound of the Motor City bar bands of the 1958-63 era. Their bassist, Adam Stanfel will also handle the DJ duties, playing real Detroit soul and R&B from the 50's & 60's.
Kenny was just a teenager when he was bit by the music bug.
"I found out about a talent show at the old Gold Coast Theater and decided to try my hand at singing. My mother wouldn't let me, so I called my grandmother and she talked my mother into letting me go. I ended up winning the talent contest and have been singing ever since."
Soon after the talent contest he was signed by Federal Records and within a month his first record "I'm The Jivin' Mr. Lee" was released. Kenny went on to record seven more singles for the Federal label (including the smash "I'm Sorry," which hit #19 on the Billboard R&B charts in 1958). Rejecting an offer from Motown, Kenny ended up signing with Big Town Records, who released his next two singles. After a lengthy tour with Sam Cooke, he decided to leave Detroit for New York. Unfortunately in New York, Kenny succumbed to the rigors of the rock & roll lifestyle. After a 30-year haze, Kenny moved back to Detroit and recorded for the Blue Suit label in Toledo with his old friends Joe Weaver & Stanley Mitchell, both of whom preceded him to the grave.
With the R&B Pioneers Kenny toured to the west coast appearing at the Vancouver Jazz Festival, the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival and Whistler (BC) as well as a trip to the Netherlands to play the prestigious Blues Estafette in Utrecht. He, Stanley & Joe also played many concerts around Detroit & Toledo, including the Detroit Jazz Festival and also the Anti-Freeze Blues Festival.