BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 
A minor figure on the rock ‘n’ roll scene in terms of recorded output, but after debuting on record in 1949 he remained a frequent presence in and around music for years while cultivating a career in comedy as well.

Sumter Hogan was born in New Orleans in 1920 and was employed as a cab driver when he ventured to Dallas to cut tracks for the short-lived Star Time label at the same time as another native New Orleans singer named Roy Byrd, a/k/a Professor Longhair. It’s even possible Hogan alerted the label to ‘Fess, for not only did they know each other but soon Longhair would take one of the cuts made my Hogan – My Walkin Baby – and turn it into She Walks Right In when Fess recorded it himself a year later.

Hogan was, like fellow Star Talent signee Rufus Thomas, a jack-of-all trades who saw music as only one aspect of his future. Both Hogan and Thomas would become more known early on for their work as emcees at black theaters, introducing acts, telling jokes and able to sing and dance as required. But whereas Thomas ended up pursuing music more consistently with great success, first at Sun Records in the 1950’s, then at Stax Records in the 1960’s and 70’s, Hogan’s opportunities to record were more limited. Before long he was almost exclusively serving as an emcee for live shows, doing comedy in between music acts and was still popular around New Orleans where he was a strong advocate for civil rights. Huey “Piano” Smith proudly recalled the time when he was on tour in New Jersey in 1956 with Shirley & Lee when they were told they couldn’t eat at a restaurant. Hogan lept up and raced outside bringing back the police and the restaurant quickly recanted their refusal and served them.

By the 1960’s he had moved to Detroit working as an emcee there as well. Hogan cut a well received instrumental locally by the early 1970’s but his recording career was otherwise fairly non-existent. However his comedy career was much better off as his X-rated party record Brother Eatmore and Sister Fullbosom became an underground hit. Old friend and fellow dirty jokester turned television star Redd Foxx had him appear twice on Sanford And Son at the height of its popularity.

By the 1980’s Hogan finally had his musical side taken seriously as he fronted one of the loosely re-formed Ink Spots groups after lead singer Bill Kenny’s death in 1978 and took up residency playing Las Vegas where Hogan himself passed away in November 1986, a month shy of his 66th birthday.
 
 
CHA CHA HOGAN DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):

MY BABY LOVES ME
(Star Talent 810; February, 1950)
Though Cha Cha himself shows a few signs of competency as a singer, the song is pretty shallow and has the misfortune of having backing musicians who seem hellbent on disrupting one another and largely succeed in their diabolical efforts to render this a dud. (2)

MY WALKING BABY
(Star Talent 810; February, 1950)
A rambunctious record full of horny enthusiasm, churning rhythms and – by the second half – some really wild, almost demented, vocals by a revved up Hogan, all of which makes this never less than fully entertaining and extremely memorable. (7)