BIOGRAPHY AND DISCOGRAPHY

 

A top session guitarist and occasional lead artist and singer during the late 1940’s and early 1950’s on the Los Angeles rock scene.

Norris was born in Missouri in 1921 but came of age in Chicago where he studied guitar. In his mid-twenties he moved to the West Coast where his playing in local clubs brought him to the attention of independent labels and producers contracting rock sessions for rock ‘n’ roll and he quickly became ensconced in the loose-knit studio bands put together by saxophonist, songwriter and producer Maxwell Davis.

Because Davis didn’t work exclusively for any of the local companies but had good working relationships with them all – Aladdin, Modern, Specialty foremost among them – Norris got the opportunity to back a wide array of artists on record, adding his licks to Amos Milburn’s hits, as well as Floyd Dixon, Percy Mayfield and many others.

As Norris could sing as well as play he was afforded some chances to record under his own name for Selective Records in mid-1950 and then Mercury at the tail end of the year before getting releases on Aladdin and others in short order. Most of these were merely singles to round out a company’s release rolls, none of them viewing him as a long-term investment.

Later in life he cut a record in Sweden and years after that a Swedish band took the name The Chuck Norris Experiment in his honor because of it. Norris, who was a lot tougher in his profession than the actor of the same name was in his, passed away in 1989.
 
 

CHUCK NORRIS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy):
 

SHUFFLE BOOGIE
(Modern 20-744; April, 1950)
As sideman behind… Floyd Dixon. This is essentially a Chuck Norris record under Floyd Dixon’s name as he provides the guitar lead on the instrumental that is biting, versatile and filled with tension and shows why the guitar was bound for a bigger future in rock. (5)

HEY EVERYBODY
(Mercury 8215; February, 1951)
A solid if unspectacular effort by Norris who handles the somewhat perfunctory vocals okay but doesn’t cut loose on guitar enough to make this stand out and so despite the quality musicianship it sort of goes unnoticed. (5)

ROCKIN’ AFTER HOURS
(Aladdin 3081; March, 1951)
Nice interplay between Norris’s guitar and Maxwell Davis’s saxophone highlights what is essentially a duet between the two instruments, though Norris gives a good account of himself by alternating single string runs with more aggressive boogies. (5)