A talented but mysterious figure who cut a handful of raw-throated rockers in the late 1940’s before disappearing from the music scene.

His full name was James Blake Summers, a resident of Philadelphia who in June 1949 signed a two year deal with local Gotham Records which called for twelve sides. Only half the material was released over three singles, but there’s every indication the label had high hopes for his commercial potential, first re-issuing his initial side a month after it came out as part of a split record with saxophonist Eddie Woodland, with Woodland receiving co-artist credit. The re-issue saw Summers get full credit as well as his work appearing on both sides of the record.

They then paired him with two different skilled bands led by Tiny Grimes and Doc Bagby and even went so far as to release a Christmas themed record, something which usually indicated a record company expected the artist to be around for awhile.

But in spite of their quality none of the records became hits and Summers, who was paid just small amounts in cash for his troubles – as little as fifteen dollars according to Gotham’s records – was cut loose in October 1950, eight months earlier than the deal initially called for. He continued to reside in Philly but never was heard from again on record.
J. B. SUMMERS DISCOGRAPHY (Records Reviewed To Date On Spontaneous Lunacy)

(Gotham 186; July, 1949)
A rousing debut for Summers whose full-throated vocals and unbridled enthusiasm carry the day and saxophonist Eddie Woodland who kicks in with solid support, giving the impression that these two were already established stars rather than novices in the studio. (7)

(Gotham 190; August, 1949)
Though Summers offers no subtly in his lament over a treacherous wife thereby robbing him of the sympathy required for a deeper connection with the listener, the solid support of Eddie Woodland keeps it from going over the edge. (5)

(Gotham 203; November, 1949)
Like most nights spent drinking it seems more fun in the moment than analyzing it afterwards, as Summers’s forced enthusiasm can’t overcome a rather simple song with rudimentary lyrics and surprisingly nondescript accompaniment by Tiny Grimes who also wrote it. (4)

(Gotham 203; November, 1949)
Though rather limited in its aims and plagued by somewhat indifferent support by Grimes and crew, at least early on, Summers more than compensates by steamrolling through this with the conviction of a true believer, enjoying the decedent rock party for as long as he’s welcome there. (5)