Floyd Dixon

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For the American football player see Floyd Dixon (American football)
Floyd Dixon
Birth name Jay Riggins, Jr.[dubious ]
Born (1929-02-08)February 8, 1929
Marshall, Texas, United States
Died July 26, 2006(2006-07-26) (aged 77)
Orange County, California, United States
Genres Rhythm and blues, Texas blues, West Coast blues
Occupation(s) Pianist, singer
Instruments Piano
Years active 1949–2006
Labels Various

Floyd Dixon (February 8, 1929 – July 26, 2006)[1] was an American rhythm and blues pianist and singer.

Life and career[edit]

Dixon was born in Marshall, Texas.[1] Although some sources give his birth name as Jay Riggins, Jr., Dixon himself stated that Floyd Dixon was his real name and that his parents were Velma and Ford Dixon.[2] Growing up, he was influenced by blues, gospel, jazz and country music. His family moved to Los Angeles, California, in 1942. Dixon met his influence Charles Brown there.[1]

The self-dubbed "Mr. Magnificent", Dixon signed a recording contract with Modern Records in 1949, specializing in jump blues and sexualized songs like "Red Cherries", "Wine Wine Wine", "Too Much Jelly Roll" and "Baby Let's Go Down to the Woods". Both "Dallas Blues" and "Mississippi Blues", credited to the Floyd Dixon Trio, reached the Billboard R&B chart in 1949, as did "Sad Journey Blues", issued by Peacock Records in 1950.[3]

Dixon replaced Charles Brown on piano and vocals in the band Johnny Moore's Three Blazers in 1950 when Brown departed to start a solo career. The group recorded for Aladdin Records and reached the R&B chart with "Telephone Blues" (credited to Floyd Dixon with Johnny Moore's Three Blazers).[4] Staying with the record label, Dixon had a small hit under his own name in 1952 with "Call Operator 210".[4] Dixon switched to Specialty Records in 1952 and to the Atlantic Records subsidiary Cat Records in 1954. "Hey Bartender" (later covered by the Blues Brothers) and "Hole in the Wall" were released during this time.

In the 1970s Dixon left the music industry for a quieter life in Texas, though he did occasional tours in the 1970s and 1980s.[4] In 1984 he was commissioned to write "Olympic Blues" for the 1984 Summer Olympics.[1]

In 1993, Dixon received a Pioneer Award from the Rhythm and Blues Foundation.[1] In the mid-1990s, he secured a contract with Alligator Records, releasing the critically acclaimed album Wake Up and Live.[1]

On June 1 and 2, 2006, Dixon hosted a concert with Pinetop Perkins and Henry Gray, celebrating the intergenerational aspect of blues piano. The band was led by Kid Ramos and included Larry Taylor and Richard "Bigfoot" Innes. Kim Wilson, Fred Kaplan (from the Hollywood Blue Flames) and Lynwood Slim also performed. This concert was filmed and released on DVD on March 6, 2013, on HighJohn Records as Time Brings About a Change.[5]

Dixon died in Orange County, California in July 2006, at the age of 77, from kidney failure, having suffered with cancer.[1] A public memorial service was held in Grace Chapel, at the Inglewood Park Cemetery.


Chart singles[edit]

Year Single Chart Positions
1949 "Dallas Blues" 10
"Mississippi Blues" 14
1950 "Sad Journey Blues" 8
1951 "Telephone Blues" 4
1952 "Call Operator 210" 4

LP releases[edit]

  • Live in Sweden (Great Dame 001), released 1975
  • Opportunity Blues, compilation of recordings from 1948 to 1961 (Route 66 KIX-1), released 1976
  • Rockin' This Joint Tonite: Ace Holder/Kid Thomas/Floyd Dixon Featuring Johnny Guitar Waton (JSP 1002), released 1978
  • Houston Jump, compilation of recordings from 1947 to 1960 (Route 66 KIX-11), released 1979
  • Empty Stocking Blues, compilation of recordings from 1947 to 1953 (Route 66 KIX-27), released 1985

CD releases[edit]

  • Wake Up and Live! (Alligator 4841), released 1996
  • Mr. Magnificent Hits Again (HMO #2450), released 1999
  • Fine! Fine! Thing! (Highjohn 1739), released 2005
  • Time Brings About a Change...A Floyd Dixon Celebration (Highjohn 5206), released 2006

CD compilations[edit]

  • Marshall Texas Is My Home (Specialty #7011) rel. 1991; also on Ace #CHD-361, rel. 1993
  • Floyd Dixon: His Complete Aladdin Recordings [2-CD set] (Capitol-EMI #36293) rel. 1996
  • The Cocktail Combos: Nat King Cole/Charles Brown/Floyd Dixon [3-CD set] (Capitol-EMI #52042) rel. 1997
  • Cow Town Blues: The Seminal 1948-1950 Modern Recordings (Ace #CHD-740) rel. 2000
  • Floyd Dixon: Hey Bartender! His Very Best 1949-1959 (Jasmine Records JASMCD 3065) rel. 2016

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Biography by Jason Ankeny". Allmusic.com. Retrieved June 1, 2009. 
  2. ^ Eagle, Bob; LeBlanc, Eric S. (2013). Blues: A Regional Experience. Santa Barbara, California: Praeger Publishers. p. 315. ISBN 978-0313344237. 
  3. ^ a b Whitburn, Joel (1996). Top R&B/Hip-Hop Singles: 1942-1995. Record Research. p. 116. 
  4. ^ a b c Russell, Tony (1997). The Blues: From Robert Johnson to Robert Cray. Dubai: Carlton Books. pp. 106–107. ISBN 1-85868-255-X. 
  5. ^ "Highjohn Records LLC - Home". Highjohn.com. Retrieved 2012-12-06. 

External links[edit]