Tommy Ridgley

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Tommy Ridgley
Tommy Ridgley at the Dream Palace in New Orleans (1996)
Tommy Ridgley at the Dream Palace in New Orleans (1996)
Background information
Birth nameThomas Herman Ridgley
Born(1925-10-30)October 30, 1925
New Orleans, Louisiana, United States
DiedAugust 11, 1999(1999-08-11) (aged 73)
GenresBlues, R&B
Occupation(s)Musician, singer
Years active1949–1999
LabelsImperial, Decca, Herald, Atlantic, Ric, Ronn, River City, Black Top

Thomas Herman Ridgley (October 30, 1925[1] – August 11, 1999)[2] was an American R&B singer and bandleader in New Orleans, Louisiana.


Early life[edit]

He was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, United States.[1] Initially he played piano, and performed with a Dixieland group and then Earl Anderson's band.[1]


Ridgley, released his debut single "Shrewsbury Blues" in New Orleans in 1949[note 1] for Imperial Records.[1] The record was produced by Dave Bartholomew.[1] In the 1950s, he formed his group the Untouchables, and recorded for labels such as Decca, Atlantic and Herald.[1] His 1952 release "Tra-La-La" on Decca was later covered and made famous by Pat Boone.

In the 1960s, he signed with the local Ric Records, and released some singles which were to become local hits, but none of them broke through to create a stir nationally.[1] These sides included "Double-Eyed Whammy" and "I've Heard That Story Before", a remake of the song first recorded for Herald.[1] He and his band became a permanent fixture at the New Orleans Auditorium, backing acts who passed through the city. At one point his band included the singer, Irma Thomas.[1]

During the 1970s and 1980s, there were fewer recording opportunities for Ridgley, however, he continued to record for local labels, and continued to perform.[1] He kept performing at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival every year from 1972 until his death.

In the 1990s, he released three newly recorded albums. How Long? came out on the Sound of New Orleans label in 1990, and She Turns Me On followed two years later on Modern Blues Recordings. He was supported by musicians such as George Porter, Jr. and Raymond Weber on 1995 album Since The Blues Began from Black Top Records. It also featured guest guitarist Snooks Eaglin and turned out to be one of the most solid efforts in his career, but this became his last recorded album. He suffered from kidney failure in his last few years, and died from lung cancer in 1999.[2]


The New Orleans singer, Sammy Ridgley is his younger brother.


  • 1990 How Long? (Sound of New Orleans)
  • 1992 She Turns Me On (Modern Blues Recordings)
  • 1995 Since The Blues Began (Black Top)


  • 1977 Through The Years (Sound of New Orleans)
  • 1988 The New Orleans King of the Stroll (Rounder)
  • 1992 The Herald Recordings (Collectables)
  • 2006 Tommy Ridgley 1949-1954 (Classics)
  • Mardi Gras Jam / Tommy Ridgley & His Orchestra (Blue City)


  1. ^ The success of Shrewsbury Blues led to Ridgley being billed as the 'Shrewsbury Kid' for a number of years


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Colin Larkin, ed. (1992). The Guinness Encyclopedia of Popular Music (First ed.). Guinness Publishing. p. 2090. ISBN 0-85112-939-0.
  2. ^ a b Polatnick, Gordon. "Tommy Ridgley Page in Fuller Up, The Dead Musician Directory". Retrieved 7 December 2017.

External links[edit]