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was born in Rosedale, Mississippi, on November 18, 1928. He took an interest in music very early in life, singing with his mother and two aunts in their Baptist Church. After church, the children and their parents attended prayer meetings or revivals, and often went to a juke joint or social gathering where music was central. Although he is a self-taught musician, he had an early introduction to both the piano and the blues by a female impersonator named “Toots,” who sat Dennis on his knee while he played blues piano in the St. Louis style.
As a teenager, Dennis refined his technique and knowledge of music in Chicago. Determined to become a professional musician, he hung around Chess Records, and eventually recorded four songs for the label. In 1951 and 1953, Dennis recorded for Sun Records. In 1954 in Clarksdale, he played on recordings that Ike Turner set up for Modern Records and which were released under Ike’s name as leader, although Dennis was the featured vocalist and arranger. Other recording credits include tracks on United Records in Chicago, released in the 1990s compilation on Delmark Records, titled Long Man Blues. He also recorded at the Norman Petty Studios in Texas, featuring Buddy Holly and Tommy Allup, and in later years at Benson Studio in Oklahoma City.
While touring in 1956 with Earl Hooker, Junior Wells and A.C. Reed, Dennis stopped in Lawton, Oklahoma, which had an all-night entertainment scene due to the military presence at Fort Sill. He decided to make Lawton his home, and has resided there for fifty years. He worked as a bail bondsman and musician, recording and releasing numerous cds on his own label. In recent years, Dennis has played important festivals, concerts and clubs in the United States, Canada, Europe and Thailand. A friend introduced him in 2004 to Earwig Music Company President Michael Frank, which led to increased bookings and to Dennis signing a recording deal with Earwig Music Company, and the Fall 2006 cd release, Hole In That Jug. The album features Dennis’s unique piano stylings and his hybrid mix of blues, rock ‘n roll, country and western, and inspirational music, with a stellar Chicago quintet of backing musicians.
Produced by Michael Robert Frank
2006 Chicago session:
Dennis Binder - piano, vocals
James Wheeler - guitar
Chris James - guitar
Patrick Rynn - bass
Rodney Brown - saxophone
Kenny "Beedy Eyes" Smith - drums
Diane Madison, Theresa Davis, Kay Reed - background vocals
Dennis Binder - vocals and bass
A.C. Reed - tenor saxophone
Vincent "Guitar Red" Duling - guitar
Bob Prindell - drums
All tracks were recorded June 13, 2006 AT Joyride Studio, Chicago, Illinois
except Love Call and I Don’t Want Nobody Messin’ Around With Me, recorded
April 28, 1960 AT Audio Recorders, Phoenix, Arizona, BY Floyd Ramsey
Transfers from the 3 track mono recording were done by Jack Miller, Jack Miller Productions, Phoenix, Arizona
Tracks 7 and 9 were licensed from John Dixon, Ben Dover Productions, Tempe, Arizona
All tracks except 7 and 9 were recorded, edited and mixed by Blaise Barton at Joyride Studio, Chicago, Illinois
Mastering by Blaise Barton AT Scientific Mastering, Chicago
Cover Photo by Amanda Gresham Other Photos by Joe Rosen
Graphic Design by Al Brandtner, Brandtner Design Ltd.