Today I show you a ’50s vintage Big Joe Turner concert poster used to get the word out about his concert on April 25, 1958 in Sheffield, Alabama.
The legendary blues shouter had a career which spanned the 1920s up to the 1980s, but the career-timing for this Big Joe Turner ticket poster was perfect, because he is best remembered as helping to pioneer rock ’n’ roll in the ’50s.
Old blues and R&B posters, including this Big Joe Turner window display, are sought-after by collectors because the majority of them were torn down and thrown away right after the concert – few people ever thought of keeping them for posterity back then.
A very familiar printer, the Murray Poster Printing Company out of New York City, manufactured this Big Joe Turner show poster, most likely between 4 and 8 weeks before the show.
Murray manufactured this Big Joe Turner tour poster on cardboard material, not paper, as was standard practice of the day.
Notice that Murray’s in-house designer used just one primary color – blue – on this Big Joe Turner poster… but they got great results from just the one color. When combined with black ink and white background, it became a very handsome three-color advertisement.
I’ve seen quite a few other Turner posters over the years, but this Big Joe Turner broadside is special because it lists three song titles under his name, including the essential “Shake, Rattle & Roll” – his landmark 1954 hit.
Another minor element of this Big Joe Turner billboard, but one worth mentioning, is that it names his record label – using the words “Atlantic Record Star,” which he most certainly was.
This Big Joe Turner in-person poster is referred to in the hobby as a “tour blank”… meaning the entire blue portion down below stayed the same, with only the venue information at the top changing from date to date and city to city (and different ticket prices & locations, etc.).
The design of this Big Joe Turner boxing-style poster is a strong selling point… Murray’s designers did an absolutely beautiful job, with great usage of the black & blue color scheme, all the sharp angles and stars floating about, and both musicians smiling nicely and looking in different directions, producing a symmetry of sorts.
I shouldn’t forget second-billed Choker Campbell and his Orchestra, which is depicted on this Big Joe Turner concert placard with a picture of Campbell cradling his saxophone. And likewise, headliner Turner is holding a harmonica, his primary instrument of choice.
The small print found at the bottom of this Big Joe Turner event poster gives credit to both the Shaw Artists Corporation (which booked Turner’s shows) and the Murray Poster Printing Corp. of New York, New York.
If you can’t quite see the fine print in the upper white area, the admission price on this Big Joe Turner show placard was $2.00 in advance and $2.50 when purchased at the door. Such a deal!
I won’t go into all the locations where tickets could be purchased on this Big Joe Turner telephone-pole poster, but included are such smile-invoking places as Jack’s Chicken Shack, the Brown Derby and the Peacock Café.
Interesting to note how this Big Joe Turner tour placard states in huge letters “DANCE” at the top, with no mention of “concert” at all. Most shows in the 1950’s like this were called “dance-concerts,” where you could either sit and observe or get up and dance.
This Big Joe Turner placard has dimensions of 14 by 22”, the common size used for such posters of the day… and in fact, continuing to this very day.
This Big Joe Turner display sign is happily shown off by vintage boxing-style poster collector Peter J. Howard (firstname.lastname@example.org or 805-540-0020). I will pay top dollar for any 1950s vintage R&B, rock ’n’ roll or blues concert window cards such as this one.
To see some more of these old, collectible R&B concert posters from the 1950s-60s, just jump over to this page right here on my web site: http://www.postercentral.com/rhythmnblues.htm