Born Justin Lloyd Adams, 1 June 1923, New Orleans, Louisiana
Session guitarist. Justin Adams was a member of Cosimo Matassa's famous Studio Band, which plays on countless R&B and R&R recordings from the fifties and early sixties. The core of the Studio Band were members of Dave Bartholomew's Band, but there were also a few who had nothing to with Dave's band : Edgar Blanchard, Roy Montrell, Lee Allen and also Justin Adams. Justin was a competent and reliable session man, but he was not seen as the top guitarist in New Orleans. Red Tyler had this to say to John Broven (author of the book "Walking To New Orleans", titled "Rhythm and Blues In New Orleans" in the US): "I'm gonna give you a line of the guitar players in this city. Now Ernest McLean was far above everybody, by far the best musician in Dave Bartholomew's band. Edgar Blanchard was considered a little better than Justin, I say better from the standpoint of tackling more intricate things. Then there was Walter "Papoose" Nelson. He wasn't what I would say in the same category even of Justin Adams. You put music in front of him and it didn't mean anything to him, really. But if you played the thing for him and say 'Listen to the way it goes', he'd probably play as good a part as anybody else". Tyler does not mention Roy Montrell. Going through sessionographies of Fats Domino and Little Richard, I was surprised on how few sessions Adams played. Bartholomew preferred to work with Walter Nelson, it seems, and later (from "Be My Guest" onwards) with Roy Montrell on Fats's records. In fact, the name of Justin Adams appears only once in the Bear Family disco- graphy of Fats : he played on the session of May 25, 1956, which produced "When My Dreamboat Comes Home", the great "Ida Jane" and "Don't Know What's Wrong" Also, Adams played on the first (two-day) Specialty session of Little Richard in September 1955, which culminated in "Tutti Frutti". The Smiley Lewis sessionography doesn't have too many entries for Adams either (mostly these are speculation : "possibly Justin Adams"). So it is possible that Dave Bartholomew wasn't too impressed with him and that he doesn't play on many Imperial recording as a consequence. Adams does play on many, if not most of the recordings for Johnny Vincent's Ace label, though. He died of a heart attack on the age of 68.
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