Rabbit & Geno
Guitarist Robert Lee “Count Rabbit” Robinson and keyboard player Geno, or “Gino” Washington (not the Detroit singer) played their own blend of R &B and blues up and down the Eastern Seaboard for a couple of decades, but their main base was Buffalo, NY. Rabbit came from Alabama originally but came to Buffalo via Pittsburgh as a kid. He had a show biz upbringing as his mother was a member of the Butterball & Susie revue, but Rabbit took to the guitar and started out scuffling for change by playing on Buffalo’s sidewalks with his brother Skip. He joined up with Geno sometime in the 1950s and they stayed together until Washington passed away in the early 1980s.
I know of two 45s that they made, both of them cut around the turn of the 60s. The first for New Jersey’s Bow label featured the rocking duet “Uncertain Love” and the tough blues ballad Why Did You Go. On this they sound like the East Coast’s answer to Don & Dewey, and the way they mix the blues with gospel touches foreshadows those great male soul duos I love so much. My favourite track that Geno & Rabbit made together though is the excellent Deep In The Night on which their twin harmonies are backed by the La Rells, a big name in Pittsburgh where the track was cut.
Count Rabbit was a Buffalo legend and he was inducted into the Buffalo Hall of Fame and honoured by the Mayor who declared February 18th to be Count Rabbit day in 2011. The tragedy is that Rabbit died the day after the ceremony.
Note ~ This website here which contains a short but very interesting interview with Count Rabbit mentions that he and Geno recorded “seven or eight singles” but I only know of just the two above. Can anybody supply details of the others?