Willie Kent (February 24, 1936 – March 2, 2006) was an American blues singer, bassist and songwriter. Kent was born in Inverness, Sunflower County, Mississippi. Although he had played the bass guitar in Chicago's clubs since the 1950s, Kent worked full time until he was over 50 years of age. Following heart surgery, he stopped work as a truck driver, and formed a band. His impassioned singing was deemed similar to both Byther Smith and John Primer. In early 2005, Kent was diagnosed with colon cancer, but continued his busy live schedule in spite of chemotherapy treatments. He died in Englewood, California in March 2006.
The brief and dazzling life of MCM Records was a labor of love that captured many treasurable live performances from the last flowering of the classic Chicago Blues age. A young French woman Marcelle Chailleux Morgantini was married to Jacques Morgantini who changed her life into American jazz and blues.
Guitarist Jimmy Dawkins was a good friend and helped them in Chicago to meet and hear the many good blues musicians that played at the different clubs in Chicago. Marcelle returned from her Chicago pilgrimage filled with excitement. Says Jacques Morgantini: It was the year of Marcelle’s 50th birthday and she came into some money from her family. She said to me, “I do not want an expensive coat or jewels – I want to go to Chicago to record the blues. She knew that it could only be done if she had her own record label and complete artistic control. Marcelle made three trips to Chicago in 1975,1976 and 1977 and arrived with her Nagra machine, a small mixing desk and a selection of microphones.
She recorded live: Magic Slim, Big Mojo Elem,John Littlejohn, Eddie Clearwater,Eddie Taylor, Bobby King,Jimmy Johnson, Luther Johnson Jr.,Willie Kent, James Lyons,Hip Lankchan,Big Vocie Odom,Bluebloos McMahon, Joe Carter and Jimmy Dawkins at “Ma Bea’s”, “Golden Slipper”, “Queen Bea’s”, and “Big Duke’s”, on Chicago west and south side. Many of the blues musicians had not recorded before and can only been found on the Storyville label that issued all the recordings on CD’s. She was at the right place at the right time.