The Harlem Hamfats were neither from Harlem, nor were they 'hamfats', a derogatory term for poor or uninspiring musicians. They were in fact a studio band formed in 1936 and included Mayo "Ink" Williams, along with Kansas Joe  McCoy (who had just divorced from Memphis Minnie)  and Joe's younger brother Charlie, both from Mississippi, the band backing successful singers of the time such as Frankie "Half Pint" Jackson and Rosetta Howard for Decca Records. The original line up also included Herb Morand from New Orleans, Odell Rand and John Lindsey, also from New Orleans, and drummer Pearlis Williams and pianist Horace Malcom from Chicago. They were also joined from time to time by Johnny "Geechie" Temple, a long time friend of the McCoy brothers.  Perhaps because of their individual styles, their music was a fusion of blues, dixieland and jazz. Despite being formed to function as a studio band, when their first recording, "Oh Red", was a hit,  they became a popular touring band with audiences. However they were not universally popular with music critics, and the rather risqué lyrical content of their songs, their high spirited performances, and their possible lack of improvisational techniques, led to them being described as lightweight by some. Whilst they may not have been at the forefront of blues innovation, nevertheless their riff based style almost certainly influenced future blues stars emerging at that time, and the music that would eventually become R&B and rock 'n' roll.