Saturday 16 May 2009

Going away for a couple of weeks

I'll be going away for a couple of weeks, on holiday not prison. I'll be back at the end of the month. Take care.

Wednesday 13 May 2009

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 55 - Creedence Clearwater Revival - Ramble Tamble

John Fogerty tributed himself on his last album Revival with the song Gunslinger, and if anyone thought he was blowing smoke out of his own ass, just needed to put on the Cosmo's Factory and seven minutes later they'd have themselves a long re-think. 1970's Cosmo's is perhaps the bands greatest album, jam packed with hits from Up Around The Bend to Who'll Stop the Rain and Travellin' Band to Long As I Can See The Light. Despite the quality of these, the opener ramble Tamble still manages to hold it's own. Fogerty made a living playing a Sun Records guitar, and that sound is all over this song. Ably supported by Doug Clifford's drums, Ramble Tamble kicks off like Scotty Moore on speed. The song could have finished after two minutes but it goes in to a slower period where the title may have got it's first part from. A couple of minutes later we're back in Memphis-mode and the song rock's out to the close. This is the 55th song in the rockin' series I've reviewed and it's probably the first one to go over three minutes. Seven minutes - I've listened to podcasts that didn't last that long. A classic song from a classic album.

Tuesday 12 May 2009

The Clovers - Devils or Angels

R'n'b vocal group, the Clovers were one of the great groups of the 50's, whose influence far outweighed their chart success. They consisted of lead singer John "Buddy" Bailey, Harold Winley, Harold Lucas, Matthew McQuater and guitarist Bill Harris. They were formed in Washington and were soon signed to the small independent R & B label, Rainbow Records of New York. Their first release for Rainbow was a cover of the old pop standard "Yes Sir, That's My Baby", coupled with "When You Come Back To Me".

Although the song failed to garner much in the line of sales, it did find a fan in Washington deejay "Waxie Maxie" Silverman, who helped land them a deal with Atlantic Records. In February 1951 they their debut Atlantic disc (Atlantic 934), "Don't You Know I Love You"/ "Skylark". The top side was written by Atlantic boss Ahmet Ertegun, and is my favourite Clovers track. Plenty of their songs have been covered (and rightly so) but I find it strange that Don't You Know I Love You has gone through life relatively untouched. The single shot to number one on the R & B charts and sold over 300,000 copies. The follow-up "Fool Fool Fool" / "Needless" fared even better, also reaching number one but reported to have sold over half a million. The group were then joined by a former member of the Dominos, Charlie White.

Early in 1952 saw "One Mint Julep" / "Middle Of The Night", the top side benefiting from SAO favourite Henry Van Walls on piano. Their songs grew in stature with each release., incorporating strong and imaginative arrangements with catchy lyrics. They always seemed to stay on the blues side of rock 'n' roll with highlights among the next few releases including "Ting-A-Ling" and "Hey Miss Fannie". When Buddy Bailey was enlisted, Charlie White took over the lead role. "Good Lovin" continued the winning streak but 1953's "The Feeling Is So Good" / "Comin' On" became the first 45 of the Clovers to miss the charts since they'd joined Atlantic.

This was rectified at the beginning of the next year with "Little Mama" / "Lovey Dovey" a classic double sider. By the spring they were named as one of the top ten money makers by Billboard magazine and the Juke Box Operator's Association. They were signed to headline Alan Freeds Moondog Coronation Ball, which was held on May 1 1954 to a wild crowd of more than 10,000. They together with Fats Domino co-headlined the "Jubilee of Stars Under The Stars" for Freed at Ebbet's Field in Brooklyn in August. Further hits singles followed with "Your Cash Ain't Nothing But Trash" / "I've Got My Eyes On You" and "Blue Velvet" / "If You Love Me".

And what would we do now for a DVD of the Rhythm & Blues Top Ten Cavalcade, a six week cross country that saw the Clovers share the bill with the Moonglows, Joe Turner, and The Charms. "Love Bug" / "In The Morning Time" made surprisingly little noise on the charts as did another killer double sider, "Nip Sip" / "If I Could Be Loved By You". Their fortunes took another upturn when "Devil Or Angel" / "Hey Doll Baby" was released. They were slowly giving their sound a moe poppy flavour, as witnessed by their next 45, "Love Love Love" and the glorious "Your Tender Lips", another one of my favs. "From The Bottom Of My Heart" / "Bring Me Love" also did brisk business but their success was not to last much longer. For one release they even went back to the vaults and found a gem from 1953, the now standard, "Down In The Alley". When the group's contract with Atlantic expired, it was not renewed.

Their manager, Lou Krefetz, produced their next single and released it on his Popular label in 1958. Sales were disappointing though. They joined United Artists but the outlook seemed gloomy when the first release "That Ol' Black Magic" / "Rock & Roll Tango" kept their run of failures going. However, the follow-up, "Love Potion # 9" by Leiber and Stoller took off and climbed into the pop charts, peaking at # 23. It became the biggest seller in their illustrious history. It proved to be a one-off though and subsequent releases fared less well. Of the original members, only Harold Winley survives. Bill Harris died on December 10, 1988, Harold Lucas on January 6, 1994, Buddy Bailey in February 1994 and Billy Mitchell, who sang lead on "Love Potion # 9", on November 6, 2002.

Recommended listening:
The 2 Sequel CDs are your best bet if can track down copies.
The Clovers - Sequel RSACD 857
The Clovers Dance Party - Sequel RSACD 858

Rockin’ Song of the Week No 54 – The Rhythmaires

Rockin’ Song of the Week No 54 – The Rhythmaires
Ernest Borgine, Jack Palance And Me (Big Hat Records)

What more do you want from a rockabilly song than a rockin’ hillbilly beat and fun lyrics that go beyond the “I love you with that ponytail and Gene Vincent tattoo”. Without taking anything away from the band, who are excellent, it’s the outstanding lyrics of lead singer Stuart Warburton that set the Rhythmaires apart from the crowd. Describing his woman in You Need Help as having a “vocabulary that’ll make Tarantino blush” he adds, “your skin looks like a contour map of Venezuela, and your wardrobe's a failure”. Not your run-of-the mill stuff and to cap it off, the song is a high-energy blast. The only thing I’ve got by them is the Kill Pat Boone CD from the end of 2001, and I’m not sure they’re even together now. The album is superb with Chris Cummings touch evident throughout. The band at the time included Paul Murphy and Mark Ellerton. A prime example of their work is Dead-End Job In a One-Horse Town which has more great lyrics and is set to a Mystery Train-style rockin’ beat. Someone Up There Doesn't Like Me has a country edge that reminds me of some of BR549’s best work from their early days. I don’t want to keep harping on about the lyrics, but this is another example of how a song can be enhanced by a quality set of couplets. Ernest Borgine, Jack Palance And Me is a modern classic, with Cummings’ steel guitar joining the rockabilly party. The lyrics are great fun, he’s looking for revenge and he’s got some hard pals, even throwing in Lee Van Cleef at the end.

Recommended downloads: Baby's Got A Thing About Pat Boone, Dead-End Job In a One-Horse Town, Someone Up There Doesn't Like Me.

Monday 11 May 2009

George Thorogood European Tour - May 2009

George Thorogood and the Delaware Destroyers are touring Europe this month and I was just looking up their UK dates when I found this little podcast on their official site. Well worth a look it comes from the Clarksdale Jook Joint Jam DVD. I love the way they're describing themselves as the world's best bar band. Cut and paste the link below to view the clip.

The tour dates are as follows;

05/13/09 Oslo NO Rockefeller
05/14/09 Copenhagen, Denmark Dk Amager Bio
05/15/09 Hamburg De Grosse Freiheit 36
05/16/09 Stuttgart De LKA Longhorn
05/17/09 Brussels, Belgium BI Ancienne Belgique
05/18/09 Amsterdam, Holland NI Paradiso
05/19/09 Eindoven, Holland NI Effenaar
05/21/09 Cambridge UK Corn Exchange
05/22/09 Bristol UK Colston Hall
05/23/09 Southampton UK Guildhall
05/24/09 Birmingham UK Symphony Hall
05/25/09 Liverpool UK Philharmonic
05/27/09 London UK Royal Albert Hall
05/28/09 Manchester UK Apollo
05/29/09 Glasgow, Scotland UK Clyde Auditorium
05/31/09 Dublin, Ire __ Olympia

Saturday 9 May 2009

Imelda May - Don't You Do Me No Wrong

Imelda may continues to make strides towards a successful career on a broader stage than most rockabilly acts have had the fortune to. And while Johnny Got A Boom Boom may not be bona-fida rockabilly in the style of Charlie Feathers, it has the feel and will hopefully lead kids to check out some more rocking stuff. To prove that she can rock with the best, here's a cracking version of Pat Cupp's rockabilly classic, Don't You Do Me No Wrong. Recorded live at The Boardwalk last December, her hot band includes husband Darrel Higham on guitar, Steve Rushton on drums and good ol Al Gare on double bass.

The following clip is a neat little promo that hints at the talent that is Imelda May and will hopefully give some youngsters their first taste of rockabilly. It's shame this clip didn't run for five minutes or so and show a little bit more behind the scenes.

Wednesday 6 May 2009

Occasional Bootleg Series No. 6 - Jerry Lee Lewis, Newport, 1987

Jerry Lee Lewis, Civic Centre, Newport, South Wales, UK
April 16th 1987

The band: Kenneth Lovelace (guitar/fiddle/vocals), Linda Gail Lewis (vocals), Phoebe Lewis (vocals), Joel Schumaker (guitar), Harvey 'Duke' Faglier (bass), Danny Harrison (drums), Moetta Stewart (keyboards, vocals)

Tracklist: Rockin' My Life Away / You Win Again / Why Don't You Love Me / Mean Woman Blues / Over The Rainbow / Rock & Roll Is Something Special / One Of Them Old Things / Meat Man / Autumn Leaves / Drinkin' Wine Spo-Dee-O-Dee / You Belong To Me / Roll Over Beethoven (with Linda Gail Lewis) / We Live In Two Different Worlds (with Linda Gail Lewis) / When You Wore A Tulip (with Linda Gail Lewis) / Great Balls Of Fire / This World Is Not My Home / Tennessee Saturday Night / Middle Age Crazy / Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On ­ You Can Have Her (Medley)

I've been waiting for a bootleg of this show for 22 years and here it is. This was my first ever Jerry Lee show and marked the moment when I fell in love with the guy. I always liked him but after this show, I was obsessed. For an audience recording the sound is pretty good. The main thing I remembered about this show was his version of Over The Rainbow which blew me away.

The tracklist shows how diverse a Jerry lee show was in those days. It's such a shame that he now plays the same handful of songs show after show. Personally I'd like to see Kenneth Lovelace take a more proactive role here and start prompting Jerry Lee with some numbers that would stimulate the Killer and be fresh for the audience.

The show kicked off in great style with a quintet of songs that ranged from the rock 'n' roll of Rockin' My Life Away to the country of Hank's You Win Again, to a superb strolling version of Why Don't You Love Me to the beautiful five minute version of Over The Rainbow. Effortlessly moving from one genre to another, JLL is the king, no doubt about it.

I don't recall it from the time but listening now I'm surprised how uninspriring Meat Man was and although Rock & Roll Is Something Special is an apt title, it's a pretty average song. That's about it though, the rest is wonderful. Even the three duets with Linda Gail are fine. Jerry Lee tries to blame himself for the wrong key in We Live In Two Different Worlds, but whatever key they played, it was always going to be too much for Linda to hit. You Belong To Me and Middle Aged Crazy are both performed beautifully and you get the usual power and excitement in Balls and Shakin'.

If you were at the show or any shows from the tour, it can be downloaded courtesy of jbored76 at

Tuesday 5 May 2009

Jerry Lee Lewis Highway

Looks like the Highway Department has woken up to the Killers influence before the Country Music Association. In Nashville the other day, Tennessee's Legislature approved a bill designating the section of Getwell Road between Interstate 240 and the Mississippi border "The Jerry Lee Lewis Highway." I suppose it just wasn't tactful to call it the Killer Highway.

Jerry Lee, his daughter Phoebe Lewis and manager J.W. Whitten were present when the House of Representatives announced the resolution Monday night. Talk about a one sided love affair, the vote was 95-0 in favor of the bill, following a 33-0 vote in the Senate.

"I'd just like to say thank you very much and God bless you. It's not every day you get a street named after you. I think it's a great honor. It's a privilege to be here and God bless each and every one of you," Lewis said.

Rock on Killer.

Charlie Feathers - Can't Hardly Stand It! - The Complete 50s Recordings

Can't Hardly Stand It! - The Complete 50s Recordings
El Toro Records ETCD 1020

Track listing:
1 Peepin' Eyes
2 I've Been Deceived
3 Defrost Your Heart
4 A Wedding Gown of White
5 Tongue-Tied Jill
6 Get With It
7 Everybody's Lovin' My Baby
8 Can't Hardly Stand It
9 One Hand Loose
10 Bottle to the Baby
11 When You Decide
12 Nobody's Woman
13 Too Much Alike
14 When You Come Around
15 Why Don't You
16 Jungle Fever
17 One Hand Loose (alternative take)
18 Can't Hardly Stand It (alternative take)
19 Bottle to the Baby (alternative take)
20 Bottle to the Baby (alternative take)
21 Everybody's Lovin' My Baby (alternative take)
22 Too Much Alike (alternative take)
23 My My - Jody Chastain (Ch. Feathers on guitar)
24 Jody's Beat - Jody Chastain (Ch. Feathers on guitar)

1 I've Been Deceived (demo version)
2 Runnin' Around (demo version)
3 Defrost Your Heart (demo version)
4 Runnin' Around
5 I've Been Deceived (alternative take)
6 Someday You Will Pay - The Miller Sisters (Charlie Feathers on spoons)
7 Defrost Your Heart (alternative take)
8 A Wedding Gown of White (alt. take)
9 We're Getting Closer to Being Apart
10 Bottle to the Baby (Sun demo version #1)
11 Bottle to the Baby (Sun demo version #2)
12 Frankie and Johnny (take #2)
13 Frankie and Johnny (take #5)
14 Bottle to the Baby (Sun take #1)
15 Bottle to the Baby (Sun take #2)
16 Honky Tonk Kind (take #3)
17 Honky Tonk Kind (take #4)
18 So Ashamed (take #1)
19 So Ashamed (take #2)
20 Corrine Corrina
21 The Man in Love
22 This Lonesome Feeling
23 Johnny Come Listen

El Toro have produced the goods again, this time concentrating on the early career of rockabilly legend Charlie Feathers. Featuring no fewer than 47 tracks, this release has all the singles, outtakes and demos that the Holly Springs Hellraiser cut. There’s a split opinion of Charlie within the rockabilly world. Some think he has been given undue acclaim, others think he should have been bigger than he was, but what everyone agrees on is the quality of his best rockabilly numbers.

CD1 kicks off with the hillbilly recordings, all of which stand the test of time well. Peepin’ Eyes is a lively pepped-up hillbilly, with I’ve Been Deceived having clever lyrics just a notch below ol’ Hank himself. It’s the Meteor single where thinks get spicy, Tongue-Tied Jill being nothing short of brilliant. This and the King stuff that follow show Charlie at his hiccupy, southern drawling, hip-swivelling best. Classics abound in the form of the issued and unissued versions of Everybody's Lovin' My Baby and Can’t Hardly Stand It. One Hand Loose has one of the coolest, simplest six word intros in rock ‘n’ roll music, “well I’m a tip top daddy” – you sure were Charlie. I love the poppier sounds of When You Decide and Too Much Alike and would have liked him to persevere with that sound in the early 60’s. Bottle To The Baby is another classic and in the spirit of completism El Toro have even chosen to include the great speeded up version that Ace put out a few years ago. The CD closes with both sides of the Jody Chastain single that Charlie played rhythm guitar on.

The second CD looks at the unissued recordings which at one stage were rare and much sought after. Oddly enough, some of this is the first stuff I heard of him, as the Zu Zazz album was my introduction, even before I heard the King classics. I love the alternates of Bottle to the Baby, Corrine Corrina and Frankie And Johnny, all of which are here. This is a brilliant release from El Toro which should hit all the right spots for either those without any Charlie in their lives (shame on you) or those who may have it all but just want it collected in one place. Either party is on a winner – he really was a tip top daddy.

Monday 4 May 2009

The Clash - like watching three Eddie Cochran's

I've just been watching a documentary of my favourite punk band, The History of The Clash and heard a great quote fom one of their early followers. Talking about their live show, the guy said that with their head-on sound and the visual dynamics of the front three, "it was like watching three Eddie Cochran's". What a thought. I'd have been happy just to have seen the one, the closest I ever got was a tongue in my ear from Sharon Sheeley. Nice, but not like watching Eddie baby on stage. About the only link I can think of between Eddie and the Clash is Brian Setzer, who was best mates with Joe Strummer and played the role of Eddie in La Bamba. So here's a few videos of the Clash in their prime, Eddie in his prime and the Stray Cats doing Gene and Eddie.

Sunday 3 May 2009

Bobby Bland – Two Steps From the Blues (BBC Four)

The UK’s premier broadcaster BBC have been running a weekend of programmes dedicated to the blues, under the banner, Blues Britannia. Obviously majority of programmes are obsessed with the white wannabees, Clapton and Long John Baldry with just the odd snippet of BB King or John Lee Hooker, but the most interesting of them is this tribute to Bobby Blues Bland.

BB King opens the proceedings with the quote, “Bobby Bland has a voice soft as silk, well that’s the way it is for me”. Well, me too BB. The story starts with Bobby’s influence from gospel music, with Ira Tucker of the Dixie Hummingbirds talking with gusto about the early 50’s. BB King told with a smile that whatever blues club they were at on a Saturday night, they were always in church on the Sunday – the singers and the crowd. When talk moves to Memphis, BB describes Beale Street thus, “I’ve never been to college but Beale Street was like a community college” saying you could learn about blues, gambling, etc. Talk of Duke record owner Don Robey ranged from bitter about royalties, to refreshing about the man himself, and the opportunity he gave the artists. Bobby, who always comes over as humble, thanked Robey for having faith in him.

There’s some nice live footage from the 70’s and more recently from Memphis, showing how little his beautiful voice has changed over the years. The live clip of Bobby and BB from the 70’s is brilliant, BB’s guitar and Bobby voice walking in perfect tandem to produce the most soulful blues ever. Peter Gauralnick recalled seeing him live where during Stormy Monday he would fall to his knees and the women in the audience had to be restrained.

Simply Red’s Mick Hucknell laments Bland being a vastly under appreciated. There are a few clips from Hucknell’s 2008 tribute album where he actually comes over quite well. I’m not a Simply Red fan, but his voice doesn’t sound too bad and he comes over as a genuine fan.

So to sum it up, it’s a great, long overdue documentary. There was a time, twenty odd years ago, that programmes like this were all the rage on Arena and the like, but that trend has long gone. Shows like this will hopefully start to redress the balance. Check the BBC website to see if it’s available on iPlayer.