Wednesday 31 March 2010

Jerry Lee Lewis - Lonely Weekends - youTube

The blurb on the youTube page says "Jerry Lee performs an intense version of Charlie Rich's Sun Records hit "Lonely Weekends" on the Midnight Special in 1973".

What it doen't say is that the piano solo is as whacky as the suit. Whatever, it's a magical version with a brass section that says Memphis soul and a yodel at the end that says Nashville country. The Killer fused the two like his enemy/friend down the road.

Battle of the Song No.6 - Finger Poppin' Time

Hank Ballard & the Midnighters - King 5341
Stanley Brothers - King 5384
Flip 'n' Shaky - unreleased

Hey now, hey now, hey now. I love this song, it's one of that rare breed that works equally well as a rhythm and blues tune and a bluegrass number no doubt. Written by Hank Ballard, he and the Midnighters recorded the song 50 years ago today in Cincinnati, Ohio. As the title suggests it's finger poppin' rocker with a hypnotic, highly danceable beat and proved to be their first pop hit in 1960, reaching number 7. The sax solos are superb.

The Stanley Brothers cut it later that year on and theirs is an equally exciting high stepper. Their high lonesome vocal duet and acoustic backing are a mile from the uptown sound of Hank Ballard, but it works a treat. The sax is replaced by a banjo solo and if Syd Nathan had released these back to back it would have been one of the world's finest, most ingruiging singles of all time.

The Flip 'n' Shaky version hasn't seen the light of day but is performed once a year, every year on the Sunday following the Rockers Reunion. The only place to catch the gig is on the M4 between Reading and Neath. If you happen to see the duo finger poppin' and singing their heads off, be sure to give them and wave and a wide berth.

Tuesday 30 March 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No.94 - The Champs

Rockin' Song of the Week No.94 - The Champs
Challenge 59076

From what I can gather, The Champs cut the great Red Eye 50 years ago today. I've got the song on the Ace CD, The Early Singles, a quality thirty track compilation. The music is mighty fine but the notes from Dave Burke and Roy Simonds don't mention this track. According to my Dutch buddy Dik De Heer, the song was cut in Los Angeles on March 30th, 1960, along with "The Little Matador". The two songs resulted in the single, Challenge 59076 which was released just two weeks later on April 18th.

The song was written by Gene Vincent Blue Cap Johnny Meeks, a guy who many of us love more than the much heralded Cliff Gallup. I know that Flippar has regular dreams about Johnny Meeks and the beautiful Bob Timmers is in love with the guy and cites this song as one of the reasons he wanted to learn to play guitar.

Meeks only worked with the Champs for around six months and this was the highlight of his stay, before Uncle Sam called him away. Some web sites state his tenure as being in 1959 while others say 1960. Knowing what a stickler for accuracy Dik is, i'm going with the 1960 date.

Saturday 27 March 2010

Rare Cavan Grogan Videos

Wow! No idea about the background to these videos clips, but they're prime time Cavan and make great viewing. Even those poor sensitive souls who say Cavan is a bit too loud and gruff can enjoy these - you just gotta get past the prejudice first.

The first clip is just Cav on his lonesome, the second is with the Rhythm Rockers and a beard. A legend.

The video below is a nine minute documentary, looking at Crazy Cavan and the Rhythm Rockers appearance at The Magnet, Dublin in 1980. If you can't be arsed to watch it all at least watch it from the eighth minute on. Classic.

Rockin' Song of the Week No.93 - Sammy Kershaw

Sammy Kershaw - Louisiana Hot Sauce

I liked a lot of the early Sammy Kershaw stuff during the CMT Europe years, and thought that although he sounded a lot like George Jones, he did it in his own style and didn't just sound like an immitator. I wasn't really aware of Louisiana Hot Sauce until I watched last nights episode of the great True Blood. This swampy rocker sounded so great in such a steamy scene and was further proof of how good country music can here in the right film/tv scene.

The song was cut in late 1998 at The Tracking Room in Nashville and featured such stawlwarts of the Nashville scene as Brent Mason [electric guitar], Keith Stegall [gt], Paul Franklin [steel], Glenn Worf [bass], Eddie Bayers [drums], Stuart Duncan [fiddle] and good ol' Hargus "Pig" Robbins on piano.

Check out some of these earlier videos and see if you can spot the Sonny Curtis lookalike in Third rate Romance -that's if you can get yer eyes off the blond!

Friday 26 March 2010

Johnny Maestro - RIP.

One of the greatest doo-wop singers, Johnny Maestro of the Crests has died of cancer. It's another sad day for rock 'n' roll fans, as this guy was one of the best. Personally, he was a guy that I hoped I would one day get to see in the UK.

His friend, the legendary Dion DiMucci wrote on Facebook: "My Dear Friend " JOHNNY MAESTRO" passed away today..... Last week we had wonderful & lovely conversations about our Lord. Johnny was a class act. He was truly a gentleman. :::...We will miss him. He sang "You'll Never Walk Alone" like an angel....

My Crests Top 5

1. Six Nights A Week
2. 16 Candles
3. Gee (But I'd Give The World)
4. What A Surprise
5. Isn't It Amazing

Wednesday 24 March 2010

Jerry Lee Lewis in Melbourne Australia, 1989

In 1989 Jerry Lee played three nights in Melbourne in a Legends of Rock concert series. One of the concerts was televised at the time in Oz, but hasn't been released on video or DVD. It's great to get some unseen professionally shot footage with a white-hot band of Memphis Beats, including Kenny Lovelace, Joel Schumaker and Buck Hutchison. The overhead shots give a wonderful display of the Killer's deadly piano playing. The wild version of Great Balls of Fire will knock yer socks off.

Why You Be Gone So Long

High School Confidential

Whole Lotta Shakin'Going On

Great Balls Of Fire

Monday 22 March 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 92 - Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets

Anson Funderburgh and the Rockets – Lemonade
(Rack 'Em Up - 1989 - Black Top)

White Texas blues guitarist Anson Funderburgh played with a pile of blues bands in the 70s and 80s including the Fabulous Thunderbirds on their Butt Rockin' album, but it was when he teamed up the Delta bluesman Sam Myers that all hell broke loose.

Funderburgh’s hot guitar and song-writing ability were the perfect foil for Missippi born Myers’ great down home vocal style. I’ve got half a dozen of their albums but it’s the first one I bought, 1989’s Rack ‘Em Up that’s still my favourite.

Lemonade is a stand-out for me, being a mid tempo blues stroller that has Funderburgh on fire and drummer Marc Wilson banging the skins for all he’s worth. Myers delivers a wonderful vocal before giving us a heavily amplified, stonking harmonica solo that the boys in Chicago would have been proud of. Pianist Matt McCabe just about steals the show with a great solo and some fine twinkling throughout.

“I’m looking for a woman, that only drinks lemonade, I haven’t found one yet, but I know there’s a few that’s been made”.

Recommended downloads: I’m Your Professor (see youTube clip below), Tell Me What I Want To Hear and Tell Me What Have I Done Wrong.

Sunday 14 March 2010

The Mullett, The Wig and The Quiff

No one does Chuck Berry like Dave Edmunds and that includes ol' Chuckie boy himself. Here he shows the ol Ding a Linger how to do it with Carl perkins and Brian Setzer in tow.

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 91 - Carl Mann

Carl Mann - I'm Comin' Home
Phillips International 3555

Fifty years ago today, Carl Mann drove across state to from Jackson to Memphis to cut some tracks for a forthcoming album, to be called Like Mann! With his usual buddies Robert Oatsvall on bass and the superbly talented Eddie Bush on guitar, he was joined by Charlie Rich on piano and fellow Jacksonite, WS Holland on drums. The best number they cut that day was the Rich composition, I’m Comin’ Home.

The intro was used note for note when Elvis cut it for his Something For Everybody album twelve months later. Carl Mann was one of the last of the great Sun rockers and this hot little platter was one of his best.

Monday 8 March 2010

Rockin' Song of the Week No. 90 - The Valentines.

The Valentines – The Woo Woo Train
Rama 196

Ted Dixon was one of the sweetest men you could ever meet. He was gentle and caring, a great husband and father and one hell of a good neighbour. I should know, he was mine while I grew up and was my mum and dad’s for over thirty years. Ted passed away today, without a fuss and not wanting to put anybody out of their way. That’s the way he lived, and that’s why we loved him. I've chosen this song as it was Ted's middle name, having been born on Valentines Day - always the sweetheart.

The Valentines were an East Coast doo-wop band whose reputation exceeded their sales figures. Whilst they never had a hit record, their stage performances and choreography acquired near legendary status. They formed in the Sugar Hill district of Harlem in 1952 as the Mistletoes, and consisted of Raymond "Pop" Briggs (first tenor), Carl Hogan (second tenor), Mickey Francis (baritone), and Ronnie Bright (bass), before changing their name to The Dreamers.

When a young Philadelphia singer-songwriter named Richard Barrett joined the group, they became The Valentines, taken from the title of Mickey Francis' favorite song, My Funny Valentine. Raoul Cita of The Harptones brought them to Monte Bruce’s Bruce Records, before they signed with Hy Weiss’ Old Town Records label. In December 1954, they released Barrett’s Tonight Kathleen, probably their best known number.

In mid-1955, they moved to Rama label where Lily Maebelle almost was, a common theme with all their releases. By now they’d developed their trademark look, white jackets with red cloth hearts ("valentines") on the pockets, red shirts and pink bowties.
The Woo Woo Train became their best selling single in April 1956, and when they worked with Alan Freed, he’d have them coming onstage in a chugging conga line. It also became the theme song for famed Boston DJ Arnie Ginsberg.

They disbanded in 1958, with Richard Barrett becoming manager of Frankie Lymon and the Teenagers and discovering The Chantels. Ronnie Bright joined The Cadillacs for a while, and was the bass voice on Johnny Cymbal’s "Mr. Bass Man".

Anyway, rest in peace Ted, and my thoughts are with Audrey and Dave.

Sunday 7 March 2010

Stop the World And Let Me Off

I love Waylon's Stop the World And Let Me Off and found a great recent version by the Dwightster on youTube. Check it out, from Dwight's gig at Houston's Arena Theater on 21st November, 2009.

Ricky Nelson did it in the mid 60's as well, and while it ain't as good as Waylon's it's well worth a listen.

The clip below shows James Intveld, from the Beachland Tavern in Cleveland on August 12th, 2008. It goes without saying that he nails it.

And lest we forget, here's ol' Waylon himself.

Monday 1 March 2010

Ricky Nelson - Lonesome Town: The Complete Record Releases 1957-1959

Ricky Neslon - Lonesome Town: The Complete Record Releases 1957-1959
Fantastic Voyage Records - FVTD056

Tracklist: I'm Walkin'/A Teenager's Romance/You're My One And Only Love/Be-Bop Baby/Have I Told You Lately That I Love You/Honeycomb/Boppin' The Blues/Be-Bop Baby (album version)/Have I Told You Lately That I Love You (album version)/Teenage Doll/If You Can't Rock Me/Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On/Baby I'm Sorry/Am I Blue/I'm Confessin'/Your True Love/True Love/Stood Up/Waitin' In School/Shirley Lee/Someday/Good Rockin' Tonight/I'm Feelin' Sorry/Down The Line/Unchained Melody/I'm In Love Again/Don't Leave Me This Way/My Babe/I'll Walk Alone/There Goes My Baby/Poor Little Fool/Believe What You Say/My Bucket's Got A Hole In It/I Got A Feeling/It's Late/One Of These Mornings/Believe What You Say (album version)/Lonesome Town/Tryin' To Get To You/Be True To Me/Old Enough To Love/Never Be Anyone Else But You/I Can't Help It/You Tear Mr Up/It's All In The Game/Restless Kid/You'll Never Know What You're Missing/That's All/Just A Little Too Much/One Minute to One/That's All/Just A Little Too Much/One Minute To One/Half Breed/You're So Fine/Don't Leave Me/Sweeter Than You/A Long Vacation/o Long/Blood From A Stone/I've Been Thinkin'/I Wanna Be Loved/Mighty Good/My Rifle, My Pony And Me

The good folks at Fantastic Voyage go from strength to strength, with the latest release featuring all the 1950’s recordings of the great Ricky Nelson. With 61 tracks on two discs together with a previously unreleased 78 minute interview, this is an essential purchase, especially with an asking price of under a tenner. Even if you have the Bear Family box set you’ll need this for the interview.

I’m sure everyone reading this blog will know the Ricky Nelson, where he started his career as a member of his family’s “Ozzie and Harriet Show” before forging a career in rock ‘n’ roll in equal parts due to good looks, a good voice, some great songs from the Burnette’s and Baker Knight among others, and a crack band knicked from Bob Luman that starred the superb James Burton. As well known as the story is, there’s plenty of songs on show here that aren’t so famous. They come Verve and Imperial , courtesy of his singles and his first four albums, 'Ricky', Ricky Nelson', 'Ricky Sings Again' and 'Songs By Ricky'.

Items like Waitin’ In School, Poor Little Fool, Believe What You Say and Mighty Good hold up against the finest music of the era and need no introduction. But the less informed will get to hear such gems as There Goes My Baby, You Tear Me Up, Be True To Me and I’ve Been Thinking.

He worshipped Carl Perkins and the Sun artists, and it’s a mark of his talent is how well his covers stand up to such illustrious originals, such as Your True Love, I’m Feelin’ Sorry, Down the Line and Boppin’ The Blues.

If you’re after a something a bit softer, there’s Never Be Anyone Else But You and Sweeter Than You among others. From the country side you get two belters in Half Breed and Restless Kid. This is a brilliant release that you should snap up now. From rockabilly to teen rockaballads, this has it all. A great cover photo as well to round things off.