Beat poet Royston Ellis remembers
Blues, rock and roll, soul, fifties and sixties pop, cajun, jazz, folk, vinyl records, LPs, EPs, singles, New Orleans, Memphis, UK rock, nostalgia, girl groups.
Now that memories of my West Coast US trip are fading, thoughts are turning to my next American trip in the autumn when the high point will be the 12th Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans. The Stomp showcases roots musicians from the fields of rock and roll, soul, swamp pop and blues and organiser Dr Ike manages to find many of the almost forgotten names of the fifties and sixties, some of whom haven't performed very much in many years, as well as some of the great names from the era. This year's line up includes soul singers such as Mable John, Irma Thomas, Brenda Holloway, Barbara Lynn and Willie Hightower. Rock and roll is represented by Freddie Cannon with Los Straitjackets, Roy Head and Al Hendrix, swamp pop by the likes of Rod Bernard, Warren Storm, Tommy McClain and Gene Terry, with the Mama Mama Mamas, a spin off from the Lil Band of Gold, with C C Adcock, Steve Riley and Dickie Landry, and blues by Billy Boy Arnold. Then there are the rarities and obscurities, including songwriter P F Sloan, Jimmy 'Pistol' Jules, original members of Sunny and the Sunliners and several artists about whom I know nothing. It's a mouth watering line up and I can't wait. http://www.ponderosastomp.com/
I'm taking another trip down memory lane with a look at my personal top ten exactly 50 years ago. 1965 was the year when soul music really took off in the UK, even if the pop charts did not reflect it. After years of the major US labels having their UK records released on labels such as London, Stateside and Pye International, they were at last getting their own UK outlets. In the space of a couple of months in early 1965 Decca, EMI and Pye launched Atlantic, Tamla Motown and Chess labels under their own names. My top ten of May 9 included records on all three of these, plus a few on more established labels such as HMV, RCA and Stateside, plus one on the Sue label which had been launched a couple of years earlier.
The death at 71 of Jack Ely, who sang lead on the Kingsmen's 1963 hit Louie Louie, has attracted considerable interest. Certainly the record was a great one - an early example of grunge perhaps - and it topped my personal top ten for four weeks in January 1964. But in Jack's case he was the archetypal one hit