Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Going to the mine

I've been neglecting my blog recently so apologies if there are any readers out there (you never know with a blog unless someone leaves a comment). I've missed several gigs due to clashes with other engagements, including Wanda Jackson and Charlie Gracie last week and also Keith Woods' latest promotion with blues man Robert Penn. I gather it was very badly attended so I feel rather guilty about not going, but I fear that Keith may now give up his brave attempts at getting an audience for bluesmen and rock and rollers in London. It can't help being sniped at by Mr Checksfield who had some success attracting people to a small venue to see little known country singer Mary-Jean, whose only claim to fame is being related to Jerry Lee Lewis. I'm sure Keith doesn't want to hear what he should have done, where he went wrong, and how Mr Checksfield would have done it if he'd been the promoter. Anyway, I hope that Keith perseveres or that someone else takes up the challenge.
There have been fewer than average high profile music deaths over the last few weeks. There was a couple of blues artists in their nineties - so hardly a case of shock horror - but apart from them the only death that has caught my eye lately is Danny Flores, ths saxophonist who shouted 'Tequila!' on the Champs record.
I will not be going on the Tales From The Woods boat trip that Keith has organised this Sunday but at least I have a good excuse. I'm off to Salt Lake City tomorrow to look at a huge copper mine with some journalists, and then going to Vancouver for the weekend. Doubt if I will catch any live music but it will make a nice change.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Some more fantastic top tens

More classic personal top tens from 1960 - 65. Some great records included:
Sept 19, 1960: 1. Chain gang - Sam Cooke; 2= I just go for you - Jimmy Jones, and Wondrous place - Billy Fury; 4= Walk don't run - The Ventures, and So sad - Everly Brothers; 6= You gotta move two mountains - Marv Johnson, and Dreamin' - Johnny Burnette; 8= MacDonald's cave - Piltdown Men, It ain't gonna be that way - Marv Johnson, and Rocking goose - Johnny & the Hurricanes.
Sept 21, 1961: 1. Cryin' - Roy Orbison; 2. Without you - Johnny Tillotson; 3. I like it like that - Chris Kenner; 4. Let the four winds blow - Fats Domino; 5. Hats off to Larry - Del Shannon; 6= You don't know what you've got - Ral Donner, Sweet little you - Neil Sedaka, and Muskrat - Everly Brothers; 9. More money for you and me - Four Preps; 10. Don't blame me - Everly Brothers.
Sept 20, 1962: 1. Let's dance - Chris Montez; 2. I wanna thank your folks - Johnny Burnette; 3. Welcome home baby - The Shirelles; 4. Point of no return - Gene McDaniels; 5. Sweet little sixteen - Jerry Lee Lewis; 6= Wait till the sun shines Nellie - Buddy Holly, Cry myself to sleep - Del Shannon, and When summer's gone - Freddy Cannon; 9= Little Diane - Dion, If a man answers - Bobby Darin, and It might as well rain until September - Carole King.
Sept 22, 1963: 1. Then he kissed me - The Crystals; 2. Pretty thing - Bo Diddley; 3= Frankie and Johnny - Sam Cooke, and Mean woman blues - Roy Orbison; 5= Donna the prima donna - Dion, Let it rock - Chuck Berry, and My boyfriend's back - The Angels; 8. Monkey time - Major Lance; 9. Memphis Tennessee - Chuck Berry; 10. Mickey's monkey - The Miracles.
Sept 21, 1964: 1. Where did our love go - The Supremes; 2. Pretty woman - Roy Orbison; 3. Rhythm - Major Lance; 4. Baby I need your loving - Four Tops; 5. Bread and butter - The Newbeats; 6= Little old lady from Pasadena - Jan and Dean, and Out of sight - James Brown; 8= Try it baby - Marvin Gaye, and My babe - Little Walter; 10= Let it be me - Betty Everett & Jerry Butler, and Ain't nothing you can do - Bobby Bland.
Sept 18, 1965: 1. In the midnight hour - Wilson Pickett; 2. Respect - Otis Redding; 3. California girls - The Beach Boys; 4. Action - Freddy Cannon; 5. Ju ju hand- Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs; 6. Last love, last kiss, goodbye - Joe Williams; 7. Papa's got a brand new bag - James Brown; 8. Since I lost my baby - The Temptations; 9. I put a spell on you - Nina Simone; 10. If I didn't love you - Chuck Jackson.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Vinyl makes a comeback

I knew if I waited long enough vinyl would come back into fashion. Apparently vinyl record sales last year were the highest since 1998. Acts like the Arctic Monkeys, White Stripes and Kaiser Chiefs are insisting on their releases coming out on seven inch singles. Manufacturers have even started producing turntables again. Vinyl records have a better sound, more space for creative design and a better feel and smell. So my record collection isn't obsolete after all - not that I would care if it was: it's the music that's important. But it seems that, just as cassette tapes have become a thing of the past, so too might CDs soon be obsolete, as downloads take over.
But vinyl - well, like rock and roll itself, that will never die.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

UK Rock goes top shelf

There's a great picture of 50s fetish queen Bettie Page wielding a whip on the cover of this month's UK Rock magazine (the journal of mining and minerology). Congratulations to John Howard for having the sense to turn the publication into a top shelf mag - it may be the only way he will recoup his money!
The interview with Mark Lamarr was good, but I was surprised he'd never seen Lloyd Price live. I first saw Lloyd at Jazzfest in about 1992 and he was excellent. He also took part in the Dewdrop Inn Remembered gig at a downtown New Orleans hotel which was the first and only time I saw Benny Spellman perform. I will dig out my diary for that year and include it in a future entry. Of course Lloyd also featured on the legends of rock and roll show at Wembley Arena a few years ago, along with Jerry Lee, Little Richard (who was presented with a cake for his 65th(?) birthday, Johnny Preston, Chris Montez, Little Eva and Duane Eddy. Great show - shame about the venue.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Barbara George

Seems the cassette tape by Barbara George called Bad Luck and Trouble is a bit of a rarity. So here's a picture, plus another Barbara George rarity.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

September classic top tens '60-65

More from my personal top ten lists 1960-65:
Sept 10, 1960: 1. I just go for you - Jimmy Jones; 2. Please help me I'm falling - Hank Lochlin; 3. It ain't gonna be that way - Marv Johnson; 4. MacDonald's cave - Piltdown men; 5. Yogi - The Ivy Three; 6. Only the lonely - Roy Orbison; 7= Walk don't run - The Ventures, and White cliffs of Dover - Acker Bilk; 9. Everybody's somebody's fool - Connie Francis; 10. Let's think about living - Bob Luman.
Sept 7, 1961: 1. Hats off to Larry - Del Shannon; 2. Cryin' - Roy Orbison; 3. Tell me that you love me - Marv Johnson; 4. Girls - Johnny Burnette; 5. Sea of heartbreak - Don Gibson; 6= You don't know what you've got - Ral Donner, and I like it like that - Chris Kenner; 8. Without you - Johnny Tillotson; 9. Pretty little angel eyes - Curtis Lee; 10= Drivin' home - Duane Eddy, and Together - Connie Francis.
Sept 7, 1962: 1. I wanna thank your folks - Johnny Burnette; 2. Cry myself to sleep - Del Shannon; 3. When summer's gone - Freddy Cannon; 4. She's not you - Elvis Presley; 5. Little Diane - Dion; 6. Reminiscing - Buddy Holly; 7. Sheila - Tommy Roe; 8. The Loco-motion - Little Eva; 9= It's started all over again - Brenda Lee, You're much too young - Jimmy Jones, and Teenage idol - Rick Nelson.
Sept 7, 1963: 1. Then he kissed me - The Crystals; 2. Hey girl - Freddie Scott; 3. My boyfriend's back - The Angels; 4. Frankie and Johnny - Sam Cooke; 5. Don't say goodnight and mean goodbye - The Shirelles; 6. Surf city - Jan and Dean; 7= Shake shake shake - Jackie Wilson, and Two silhouettes - Del Shannon; 9= Come go with me - Dion, Everybody monkey - Freddy Cannon, and Nobody but me - The Isley Brothers.
Sept 9, 1964: 1. Where did our love go - The Supremes; 2. I'm into something good - Earl-Jean; 3. Ain't nothing you can do - Bobby Bland; 4. You never can tell - Chuck Berry; 5= Bread and butter - The Newbeats, and The little old lady from Pasadena - Jan and Dean; 7= You're so fine and sweet - The Miracles, and Rag doll - Four Seasons; 9= I get around - The Beach Boys, C'mon and swim - Bobby Freeman, Dissatisfied woman - Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee, and I want to love him so bad - The Jelly Beans
Sept 7, 1965: 1. In the midnight hour - Wilson Pickett; 2. Respect - Otis Redding; 3. Ju ju hand - Sam the Sham & the Pharaohs; 4. California girls - The beach Boys; 5. I put a spell on you - Nina Simone; 6. It's wonderful to be in love - The Ovations; 7. Ride your pony - Lee Dorsey; 8. Since I lost my baby - The Temptations; 9. Papa's got a brand new bag - James Brown; 10= One step at a time - Maxine Brown, and I'll never get over you - Everly Brothers.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Don't you just hate it...

TV commercials that bastardise classic records from the past. Don't you just hate them? The latest to be butchered in the name of sales is Huey Piano Smith's Don't You Just Know it. This version with 'updated' words features an overweight pole dancer, a single mum who has no idea who the father is, and a girl who finds out she's married a bearded transvestite. It's promoting a magazine called Love it, which I'm sure I won't.
It's not too bad when classic records are given a wider audience through the use of the original recording, like the KFC soul ads, but what really gets my goat is the ultra crap cover which is an insult to the original.

Friday, September 01, 2006

Jazzfest 1991 continued

More extracts from my diary from 1991:
April 30: Weather miserable but decided to do a bit of touring along the Gulf Coast, thru Bay St Louis to Mobile and then to Dauphin Island, site of the battle of Mobile Bay between the US and UK. A barman told me that the saying 'raising Cane' came from Joe Cane, a confederate who had seven wives and who (allegedly) invented Mardi Gras. When he died a custom grew up whereby seven widows would visit his grave on the Sunday before Mardi Gras and 'raise' him from the dead.
May 1: More touring - Fort Morgan and through Mississippi. Back in New Orleans I went to the Landmark - John Howard was there - he couldn't keep away. To Jimmy's in the evening to see Carl Sonny Leyland (from Southampton) and Buddy Guy, and then to Muddy Waters to see Marva Wright.
May 2: Jazzfest featured Snooks Eaglin, Lynn August, Kate and Anna McGarricle (boring), Bobby Marchan, Taj Mahal, Eddie Bo (third time this trip) and C J Chenier. After dinner at Michauls went to the Lion's Den to see Irma Thomas. Allen Toussaint guested on keyboards. A couple of convincing Otis Redding numbers from Lee Bates. Irma very relaxed. Even Emile smiled.
May 3: Rather slow at Jazzfest but the tall and exciting Marcia Ball livened things up, followed by swamp pop from Tommy McClain and Warren Storm. A rather shambling Willie DeVille at Tower Records, then another great night: to the Mid City Bowl to see the great Johnny Adams, then to Michauls to see Wayne Toups, and finally to Tipitinas where we got in free to see a whole hour of Irma. Callsigns: Stella (as in Streetcar named Desire), Jimmy Barnes (an Aussie singer) and Kenny Ball (ie Can 'e bowl).
May 4: Not a vintage day at the Fest: Kenny Neal was good but best were the Dixie Cups. In the evening went with some of the guys to a huge glitzy honky tonk called Mudbugs - straight out of Dallas. Finished off at the Bowl for the Iguanas.
May 5: Last day of Jazzfest. A lot of legends - Mr Google Eyes, Oliver La La Morgan, Frankie Ford, an interview and music from Champion Jack Dupree, 5 Blind Boys of Alabama (excellent), Allen Toussaint, Robert Cray, finishing off with the Neville Brothers. What a day! Back at the Landmark chatted to Dick Waterman, legendary manager of many bluesmen, and Ken Lending, Champion Jack's guitarist.

Airfix comes unstuck

I suppose I ought to feel sad at the demise of Airfix but I don't think I am. The hours I spent putting together plastic Spitfires and Hurricanes were not my finest. Glueing them together seemed like an obligation rather than a pleasure when a parent or aunt gave me an Airfix kit. But now they seem destined to join the other obsolete childrens' toys of the 1950s: Dinky cars, plastic cowboys and indians, the Magic Robot, cap guns, blood alleys, cigarette cards, blow football and loose fireworks (especially bangers and jumping crackers).
It was an age when children would imagine themselves as World War 2 heroes such as the Dam Busters, or as Peter May, Alex Bedser, Stanley Matthews or Tom Finney. When the highlight of the week was Zorro and the Happy Wanderer at Saturday morning pictures. And the pop charts were dominated by the dreary sounds of Rosemary Clooney and Al Martino. You could get to Croydon and back from my house for tuppence ha'penny and an ice cream was thruppence. As a child I would walk two miles each way to primary school and no one worried about traffic or paedophiles. On the way home I would play cricket or football in the woods, or go exploring in the undergrowth. Having discovered girls at the age of eight or nine we would play truth, dare or promise. And at parties it would be postman's knock or - the dirtier version - dustman's knock.
Happy days, but thank God for rock and roll and the age of enlightenment that came along in the sixties. And thank God we don't have to stick Airfix models together any more.