Sunday, February 25, 2007

More classic top tens

Some more personal favourites from 1961-65 as recorded at the time (some fantastic tracks here - and one or two naff ones):
Feb 25, 1961: 1. Ja-da - Johnny & the Hurricanes; 2. Once in a while - The Chimes; 3. Shop around - The Miracles; 4. Sad mood - Sam Cooke; 5. Happy days - Marv Johnson; 6. Wooden heart - Elvis Presley; 7. I'm learning about love - Brenda Lee; 8. Ram bunk shush - The Ventures; 9. Calendar girl - Neil Sedaka; 10. I count the tears - The Drifters.
Feb 26, 1962: 1. Please don't ask about Barbara - Bobby Vee; 2. Dream baby - Roy Orbison; 3. Twistin' the night away - Sam Cooke; 4. Hey baby - Bruce Channel; 5. Do re mi - Lee Dorsey; 6. I got bonnie - Bobby Rydell; 7. I know - Barbara George; 8. A matter of moments - Mark Dinning; 9. I'm talking about you - Tony Orlando; 10. Dear lady twist - Gary US Bonds.
Feb 28, 1963: 1, Sandy - Dion; 2. In dreams - Roy Orbison; 3. He's sure the boy I love - The Crystals; 4. Send me some loving - Sam Cooke; 5. Wild weekend - Rocking Rebels; 6. Old smokey locomotion - Little Eva; 7. Don't make me over - Dionne Warwick; 8. Come on and love me - Freddy Cannon; 9. Everybody loves a lover - The Shirelles; 10= The puzzle - Gene McDaniels, and Every day I have to cry - Steve Alaimo.
Feb 27, 1964: 1. Nadine - Chuck Berry; 2. I wonder - The Crystals; 3= What kind of fool - The Tams, and Good news - Sam Cooke; 5= That girl belongs to yesterday - Gene Pitney, and Abigail Beecher - Freddy Cannon; 7. Hi-heel sneakers - Tommy Tucker; 8. California sun - The Rivieras; 9. Doo wah diddy diddy - The Exciters; 10. Borne on the wind - Roy Orbison.
Feb26, 1965: 1. Yield not to temptation - Bobby Bland; 2. My girl - The Temptations; 3. Hold what you've got - Joe Tex; 4. Have mercy baby - James Brown; 5. Don't let me be misunderstood - Nina Simone; 6. Voice your choice - The Radiants; 7. Shake - Sam Cooke; 8. Jerk and twine - Jackie Ross; 9. Boy from New York city - The The Ad-libs; 10. The in crowd- Dobie Gray

Eldee Young

I see that Eldee Young, bassist with the Ramsey Lewis Trio and later the Young-Holt Trio and Young Holt Unlimited has died aged 71. Together these bands were among only a very few who appealed to both soul and jazz audiences. I liked most of the Ramsey Lewis tracks and of the later work I loved Wack wack which was released over here on the Coral label.

Friday, February 23, 2007

Walking to New Orleans

Well I've taken the plunge and booked my flights to New Orleans. I'm looking forward to seeing the city again - my first visit post-Katrina - and going to Jazzfest and the Ponderosa Stomp again. The Crescent City has produced such wonderful music over the years. It's hard to choose which are my favourite New Orleans tracks. But here, in no particular order of preference, are my top 40, based on selecting only one track per artist (an impossible job really in the case of Fats Domino and many others):
1. Lipstick traces - Benny Spellman; 2. Wish someone would care - Irma Thomas; 3. It will stand - The Showmen; 4. Mother in law - Ernie K-Doe; 5. I like it like that - Chris Kenner; 6. I know - Barbara George; 7. Tell it like it is - Aaron Neville; 8. But I do - Clarence Frogman Henry; 9, Mardi Gras in New Orleans - Professor Longhair; 10. Reconsider me - Johnny Adams; 11. Dinky doo - Eddie Bo; 12. Good rocking tonight - Roy Brown; 13. Iko Iko - Dixie Cups; 14. I'm in love again - Fats Domino; 15. Get out of my life woman - Lee Dorsey; 16. Right place wrong time - Dr John; 17. Sea cruise - Frankie Ford; 18. Things I used to do - Guitar Slim; 19. Nearer to you - Betty Harris; 20. Ooh poo pah doo - Jessie Hill; 21. Trick bag - Earl King; 22. I hear you knocking - Smiley Lewis; 23. You'll lose a good thing - Barbara Lynn; 24. Something on your mind - Bobby Marchan; 25. All these things - Art Neville; 26. Mardi Gras mambo - Hawketts; 27. Yellow moon - Neville Brothers; 28. Bare footin' - Robert Parker; 29. Just because - Lloyd Price; 30. Double eyed whammy - Tommy Ridgeley; 31. Something you got - Alvin Robinson; 32. Let the good times roll - Shirley & Lee; 33. High blood pressure - Huey Piano Smith; 34. From a whisper to a scream - Allen Toussaint; 35. Mr Big Stuff - Jean Knight; 36. I'm gonna be a wheel some day - Bobby Mitchell; 37. Lights out - Jerry Byrne; 38. Long tall Sally - Little Richard; 39. You talk too much - Joe Jones; 40. Carnival time - Al Johnson.
Suggested additions to the list are more than welcome, but I have to admit there are some fantastic tracks there. May New Orleans R & B live for ever.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Reckless Records spins away

It's a sign of the hold that eBay now has on the second hand record market that traditional collectors' record shops are going to the wall in droves. Not long ago Beano's in Croydon gave up the fight. Now it's the turn of Reckless Records. Their shops in Islington and Camden closed down some time ago and now the two shops in Berwick Street, Soho, are closing. One of them has already put up the shutters and the other one is selling off stock at half price or less. I bought a good haul of sixties soul vinyl yesterday, including a number of Kent compilations for £3 each and one or two original 60s LPs worth a good deal more than that for the same price.
I will go back and see what else I can pick up, but it's a shame that these outlets can no longer make enough money to survive. Over the years I've spent quite a bit in Reckless and although their prices were not particularly great there was always plenty to browse through in the racks. The irony is that most charity shops have recently caught on to the fact that some vinyl records are now very collectable, and instead of flogging them off at £1 a time they are sticking record shop prices - and high ones at that - on anything worth having.

Monday, February 12, 2007

February top tens

More golden oldies from my top tens 1961-65:
Feb 10, 1961: 1. Shop around - The Miracles; 2. Walk right back - Everly Brothers; 3. Sad mood - Sam Cooke; 4. Happy days - Marv Johnson; 5. What to do - Buddy Holly; 6. Calendar girl - Neil Sedaka; 7. Will you love me tomorrow - The Shirelles; 8. Angel baby - Rosie & the Originals; 9. Piltdown rides again - Piltdown Men; 10= Are you lonesome tonight - Elvis Presley, and Leave my kitten alone - Johnny Preston.
Feb 14, 1962: 1. Twistin' the night away - Sam Cooke; 2. I got bonnie - Bobby Rydell; 3. Dear lady twist - Gary US Bonds; 4. Chip chip - Gene McDaniels; 5. I'm talking about you - Tony Orlando; 6. Be a leader - Lloyd Price; 7. Twisting all night long - Danny & the Juniors; 8. A matter of moments - Mark Dinning; 9. Baby it's you - The Shirelles; 10. A little too much - Clarence Frogman Henry.
Feb 14, 1963: 1. He's sure the boy I love - The Crystals; 2. Send me some loving - Sam Cooke; 3. Come on and love me - Freddy Cannon; 4. Everybody loves a lover - The Shirelles; 5. Little town flirt - Del Shannon; 6. You're all grown up - Johnny Horton; 7= Alice in wonderland - Neil Sedaka, and Ruby baby - Dion; 9. That's life (that's tough) - Gabriel & the Angels; 10. Like I've never been gone - Billy Fury.
Feb 12, 1964: 1. Nadine - Chuck Berry; 2. Doo wah diddy - The Exciters; 3. I wonder - The Crystals; 4= Um um um um um um - Major Lance, and Anyone who had a heart - Dionne Warwick; 6. I'm talking about my baby - The Impressions; 7. What kind of fool - The Tams; 8. Tonight you're gonna fall in love with me - The Shirelles; 9. Monkey diddle - Bo Diddley; 10= Louie Louie - The Kingsmen, and When the lovelight starts shining in his eyes - The Supremes.
Feb 13, 1965: 1. Hold what you've got - Joe Tex; 2. Shake - Sam Cooke; 3. The name game - Shirley Ellis; 4. Don't let me be misunderstood - Nina Simone; 5. Twine time - Alvin Cash & the Crawlers; 6. Leader of the pack - Shangri-Las; 7. Amen - The Impressions; 8. The in crowd - Dobie Gray; 9. You've lost that lovin' feeling - Righteous Brothers; 10. Jolly green giant - The Kingsmen

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Southern nights

I've spent the last week in South Africa - my first ever visit. Most of the time I was in Cape Town which is a beautiful city. I went up Table Mountain by cable car and admired the fantastic views, ate at some great restaurants and spent some pleasant evenings down by the harbour. But the highlight was the trip to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela and other black political prisoners were incarcerated for many years during the apartheid era. The tour of the island and jail - with ex ANC prisoners as guides - was interesting and also very moving. The picture shows the interior of Mandela's cell.
I first became aware of the horror of apartheid following the Sharpeville massacre in 1960, and felt strongly enough about it to join the Anti Apatheid movement. No doubt my preference for black women arose at about the same time. Britain was reluctantly forced to face up to apartheid in the late 60s, when the white South African government refused to allow Basil D'Oliviera to tour with the England cricket team, but the Tory right, including of course Thatcher, did everything they could to defend the white South Africans. In the end of course the cracks became too great and the system ended, allowing Mandela to show the world what true statesmanship and forgiveness is all about.
After Cape Town I went to visit a Rio Tinto mine in the north of the country. It's located next to the Kruger Park and elephants, lions, crocodiles and many other animals are frequent visitors. I saw three giraffes wandering around at the hotel where I stayed near the mine and a group of a dozen or so hippos lazing in the mine's lake. A memorable trip.

Friday, February 02, 2007

February sun

The line up for Jazzfest has now been announced and I'm edging towards making the trip. The first weekend looks particularly strong, although nothing compared with a few years ago. Still, if I do go with my girlfriend it will be her first visit and a chance to see how much New Orleans has changed since Katrina. I see that Jerry Lee is featured on one of this year's posters - a must for his fans (of which there are many) I would have thought.
I see that James Brown's body is lying in a gold casket awaiting a decision on where he should be buried. Meanwhile his fourth wife, who was left out of his will, is claiming that she should be allowed into his house to collect her belongings. Will he never rest in peace?
Meanwhile I'm off to get some sun in Cape Town. It's a business trip - to a big mining conference - but there should be a bit of time available for sightseeing and sitting in the sunshine.