After over ten years of blogging on Blogger, you might have noticed that I’ve moved to a new platform. Purposefully, this is more of a website than a blog – I’ll be posting less frequently. But, I’ll still be regularly making mixes and radio shows. To hear them, go and follow me on MIXCLOUD – I’ve just sent a brand new mix into the mixclouds, Fun Fun, check it out. To keep up with all my record related activities, the best thing to do is like my FACEBOOK page. I’m also on TWITTER and INSTAGRAM. As Lightnin Hopkins said in 1959, Let’s Move!
Trouble Up The Road started as a song called You’ve Got To Lose. It was written by Ike Turner and recorded by him and his Kings Of Rhythm in 1958 for Cobra Records, but never released. In 1961, between takes at an Ike & Tina recording session, Jackie Brensten, who sang on the original, had another crack at it. This time his vocals had added agitation, the guitar riff was extra electric, the beat more persistent, and the whole arrangement was a lot heavier – the result is this masterpiece.
Calvin Carter’s dynamite string-laden instrumental version of What’d I Say was released in 1961, just a couple of years after Ray Charles’s original hit. It was put out by Vee-Jay, a label his sister (Vivian, the Vee in Vee-Jay) co-founded and he worked for as an A&R man. Carter also wrote songs. His biggest, I Ain’t Got You, was recorded by everyone from Jimmy Reed and Billy Boy Arnold to The Blues Brothers and Andrew Dice Clay in The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.
Records that include whooping and hollering are just that little bit more exciting that ones that don’t. Get It by the Silvertones is a prime example. The song writing credit goes to Tom Dimuzlo, but there’s very little I can tell you about the Silvertones. Get It was released in 1963 on Goliath Records, which was a Californian label started by Tony Butala and Bob Todd. It was also released on Valiant Records the following year, probably to achieve greater distribution. Like a lot of records that came out of California in 1963, there’s a definite surfy feel to Get It, which is even more evident on the calmer flip, Bathsheba.
Guitarist Jan Davis was born John Bird in Hollywood, California. As well as releasing his own surf guitar hot-rod records, including Fugitive, Boss Machine (two sides I blogged about some time ago during a very short lived phase of not adding any words to the post), Watusi Zombie and more, he also was involved with B. Bumble and the Stingers and went on to carve out a career as a classical guitarist. Plus, it’s Davis’s voice you hear yelling near the start of Dick Dale’s Misirlou. I’m not sure what his connection to the Syrian capital was, but in 1961 Rendezvous released the exotic sounding surf instrumental Damascus by him and his band, The Ricco-Shays.
Fats Domino recorded Why Don’t You Do Right for ABC-Paramount in 1965. The bright brass backing is just one marker of the stylistic change from his many collaborations with Dave Bartholomew at Imperial. On this song, which has a distinctive big-city jazz feel, it works. Why Don’t You Do Right is often sung from a woman’s perspective – famously by Peggy Lee, Della Reese and Jessica Rabbit. Having a woman telling her man to go get her some money softens the lyrical allusions to prostitution. When Domino sings the same words, with the gender roles reversed, he sounds like a straight out pimp. Why Don’t You Do Right’s first incarnation was as Weed Smoker’s Dream by the Harlem Hamfats in 1936. It’s about a man, the weed smoking protagonist, who wishes his woman friend would go earn some money by turning tricks.
Since penning the million-selling Hit The Road, Jack, Percy Mayfield became a songwriter inextricably linked to Ray Charles. He also recorded many great sides for Charles’s Tangerine label. My Jug And I came out in 1965 as the flip to Give Me Time To Explain. Mayfield’s honeyed vocals fit perfectly with the smooth instrumentation that’s characteristic of records by both Mayfield and Charles. His lyrics typically tell a tale of heartache, but with a wry acceptance, and My Jug And I doesn’t stray from that path. I guess it wouldn’t be the blues if it did. A Percy Mayfield album titled My Jug And I was released by Tangerine the following year.
Here’s a slow burning blues record from Jimmy Johnson. Apparently not the Jimmy Johnson who was Syl’s older brother, despite what Wikipedia currently says. Don’t Answer The Door was Johnson’s most successful song, mainly because it was covered by none other than B.B. King just a year after it was released in 1965. It features impassioned vocals from Hank Alexander, but it’s the mournful sounding tuba which does it most for me. This is just the sort of record you can expect to hear me spin at the next Slow Drag Blues Dance night in Stoke Newington on June 6th.
An Aquarium Drunkard
Be Bop Wino
The B Side
Carlos Rene's Scene64
Derek's Daily 45
The Devil's Music
Flea Market Funk
Frankie Bundle's Mazzetta78
Home Of The Groove
Jester Wild Show
Kogar's Jungle Juice
La Dimension De Trastos
Liam Large's Rekkids
Mean Mojo Mathias
Night Beat Records
So Many Records, So Little Time
You Got Good Taste