I post a lot of instrumental songs that have the surf guitar sound, but what we have here is the source of that sound. It doesn’t get any purer than Dick Dale and Night Rider is one of his most exciting tunes. Dick Dale records are about the loudest I’ve heard; energy bursts out of the speakers as the needle glides through the spinning groove. Released on Capitol in 1963, Night Rider was the flip of The Wedge, also a great surf classic, but Night Rider is just breathtaking. If you’re a fan of Misirlou, you need to hear this.
Israeli Twist is a neat studio-band take on the Hebrew folk song, Hava Nagila. It’s got that exotic surf sound which was popular in 1962 and is perennially popular in my DJ sets. This isn’t the first time I’ve posted a version of Hava Nagila and I’ve got a few more in my collection still. I can’t tell you much about The J-Walkers, except that they seem to be the creation of Jackie Walker, a singer in vocal group The Baysiders from California.
I see a similar pattern in many of the vocal groups I read about. Someone gets drafted and is replaced and then someone else leaves and is replaced, as time goes on the group is made up of a whole new cast of characters. Reminds me of the story of the bloke who’s owned the same axe for twenty-odd years, having only replaced the handle twice and the head three times. It was 1963 when Let’s Kiss And Make Up was released and The Falcons had been around for eight years already. The Motor City group included the Wicked Wilson Pickett singing lead and Sir Mack Rice baritone. Neither Eddie Floyd or Joe Stubbs were members at this time. Along with Pickett’s trademark raspy vocals, the standout sound on Let’s Kiss And Make Up is the tremelo-laden guitar of Robert Ward. He played in a band called The Ohio Untouchables, who often backed The Falcons and later became the Ohio Players of ’70s funk fame.
Don Hosea was a singer/guitarist from Missouri who headed south to seek his musical fortunes in Memphis, Tennessee. Misery, released in 1960, was the second record he made of three, for three different labels. I posted the third, Uh Huh Unh on Sun, not too long ago. Rita is a label Billy Lee Riley started with Roland Janes, both of whom were alumni of Sun Studios. As well as Janes (mistyped as James on the label) on guitar, it’s likely that Misery featured J.M. Van Eaton on drums; earlier this year I posted a version of Bo Diddley that Van Eaton recorded, around the same time, for Rita’s sister label, Nita. Whoever was involved, the result is one and a half minutes of sound that stands the test of time. Difficult to categorise, Misery is often described with reference to the Belgian popcorn scene.
In 1953, sweet voiced Herman “Little Junior” Parker went to record at Duke Records in Houston. Over a short period, he had already recorded for Modern and Sun in Memphis. Parker was joined by Bill Johnson’s Blue Flames, which included Johnson himself on piano and Pat Hare on guitar. Hare provides the backbone of Can’t Understand, a repetitive rhythm that’s hard to disassociate from the sound of a (mystery) train. This was around the same time that Hare recorded his own distorted version of I’m Gonna Murder My Baby, something he infamously actually did sometime later.
Here are two sax-driven dirty-sounding instrumentals from The Fifty Milers, a group I can’t find out anything about. Both sides were produced by Bobby Day, who wrote Little Bitty Pretty One; the writing credit is under his birth name, Robert Byrd. The Grunt was written by guitarist Adolph Jacobs, one time member of The Coasters. You possibly know it already from the salacious Las Vegas Grind compilation series. Like Day, Jacobs recorded for Class Records in the late 1950s. Today’s offering is Eva Records catalogue number 101, which is likely to have been the label’s first release. The only other Eva release I can find is 103, Dennis Weaver’s Chicken Mash. That one came out in 1963, so I guess The Grunt wouldn’t have been too far ahead of it.
Rhythm & blues with a whole lot of soul is what we get from Mary “B” on this 1962 scorcher. Something For You, Baby was written by Mary Banks, whose life details seem to have somewhat faded into obscurity. It was released on Fling Records, a label run by Bobby Robinson who also ran Fire, Fury, Enjoy and others. Banks released one more record for Robinson on Enjoy, but that’s about all I can find out about her. What a voice though, just listen, and great Marshall Sehorn production too. I’ll be spinning this in and out for a long long time.
You Hurt Me is a simply incredible soul ballad from Little Willie John. His vocals on this tale of heartbreak will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand tall. It was released in 1960 as the b-side to Walk Slow. How a tune like this ends up on the flip is beyond me – although I have seen an advert in a Billboard magazine from the time describing it as a ‘double-play disk’. Like all of LWJ’s singles, this was released in the US by King Records out of Cincinnati, but mine’s a Canadian pressing on Delta.
mp3: Ricky Nelson – My Babe
Rock’n’roll tearjerker Lonesome Town was a hit single for an eighteen-year-old Ricky Nelson in 1958. He was already a showbiz veteran by then, having grown up on American television screens with his real-life family in the sitcom The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. Nelson’s version of My Babe was only included on the flip of the UK release, which came out just after Dale Hawkin’s version and just before Cliff Richard’s. You’ll also find Lonesome Town on the Pulp Fiction soundtrack, so you can expect me to slip it in sometime this Saturday night.
Lucille, B.B. King’s guitar, sounds mighty fine on this take on the dance craze inspiring Hully Gully. It was 1962 when Hully Gully Twist was released and my guess is that the twist was just tacked onto the title in order to broaden the potential audience. I don’t think B.B. King’s version has any direct relation to the previously released Bill Doggett or Wayne Worley records of the same name. The songwriting credit goes to King along with Joe Josea. In fact, there was no such person. Josea was a pseudonym Joe Bihari used in order to receive half the publishing royalties. Joe was one of the Bihari brothers, a family of independent music industry pioneers who founded Modern Records and then Meteor, Flair, RPM, Kent and more.
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