Shakey Jake Harris moved north to Chicago at a young age and became a blues singer and harmonica player. He has the writing credit for Roll Your Money Maker, but like Elmore James’s Shake Your Moneymaker, it’s a song that probably was around in one form or another for some time. Roll Your Money Maker was originally released in 1958 on Artistic and reissued by Vivid in the ’60s. Jake doesn’t play harmonica on this one, where he’s backed up by Willie Dixon’s band, featuring Magic Sam (and, depending on who you believe, also either Freddy King or Syl Johnson) on guitar. Sam and Jake were related and Jake mentored and sometimes managed Sam. It’s Magic Sam’s scene-stealing guitar licks that will have you rolling your money makers to this over and over.
Gabriel & The Angels released Hey, an exotic infused instrumental, in 1960. It’s a slightly strange tune for a vocal group from New Jersey to put out, but hats off to them. Written by their sax man, Rick Kellis, it was apparently recorded in one take. This is a styrene single which Amy Records printed their label directly onto. The printing hasn’t fared too well over the last 55 years, but the record still plays great and that’s what’s important to me. My Heavy Sugar buddy Fritz prefers the a-side, Chumba, but it’s Hey that does it for me. I included this on my Seesaw mix earlier in the year.
Whoever Bob Vaught & The Renegades were, they’ve managed to hide it from the internet pretty well. I can tell you that in 1963 they released a whole album of surf songs called Surf Crazy on the Californian GNP Crescendo label. Side one, track one is Exotic, which was also released as a single. Mine’s pictured above in its beautiful company sleeve. Two years ago I posted a different, more exotic version of Exotic, and discovered that it’s based on an old Spanish folk song called The Zorongo.
Larry Birdsong had already released records on Excello and Vee-Jay before making this singular recording for Ace in 1960. His career only included one chart entry, but don’t judge him for that. I’m So Glad You’re Home, which he wrote, is a powerhouse of emotional energy and Birdsong’s voice lives up to his name. This is a song my DJ pal Colonel Spencer Evoy is likely to spin at the Slow Drag Blues Dance next week.
I bought this for the temptation resisting gospel on the other side, but Have Mercy, Have A Little Pity is the Hank Ballard ballad that I’m here to give praise to. Hank Ballard and The Midnighters released loads of records on King and quite a few on Federal before that. This slow burner is from 1964 and I can see myself playing it in at my upcoming Slow Drag Blues Dance club night.
Sun Records was about a lot more than just Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis. A lot more than Roy Orbison, Johnny Cash and Carl Perkins too. Following his success in 1960 with the country-pop ballad Mountain Of Love, Harold Dorman came up with Uncle Jonah’s Place. Not unlike Don Hosea’s Uh Huh Unh – released on Sun just a month prior – this is a record that is decidedly racially ambiguous and somewhat defies pigeonholing. But, as a wise soul once said, there’s only really two kinds of music, and for me this belongs firmly with the former.
Jack Scott was a certified rock’n’roll star in his day. Born in Windsor, Canada of Italian heritage, he grew up just over the border in Detroit. Released in 1958, this was his third ever single and his first for the Carlton label – mine’s a UK pressing on London. It was a big hit, a million seller. Both sides climbed the charts; Leroy
went to #11, then the flip My True Love made it all the way up to #3. Leroy’s the rocker. It was originally called Greaseball and is the story of a guy who’s always finding himself in jail. You might say it’s a jailhouse rock.
John Fred was a Louisiana native who had an interesting career in music. His biggest hit by far came in the form of a bubblegum-pop Beatles pastiche called Judy In Disguise (With Glasses), which inexplicably went to #1 in 1967. Today’s offering is a swampy-garage medley of John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillen’ and Frankie Lee Sims’ Walkin’ With Frankie. Released on N-Joy in 1964, Boogie Children later also came out on the Jewel label. It didn’t sell nearly as well as Judy In Disguise, but is superior in every other way. What we have here is an absolutely cookin’ tune that even Elvis was a fan of.
Here’s one I played on my latest Bo Diddley themed radio show. What’s the Bo Diddley connection you might ask. Well, I’ll tell you. Despite the onomatopoeic title, Don Hosea’s Uh Huh Unh is a cover of Willie Cobb’s You Don’t Love Me, which, if you remember either this or this post, takes heavily from She’s Fine, She’s Mine by Bo Diddley. I played all three back-to-back on the radio last week. Like many of the records I dig, this one defies categorisation. It’s a rockabilly artist’s take on a blues song that sounds like neither; it’s often described as popcorn these days. Uh Huh Unh was released as a b-side by Sun Records in 1961.
Ray Vernon was the pseudonym of Link Wray’s elder brother and bandmate Vernon Wray. Along with youngest brother Doug on drums, they played together on most of Link’s well known records. On Big City After Dark, Link Wray’s epic guitar takes the distorted badassery of Rumble to a whole nother level. Released on Mala in 1962, this is the sound of bliss.
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