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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
It’s a safe bet that any song called Sax-ony Boogie by a guy known as Sax Man Brown is going to contain its fair share of saxophone, and today’s selection doesn’t disappoint. Sax Man Brown was also known as John Thomas Brown, J.T. Brown, Big Boy Brown or Bep Brown. He travelled from Mississippi to Chicago in 1945 to play tenor sax in the booming blues scene. He cut his own jump blues sides for a bunch of labels and also played sideman for bluesmen such as Roosevelt Sykes, Washboard Sam and Elmore James, who’s band, the Broomdusters, backs him on this 1954 Meteor release.
Released in 1958 as the flip to Checking On My Baby, It Takes Time is tough, epic sounding blues. A prime example of the giant West Side style of Chicago Blues that was spearheaded by Cobra Records, under the stewardship of Willie Dixon. As with many Cobra records, Dixon provides the solid bass line on today’s selection. However, it’s Otis Rush’s powerful vocals and sizzling guitar that are obviously the main act.
Here is a song that took from another and gave to many more. Willie Cobbs recorded You Don’t Love Me in 1960, using the melody and some of the words from a 1955 Bo Diddley b-side, She’s Fine She’s Mine. Originally released on Mojo Records in Memphis, Cobbs’ song climbed the local charts and found national distribution through Vee-Jay. It’s often described as hypnotic. There definitely is something in the riff that resonates deeply and allows you to lose yourself in it. Jamaican artist Dawn Penn recorded You Don’t Love Me in an incredible rocksteady style in 1967, but I’m sure the version I first became familiar with was her 1994 dancehall re-recording, which was a huge worldwide hit. Of course, many artists from the worlds of blues and rock also had a crack. The Bloomfield-Kooper-Stills flange-filled Super Session version is another I became very familiar with around that time.
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