Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Happy Trails - McKinney's Cotton Pickers - Four or Five Times (1928)

A Jazz classic, this tune has been covered by performers in various styles, including Bob Wills, Jimmie Lunceford, Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Peggy Lee and Commander Cody and His Lost Planet Airmen.

McKinney's Cotton Pickers, who began recording great records for Victor at the end of the 1920's, turn in a delightful version here.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

...from Mark #12 RIP - Kent Morrill - 16/04/2011

One of the highlights of God’s Jukebox for me was the amazing Sonics coming in for a session and some of you may remember my rather tireless mentions of that fact over the preceding months.  Every now and then when I'd walk into the Maida Vale Studio as a band were rehearsing / soundchecking, it was obvious everything was going to be perfect,
and those omens were more than confirmed when their sound man came to say hello. " Hi, I'm Buck Ormsby".  Died and gone to heaven twice in five minutes.

Buck was the bass player in the Sonics spiritual predecessors, the fabulous 'Fabulous Wailers' who I'd managed to see in storming form at the Ponderosa Stomp in New Orleans a few years before.

The Wailers original lead singer Kent Morrill passed last week and the Ace Records website posted a more than worthwhile tribute. (Uncredited but I'd guess written by Alec Palao).

And the Sonics carrying on the legacy

Friday, April 22, 2011

...from Mark #11 - My Night Out

I actually left the house yesterday to go to a gig! Not only to watch but actually the first bit of djing I've done in a long time. It was at the International Ska Festival, where I'd originally been booked to spin before the Ska Flames.

The Ska Flames did a handful of London gigs about twenty years ago and became well deserved overnight sensations, certainly the nearest thing to the Skatalites I know of.

Unfortunately, due to the tragic situation in Japan, the Ska Flames decided the trip couldn't be made, so I ended up djing for one of the sweetest voices in Jamaican music, Ken Boothe.  Ken's a very youthful 63, so a good decade younger than someone I'd normally go to see, and still has all the necessary pipes for a pretty perfect show, including this beauty and this one, strangely enough written by the woefully underrated Kenny Lynch.

Many years ago I mentioned to Mr Lynch, how his song was a Jamaican staple, of which he was completely unaware. Eventually I ran off a cassette of Jamaican versions which he was delighted to hear.  Here's some more Kenny for the northern soul fans amongst you and another favourite and finally one written by him,

But I digress, back to Ken. He didn't perform this one last night, nor, as far as I remember, when I've seen him in the past.

His equally good, can't decide which I like best version of this

which was sampled in the equal but different this 

 I had such a fine time watching Ken and both the supports,James Hunter ( who did more Gods Jukebox sessions than anyone) and Giuliano Palma and the Bluebeaters, that I carried on the evening elsewhere and managed to top it all with my favourite performance of the night.  A great 11 piece Ska band from Manchester with an atrocious name, but who I can't wait to see live again.  (It picks up about 3 minutes in if you don't buy it from the off, it really was a superb gig moment, crushed at the front eye to eye with the cardboard box!)

So there you go, Kenny Lynch,the Game, the WuTang and a ska cover of Beastie Boys song in one post. This would've made a good radio show one day.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Featured Artist - Derrick Morgan (Part Three)

Final Derrick Morgan selections feature below.  Two excellent duets, the first with Millicent "Patsy" Todd, the second with Pauline Morgan.

Monday, April 18, 2011

...from Mark #10 - El Gran Combo - Achilipu (1971)

It's a strange old world when one becomes obsessed with music, and the twists and turns and treasures that obsession leads to.  For many years I've been a rather too obsessive collector of Christmas records, plainly a largely unrewarding pastime.  BUT if it hadn't been for that I probably wouldn't have come across El Gran Combo of Puerto Rico, a Salsa powerhouse who happened to release a far better than average Christmas album 'En Navidad'.

Had I not picked that up, I probably wouldn't have picked this up a few weeks ago, and my life would have been 4 minutes poorer. 

A blog is for sharing, so share.  What strange musical path led you from A to unlikely B?

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Featured Album - Rockin' Rollin' Wedding

Compiled for Fantastic Voyage by Mark Lamarr, Rockin' Rollin' Wedding was released at the end of last month.

Below are 4 tunes selected from the 24 on the compilation.  None of them likely to be heard at a street party near you, any time.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Featured Artist - Derrick Morgan (Part Two)

Two further tracks from Jamaican singer Derrick Morgan.  The first is a cover of a Ben E. King soul tune, the second provided the rhythm for Max Romeo's Wet Dream.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

...from Mark #9 - RIP Ferlin Husky – 3/12/25 – 17/3/11

Featured in a recent post, Ferlin Husky was a major minor country star throughout the early 50’s till the mid 70’s, and a particularly fine one.  He first recorded as Terry Preston, thinking his real name was too country for a country audience, an illogicality which will trouble me till death, before a country No.1 in 1953 with Jean Shepard, the mawkish and oft parodied "A Dear John Letter".  On top of his own career Ferlin also masqueraded as hick comedian Simon Crum and issued a series of country comedy records under that name. 

Back in 2004 I compiled an album of pre Rock n Roll country and included a couple of Ferlin’s sides including the one below, which Johnny Cash later did a great version of.  If you're interested in that type of sound, here's the album.  Dirt-cheap and not a penny goes to me. A good job is its own reward.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

...from Mark #8 - RIP Pinetop Perkins – 7/7/13 – 21/3/11

I've spent more than my fair share of time in Austin over the years and you always knew you were at the right gig when Pinetop Perkins was at the show.  And he seemed to be at all of them, always getting up onstage to tout his latest CD and more often than not tickling an ivory or two with whatever band was playing. The last time I saw him was as a guest with the stupidly good Hubert Sumlin.

Pinetop was a real two degrees of separation of the blues, whose glorious life stretched from knocking about with Robert Johnson and Son House as a boy to winning a Grammy at 97, with stints as Sonny Boy Williamson’s accompanist on 'King Biscuit Time' in the 40s and a dozen years as Muddy’s piano man (including the loudest blues album ever, Hard Again) in the 70's.

Pinetop took his name from the 1928 boogie woogie classic "Pinetops Boogie Woogie" by Pinetop Smith. Here's both versions and you can decide which one's best.  (Clue - it's both).

Monday, April 11, 2011

...from Mark #7 - RIP Loleatta Holloway – 5/11/46 – 21/3/11

Even if you don't know the name (and you probably do) you'll certainly know Loleatta Holloway's voice as the highlight of "Good Vibrations" by Marky Mark and "Ride On Time" by Black Box.  Before and after that there was a hefty career dotted with minor hits and nearly were's, as it were.  No surprise then that Loleatta had started out in gospel with a six year stint as a member, and occasional lead singer, with the greatest female quartet The Caravans.  Here's a choice sampling from 1967, plus the song that provided her three biggest hits:


Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gospel Slot - The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi

The Five Blind Boys of Mississippi, featuring the extraordinary voice of Archie Brownlee, were at their most popular in the early 1950s, when they took Gospel into the Rhythm & Blues charts.  The vocal performances below show  how popular music will forever be indebted to the golden era of gospel.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Featured Artist - Derrick Morgan (Part One)

Derrick Morgan recently featured in the Rocksteady documentary shown on BBC 4.  A key figure in the evolution of Jamaican music, from Ska to Rocksteady to Reggae, these tunes will be followed by others in subsequent posts.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Live Session - Joe Brown

It's not too late if you're in the UK to catch Joe Brown before the end of his tour.  There are still 15 dates left around the country.  Joe provided a session for God's Jukebox back in 2007.  Below is a "Later" video from 2008, plus his 1963 hit "That's What Love Will Do", written by Trevor Peacock (Jim Trott from Vicar of Dibley and former Tottenham trialist!)

Monday, April 4, 2011

RIP - Ferlin Husky

An early tune from Ferlin Husky, who died last month.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Aural Massage – Bernard 'Pretty' Purdie - Funky Donkey (1968)

This month's Aural Massage comes from Bernard Purdie.  An influential drummer, Purdie's funk rhythms have provided the beat behind many artists, including James Brown, Aretha Franklin and Steely Dan.

Also included is the Soul Vendors' take on the tune: "Death In The Arena"