Monday, July 25, 2011

Happy Trails - Milton Brown And His Musical Brownies - Yes Sir! (1936)

A spirited slice of Western Swing provides the Happy Trail this month, from the great band leader Milton Brown, with his Musical Brownies.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Featured Artist - Lowell Fulson (Part Three)

Final tunes from Lowell Fulson, these from his Kent recordings.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

RIP - Jerry Ragovoy (04/09/1930 - 13/07/2011)

News that songwriter and producer Jerry Ragovoy has died aged 80.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Featured Album - Come Together (Part Two)

Last three tunes from the Ace Records Beatles compilation of covers, released last month:

Friday, July 15, 2011

Gospel Slot - The Five Blind Boys of Alabama

With a great new country gospel album released earlier this year, now seems a good time to include a classic 1960's TV performance from The Five Blind Boys of Alabama

Thursday, July 14, 2011

...from Mark #22 - David Rodigan

 Great news for music fans all round as Radio 2 moves away from show tunes and 80's pop for an hour and embraces the great David Rodigan with a new Reggae show starting tonight (and available on the iplayer for the next week).

Whether you like Reggae or not this is pretty phenomenal news as it marks a massive step in the right direction for a station that has made a lot of curious and regressive choices over the last few years.

For those that don't know, Rodigan is the acknowledged greatest Reggae DJ the world over (revered in Jamaica) and I believe this will make his national radio debut as a host.

I did have him as a guest on my own show back around 2000 and this was one of his excellent choices:

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

...from Mark #21 - On my last post I got asked this...

"I realise you were into Rock & Roll from an early age but when did your taste go out in all directions (so to speak)?"

It's a wide question, with a wide answer. At the RnR clubs as a kid the DJs played a very broad church of stuff : Hillbilly, RnB, Rockabilly, Doo Wop, 50's pop, even a little Cajun and all of these led off into interesting areas; Doo wop to Soul, Hillbilly to Country , Blues to Beat etc. By the time I got round to the Stones / Pretty Things / Downliners and all those fine 60's groups I already knew all the Bo Diddley / Howlin Wolf / Little Walter songs they were covering (which sort of helps when you're listening to a new style).

Even better was going down to 'Gaz's Rockin Blues'  (which is still going strong) where the 50's RnB I already loved was combined with Ska and all the other Caribbean styles that I was about to be unfaithful with. On top of that the late 70's were a particularly fertile time in the charts with all those great 45s by Blondie / Costello / Dury / Jam / Specials etc. packing the top twenty, so it was hard to avoid lots of different styles and influences.

Another strange but probably influential factor was growing up in a small town. There was quite a Rock n Roll scene in Swindon but we had no choice but to hang out with the Mods, Punks and Skinheads. Or we'd all get beaten up by the Casuals! So it meant as a teenager being open to all my mates record collections, one loved the Artwoods, one loved Benny Goodman, one loved Crass, one loved Laurel Aitken, and so on. Some I loved too.

Two particular life-changing moments were hearing these two tracks, at which point I realised that all the excitement and fury a young man needs could be found elsewhere.

On the other hand I have friends who call all the music they like Rock n Roll. And maybe they have a point.

So, what were those 'Road to Damascus' records for you? Not just tunes you liked, but those that opened up a whole other world?

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

...from Mark #20 - As up to date as I care to be

I've not been keeping my ear on the ball lately regarding new music. When I say lately, I probably mean since around 1981.  I don't consider myself any kind of musical luddite, nor do I consider the past to be a golden age. Good is good, bad is bad and there's always been much more of the latter to wade through.

I've been enjoying these two over the last few months, maybe you will too.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Featured Artist - Lowell Fulson (Part Two)

These selections are drawn from Lowell's years with Chess, where he recorded around 40 tunes, starting with his first single, and biggest hit with the label:

later covered so wonderfully by...

...and to end, short but very sweet:

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Live Session - Quantic & His Combo Barbaro

This band turned in a great God's Jukebox session in July last year, and with dates now showing on their web page, there are opportunities to see them perform coming up later this month and next.  If you're not lucky enough to be able to get to one of these gigs, here's a video from a 2009 date in Paris so you can see what you're missing.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Featured Album - Come Together (Part One)

Last year God's Jukebox featured tunes from the Dylan covers project - How Many Roads.  Ace Records have followed this up with a similar Beatles project, Come Together: Black America Sings Lennon & McCartney, released last month.

Here's 3 tunes contained on the album, with 3 more to follow later this month:

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Featured Artist - Lowell Fulson (Part One)

("So far ahead of his time that it's almost pitiful" - Charles Shaar Murray)

The blues performers I return to most are the ones who succeed in a variety of styles.  I can't take too much Jimmy Reed or John Lee Hooker or Elmore James before I'm hitting shuffle, but Lowell Fulson always surprises and delights.

Born in 1921, Lowell began playing guitar aged 12 and by the end of the 1930s he had left home to play in Dan Wright's String Band, a country gig, not blues.   In 1939 he played guitar for a few months with blues singer Texas Alexander.   After a two year stint in the navy, he moved to California in 1945, where he began recording on a number of labels, most notably Swing Time.

Lowell’s earliest records demonstrate his capacity for adapting to a variety of styles, while always finding his own.  Drawing from guitar virtuoso T-Bone Walker, he recorded jazz/blues tunes as a part of a trio but also country-blues with his brother Martin Fulson.  He did both with skill and soul, and not just his guitar playing.  Peter Guralnick writing in 1982 on Lowell's vocal style: "much the same effect, vocal and emotional, as George Jones achieves in country music, extracting every last ounce of feeling from a seemingly common sentiment".

This first Lowell post features assorted tunes from his earliest recordings.  Later posts will bring tunes recorded during his years with Chess/Checker (where he landed in 1954) as well as some choice tracks from his spell with Kent (where he signed in 1964).  Lowell died in 1999.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Aural Massage - Johnny Colon - Boogaloo Blues (1967)

Perfect Boogaloo tune for a hot summer day, its hard to resist the charm of this classic recording, but then why would you?