Just Do It . . . .

Posted: January 22, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s edition of Doctor Roberts Sonic Tonic:

Now, if you’ve been trying to get through ‘dry January’ under an assumed name, then rest assured your secret is safe here . . . and to help you make it all the way through, I turned up with another dose of Dr Roberts Sonic Tonic. So, no need to worry . . . just one sip will make you hip . . . and to prove it, we kicked off with a real groover from Ben E King . . . ‘Stayin Power’. There was plenty more of the ‘good stuff’ too, including a little gem from Diane Shaw titled ‘Second Chance’.

For this week’s Tell It Like It Is feature, we had a song with a story, inspired by my good friend John Reen, who has been giving plenty of plays on the radio lately to the song ‘Dancing In The Moonlight’. It was originally recorded over 50 years ago by a band called Boffalongo. They recorded in 1970 and it became a top 20 hit two years later when it was successfully released as a single by King Harvest. It was also a hit for Toploader in 2000, but, exercising executive authority, I chose my favourite version . . . from King Harvest.

Set Me Free
Stayin’ Power – Ben E King
Second Chance – Diane Shaw
HooDoo Time Machine – The HooDoo Loungers
Boogie Man – Good Time Charlie
Shirley – John Fred & His Playboys
Set Me Free – Julian Taylor

Tell It Like It Is
Dancing In The Moonlight – King Harvest

What Did You Expect
Higher & Higher – Johnny Rawls
What Did You Expect – Joyann Parker
You’re Gonna Lose That Girl – Bertram Brown

Mellow Moment
I Get My Groove From You – Bobby Patterson

Just Do It
If Not For You – George Harrison
Mama Told Me Not To Come – Odetta
Just Do It – Kenny Blues Boss Wayne
Get It Started – The New Orleans Suspects

This week, our Mellow Moment, had me pulling out something smooth and seductive to help keep love alive in lockdown. It was in the hands of Bobby Paterson, who brought just what was needed to smooch with someone special . . . a little number called ‘I Get My Groove From You’.

Just as the amazing Kenny Blues Boss Wayne turned up with ‘Just Do It’, I took a glance at the clock and it was a reminder that it was time for my last choice for this week’s Sonic Tonic. It went out with a big smile to my good friend Wendel Williams who has been waiting for this week for so long. As a funky brother I was sure he’d appreciate hearing from The New Orleans Suspects and especially their number . . . ‘Get It Started’. But, before that there was a big thanks for your good company for this week’s show and the hope that we’ll meet again soon for another dose of Dr Roberts Sonic Tonic. Until then . . . remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 22 January 2021

I Feel Lucky . . .

Posted: January 21, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s edition of The Blues Come Calling:

Well, there was a big bluesy welcome from yours truly and, as always, the promise of another show packed with some of the best blues around. There were some ‘seasoned favourites’, some new releases and a few surprises. It all kicked off with Brigitte Purdy and a taster from her upcoming new album ‘Mother Of The Crossroads’. She brought her unbridled blues belter called ‘Memphis Hotline’.

My album of the week came from the fiery pianist and singer Veronica Lewis, who you may have heard on the show recently with a couple of singles from her upcoming album, ‘You Ain’t Unlucky’. To start this dip into Veronica’s latest, we heard her letting loose on a song you may know by Katie Webster . . . ‘Whoo Whee Sweet Daddy’.

Blue Is Still Blue
Memphis Hotline – Brigitte Purdy (Mother Of The Crossroads – 2021)
Devil In Your Eyes – A Band Called Sam (Legacy – 2020)
What’s The Matter With The Mill – Erin Harpe (Meet Me In The Middle – 2020)
Whoo Whee Sweet Daddy – Veronica Lewis (You Ain’t Unlucky – 2021)
Better Day – A.J. Croce & Robben Ford (Better Day – 2021)
Blue Is Still Blue – Miss Emily (Live at The Isabel – 2020)
Too Tired – Red Beans & Rice (Red Beans & Rice – 1982)
I Feel Lucky – Hurricane Ruth (Winds Of Change – 2021)

Pinetop’s Pick
Confessin The Blues – The Rolling Stones (Five By Five – 1964)

Easy Livin’
Put Your Wig On Mama – Veronica Lewis (You Ain’t Unlucky – 2021)
Easy Livin’ Down In New Orleans – Dave Ferra (Easy Livin’ Down In New Orleans – 2021)
Bring On The Pain – Ally Venable (ft Kenny Wayne Shepherd (Heart Of Fire – 2021)
London & LA – The Tanya Piche Band (Wolf Woman Blues – 2017)
Is You Is My Baby – Veronica Lewis (You Ain’t Unlucky – 2021)

Now, the fickle finger of fate was clearly pointing in my direction this week, because as I was meandering around the web, I caught a live session from much revered local bluesman, Dave Ferra. I’ve seen him on stage before and his music and humour has always kept me thoroughly entertained throughout. So, I was easily seduced by his webcast and it included a song by American guitarist and singer, John Fohl. The song was called ‘Easy Livin’ Down In New Orleans’ and with a most respectful nod in the direction of Dave Ferra, I shared his version of that song.

Well, from New Orleans we took a little trip to Texas to catch something from the new album, ‘Heart On Fire’, by ‘twenty something’ guitar slinger, Ally Venable. It’s due for release in February and my choice from it had a guest appearances from Kenny Wayne Shepherd . . . ‘Bring On The Pain’. We came closer to home with a diversion to find the Wolf Woman of the Essex Delta. This was Tanya Piche, who has an excellent EP out now, which has been getting her plenty of worthy attention. Indeed, it sent me rummaging for more by Tanya . . . and with Tanya lending a helping hand, I brought a treat from her album ‘Wolf Woman Blues’ . . . ‘London & LA’, with plenty of opportunity for a good deal of foot tapping and head nodding .

Sadly, it brought us to my last choice for this week’s show, which was another from my album of the week. This is Veronica Lewis with ‘Is You Is My Baby’ . . . but before that there was a big thanks for your good company on this week’s show and the hope that we’ll meet again the next time The Blues Come Calling. Until then . . . . remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 21 January 2021
Broadcast by Blues at Rock Radio on 24 January 2021
Broadcast by Blues at Rock Radio on 25 January 2021

Much Obliged . . . .

Posted: January 19, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner:

cruising #4006

.
Well, we arrived in the trusty Cruise Mobile, fresh from its annual check up and with it restored to its showroom condition, indeed, particular attention was given to the seat that we save especially for you. So, we encouraged you to waste no time and to put an enthusiastic spring in your step, jump aboard to go Cruising with The Commissioner.
.
We arrived with Chuck Willis on the radio and his 1951 Okeh release ‘I Rule My House’ and with the (rhetorical) question, “are you ready to boogie”, we were off to meet Goodtime Charlie and ‘The Boogie Man’, followed by a classic New Orleans number all the way from Hollywood and courtesy of The Royal Crown Revue. There was a little rockabilly from Johnny Jano and his ‘high voltage’ girl and a slinky piece of popcorn from Dakota Staton (with acknowledgements to our good pal Johnny Alpha). The mention of a group called The Commodores might suggest Motown had come to our playlist, but in Texas back in 1959 there was only one group called The Commodores and there was only one song called ‘Who Dat’.

The much esteemed Neil Pellegrin (inadvertently) suggested the focus of this week’s Cruising Connections. It featured a trio of tracks that included Carmen Taylor & The Boleros, followed by Big Joe Turner & The Blues Kings and then the 1958 Dore Records 45 by The Baritones. Mr Merlot was on hand with a lollipop and a rosette for anyone who recognised that The Boleros, The Blues Kings and The Baritones were all the same vocal group, who also recorded with Charlie White as the Playboys, with Lavern Baker as The Gliders, with Ruth Brown as The Rhythmakers and Ivory Joe Hunter as The Ivorytones . . . but we know them better as The Cues and we played one of their own Capitol recordings, ‘Much Obliged’.

Who Dat?
I Rule My House – Chuck Willis
Boogie Man – Goodtime Charlie
High Voltage – Johnny Jano
A Little You – Dakota Staton
Who Dat? – The Commodores

Cruising Connections
Ooh I – Carmen Taylor & The Boleros
The Chicken & The Hawk – Big Joe Turner & The Blues Kings
After School Rock – The Baritones
Much Obliged – The Cues

Girls & Guitars
The Stuff You Gotta Watch – Shannon McNally
Mr Blueberry Hill – Kenny ‘Blue Boss’ Wayne

Doo Wop Delights
So Tired – Gene Pitney & The Embers
No Way To Stop – The Fairy Tales

That’s Where It’s At
That’s Where It’s At – Colin James
Johnny B Goode – Big Daddy-O
Request Of A Fool – The Downbeats
When She Walks – Bob & Earl
Barefoot Suzie – Barrence Whitfield & The Savages
.
This week’s Girls & Guitars feature, threw its spotlight on guitarist and singer, Shannon McNally, who hails from Hempstead, New York, and began singing and playing guitar in clubs while she was studying anthropology at Franklin and Marshall College. After graduating she honed her skills as a busker on the streets of Paris and eventually got a contract with Capitol Records in 1997. Since then, she’s recorded 8 albums and we chose something from her latest album ‘Irish Black’ . . . ‘The Stuff You Gotta Watch’.

Kenny ‘Blues Boss’ Wayne came along with his own homage to Fats Domino, just before we reached this week’s Doo Wop Delights. We kicked off with the story of a vocal group of students from Rockville high school, Connecticut, who had an avid doo wop singer among their members called Gene Pitney. He went on to sing with a group called The Embers and they recorded a 45 in 1958 called ‘So Tired’. Then, we heard from a group called The Fairy Tales, who remain a mystery here, so if you know anything about them or their song ‘No Way To Stop’ . . . do tell! Meanwhile, Mr Merlot’s recent rummaging trips in the Cruising Library uncovered a couple of versions of Sam Cooke’s song ‘That’s Where It’s At’ (and there have been many covers), but none better than the one by Colin James, which we dedicated to our good pal Amigo . . . who’s a big Sam Cooke fan.

The Cruisettes turned up for our last choice from Barrence Whitfield & The Savages, with the old Waymon Brown number, ‘Barefoot Susie’. By then, the Cruise Mobile had arrived back where we started, just in time to park up the Cruise Mobile and give it a quick polish. So, if you enjoyed our Cruising playlist this week, be ready at the same time, same place next week to go Cruising with The Commissioner. Until then . . . remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio
on 19 January 2021

Listen here to this week’s edition of Doctor Roberts Sonic Tonic:

Well, a big cheery welcome to yet another magic mix of Dr Roberts Sonic Tonic. You can’t get it at your local pharmacy, you can’t get it on the NHS . . . it’s only available here with it’s tried and tested recipe of the ‘good stuff’. So, big smiles all round and to get us in the mood, we joined Ben E King with one of his tracks that I’m pretty sure you’ll not hear on ‘ordinary radio’.

There was a tip of the hat in the direction of Texas music-man, David Isaacs, who was in touch this past week to point me to a little gem from Willie & The Poor Boys. It was their version of ‘Don’t Lie To Me’ which they call ‘Let’s Talk It Over’.

Now, if you were in any doubt about the good stuff in this week’s sonic tonic, then there were ‘newies’ from Joyann Parker with her latest album ‘Out of The Dark’, Yael Naim with ‘New Soul’ and, courtesy of a prompt from Yvonne Eriksson, with Big Sam’s Funky Nation bringing back thoughts of Mardi Gras and street parades.

Extra Extra
Extra Extra – Ben E King
Let’s Talk It Over – Willie & The Poor Boys
Hit Me Like a Train – Joyann Parker
Something I Can’t Do – Cindy CashDollar, Marcia Ball, Johnny Nicholas
Mardi Gras In New Orleans – Big Sam’s Funky Nation

Tell It Like It Is
Come Back Baby – Bluesology

3am
She A Dime – Selwyn Birchwood
Blues Jeans – Marc Broussard
All My Love – Jeff Lynne’s ELO
3am – Tabitha’s Secret

Mellow Moment
Use Somebody – Lusaint

New Soul
New Soul – Yael Naim
I’ll Get You – Giuliano Palma & The Bluebeaters
Easy Lover – Priscila Mendes
Shake Your Groove Thing – Peaches & Herb

This week’s ‘Tell It Like It Is’ brought us the story behind a song by a band called Bluesology. It was inspired by local music man Richard Mann, who got in touch about the birthday this week of the late Long John Baldry, who performed with ‘Bluesology’, which included singer and piano player, Reg Dwight. The band’s first single, ‘Come Back Baby’ was written and sung by Reg Dwight, who would soon change his name to Elton John . . . and find his way onto this week’s playlist.

When it came to that point in the show, where I start to collect up the music, tidy up the studio and get ready to head on out of the studio, Peaches & Herb turned up to ‘Shake Your Groove Thing’, but not before saying a big thanks for your good company this week and hoping that we’ll meet again soon for another dose of Dr Roberts Sonic Tonic. Until then . . . . remember . . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 15 January 2021

Boogie Baby . . .

Posted: January 14, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s edition of The Blues Come Calling:

Well, a big bluesy welcome to one and all and when other music genres have waxed and waned over the years, it’s a great treat for bluesers like me to see the blues still thriving, even in the current difficult times . . . . and in evidence, I present this week’s edition of The Blues Come Calling. Kicking off this week’s show were The Climax Chicago Blues Band and the opening number on their self-titled 1969 album, featuring Colin Cooper on harp and some wonderful slide guitar by Pete Haycock.

The new year has brought some great ‘newies’ from Daniel De Vita, Selwyn Birchwood, Skylar Rogers and Veronica Lewis. There were plenty of opportunities too, for some foot tapping and head nodding to the first of my choices from my album of the week. It featured Barcelona guitarist and singer Edgar Blues with his album titled ‘The Next Step’. He leads his own three piece band which includes Rua Roan on bass and Aritza Castro on drums and our first taster was ‘What We Both Want’.

Waiting On You
Mean Old World – Climax Chicago Blues Band (Climax Chicago Blues Band – 1969)
Fool For You – Joyann Parker (Out Of The Dark – 2021)
What We Both Want – Edgar Blues (The Next Step – 2021)
You Got Me Waiting On You – Jimmy Reed (At Soul City – 2021)
Your Rules Not Mine – Marcus Lazarus (Whiskey Soaked Guitar – 2021)
Every Time I’m Close To You – Daniel De Vita (Lost In Translation – 2021)
Boogie Baby – Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee (Les Idoles Du Blues – 2020)

Pinetop’s Pick
Lonesome Ground – Sleepy John Estes (Searching for Heroes – 2020)

Moving On
I’m Tore Up – Danny Adler (De Luxe Bluesarama – 2020)
The Thrill Is Gone – Edgar Blues (The Next Step – 2021)
You Can’t Steal My Shine – Selwyn Birchwood (Living In A Burning House – 2020)
Moving On – Skylar Rogers (Firebreather – 2021)
Come On In My Kitchen – Edgar Blues (The Next Step – 2021)
Memphis Train – Veronica Lewis (You Ain’t Unlucky – 2021)
Throw It In The Grass – Red Beans & Rice (That Driving Beat – 1980)

For the ‘seasoned’ bluesers there were some treats, like a dip into the re-issue of Jimmy Reed’s 1964 Vee Jay album ‘At Soul City’. It’s being re-released by Soul Jam Records this month, including his track ‘You Got Me Waiting On You’. Sonny Terry & Brownie McGhee turned up with ‘Boogie Baby’ and our regular guest Arfa Pinetop brought along ‘Lonesome Ground’ by Sleepy John Estes, as a memory from Sam Charters film ‘Searching for Heroes’.

Long time London R&B fans, will have heard of Cardiff band Red Beans & Rice. They were contemporaries of the likes of Madness and Bad Manners when those bands were starting out. They had a line up that included some top notch musicians, including keyboard ace, Geraint Watkin and they turned up on this week’s playlist with the B side of their 1980 for Chiswick Records and an excellent blues workout, titled ‘Throw In The Grass’. Sadly, it was the last choice for this week’s show, but before that, there was a big thanks for your good company on this week’s show and the hope that we’ll meet again the next time The Blues Come Calling. Until then . . . . remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 14 January 2021
Broadcast by Blues at Rock Radio on 16 January 2021
Broadcast by Blues at Rock Radio on 17 January 2021

Listen here to this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner:

Cruising - you might be surprised

.
Well, we arrived with big smiles and cheery waves as the Cruise Mobiles rolled by to collect you for yet another musical adventure. So, we invited you to cast caution to the four winds, jump aboard and join us as we go Cruising with The Commissioner. Our arrival was heralded by the sound of a 1959 instrumental called ‘Feedbag’ from Mac Rebennack, long before his doctorate award. Then, demonstrating its disregard for national boundaries, the trusty Cruise Mobile took us from New Orleans to the Netherlands for some swinging boogie from local band, The Detonics. There was definitely a flavour of gangsters, prohibition and illegal casinos about ‘Caviar & Chitlins’ from The Atomic Fireballs and followed, in great style, by Mr Excitement himself, Jackie Wilson and a 1963 Brunswick single that gets very few plays these days . . . so we rectified that!

We much enjoyed a1962 Imperial release from Philadelphia group The Majors, who had a hit with their single ‘Wonderful Dream’ and their follow up album included our choice, their version of ‘Twist & Shout’. Then, there was another re-discovery from a dark and dusty corner of the Cruising Library. This time it was UK band , Kit Packham’s One Jump Ahead with a song dedicated to long-time Cruising Crew member, The Vikster . . . and she will know why!

This week’s Cruising Connections was suggested (indirectly) by the much esteemed Thom Hickey. The challenge was to spot the link between our trio of tracks, starting with a classic from Ruth Brown, The Groovebarbers with a song known well for the versions by The Clovers and Ray Charles and, lastly, Colin James and The Little Big Band with a song that was a hit for Little Willie John. Mr Merlot was ready with a lollipop and a rosette for anyone who spotted the three songs were written by Louisiana songwriter, Rudy Toombs, who also wrote our next choice from Lulu Reed & Freddy King.

Can You Picture That
Feedbag – Mac Rebennack
Butter Side Up – The Detonics

Baby Get It – Jackie Wilson
Can You Picture That – The Muppets
Twist & Shout – The Majors
She’s So Green – Kit Packham’s One Jump Ahead

Cruising Connections
Teardrops from My Eyes – Ruth Brown
One Mint Julep – Groovebarbers
I’m Shakin’ – Colin James
You Can’t Hide – Lulu Reed & Freddy King

Girls & Guitars
Slow Down – Susan Santos

Doo Wop Delights
Hand Me Down Love – The Valentines
You Broke My Heart – The Ermines

How About That
That’s Where It’s At – The Hesitations
You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me – Sam & Dave
Jumpin’ Jack Flash – Leon Russell & The New Grass Revival
How About That – Eddie Mack
I Can’t Sit Down – Marie & Rex
.
This week’s Girls & Guitars feature threw its spotlight
on Spanish blues guitarist and singer, Susan Santos. She taught herself to play guitar and sing in here early years and, after playing with several local bands, she moved to Madrid in 2009, which is where she formed her own band playing a mix of blues, rock & American roots music. She’s recorded 5 albums, to date, and whilst her latest “No U Turn” seemed very appropriate for our Cruising adventure, we were not sure about her track, ‘Slow Down’.

Our Doo Wop Delights started this week with Harlem vocal group, The Valentines, who were one of the most highly regarded American doo-wop groups from the mid-1950s. They started out as The Mistletoes, then The Dreamers and by 1954 they had become The Valentines, recording their very fine 1955 45 ‘Hand Me Down Love’. They were followed by Cornel Gunter & The Ermines, who started off recording for Loma Records and one of the songs they recorded there was their 1956 single ‘You Broke My Heart’.

For those who like a little soulful ballad, we featured The Hesitations with a cover of the great Sam Cooke number, ‘That’s Where It’s At’. Then, Sam & Dave turned up with their old soul classic, ‘You Don’t Know What You Mean To Me’, which attracted the attentions of The Cruisettes. Next, in the best traditions of Cruising with The Commissioner, we set off jumping genres for Leon Russell’s special 1981 version of ‘Jumping Jack Flash’ with The New Grass Revival, which brought us to that time when we start to notice the familar faces and places coming into view as we turn the Cruise Mobile for home. Taking us there, were Eddie Mack with his 1950 Apolla single, ‘How About That’, followed by Marie & Rex who ‘Can’t Sit Down’. So, with a cheery wave, we parked up the Cruise Mobile, gave it a quick polish and promised to call by again, same time, same place, next to (once again) take you Cruising with The Commissioner. Until then . . . remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio
on 12 January 2021

Green Light . . .

Posted: January 8, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s edition of Doctor Roberts Sonic Tonic:

Well, a big cheery welcome to yet another magic mix of Dr Roberts Sonic Tonic. You can’t get it at your local pharmacy, you can’t get it on the NHS . . . it’s only available here each week, with it’s tried and tested recipe of the ‘good stuff’ that you won’t hear on ‘ordinary radio’. No one stormed the studio to protest about the playlist, no one came clapping in the dark for my valiant efforts, but undeterred. I kicked off the show with 100 Proof Aged In Soul and ‘Someone’s Been Sleeping In My Bed’. With barely a pause for breath, we joined Sandra Bouza now for another track from her album ‘Falling Away from Me’, followed by plenty more of the ‘good stuff’.

The playlist included some choices to mark birthdays (Stephen Stills and Doris Troy), plus some notable events, like this past week back in 1971, when George Harrison’s album ‘All Things Must Pass’ was at No.1 on the album charts and that inspired a choice from the album . . . a song that was written by George for Billy Preston and featuring Eric Clapton and the entire Delaney & Bonnie and Friends band, behind George on ‘What Is Life’.

There was a Curtis Mayfield song, which got covered most recently by Jon Batiste and Celeste from the soundtrack for the Disney film ‘Soul’. It came with a polite nudge from Yvonne Eriksson . . . ‘It’s All Right’.

Do Right
Somebody’s Been Sleeping In My Bed – 100 Proof Aged In Soul
Human Connection – Sandra Bouza
What Is Life – George Harrison
Green Light – Betty Fox Band
Do Right – Georgia Randall
Love The One Your With – Stephen Stills
Live Learn – The California Honeydrops
It’s All Right – Jon Batiste
Closer 2 the Win – Laura Rain and the Caesars

Mellow Moment
Soft Words – Maysa

I Saw The Light
I Saw The Light – Quincy Conserve
Hear Me Calling – James Hunter & Doris Troy
It Gets Me Blue – Frankie Miller & Paul Carrack
We Make A Good Gumbo – Tab Benoit
The Tattooed Lady & The Alligator Man – Marcia Ball

There were some lush, vintage soul tones from Laura Rain . . . . not a 60s classic, but their very latest release, the excellent, ‘Closer to the Win’ which just might have put you in the mood for our Mellow Moment. This was your opportunity to give your best smile to that someone special nearby and . . . in the words of Paul Armstrong . . . ‘keep love alive in lock down’ . . . which we did with the latest release ‘Soft Words’ from the ever so sultry Maysa.

The flavours that make this mighty tasty musical mix, got a spicy extra this week from Louisiana, courtesy of Tab Benoit, who makes ‘A Mighty Good Gumbo’ . . . and he’s not alone! There was another taste of Louisiana heading your way, as the last choice for this week’s show. It came from Marcia Ball with the rocking tale of the tattooed lady and the alligator man. If that encouraged you to demonstrate your most stylish dance moves, there was a promise from yours truly that you wouldn’t be lonely. Somehow, before it ended, I managed to tidy up the studio, collect up the music and get ready to head on out, but not without saying a big thanks for your good company on this week’s show and ever hopeful that we’ll here again same time same place next week for another dose of Doctor Roberts Sonic Tonic. Until then, remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 8 January 2021


Roll ‘Em . . . .

Posted: January 7, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s edition of The Blues Come Calling:

Well, a big bluesy welcome to this first show of 2021 and The Blues Came Calling with some high energy swinging and shouting from Bill King’s Saturday Night Fish Fry with ‘Poor Old Me’. It was a fitting start to the new year and it came with plenty of thanks for all the support through the past year.

There was plenty more to keep the spirits high, with no dwelling on the challenges of the previous year. So, I set off on our blues travels with a smile and giving a tip of the hat in the direction of Nola Blue Records for marking what would have been Cash McCall’s 80th birthday, with the release of ‘Blues Coming Down’. It was recorded in Los Angeles back in 2015 and makes its belated debut on January 29, 2021 – the day after McCall would have turned 80.

There were plenty of new releases to get the new year buzzing in a bluesy way, including the latest album from Skylar Rogers ,’Firebreather’, Jackie Venson’s ‘Live at Austin City Limits’, Veronica Lewis with ‘You Ain’t Unlucky’ and my album of the week, ‘Big City Blues’, a new issue of an album cut by Howlin’ Wolf back in 1950 for Modern Records. This time it comes with several bonus tracks and it’s due out later this month.

Blues Coming Down
Poor Old Me – Bill King (The Best of Bill King’s Saturday Night Fish Fry – 2010)
Blues Coming Down – Cash McCall (Blues Coming Down – 2021)
Back To Memphis – Skylar Rogers (Firebreather – 2021)
Riding In The Moonlight – Howlin’ Wolf (Big City Blues – 2021)
Roll ‘Em DD – Dorothy Donegan (Great Rockin’ Girls – 2012)
Pick Poor Robin Clean – Erin Harpe (Meet Me In The Middle – 2020)
Texas Flood – Jackie Venson (Live at Austin City Limits – 2020)

Pinetop’s Pick
Bad Blues – Baby Tate (The Blues – The Documentary Film by Sam Charters – 1967)

Take A Ride
Crying At Daybreak – Howlin’ Wolf (Big City Blues – 2021)
You Ain’t Unlucky – Veronica Lewis (You Ain’t Unlucky – 2021)
Way I Like It Done – Kat Danser (One Eye Open – 2020)
If You Can Beat Me Rockin’ – Gary BB Coleman (If You Can Beat Me Rockin’ – 1988)
Twisting And Turning (On The Floor) – Howlin’ Wolf (Big City Blues – 2021)
Take A Ride – Katie Bradley & Pete Farrugia (Soho Heart – 2020)
Want Ad Blues Danny Adler (De Luxe Bluesarama – 2020)

This week, our regular guest, Arfa Pinetop, brought us a memory from the 1967 documentary film by Sam Charters, ‘The Blues’. It was a choice from one of the lesser known bluesmen, who were still around in the Southern States of America when Sam Charters visited, Baby Tate, giving an ‘on film’ performance of the song ‘Bad Blues’.

Well, the welcome return of Katie Bradley & Pete Farrugia with another taste of their album ‘Soho Heart’ signalled that our blues time together had almost run out. But, I squeezed in a track from Danny Adler, whose 1980 ‘De Luxe Bluesarama’ album has just been re-released and features an impressive band line up, including Charlie Watts, Ian “Stu” Stewart, Mickey Waller and Dick Heckstall-Smith. This time around, the album also includes previously unreleased 1987 Blue Horizon tracks. My choice was a number titled ‘Want Ad Blues’, but before that, there was a big thanks for your good company on this week’s show and the hope that we’ll meet again the next time The Blues Come Calling. Until then, remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 7 January 2021
Broadcast by Blues at Rock Radio on 9 January 2021
Broadcast by Blues at Rock Radio on 10 January 2021

Ride It . . .

Posted: January 5, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner:

Cruising #2021

.
Well, the Cruise Mobile arrived in the new year, still making plenty of noise with its windows wound down and its radio cranked up. Of course, our new year’s resolution was to save a seat especially for you, just so we can all go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . and we started well . . . . as we came rolling down the road to the sound of Joey Giam & The Noblemen and their 1958 Klik 45 ‘Pumpkin’. For the long-time members of the Cruising Crew, there was no big surprise as we joined Swedish band Jump For Joy to head on down to New Orleans, where on Bourbon Street on a Saturday night, Harlem group The Willows brought a very appropriate song, ‘Don’t Push, Don’t Pull, Don’t Shove’.

Jump4Joy

Dr John was taking a bath and doing a little splishing and a splashing, while Jimmy Evans turned up with his self-penned song ‘The Joint’s Really Jumping’, followed by Texas singer Don Hopkins, with his ‘61 Dart 45 ‘Tiddley Diddley’. Charlie Wood is a great favourite here, especially when he brings some rocking R&B, like ‘Let It Rip’ . . . and we did!

This week’s Cruising Connections brought a trio of tracks with a common link that kicked off with a band called The Tads and the tale of The Pink Panther . . . long before Henry Mancini knew him. Then there was 50s heart-throb, Sanford Clark, with his 1958 Dot 45 ‘Modern Romance’ and our third choice, ‘Planetary Run’ from Joe Montgomery. All of which would have earned you a lollipop and rosette from Mr Merlot, if you had spotted that all three featured the legendary Al Casey on guitar.

Let It Rip - Charlie Wood

Ride It
Pumpkin – Joey Giam &The Noblemen
Ride It – Jump For Joy
Don’t Push, Don’t Pull, Don’t Shove – The Willows
Splish Splash – Dr John
The Joint’s Really Jumping – Jimmy Evans
Tiddley-Diddley Don Hopkins
Let It Rip – Charlie Wood

Cruising Connections
The Pink Panther – The Tads
Modern Romance – Sanford Clark
Planetary Run – Joe Montgomery

ghalia-and-mamas-boys-let-the-demons-out

Girls & Guitars
4am Fried Chicken – Ghalia & Mama’s Boys
Your Sister Can’t Twist (But She Can Rock & Roll) – Imelda May

Doo Wop Delights
My Lonely Heart – Bubber Johnson
Little Girl Of Mine – The Hurricanes

Ooh
Hungry Man – Rick Vito
The Walk – Ricky Cool & The In Crowd
Ooh Little Girl – The Big Town Playboys

The Walk - Ricky Cool & The In Crowd

This week, the trusty Cruise Mobile took us to Belgium for our Girls & Guitars feature, which focused on singer/songwriter and guitarist, Ghalia Vauthier. Having built her music career and reputation in Belgium, in 2013 she decided to move to America and settled in Clarksdale. She joined Johnny Mastro & his Mama’s Boys playing in and around New Orleans. She got signed by Ruf Records and recorded her album ‘Let The Demons Out, which included our choice, which was Ghalia & Mama’s Boys with ‘4am Fried Chicken’. We stuck with the girls then for something from the wonderful Imelda May . . . an Elton John song ‘Your Sister Can’t Twist’.

With barely a pause for breath were heading off for our Doo Wop Delights which
took take us back to 1956, for a King 45 by Bubber Johnson, backed by Brooklyn vocal group, The Hurricanes on ‘My Lonely Heart’. Then The Hurricanes turned up in their own right with their 1956 King 45 ‘Little Girl Of Mine’.

With immaculate predictability, The Cruisettes turned up as we rounded off the first show of the new year with some excellent covers of R&B favourites, starting with the great Louis Jordan track, ‘Hungry Man’, delivered by Rick Vito. There was celebrated UK band Ricky Cool and the In Crowd providing an excellent version of Jimmy McCracklin’s classic, ‘The Walk’ and, taking us all the way home were another UK band The Big Town Playboys, with Mike Sanchez out front on ‘Ooh Little Girl’. Then, sadly, it was all over and we found ourselves parking up the trusty Cruise Mobile for another week, ever hopeful that we will all meet again the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner. Until then . . . remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio
on 5 January 2021

Halfway To Paradise . . .

Posted: January 1, 2021 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s edition of Doctor Roberts Sonic Tonic:

Well, we’ve said a final farewell to 2020 and head into the future, hopeful that it’s successor will be full of smiles, happiness and optimism. So, with a small contribution to that worthy objective, I arrived for the first show of the new year with a special mix of Doctor Roberts Sonic Tonic. I kicked off with George Stephen Kelly and his version of ‘Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You’, a number that did rather well for Wilson Pickett, who did even better with my next choice. If you needed a booster charge for your rhythm receptors, then The Trammps arrived just in time to get down and funky with Ninety Nine & A Half (Won’t Do) . . . and I recommend you turn up the volume, close the window blinds and be ready with your best dance moves.

Now, the new year started with some careful listening to the prompts and suggestions from the many friendly faces out there in listening land. The first came from my good pal Wendel Williams, who was lead vocalist with the successful Texas band Urban Renewal. The band’s setlists left no doubt, they were big fans of Tower of Power, so there was something from Tower of Power going out to Wendel and the rest of the band with a big smile. There was another smile expected from the majestic halls of Armstrong Towers with a big favourite from the excellent Bobby Womack and there were more smiles due from Buddy & Susan Bowman over there in Illinois, where I’m certain Susan will have been saying I don’t play enough from Paul McCartney . . . so I fixed that with a track from his latest album.

Step Up
Don’t Let The Green Grass Fool You – George Stephen Kelly
Ninety Nine & A Half (Won’t Do) – The Trammps
Step Up – Tower of Power
How Long – Bobby Womack
Satisfy My Soul – Paul Carrack
Louisiana Strut – J & B Kings
Now That The Magic Has Gone – Lulu & Joe Cocker
Fancy Free – Mary Wells
Find My Way – Paul McCartney
It’s Gonna Be Alright – Maysa

Mellow Moment
A Sunday Kinda Love – Etta James

Happiness
Halfway To Paradise – Ben E King
Happiness – Allen Toussaint
Before The Next Teardrop Falls – Al Green

Now, I may or may not have ingratiated myself with the lovely Dee this week. She is an undischarged member of the Billy Fury fan club and fervently believes that he did the definitive version of the song ‘Halfway To Paradise’. But, there was a richly deserved shout out to Thom Hickey who pointed me to a much more soulful contender from one time lead member of The Drifters and successful solo star, Ben E King. If you like the good stuff that I jam into the playlists here, then I strongly recommend checking out Thom’s blog ‘The Immortal Jukebox’, for more great music and inside stories.

Given the events of the past year, I thought Allen Toussaint’s great number ‘Happiness’ was a most appropriate choice for this show and I was rather hoping that the new year will soon bring a little more of that, many more smiles and some much needed optimism. But, the tick tock of the clock brought us to my last choice for this week’s Sonic Tonic and a song that you may know well by Freddy Fender, which has much covered since . . . and you can add to the list now, Al Green, who’s made it his latest release with his excellent, soulful treatment of ‘Before The Next Teardrop Falls’. It goes out to Yvonne Eriksson, over in Sweden, who is another of those steering my attentions to more of the ‘good stuff’. As it played, I was collecting up the music, tidying up the studio and getting ready to face the rest of 2021. But, not before saying a big thanks for your good company for this week’s show and hoping that we’ll meet again soon for another dose of Dr Roberts Sonic Tonic. Until then, remember . . . have fun!

Broadcast by Miskin Radio on 1 January 2021