The girl can’t help it . . . .

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #43 (26.01.12)

Well, it has been an eventful week . . .  to say the least! There has been plenty of social and business activity to keep us on our toes and generally engaged. . . . . but we still looked forward to the arrival of Thursday night and the opportunity to extend a very warm welcome to one and all, as we embarked on this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner. What we hadn’t anticipated was the sad passing of not one or two, but three luminaries of the R&B scene. So, we will remember the week with very mixed emotions.

So, we were in need of some good company and, in anticipation, we wound the windows down, turned the volume up and saved a few seats especially for the Cruising Crew on our musical extravaganza. This was all designed to excite some enthusiastic participation as we savoured this week’s fine selection of rock, soul and real rhythm and blues.

The past week has brought its joys and sorrows in similar measure. The news of the passing of Johnny Otis, Etta James and Jimmy Castor were particularly sad notes. We took the opportunity to pay tribute to these three, whose contributions to the development of R&B and rock music is legendary.  So, we assembled tracks by them to give a glimpse of what inventive and adventurous artists they were.

On the positives, there were some splendid new additions to the Cruising Library from our visits to some of our favourite record stores and a little internet dabbling. As you might expect, we’ll weave these into the playlists over the next few weeks. There were also visits from some celebrated members of the Cruising Crew and, along with the Cruisettes, I am now looking forward to seeing Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers at their forthcoming UK concert and our annual pilgrimage to Blues On The Farm.

We started off our cruise with some rockin’ R&B from Fats Domino and a ‘Whole Lotta Lovin” and, catching the mood, we followed on with the Georgia Peach, otherwise known as Mrs Penniman’s favourite son, Richard, and his classic track ‘The Girl Can’t Help It’. Once we’d got up to speed, we uncovered some notable numbers for your listening pleasure, including a song that is probably best know for the version by Millie Small. We found the original of ‘My Boy Lollipop’, recorded by14 year old Barbie Gaye as a rhythm and blues hit in 1956 on the Darl label, which Island Records founder, Chris Blackwell, chose for Millie Small to record in 1964 and it became a blockbuster hit that helped to launch Island Records into mainstream popular music. We also pulled out the songwriter’s own version of  “Needles and Pins” by Jackie De Shannon, but discovered that it was hearing this song performed by Cliff Bennett & The Rebel Rousers at a club in Hamburg, Germany that enthused The Searchers about making it their next single and, as such, making the song an international chart success in 1964.

As we wait (with mounting excitement) for our membership of the Wombles fan club to arrive, here’s our playlist for this week:

Cruising for the city limits
Whole Lotta Lovin’ – Fats Domino
The Girl Can’t Help It – Little Richard
Pink Shade Of Blue – Sil Austin
Star Revue – Warren Lee
Nature Boy – The Shields
My Boy Lollipop – Barbie Gaye
Needles & Pins – Jackie DeShannon
Wiggle Wiggle – The Accents
Rockin’ Through The Rye – Bill Haley & His Comets

Three From Me . . . . with Johnny99
Over The Sea – Jesse Rae
Not The Heart – Champion Doug Veitch
Letter From America – The Proclaimers

Cruising with Johnny Otis, Etta James & Jimmy Castor
I Promise To Remember – Jimmy Castor & The Juniors
Hey Leroy – Jimmy Castor
Oh Yeah – Jimmy Castor
Bang Bang – The Jimmy Castor Bunch
Roll With Me Henry – Etta James
One Night – Etta James
I Just Want To Make Love To You – Etta James
Holding Back The Tears – Etta James
Too Tired – Etta James
Harlem Nocturne – Johnny Otis
Telephone Baby – Johnny Otis
Little Richard Boogie – Little Richard (with Johnny Otis)
Willie & The Hand Jive – Johnny Otis
Ma He’s Making Eyes At Me – Johnny Otis
Hum Ding A Ling  – Johnny Otis
A Fool In Love – Johnny Otis

Memory Lane . . . . with The Commissioner
Man Of Stone – Eddie Bluesman Kirkland

Cruising way down yonder
Dancing In the Street – LaBert Ellis
Hi Hi Hazel – The Troggs
Put Yourself In My Place – Delroy Wilson
Pretty Red Balloons – Rosetta Hightower
Yeah Man – Sam Cooke

The past days and weeks have brought some very welcome surprises here at Cruise Control, including some lively chats and visits from some celebrated, previous Three From Me guests. We’ve heard from Mr T., Richard Mann, John Burgess, DJ Leyton Rocks and The Vikster. With a few possibly still recovering from Burns Night, we invited our good pal John Burgess (or ‘Johnny 99’, as he wishes to be known) to come back with a Scottish theme to his next ‘Three From Me’ . . . . and he did just that, taking us on a tour of some of his choices along with a few stories to go with the tracks.  Our traipse down Memory Lane had a distinctly bluesy tinge to it, with a story of musical curiosity and enthusiasm, leading to resolve and resourcefulness in tracking and tracing a little known recording by Eddie ‘Bluesman’ Kirkland. The prize was a hard to find vinyl album on Prestige records that included the stomping ‘Man of Stone’ and that album is still has a cherished place in the Cruising Library.

Well, after our respectful tributes, there was only a little time left, but we made good use of it . . . . . a little rare ‘Dancing in the Street’ from LaBert Ellis to mark the fact that Martha Reeves is in town and getting rave reviews for a series of sell-out concerts. We heard the news today about Reg Presley retiring due to ill-health, so we dug outHi Hi Hazel’ by The Troggs and promised to play Geno Washington’s version on another occasion. We even squeezed in Rosetta Hightower and (as we promised last week) Sam Cooke’s ‘Yeah Man’, the inspiration for Arthur Conley‘s ‘Sweet soul music’.

We had three previous Three From Me guests in the chatroom and the chatter gave some good feedback on the playlist choices and even reported some clandestine dancing out there . . . . and that’s when we knew we were cooking! So, we cruised gently to the close of the show, knowing that we can do it all again next week. . . . . and if that seems too far off, you can always get a fix from the Tuesday night mafia on Wireless FM, where they’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse and play you music you’ll never forget.

So, until the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner. . . . . have fun!

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