Archive for June, 2012

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #64 (28.6.12)

Well, the days slipped away and in no time we were back again with a piles of records and ready to extend the warmest of welcomes to one and all. The little red light came on and we were all set to whisk you off on this week’s musical adventure that, out of habit, we continue to call Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . and despite the unsolicited ramblings in between, we put together a playlist filled with some of the best of rock, soul and real rhythm and blues.

The past week has been going well here in the Grand Duchy and we are ever hopeful that you have been similarly fortunate in your corner of the world. One event that we nearly missed was Noddy Holder’s recent birthday, so we were pleased to find a copy of Slade with their recording of ‘Knocking Nails Into My House’ to contribute to the celebrations in our own way.

The gig list was looking good for the week, even though we got news that the rain over recent weeks had ensured that our annual weekend revels at ‘Blues On The Farm’ had to be postponed. But, the promise is that come September, we’ll be returning and, hopefully, catching what has always proved to be a great line up in the past.

We still had a superb time when we caught Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers on their UK tour at the Royal Albert Hall. There wasn’t an empty seat or any spare standing room and it was a cracking show from start to finish. Having seen the band’s set at the Isle of Wight Festival , I think we got the best of them on this tour.  A few days on and we were back there again for a long awaited gig with Frankie Valli . . . . a fantastic evening, where Mr Valli proved that at 78 he could still rock the house for two solid hours and had everyone (including several celebrities) enthusiastically on their feet and joining in well before the finale. A truly memorable evening!

As a sign of things to come on our cruise this week, we committed ourselves to contributing generously to the collective sense of well-being, by opening the festivities with The DeVilles and their Orbit 45, ‘Tell Me So’ . . . . . followed by Don Covay’s 1958 Firefly recording of ‘Ooh My Soul’ . . . . and then there was no turning back, as you can see from the playlist:

Cruising for the city limits . . . . .
Tell Me So – The DeVilles
Ooh, My Soul – Don Covay
Can’t Do Sixty No More – The Du Droppers
Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On – Roy Hall
Oh Baby Don’t You Weep – Fred Bridges
Finders Keepers – Soul Children
Nowhere To Run – Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers
Free – Plan B
Thank You – Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons
So You Want To Be A Rock ‘n’ Roll Star – Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers

Three From Me . . . . with The Spongeman 
Intro / Mother Writes – Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera
Open Up Your Eyes – The Churchills
John Doe – Banchee

Cruising with the crew . . . .
Knocking Nails Into My House – Slade
Sunshine Help Me – The Move
Come Home – Davy Knowles & Backdoor Slam
I Want To Be Loved – The Hoax
True Love – Chris Isaak
Somebody Stole My Thunder – Georgie Fame
Alley Oop – The Hollywood Argyles
Sorrow – David Bowie

Memory Lane . . . .  with The Commissioner
Ain’t Gonna Wash For A Week – Eddie Hodges

Cruising for home . . . . .
Louie Louie – Toots & The Maytals
You’re About To Lose Your Clown – The Grandsons
I Can’t Let Go – Evie Sands
Come See About Me – Nella Dodds
I Want Love And Affection (Not The House Of Corrections) – Nathaniel Mayer
Walk A Block And Fall – Piney Brown
Baby That’s Why I’m Your Fool – Rudy Ray Moore
Believe it or Not – Donnie Elbert
Goin’ Round In Circles – Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers

Now, it is entirely possible that no one else experiences this, but every once in a while I hear some words or music that remind me of a song and it happened again recently. I heard a reference to ‘the funny papers’ and it immediately reminded me of a track by The Hollywood Argyles that starts with the words ‘there’s a man in the funny papers we all know’ . . . . and, you’ll know it as Ally Oop . . . . so in an attempt to purge it from my thoughts, at least for a while . . .  . we played it!

Well, it was a joy to welcome back our previous guest, The Spongeman, to the Three From Me slot this week. Regular members of the Cruising Crew, will recall that it was but a few weeks back when he was with us, but what may not have been evident was that on that occasion we played the wrong Three From Me selection. I made my profuse apologies to Sponge after the show and we were keen to bring you the Three From Me selection that we should have heard back then . . . . . so we did . . . . with lava lamps, jossticks and our paisley covered bean bag to accompany his characteristically eclectic selection.

Our adventure in time travel this week took us back to 1961 . . . . when England wasn’t yet swinging, after the rock ‘n’ roll of the 50s and before the Merseybeat revolution that changed everything. Music radio in the UK still featured (mainly) British artists, continuing the custom of covering successful American chart songs.

One such act, were The Brook Brothers who got a good deal of exposure on BBC radio the package shows of the day. Their set list included their first hit ‘Warpaint’ and followed this with a cover of a song by Eddie Hodges, ‘Ain’t Gonna Wash For A Week’.  They beat the American original up the UK charts to #13, but on our venture down Memory Lane, we heard the original from Eddie Hodges.

We were encouraged by some positive feedback in the Wireless FM chatroom during the show, but the time slipped away, almost unnoticed, and we were soon turning to head for home in the good company of Donnie Elbert and Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers. We arrived home safe and sound from our musical adventures and all in good spirits . . . I think . . . . . . and with plenty more to come next week when once again we can go Cruising with The Commissioner. If that all sounds too far off . . . . you can always get a musical fix from the Tuesday Night Mafia here on Wireless FM, where they’ll make you an offer you can’t refuse and play you music you’ll never forget.

Just remember to come back again next week, when we can leap aboard the Cruise Mobile and set the controls for Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . in the meantime . . . . have fun!

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #63 (21.06.12)

Well, when Thursday came around this week, it was a comfort to extend a warm welcome to one and all and to do it with the warmth of summer around us. Our summer appears to have found some days recently on which to throw off its grey, wet disguise and revealed itself, just in time for our special mid-summer edition of Cruising with The Commissioner.

In case your frenetic life style has distracted your attention, this week’s show coincided with Mid Summer’s Day and here in the Grand Duchy we had been preparing to celebrate this moment in style . . . . which we did! We were more than ready to greet mid-summer heartily and celebrate with an exotic musical mix and some accompanying festive fun and frolics. Indeed, we put together our playlist in the hope that it would conjure up magical musical images of relaxing in good company on warm summer days and nights, caressed by tropical breezes that carry the fragrant scents of flowers, herbs and spices. Of course, you would expect no less on a mid-summer edition of Cruising with The Commissioner!

Well, in various corners of the world this week there have been a few birthday celebrations, some which may have required prior notification of the fire and health authorities if they included candles on cakes and birthday bumps. Amongst the notables in this category we found time to make our own contributions to the celebrations of Paul McCartney, Kevin Montgomery and Brian Wilson. Alas, time was against us and we didn’t get to play anything by Johnny Halliday or Demis Roussos, who also had birthdays this week . . . . and any suggestions of unjustified anti-European tendencies here will be vigorously contested by our Cruise Control, Euro Bureau chief, Hertz Van Rentals.

Helping us to get up to our cruising speed this week were The Treniers with a tempting taunt to ‘Squeeze Me’ and, in order to get the best out of our adventure across musical frontiers, in and out of time zones and jumping genres, we encouraged everyone to settle back and enjoy the rest of our tour as we headed off with Lonnie Mack and His Band to go ‘Further On Up The Road’.

If you take a look at our playlist, you can check for yourself how hard we worked on our Mid Summer Special selection to charm the spirits and keep away any grey clouds:

Cruising with warm breezes . . . .
Squeeze Me – The Treniers
Further On Up the Road – Lonnie Mack
Bip Bam – Clyde McPhatter & the Drifters
I Like It Like That – The Five Royales
Native – Bob Callaway & The Chicks
Groovin’ – Wilson Pickett
Beach Bash – Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
Short Shorts – The Royal Teens
Red Hot – Billy ‘The Kid’ Emerson
Let The Sunshine In – The Peddlers

Three From Me . . . . with The Spinmeister 
Purple Haze – Jimi Hendrix
We Love You – The Rolling Stones
Stay Too Long – Plan B

Cruising to follow the sun . . . .
Last Night – The Travelling Wilburys
Michael & The Slipper Tree – The Equals
Keep Searchin’ (We’ll Follow The Sun) – Del Shannon
Sunshine Day – Jethro Tull
Sunshine Day – Osibisa
Good Day Sunshine – The Beatles
Long Nights of Summer – Elmer Gantry’s Velvet Opera
Heatwave – Martha Reeves & The Vandellas
Summertime – Billy Stewart
Sunshine Superman – Wynder K Frog
Come On – Kevin Montgomery

Memory Lane . . . . with The Commissioner – Mike Raven
Baby I Need Your Lovin’ – O.C. Smith
It’s Wonderful (To Be Loved By You) – Jimmy Ruffin
How Do You Like Your Love – Jimmy McCracklin
As Long As I Have You – Laura Lee
Soulville – Jackie Wilson

Cruising for the sunset . . . .
Surfin’ USA – The Beach Boys
Summertime Blues – Dion
Hot Banana – Oscar McLollie & His Honey Jumpers
Sea Cruise – Frankie Ford

We included The Travelling Wilbury’s on our playlist because Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers were on tour in the UK and on our gig list for this week. They put on a superb show at the Royal Albert Hall which went down well with The Cruisettes and the rest of the audience that packed the venue.

Another special treat this week was the visit to Cruise Control of an enthusiastic new Three From Me guest, The Spinmeister, who brought an armful for music and some fascinating stories to go with them. We had much fun during his visit and we are giving him every encouragement to return soon and I think you’ll understand why as you listen to his selection.

I have to admit that our adventure into time travel this week was a pilgrimage for me, as we have, at last, managed to find some recordings of DJ Mike Raven’s R&B radio shows  BBC’s Radio 1. The quality of the recordings is poor, but they show why Mike’s shows became required listening and a regular masterclass in the history, influences, personalities and events that shaped these genres of music. Even now, after all these years, I can still recall the fascination and excitement of the music he presented . . . . most of which came from his own extensive personal record collection.

Our plans to encourage that spirit of summertime, good will, and fun to this week’s show were certainly well received by the Crusiettes, who were doing some rather nice moves during the evening and even got tempted away from some rather exotic cocktails that they brought with them. But, all too soon, time ran out and we were parking up the Cruise Mobile for another week.

So, until the time comes around again for us to go Cruising with The Commissioner, remember you can get a musical 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. In the meantime, remember to . . . . have fun!


Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #62 (14.06.12)

Well, dear listener, I hope that things are well in your corner of the world and that the ‘groovy times’ are upon you. Here in the Grand Duchy, we have advised the authorities of the misappropriation of a season, because the Cruise Control diary is signalling that the summer is truly upon us, albeit heavily disguised. Indeed, we have only just resisted the powerful urge to indulge in that summer pastime of frolicking in the puddles, but, in deference to those about, we have redirected our zeal and enthusiasm to the joyous task of compiling this week’s playlist for Cruising with The Commissioner, including some of the very best in rock, soul and ‘real’ rhythm and blues.

As the social diary starts to fill up with even more competing demands on the available time, you’ll appreciate only too well just how busy life can become. The elaborate process of weaving the social, the business and the family commitments has sometimes tested us, but we have found a way through. The success of this may well be due to the practice we get in cruising across musical frontiers, in and out of time zones and jumping genres, as we set out each week on our musical adventures.

So, we were pleased, nay flattered, that we were able to find a small window of opportunity to meet up again with Mr T, who appears to be committed to an almost endless round of high powered dining, diverse cultural events and exotic trips to far flung places of the world. Regular members of the Cruising Crew will appreciate that  all of this could so easily distract attention his real mission in life . . . . to bring soul music to the peoples of the world . . . . and he did it again with his latest ‘Three From Me’ selection.

Tempted as we were by the requests to play ‘Three Little Fishes’ by Frankie Howard, we have roamed and rummaged in the Cruising Library, with much satisfaction, to bring you an even more tempting selection for this week’s playlist. But judge for yourself:

Cruising for the coast . . . .
Roll Baby Roll – Floyd Dixon & His Band
You Tickle Me Baby – The Royal Jokers
Ipsey Opsie Ooh – Shirley Gunter & The Flairs
Sweet Sweet Lovin – The Platters
Young Blood – The Coasters
Wild Child – Donnie Elbert
Irresistible You – The Shirelles
Oh Baby Don’t You Weep – Luther Ingram
Craise Finton Kirk – Johnny Young
Tomorrow Morning Brings – Pacific Drift
Down Home – The Upsetters

Three From Me . . . . . with Mr. T
Do You Love Me – The Rayons
Do You Love Me – Randy Brown
Do You Love Me – The Contours

Cruising in comfort . . . .
Crawling From The Wreckage – Dave Edmunds
Teenage Heaven – Eddie Cochran
Sick & Tired – Boz Scaggs
Baby, Let’s Play House – The Thunderbirds
Pink Cadillac – Paul Bascomb
All For You – Earl Van Dyke & The Soul Brothers
The Way You Do The Things You Do – The Temptations
Raindrops, Love & Sunshine – Robert John
Queen of The Go-Go – Rex Garvin
Go Go Power – Sugar Pie Di Santo

Memory Lane with The Commissioner – Alan Freed’s Rock ‘n’ Roll Dance Party
Roll With Me Henry – Etta James
She Loves To Dance – The Flairs
Tweedle Dee – LaVern Baker

Cruising back home . . . .
She’s Got (Plenty of Love) – The Liverpool Five
Incense & Peppermints – Blue Image
Sorrow – The Merseybeats
Baby I Need Your Loving – Delroy Wilson
It’s Growing – Otis Redding
Fortune Teller (Tell Me) – Lamont Dozier
That’s Why (I Love You) – Al Kent
You’re About To Lose Your Clown – Ray Charles
I’m Gonna Love You – Wilson Pickett
The Vibes – Come Back Baby
Tear Stained Letter – Jerry Williams
Get Rich Quick – Little Richard

Well, we are very resourceful here on Cruising with The Commissioner and we were quick to get out the lava lamps and the jossticks to help conjure the right atmosphere for a few pop psyche gems in our playlist. It all seemed to fit well with incense and peppermints, but we didn’t linger long and we were soon cruising into different territories to ‘follow that tune’ . . . . ‘Sorrow’. The Vikster played us a version by The Prissteen in her recent ‘Three From Me’ selection, then last week we played by the McCoys and this week we found the chart single from The Merseybeats.

We embarked on a risky romp down Memory Lane, going way back to the 50s, when rock was young and (allegedly) first named rock ’n’ roll by Alan Freed. We found some recordings of Alan Freed’s live Rock and Roll Dance Party shows with Rock ‘n’ Roll artists of the day. Fortunately, the recordings of these shows have survived and we sampled a few of these as a reminder of Alan Freed as the great promoter of R&B and Rock ‘n’ Roll music that he was.

All was going well, with the Cruisettes joining in on occasions to demonstrate their rhythmic moves, but a casual glance at our cruising hour glass revealed that we were running out of time before we had run out of road on our cruise. So, we cued up a some rocking R&B sounds from The Vibes, Jerry Williams and Little Richard to bring us home safely. So, with a heavy heart and a pristine white linen hankie to hand, we fought back the tears and were cheered by the thought of coming back again next week to enjoy our Mid Summer Special.

If you can’t wait till then for some more good music, remember you can get a fix from the Tuseday 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 we meet again to go Cruising with the Commissioner . . . . remember to . . . . have fun!

Summer rain . . . .

Posted: June 7, 2012 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #61 (07.06.12)

Well, I hope you have been enjoying yourself in your corner of the world. Here, in the Grand Duchy, you can certainly tell that the holiday season has started . . . . the sunshine that tempted us into our stylish lightweight threads, has disappeared amidst cloudbursts and torrents of rainwater that reminded us that this could be the wettest drought for years.

Still, we take our pleasures where we find them . . . . and we found them in our acquisitive ventures to some of our favourite record shops. Such joys brightened our days and you can share some of these in the weeks to come. Certainly, the pending tray is resuming its lofty profile and we are keen to bring you more of these juicy gems as we go Cruising with The Commissioner.

You could have been forgiven for believing that someone needed to get some control of things this end and, with breathtaking coincidence, I arrived just in time to take you on this week’s vaguely guided tour across musical frontiers, in and out of time zones and jumping genres . . . . all in the interests of bringing you the very best in rock, soul and real rhythm and blues. To prove the point, we started off with a cracking piece of R&B from Screaming Jay Hawkins and ‘Mountain Jive’ and we were soon up to speed and motoring for the city limits with the Marcels and ‘Sweet Was The Wine’.

There were a few celebrations during this past week and, if they involved you, we very much hope that you had fun! Of course, the keen eyed diary planners amongst the Cruising Crew will already have spotted that in a couple of weeks our Thursday night cruise will coincide with mid-summer’s day and, exploiting the myriad delights of the available technology, we are planning a virtual Cruising with The Commissioner Mid-Summer Special. Dress code is unrestricted . . . . so long as you are not using Skype . . . . and, this way, you can be assured that all your eating, drinking and socialising preferences are catered for. . . . so you can enjoy the event in your own particular way.

Even now, we are preparing a suitably summery playlist and, if you have some suggestions for summer songs to be included . . . . let us know. Despite some encouragement from fellow Wireless FM DJ, The Shake, we have studiously avoided indulging his hopes for something by Dick Emery, Bernie Winters, or indeed Rolf Harris or Ken Dodd . . . . but here are the tracks that did get into our playlist this week:

Cruising for the border . . . .
Mountains Jive – Screaming Jay Hawkins
Sweet Was The Wine – The Marcels
Pink Cadillac – Sammy Masters
Ain’t I’m A Dog – Ronnie Self
Fannie Brown Got Married – Roy Brown
Be Yourself – The Antennas
I’m Just A Down Home Girl – The Ad Libs
You’re A Wonderful One – Don Bryant
Chains Of Love – J.J. Barnes
You Better Believe Me – Eskew Reeder
Your Way To Tell Me Go – Plastic Penny
Pictures in My Mind – The Churchills

Three From Me . . . . with The Majestic
Summer Rain – Al Wilson
Something You Got – Tyrone Davis
Can’t Forget About You Baby – Jerry Butler

Cruising for fun . . . .
All The Children Sleep – Force West
Girls & Rock Don’t Mix – Thatcher’s Children
I Do – The Marvelows
Take Me To The River – Al Green
What’s Your Name – Mel & Tim
Wrap It Up – The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Never Make Your Move Too Soon – Tom Principato
Must Be The Music – Mighty Sam McClean
Sorrow – The McCoys
Rock & Roll Woman – Jimmy Caravan

Memory Lane . . . . . with The Commissioner
You Upset Me Baby – B.B. King

Cruising for home . . . . .
The Liquidator – Harry J’s Allstars
Heaven Must Have Sent You – The Elgins
All About Love – Garnet Mimms
Somebody, Somewhere Needs You – Darrell Banks
Too Many Tears – Ike & Tina Turner
Just Walk In My Shoes – The Sweet Inspirations
Slow Motion – Johnny Williams
Don’t Cry No More – Lucky Peterson
I Wanna Know – The Isley Brothers
Tick Tock – The Medallions
That’s What I’m Gonna Do – Arthur Lee Maye & The Crowns

The events of the week have included a birthday for Tom Jones and the sad news of the passing of Herb Reed, the last surviving member of the original Platters and it was his bass voice that graced their 400+ recordings, including some later, soul-inspired tracks that we’ve played before on Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . . and will again.

Well, our adventurous nature included some uncertain time travel this week on our cruise down Memory Lane, because we went way back in time to the mid 60s, although it we weren’t sure quite when! It certainly involved one of the many visits to Dobell’s Record Shop at 77 Charing Cross Road, which was London’s best-known music shop, back then, specialising in jazz, blues and folk music. It was here that a chance visit revealed some rare and much sought after albums by B B King, and their arrival materially changed the economic circumstances of at least one visitor on that day . . . . but with lasting musical satisfaction!

Of course, musical satisfaction is always guaranteed when we welcome back to Cruising with The Commissioner, that most elegant of guests, The Majestic. He returned with another excellent ‘Three From Me’ selection, but he wasn’t lingering long, as he was quickly on his way back to the myriad delights of his Go Go Club. Still, we  took the opportunity to relax in his good company and enjoy the sounds.

The chatroom had some esteemed contributors for this week’s show and there’s a standing invitation to them all to offer some of their own musical choices for future shows, but all too soon, we found ourselves having to turnabout on our cruise and start heading for home. Despite appearances to the contrary, we do try to keep some semblance of order during our Thursday night revels and so we had to resist the enticements to embark on an unscheduled extension of our musical journey . . . . the Cruisettes and Mr Merlot have a lot to answer for!!!

So, it was (appropriately)’Tick Tock’ from The Medallions and ‘That’s What I’m Gonna Do’ from Arthur Lee Maye and The Crowns that brought us home. But, to soothe you and smooth you, be assured that there are plenty of juicy gems left in the pending tray for another occasion. If that sounds good to you, then I hope we can entice you back next week, when once again we can go Cruising with the Commissioner, and maybe you will suggest some tracks to include in the playlist for our Midsummer’s Special. In the meantime, if your musical taste buds need tantalising before next Thursday, why not join 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 . . . . . remember to . . . . have fun