Archive for September, 2012

Thunder in the air . . . . .

Posted: September 27, 2012 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #76 (27.09.12)

Well, here’s hoping that all has been well with you in your corner of the universe this past week. Indeed, we trust that you have dedicated yourself to our primary Cruising objective . . . . having fun . . . . because that’s what we’re all about when we go Cruising with The Commissioner.

It has been a busy week here and the Cruise Mobile has been doing much travelling, with some pleasant encounters along the way. The weather has been unpredictable and, whilst we have enjoyed much sunshine, the dark rain clouds have not been far away and eager to share their cargo with us along the way. Not surprisingly, our travels have been accompanied by some randomly selected musical tracks, that have turned up some forgotten gems and some favourites that somehow reflected our mood. At one point, the intro of ‘I Wish It Would Rain’ had hardly got to thirb bar, before the heavens opened and driving rain arrived to create an outlook that Hollywood film productions would envy. Some of our travelling tracks have found their way into this week’s playlist with the full intent of maximising your enjoyment quotient.

We started off our musical adventure this week in the company of Big Walter Price & His Thunderbirds with their 1956 recording on Peacock Records of ‘Pack Fair & Square’ and we followed on with Big Boy Bloater’s ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ and then with Arthur Lee Maye & The Crowns, who gave us a fine piece of ‘real’ R&B called ‘That’s What I’m Gonna Do’. We couldn’t let this pass without some mention of the story about Arthur Lee Maye. He had a very interesting career, because he was not only a fine R&B singer, but he was also a major baseball player for a long list of clubs from Milwaukee, to Houston, to Cleveland, Washington and Chicago.

We included ‘The House of Bamboo’ by Andy Williams as a tribute to the man who became known as a crooner, but started with some tame rockabilly and mild exotica singles. We also featured the track ‘I’ll Come Home’ by 60s Scottish group, The Poets. It was the flipside of their 1966 single on the Immediate label, which was our small goodbye to the Poets’ lead singer George Gallacher, who we lost recently.

And if you’re ready for more (and we always are here) . . . . here’s this week’s playlist:

Cruising into the blue yonder . . . .
Pack Fair & Square – Big Walter Price & His Thunderbirds
Please Don’t Leave Me – Big Boy Bloater
That’s What I’m Gonna Do – Arthur Lee Maye & The Crowns
Love Train – Jackie Wilson
Will Call – Joe Jones
I’m In Love – Beverley Skeete
House of Bamboo – Andy Williams
Don & Dewey – It’s A Beautiful Day
I’ll Come Home – The Poets
Full Tilt Boogie Man – Bare Bones Boogie Band

Three From Me  . . . .  with The Spinmeister
Green Door – Frankie Vaughan
Mannish Boy – Muddy Waters
White Room – Cream

Cruising with Oriole Records (Part 2)
Stubborn Kind Of Fellow – Marvin Gaye
If It’s Love (It’s Alright) – Eddie Holland
Come And Get These Memories – Martha & The Vandellas
Mickey’s Monkey – The Miracles
Fingertips (Part 2) – Little Stevie Wonder
Pills – Mickey Finn & The Bluemen
Dr Feelgood – Rory Storm & The Hurricanes
Shake Sherry Shake – Faron’s Flamingos

Memory Lane . . . . . . with Mike Raven & Blind Willie McTell (5:50)
A Married Man’s A Fool – Blind Willie McTell

Cruising for home . . . .
Guns of Navarone – The Skatalites
Thunder In The Air – The Mustangs
Pink Pedal Pushers – Carl Perkins
Jitterbug Boogie – Albert Lee & Hogan’s Heros
I’ve Just Gotta Tell Somebody – Gloria Lynne
She’s Ready – The Spiral Staircase
Baby What I Mean – The Drifters
Get Your Love Back – The Three Degrees
Sinner Not A Saint – Trini Lopez
Yellow, Mellow Hardtop – Ray Johnson & The Bystanders
Polly Molly – The Five Masks

Well, our cruise this week saw the Cruising orchestra providing an appropriate welcome fanfare for the return of The Spinmeister, who is never at a loss for words. Indeed, he’s proved to be a most persuasive purveyor of words and we’re very grateful that he could find time in his globe trotting commitments to swing by Cruise Control and spin us some records and some stories . . . . and who else could make an entertaining musical journey out of ‘decorating’. Well, the chatroom chatter seemed very clear that The Spinmeister had brought it all together just right!

Our time travel trip down Memory Lane included an honourable mentioned of Mike Raven and his R&B Shows back in the 60s. The comments from members of the Cruising Crew suggested this detour and, most recently, our good pal Arthur Pinetop, encouraged us to play something from an acoustic blues compilation album that was issued by Transatlantic Records back in 1969, which included a commentary on the songs and singers by Mike Raven. So we did!

Well, our quota of cruising time ran out all too soon and we just about managed to arrive home in much the same condition that we left. As ever, we hope that along the way there were some juicy gems in our playlist to taunt and tantalise your musical taste buds. If there were, then we very much hope that we will have your good company again next week, when once again we’ll give you a cheery wave and make you most welcome, as we go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . so until then, remember . . . . have fun!

I was gone . . . . .

Posted: September 20, 2012 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #75 (20.09.12)

Well, I hope we find you in good spirits and ready to take another vaguely guided tour of the best in rock, soul and ‘real’ rhythm and blues that (for want of a more imaginative title) we continue to call, Cruising with The Commission. Here in the Grand Duchy, the world has kept turning and the week has brought some welcome sunny Autumnal days, so we have been out and about and catching up with some friendly faces . . . . and most enjoyable it has been too.

Last week’s visit by Joe Duckworth generated some very positive feedback on his Three From Me selection and we’ll be sure to invite him back, although with some trepidation about what revelations he might make in his commentary next time! Taking the Three From Me seat this week we have the welcome return of Lil-Sis, who took the theme, past, present and future for her musical selection . . . . and very welcome it was too . . . . but then we’re accustomed to a little time travelling here on Cruising with The Commissioner.

Our musical adventure this week found time for another of our special features on UK record labels . . . . this time we focused our attentions on UK Oriole Records. They grew from humble beginnings in the East End of London to become a notable independent label with some chart successes too. They played host to many artists who went on to achieve greater success after early releases on Oriole and the label followed musical trends from ballads, skiffle, pop, rock ‘n’ roll, R&B, soul, Merseybeat and psyche rock. Oriole’s studios and record production resources were also widely used by other labels for producing additional copies of their chart successes and some of these are now sought after by the vinyl aficionados. But once we got under way, it became clear that there were just too many tasty treats to fit into one show . . . . so, as you’re guided through Oriole’s story, be aware that there’s more to come!

There are a few interesting ‘finds’ and surprises amongst this week’s playlist, but little comfort for devotees of Ambrose & His Orchestra, who will have to continue their patient scanning of our playlists, as you will see:

Cruising for the city limits . . . . .
Jumpin’ From Six To Six – Jimmy Wilson & His Band
I Was Gone – Eddy Clearwater
Savoy Jump – Jimmy McCracklin & His Blues Blasters
Bom Bom Lulu – Gene & Eunice
You Eat Too Much – Harold Burrage & His Combo
Devil With A Blue Dress – Shorty Long
Hitch Hike To Heartbreak Road – Bobo Mr Soul
Southside Of The Street – The Zombies
Woodstock – America

Three From Me . . . . . with Lil-Sis
A Day In The Life – The Beatles
Flowers In The Rain – The Move
Keep Playin’ That Rock ‘n’ Roll – Edgar Winter’s White Trash

Cruising with Oriole records . . . . .
Freight Train – The Chas McDevitt Skiffle Group (featuring Nancy Whiskey) Sittin’ In The Balcony – Johnny Dee
Too Young – Lewis Lymon & The Teenchords
Pony Train – Titus Turner
You Beat Me To The Punch – Mary Wells
Do You Love Me – The Contours
Locking Up My Heart – The Marvelettes
Devil In His Heart – The Donays
I Found A Girl – The Valadiers

Memory Lane . . . . . Lou Martin
Papa Lou’s Boogie Woogie – Blues N Trouble

Cruising for the sunset . . . . .
I Believe In Everything – Matchbox Twenty
Turn, Turn, Turn – The Byrds
Hey Jude – Delroy Wilson
Four Until Late – Robert Johnson
I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treat Me) – Mick Hucknall
Rescue Me – Fontella Bass
Some-A Your Sweet Love – Wayne Cochran
I’ll Be Holding On – Big Al Downing

Well, our playlist included a few tracks that reflected our gig list this week, which included a number of quite outstanding shows. We shared a night out with Nikki & Dave to catch The Zombies in concert on their return from their US tour . . . . and they were on top form, presenting a great show that the crowd clearly didn’t want to end. The Cruisettes came along with me to catch Matchbox Twenty at one of their two UK shows to promote their new album . . . . and a sensational night they gave us too. As if that wasn’t enough, we managed to get late tickets to see Mick Hucknell at the Royal Albert Hall, on his current UK tour, promoting his forthcoming new album ‘American Soul’ . . . . so we played his fine version of Bobby ‘Blue’ Bland’s ‘I Wouldn’t Treat A Dog (The Way You Treat Me)’.

This week’s Three From Me came from one of the regular members of the Cruising Crew is Lil-Sis. It’s always good to have her company on our Thursday night romps through the records and there’s never any doubt about the tracks in our playlist that she particularly enjoys. So, it was good to turn the tables on her and let her choose the tracks for herself . . . . and she came up trumps!

Our trip down Memory Lane this week was tinged with sadness, because it marked the passing on my school pal, Lou Martin. We discovered we had similar tastes in music and were both regular listeners to the late Mike Raven R&B Show on Radio 390. We visited one another’s homes to sit around the record player and share favourites and new finds amongst the growing range of artists we discovered. We even formed a little group at school and played a few functions and it was no surprise that, on leaving school, Lou decided that music would be his life and went on to play in UK blues band, Killing Floor, Rory Gallagher’s band, Blues ‘n’ Trouble and played with Texas Bluesman, Freddy King, Chuck Berry, Otis Rush and Albert Collins.

All too soon, the rattling tin cans and the familiar sound of Bill Justis brought our cruise to a close for this week and we had to park up our trusty Cruise Mobile for another week. But, we very much hope that we can entice you back again next week, for even more fun and frolics, when once again we can go Cruising with The Commissioner.

There are already some very nice tracks lined up for next week’s playlist, so we’re counting on having your good company again and getting your feedback on the website or in emails. But until the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . remember to . . . . have fun!

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #74 (13.09.12)

Well, I hope we find you in excellent spirits and that you have enjoyed the grooviest of weeks since we last gathered together to go Cruising with The Commissioner. The past week seems to have been filled with more than its fair share of political events, but our interest was (fortunately) distracted by some very welcome sunshine that provided a cheery backdrop to some long awaited events on our social programme.

We spent more than a little time to ensure the Cruise Mobile was in tippity top condition, because it not only had to be on hand to take us on our musical adventure, but it was also booked out to whisk yours truly et al to the long awaited ‘Blues On The Farm’ festival over the past weekend . . . .  but more of that later.

Well, one of the joys of the week was our long awaited visit to the annual Blues On The Farm festival in Sussex. The predicted fine weather and the list of artists on the programme all pointed to a great weekend . . . . and so it was. This was most welcome, because the organisers had to postpone it from its original date due to the rain-sodden ground in June. There was a first class line up of well known and up and coming acts to entertain the good humoured crowd and full credit to the Blues Band, King King, Jon Amor Blues Group, Todd Sharpville and others for re-arranging their schedules to ensure their continued support for this excellent event. On the first day, Jo Harman gave the crowd some powerful vocals in a set that quickly attracted the interest of those lazing in the sun or otherwise sampling the food and drinks establishments on site. She certainly attracted a very enthused reception and picked up some welcome CD sales as a result. Local band The Mustangs, the Bare Bones Boogie Band, Stationhouse and the Toy Hearts all deserve an honourable mention for their enthusiastic and well received sets. Drummer, Sam Kelly, seems to be omni-present at festivals like this and, true to form, he appeared with several bands over the days (which is always an indicator of a good set).

The towering presence of Jon Amor on stage with his Blues Group soon attracted a large audience with their delivery of a powerful and gritty set. This was made all the more memorable by his invitation to harp player, Giles King, to join him on stage for a couple of high energy numbers. Great stuff! Giles returned later as a member of Lightening Willie & The Po’ Boys, but even with his excellent harp playing, the set didn’t quite have the same spark and sizzle! The very seasoned and accomplished Will Johns Band there with songs from their latest album ‘Hooks & Lines’ and one of the many joys of the weekend was catching the very popular Giles Hedley & The Aviators, who added some humour to a very well-delivered set of delta and early Chicago blues. The final act of the festival was the mighty impressive Todd Sharpville, who turned up with Ronnie Baker Brooks, son of veteran bluesman Lonnie Brooks, to round off this 21st Blues on The Farm.

We started off on this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner with Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm with their 1959 Sue Records release ‘That’s All I Need’ and quickly followed on with Jackie Brenston’s ‘Trouble Up The Road’, but if you’re among those who have been hoping to hear something by Al Bowley in our selection, you should brace yourself for some disappointment (at least for this week), but there are plenty of superb sounds that we did manage to squeeze into this week’s playlist, as you can see:

Cruising for the horizon . . . . 
That’s All I Need – Ike Turner’s Kings of Rhythm with Tommy Hodge
Trouble Up The Road – Jackie Brenston
Spasms – Little Willie John
All Around The World – Titus Turner
Love Bandit – The Cadets
Move It Over Baby – Gene & Eunice
Pneumonia – Joe Tex
6345789 – Wilson Pickett
It’s Got To Be A Miracle (This Thing Called Love) – Barbara Randolph
Cerveza – Cherry Wainer

Three From Me . . . . with Joe Duckworth
Cumberland Gap – Lonnie Donegan
I Don’t Need No Doctor – New Riders Of The Purple Sage
Debora – Tyrannosaurus Rex

Cruising to Blues on The Farm . . . . .
Lose Control – King King
Talking Woman Blues – The Blues Band
Feels Like Rain – Lights Out By Nine
Move Over – Jo Harman
Sweetheart – Jon Amor Blues Group
Lookin’ Out My Window – Lightning Willie & The Poorboys
Angel – The Will Johns Band
Drop Down Mama – Giles Hedley & The Aviators
Lousy Husband (But A Real Good Dad) – Todd Sharpville

Cruising for home . . . .
Where Did Our Love Go – Delroy Wilson
Fever – Barbara Jean English
The Man Who Said No – Bettye Swann
They Say – Rodge Martin
He Sure Could Hypnotize – The Clovers
I Struck It Rich – Billy Harner
Big Time Operator – Charlie Rich
Deadline – Zoot Money
Well Oh Well – Tiny Bradshaw

The chatroom chatter this week picked out some particular from the playlist and they seemed to really appreciate the Three From Me selection too . . . . and this week’s Three From Me guest, Joe Duckworth. He arrived with a flourish on a sleek black, low profile motorcycle. A machine popularly known as the ‘widowmaker’, so he revealed, and he appeared suitably windswept and smiling (and probably more relaxed than his insurers). He’s always cheery when he turns up and this may be due partly because he already knows what’s amongst his musical choices. This time he brought some stories of his early years growing up in a northern town (with a banjo on his knee) and his first encounter with men in dresses!

Our feature on Blues on The Farm sort of absorbed our trip down Memory Lane this week, but we’ll see what the power of recall can conjure up for next week’s show. We did find time for a few real treats in our playlist, including a 45 from Bettye Swann titled ‘The Man Who Said No’. This is one of the rarest and most sought after recordings by Bettye and a fine piece of soul, but it comes with a hefty price tag. Another rarity we found on our travels recently was ‘They Say’ from Rodge Martin, this was on a compilation album of artists who appeared back in the 60s on American TV’s Hoss Allen Show and this track was one of the highlights of the album.

Such was our concentration on fitting in the many juicy gems on the playlist that we had to make a rather sudden turn for home in the company of Zoot Money and Tiny Bradshaw. We got home safe and sound, and parked the Cruise Mobile in time to bid you farewell for another week. If you enjoyed this week’s cruise, perhaps we can look forward to your good company again next week, when once again we can go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . and in the meantime, remember to . . . . have fun!

Listen here to this week’s show:

Cruising with The Commissioner #73 (06.09.12)

Well, the environs of the Grand Duchy have enjoyed some late summer sunshine and it undoubtedly brought cheer to those around. Spirits have been high and we have even indulged in some summer evening soirees with goodly folks who stopped by for a little idle chatter and some chilled pink fizz. The roads seemed to sport an endless array of soft top cars with a variety of drivers enjoying the opportunity to pose for the populace.

It’s been a good week here for catching up with folks. We met up with fellow Wireless FM DJ Max Quirk for a little prospecting in the local record shops, hereabouts, and we also caught up with our good pal Joe Duckworth (who promised an eclectic mix of music for his next Three From Me slot, and we also heard from The Majestic (who we welcomed back for this week’s Three From Me selection), The Shake, The Vikster and Lil-Sis . . . . so we were not short of good company this week.

So, when Thursday night rolled around, we had the Cruise Mobile purring away gentle,with  the windows down and the radio turned up . . . . all ready to take the Cruising Crew on another musical adventure, across musical frontiers, in and out of time zones and jumping genres. We are never too sure who will turn up to grace our grand tourer, but all are given the warmest of welcomes and encouraged to climb aboard, sit back and relax in the sumptuous leather seats . . . . which is all that’s needed to go Cruisin’ with The Commissioner.

Well, our musical postman and a supervised visit to the local record shops provided some tasty treats to include in our playlist this week, including something for the connoisseurs of Northern Soul from Trini Lopez. It was a far cry from ‘If I Had A Hammer’ and his other sing-a-long tracks . . . . . but it’s certainly an excellent piece of R&B as you’ll hear. As if that was not enough, I stumbled upon my old box of 45s that I used to drag around with me way back when I was a DJ on the road. So, we picked out some old favourites and guaranteed floor-fillers, which gave me the excuse to put on my white suit and shades to do my stuff . . . . !

But we wasted no time in getting cruising and started off with a taster of things to come . . . . . with Alonzo Stewart and ‘I Get The Blues When It Rains’ . . . . and we followed on with the sound of New Orleans from The Spiders and ‘A-1 In My Heart’. . . . and more besides, as you’ll see from our playlist:

Cruising for the border . . . . .
I Get The Blues When It Rains – Alonzo Stewart
A-1 In My Heart – The Spiders
I’m A Lover Not A Fighter – Lazy Lester
Baby Please Don’t Go – Rose Mitchell
You Sure Know How To Hurt A Fella – Jewel Akens
I Can’t Take It No Longer – Ben Harper
Sinner Not A Saint – Trini Lopez
Shoo-Rah! Shoo-Rah! – Betty Wright
Give Me Just a Little More Time – The Chairman of The Board
Needle In A Haystack – Tawny Reed
Way Down In the Hole – The Blind Boys of Alabama
Statesboro Blues – Blind Willie McTell

Three From Me . . . . . The Majestic
Baby I Need You – T J Williams & Two Shades of Soul
Shing-A-Ling – The Bean Brothers
I Remember – Anthony & the Aqualads

Cruising with friends . . . . .
She’s Not There – Giuliano Palma & The BlueBeaters
Wishin’ and Hopin’ – Dusty Springfield
Don’t Be Long – The Beefeaters
Everything But Time – The Critters
Kinda Wasted Without You – The Parade
Sixteen Tons – The Nighthawks
You Know Yeah – Pee Wee Crayton
Crawling Up A Hill – Beverley Skeete
Lula  – Mike Robinson
Who Put Out The Lights – Little Walter Jackson
Wondrous Place – Jimmy Jones

Memory Lane  . . . . . Max Bygraves
When You Come To The End Of A Lollipop – Max Bygraves

Cruising for home . . . . .
Sultana – Titanic
Give It To Me – Gregg Rolie
Drown In the River – Barry Gibb
Domino – Van Morrison
Your Love Has Gone Away – The Drapers
Bad Boy – The Donays
Slow Down – Lou Mac
Leaving Here – Tommy Good
Bluecoat Man – Diz & The Doormen

We had a couple of birthdays to celebrate this week with Barry Gibb and Van Morrison. But the week brought the sad news of the passing of songwriter Hal David, who was one of those who frequented the Brill Building, writing with many different folks over the years, but he is probably best known for his collaboration with Burt Bacarach. So, we chose one of those songs as a tribute . . . . Dusty Springfield singing ‘Wishin’ and Hopin’. We also said a sad farewell to singer and entertainer, Max Bygraves and took the opportunity to recall a few related moments in our trip down Memory Lane.

The past week brought a welcome encounter with that most elegant and cultivated of Cruising contributors, The Majestic. He was surely refreshed by his time sipping Brandy Sours on a deserted beach on a far away island and he returned with a treasure trove of tasty treats from his collection to grace our Three From Me slot this week. It wasn’t just me, his selection was much appreciated by those in the chatroom during the show. Joy!

Now, if you’ve been following the TV series ‘The Newsroom’, you may have been enjoying spotting the music that they weave into the soundtrack of the show. It was a reminder of other series that we’ve enjoyed and included some excellent music too. It prompted us to pull out ‘Way Down In The Hole’ from the Blind Boys of Alabama which played behind the title sequence of ‘The Wire’. After that, we drifted on back to 1928 for a classic scratchy blues track from Blind Willie McTell, ‘Statesboro Blues’. Amongst the many covers of the song, I have to say that the version by Taj Mahal remains my favourite.

Well, reluctantly, we had to turn for home as the sand in the Cruise Control hour glass all but ran out. But, we got back home safe and sound and said our fond farewells in the knowledge that in another 7 days we can do it all again . . . . and if that seems too far off, remember 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 . . . . remember to . . . . . have fun!