Archive for May, 2014

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Well, if tradition is being properly maintained across this green and pleasant land, then Morris dancers will have been in evidence in a profusion of colourful congregations, banging their sticks, ringing their bells and waving their white handkerchiefs. But, meanwhile, somewhere across the Atlantic our road trip of America’s Southern States rolls on, creating some lasting memories . . . . and excuses to raid the Cruising Library for an appropriate playlist. Cruising #208

But the must visit place while we’re here . . . . are the crossroads at Highways 61 & 49 . . . . Robert Johnson, Elmore James, Eric Clapton and many others have all told the story of ‘Standing At The Crossroads’ to sell their soul to the devil for musical advantage . . . . and here’s a very gospel inspired version of that song . . . . from Ry Cooder and featured in the classic film ‘Crossroads’

We kicked off this part of our road trip in the good company of Lonnie Mack and the rather appropriate ‘Farther On Up The Road’ and that brought us to Clarksdale. Now, one of those who called Clarksdale his home was Jackie Brenston, who along with another local lad Ike Turner were in at the birth of Rock ‘n’ Roll and so we found his 1960 single for Sue Records ‘Trouble Up The Road’ . . . . and we rolled on from there . . . . . .

Cruising farther on up the road . . . .Crossroads
Farther On Up The Road – Lonnie Mack
Trouble Up The Road – Jackie Brenston
Too Many Tears – Ike & Tina Turner
Love Sickness – Mack Rice
Crossroads – Ry Cooder
It’s Your Voodoo Working – Lee McBee
Big Road Blues – Tommy Johnson
My Mama Wears Combat Boots – Liz Mandeville
Natchez Burning – The Groundhogs
Promised Land – Johnny Allen
That’s How It Goes – Marcia Ball
Lewis Boogie – Jerry Lee Lewis
I Like It Like That – Chris Kenner

Killer Diller Korner . . . . . with Johnny AlphaWishbone Ash
Beat Maker – Doris

Cruising by the bayou . . . .
Way Down South – Wishbone Ash
Witch Queen Of New Orleans – Redbone
Gimme Shelter – Merry Clayton
Iko Iko – Dr John
You Talk Too Much – Joe Jones
He Ain’t Nothing But Dirt – Jean Knight
I’m Gonna Run Away From You – Tami Lynn
I Wish I Knew How It Would Be To Be Free – Irma Thomas
Walk That Walk – Eddie Bo
I Ain’t Got No Home – Clarence Frogman Henry
I’m Walking – Fats DominoTommy Johnson

On our way through Clarksdale we remembered that story about devilish deals at the crossroads which is frequently attributed to Robert Johnson. But, it’s his namesake, Tommy Johnson, who is claimed to be the first to tell about selling his soul to the devil in exchange for mastery of the guitar. . . . . . and Tommy Johnson happened to be our featured artist for our scratchy blues track this week. We chose his song “Big Road Blues” which Canned Heat successfully adapted to become ‘On The Road Again’.

We also found time to present our Girls & Guitars feature, which took a track from an album suitably titled ‘Clarksdale’ by Liz Mandeville. She has five critically-acclaimed CDs to her name and, with her band The Blue Points, she’s played hundreds of gigs. So, we chose a track from her Clarksdale album, with the endearing title ‘My Mama Wears Combat Boots’!

All too soon, we came to the end of our road trip and we clearly didn’t have time to include everything we wanted to, but there will be more opportunities in future weeks to include the ones we missed. So, we started packing everything away and looking forward to our next opportunity to go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . . . . have fun!

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Well, it all started with a jokey promise to meet someone, one day on Bourbon Street and it developed into a somewhat more adventurous tour of the Southern States of America. The itinerary seemed to grow and grow, with places to see, places to be and memories to make. The days andCruising #209 weeks passed, until the planning became action and so this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner loosely follows us along on our road trip way down South.

The first part of our journey starts in Atlanta and from there, headed for Nashville, Memphis, Tupelo and Clarksdale. So, with only a passing nod to originality, our playlist this week reflects our travels with some memorable musical moments prompted by our programme of places to stop along the way.

Given the round trip that we’ve planned for cruising, it seemed appropriate to kick off down the road with Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers and their 45 ‘Goin’ Round In Circles’. But, our adventure really started with a little air travel, the joys of which are recounted by Chris Farlowe, with plenty more to follow:

Cruising through the promised land . . . .Hoodoo Lady
Goin’ Round In Circles – Bobby Mitchell & The Toppers
Air Travel – Chris Farlowe
I’m On My Way To Atlanta – Freddy King
Spooky – The Atlanta Rhythm Section
Is It True – Brenda Lee
Bump In The Road – Jonny Lang
Streets of Atlanta – Mother Truckers
Hoodoo Lady – Memphis Minnie
Make It Be Me – The Flares
She Caught The Katy (and Left Me A Mule To Ride) – The Youngbloods
Portrait Of My Love – Baba Brooks

Killer Diller Korner . . . . . with Johnny AlphaShe’s Gone – The Spirit Of John Morgan
What More Can I Do – The Zombies

Cruising through Dixie . . . .
She’s Gone – The Spirit Of John Morgan
Who Thought – The Proper Ornaments
See You Later Alligator – Mick Clarke
Paying The Cost To Be The Boss – B.B. King
Take Me To The River – Al Green
Fire Brigade – The Move
Memphis Tennessee – Rosco Gordon
Can I Get a Witness – Calvin Scott
The Shape You Left Me In – Gene Simmons
My Baby Left Me – Elvis Presley
Shake – Sam CookeThe Move
I Got My Mojo Working – Muddy Waters

Well, our road trip didn’t deflect us from our ‘Girls & Guitars’ feature, which focused on guitarist and singer Teal Collins. She grew up with music from her disc jockey dad and she went on to record sessions for other artists, until she met up with Josh Zee in the San Francisco Bay Area. They decided to form a band called Mother Truckers and we chose a rather appropriate track of theirs called “Streets of Atlanta” which features the guitar and vocals of Teal Collins. Meanwhile, inspired by our visit to Memphis, we dug out something by Memphis Minnie for our scratchy blues choice. During her 30 year music career she recorded around 200 songs, and our choice was one that evokes the mystical spirits of a ‘Hoodoo Lady’.

There were plenty more places on our tour, but, at least for this week, we had to park up the cruise mobile ready to complete our road trip next week. All being well, we’ll be here, if you’ll be there, same time same place, with a seat saved especially for you. So, until the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . . have fun!

Listen here to this week’s show:

Well, like world politics, the weather around the Grand Duchy has become pretty unpredictable, but it has undoubtedly contributed to the lush greenery on the South terrace and beyond. Despite these and other distractions, we have tried not to let it deflect from our particular objective . . . . to bring you some of the best in rock, soul and rhythm and blues. In the end, we found it most enjoyable pulling together this week’s 90 minutes of Cruising with The Commissioner.Cruising #66

Now, our Brothers & Sisters track last week certainly got some feedback, which was very welcome indeed, because it dispelled my belief that it was Merry Clayton taking the lead on ‘All Along The Watchtower’. Amigo assured us that it was Darlene Love’s younger sister, Edna Wright. . . . and that sent us searching for some other stuff by her.

Eric Burdon was celebrating a birthday this week, so we pulled out his reworking of ‘Sixteen Tons’, a song that was a hit for Tennessee Ernie Ford in 1955, but originally recorded by Merle Travis in 1946. Before we got to that, we kicked off our cruise in jazzy mood with the great Jimmy Smith and ‘The Cat’ and then so much more. . . . .

Cruising for some fun in the sun . . . . .Jimmy Smith
The Cat – Jimmy Smith
Walking In The Park – Colosseum
Get Out Of Denver – Bob Seger
Everyday I Have To Cry Some – Ike & Tina Turner
Long Time Gone – Crosby Stills & Nash
Tomorrow Will Never Come – Edna Wright
It’s In His Kiss – Ramona King
Straighten Up – Connie Kilgore
Let Love Go By – Jeanette (Baby) Washington
Anyone – Weeping Tile
T’ain’t Nobody’s Business – Frank Stokes
Baby Come Back – Pato Banton & The Reggae Revolution

Killer Diller Korner . . . . with Johnny AlphaFrank Stokes
The Zombies

Cruising where we please . . . .
She’s Gone – The Soft Machine
A Memory – Thor’s Hammer
Sixteen Tons – Eric Burdon
Race with The Devil – Gene Vincent
Midnight Shift – Buddy Holly
May This Be Love – Nawfel
Run Baby Run – The Newbeats
It Hurts Me So Bad – Lattimore Brown
Put Yourself In My Place – Ann Peebles
I Fell Apart – Drizabone Soul FamilyRamona King - It's In His Kiss (2)
Wait a Minute – The Coasters
I’ll Love You Till The Cows Come Home – Clyde McPhatter
Incense – The Anglos
Polly Molly – The Five Masks

This week’s ‘Girls & Guitars took the opportunity to shine the spotlight on singer, composer and guitarist Sarah Harmer. She hails from Ontario and joined her first band, The Saddletramps, at the age of 17. She then went on to form her own band with several other Ontario musicians and settled on the name Weeping Tile. She has gone on to forge a solo career, but we took a track from her time with Weeping Tile called ‘Anyone’.

This week’s venture into scratchy blues, featured Frank Stokes, who is considered by many musicologists to be the father of the Memphis blues guitar style. All told, he cut 38 sides for the Paramount and Victor labels and his guitar style and vocals have been claimed to have influenced many other artists of the time. We chose his track ‘T’ain’t Nobody’s Business’, which shows off his vocals and mastery of the guitar.

Well, it’s always surprising just how quickly our 90 minutes of cruising passes, but be assured that although we ran out of time, we most certainly did not run out of music, so there’s plenty more in store for your listening pleasure . . . . and next week we’ll be starting our tour of the Southern States of America and sampling the sights and sounds of the places we visit along the way. So, until the next time we all go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . . have fun y’all!


Listen here to this week’s show:


Well, the merry month of May has arrived and this week we just missed the Cinco de Mayo celebrations, but we have been in good company and doing a fair bit of cruising around the UK and Ireland lately. The weather has been kind to us and we’ve caught plenty of music along the way . . . not all of which would naturally fit into the rock, soul and ‘real’ rhythm and blues categories of Cruising with The Commissioner. While we’ve been out and about, our good pals The Auburn Phantom and The Spongeman have ensured that our Tuesday night revels have continued. So, a big ‘thank you’ to them.Cruising #116

Now, if you haven’t seen the film ’20 feet from stardom’, be assured it comes highly recommended from here with some great soul voices, including Darlene Love, Tata Vega, Merry Clayton and Mabel John, amongst others. So, our playlist included a couple of tasters and there’s more in store. We much enjoy the comments on the show, even when Johnny Alpha puts us on the naughty step, The Spinmeister corrects us on our bluesmen’s names and Arfa Pinetop ‘colourfully’ questions our credentials when playing some psych rock bands. But, amongst all of this, we recently heard from our good pal Amigo. He (like us) is a big fan of anything Sam Cooke and he suggested playing one of Sam’s songs that he wrote especially for Patience Valentine. Despite a heavy price tag, the Cruise Control researchers found a copy of the 1963 release by Patience Valentine, featuring Sam Cooke’s song ‘Ernestine’. But, our musical adventure started in the good company of Jimmy McCracklin with his 1957 Irma 45 ‘Savoy Jump’ and keeping us rolling down the road we had doo wop group the Chords, or the Chordcats, as they are shown on the label of their 1954 Cat 45, ‘Hold Me Baby’.

Cruising with the warm breezes . . . . .Tinkerbell
Savoy Jump – Jimmy McCracklin
Hold Me Baby – The Chordcats
Move With You Baby – Big Amos
Mary Lou – Ronnie Hawkins & The Hawks
Detroit – Sounds Incorporated
Fever – Gene Harris & The Three Sounds
Go Away – The Hesitations
That’s When The Tears Start – Darlene Love
It’s Too Late – Tata Vega
I’m A Woman – Ellen McIlwaine
I’m So Glad – Skip James
Street Walking Woman – T-Bone Walker
Gimme Little Sign – Maxine Harvey Ernestine

Killer Diller Korner . . . . with Johnny Alpha
Come See Me – The Pretty Things

Cruising with the crew . . . . .
All Along The Watchtower – The Brothers & Sisters Gospel Choir
Mr Blue Sky – The Spectres
Marjorine – Tinkerbell’s Fairydust
Watching The River Flow – Joe Cocker
Everyone But The Right One – Helen Shapiro
Ernestine – Patience Valentine
So Deep In Love – Eddy Giles
Dang Me – Sam Hutchins
Baby Boy’s In Love – Jimmy HollidayEllen
Take My Love (I Want To Give It All To You) – Little Willie John
Tune Up – Junior Walker & The Allstars

Now, not for the first time, we did some virtual travelling down to Nashville, for our ‘Girls & Guitars’ feature. That’s where Ellen McIlwaine was born, although she was raised in Japan, where she heard people like Ray Charles, Fats Domino and Professor Longhair. On moving to back to America, she bought a guitar and began a music career that has included recording a number of albums to date. We took a track from her 1998 album ‘Women In (E)Motion’, which shows off her fine slide guitar work and her adaptation of a Muddy Waters number, which she calls ‘I’m A Woman’.

We jumped in the cruising time machine for our ‘Scratchy Blues’ track and went back to 1931, for a Paramount recording by delta bluesman Skip James. He recorded 18 tracks for Paramount but they sold poorly and as a result, he disappeared from the music scene, until the folk/blues revival in the early 60s, when he was rediscovered. Our choice was his early recording and a number made famous by Cream, ‘I’m So Glad’. Eventually, Junior Walker & The Allstars brought us all the way home, when we had to park up the Cruise Mobile for another week. But, all being well, we’ll be back again next week to call by for you . . . . same time same place . . . . to go Cruising with The Commissioner. Until then . . . have fun!