Cruising on a sunny day . . . .

Posted: May 6, 2014 in Hear This . . . . !

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!

  1. The Spongeman says:

    Top show TC

  2. Arfa Pinetop says:

    Ronnie Hawkins luverly stuff . . . . have you seen The Last Waltz? Well, of course you have. He was great in that.
    Foot tapping to Detroit strains of ‘The Strange World of Gurney Slade’ in it.

    Yes, as I said, The Pretty Things only made only 2 good singles and that certainly wasn’t one of ‘em!!

    As for The Spectres never did like that family, Grandfather Phil was definitely odd.

    Tinkerbell’s sleeve is obviously more appealing than their music .Marjorine is a poor substitute for butter, as was that version of Cocker’s classic. Cor blimey, surprised Joe didn’t wanna throw himself in the river never mind watch it flow after following that! 2 grand for that . . . . 2 thousand what? Kensitas coupons?

    Now here’s two for you to look out for . . . . . Candye Kane, she is a big girl and an excellent CD ‘Whole Lotta Love’. Full of goodies, but this track is superb . . . . ‘Put it all in There’!!

    Also picked up Old Crow Medicine Show ‘Cocaine Habit’ a track akin to the old Lonnie Donegan number ‘Have A Drink On Me’.

    Ramblin’ Sid and I saw an excellent band, The Cadillac Kings, and yes he did gloat on the ‘Junior’ correction!

  3. The Commissioner says:

    Most esteemed Arfa

    You and I are on the naughty step this week and it looks like you’re taking up residency there. I suspect you’re playing to the audience (because you liked the Pretty Things track I played recently), but you’re obviously getting good value from your Equity membership!

    I note that you are leaving the country ‘shortly’ . . . . so I will follow up on your suggestions and try to hold them over for your return . . . . if you’re allowed back in!

    Have a great break


    P.S. As for Ramblin’ Sid’s pedantry about Robert Lockwood Jnr . . . . I paraphrase Eric Morecambe . . . . all the right words are there . . . . . !

  4. Amigo says:

    I hope you didn’t pay too much for that Patience Valentine track! The first time I heard Patience Valentine’s voice I was reminded of Helen Shapiro so, unless that sequence was a co-incidence I guess you were as well. Patience Valentine also had the last single on SAR before the label was closed down after Sam Cooke’s death. It was number 157 and there are a few very influential records amongst the other 156 singles released on the label.

    Can it also have been a co-incidence, or just your consummate skill in compiling the show, that made you choose ‘All Along The Watchtower’ with Darlene Love’s younger sister, Edna Wright, singing lead vocal? Whichever way round it was a great choice from an album with soaring lead vocals from some of LA’s best session singers of the time (but you’ll have to take more detention and write out ‘Nineteen Sixty Nine’ in your best handwriting 1000 times for telling us the album was from 1971).

    Apparently, Edna Wright also took the lead female vocal on ‘Yes Sir, That’s My Baby’ by Hale and The Hushabyes – Jack Nitzsche doing his take on Spector’s ‘Wall of Sound’ and quite a production it is.

    Johnny Alpha made the point about the Pretty Things very well – the music certainly did speak for itself – ugly, but still very enjoyable.

    It was a rare treat to hear T-Bone Walker’s magnificent guitar playing on the show. I also enjoyed the track from another favourite Walker, Junior. (Or should I say Junior Walker to avoid any confusion?)

    Gene Harris was another fine selection. I remember seeing him some years back at Pizza Express in Dean Street. I look forward to hearing more Soul Jazz now and again – Grant Green, for one, is always welcome.

    • Will I never get off the naughty step . . . . . I have started my lines already.

      Of course, you are quite right, the original CBS vinyl album of Dylan’s Gospel was originally released in 1969 and Lou Adler says that, due to a dispute with CBS, it was withdrawn shortly after, so it became a bit of a collectors’ item. I always believed that it was Merry Clayton as the featured singer and Lou Adler’s interviews with Merry Clayton have tended to reinforce that belief. . . . hence my inclusion of Merry Clayton’s own version of ‘Gimme Shelter’. But, as you say, it now seems that others had their share of the lead vocals amongst the brothers and sisters.

      I rather like Edna Wright’s ‘Tomorrow May Never Come’ . . . . so it might just find its way into a future playlist. Took a listen to that Hale & The Hushabyes number and it certainly fits the ‘wall of sound’ effect.

      Don’t fret . . . the Patience Valentine track actually came from a compilation album called ‘Soulful Kinda Ladies’ . . . and ‘yes’ it did inspire the Helen Shapiro choice.

      I am bound to say that Johnny Alpha has great taste in music and has introduced me to a some really superb records and artists over the years. He is a big fan of the Pretty Things and remember seeing them live in their early days. I respect Johnny’s preferences, but perhaps I am seduced by their early work.

      Glad you enjoyed the T-Bone Walker track and I must find Lonnie Brook’s version of that song . . . . it’s quite excellent. I just love that ‘Tune Up’ track from Junior Walker . . . . and that’s all I’m saying about ‘juniors’ for the time being!

      I thought the Gene Harris version of ‘Fever’ was very much in the style of Ramsey Lewis and I will now go listening to Grant Green.

      Thanks for the feedback . . . . always much appreciated.


      • Amigo says:

        Perhaps I’ll be kept in for more maths study as I forgot that SAR single numbering started at 101 and ended at 157!

        Merry Clayton certainly sang lead for the Brothers and Sisters album on ‘Mighty Quinn’ and also on ‘The Times They Are A Changing’. Gloria Jones, of ‘Tainted Love’ fame amongst other things, sang lead on ‘I’ll Be Your Baby Tonight’. Edna Wright also sang lead vocal on ‘Lay Lady Lay’.

        That ‘Soulful Kinda Ladies’ CD also has the fine version by Ramona King of ‘It’s In His Kiss’ which was of course first recorded in 1963 by Merry Clayton backed by the Blossoms, which would almost certainly have included Darlene Love, and that was also produced by Jack Nitzsche. Aretha did also did a good job on her version of that song. As Alexis Korner liked to say – ‘the music goes around and around’ and we are still listening!

  5. The Commissioner says:

    Yup, Merry Clayton’s was the first recording released on Capitol Records in 1963 and followed by Ramona King’s version on Warner Brothers, which was released one week before Betty Everett’s VeeJay release in 1964. There are a few 45s around by Ramona King, but they didn’t do particularly well. Interestingly, she was a former member of doo wop group The Fairlanes, who recorded for Continental Records.

  6. The Vikster says:

    Another scorcher!

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