Cruising to the crossroads . . . .

Posted: May 26, 2014 in Hear This . . . . !

Listen here to this week’s show:

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!

  1. Arfa Pinetop says:

    Cheers Emp

    Some fine material resulting in a gripe free response from moi!

    Tommy Johnson had me reaching for the liquid boot polish I enjoyed it so much felt I wanted to get in the right mood .

    Johnny Allen the best version of The Promised Land in my and one time friend Sean Faulkner’s opinion. I once organised a boat trip and we had the whole dance floor to ourselves once Johnny came on ! But then again who in Brent knew owt about music present company and Ramblin Sid exceptions to the rule.

    Lewis Boogie are you going to his house in Nesbit ? although he may well have moved back to Faraday

    Wishbone Ash liked it but preferred them doing “The Weight ”

    “Trouble up the Road ” believe I had that by John Hammond and I sold “Ain’t got no Home ” by Clarence Henry no frogman for a good few quid some years ago

    All the best Emp and watch out for those “Shady Ladies” of Bourbon Street

    • Most esteemed Arfa

      Gripe free . . . . . are you not well? We brace ourselves each week for a caustic comment or two, so we’ll have to do better in the future!

      Be assured that those ‘Shady Ladies’ of Bourbon Street still remember you well as ‘Arfa ‘Big Boy’ Pinetop, but perhaps we should say no more of that!

      Now, I have to admit to not having heard “Trouble Up The Road” by John Hammond . . . . so that’s on the list for the Cruise Control researchers when I get home.

      Didn’t get to Nesbit, but did see the Jerry Lee Lewis bar in Memphis, where a half decent imitator of the Ferriday Fireball provided some musical memories amidst the occasional bursts of flames from the piano.

      Found myself having to caution our tour leader, who was putting it about that the story of selling one’s soul at the crossroads was told by Robert Johnson, rather than Tommy Johnson. Since then, our tour leader has noticeably steered clear of any other music related stories!!!

      At least getting home after all this will protect me from people saying “oooh, I just love your accent” and me having to tell them that, as I come from London, I have no accent . . . . only people from other places have accents. (. . . . and some fall on stony ground).



  2. The Vikster says:

    I’m only 10 minutes into last week’s Cruising with The Commissioner show but it’s a stonker! Not least because it’s bringing back memories of my recent Mississippi delta holiday. Trying to sell my soul to the devil at the twin bridges roundabout in Bracknell and going down to the Loddon river doesn’t really have the same effect.

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