Archive for March, 2015

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The grounds and gardens around the Grand Duchy are getting distinctly more colourful and the sunshine has brought some cheer, which has been most welcome, given the global and local news this week. The changing seasons seem to have underlined the changes in the fortunes of certain folk in the public eye. The approach of the general election seems to be accompanied with little confidence in the capability or credibility of those seeking election and, as one UK TV show host was packing his bags to seek new pastures, another was unpacking his bags across the Atlantic and being received with much acclaim there. So, it’s not all bad.cruising-23

Meanwhile, we’ve been doing a fair bit of traveling this week and not all of it without incident, but we got where we need to be alright, including a visit to Ronnie Scott’s club in Soho for their monthly ‘Blues Explosion’ and a very fine show it proved to be. The Cruisettes came along too and the setlist suggested a few numbers to follow up on our return to Cruise Control. But, we weren’t distracted from digging out some juicy gems for this week’s playlist and when the appointed hour arrived, we had all the little red neons aglow ready to kick off down the road with Jimmy McCracklin and his 1959 Mercury 45 ‘Georgia Slop’ . . . .

Cruising for the horizon . . . .LoisGrecoCDCoverArt
Georgia Slop – Jimmy McCracklin
Let’s Have A Party – Wanda Jackson
Down On the Farm – Big Al Downing
Is You Is Or Is You Ain’t My Baby – Dinah Washington
Bad To The Bone – George Thorogood & The Destroyers
I’m In Love With You Baby – Silas Hogan
Love Me Just Right – Lois Greco
Morning Dew – Lulu
The Lady’s Letter – Pop Staples
I’ll Take You There – The DeltonesPops-Staples-Dont-Lose-This
21st Century Boogie – Paddy Milner
Head Held High – Nick Cohen & Marcus Bonfanti
Soul Serenade – Beau Dollar & The Coins

Killer Diller Korner . . . . . with Johnny Alpha
Mama Get Your Hammer – The Bobby Peterson Quintet

Cruising with the radio cranked up . . . .
Is This What I Get For Loving You – Marianne Faithful
She’s Got Everything – The KinksBobby Peterson
Baby Keep Your Love – Jimmy & The Rackets
It’s In His Kiss – Aretha Franklin
Do It If You Wanta – Sonny Boy Williamson
Choo Choo Ch’ Boogie – Charlie McCoy
I Wish You Would – The Yardbirds
Same Thing – Gino Parks
Hold On – The Radiants
Hear Me Calling – James Hunter & Doris Troy
Baby You’ve Got Me – The Sapphires
Wild One – Wee Willie Harriswee-willie-harris-wild-one-decca
Rock Island Line – Merrill E Moore

Our opening trio of tracks this week from Jimmy McCracklin, Wanda Jackson’s and Big Al Downing all had a common thread . . . . they all featured the piano work of Big Al Downing and that selection was suggested by a piece on one of our favourite blogs ‘The Immortal Jukebox’ . . . .

Now, this week’s Girls & Guitars feature focused on Lois Greco, who hails from Boston Massachusetts and is not only a singer and guitarist, but also a songwriter and actress. She’s been building her reputation, touring with her band and winning plenty of awards for her work. We decided to feature a track from her 2010 album ‘Takin’ Hold Of Your Heart’ called ‘Love Me Just Right’. Meanwhile, our dip into the scratchy blues bag brought us something from Sonny Boy Williamson II, who worked with some very notable blues names over the years and we chose his 1951 debut 45 with Trumpet records, ‘Do It If You Wanta’.

But, all too soon, we ran out of time. So, we parked up the Cruise Mobile, waved a cheery wave to the Cruising Crew and a big thanks to Johnny Alpha for bringing us another tasty treat from his impressive collection. But rest assured, there’s plenty more in our pending tray for next week, when we plan to roll by in the Cruise Mobile same time same place with a seat saved especially for you. So until the next time we go Cruising with the Commissioner . . . . remember . . . . . . have fun!



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Well, here in the Grand Duchy we’ve witnessed the first evidence of political pamphlets dropping through our letterbox. So, as we await the arrival of various musical gems via our cheery postman, we have experienced the occasional disappointment, with prospect of more, as the lead up to election day progresses. But, we are re-assured that the good music we enjoy will be more enduring than the solicitations and promises of those seeking our votes.Cruising #56

Now, this week the Grand Duchy experienced an eclipse of the sun and it came on the very day that the wonderful Sister Rosetta Tharpe would have been celebrating her 100th birthday. So, as the eclipse caste an eerie deep gloom all around, we knew exactly who was going to feature in our Girls & Guitars slot this week and what song we were going to choose. The song was the first gospel record to cross over and become a hit on the Billboard R&B charts and was her 1945 Decca release, ‘Strange Things Are Happening’.

But, before that, we kicked off down the road with Clarence Frogman Henry, who was celebrating his birthday this week. So, we gave him a cheery wave and set off in our usual style, cruising across musical frontiers, in and out of time zones and jumping genres, as you can hear . . . .

Cruising for the horizon . . . . . Strange things
Ain’t Got A Home – Clarence ‘Frogman’ Henry
Rock in’ With The Clock – Shirley & Lee
Around The Corner From My House – Jewel Akens
The Snake – Al Wilson
Glad All Over – Billy Fury
Candy Man – Roy Orbison
Strange Things Are Happening – Sister Rosetta Tharpe
She Shot a Hole In My Soul – Clifford Curry
Get On The Right Track Baby – Ray CharlesJerry Lee
It Should’ve Been Me – Ray Charles
The Joker – Earl Sixteen & The Mighty Generators

Three From Me . . . . with Arfa Pinetop
Matchbox – Jerry Lee Lewis
Step Child – Jerry Lee Lewis
Wild One – Jerry Lee Lewis

Cruising in good company . . . . .
Similau – Bobby Darin
Jack That Cat Was Clean – Dr Horsebobby-darin-similau-atco
Tobacco Road – Jimmy Norman
Sugar Coated Love – The Fabulous Thunderbirds
Corrina Corrina – Bo Carter
That’s What I Want – The Liverpool Five

Killer Diller Korner . . . . . with Johnny Alpha
Like Nashville – The Nashville Five

Cruising for home . . . . .
Denise – Randy & The Rainbowsnashville-five-like-nashville-decca
All Around The World – Li’l Millet & The Creoles
6345789 – Wilson Pickett
Give Me One More Chance – Wilmer & The Dukes
If You Think – Barbara George
I Can’t Stop (No No No) – Arthur Conley

Well, this week, with some trepidation, we welcomed back the esteemed Arfa Pinetop, who was taking some time out from his regular audio auditing of the local charity shops, to bring us another Three From Me selection. This time, the choices were clearly inspired by his recent reading of a Jerry Lee Lewis biography and a recollection of visiting the Lewis estate, down in Tennessee.

Now, there’s been a good deal of rummaging in the Cruising Library this week, which has turned up a few very nice items that found their way into our playlist. We found a couple of nice popcorn 45s, including a Bobby Darin 45 that our good pal Johnny Alpha used to play on his Killer Diller Show and a classic from Dr Horse. But, that wasn’t all . . . . because while we were a-rummaging we also turned up a rarity from American R&B pianist and singer, McKinley James Millet, who led a band called Li’l Millet & The Creoles. In 1955 they recorded this self-penned song, called ‘ All Around The World’, but it didn’t get released until 1993, possibly because it got covered back in 1955 by Little Richard.

Meanwhile, our dip into the scratchy blues bag this week followed a tune that we’ve played over the past few weeks. This time, we went back to 1928 for a country blues version of the song, ‘Corrina Corinna’, first recorded that year by Mississippi bluesman, Bo Carter.

Then, all too soon, we arrived back at Cruise Control just in time to say our farewells and give a respectful nod and wink in the direction of Arfa Pinetop and Johnny Alpha. Of course, we’re ever hopeful that, if you have nothing better to do with your time, you will look out for the Cruise Mobile, same time same place next week, because we’ll definitely be rolling by 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, here in the Grand Duchy the sun has had his hat on sufficiently long, just lately, to encourage us to a little alfresco dining on the South terrace, which has been very welcome indeed. Meanwhile, around Cruise Control, it has been a very good week for music and social events, with a fair bit of travelling. So, as Tuesday rolled around, we were a bit Cruising 62cpressed for time as we went through the pending tray and the new arrivals. We also had a most welcome visit from The Vikster, who left us with her latest Three From Me selection, so we were definitely not short of some great music for this week’s Cruising with The Commissioner.

Our social diary included an opportunity for meeting up with our good pal DJ Leyton Rocks, who was in good spirits and enjoying our chosen venue of a New Orleans style restaurant in London. The music was excellent and swapping stories about our visits to the Big Easy, during which he took the opportunity to drop a subtle reminder of his affection for the music of Bob Seger . . . . and we were listening carefully.

Our gig list this week included The Boom Band (where we bumped into The Vikster) and it proved to be a great show, which should not be surprising, given the much respected ‘names’ in the band, including Paddy Milner who reminded us of that Huey Piano Smith number. Their set-list included many (but not all) of the numbers on their latest album and some great ‘seasoned’ soul and ‘real’ R&B songs. We also caught up with the great Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band . . . . still gigging and still able to whip up much cheering, clapping and dancing from the crowd. Geno was a part of the UK 60s club scene and show no signs of slowing down in 2015. So, no surprise that we kicked off our cruise with one of Geno’s early 45s ‘She Shot A Hole In My Soul’ . . . . and it all rolled on from there . . . .

Cruising for the horizon . . . . Geno
She Shot A Hole In My Soul – Geno Washington & The Ram Jam Band
Get On The Right Track – Georgie Fame & The Blue Flames
It Should’ve Been Me – Zoot Money & The Big Roll Band
Smokey Joe’s Cafe – The Robins
I’ve Had It – Lee Andrews & The Hearts
Memories – Little Dooley
Nothing Can Stop Me Now – Gene Chandler
I Like What I’m Trying To Do – Waywood Ellis
Ska Tissue – The Skaters

Three From Me . . . . with The Vikster 
Red Eye Of The DevilThe Boom BandGreen Lyte Sunday
The Third Degree
Nobody Knows
Shaun Escoffery

Cruising with the radio on . . . . .
Rooster Blues – Lightnin’ Slim
Sugar Coated Love – Barbara Lynn
Shorty’s Got To Go – The Mega Flame Big Band
Chelsea Morning – Green Lyte Sunday
Damn Your Eyes – Etta James
Hi Heel Sneakers – Tommy Tucker

Killer Diller Korner . . . . . with Johnny Alphachamps-twenty-thousand-leagues-london
Twenty Thousand Leagues – The Champs

Cruising for the fun of it . . . . .
Little Sister – Ry Cooder
Move It On Over George Thorogood
Don’t You Just Know It – Huey Piano Smith & The Clowns
C’est La Vie – Bob Seger
You Got The Bucks The Blues Brothers
Corrina Corrina – Jerry Lee Lewis

Well, our Girls & Guitars feature, included a fine piece of blues from Barbara Lynn. Now, she been featured here before, but you can’t have too much of a good thing! She was born in Beaumont, Texas and took up the guitar as a child. After playing some local clubs, she got spotted by a record producer and cut her first record at Cosimo Matassa’s New Orleans studios. The song was “You’ll Lose A Good Thing” and it was No1 in the R&B charts in 1962. But, we chose a more bluesy number and her take on the Lazy Lester number ‘Sugar Coated Love’. Meanwhile, the scratchy blues enthusiasts will enjoy Rooster Blues by Lightnin’ Slim and we’re grateful to Jon Amor for pointing us to that one, but all too soon, we found ourselves heading for home in the company of the Ferriday Fireball, Jerry Lee Lewis and his rocking version of ‘Corrina Corrina’.

Amazingly, we arrived back at Cruise Control safe and sound and just in time to say our farewells. We gave a respectful nod and wink in the direction of The Vikster, Johnny Alpha and the rest of the Tuesday night mafia, but most importantly to you, dear listener, in the hope that if you have nothing better to do with your time, you will look out for the Cruise Mobile, same time same place next week, because we’ll definitely be rolling by with a seat saved especially for you. So, until the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . have fun!


Party time . . . .

Posted: March 10, 2015 in Hear This . . . . !

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Well, here in the Grand Duchy, the signs of Spring are raising our spirits and we’ve been busy working our way through the events in the Cruising diary. Some recent social outings have definitely ensured a positive mood, along with the preparations for our weekly Cruising adventures. Indeed, we’ve been encouraged by the kindly feedback from those Cruising #73who choose (of their own free will and accord) to go Cruising with The Commissioner.

During the past week we had a happy encounter with our good pal Amigo and he reminded us of a few tasty treats from the music archives and we dedicated a particular choice to Len, who is a regular member of the Cruising Crew and who was so kind to us at the weekend. So, look out for those in our playlist and some other good stuff that we found along the way.

This week we heard from DJ Leyton Rocks, The Vikster, Arfa Pinetop and Rockin’ Ricky (who is heading this way soon with some choices for his Three From Me), but before that, we kicked off this week’s cruise with Dr John a.k.a. Mac Rebennack with ‘One Naughty Flat’ . . . . and it all rolled on from there . . . .

Cruising where the roads take us . . . .mac-rebennack-one-naughty-flat-afo
One Naughty Flat – Mac Rebennack & The Soul Orchestra
Earthquake – Troy Dodds
Let’s Stomp – Bobby Comstock
Boogaloo Sue – Lattimore Brown
Think About The Good Times – The Soul Sisters
Here Comes My Baby – The Mavericks
On A Carousel – Glass Moon
I’ll Never Get Over You – The Rapiers
Dedicated To The One I Love – Lucinda Williams
French Quarter Moon – LeRoux
Wondrous Place – Marshall CrenshawThe%20Rapiers%201961-DVCHM-1091
Somebody Help Me – Billy Prince
Shake Shake Senora – Geno Washington & the Ram Jam Band
Nitty Gritty – Doug Sahm

Killer Diller Korner . . . . with Johnny Alpha
Toe Hold – Wilson Pickett

Cruising with friends . . . .
I Want You To Be Free – Green Lyte Sunday
Listen To The Music – The Second Time
Ecstasy – Ben E KingMr Crump
Big Boy You’re Through – Linda Willoby
Mr Crump Don’t Like It – The Beale Street Sheiks
Corrina Corrina – Bob Dylan
I Put A Spell On You – Screaming Jay Hawkins
Everybody’s Wants To Fall In Love – The Valentinos
Is This The Way To Treat A Girl – The Hesitations
House Of Blue Lights – Merrill E Moore
Ain’t That Just Like A Woman – Lloyd Price
Party Time – The Downbeats

Now, for this week’s Girls & Guitars feature we were grateful to Thom Hickey and his website The Immortal Jukebox ( Thom responded to last week’s show by drawing our attention to a piece on his website about Lucinda Williams. Her style ranges from country blues to real country music, visiting other genres along the way, but we chose a duet she recorded with Steve Winwood, which featured Steve Cropper on guitar, ‘Dedicated To The One I Love’. Meanwhile, our dip into the scratchy blues bag this week took us back to 1927 for a Paramount recording by the Beale Street Sheiks, and “Mr. Crump Don’t Like It”.

Well, the Cruisettes were in evidence during our cruise and they were rocking out with the great Lloyd Price, who was celebrating a birthday this past week. We picked out his ‘Ain’t That Just Like A Woman’ and starting heading for home The Downbeats and their recording for the Motown VIP label called ‘Party Time’. Then, all too soon, we were back home safe and sound. We parked up the Cruise Mobile and gave it a quick polish, ready for next week’s Cruising adventure, when we’re very much hoping we’ll have the pleasure of your very good company. But, until the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . have fun!


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Well, if you are tired of the cheerless news and long to be relaxing in good company, with great music, then we’ve arrived just in time with an opportunity to jump aboard the Cruise Mobile and join us as we go on another musical adventure, to who knows where, with you know who! In anticipation, we’ve kept a seat saved especially for you, just so you can enjoy going Cruising with The Commissioner.Cruising #108

Now, it’s been quite a week for comments and suggestions for our playlist from the Cruising Crew. So, we’re sending out thanks to Paul at Team Bear, who, inadvertently, pointed us to one choice for this week’s playlist. He recommended a new eatery in London and their website has something by Albert Cummings and the appropriately titled, ‘Party Right Here’. Also, our Ambassador to the North West Territories recommended a 1953 recording by JB Lenoir, ‘Mojo Boogie’, and if Mr Lenoir was still with us, he would have been celebrating his birthday this week.

We recently featured a few original tracks that were covered by the Beatles and this week we dug out a trio of tracks that were covered by The Stones . . . Including numbers by Gene Allison, Benny Spellman and Marvin Gaye. But, we kicked off down the road in the good company of The Small Faces and their 1966 Decca 45 ‘Sha La La La Lee’ . . . . with plenty more to follow . . . .

Cruising down around the cove . . . . Billy's Boogie
Sha La La La Lee – The Small Faces
Lies – The Knickerbockers
Every Way I Can – The Raspberries
Billy’s Boogie Blues – Billy Wright
Red Hot Mama – S. Johnson
Party Right Here – Albert Cummings
Mojo Boogie – J B Lenoir & His Combo
I’m Only Sleeping – Rosanne Cash
Just One Look – Lulu
If You Got To Make A Fool Of Somebody – Aretha Franklin
A Little You – Dakota StatonPhantom Blues Band
You’ll Lose A Good Thing – Audrey

Killer Diller Korner . . . . with Johnny Alpha
Do The Whip – Bobby Newton

Cruising with a smile . . . .
Tough On Me, Tough On You – Chris Farlowe
Walking The Dog – Sandie Shaw
Soldier Of Love – Arthur Alexander
Boogie In the Park – Joe Louis Hill
I Want To Be Loved – Muddy WatersBoogie In The Park
You Can Make It If You Try – Gene Allison
Fortune Teller – Benny Spellman
Can I Get a Witness – Marvin Gaye
I Can’t Stand It – The Phantom Blues Band
Is It True – Bobby Brookes
3 x 7 = 21 – Jewel King
New Orleans – Bern Elliott & The Fenmen
All By Myself – Fats Domino
Respectable – The Isley Brothers

Now, our Girls & Guitars feature this week was singer/guitarist is Rosanne Cash, eldest daughter of Johnny Cash, and with an extensive catalogue of country and mainstream recordings. We chose her cover of the Beatles number “I’m Only Sleeping”. The Beatles’ original appeared on their 1966 album Revolver and Rosanne Cash’s version came from her 1995 album ‘Retrospective’. Meanwhile, our dip into the scratchy blues bag was inspired by our good pal The Spongeman, with a little exchange we had about one man bands of the blues, including Joe Louis Hill. He was born in 1921 in Raines, Tennessee and made his first recordings for Columbia in 1949, but we chose his 1950 recording of “Boogie in the Park”, with some pretty overdriven, and distorted guitar playing, alongside his harmonica and drums.

We lingered a little in New Orleans, because this past week saw the birthday of Fats Domino, and he’s still enjoy life in the Big Easy. So, we couldn’t leave without hearing something from him . . . . ‘All By Myself’. Then, all too soon, we were heading for in the company of The Isley Brothers and their 1959 RCA recording ‘Respectable’. We arrived back safe and sound and eager for our next adventure. So, until the next time we go Cruising with The Commissioner . . . . have fun!