I wanna move on down the line

Jerry Lee Lewis - Down The Line

mp3: Jerry Lee Lewis - Down The Line

In January of 1957, Jerry Lee Lewis walked into 706 Union Avenue in Memphis, Tennessee and recorded this cover of Roy Orbison's Go! Go! Go!. Naturally, he sang and played piano and was accompanied by Sun Records regulars Billy Lee Riley on guitar, J.M. Van Eaton on drums and either L.W. Brown or Stan Kesler on bass. The result was this high energy but slightly shambolic tune he called Down The Line. It was released the following year as the b-side to his third most successful chart hit, behind Great Balls Of Fire and Whole Lot Of Shakin' Going On, Breathless.

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Just leave it to me

Little Richard - Shake A Hand

mp3: Little Richard - Shake A Hand

Little Richard's voice in the opening of this song is just so powerful. Having sung gospel his whole life, a 14 year old Richard Penniman was plucked from obscurity by Sister Rosetta Tharpe to open her show in his hometown of Macon, Georgia. He continued performing outside the church, soon adopting the moniker Little Richard. Shake A Hand isn't a gospel song per se, but it sure sounds like one. It was first performed by Faye Adams in 1953, who also grew up singing in church, alongside her gospel singer father. Little Richard recorded his take on the song in New Orleans in 1956, but it wasn't released by Specialty Records until 1959. This was during the time Little Richard left the music business to dedicate himself purely to religion. Specialty employee and future Cher partner, Sonny Bono, overdubbed the Stewart Sisters' backing vocals on this recording and others that were included on The Fabulous Little Richard LP. This was a move that has angered many Little Richard fans ever since. If you want to hear the raw studio version, someone has kindly uploaded it to YouTube here.

You can hear this and the original Faye Adams version along with many other Shake songs on my latest NTS Radio show.

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NYE at The Spoke

The Spoke NYE 2014

North Londoners! I'll be bringing in 2015 with a party at The Spoke, a friendly'n'trendy cafe/restaurant/bar in Archway. So if you live N19, N4, N8 or N6 way and are looking to have a bloody good time on NYE with *ahem* incredible tunes in a cozy environment that you can stagger home from, then The Spoke could be your best option. I'm certainly looking forward to playing huge mid-century party records in a champagne blur as the clock counts down the final minutes of 2014. Tickets are strictly limited and available from the venue.


The Lively Ones - Surf Rider

The Lively Ones - Surf Rider

mp3: The Lively Ones - Surf Rider

Del-Fi was a Californian label first known for Richie Valens and then the type of guitar-based surf music that today's selection is a prime example of. The Lively Ones were a group who emerged out of the remnants of The Surfmen, who I wrote about not too long ago. In 1963 they borrowed heavily from a song called Spudnik by The Ventures, undoubtedly the biggest instrumental surf band of all time. The Lively Ones credited the song to the Ventures' Nokie Edwards, but released it as Surf Rider. It was a hit and so The Ventures soon rerecorded their own version, also calling it Surf Rider. The Lively Ones' Surf Rider got a second lease of life in the mid-nineties through being used at the end of the film Pulp Fiction and included on its iconic soundtrack.

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Whole Lot of Shakin' Going On on NTS Radio

There's a whole lot of shakin' going on in this Diddy Wah NTS show as I fill an hour of radio with songs that shake, baby, shake. Two version excursions and absolutely no Taylor Swift. Turn on, tune in and shake out.


The Clique Jam's Up

Tommy Ridgley - Jam Up

mp3: Tommy Ridgley - Jam Up

Tommy Ridgley was a singer from New Orleans who worked with Dave Bartholomew at Imperial Records before moving over to Atlantic. He recorded Jam Up at Cosimo Matassa's legendary J&M studio in 1953. It's a raucous R&B instrumental driven by Lee Allen's exuberant tenor sax. Red Tyler also honks up a storm. Earl Palmer is probably on the drums, Frank Fields on bass. This bunch were known as The Clique, studio geniuses of equal measure to the Funk Brothers, Wrecking Crew, Swampers at Muscle Shoals, or Booker T & The MGs at Stax. I won't try and list all the amazing tunes they played on, I've posted many here over the years, but Little Richard's hits on Specialty are a good place to start. Ridgley himself apparently played piano and I'm guessing the voice you occasionally hear hyping up the musicians is his. Atlantic reissued Jam Up as Jam Up Twist with overdubbed exclamations such as "twist", "twist awhile" and "double twist" in 1962 in an attempt to appeal to the totally twist-crazed record buying public. I'm sure it worked as this still sounds as joyful and upbeat as ever so many years after it was recorded.

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Larry Williams wants to know

Larry Williams - I Wanna Know

mp3: Larry Williams - I Wanna Know

Although it was released just a few years after his well known Specialty Records releases, Larry Williams' work for Chess is fairly unrecognised. Not for any good musical reason though, as this banger from 1960 shows. I Wanna Know was written by Harvey Fuqua, a founding member of the Moonglows and key figure in Motown's early days. It was recorded in Chicago with Willie Dixon on bass and probably serving as a producer as well. Rock'n'roll had grown slightly more sophisticated by the time this was cut, but it was still a perfect vehicle for Williams' impassioned vocals.

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