George Jenkins - Whiplash Caravan

George Jenkins - Caravan

mp3: George Jenkins - Caravan

There's a film out called Whiplash, maybe you've heard of it, about a young jazz drummer. The song Caravan features prominently and has inspired me to post this version by real jazz drummer, George Jenkins. Before getting together his own group, Jenkins cut his teeth in Lionel Hampton's big band in the 1940s. Another of his claims to fame is being Dinah Washington's second husband, although that union didn't last long. This version of the Juan Tizol/Duke Ellington standard was recorded in 1955 and released by the West Coast jazz label, Tampa. It's dominated by Jenkin's drumming, but there's still plenty of space for the tenor sax of Plas Johnson. The Plas Johnson Quartet also released a version of Caravan on Tampa. Intriguingly, it features 6 musicians, none of whom are Plas Johnson.

Labels: ,

Come on baby, let's do the twist

Buddy Miller - Teen Twist

mp3: Buddy Miller - Teen Twist

Although I didn't buy this record in Belgium, the label is the same Moonglow that I've written a little about in my previous two posts, so it's an appropriate follow up.  Today's selection was first released on VEM Records in 1959 as The Twist by Buddy Miller. The following year VEM pressed it up as Teen Twist, as did Moonglow in Belgium. Two years later Teen Twist appeared on Band Box Records. My initial thought was that this just followed the pattern of Chubby Checker's iconic rendition of The Twist, which topped the charts in 1960 and then again in 1962. Miller's version sounds not dissimilar to Checker's, but adds a fierce Texas rockabilly snarl to the family-friendly dance craze instigator. The shock news is that Miller's take on the Hank Ballard dancer came before the Checker juggernaut. Miller apparently sent his twist single to television personality Dick Clark, hoping he would play it on American Bandstand, instead Clark gave the song to a young Checker to record, and the rest is history.

Labels: ,

Moonglow Misirlou

Ray Maxwell - Misirlou

mp3: Ray Maxwell - Misirlou

I mentioned Moonglow Records in my previous post. It was a subsidiary of the Belgian label Ronnex and run by Rene Jan van Hoogten, the brother of Ronnex founder, Alfred Jan van Hoogten. Alfred sent Rene to the USA to set up Moonglow. While there he became Ray Maxwell, apparently to make it easier for Americans to pronounce his name. Maxwell achieved heroic and legendary feats, such as discovering the Righteous Brothers and recording this mighty take on Misirlou. It doesn't stray far from Dick Dale's version, but even managing that is heroic enough.

Labels: , ,

Jack Hammer

Jack Hammer - Kissin' Twist Jack Hammer - Fire Baby

mp3: Jack Hammer - Kissin' Twist
mp3: Jack Hammer - Fire Baby

Last weekend I was in Brussels, home to the Ronnex and Moonglow record labels. Here's a couple of Ronnex releases from Jack Hammer, an American singer and songwriter who emigrated to Belgium in the early 1960s. He was born Earl Burroughs in New Orleans and had minor success writing songs for other people, including Fujiyama Mama which was recorded by Annisteen Allen and later by Wanda Jackson. He also wrote a song called Great Balls Of Fire, which didn't amount to anything in itself but, in a slightly convoluted turn of events, survived as a title and gave rise to the Otis Blackwell penned Jerry Lee Lewis classic.

As the title suggests, Kissin' Twist is novelty twister. It's with records like this that Jack Hammer made his name in Belgium, of which Kissin' Twist was the biggest, reaching #3 on the charts. Apart from his wild scream and a honking sax, it's a bit of a throwaway record. The frenetic Fire Baby has a little more going for it. This copy was a gift from my generous Belgian host, the inimitable DJ Nasty Bartender, who swears that it's too crazy to play to a full dancefloor. Let's see.

Labels:

Heavy Suger w/ The Gin Slingers - Jan 23rd

Heavy Sugar Jan 2015

For the first Heavy Sugar club night of 2015, Fritz and I have invited two vintage gals from Brighton to join us in selecting wild rock’n’roll records for the late-night Dalston party people. The Gin Slingers are DJs Becky Boop and Ginger Fizz, they spin scorchin' hot rhythm & blues, shakin mambo, foot tappin' jitter jivers, blues boppers, big band swingers and much more! It's always free entry all night at The Alibi, and there's a free cloakroom too. This is shaping up to be a top night, don't miss it if you can.

Labels:

Surf Rider Radio

Here in the UK, the days are short and it's cold outside, so I've been in the mood to listen to a stack of surf instrumentals. The good folk at NTS Radio closed the studio over the holiday period in order to have a break, so I prerecorded this radio show from home, which is just one of the reasons why I don't interrupt the music every few songs to tell you the year the songs were recorded (surf instrumentals of this kind are generally all from the early-to-mid 1960s anyway).

Labels:

B'wana Bongos

Preston Epps - B'wana Bongos

mp3: Preston Epps - B'wana Bongos

Preston Epps had a hit in 1959 with his first single, Bongo Rock, and continued to exploit the bongo in his song titles, not to mention songs. The follow up, memorably titled Bongo Bongo Bongo, failed to match his pioneering debut single's success. Nor did any of the subsequent releases, which include Bongo Shuffle, Bongo In The Congo, Blue Bongo, Bongola, Bongo Hop, Bongo Boogie, Flamenco Bongo and Bongo Rocket. B'wana Bongos was released in 1962 as the flip to Mister Bongos. B'wana is a Swahili term of respect that means something like master, boss, lord or sir. B'wana Bongos is correspondingly exotic with strong flute being played throughout.

Labels:

eXTReMe Tracker