Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Scratchy 45s

by Pete Wingfield

I wrote and recorded "Scratchy 45s" in 1976, as a tribute to the New Orleans R&B that I loved then, and still do. The idea was to cram in as many crafty musical and lyrical allusions as possible, while still ending up with a proper original song! I’m sure fellow BWF-ers, being true cognoscenti, will have no trouble spotting them all. Yeah, I know the tempo is a bit too fast and the groove is hardly authentic, but hey, give me a break - it was 33 years ago, I was still kinda green behind the ears, and we were recording in the cool of the Cotswolds in Oxfordshire, not some steamy Louisiana backwater. At least my heart was in the right place. One thing though - had I known then about Bobby Marchan’s reputation as a female impersonator, I maybe wouldn’t have chosen to rhyme “Marchan” with “he’s my man”!

The track actually came out as a single (in the US only), but sank without trace – one of a number of failed attempts to follow up my hit "Eighteen With A Bullet." However, I have it on good authority (Mac Rebennack himself) that the record was heard and relished by some of the musicians that inspired it – I guess they appreciated any glimmer of recognition at a time when the New Orleans music scene was in the doldrums and the city no longer a recording hub. So this Mardi Gras time, wherever you are in the world, why not raise a glass to the timeless, unquenchable spirit of the Crescent City, and as the song says, ‘to the glory that is gone’…

Thanks to Ted for allowing me in as guest host on his esteemed blog, one year on from 2008’s “Super Fat Tuesday Mix”.

Pete Wingfield
Feb 2009


"Scratchy 45s" mp3
by Pete Wingfield, 1976.
available on Eighteen with a Bullet: The Island Recordings


Similar symptoms to the Rockin' Pneumonia - in fact, some doctors find it hard to tell them apart. It'll make you feel so.... unnecessary!

"Tu-Ber-Cu-Lucas And The Sinus Blues" mp3
by Huey 'Piano' Smith and the Clowns, 1959.
available on Having a Good Time

Typically idiosyncratic Fess workout, cut in '58 for Joe Ruffino's Ron label.

"Cuttin' Out" mp3
by Professor Longhair, 1958.
available on Fess: The Professor Longhair Anthology

I couldn't resist including both sides of this primeval classic, from 1960 on the original orange Minit label.

"Ooh Poo Pah Doo pt 1" mp3
by Jessie Hill, 1960.
available on Finger Poppin' & Stompin' Feet

"Ooh Poo Pah Doo pt 2" mp3
by Jessie Hill, 1960.
available on Finger Poppin' & Stompin' Feet

I don't have "Barefootin'" on 45, so this lesser follow-up will have to do!

"Everybody's Hip-Huggin'" mp3
by Robert Parker, 1967.
available on The Wardell Quezerque Sessions

Not the original pressing sadly, but still on Imperial in their "Golden Series".

"It Will Stand" mp3
by The Showmen, 1961.
available on It Will Stand

Licensed from Imperial of course, and on the UK London-American label, repository of all things exciting for British baby-boomer R&B fans. This wonderfully languid groove, Fats and Dave Bartholemew's take on a song by Bobby Charles, was on the 'B' side of "Tell Me That You Love Me", from 1960. Haven't I heard those horn riffs before somewhere?

"Before I Grow Too Old" mp3
by Fats Domino, 1960.
available on Walking to New Orleans

An original pressing of the late Ernest Kador's smash from 1961, with Benny Spellman doing the responses. I learnt that piano solo by heart!

"Mother-In-Law" mp3
by Ernie K-Doe, 1961.
available on Here Come the Girls!

From 1961, the only big hit from Harold Battiste's organization AFO (All For One), his ill-fated attempt at establishing a Musicians' Cooperative. What - socialism, yet?

"I Know" mp3
by Barbara George, 1961.
available on I Know

From '66, on the Mojo label, specialist R&B offshoot of UK Polydor - licensed from Atlantic.

"Thank You John" mp3
by Willie Tee, 1966.
available on Teasin' You

Meters keyboard man in early crooner mode, song written by the ubiquitous Toussaint under his 'Naomi Neville' nom-de-plume. Never a national hit, but still by all accounts a local favorite.

"All These Things" mp3
by Art Neville, 1962.
available on The Very Best of Aaron & Art Neville

A charming, little known and punningly entitled 1968 revisit to "Java"-style MOR territory for the ever-saintlier éminence grise of New Orleans music.

"Hands Christianderson" mp3
by Allen Toussaint, 1968.
available on What Is Success: The Scepter & Bell Recordings

The wartime Navy gunner, undefeated lightweight boxer, body and fender repairman, father of 11 and prolific hitmaker with his first national breakout, for Bobby Robinson's Fury label. Again, on Sue in the UK - in '65, a full four years after its US release. No, for once that's not Toussaint on piano - it's one Marcel Richardson.

"Ya Ya" mp3
by Lee Dorsey, 1961.
available on Holy Cow!: The Very Best of Lee Dorsey

Some definitive New Orleans funk from 1970 on Josie, licensed to CBS / Direction in the UK.

"Look-Ka Py Py" mp3
by The Meters, 1970.
available on Look-Ka Py Py

top photo:
Nicholas Hill's Juke Box, Brooklyn New York, 2008
© Ted Barron

Saturday, February 14, 2009


Valentine's Day is here, and for the romantic sort (of which I consider myself) I can only say that It's proved time again to be the source of the greatest humiliation and bitterest of feelings in past relationships. Why is this? Great expectations and diminishing returns. I guess that's my problem.

The good news is, I'm single this year, and I don't need to set myself up for any Hallmark induced hysteria. Don't get me wrong. I believe in love, but do we really need to set aside a single day of the year to express it?

Nope. I think not.

Love is a wonderful thing, as the song says, it's "a walk down Main Street," but it's also troublesome and dangerous business. Valentines Day can make matters worse. What do you do when you find out that your true love is a liar? Here's a couple of songs that speak to this problem. Paul Westerberg sings about the age-old dilemma of trying to hit a moving target with Cupid's arrow. It's bittersweet, like a shitty chocolate heart. Bobby Bare Jr. takes a more proactive stance and murders the object of his affection. There's some supplementary listening material here too.

Tell someone you love them today. No, tell someone you love them everyday.

Happy Valentine's Day.



"Valentine" (demo) mp3
by The Replacements, 1987.
available on Pleased to Meet Me

"Valentine" mp3
by Bobby Bare Jr., 2004.
available on From the End of Your Leash


"Love Is Lies" mp3
by The Buzzcocks, 1978.
available on Love Bites

"Love Hurts" (alternate) mp3
by Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris, 1973.
available on The Complete Reprise Sessions

"Your Love is Like Las Vegas" mp3
by The Thrills, 2003.
available on So Much for the City

"Love Comes in Spurts" (alternate) mp3
by Richard Hell and the Voidiods, 1977.
available on Blank Generation

"L.O.V.E. (Love)" mp3
by Orange Juice, 1982.
available on You Can't Hide Your Love Forever


"Did Somebody Make A Fool Out of You" mp3
by Beth Orton, 2006.
available on Comfort of Strangers (Bonus Disc)

"O Foolish Heart" mp3
by Tom Verlaine, 1984.
available on Cover

"Nobody's Fool" mp3
by Dan Penn, 1973.
available on Nobody's Fool
out of print


"All You Need Is Love" mp3
by Echo and the Bunnymen, 1984.
available on Crystal Days: 1979-1999


Friday, February 13, 2009

True Love / I Smell Trouble

Consider this is a prelude to Valentines Day, or a Friday the 13th post depending on how you feel about it. Little Johnny Taylor on this two sider explores the dichotomy between love, and bad luck and troubles, with the intricacies of canine sensory from a juke-joint mystic.


"True Love" mp3
by Little Johnny Taylor, 1964.
available on Galaxy Years

"I Smell Trouble" mp3
by Little Johnny Taylor, 1964.
available on Galaxy Years

Thursday, February 12, 2009

My 45's

by Will Rigby

My vinyl-to-digital conversion arrangement never worked very well and is at the moment completely nonexistent. However, back in the good old days of 2005 I transferred a handful of 45s to digital.

"Are You Glad To Be In America?" mp3
James Blood Ulmer
Rough Trade (1980)

This is one of the most ferocious and wonderful pieces of music ever committed to tape/vinyl, and is very hard/expensive to find. It pulls off the feat of being joyous, melancholy, avant garde, and danceable all at the same time. I have been unable to find an mp3 of it elsewhere, so this post is a public service. A must-hear for everyone. Amazing singing, guitar, two drummers, arrangement.


"Talkin' 'bout My Friends" mp3
A. C. Reed (1966)
Nike Records

Reed was a sax player with artists like Earl Hooker and Albert Collins. He appears as a member of Buddy Guy's band in the film Festival Express. I don't know much about him, but this record (that I don't even remember buying) is one of my favorites. Some of the most down-home singing I've ever heard.


"Tandoori Chicken" mp3
Ronnie Spector
Apple (1971)

Produced by Phil Spector, written by George Harrison and Phil Spector (a chore that couldn't have taken more than a few minutes), and an illustrious member of Phil's tradition of non-LP B-sides (of "Try Some Buy Some"). Sounds like it didn't take very long to record.


"Uptown Top Ranking" (mono)
Althia and Donna
Sire (1978)

This was a #1 UK hit by a teenage duo from Jamaica. There are other versions of this, one with other instruments added to this version, and a completely different (apparently re-)recording that sounds more 80s. This is the original, mono single version.


"The Mumbler Strikes Again" mp3
Clark Terry
Mainstream (1966)

Legendary jazz trumpeter Terry made a few of these mumbling tracks, but this is the only one I've heard. Very scratchy—the full 45 experience.


Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Not Fade Away

Bruce Springsteen said, "I play Buddy Holly every night before going onstage. It keeps me honest." I don't know if I believe him or not, but I know exactly what he means. Fifty years after his demise, Buddy Holly's records still resonate as no bullshit slabs of purity. Here's a few selections from an impressive body of work made in about a year and a half. Notice, these sides are credited to The Crickets. This was a band, and there's a direct line between these records and what The Beatles and Stones did a few years later. Buddy Holly died fifty years ago yesterday at the age of 22. Rave on Buddy.


"That'll Be The Day" mp3
by The Crickets, 1957.
available on Buddy Holly Gold

"I'm Looking For Someone To Love" mp3
by The Crickets, 1957.
available on Buddy Holly Gold

"Maybe Baby" mp3
by The Crickets, 1958.
available on Buddy Holly Gold

"Tell Me How" mp3
by The Crickets, 1958.
available on Buddy Holly Gold

"Oh Boy!" mp3
by The Crickets, 1958.
available on Buddy Holly Gold

"Not Fade Away" mp3
by The Crickets, 1958.
available on Buddy Holly Gold