Bo Diddley is on the radio

Hey, Bo Diddley's the man on my latest NTS Radio show. I play a whole hour's worth of big bad Bo and Bo related records. All aboard!


Big City After Dark

Ray Vernon & The Raymen - Big City After Dark

mp3: Ray Vernon & The Raymen - Big City After Dark

Ray Vernon was the pseudonym of Link Wray's elder brother and bandmate Vernon Wray. Along with youngest brother Doug on drums, they played together on most of Link's well known records. On Big City After Dark, Link Wray's epic guitar takes the distorted badassery of Rumble to a whole nother level. Released on Mala in 1962, this is the sound of bliss.

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Bo Diddley Daddy

Bo Diddley - She's Fine, She's Mine Bo Diddley - Diddley Daddy

mp3: Bo Diddley - She's Fine, She's Mine
mp3: Bo Diddley - Diddley Daddy

Late last year I referenced Bo Diddley's She's Fine, She's Mine when writing about Willie Cobbs' You Don't Love Me, which clearly borrowed heavily from it. I'm happy to have since picked up the original from The Originator. It was released in 1955 as the b-side to Diddley's second single, Diddley Daddy. Billy Boy Arnold plays harmonica, but it marks a split between the two of them because of what happened with the a-side.

Arnold had written a song, that he played with Diddley, called Diddy Diddy Dum Dum. He got the impression that Chess Records weren't interested in him as a recording artist, so he took it to Vee-Jay and cut it with different lyrics as I Wish You Would. However, Chess had heard Diddy Diddy Dum Dum and wanted to release it as Diddley's next single, maybe even with Arnold singing. But since he had just recorded it with Vee-Jay, that couldn't happen. Chess were still keen on Diddley recording the song, so they also changed the lyrics and brought in Little Walter on harmonica. The result was Diddley Daddy.

Having two records as great as I Wish You Would and Diddley Daddy is some consolation for the fact that we'll never get to hear Diddy Diddy Dum Dum as it was originally intended with Bo Diddley's primitive guitar rhythms and Billy Boy Arnold's heavy harmonica.

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The Gin Slinger's Heavy Sugar session

For the first Heavy Sugar club night of 2015, Fritz and I invited The Gin Slingers to join us in entertaining the party people at The Alibi in Dalston. The Gin Slingers are DJs Becky Boop and Ginger Fizz, two vintage gals from Brighton and, boy, do they bring the goods. It was a total blast, the dancefloor was full and we all shook and shimmied like happy fools into the early hours. This recording consists of a slice from the composed start of the night stitched together with a slice from the frantic end.

There’s plenty happening in Heavy Sugarland this year, so like our Facebook page to keep up with all the action.

Tiny Topsy - Ring Around My Finger
Joe Liggins - Goin' Back To New Orleans
Elvis Presley - Little Sister
Edd Byrnes - Kookie, Kookie, Lend Me Your Comb
Sylvie Vartan - Le Locomotion
Richard Anthony - On Twiste Sur Le Loco-motion
Richard Anthony - Leçon De Twist
Petula Clark - Ya Ya Twist
Richard Anthony - Ya Ya Twist
Alice Babs - St Louis Blues Twist
Nicky James - My Colour Is Blue
The Jades - Blue Black Hair
Buddy Holly - Rock Around With Ollie Vee
The Del-Mars - Snacky Poo
Big Al Downing - Yes, I'm Lovin' You
The Surfaris - Waikiki Run
The Carnations - Scorpion
The Valiants - Wild Party
Little Richard - Tutti Frutti
Bobby Darin - Multiplication
Elvis Presley - Such A Night
The Coasters - I'm A Hog For You Baby
Tiny Topsy - Come On, Come On, Come On
Chubby Checker - Slow Twistin'
Lee Dresser - El Camino Real

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Whahahahaha! Listen, yeah, baby!

The Nightmares - Greyhound The Nightmares - The Nightmare!

mp3: The Nightmares - Greyhound
mp3: The Nightmares - The Nightmare!

And now for a recent acquisition I'm very pleased with, a pair of obscure instrumentals from The Nightmares, a group that I can't find nada about. The Nightmare! is a cool spooky stroller, but Greyhound is the side I bought it for. Dually driven by a piano and guitar that are slightly out of tune, so it sounds like they're competing against each other in a close race to the finish line. Released in 1960, it has the feel of a surf record, although it was just the early days of that movement. Fredlo was a recording studio as well as a record label, run by a married couple on the ground floor of their home. It started in Illinois, but was based in Davenport, Iowa (a long way from any surf beaches) when this recording was made.

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Fun Fun

Lloyd Nolen - Fun Fun

mp3: Lloyd Nolen - Fun Fun

My instant reaction upon hearing Lloyd Nolen's Fun Fun for the first time was, hey, that sounds like a garage rock song. I did a little search to see which group had covered it, but nothing turned up. Around a year passed and I eventually managed to track down my own vinyl copy. It arrived the other day, so I did a little more research. Sure enough, although it's hardly common knowledge, there's a good reason I thought Fun Fun sounded familiar; its crunchy guitar licks were borrowed by none other than The Sonics. In 1964, two years after Nolen's recording was released on King Records, for their very first single, The Sonics unleashed The Witch, with the same cutting riff. Uncredited, but the similarities are undeniable. Still, it's not just that arguably the most influential garage rock band got their start by lifting from Fun Fun that makes it sound like a garage record. There's something intrinsically primitive and sparse about the whole thing; song structure, instrumentation and Nolen's raw vocal delivery. I can hear why they chose it and I can't get enough.

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J.M. Van Eaton - Bo Diddley

J.M. Van Eaton - Bo Diddley

mp3: J.M. Van Eaton - Bo Diddley

J.M. Van Eaton is a drummer from Memphis. He played on a whole bunch of Sun Records records, including ones by Billy Lee Riley, Johnny Cash and Roy Orbison, as well as on Jerry Lee Lewis's Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On and Great Balls Of Fire. After leaving Sun, but before taking a break from the music industry, Van Eaton recorded this instrumental version of Bo Diddley's eponymous breakthrough #1 R&B hit. It was released in 1960 on Billy Lee Riley's Nita Records, the sister label to Rita Records. Riley is rumoured to have played guitar on it, but the rest of Van Eaton's band, The Untouchables, remain unknown to me.

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