Just what makes your DJ tick? What tunes did those headphone-wearing lovelies listen to way back when? Here at GScene we thought it was time to find out. Hence the desert island. No palm trees, just decent tunes. This month it’s the turn of DJ Lonesome M. Never has such wonderful outfits accompanied such must dance tunes.
1. Johnny Burnette ‘Please Don’t Leave Me’ (1956) Coral
Really good fun – especially the alternate take. Johnny had two sons who he called ‘Rocky’ and ‘Billy’ – now that’s a rockabilly fan! I saw Rocky perform 3 years ago at the Rockabilly Rave weekender, and it was that weekend that the idea for Frockabilly was born. I wanted somewhere to go that played the music I liked, and also welcomed everyone: gay, straight and somewhere in between!
2. Ruth Brown ‘As Long As I’m Moving’ (1955) Atlantic
I love the female vocalists of the 1950s and Ruth Brown was one of the best! She performed in the USA during the segregation era and was one of many black musicians who didn’t get the financial reward they should have. She ended up in poverty by the 1960s, working as a cleaner. In the 1990s, she was involved in a lengthy, successful, campaign to claim back monies owed to musicians from that period. Quite a woman!
3. Marie Knight ‘I Thought I Told You Not To Tell Them’ (1958) Baton
This is a shouty rhythm and blues classic that always gets people dancing. Marie Knight was originally a gospel singer and a long-time companion (allegedly sometime partner) of Sister Rosetta Tharpe. I’ve always claimed her as ‘one of ours’!
4. Lee Dresser ‘El Camino Real’ (1960) (now re-released on Amos records)
Fantastic jiver – I don’t go anywhere without it!
5.Johnny Cash ‘Big River’ (1958) Sun
I found a very old London Records copy of this at the street market on Upper Gardner Street. 10p! And worth every penny!
6. Bobby Darin ‘Mack The Knife’ (1959) Atlantic
Every Frockabilly ends with this track! It’s a strange one, basically a list of murders, rapes, robberies and arson,– but it seems to be a good one to send people home to!
7. Hank Mizell ‘Jungle Rock’ (1958) Eko
This wasn’t a hit when it was first released, but lots of people remember it from its re-release in 1976. On my 40th birthday, my best friend, Becky Badluck, who was living abroad at the time, announced her surprise arrival in the UK by repeatedly playing this on a car stereo very loudly outside my house. When I eventually came outside to see what the fuss was about, I was so pleased to see her I cried buckets. The neighbours have never forgiven me.
8. Dolly Cooper ‘My Man’ (1955) Modern
Another belting female vocalist! I often get caught out waving my arms around behind the decks when I start playing this!
9. Champion Jack Dupree ‘Shakin’ Mother For You (year unknown – now re-released on Rock ‘n’ Rhythm Records)
A filthy, boogie-woogie classic. People have always sung about sex and drugs, even at the very beginnings of rock n roll!
10. The Smiths – This Charming Man (1983) Rough Trade
The ring-tone on my phone, the only song I’ve ever sung at karaoke, the soundtrack to my youth. It was Morrissey that actually pointed the way for me to the 1950s. I wanted to know what influenced him. I owe that man a veggie burger. A double.
Catch Lonesome M playing at at Frockabilly at The Latest Music Bar, Honey Hush at The A Bar, and Dixie Fried at The Caroline of Brunswick.