Friday, 10 September 2010

Has it really been so long?

As John Lennon once said,"life is what happens while you're busy making other plans." Well amongst my other plans, our regular Friday night Shing-A-Ling still features, and in fact I've got a new Shing mix, especially for you. Download it here, gratis, of course...

Keep on truckin!

Shing-A-Ling podcast No.5
“Pink Pussycat Wine”
by DJ Paolo

1. Otis Redding – Stay In School
**commercial break: City BBQ**
2. Carol Fran – I'm Gonna Try
**commercial break: Pink Pussycat Wine**
3. Bobby Bland – 36-22-36
4. Marion Black – Who Knows?
5. Jorge Ben – Take It Easy My Brother Charles
6. Clarence 'Bon Ton' Barlow – Bon Ton Roulet
7. Professor Longhair – Mardi Gras In New Orleans
8. Orchestra Harlow ft. Ismael Miranda – Horsin' Up
9. The Marty Cooper Clan – Walk Don't Run
10. The Marvells – One Monkey Don't Stop No Show
11. Jimmy Cliff – Let's Dance
12. Irma Thomas – Long After Tonight Is All Over

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Thursday, 23 July 2009


For all those of you in London, Shing-A-Ling is a new every-Friday-night shindig featuring vinyl-loving DJs spinning intoxicating rhythms for your dancing feet...

The launch party, on Friday 7th August will feature all the Shing-A-Ling DJs - who you might just know from their other, more established musical ventures: Dean Chalkley (Shake!) / G the P (Get Involved & Gerry's Joint) / Miss Red (Shuffle Off To Buffalo) / Paolo (Valley of Wax) / Si Cheeba

The music? An infectious blend of Rhythm'n'Blues, Soul, Ska, Rockabilly and anything else the Shing-A-Ling DJs feel like throwing down. Dancing shoes essential!

In the words of Shirley Ellis, "Come on sugar, let's Shing-A-Ling!

Launch night:
Friday, August 7, 2009 at 7:30pm. Thereafter every Friday, at The Smithfield Tavern, 101 Charterhouse Street, London

Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Uploads reinstated

Since Boomp3 has gone belly up and taken all my uploads with it, I've replaced all the dud links with Divshare ones instead, which should work fine.

Friday, 1 May 2009

The Ballad of Cherry Flavor

I'd always steered clear of Marmalade until quite recently. I think it was partly from dislike of their name, and partly from their cover of Obla-Di-Obla-Da, surely an example of Paul McCartney at his most teeth-grindingly twee.

So it was with some surprise that I discovered that their later work was melancholic, wistful and really quite special. If you don't already know it, I urge you to seek out Reflections of My Life, their 1969 number one. Its haunting description of teetering on the edge plays like a valedictory address for the sixties itself and is surely one of the most mournful singles ever to top the charts.

Their follow up single, Rainbow, ploughed a similar furrow, though with more propulsion and spirit to it, but it's Rainbow's B-side, The Ballad of Cherry Flavor (or Flavar, as it's spelt on the single) that I've pulled out here.

The song is an address to the eponymous Cherry, a 'Bunny Girl' who was dating the band's drummer Alan Whitehead at the time, destined to wait West End tables while Whitehead caroused his way around town. The song is not condemnatory, merely resigned and weary with it all. This is the way of world, it seems to say, and poor Cherry might as well accept it.

The Ballad of Cherry Flavor is an exquisite, delicate sketch that tells us so little, yet so much. I hope Cherry Flavor was okay in the end, I think she deserved better.

Saturday, 2 August 2008

Long After Tonight Is All Over

Here we are again, after a short holiday and a broken laptop which together spelled a long hiatus.

Today's song, 'Long After Tonight Is All Over', is one of those magnificent, life affirming numbers that a genius like Burt Bacharach could seemingly rattle off at a moment's notice. The first version here, cut by Jimmy Radcliffe in the mid-sixties, was only ever a minor hit but subsequently attained legendary status when it became one of the famous 'three before eight' northern soul songs, meaning the last three songs of an all-nighter, the other two being 'Time Will Pass You By' by Tobi Legend, and 'I'm On My Way', by Dean Parrish.

Jimmy's smooth, clean tones float joyously over the orchestra, buoyed up on a wave of ecstacy and a raft of backing singers, but much as I love his version, the definitive take for me has to be Irma Thomas's long shelved but thankfuly rediscovered version.

Thomas's band really attack this song – just listen to that muscular drumming – and take it from the realms of balladry into R&B territory, but it's essentially a vocalist's track, so what makes it work is the delicate combination of grit, post-coital satisfaction and sheer punch-the-air joy which Irma manages to emote in two minutes 31 seconds of dynamite. Enjoy it.

Monday, 9 June 2008

Manifesto by James Lewis & the Case of Tyme

The magnificently monikered Case of Tyme produced one of the toughest and most original dancefloor workouts I have ever heard in 'Manifesto'. The propulsion is pure funk, even if the rhythm is firmly grounded in 16/4 time. The Wes Montgomeryesque octave runs on the guitar and the muscular saxophones are indebted to jazz, and over all this chants a sweat-laden James Lewis with all the intensity and rawness of a man singing for his life.

'Manifesto' reminds me of other tracks from this period (I would guess 67–69, there's no date on the 45), where groups were blending rock, jazz and soul with similarly interesting results. The ones who immediately
come to mind are bands like the Chambers Brothers ('Time Has Come Today'), The Crow ('Your Autumn of Tomorrow'), and Johnny Jones & The King Casuals ('Purple Haze'), and I shall post some of these other tracks in future weeks.

Incidentally, I know nothing at all about this band or the record, save for the fact that it was a big northern soul track, so if anybody has any more to add, I'd be very interested to hear it.

Sunday, 8 June 2008

Higher & Higher by Bonnie Bramlett

I must admit I knew nothing about Bonnie Bramlett when I bought this single. I had a track of hers on an excellent compilation called 'Country Got Soul', but I never connected her name with the 70s country-rock outfit Delaney & Bonnie until I read a short biog piece on her tonight.

I simply took a chance on this record because the original is one of my eternal favourites, and I'm always interested to hear a new take on a great song. Bonnie pulls it off by following the golden rule of coverology: make it your own.

She does so by reinventing 'Higher…' as a good time Southern party track, complete with country licks and plenty of tambourines. The resulting single has the warmth and effortless spontaneity of an impromptu live performance — two and a half minutes well spent in my opinion.