Larry Williams wants to know

Larry Williams - I Wanna Know

mp3: Larry Williams - I Wanna Know

Although it was released just a few years after his well known Specialty Records releases, Larry Williams' work for Chess is fairly unrecognised. Not for any good musical reason though, as this banger from 1960 shows. I Wanna Know was written by Harvey Fuqua, a founding member of the Moonglows and key figure in Motown's early days. It was recorded in Chicago with Willie Dixon on bass and probably serving as a producer as well. Rock'n'roll had grown slightly more sophisticated by the time this was cut, but it was still a perfect vehicle for Williams' impassioned vocals.

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Link & Ray's Slow Drag

Bert And Ray - Slow Drag

mp3: Bert And Ray - Slow Drag

Link Wray becomes Bert on this blatant attempt to mimic Santo & Johnny's 1959 #1 hit, Sleep Walk. Providing the slumber inducing steel guitar is Ray Searce. They took the name Slow Drag from a style of dance that was popular in New Orleans in the late 19th century. It was a slow dance done to the sound of ragtime jazz bands just before the era of recorded music. The Slow Drag dance continued and has been adapted over the years, most recently as a style that comes under the umbrella of Blues Dancing. I've also borrowed the name Slow Drag for my new slow dancing club night which launches tomorrow night in Shoreditch.

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The Slow Drag Blues Dance

The Slow Drag Blues Dance - November 19th at The Blues Kitchen Shoreditch

This week sees the launch of the Slow Drag Blues Dance, a night dedicated to slow dancing, slow swaying and slow grinding. From 8pm up until midnight, Sister Cookie, Colonel Spencer and me will spin sultry sounds in The Private Room, downstairs at The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. I've been sifting through my collection finding loads of slow dance gems and can't wait to play them. According to the Facebook event page, there's already quite a crowd coming down, so if you're going to be in or near London on Wednesday November 19th, treat yourself to this unique night out.

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Sax Man Brown's Sax-ony Boogie

Sax Man Brown - Sax-ony Boogie

mp3: Sax Man Brown - Sax-ony Boogie

It's a safe bet that any song called Sax-ony Boogie by a guy known as Sax Man Brown is going to contain its fair share of saxophone, and today's selection doesn't disappoint. Sax Man Brown was also known as John Thomas Brown, J.T. Brown, Big Boy Brown or Bep Brown. He travelled from Mississippi to Chicago in 1945 to play tenor sax in the booming blues scene. He cut his own jump blues sides for a bunch of labels and also played sideman for bluesmen such as Roosevelt Sykes, Washboard Sam and Elmore James, who's band, the Broomdusters, backs him on this 1954 Meteor release.

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It Takes Time

Otis Rush - It Takes Time

mp3: Otis Rush - It Takes Time

Released in 1958 as the flip to Checking On My Baby, It Takes Time is tough, epic sounding blues. A prime example of the giant West Side style of Chicago Blues that was spearheaded by Cobra Records, under the stewardship of Willie Dixon. As with many Cobra records, Dixon provides the solid bass line on today's selection. However, it's Otis Rush's powerful vocals and sizzling guitar that are obviously the main act.

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Slow Drag Blues Dance - Mix #1

The Slow Drag Blues Dance, a new London club night I'm starting, launches on Wednesday November 19th. From 8pm till midnight, slow dancers will sway and grind away to the sound of DJs playing feverish mid-century rhythms - steamy blues, smoky jazz, sexy soul and sleazy rock’n’roll. It'll be held in the plush surrounds of The Private Room, below the The Blues Kitchen in Shoreditch. This is the newest and most sultry SLOW DANCE club to hit the scene. Joining me in providing the soundtrack straight from the dusty grooves of original 45rpm vinyl records, will be MFC Chicken's sax man, Colonel Spencer, and Rhythm & Blues singing sensation, Sister Cookie. This mix, made up of selections lovingly chosen from all three of our record collections, is a teaser for what you can expect to hear on the night.

Eartha Kitt - Take My Love
B.B. King - Help The Poor
Hank Ballard - Stay Away From My Baby
Jackie Wilson - My Tale Of Woe
Sam Cooke - Summertime
Milt Buckner - The Beast
The Clovers - Lovey Dovey
The Jaguars - Drive In
Rosco Gordon - The Chicken
Lee Allen - Tic Toc
Larry Birdsong - I’m So Glad You’re Home
James Brown - Please, Please, Please
Irma Thomas - Wish Someone Would Care
Mary Wells - I’m Gonna Stay
Ray Charles - Something’s Wrong
Kid Ory - St. James Infirmary

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You Don't Love Me

Willie Cobb - You Don't Love Me

mp3: Willie Cobb - You Don't Love Me

Here is a song that took from another and gave to many more. Willie Cobbs recorded You Don't Love Me in 1960, using the melody and some of the words from a 1955 Bo Diddley b-side, She's Fine She's Mine. Originally released on Mojo Records in Memphis, Cobbs' song climbed the local charts and found national distribution through Vee-Jay. It's often described as hypnotic. There definitely is something in the riff that resonates deeply and allows you to lose yourself in it. Jamaican artist Dawn Penn recorded You Don't Love Me in an incredible rocksteady style in 1967, but I'm sure the version I first became familiar with was her 1994 dancehall re-recording, which was a huge worldwide hit. Of course, many artists from the worlds of blues and rock also had a crack. The Bloomfield-Kooper-Stills flange-filled Super Session version is another I became very familiar with around that time.

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