Sting sang about “Ghosts in the Machine” and I know where they’ve been lately: my six week old toaster caught fire and I’ve lost a desktop and a laptop to faulty power supplies. I think I need to invest in a windup radio just in case.
STAR BLUES on Sunday marked the death of Clay Hammond, a sweet voiced singer and songwriter (“Part Time Love” is his most well-known) – we went to one of his mid-Sixties sides he cut for Kent. News also came in about the loss of Marvin Sease who was a hard-working star of the “Chitlin circuit” in the Southern States. His work in later years has needed “Parental Advisory” stickers, though I’m waiting for Amazon to deliver something more suitable for a family show. Though Marvin isn’t a household name in the mainstream, his popularity with the African American audience mean his loss will be hard felt.
Harry Manx was an unusual choice for the playlist, his mix of Indian instruments and voices proved to have blues at its heart. The chain had two songs called “I Hear You Knocking”: the first from Smiley Lewis was linked to the last show via Cosimo Matassa’ J&M studios, the second by Lazy Lester at Excello from the pen of J D Miller. You’ll need to be with us at ten on Sunday to hear where we go from there.
The "1001" feature was an instrumental piece by the under-rated Jerry McCain. He was one of the earliest artists to sign to Lillian McMurray's Trumpet label, by 1960 he was with Johnny Vincent for "Steady" and "She's Tough" put out as single on Rex.
Naomi Shelton cut a number of soulful sides in the Sixties but waited until 2009 to make an album. She did so with her gospel group for the Daptone label; a name that is being dropped everywhere by dint of the “real” music on offer from “real” musicians made to classic values. Sharon Jones is a case in point, she is at the forefront of the retro-soul movement. Naomi was joined in the gospel spotlight by Ruby Turner and Jools Holland recorded live in Kent in the songbook of Sister Rosetta Tharpe.
Steve Grills has veteran pianist Ernest Lane in his band - Steve’s new album is a real gem that sadly will get overlooked because he refuses to showboat his guitar playing. Big Joe Duskin would have had a birthday this week so his “Dollar Bill Boogie” was the other half of the feature that celebrates those rolling 88s.
Which neatly gives me an opportunity to direct you to a new show on Star every Thursday night at 10pm to bring us the sounds of rock’n’roll. As well as 107.9/1FM it'll also be there streaming from http://www.star107.co.uk/. I hope you can also be around on Sunday night at 10pm (GMT), dress is optional for you – I will have a white tee-shirt, though if it’s a bit creased you’ll know Stings ghosts have moved to the iron.