• Leave my kitten alone2:32

Etta's first LP, released in 1960

  • Got my mojo working2:46

  • Wham!2:10

I'll play the blues for you

by Geater Davis

Geater Davis recorded a great version of 'I'll play the blues for you' (originally recorded by Albert King). Unfortunately this isn't it. This one is a later version that I carelessly purchased on the strength of the title alone. Normally the words 'later re-recording by the original artist' can be interpreted as 'avoid at all costs', but in this case Geater manages to escape the Hall of Shame by tacking on a 'Blaxploitation'-style rap over the intro. And since I like the 'don't forget your blues roots' message this one gets the thumbs up.

  • Suzie Q2:14

  • Sea Cruise2:42

Drinkin' wine spo-dee-o-dee

by Larry Dale

While we're on the subject of good cover versions, here's that other Larry Dale track I mentioned. Stick McGee's 1947 original has a more 'down home' feel, with just vocal and guitar. It's been covered countless times, but Larry Dale's rocking full-band version is the one you'll hear most often at tunastreet!

Boom boom

by John Lee Hooker

Here's another song that every R'n'B band has played at one time or another, but it's always good to go back to the original record and hear how it should be done. This is one song that benefits from a loose groove, rather than the metronomic approach most modern bands take. Which isn't to say that it's out of time - Hooker just played his songs how he felt them, more like a human and less like a machine! From 1962.

  • Let the doorbell ring2:28

  • Let's have a party2:35

Good Rockin' Daddy

by Etta James

Etta James is best known for her 60's recordings with Chess Records, but  her recording career started in the mid-50s. It's fair to say that her career and personal life were fairly turbulent, but she's full of energy and  enthusiasm on this fine track from 1955!

This copy is from 1960 - by then Modern Records was in decline, but some of their better material was being reissued on Kent.  Both labels were owned by the Bihari brothers, so presumably they were just repackaging it to sell again!

Ann's second LP, released in 1971

I'll go crazy

by James Brown and the Famous Flames

Before he was the Godfather of Soul or the Minister of New New Super Heavy

Funk, J.B. played R'n'B - like this tune, from 1960. With a tight band and punchy

arrangement it's a step on the way towards 'Out of sight' and 'Papa's got a brand new bag'. And it's all over in 2 minutes - always leave them wanting more!

  • Hey Hey2:52

Part Time Love

by Little Johnny Taylor

Let's slow things down a little, with Johnny Taylor's biggest hit - his fabulous 1963 original of 'Part Time Love'! It's a tunastreet favourite. It sounds like the blues should, but there's a subtle departure from the 12-bar format that keeps the changes interesting! 

Leave it to Slim!

Image: 'T.V. Spectacular' by Gil Elvgren, 1959

  • Ain't nobody here but us chickens2:58

  • Breaking up somebody's home3:33

  • Part time love2:49

Working in the coal mine

by Lee Dorsey

We couldn't mention New Orleans without spinning a disc by Lee Dorsey, so here's his 1966 classic 'Working in the coalmine'. I've never worked in a coal mine, but going to work in a Scottish winter used to remind me of this song - it's dark when you go to work, and dark when you come home. What happened to the daylight? As the song says, 'Lord, I'm so tired. How long can this go on?'...

  • Barefootin'2:34

Let the doorbell ring

by Larry Dale

I only have two Larry Dale 45s, but they're so good that I wish I had more. This one dates from 1960, but the 'live for today' attitude of the lyrics is timeless. The fine guitar playing is by Larry himself (he worked as a session guitarist in New York) and Brownie McGhee. It doesn't get much better than this!

Cheese and crackers

by Rosco Gordon

There's a fair bit of snap, crackle (or should that be cracker? ha, ha) and pop on this copy of 'Cheese and crackers', but bear with it - the worst of the surface noise is at the start.

I wish I could tell you the story behind the lyrics, but I've searched the web in vain. Maybe Rosco really just didn't like 'em! From 1956.

  • I'll go crazy2:03

  • I'll play the blues for you3:53

  • The Thing2:30

  • Wine, wine, wine2:42

  • Short dress woman2:45

Short dress woman

by Muddy Waters

Here's an interesting track recorded in late 1964, shortly after Muddy's 'Folk Singer' LP sessions. In most respects a standard 12-bar blues, the clarinet by J.T. Brown gives it an almost 'trad jazz' feel in places!

Let's have a ball

by The Wheels

Without the internet I might never have heard this fabulous track (posted on the Devil's Music blog) so let's have a big hand for Sir Tim Berners-Lee,  inventor of the World Wide Web. Yes, Sir Tim, there's more than 'adult entertainment' and cute kittens out there!

'Let's have a ball' dates from 1956, and, as Billboard said, 'The Wheels roll at a great pace on their first Premium disc'.

Shake your hips

by Slim Harpo

I don't know about you, but the first recording of this song that I heard was the Rolling Stones cover version on 'Exile on Main Street'. It's a great track, but this is one of those cases where the original is best. There's a hint of Bo Diddley and John Lee Hooker in here, and in some ways it sounds a little dated for 1966. Now, 50 years later, it just sounds amazing - an irresistible groove!

More 45s

A lot of people have been asking: 'DJ Dod, when are we going to hear some of those fine R'n'B 45s from the tunastreet vault'? Well, the answer is: now!

Since we've established a soul and gospel flavour on '45 rips' we've decided to dedicate a whole new page to blues and R'n'B, with the emphasis on feel-good party tunes! Take it away DJ Dod!

One Scotch, one Bourbon, one Beer

by Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chickenshackers

It's probably fair to say that John Lee Hooker's rockin' r'n'b version of this tune is better known these days, but Amos' mellow original is perfect late night music! From 1953.

  • Good rockin' daddy2:19

Just a little bit

by Rosco Gordon

Coincidentally, Etta James was one of many artists to cover this song, but today we'd like to present Rosco Gordon's 1959 original, still sounding great after all these years!

Rosco's other big hit, 'No more doggin'' was one of the American R'n'B records that had a big influence on the development of ska in Jamaica - remind me to dig it out for you sometime!

T.V. Man

by T.V. Slim and his Bluesmen

It's always a consolation to enthusiastic amateurs like me, that

even artists of the calibre of T.V. Slim had to have a day job to

make ends meet. Slim is probably best known for his original

version of 'Flat Foot Sam', now something of an R'nB/Rockabilly

standard, but this is the tunastreet favourite. Life as a T.V. repair man clearly wasn't all bad!

  • Got my mo-jo working (but it just won't work on you)2:36

Cadillac man

by The Jesters

This  is another track that probably sounded like a blast from the past even when it was new.  Released in 1966, 'Cadillac Man' sounds like it could have been recorded 10 years earlier. Now, it's widely regarded as the last great Sun single. Check out this houndblog post if you want the full story!

More to come!

  • Shake your hips2:27

new songs and old records


by Lonnie Mack

Wow! Here's the second single from Lonnie's debut LP, 'The Wham of that Memphis Man!'. What a title, and what a track. Although not really a household name these days, Lonnie's playing had a huge influence on then up-and-coming guitarists like Stevie Ray Vaughan, Duane Allman and Ted Nugent. Even Bootsy Collins has cited him as a childhood hero! From 1963.

Instrumental break!

Time for a couple of tasty guitar-led instrumentals before we come back

with some more rockin' R'n'B!

The thing

by Lowell Fulsom

I can't tell you anything about this, other than it seems to have enjoyed some popularity on the Northern Soul scene. The rhythm guitar part sounds like an up-tempo version of the 'Tramp' rhythm, so I'm guessing that this is post-1967.

Choo choo ch' boogie

by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five

There's so much to say about Louis Jordan that it's difficult to know where to begin. For starters he was a top-notch alto sax player, great singer and entertaining frontman. To this day he holds the record for most weeks at number one on the R'n'B charts - this track alone spent 18 weeks at the top. And how many other records made in 1946 still sound this good?

Koko Taylor on stage in 1968. Photo by Val Wilmer.  Check out 'Portrait of the Blues' by Paul Trynka (Hamlyn 1996) for more examples of Val's work.

Image: tunastreet archive

  • Boom Boom2:30

  • Beautician Blues1:56

Sea Cruise

by Frankie Ford

They make it sound so easy. This track just flows, as if the tape just happened to be rolling when magic appeared in the studio. In fact, it's a little more complicated than that. Huey 'Piano' Smith wrote the song and recorded it with his band, the Clowns, featuring his regular vocalist Bobby Marchan duetting with Geri Hall (although accounts differ). Apparently, Ace Records felt that they might have a bigger hit with a white kid singing so, when Huey was out on tour they recruited 19-year-old Frankie Ford to re-record the vocal track. Of course, it may also be that Ace thought that the America of 1959 wasn't quite ready to embrace a transvestite lead singer like Bobby Marchan.

Anyway, for once a record company was right - adding the dynamic new vocal track and a few cheesy sound effects turned this rockin' piece of New Orleans R'n'B into a national hit!

  • Messing with the kid2:09


by Dale Hawkins

Here's the 1957 original of an R'n'B standard, and the song that gave CCR their first hit. Recorded in Shreveport, Louisiana, with James Burton on guitar - then just 17, he's now a Telecaster legend.

Play it, James!

Boogie  Woogie Country Girl

by Joe Turner

Here's another good rockin' track, and further proof that it's always worth giving the flip side a spin. The 'A' side is a version of 'Corrine Corrina', a song with a history that probably predates recorded music. However, it's one of Joe's more 'pop' recordings, so this is the more sought-after side nowadays. From 1956.

  • You got to be a man2:39

You got to be a man

by Frank William's Rocketeers

Back in days when Prince was still called Prince, Frank Williams might have listened to 'Kiss' and thought 'Haven't I heard that somewhere before?'. Then again, James Brown might have heard 'You got to be a man' and thought exactly the same thing - it certainly has an 'Out of sight' groove!

Bacon Fat

by Big Daddy and his Boys

Why aren't all cover versions better than the original? That's one of life's little mysteries. After all, with the template of the original to build on, you might think that it would be easy to come up with something better. Like this 1957 gem. The original, by Andre Williams, is good, but Big Daddy's hepcat voice easily gives his version the edge. According to 'the internet', Big Daddy was really called Big Bob Kornegay (pronounced Carnegie). Apparently he recorded under a variety of different names, and with various groups, but if he recorded anything better than this I'd like to hear it!

  • Bacon fat2:51

Beautician blues

by B. B. King

I'm tempted to say that B.B. King needs no introduction, but I suspect that there are plenty of members of the 'smartphone' generation who have never heard of him. If that applies to you, look him up. If it doesn't, dig this track from his 1964 'Rock me baby' LP. I like the jump blues vibe on this track, and who could resist the opening couplet; 'I met a fine beautician, in a very fine condition'? Not me...

Ride your pony

by Lee Dorsey

Classic New Orleans R'n'B from 1965 - this is the original, but don't miss the great version by Betty Harris on our '45 rips'page!

Ain't nobody here but us chickens

by Louis Jordan and his Tympany Five

Here's another great Louis Jordan hit - number one in the R'n'B charts in 1946!

The flip side, the classic 'Let the good times roll' was also a hit in its own right (and later covered by Ray Charles, and many others). Apparently the gormless chicken thief was a stock figure of fun at the start of the 20th Century. Farmer: 'Who's there?'. Thief: 'Ain't nobody here but us chickens!'.

  • One scotch, one bourbon, one beer2:49

  • Part time love3:17

  • Just a little bit2:04

  • Ride your pony2:48


by Robert Parker

Time for a trip to New Orleans, the Home of the Blues. The story goes that Robert played a gig which was opened by a comedian who said 'Everybody get on your feet, you make me nervous when you're in your seat'. And the rest is history - one of the biggest hits to come out of NOLA, and one that still gets everybody dancing! From 1966.

  • Cadillac Man 452:16

Part Time Love

by Ann Peebles

Johnny Taylor's original is hard to follow, but this killer version is every bit as good! Produced by Willie Mitchell, the arrangement is pure Memphis soul with that irresistible Hi records groove! From 1970.

Albert King on stage in London, 1969.

Photo: Val Wilmer.

Hey, hey

by Big Bill Broonzy

Did you know that the Clan Hay battlecry was 'A Hay, A Hay, A Hay'? Well, that's what they say anyway. I'm not sure if there was ever a Clan song, but if not this fine track by Big Bill Broonzy could be a contender! From 1951.

Got my mojo working

by Muddy Waters

Just because we love Ann Cole's original, doesn't mean we don't dig Muddy's

version as well - in fact, how could anyone not like this?

Wang dang doodle

by Koko Taylor

Here's another all-time-great. It was written by Willie Dixon (who you can hear in the background) and originally recorded by Howlin' Wolf, who apparently didn't like it much - he thought it was too 'old-timey' - even though it sounds like his kind of song. Fortunately, Willie had another try with Koko Taylor and came up with the definitive version. Released in 1966.

  • Wang dang doodle2:55

  • Let's have a ball2:41

Let's have a party

by Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chickenshackers

Boogie-woogie piano player Amos Milburn was one of the artists who created the template for what would later be known as 'rock'n'roll'.

His songs are about mostly about drinking, dancing and having a good time, which is just how we like it at tunastreet. This track was recorded in 1953 and features Mickey Baker on guitar and Noble 'Thin Man' Watts on tenor sax. When I was digitising it one of my kids asked if it was one of my tunes - in my dreams!

We're back!

Time for some more rockin' R'n'B from the tunastreet vaults!

Leave my kitten alone

by Little Willie John

Now best known for his original recording of 'Fever', which was

a big hit for Peggy Lee, Little Willie john recorded this rockin' R'n'B classic in 1959. It was later covered by the Beatles, among others.

Messing with the Kid

by Junior Wells

If, like me, you aren't old enough to have heard the original 45 when it came out in 1960, then you probably heard the Blues Brothers version of 'Messing with the Kid' first. Fortunately they mentioned Junior's name, so that helped those of us who wanted to track it down! I think that this is a late 60s re-issue, since the original was on a different label. Still sounds good though...

Got my mojo working

by Ann Cole with the Suburbans

'Where there's a hit, there's a writ', as they say. Or, in this case, two. This is the fabulous original version of 'Got my mojo working', by Ann Cole. The story goes that she toured with Muddy Waters, who heard her perform the song, liked it, and cut his own version for Chess. By accident or design Chess gave the writing credit to Muddy, rather than the composer, Preston Foster. Cue case one, which Chess lost. The second case (Strachborneo v. Arc Music, trivia fans) was based on a claim that the lyrics plagiarised another song, 'Mojo Workout'. This second case has gone down in music history for confirming that the phrase 'got my mojo working' is in the public domain, so anyone can use it. Phew!

Anyway, Muddy's version is great, but this one is the tunastreet favourite. There's just something irresistibly raucous about the arrangement!

From 1957.

  • Choo choo ch' boogie2:37

  • Drinkin' wine spo-dee-o-dee2:34

  • Working in the coal mine2:45

Breaking up somebody's home

by Albert King

Here's a great version of a track originally recorded by Ann Peebles.  On this one Albert is backed by the Bar-Kays and the Memphis Horns - and they sound fabulous.  The whole arrangement is an ideal showcase for Albert's voice and guitar - bubbling bass line, punchy horns, subtle organ backing - sparse but powerful!

  • T.V. Man3:00

  • Boogie woogie country girl2:38

Wine, wine , wine

by Floyd Dixon

Here's a splendid wine drinking song from 1952 - just the kind of thing

that inspired tunastreet's own 'Drinkin' wine', which you can hear on

our 'tunes from tunastreet' page. I'm tempted to say that Floyd's song 

has matured like a fine wine, but it's probably better if I just let you 

enjoy the track and admire the stylish Aladdin sleeve!

  • Cheese and Crackers2:45