Rock You Sinners!


This is a post on behalf of RockingMitch

I have compiled this list to attempt to show the many strands of music which came together to stand under the banner of “Rock & Roll”. Louis Jordan and Joe Turner are from the early days, before the term was used generally. Most of the rest comes from a bit later when the way to ask a young lady to dance consisted of “‘Ello, doll. Ow abaht lending me your frame for the struggle?”

There are many other artists I could (and probably should) have included such as Bill Haley, Little Richard, Link Wray etc., but these will do for now. Mitch


1: Louis Jordan – Blue Light Boogie. On the crossover between R & B and jazz.

2: Joe Turner with Fats Domino & The Dave Bartholomew Band – Love My Baby.

3:  Fats Domino – Whole Lotta Lovin’. The piano on this was played by Alain Toussaint as Fats was touring and only had time to put the vocals on the already cut music track.

4: The Coasters – Down In Mexico. One of their first under that name, having had personnel changes from the Robins. The Coasters moved with writers Leiber & Stoller to New York to be on Atco, an Atlantic subsidiary. Originally issued on L & S’s Spark label which Ahmet Ertegun had bought up for Atlantic.

5: Frankie Ford – Sea Cruise. One of my favourite “cheery” tunes. This was made by Huey Smith & The Clowns and the vocal was done by Smith’s regular frontman, Bobby Marchan (who also made a living as a female impersonator), Smith reckoned it would get more exposure on “Dick Clark’s American Bandstand” if a photogenic white boy fronted it. So, Marchan’s vocals were removed, and Frankie Ford was put on.

6: Gene Vincent – Blue Jean Bop. Gene’s 2nd gold disc which sold better in the UK, reaching no. 12 (5 places higher than “Be-Bop-A-Lula”) on our chart, but didn’t break into the US top 50. God sings!

7: The Everly Brothers – Claudette. Written and first done by Roy Orbison, and dedicated to his wife, this was the B-side of “(All I Have To Do Is) Dream”.

8: Jerry Lee Lewis – High School Confidential. “The Killer” at his finest from a much forgotten movie of the same name.

9: Eddie Cochran – Pretty Girl. One of the late, great Eddie’s best.

10: Merrill E Moore – Rock, Rockola. Bridging country hop & rock and roll, Merrill recorded without much sales success for Capitol. Great piano.

1: Moon Mullican – Granpa Stole My Baby. Along with Sid King, Moon shared vocal duties with Boyd Bennett & His Rockets. He was an inspiration to Jerry Lee.

2: Larry Williams – Bad Boy.  Larry was himself Rock & Roll’s bad boy, making, as he once said, more money from drug dealing and running prostitutes than he ever did from music, despite gaining 4 gold discs.

3: Esquirita – Believe Me When I Say (Rock ‘n’ Roll Is Here To Stay). S. Q. Reeder was a fixture on the New Orleans gay scene. He taught Little Richard to play piano and, despite the rest of America hardly knowing him, he was a huge star in France.

4: Screamin’ Jay Hawkins – I Put A Spell On You. Rock & Roll’s greatest nut case. Jalancey ‘Jay’ Hawkins, who was a former Golden Gloves boxing champ, got roaring drunk, along with the session men, and cut this classic.

5: Screamin’ Lord Sutch – Dracula’s Daughter. My old mate, Dave, was Britain’s best known loon. An erstwhile politician, he became better known for that than his records. Ritchie Blackmore on lead for this.

6: Danny & The Juniors – At The Hop. The group practised there vocals in the back of one of the band’s Buick. Danny (Rapp) had to be bailed out of jail to get to the recording session. Sadly, he was plagued by insecurity and committed suicide in 1983.

7: Gene Vincent – I’m Going Home (To See My Baby). Cut at Abbey Road and backed by Sounds Incorporated. (Surely Gene deserves two.)

8: The Crickets – Oh Boy. One of Buddy & The Crickets best known early tracks. For copyright reasons, Buddy’s name wasn’t on the label.

9: Chuck Berry – Carol.  No list would be complete without a track from one of Rock & Roll’s greatest poets.

10: Duane Eddy – Peter Gunn.  Let’s end with an instrumental. Sax player, the aptly named Jim Horn and on piano, doing his first pro job in music, Leon Russell.

25 thoughts on “Rock You Sinners!

  1. Ace! Looking forward to this, & thanks to whoever did the coding (‘Spill mobile version withholds this info for some reason).

    Heard a great piece about Wanda Jackson on NPR yesterday. You might be able to find a stream, if interested. Warning: the rockabilly word is bandied quite a lot.

  2. Hugely enjoyable, thanks Mitch and SpottedRichard. I know most of these but it’s a great selection, and the Eddie was a treat I hadn’t heard before. The American Graffiti soundtrack is a favourite on family car journeys and is managing to hold its own against Abba Gold (not that there’s anything wrong with Abba, but it confirms my two children like their rock’n’roll).

    The Duana Eddy is a great one to finish the playlist. Love his twangin’.

      • Yes indeed. As a result of the above, I like Flash Cadillac and the Continental Kids ‘At The Hop’ a little more than Danny and the Juniors. Though very little difference really. I first heard that song when Punk and new wave were around, and the three note piano solo (well, three notes for the first eight bars) seemed to be the ancestor of the punk spirit !

  3. Listened to the first couple of songs – loved the Louis Jourdan.

    Alternative potus debates interrupt – will catchup later –

    Thank, Mitch!

  4. great playlists Mitch – I’m quite taken with ‘Bad Boy’ this whole set is completely in a different sphere to any of my musical knowledge. The reason I like RR and the ‘spill so much is it’s easy to find a style of tunes you like and find blogs that feed that – here it is so diverse, you keep out of that blinkered state.

    (I’ve heard different takes on, ‘I Put A Spell On You’ this is just sublime – listening again while typing – all the tracks keep jumping out at me)

    Much to appreciate – and even though they all sound brilliant – I CAN completely see why you champion Mr. Vincent – there’s just that ‘stand out’ quality, even in this high ranking set.


    • Thanks, Shane. Yes, Gene was special. It was difficult to narrow this down to 20 tracks. There are so many good ones out there. Like you say, the Spill & RR bring you into contact with things and artists you’ve not heard before and your eyes are opened to a wider field of vision.
      Keep rock rolling!

  5. Partial to a bit of the old stuff. If I was being picky , I’d have elbowed At the Hop out for some Dion and the Belmonts, I have always found the vocals annoyingly nasal ( not their fault , I’m sure).
    And where is Bo , pray tell ?

    • As I said in the blurb at the top, there were many others I could have put on this list. You’ll just have to be patient and wait for the next lot!

  6. Top nosh that RockinMitch. Going to be a late tea tonight methinks. Well full now. Always nice to hear Fats Domino. Did you know Lee Perry once said that Fats was a huge influence on him? This is one of Lee’s (and also my) fave songs. Even if reggae ain’t your cuppa, it’s worth hearing, just to notice the similarities/influences.

    Fats Domino – It Keeps Rainin’

    Thank you for posting this. Loved it!

    • I recall Millie (Small) being interviewed at the time her cover of “My Boy Lollipop” was in the charts and saying how Fats and Tiny Bradshaw had been a big influence of West Indian music. I also have a book titled “Jah Music” which goes into the influences.
      For the record, I’m a big reggae fan, although not so keen on Lovers Rock. Love Tipper Iri and Smiley Culture.

  7. I am loving this a lot. Just listened to the first playlist – all superb.

    I will listen to the second lot later.

  8. Who said that Gene was in a different league? Shane? Absolutely right. A completely different quality in those two songs. They were all superb though, even if a couple were more fun. Thanks Mitch. Loved them.

  9. Good set Mitch – haven’t heard the Louis Jordan in donkey’s and the BJT is fantastic, really need to check more Gene Vincent as well. Also, thinks Mick Jones of The Clash ‘borrowed’ Huey Smith’s arrangement for ‘Wrong ‘Em Boyo’ on ‘London Calling’ …

  10. with a tip o’the hat to Commander Cody, this is just too much fun. Ella Mae Morse’s “House of Blue Lights” might be a worthy addition and most anything by Wicked Wanda Jackson or Janis Martin. There’s also a great story about Ford recording “Sea Cruise” and asking the producer if he was singing “Mickey Mouse enough”…and if anyone ever wonders whether a piano is a rock and roll instrument, slip’em “Great Balls of Fire” from my (almost) homeboy Jerry Lee Lewis, the pride of Ferriday, Louisiana.

  11. I’m looking forward to listening to this tomorrow when I get back. Any chance of Rockat 88 next time or was that too obvious?


  12. great list which I’m looking forward to, when I start cooking later
    Your mate Lord Sutch played Liverpool Uni a few times while i was there
    Once was a May ball with multiple bands playing in various rooms at diff times
    Me poor sister had over indulged in the cooking sherry and we set her down on a settee in a deserted annex
    Lord Sutch walked on stage to find her as his sole audience member. She told him ‘keep it down I’m trying to sleep’.
    We saw her being carried by the band, still on the settee, one at each corner holding her high, walking through the main hall, demanding someone claim her or she’s heading for the Mersey
    Keep it down indeed – he was by far the loudest singer of all time
    Much missed – great man alfie

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