Posts Tagged ‘Jukebox Series’

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #31 – The Isley Brothers: “That Lady (Part 1)” b/w “That Lady (Part 2)” – T-Neck 45 RPM Single 2251 (A4/B4V3)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #31 – The Isley Brothers: “That Lady (Part 1)” b/w “That Lady (Part 2)” – T-Neck 45 RPM Single 2251 (A4/B4V3)

From gossamer to “grit-tay”…the other day I featured a satiny-smooth jukebox classic by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles…today we’re going gritty with this funky 1973 track by The Isley Brothers.

They were one of the longest running R&B groups of all time forming in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959 and recording and touring together in some form through 2010.

The Isley’s were responsible for such indelible hits as “Shout,” “Twist And Shout,” “This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You),” “Black Berries,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Pop That Thang,” “Love The One You’re With,” “Summer Breeze,” “Fight The Power,” “Harvest For The World,” plus many others. Today’s Song Of The Day comes from their 1973 album called 3+3.

The album’s title alludes to the fact that the three original members of the group, Ronald, Rudolph and O’Kelly Isley, made their brother-in-law Chris Jasper and brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley, the other 3, full time members of the group.

The album became their first platinum album, selling over one million copies. Along with “That Lady,” two other tracks from the album made waves on the R&B charts including their cover of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” (#10 R&B) and “What It Comes Down To” (#5 R&B). The group also covered Jonathan Edwards’ hit “Sunshine” and James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” for the album.

“That Lady” was originally recorded by The Isley’s back in 1964 under the title “Who’s That Lady.” That version was cut at a slower tempo and was driven by a spare staccato drum pattern, a roller-rink organ part and a full-blown horn section. The group decided to record the song again after Santana covered it on their Spirits Dancing in the Flesh album.

At first, Ronald Isley was against cutting the track again, however the rest of the group convinced him that the arrangement would be much different and it would highlight the guitar work of brother Ernie. Ernie’s guitar playing was informed by the Isley Brothers’ association with Jimi Hendrix who played with the group in 1964. Hendrix can be heard on the group’s “Testify” and “Move On Over And Let Me Dance” singles. The song became their first top-ten hit since 1969’s “It’s Your Thing,” climbing to #2 on both the Pop and R&B charts. Brother Ernie’s guitar solo was later sampled by The Beastie Boys on the track “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” from Paul’s Boutique.

Another distinction about today’s jukebox classic is that it is one in a long line of two-part singles. When 45 RPM singles ruled, it was customary to break longer tracks into two parts for the single release. The Isley Brothers were no stranger to the two-part single, and as far back as 1959, “Shout” was released as a two-parter. Many of James Brown’s singles were released in the two-part format including “Say It Loud (I’m Black And I’m Proud,)” “Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine,” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” Other notable two-part singles include Joey Dee’s “The Peppermint Twist,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Suzie Q,” Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Eddie Kendricks’ “Keep On Truckin’,” George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby,” Rick James’ “Super Freak,” Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” and Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane.” What other two-part singles can you think of?

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: May 18th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

He’s the only artist to be covered by the holy quartet of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Others who rushed to his deep well of first-rate copyrights included The Hollies, Ry Cooder, Pearl Jam, Ike & Tina Turner, Marshall Crenshaw, George Jones, Otis Redding, The Bee Gees, Humble Pie, and Dusty Springfield, and that’s only a small sampling of those who have recorded his tunes.

Yet, Arthur Alexander, the man who wrote such classics as “Soldier Of Love (Lay Down Your Arms),” “Sally Sue Brown,” “Detroit City,” “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” and the two songs on today’s jukebox single, remains largely unknown to most people today, or even worse, totally forgotten.

The A-side of today’s double-A-sided jukebox single was originally written, recorded and released as a single on the Dot label by Alexander in 1962. Alexander’s version charted at #68 on the pop charts, while climbing to #10 on the R&B lists. The song is notable because it was covered by The Beatles for their debut album Please Please Me. It was a favorite of John Lennon’s and became part of the group’s early live repertoire. Lennon had a bad cold during the marathon session that produced their first album, which accounts for the roughness of his voice on “Anna.”

If Alexander’s recordings weren’t enough to guarantee him legendary status, he, along with Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall and Tom Stafford, converted a dilapidated tobacco warehouse in Alabama into a recording studio, and launched the famed Muscle Shoals Studios with his first single “You Better Move On” in the early 1960s. Alexander’s original version of the song charted at #24 on the pop charts in 1962 and sold 800,000 copies making it possible for Muscle Shoals to relocate its facilities to 603 East Avalon Avenue. The backing musicians on the track included Dan Penn, Tommy Roe (of “Dizzy” fame) and Joe Tex.

The song was also covered by The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, Dean Martin, Johnny Rivers, Billy “Crash” Craddock (whose version was a #10 country hit), Mink DeVille and George Jones and Johnny Paycheck (whose duo version peaked at #18 on the country charts).

The music business was a tricky proposition then as it is now, and fame and fortune largely alluded him, but not for lack of trying. After a string of seminal southern soul recordings that made others rich and famous, Alexander moved from record label to record label releasing a series of albums and singles throughout the sixties and seventies that garnered little or no airplay, including an eponymously titled album for Warner Brothers in 1972 and the 1975 minor hit single “Every Day I Have To Cry” for Buddah Records.

From 1977 through 1992, Alexander dropped out of the music industry completely and drove a van for senior citizens. After being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame, he came back to music and recorded his last record, Lonely Just Like Me for Elektra records in 1993. Sadly days after launching his comeback with a new band, Alexander died of a heart attack.

For further listening, check out The Ultimate Arthur Alexander for his original recordings, and the tribute album Adios Amigo: A Tribute To Arthur Alexander featuring covers of his songs by the likes of Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Nick Lowe, John Prine and Frank Black. Both CDs were issued by Razor & Tie music.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over 14 years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: May 11th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #12 – The Johnny Otis Show: “Willie And The Hand Jive” b/w “Willie Did The Cha Cha” – Capitol Starline 45 RPM Single X-6040 (C2/D2)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #12 – The Johnny Otis Show: “Willie And The Hand Jive” b/w “Willie Did The Cha Cha” – Capitol Starline 45 RPM Single X-6040 (C2/D2)

Johnny Otis was known as the original “King Of Rock & Roll” long before Elvis Presley donned the title. He was an influential performer, disc jockey, record producer, TV show host and talent scout who discovered such artists as Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard, Big Mama Thornton and Little Esther.

Otis scored 15 Top 10 R&B hits between 1950 and 1952, including his #1 cover of the jazz standard “Harlem Nocturne.” He was a keen talent scout who opened up his own club in L.A., the Barrelhouse, and discovered many R&B and jazz greats.

He discovered Etta James when she was only 13 years old and produced and co-wrote her first hit single “Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry).” He also discovered Big Mama Thornton singing while cleaning hotel rooms. He co-wrote, produced and played on her seminal recording of “Hound Dog” in 1953, several years before Elvis Presley brought the song to the charts; however Otis’ songwriting credit was removed from Elvis’ recording by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. He also wrote “Every Beat of My Heart” which was a hit for both The Royals in 1952 and Gladys Knight & The Pips in 1961, and played on and produced Johnny Ace’s number one hit “Pledging My Love” and The Fiestas’ classic hit “So Fine.”

Today’s Song of the Day was a 1958 release that climbed all the way to #9 on the Pop charts and #1 R&B featuring an infectious Bo Diddley beat with terrific guitar work by Jimmy Nolen. The song is about a dance featuring hand movements called “The Hand Jive.”

The dance came from England where teenagers were not permitted to stand and dance at concert venues. Instead they created a hand movement dance that could be done from their seats. When the record came out, Capitol Records included a diagram to show fans how to do the dance. It’s also been said that the “Hand Jive” was also slang for masturbation.

Eric Clapton had a #26 chart hit with the song in 1974 from his 461 Ocean Boulevard album. It was also covered by Johnny Rivers in 1973, The Strangeloves on their 1965 album I Want Candy, Cliff Richard in 1960, The Grateful Dead (in 1980s concerts), New Riders Of The Purple Sage, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Levon Helm and George Thorogood, who also had a minor chart hit with the song in 1985.

The flip is one in a long line of “Willie” follow ups; this one was to capitalize on the cha cha dance craze of the 1950s. During the 1960s, Otis ran for the California State Assembly and lost. He then became chief of staff for Democratic Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1994 and was also the father of soul star Shuggie Otis. Johnny Otis died of natural causes on January 17, 2012.

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over fourteen years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Edited: March 30th, 2015

Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #1 – Dale Hawkins: “Susie Q” b/w “Don’t Treat Me This Way” – Checker 45 #863 – 1957 (A1/B1)

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Song of the Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #1 – Dale Hawkins: “Susie Q” b/w “Don’t Treat Me This Way” – Checker 45 #863 – 1957 (A1/B1)

Today marks the beginning of a new semi-regular series for Song of the Day by Eric Berman. “The Jukebox Series” will focus on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had the jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little almost 14 years and in that time I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within. (Well, at least I think so.)

Today, I will begin with “A-1” on the jukebox and systematically proceed through all of the records with a focus on why the tune is worthy of inclusion and how I got it.

I always thought that I’d have the Dave Edmunds single “A-1 On The Jukebox” in the “A1” position within my jukebox, but I don’t have a copy of the single, and as a rule don’t choose songs based on the novelty value of a visual pun that most people won’t see, so “A-1” in my juke box is Dale Hawkins’ swamp rock classic “Susie Q.”

I purchased an original Checker 45rpm pressing of the record at a garage sale several years ago for 10 cents and it was money very well spent. Sonically, it sounds killer pouring out of the vintage juke speakers.

Dale Hawkins wrote the song, although when it was released it was also credited to Stan Lewis who owned the record label and Eleanor Broadwater who was the wife of Nashville DJ Gene Nobles. Such was the way the music biz worked back in the 1950s, royalties had to be spread around if you wanted your record released and played on the radio.

Once the track was recorded, the master was licensed to Checker Records who released the single in 1957 where it climbed to #7 on the R&B charts and #27 on the pop charts. The guitarist on the track was a young 15 year old future Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Famer James Burton, who went on to play with the likes of Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Glen Campbell, Gram Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and many others.

Over the years, the song has seen notable covers by The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival (who issued it at their debut single), Jose Feliciano, Suzie Quatro (a real Suzie Q), Lonnie Mack, The Crew-Cuts, Gene Vincent, Johnny Rivers, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Everly Brothers, Linda McCartney (as Suzy and the Red Stripes), Bobby McFerrin and Flash Cadillac. None of the covers can even approach the greatness of the original, which is why it is included in my jukebox.

The flip is a sturdy rockabilly rave up which doesn’t get as much play time as it should; however when it does come up, it always sounds great.

Edited: March 3rd, 2015

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #31 – The Isley Brothers: “That Lady (Part 1)” b/w “That Lady (Part 2)” – T-Neck 45 RPM Single 2251 (A4/B4)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #31 – The Isley Brothers: “That Lady (Part 1)” b/w “That Lady (Part 2)” – T-Neck 45 RPM Single 2251 (A4/B4)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

From gossamer to “grit-tay”…the other day I featured a satiny-smooth jukebox classic by Smokey Robinson and the Miracles…today we’re going gritty with this funky 1973 track by The Isley Brothers.

They were one of the longest running R&B groups of all time forming in Cincinnati, Ohio in 1959 and recording and touring together in some form through 2010.

The Isley’s were responsible for such indelible hits as “Shout,” “Twist And Shout,” “This Old Heart Of Mine (Is Weak For You),” “Black Berries,” “It’s Your Thing,” “Pop That Thang,” “Love The One You’re With,” “Summer Breeze,” “Fight The Power,” “Harvest For The World,” plus many others. Today’s Song Of The Day comes from their 1973 album called 3+3.

The album’s title alludes to the fact that the three original members of the group, Ronald, Rudolph and O’Kelly Isley, made their brother-in-law Chris Jasper and brothers Ernie and Marvin Isley, the other 3, full time members of the group.

The album became their first platinum album, selling over one million copies. Along with “That Lady,” two other tracks from the album made waves on the R&B charts including their cover of Seals & Crofts’ “Summer Breeze” (#10 R&B) and “What It Comes Down To” (#5 R&B). The group also covered Jonathan Edwards’ hit “Sunshine” and James Taylor’s “Don’t Let Me Be Lonely Tonight” for the album.

Today’s Song Of the Day was originally recorded back in 1964 by The Isley’s under the title “Who’s That Lady.” That version was cut at a slower tempo and was driven by a spare staccato drum pattern, a roller-rink organ part and a full-blown horn section. The group decided to record the song again after Santana covered it on their Spirits Dancing In The Flesh album.

At first, Ronald Isley was against cutting the track again, however the rest of the group convinced him that the arrangement would be much different and it would highlight the guitar work of brother Ernie. Ernie’s guitar playing was informed by the Isley Brothers’ association with Jimi Hendrix who played with the group in 1964. Hendrix can be heard on the group’s “Testify” and “Move On Over And Let Me Dance” singles. The song became their first top-ten hit since 1969’s “It’s Your Thing,” climbing to #2 on both the Pop and R&B charts. Brother Ernie’s guitar solo was later sampled by The Beastie Boys on the track “B-Boy Bouillabaisse” from Paul’s Boutique.

Another distinction about today’s jukebox classic is that it is one in a long line of two-part singles. When 45 RPM singles ruled, it was customary to break longer tracks into two parts for the single release. The Isley Brothers were no stranger to the two-part single, and as far back as 1959, “Shout” was released as a two-parter.  Many of James Brown’s singles were released in the two-part format including “Say It Loud (I’m Black And I’m Proud,)” “Get Up I Feel Like Being A Sex Machine,” and “Papa’s Got A Brand New Bag.” Other notable two-part singles include Joey Dee’s “The Peppermint Twist,” Fleetwood Mac’s “Oh Well,” Creedence Clearwater Revival’s “Suzie Q,” Don McLean’s “American Pie,” Eddie Kendricks’ “Keep On Truckin’,” George McCrae’s “Rock Your Baby,” Rick James’ “Super Freak,” Kurtis Blow’s “The Breaks” and Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane.” What other two-part singles can you think of?

Edited: November 18th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #27 – Arthur Alexander: “Anna (Go To Him)” b/w “You Better Move On” – Collectables 45 RPM Single COL-3375 (N3/P3)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

He’s the only artist to be covered by the holy quartet of Elvis Presley, The Beatles, The Rolling Stones and Bob Dylan. Others who rushed to his deep well of first-rate copyrights included The Hollies, Ry Cooder, Pearl Jam, Ike & Tina Turner, Marshall Crenshaw, George Jones, Otis Redding, The Bee Gees, Humble Pie, and Dusty Springfield, and that’s only a small sampling of those who have recorded his tunes.

Yet, Arthur Alexander, the man who wrote such classics as “Soldier Of Love (Lay Down Your Arms),” “Sally Sue Brown,” “Detroit City,” “A Shot Of Rhythm And Blues” and the two songs on today’s jukebox single, remains largely unknown to most people today, or even worse, totally forgotten.

The A-side of today’s double-A-sided jukebox single was originally written, recorded and released as a single on the Dot label by Alexander in 1962. Alexander’s version charted at #68 on the pop charts, while climbing to #10 on the R&B lists. The song is notable because it was covered by The Beatles for their debut album Please Please Me. It was a favorite of John Lennon’s and became part of the group’s early live repertoire. Lennon had a bad cold during the marathon session that produced their first album, which accounts for the roughness of his voice.

If Alexander’s recordings weren’t enough to guarantee him legendary status, he, along with Donnie Fritts, Rick Hall and Tom Stafford, converted a dilapidated tobacco warehouse in Alabama into a recording studio, and launched the famed Muscle Shoals Studios with his first single “You Better Move On” in the early 1960s. Alexander’s original version of the song charted at #24 on the pop charts in 1962 and sold 800,000 copies making it possible for Muscle Shoals to relocate its facilities to 603 East Avalon Avenue. The backing musicians on the track included Dan Penn, Tommy Roe and Joe Tex.

The song was also covered by The Rolling Stones, The Hollies, The Moody Blues, Dean Martin, Johnny Rivers, Billy “Crash” Craddock (whose version was a #10 country hit), Mink DeVille and George Jones and Johnny Paycheck (whose duo version peaked at #18 on the country charts).

The music business was a tricky proposition then as it is now, and fame and fortune largely alluded him, but not for lack of trying. After a string of seminal southern soul recordings that made others rich and famous, Alexander moved from record label to record label releasing a series of albums and singles throughout the sixties and seventies that garnered little or no airplay, including an eponymously titled album for Warner Brothers in 1972 and the 1975 minor hit single “Every Day I Have To Cry” for Buddah Records.

From 1977 through 1992, Alexander dropped out of the music industry completely and drove a van for senior citizens. After being inducted into the Alabama Music Hall Of Fame, he came back to music and recorded his last record, Lonely Just Like Me for Elektra records in 1993. Sadly days after launching his comeback with a new band, Alexander died of a heart attack.

For further listening, check out The Ultimate Arthur Alexander for his original recordings, and the tribute album Adios Amigo: A Tribute To Arthur Alexander featuring covers of his songs by the likes of Robert Plant, Elvis Costello, Roger McGuinn, Nick Lowe, John Prine and Frank Black. Both CDs were issued by Razor & Tie music.

Edited: November 12th, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #12 – The Johnny Otis Show: “Willie And The Hand Jive” b/w “Willie Did The Cha Cha” – Capitol Starline 45 RPM Single X-6040 (C2/D2)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #12 – The Johnny Otis Show: “Willie And The Hand Jive” b/w “Willie Did The Cha Cha” – Capitol Starline 45 RPM Single X-6040 (C2/D2)

“The Jukebox Series” focuses on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had my jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’d like to think that I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Johnny Otis was known as the original “King Of Rock & Roll” long before Elvis Presley donned the title. He was an influential performer, disc jockey, record producer, TV show host and talent scout who discovered such artists as Jackie Wilson, Little Willie John, Hank Ballard, Big Mama Thornton and Little Esther.

Otis scored 15 Top 10 R&B hits between 1950 and 1952, including his #1 cover of the jazz standard “Harlem Nocturne.”  He was a keen talent scout who opened up his own club in L.A., the Barrelhouse, and discovered many R&B and jazz greats.

He discovered Etta James when she was only 13 years old and produced and co-wrote her first hit single “Wallflower (Roll With Me Henry).” He also discovered Big Mama Thornton singing while cleaning hotel rooms. He co-wrote, produced and played on her seminal recording of “Hound Dog” in 1953, several years before Elvis Presley brought the song to the charts; however Otis’ songwriting credit was removed from Elvis’ recording by Jerry Lieber and Mike Stoller. He also wrote “Every Beat of My Heart” which was a hit for both The Royals in 1952 and Gladys Knight & The Pips in 1961, and played on and produced Johnny Ace’s number one hit “Pledging My Love” and The Fiestas’ classic hit “So Fine.”

Today’s Song Of The Day was a 1958 release that climbed all the way to #9 on the Pop charts and #1 R&B featuring an infectious Bo Diddley beat with terrific guitar work by Jimmy Nolen. The song is about a dance featuring hand movements called “The Hand Jive.”

The dance came from England where teenagers were not permitted to stand and dance at concert venues. Instead they created a hand movement dance that could be done from their seats. When the record came out, Capitol Records included a diagram to show fans how to do the dance. It’s also been said that the “Hand Jive” was also slang for masturbation.

Eric Clapton had a #26 chart hit with the song in 1974 from his 461 Ocean Boulevard album. It was also covered by Johnny Rivers in 1973, The Strangeloves on their 1965 album I Want Candy, Cliff Richard in 1960, The Grateful Dead (in 1980s concerts), New Riders Of The Purple Sage, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Levon Helm and George Thorogood, who also had a minor chart hit with the song in 1985.

The flip is one in a long line of “Willie” follow ups; this one was to capitalize on the cha cha dance craze of the 1950s. During the 1960s, Otis ran for the California State Assembly and lost. He then became chief of staff for Democratic Congressman Mervyn M. Dymally. He was inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame in 1994 and was also the father of soul star Shuggie Otis. Johnny Otis died of natural causes on January 17, 2012.

Edited: October 22nd, 2013

Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #1 – Dale Hawkins: “Susie Q” b/w “Don’t Treat Me This Way” – Checker 45 #863 – 1957 (A1/B1)

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Song Of The Day by Eric Berman – The Jukebox Series #1 – Dale Hawkins: “Susie Q” b/w “Don’t Treat Me This Way” – Checker 45 #863 – 1957 (A1/B1)

Today marks the beginning of a new semi-regular series for Song Of the Day by Eric Berman. “The Jukebox Series” will focus on the 80 records that inhabit my 1963 Seeburg LPC1 jukebox. I’ve had the jukebox (or as I like to call it “the prehistoric iPod”) for a little over twelve years and in that time I’ve perfected the mix of 45s within.

Today, I will begin with “A-1” on the jukebox and systematically proceed through all of the records that are in there with a focus on why the tune is worthy of inclusion and how I got it.

I always thought that I’d have the Buck Owens single “A-1 On The Jukebox” in the “A1” position within my jukebox, but I don’t have a copy of the single, and as a rule don’t choose songs based on the novelty value of a visual pun that most people won’t see, so “A-1” in my juke box is Dale Hawkins’ swamp rock classic “Susie Q.”

I purchased and original Checker 45rpm pressing of the record at a garage sale several years ago for 10 cents and it was money very well spent. Sonically, it sounds killer pouring out of the vintage juke speakers.

Dale Hawkins wrote the song, although when it was released it was also credited to Stan Lewis who owned the record label and Eleanor Broadwater who was the wife of Nashville DJ Gene Nobles. Such was the way the music biz worked back in the 1950s, royalties had to be spread around if you wanted your record released and played on the radio.

Once the track was recorded, the master was licensed to Checker Records who released the single in 1957 where it climbed to #7 on the R&B charts and #27 on the pop charts. The guitarist on the track was a young 15 year old future Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall Of Famer James Burton, who went on to play with the likes of Ricky Nelson, Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, John Denver, Glen Campbell, Gram Parsons, Jerry Lee Lewis, Elvis Costello, Roy Orbison, Joni Mitchell, Vince Gill and countless others.

Over the years, the song has seen notable covers by The Rolling Stones, Creedence Clearwater Revival (who issued it at their debut single), Jose Feliciano, Suzie Quatro (a real Suzie Q), Lonnie Mack, The Crew-Cuts, Gene Vincent, Johnny Rivers, Quicksilver Messenger Service, The Everly Brothers, Linda McCartney (as Suzy and the Red Stripes), Bobby McFerrin and Flash Cadillac. None of the covers can even approach the greatness of the original, which is why it is included in my jukebox.

The flip is a sturdy rockabilly rave up which doesn’t get as much play time as it should; however when it does come up, it always sounds great.

Edited: October 7th, 2013