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Monday, 9 July 2018

Tough Stuff (Sun's Instrumental Gold)

Side A:
01. Raunchy - Bill Justis
02. College Man - Bill Justis
03. Flip Flop And Bop - Bill Justis
04. The Snuggle - Bill Justis
05. Bop Train - Bill Justis
06. 706 Union - Brad Suggs
07. Cloudy - Brad Suggs
08. Groovy Train - Wade Cagle

Side B:
01. Bo Diddley - Jimmy Van Eaton
02. Thunderbird - Sonny Burgess
03. Itchy - Sonny Burgess
04. In The Mood - The Hawk
05. Lewis Workout - Jerry Lee Lewis
06. Eddie's Blues - Eddie Bush
07. Jack's Jump - Frank Frost
08. Crawlback - Frank Frost

Tough Stuff (Zippy)

Summertime posts tend to be pretty thin on the ground on "Be Bop Wino." Last year, for example, saw July and August being entirely missed out. One reason for the summer scarcity is that during the long, hot, sunny days I embark on my annual "Kicks-athon" which is where I load up the media player with a stack of instrumental, rockabilly, surf and rockin' R&B tracks, turn on auto-DJ, and stretch out with a couple of old copies of the only rock 'n' roll magazine worth a damn - "Kicks."

Founded by Miriam Linna and the late and much missed Billy Miller, "Kicks" was a revelation to me when a work colleague passed on a copy of the seventh and last issue. It was a window on a weird alternative universe where early 1960s teen instrumental groups, surf bands, stoned rockabillies, drunken hillbillies, doo wop groups and wild, wild R&B shouters still ruled the airwaves. And the writing was just as wild as the music! I can say that "Kicks" was partly responsible for making me the man I am today, i.e. a hopeless dropout.

So this summer I'm gonna attempt to keep the Kicks spirit alive on Be Bop Wino with rockin' stuff hot off my new turntable. This doesn't mean there'll be a surge of rockabilly and surf on the blog as I just don't have the vinyl for that. Besides, there are other blogs that do that kind of stuff far better than I could hope to do. I'm thinking of Uncle Gil and Twilightzone and there's a myriad of others where you can pick up on the necessary twangin' thang for your very own Kicks-athon. R&B is still the meat and drink of Be Bop Wino, but we may occasionally "stray" from the usual path in the next few weeks.

"Tough Stuff" - old Charly comp of instros originally issued on Sun and Phillips International. "Raunchy" by Bill Justis was a huge international hit, charting twice in the UK in 1958 for example. The rest of the tracks are not so well known (outside of the cognoscenti), but it's all good jumpin' fun. The Sonny Burgess tracks featuring Billy Lee Riley on harmonica are absolute standouts but the unissued sides by Jerry Lee Lewis and Eddie Bush (Carl Mann's guitarist) are basically jams which lack focus and were never intended to be released. "Eddie's Blues" with its distorted guitar workout foreshadows a thousand aimless guitar noodles which started to appear from 1966 onwards. Indeed at times it's hard to believe that the recording dates from 1959.

That said, this is an entertaining collection and a good soundtrack for summer fun, fun, fun. The sleeve notes by Sun expert Martin Hawkins are very informative and are the ideal poolside reading while you sip a long cool one.

Original Release Details

Bill Justis - Raunchy / The Midnite Man - Phillips International 3519 - September 1957.

Bill Justis - College Man / The Stranger - Phillips International 3522 - February 1958.

Bill Justis - Bop Train / String Of Pearls-Cha Hot Cha - Phillips International 3535 - October 1958.

Bill Justis - Flip Flop And Bop and The Snuggle issued on P.I. LP 1950 - "Cloud 9" - August 1960.

Brad Suggs - 706 Union / Low Outside - Phillips International 3545 - September 1959.

Brad Suggs - Cloudy / Partly Cloudy - Phillips International 3554 - April 1960.

Wade Cagle And The Escorts - Groovy Train / Highland Rock - Sun 360 - April 1961.

Jimmy Van Eaton - Bo Diddley - unissued Sun recording, 1959. Another version was recorded and issued on Nita 127 in 1960.

Sonny Burgess - Thunderbird / Itchy - Sun 304 - August 1958.

The Hawk - In The Mood / I Get The Blues When It Rains - Phillips International 3559 - August 1960. "The Hawk" is Jerry Lee Lewis.

Jerry Lee Lewis - Lewis Workout - unissued Sun recording, 1959.

Eddie Bush - Eddie's Blues - unissued Sun recording, October 1959. Eddie Bush was the guitarist in Carl Mann's band.

Frank Frost with The Night Hawks - Jack's Jump - issued on PILP 1975 "Hey Boss Man!" - 1962.

Frank Frost - Jelly Roll King / Crawlback - Phillips International 3578 - June 1962.


Anonymous said...

I'm really glad to be introduced
to Tough stuff -comp. of Charly.
(somewhere in the first middle
of sixties I was, at about 4 years,
starting to play 7-inch vinyls with
very modest record player.
Towards the middle of seventies
I found my first Charly -label LP's
through the post-sale. The Roots serie.)
Thanks B-W for the good music ! Blessings !
- Jay from the North.

Bob Mac said...

Thanks BW, another nice comp I haven't seen before.

HeySuchAndSuch said...

Hey There!

Definitely looking forward to spinning this comp a few times, and enjoying my own Kicks-tastic summer!

Interested to see what you'll post music-wise in the coming days. As you noted, there's other blogs (including TWZ, which was my route to you) that do the garage / 60s thing very well, which kinda frees you up to explore some more esoteric & off-the-beaten-path-type choices.

Thought / suggestion: maybe you could post PDFs of back issues of Kicks? Most of the folks I know are as happy reading them in virtual form as they are reading a hard copy, despite the tiny print + frenzied layout.

Annnnyway...thanks & keep up the good work!

boogiewoody said...

Thanks for commenting! I've got a few things lined up, including another collection from Joan which arrived this morning and is a knock out! I only have 3 issues of Kicks - 5, 6 and 7 but I won't be scanning them for fear of damaging them plus it would take hours, plus I would actually feel guilty about doing that! Someone did put up a pdf of number 3 a few years ago, and it might still be hanging around the interweb.

Miriam Linna's articles on Bobby Fuller (in no. 6) and Ron Haydock (in no. 7) are outstanding pieces. I think the Norton website might still have copies of number 7 for sale. I just wish they would republish the whole collection and keep it available forevermore.

Ah well, we rock on nevertheless.