Isolation Mix 15: Songs The Lord Sabre Taught Us Part Two

Two weeks ago I posted my fourteenth Isolation Mix, The Songs Lord Sabre Taught Us, an hour of music from Andrew Weatherall’s record box, as featured on his radio shows, playlists, interviews and mixes, mixed together seamlessly (vaguely). Today’s mix is a second edition, fifteen songs he played, raved about or sampled, most of them first heard via him (I was listening to Stockholm Monsters before I was a fan of Mr Weatherall, a long lost Factory band who made a bunch of good singles and a fine album called Alma Matter and also the best band to come out of Burnage). It’s a tribute to the man and his record collection that there are so many great records from his back pages to sift through and then sequence into some kind of pleasing order. Rockabilly, dub, Factory, post- punk, krautrock legends, Weller spinning out through the Kosmos…

Cowboys International: The ‘No’ Tune
Sparkle Moore: Skull And Crossbones

The Pistoleers: Bank Robber

The Johnny Burnette Trio: Honey Hush

Jean ‘Binta’ Breeze: Dubwise

Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry: Disco Devil

African Head Charge: Dervish Chant

Big Youth: Hotter Fire

Colourbox: Looks Like We’re Shy One Horse

Stockholm Monsters: All At Once

Holger Czukay, Jah Wobble and Jaki Liebezeit: How Much Are They?

White Williams: Route To Palm

Paul Weller: Kosmos (Lynch Mob Bonus Beats)

A R Kane: A Love From Outer Space

Chris And Cosey: October (Love Song) ‘86

The return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 166

Back in the mid 2010s there was a long running series here on a Friday evening, a series of rockabilly posts that ended up a) reaching number 165 and b) draining me of enthusiasm for rockabilly. In the end it felt like a chore and that’s a sure sign to kill off a blog series. Plus there’s only so much you can say about rockabilly- a twangy guitar or ferocious leadline, slapback bass, railroad rhythms and a man or a woman usually singing about another woman or man. Tonight is a brief reprise inspired by finding my copy of Jim Jarmusch’s 1989 film Mystery Train and watching it last Friday night (or maybe it was Saturday, difficult to tell). Either way it was the first time I’ve seen the film for many years.

Mystery Train is three short stories that interconnect on one night in a Memphis flophouse hotel. It unfolds pretty slowly, at a pace today’s films wouldn’t, and in the end nothing much really happens. The first story, Far From Yokohama, has a young Japanese couple, Mitsuko and Jun, making a pilgrimage to the American south to see Gracelands and Sun Studios. She, MItsuko, is obsessed with Elvis, he, Jun, with Carl Perkins. The second story is about Luisa, a young widow, stuck in Memphis overnight while trying to fly her recently deceased husband back to Rome for the funeral. She ends up sharing a room with Dee Dee, who has just split up with her English boyfriend. In the room at night Luisa sees the ghost of Elvis. The third story centres around Johnny, the English boyfriend (played by Joe Strummer) who has lost his girl and his job, is drunk and out of control. Dee Dee’s brother (a young Steve Buscemi) is called to rescue Johnny and they spend the night in the hotel too before the film’s finale the following morning where there is a gunshot and the participants from all three stories move on. Each hotel room in the film has no TV, something each guest remarks on, but each room does a portrait of Elvis looking down on the guests. Mitsuko is keeping a scrapbook as she travels through the US, a record of Elvis and the people he has influenced, from Madonna to the Statue Of Liberty.

As well as Strummer (in his first acting role and thrown a line by Jarmusch who wrote the part for Strummer at a time when he was adrift and depressed) and Buscemi the film stars Screamin’ Jay Hawkins as the hotel’s night clerk. Buscemi is Buscemi, Hawkins is droll and subtle. Strummer overdoes it a bit, clearly the non- actor in the film. Thirty one years on the real stars are Youki Kudoh and Masatoshi Nagase, the young Japanese couple, smoking their way through the train, the railway station, the hotel and back again. The chemistry between them and their understated cool, a pair of eighteen year olds in 50s clothing entranced by the music of the rockabilly pioneers, is central to the film.

The song Mystery Train was written and recorded by Junior Parker in 1953, a Memphis blues before it became a rockabilly song. Elvis’ version from 1955 is a crucial, definitive song in the history of 20th century music, in American culture and in Elvis’ own story. It made him a nationally known figure. Producer Sam Phillips, guitarist Scotty Moore, bassist Bill Black and Elvis created something that is one of building blocks of popular music, pure magic from start to finish, from the fade in and the moment when Elvis comes in with the line ‘train arrived sixteen coaches long’ to the fade out, and his girl gone on the train into the night.

Mystery Train

That Stuff Rubbed Off On Me

George requested Carl Perkins following the Perkins-Craig face off on Monday. I haven’t posted any rockabilly since my Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night series came to a close in March 2015. It began to feel like homework and a chore, two hundred and ten posts in, so it stopped. So this is a rockabilly reprise for a Thursday in March…

In 1956 Carl Perkins released Her Love Rubbed Off, a song that makes maximum use of Carl’s southern gargle, a psyched out guitar part and slap back echo. The lyric celebrates getting it on in a pretty frank style for 1956.

‘Well, I was so alone in the city park
I met my baby standing in the dark
Took my lovin’ baby by the hand
I let her know that I’m her lovin’ man

That love rubbed off on me
That baby wouldn’t let me be
That baby took me by the hand
That love, I made her understand
That love, I hollered no, no, no
That baby wouldn’t let me go, oh, oh’

Her Love Rubbed Off

In 1990 The Cramps twisted it further around, Lux and Ivy adding volume and distortion to Carl’s already pretty hot under the collar song. You just can’t beat The Cramps.

Her Love Rubbed Off  Correct link now.

Echo And Delay

A short film for Father’s Day with our patron Andrew Weatherall talking about record collecting, rockabilly and dub, echo, delay, space and transcendence.

And here’s a Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry production from the heart of the 1970s, The Black Notes.

African Style

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 165

The Friday night series that (just about) refuses to die. Imelda May has a song about Johnny. Johnny got a boom boom. Have a good Friday night- the bar is open if you want a drink.

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 164

‘Hey rockabilly, dance your shoes away!’

The magnificently named Aubrey Cagle with a simple 50s shuffle and instruction for your Friday evening.

Rock-a-Billy Boy

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 163

Charlie Feathers is one of the rockabilly greats. This song from the late 50s sounds like it was recorded in a garden shed but the singing rings out loud and clear. Like The Loft and Travis years after him, it’s not really a song about the rain but about a girl who done gone and left.

Rain Keeps On Falling

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 162

I’ll try to squeeze one more drop of rockabilly out for your Friday night. Derrell Felts and The Confederates, extolling the value of having a playmate (thinly veiled sexual metaphor perhaps). In under rocking three minutes. Released on Dixie records. Southern boys.


The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 161

A charming MTV feature from the 80s on the then rockabilly revival with interviews from The Stray Cats, The Blasters and The Rockats and a not-at-all-basic guise to rockabilly. For added 80s-ness it’s been uploaded from VHS, complete with tracking lines and squiggles. And MTV was a music channel back then- imagine that!
It has been a very long week, more like a fortnight really, and quite intense. Get a round in someone- I’ll get the next one.

The Return Of Friday Night Is Rockabilly Night 160

This is voodoo priest Louis Romain, from Haiti, photographed in the 1930s. He is the cover star of The Gun Club’s debut album the Fire Of Love and also turned up on the sleeve of Sabres Of Paradise’s Wilmot single. The Fire Of Love’s grooves are shot through with rockabilly, as well as punk, blues, and country.

It’s Friday. Shall we have a drink?

Black Train