Tuesday, 28 May 2013


Ten favourites for the merry month of May.

1.  Mahalia Jackson – “I’m On My Way” (1958)
Barbara Dane’s version was the big R&B club hit a while back but Jackson’s vocal on this and the rest of her Live at the Newport Festival performance is on another plane.

2.  The Rivingtons – “Old Time Love” (1962)
We have The Rivingtons’ “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” and “The Bird’s The Word” to thank/blame for giving us The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” but this honking, big voiced doo-wop stomper is their finest moment.

3.  Lee Hazlewood and Duane Eddy with his Orchestra – “The Girl On Death Row” (1960)
The first single issued under Hazlewood’s name and such an eerie record.  Written for a film which had its title changed on release to Why Must I Die?

4.  The Supremes – “A Breathing Taking Guy” (1963)
If you’re looking for a salacious Motown book Mark Ribowsky’s gossipy The Supremes: A Saga of Motown Dreams, Success and Betrayal should satisfy. Which Supreme had to be talked out of installing a mirror on their bedroom ceiling by Berry Gordy?  

5.  Clydie King – “Missin’ My Baby” (1965)
If Clydie’s unbelievably sexy voice doesn’t melt you then you must have a heart of stone.

6.  Little Richard – “Get Down With It” (1967)
An irresistible thumping R&B shouter from the shy and retiring Mr. Penniman.  

7.  Orchestra Harlow – “Freak Off” (1967)
Reminds me of a Latin Boogaloo version of “The Work Song”, which doesn’t sound like a hugely enticing prospect I’ll grant you, but this is worth hearing.

8.  Bob Dylan – “If Dogs Run Free” (1970)
I’ve been playing all Bob Dylan’s studio albums in order, one per day. It’s been interesting to hear them in that way – through all the peaks and troughs. Most I know like the back of my hand but the lesser played ones have thrown up some interesting moments (and some excruciating ones) like this crazy beat poetry jazz number on New Morning.

9.  Billy Paul – “Magic Carpet Ride” (1971)
An suitably uplifting soul-jazz workout of the Steppenwolf single. The full-length version on Going East is the one to get.     

10.  Paul Messis – “I Hate The World Around Me” (2013)
Much dirty water has flowed since I last heard and enjoyed an album of such authentic angsty teen-garage punk as Messis’s Case Closed. Out now on State Records. 


  1. You just reminded me that there's a Clydie King compilation I still need to get my hands on! I'm only really aware of her from her back-up work and the Stones' cover.

    I really like your idea of playing the Dylan albums all the way through in order. For me, 'Desire' was the last one I got into before catching up with his more current output.

    (Hey, and I like that 'New Morning' track... haha! Yeah, it's silly though.)

  2. If you mean "Clydie King - The Imperial and Minit Years" then I strongly recommend it. Some exceptional tracks on it.

    You've missed a few dreadful Dylan albums. Was playing Knocked Out Loaded today. Has to be his worst!

  3. Monkey Sir,

    I dont follow many blogs and I do find much of the mod scene a little too nepotistic and self promoting of lack lustre product; music, books clothes, otherwise.

    All said I've look forward to your posts these past three years and it would be rude, particularly following a great May Playlist, not to just once say thanks for your referrals of good taste.

    Much appreciated.

    Peace & Amity,

  4. Thanks a lot Glyn, really appreciate you taking the time. Does act as great encouragement.

    I agree with you about some parts of the mod scene; elements of it can be very undiscerning. Probably helps that Monkey Picks isn't (to my mind at least) a "Mod" blog - just one that features the parts of it that interest me, amongst all the other stuff.

    Thanks again. Monk.