sinister sons and dangerous daughters

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SINISTER SONS AND DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS (Rocket/Triton DVD)

SINISTER SONS AND DANGEROUS DAUGHTERS (Rocket/Triton DVD)

Souped up and modified cars, teens running wild in the streets striking fear into the hearts of citizens, booze'n'dope, loud music their parents hate . . .  It could only be the Fifties, right? Anyone who thinks low-riders or boy racers smoking weed and playing pounding hip-hop on their car stereos are a new phenomenon need only look...

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

HOOKED: ANTI-DRUG FILMS FROM THE 30'S TO THE 70'S (Rocket/Triton DVD): Marijuana to murder in 15 minutes

Every generation thinks it invents the same two things: swearing and sex. Equally, in the Western world at least, for the past century or so every generation gets the soundtrack it needs. And the drugs. Drug education is a fraught area (more so than movies about junkies or drugs) and the tendency has been to go for scare scenarios. No one in...

MARIJUANA: My life in a happy place; no apologies

MARIJUANA: My life in a happy place; no apologies

As the 21st century dawned there was considerable argument in New Zealand about whether marijuana should be decriminalist, a debate prompted by a Green MP Nandor Tanczos attempting to bring a bill before Parliamant along those lines. People took positions on the far ends of the spectrum. As this happened I went to the editor of the New...

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

Frank Zappa: I'm the Slime (1973)

The life, times, opinions and music of Frank Zappa are too huge and diverse to come to terms with easily. What is beyond question (and some of his music and opinions were questionable) is that the man had a rare and impressive musical reach -- from doo-wop to orchestral music and all points between and beyond -- and when he was in satirical mode...

Kay Starr: The Rock and Roll Waltz (1955)

Kay Starr: The Rock and Roll Waltz (1955)

Cheap Trick scored a lot of favourable press for their Surrender (see clip below) in which the kid wakes up to find mum and dad rocking and rolling (rolling numbers) and having his Kiss records out. If that song had a forefather it was perhaps this gimmicky and safer song by Kay Starr whose chart career had taken a bit of fall until she...

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Carl Perkins: Dixie Fried (1956)

Known mostly these days as the writer of Blue Suede Shoes (he sang it before Elvis' chart-topping cover), Carl Perkins was the man who was the most hillbilly cat of them all in the early rock'n'roll era. Looking like a cadaver with his sunken cheeks, and a heroic drinker, the married Carl was the Hank Williams of rockabilly . . . and Sam...

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, a documentary by RON MANN (DV1/Southbound)

COMIC BOOK CONFIDENTIAL, a documentary by RON MANN (DV1/Southbound)

This 90 minute doco may look dated now -- and it is rather superficial in some respects -- but it offers a useful comicshistory.001 overview of the US major players from just before the Second World War (given scant attention) and into the more interesting, diverse and controversial period of the Fifties and mid-Sixties. Looked at from this...

Jerry Lee Lewis: The Return of Jerry Lee (1958)

Jerry Lee Lewis: The Return of Jerry Lee (1958)

When Jerry Lee Lewis arrived in Britain in May 1958 the rock'n'roll crown was his for the taking. He was the wildman at the piano with crazy stacked-up hair, had delivered seminal, sweat-inducing hits with Whole Lotta Shakin' and Great Balls of Fire, and he was repressed sex personified and unleashed. He may have been a country boy at heart...

Various Artists: All We Wanna do is Rock (Bear Family/Yellow Eye)

Various Artists: All We Wanna do is Rock (Bear Family/Yellow Eye)

The great thing about Fifties rock'n'roll songs is they give you more bang for your buck -- this single disc from the German reissue label Bear Family (sort of Ryko-and-Rhino out of Hambergen) delivers 36 -- yep, count 'em, 36 -- tracks "carefully selected for moondogs and hepcats". There are many familiar names here for sure and a...

Various Artists: Head Over High Heels; Strong and Female 1927-59 (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

Various Artists: Head Over High Heels; Strong and Female 1927-59 (Trikont/Yellow Eye)

Much as some might like to think strong females arrived with Madonna (or maybe in the late Sixties with feminism), there were always those independent, tough-minded and free-spirited women out there -- especially in the world of jazz and blues. This collection which opens with Pearl Bailey and You Can be Replaced (from her album Pearl Bailey...

Roy Hall: Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1955)

Roy Hall: Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On (1955)

The origins of some songs are lost, but often a definitive version will stand out. So it is with Whole Lotta Shakin Goin On which exists in the minds of most as the Jerry Lee Lewis hit in '57. Most would even think that Lewis wrote it. He didn't, although his whipped-up version is almost a different song than the one which existed...

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

Nancy Sinatra and Lee Hazlewood: Down from Dover (1972)

Interest lies perhaps not in this dark song but what is written in ballpoint on the cover of the album I have. A thick line is drawn through the title on the back cover and in block capitals beside it is written "DON'T PLAY". There is even a scratchy ballpoint scribble through the title on the record itself. The other telling...

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

Jerry Lee Lewis: Mean Old Man (Verve Forecast)

In a You Tube comment someone said Jerry Lee looked a little rough for someone only 74 years old. In his defense -- he's actually 75 now -- they were pretty full years, especially in the late Fifties, and he wasn't called the Killer for nothing, the man gave it all on the night. And of course there were the tragic (and slightly mysterious,...

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon: Keep Searchin' (1964)

Del Shannon -- who died in 1990 age 55 -- is best and perhaps only remembered for the great chart-topping single Runaway of '61, even now a thrilling slice of energetic pop. But far from a one-hit wonder as classic hits radio would have you believe, he also did top 10 business with Hats off to Larry and Little Town Flirt -- and he was smart...

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

BEST OF ELSEWHERE 2010 The Jim Jones Revue: Burning Your House Down (Liberator)

You really gotta love the JJ Revue who deliver hotrod rock'n'roll which draws from the Fifties (Little Richard, Jerry Lee Lewis) as filtered through the most wild and dissolute of Rod Stewart/Faces (or the Quireboys with more rocking honky-tonk blues in their soul) with the kind of trash energy of Grinderman. Produced by Jim Sclavunos (who...

Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

Pat Boone: No More Mr Nice Guy (1997)

When the cleanest white-bread rock'n'roll singer of the late Fifties sings "no more Mr Nice Guy, no more Mr Clean" you know he's well in on the joke -- and that if you bought the album this came from (In a Metal Mood) then the joke was on you. First, they might have been hard rock songs he was covering (Smoke on the Water with...

PAT BOONE INTERVIEWED (1995): Still the same Mr Nice Guy

PAT BOONE INTERVIEWED (1995): Still the same Mr Nice Guy

If conventional wisdom and the rock'n'roll history books are to be believed, Pat Boone was one of the villains - simply because he was so nice. He was the square when his contemporaries were the sneering, hip-swinging Elvis, the outrageous Little Richard and the adult, knowing Chuck Berry. Boone – who turned down a film role...

Elton Motello: Jet Boy Jet Girl (1978)

Elton Motello: Jet Boy Jet Girl (1978)

Most people have heard Belgian faux-punk Plastic Bertrand's one-off single Ca Plane pour moi of '77 (see clip). Fewer will have heard this bastard half-sister version by the UK rock'n'roll punk band Elton Motello (also the adopted name of singer Alan Ward) out of South London around the same period. But the backstory is a little...

Elvis Wade: Professional Lovemaker (1977)

Elvis Wade: Professional Lovemaker (1977)

In an alternate lifetime, singer Wade Cummings could have been Elvis Presley, the man he resembled and came to impersonate. He was born into a poor but musical family in rural Tennessee (his dad a moonshiner) and he was the youngest of nine children. That's the kind of almost mythical backstory we like in our rock stars. As a kid he saw...

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Still ready to have a party

WANDA JACKSON INTERVIEWED (2011): Still ready to have a party

Wanda Jackson – at 73 – has had a number of careers: in the Fifties she was a rockabilly star and touring with (and dating) Elvis Presley while delivering belters like Fujiyama Mama and the classic throat-tearer Let's Have a Party; in the Sixties she went back to her country roots as rock'n'roll faded; by the Seventies she had...

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over (Third Man)

Wanda Jackson: The Party Ain't Over (Third Man)

The first Jack White-produced single from this album -- a shuddering Shakin' All Over and a discreetly revised version of Amy Winehouse's You Know I'm No Good -- were hints that White wasn't going to simply reheat the career of this 73-year old rockabilly star with some rock'n'roll nostalgia. In an interview with Elsewhere for this album...

Twinkle: Terry (1964)

Twinkle: Terry (1964)

There's quite a tradition of death ballads in rock -- Pearl Jam tapped into it when they covered Last Kiss which had been recorded to no great public interest by Wayne Cochran in '61. Perhaps the greatest of them all was Leader of the Pack ("look out look out look out!") by the Shangri-Las in '64. Coincidentally at exactly the same...

Peter Sarstedt: Mary Jane (1969)

Peter Sarstedt: Mary Jane (1969)

If people remember UK singer-songwriter Peter Sarstedt for anything at all it is his European-sounding ballad Where Do You Go to My Lovely? . . . and perhaps his summery follow-up One More Frozen Orange Juice. Both were hits in '69, the former winning him an Ivor Novello songwriting award. Sarstedt was the younger brother of Eden Kane --...

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis: Smoking in Heaven (Sunday Best)

Kitty, Daisy and Lewis: Smoking in Heaven (Sunday Best)

While some have be quite taken by KD&Lewis' retro look and sound -- which is undeniably entertaining on the surface and live -- I have remained immune and indifferent to their charms. And nothing on this album of all originals can persuade me to be otherwise. These songs sound lame when they aren't just plain dull, or working out...

The Pictones: Hashish (1962)

The Pictones: Hashish (1962)

Not a lot is known about New Zealand's Pictones out of Levin, an instrumental group who delivered a nice line in country'n'western rock'n'roll on their 1961 single Pistol Packin' Mama which opened with galloping hooves, a whip cracking and a whinny. (The flipside of which was My Bonnie, recorded around the same time as the Beatles did it in...

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

Jimmy Patton: Okies in the Pokey (1959)

Jimmy Patton (1931-89) was never really a rockabilly singer although this, his biggest hit, was certainly a rave-up in that style. But Patton's heart had always been in hillbilly country, right up until Elvis came along. Like so many others he grabbed a backbeat and made the shift sideways into rock'n'roll, and specifically the rockabilly...

The Contours: First I Look at the Purse (1965)

The Contours: First I Look at the Purse (1965)

One of the first groups signed to Berry Gordy's Motown label, the Contours had a huge hit with the much-covered Do You Love Me ("now that I can dance") which was in the set of Beatles-era bands like the Dave Clark Five, the Hollies and the Tremeloes. After their next couple of songs failed to ignite it seems they were relegated...

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