Tuesday, 12 April 2011

9 April 2011 Dr Sketchy Set List

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Kiss Them for Me: Jayne. Oh, Jayne ...

For this Dr Sketchy (at The Old Queen's Head in Angel), the emcee was Ophelia Bitz and the performer / model was Cherry Shakewell: I defy anyone not to have fun with cabaret and burlesque royalty like these two. Plus it was the first Dr Sketchy for me to unveil my week-old new tattoos (they’d finally healed, stopped flaking and were presentable at last).

I eased into proceedings with some Latin exotica (mambo, the 1965 Eartha Kitt Canta en Espanol album) before journeying into deep vintage sleaze. Cherry Shakewell’s image (bouffant blonde hair, thick false eyelashes, white lipstick) evokes Russ Meyer-esque 60s go-go dancers so while she posed I went heavy on 1960s sex kitten / babydoll-type tracks by the likes of Bardot, Nancy Sinatra and Ann-Margret. Obviously Jayne Mansfield (the punk Marilyn Monroe, who died for our sins) is an eternal touchstone: her track “Suey” always sounds to me like the tortured inner monologue of a go-go dancer gyrating from the confines of her glittery go-go cage – the perfect soundtrack for Cherry’s pose. I also decided long ago that "Cherry" by The Jive Bombers should be Ms Shakewell's theme song.

Star-struck: When Jayne met Marilyn
Jayne Meets Marilyn

Another tune I play a lot lately is "You Can't Stop Her" (1959) by Bobby Marchan (1930 -1999), the African-American New Orleans-based rhythm & blues singer best known for fronting Huey Piano Smith & the Clowns. Driven by raucous sax, the song has a vibe similar (both musically and lyrically) to Little Richard’s “The Girl Can’t Help It.” In fact Marchan and androgynous Queen of Rock’n’Roll Little Richard could be seen as soul sisters or fellow travellers: when he was scoring hit records with The Clowns Marchan dressed in male clothing, but prior to that he’d gained local notoriety as a blonde-wigged female impersonator and emcee billed as Loberta in evocatively-named dive night clubs like the Dew Drop Inn and Club Tijuana. In his consistently amazing blog The Houndblog, James “The Hound” Marshall writes about Marchan’s fascinating life and career, uncovering the subterranean drag queen influence in blues and rhythm & blues (and therefore rock’n’roll itself), the kind of angle usually airbrushed (bleached? Deracinated?) out of the hidebound “straight” (in every sense) rock history limited to Elvis, The Beatles and those endless “100 Greatest” lists. (For a nicely-researched thoughtful piece about the queer sensibility that throbbed in the background of blues and R&B, read this).

The Bronze Liberace: a very young Little Richard
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Esquerita in full cry
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Marshall mentions that both the outrageously seedy Esquerita and Little Richard also started out as at least quasi drag queens at the beginning of their careers, too. Little Richard’s drag stage name was “Princess Lavonne”, and some of his best known songs are supposedly coded tributes to his old drag queen friends: “Good Golly Miss Molly”, “Long Tall Sally.” (“Tutti Fruiti”, of course, is legendarily a paean to anal sex). In the repressed pre-civil rights 1950s middle class white parents were anxious enough about their kids listening to (and being corrupted by) the likes of Little Richard, Bobby Marchan and Esquerita: just imagine if they’d really known the full story! Freaking out the squares – it’s a wonderful tradition. As Marshall concludes in his Bobby Marchan profile...

“Of the many untold secrets that still hide up the rumpled skirt of R&B and rock’n’roll history, one surprise you will find is a black cock, and I’m not talking about roosters.”

Until next time -- take it sleazy!

Little Richard: What a beauty ...
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Chihuahua - Mina
Où Es-Tu Ma Joie - Caterina Valente
Babydoll Mambo - Belmonte and His Afro-American Music
Chihuahua - Luis Oliveira and His Bandodalua Boys
Historia de un Amor - Eartha Kitt
Eso - Conjunto TNT
Snow Surfin' Matador - Jan Davis
Scorpion - The Carnations
Sea of Love - The Earls of Suave
Flower of My Heart - Sparkle Moore
Indescribably Blue -Elvis Presley
Lover's Land - Margaret Lewis
Love Letters - Ike & Tina Turner
Little Things Mean a Lot - Jayne Mansfield
Tonight You Belong to Me - Patience & Prudence
Hearts Made of Stone - Rudy Gray
Oh Lonesome Me - Ann-Margret
Commanche - The Revels
Baby Come Back - Esquerita
Nosey Joe - Bull Moose Jackson
Oo Ba La Baby - Mamie van Doren
Stop and Listen - Mickey & Ludella
Fever - Nancy Sit
Raunchy - Bill Black Combo
Don't Be Cruel - Bill Black Combo
Makin' Out - Jody Reynolds
Angel Face - Billy Fury
The Girl Who Invented Rock'n'Roll - Mamie van Doren
Cherry - The Jive Bombers
Sugar Town - Nancy Sinatra
Harley Davidson - Brigitte Bardot
The Swinger - Ann-Margret
You Can't Stop Her - Bobby Marchan
The Big Bounce - Shirley Cadell
Open the Door - The Cochran Brothers
Rip It Up - Little Richard
Astro-Sonic - Jimmy Haskell & His Orchestra
What a Difference a Day Made - Dinah Washington
Chattanooga Choo Choo - Denise Darcel
Wine Spo-Li-Oli - The 5 Strings
Cry - Timi Yuro
Look for the Silver Lining - Chet Baker
Yes, Sir That's My Baby - Ann Richards
Blues in My Heart - The John Buzon Trio
Cha Cha Cha du Loup - Serge Gainsbourg
Love for Sale - Hildegard Knef
Crawlin' - The Untouchables
Beat Girl - Adam Faith (Beat Girl soundtrack)
Womp Womp - Freddie & The Heartaches
Honey Rock - Barney Kessel
Dragon Walk - The Noble Men
Suey - Jayne Mansfield
Groovy - The Groovers
8 Ball - The Hustlers
Diamonds Are a Girl's Best Friend - Julie London
Do It Again - April Stevens
Mack the Knife - Eartha Kitt
You're My Thrill - Dolores Gray
Strip-tease - Nico (Strip-tease soundtrack)
Misirlou - Laurindo Almeida
Summertime - Little Esther
You Know I'm No Good - Wanda Jackson
Jealousy - Billy Fury
Lover - Peggy Lee
Caravan - The John Buzon Trio
Czterdziesci Kasztanów (Forty Chestnuts) - Violetta Villas

This installment's titty shaker ...

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