Today’s Music to keep me SsSSSaAAAAANNNNnneee in Isolation – Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson

The man who invented the long guitar lead so he could roam about and produce his guitar histrionics. He was the ultimate showman and way ahead of his time!! In the 1950s he was a real pioneer. Just listen to that ‘Space Guitar’ from 1954 – the reverb, echo and effects.

Today’s Music to Keep eM enAS in Lockdown – Tommy Tucker

The rumour was that Tommy Tucker died on a UK tour from eating a Wimpy Burger and getting food poisoning. Lol. Probably a bit of fake news put out by McDonalds or Burger King.

There were many R&B staples of the British Beat boom of the sixties and Tommy Tucker was one of them.

I wonder how many different bands played ‘Long Tall Shorty’  and Hi-Heeled Sneakers’? Absolute classics!

Today I’m going to be playing them too – but I’ll play the originals by Tommy Tucker:


Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – The Coasters

After a foray into the sixties underground I thought it would be nice to have a bit of good-time music from the fifties. The Coasters, with their array of Leiber and Stoller songs were always a favourite of mine.

They were much covered by the sixties Beat Groups, including the Beatles.

They were a black US R&B outfit, not quite Doo-Wop, but in the same general area. Some of their songs were humorous but some weren’t. I think they’re great.

So today I’m filling the house with 50’s R&B and the sound of the Coasters.


Today’s Music to keep me SANE in Isolation – Booker T and the MGs

It all started for me with that fabulous ‘Green Onions’, recorded in 1962.  An R&B classic.

It knocked me out when I heard it. They were a fabulously tight band and certainly made a statement back in the early sixties both as the Stax house band behind all those brilliant Soul acts and the fact that they were a multicultural band. I just loved Steve Cropper’s guitar sound.

When I was in Memphis I visited Stax Studios. Awesome.

5 great Fifties RnB tracks

The Fifties was a great time for raw R&B.

  1. Coasters – Poison Ivy –
  2. James Brown – I Feel Good –….0…1.1.64.serp..0.12.1356…35i39k1j0i131k1.W20yBwdurFI
  3. Chuck Willis – Hang up my Rock ‘n’ Roll shoes –
  4. Don and Dewey – Justine –
  5. Big Mama Thornton – Hounddog –


In the UK:

In the USA:

Oph & Mike’s 1950s R&B Radio Show

We have just recorded our third Radio Show. we are getting used to a recording studio now. Our programmes go out on hospital Radio. So we have a captive audience.

I am assured that it encourages the patients to leave hospital and go home!

I am sure that they only play it to the intensive care patients – the others can turn it off!

Anyway, this week it was fifties R&B. We had a great time writing, rehearsing and recording. If you like 1950s US black R&B this might be the show for you. We love it. It was the stuff that turned on the Beatles and Stones.

Have a listen:

The Downliner’s Sect – Opher’s World pays tribute to genius.

Downliner’s Sect – Opher’s World pays tribute to genius.




The Downliner’s Sect were the band that got away. They appeared like sweet mountain dew and promptly evaporated into the magic air without achieving the fulfilment of their promise.

They were my band. I specialised in delighting in the discovery of brilliant obscure bands and songs that never garnished the charts. It bemused my contemporaries. The Sect were one of my discoveries. I found them nestling incongruously in the small record rack in our local electrical goods store in Walton on Thames. It was a store not renowned for stocking anything other than standard chart material. I used to peruse the wares every now and again. The cover called to me. I was instantly enchanted. I took a chance. For some reason my expectations were high. I got a thrill from simply holding and looking at the album. I could see from the track list that it was the type of stuff that would appeal. I was not disappointed.

It was the Summer of 1964. The Stones were leading the mad charge of British R&B. The Stones were wonderfully uncouth and surly. Their music was seminal. The Yardbirds were doing the same sort of things but seemingly on large doses of Amphetamine. The Pretty Things scowled and were even more extreme and then there was Them, the Animals and a host more. They were all mining the same rich vein of Chicago Blues.

It wasn’t until I got home that I could put the truth of my instincts to the test. From the moment I slipped it on my turntable and the needle went down I knew it was the business. This was the ultimate R&B band. They were punchy, earthy, pacey, wild and distinctive. I had discovered the lodestone of British R&B. No other band was was as original/.

That should have been it. They had the look, sound and music to go with it. 1964 should have been their year. It never happened.

They must have had the wrong management. The singles did not match the album. They deviated from the raw R&B. The breakthrough never materialised.

It did not bother me. It meant I had them to myself. Their album took pride of place in my collection alongside the Kinks, Who and Chuck Berry albums. I was confident that the second album would rectify the problem.

I got an EP instead. It was a bemusing EP entitled The Sect Sing Sick Songs. Good but a change in style.

Then the second album arrived – The Country Sect – it was a mish-mash of Country and Folk. Where was the raw R&B? They’d left their R&B fans high and dry.

This was baffling. What were they doing? They appeared to be jumping on every trend going. It gave their credibility a kicking. Not only that but they were falling short.

What we wanted was another dose of that driving R&B they were so brilliant at – that searing guitar, wailing harp, thumping bass and drum pounding to the manic vocals – the self-penned quirky songs. This was just confusing.

The singles were humorous originals and the EP and albums were all different.What did they believe in? Were they serious about anything?

The next album confirmed it. It was an attempt at Rock and Pop. That sealed their fate.

The Downliner’s Sect were never going to be recognised as a great R&B unit as they might have been. They’d missed the boat – or rather scuttled it!

Still we had that one glorious album. It was enough to establish their credibility as an outstanding band.

It just should have been so much more!

Oph & Mike’s Radio Programme – 50s US R&B.

Well this is radio show we recorded together yesterday!

We’ve got to go back and sort out a couple of glitches before it is complete – There’s a bit of a muck up around the intro to Hi-heeled Sneakers and Arthur Alexander but we’ll sort that.

I hope you enjoy this. Any feedback would be appreciated.

This will go out (when we’ve sorted the glitches) to local hospitals. As I said before – if we get it right they’ll take it off intensive care and into the other wards!

It’s great to have a captive audience. I’m very proud of the opportunity to give people an incentive to get better.

Although it’s the rough version – please let me know what you think!


More R@B for Tobes – Jimmy Reed – Ain’t That lovin’ You Baby

This is the great Jimmy Reed who invented that chugging beat. He was a great performer. I only saw him once, and yes, he was remarkably drunk. But he was also remarkably cheerful and absolutely brilliant.

This is Ain’t that Lovin’ You Baby – one of his many best. Elvis covered this one.

This is Shame Shame Shame – another great one – The Merseybeats did a great cover of this one!

Dr Feelgood – Roxette – Another genius R@B track

Dr Feelgood were an early seventies Pub Rock band who specialised in R@B just like the Alligators. Wilko Johnson on guitar was amazing. Lee Brilleaux unfortunately died. But what a great band.

This is what happens when a bunch of Canvey Island guys do R@B.