It’s sad that I only recently discovered that the first appearance by The Steve Miller Band (then just The Miller Band) was on a live Chuck Berry record from 1967. Titled Live at The Fillmore Auditorium, this Berry-led onslaught is a classic of R&B numbers made famous, in large part, by Mr. Chuck himself. Johnny B. Goode, Driftin’ Blues, C.C. Rider, and I Am Your Hoochie Coochie Man all get the Chuck & Steve treatment. With Chuck (obviously) taking the lead, the yet-to-be-internationally-famous Steve Miller offers backing vocals and harmonica in addition to his lewd, and Joker-less guitar. As debut albums go, The Steve Miller Band really couldn’t have asked for a more prolific and profound opportunity, than to record with the great Chuck Berry. If you haven’t already, check it out.
I’m a little reluctant to write about Don Preston and his 1968 debut, Bluse as I feel the story is deserving of more time than I currently have (or am willing) to give to it, save to say, it wasn’t anything that I thought it was, in the best way possible. Purchased as a joke, whose backstory will be saved for another time, I foolishly discovered that Mr. Preston is (still alive) a stellar guitarist, and has played with some of the very best: Rick Nelson, George Harrison, JJ Cale, Eric Clapton, Chuck Berry, Jerry Lee Lewis, Ringo Starr, The Righteous Brothers, and Ritchie Valens, to name a short few. Bluse is classic blues-rock (bluse-rock?), and is as anything spectacular as you would think, having read the list of unquestionable legends above.
Brenda Lee was mindful enough to remember us this year, and put together a rip-roarin’ collection of rockabilly and surf rock tidings of good cheer to keep all of us, especially those in the colder regions, busy and movin’ this holiday season. Kickin’ off this 12-track comp (released in 1986 by MCA Records) is Little Miss Dynamite’s (aka Brenda Lee) 1958 classic, Rockin’ Around the Christmas Tree. What follows is a musical sleigh ride of body movin’ classics from Bobby Helms & The Anita Kerr Singers, Dodie Stevens, the Surfaris, Chuck Berry and others (others is not a band, I just didn’t want to type up the rest of talented acts featured on this flawless album…).
This record in particular generally gets more spins each holiday than the other knots in the holiday tree library. Played again, for the 3rd time just yesterday, I foresee (Brenda Lee Presents) Rockin’ Little Christmas to fill these walls at least three more times in 2013. After that she’ll head off to the dormant “Christmas section” and hibernate for a good 12 months. At this point, I’m just about over the whole Christmas music deal, but I agreed to something and I’m sticking with it (facepalm).