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The Cream of The Crate - Record #9

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"We gotta play music that'll make them goddamn beer bottles bounce on the table"

– Moon Mullican
From the Cream of The Crate Series – An album in my collection that is irreplaceable, and simply a classic!

This is number nine in the series of albums I’m featuring and is one that may not be to everyone’s taste, If you enjoy Rock n’ Roll, especially if you enjoy it’s roots, then this is the album for you.

This album, Seven Nights To Rock by Moon Mullican was released in 2001 on the Western label. It has since been re-released on CD (Ace records – 2004).

Moon Mullican was born Aubrey Wilson Mullican on March 29, 1909 and passed away on January 1, 1967. It has been said that Bill Haley was an unlikely candidate for a R&R star, and if that were the case than Moon Mullican would appear to be an incredibly unlikely candidate. Yet, in so many ways he was not just a pioneer, he is absolutely essential listening.

The musical melting pot from which Rock & Roll evolved has indeed many elements, of which the style of ‘Western Swing’ is one of the key ingredients. This is the style that Moon has generally been placed within, although it is obvious that he also straddles Country & Western and Rockabilly as well. Born in East Texas, it is clear that musicians in that area, and in that period heard Cajun tunes, New Orleans and Chicago jazz, gospel, blues, hillbilly and pop. By the time Moon was in his 20s, Western Swing was the style sweeping through Texas. Musicians in seminal band the Light Crust Doughboys soon set up their own bands. For instance the hot bands of Bob Wills and his Texas Playboys and Milton Brown. They packed out dances, gigs, and clubs, poured out of the airwaves and on 78s played on jukeboxes or the family radiogram.

As a child, Mullican began playing the organ, which his religious father had purchased in order to better sing hymns at church. However, Moon had befriended one of the black sharecroppers on the farm, a guitarist named Joe Jones, who introduced him to the country blues. His religious family did not always approve, and he was torn between religion and secular music. After making his mark as a local piano player, he left home at 16, and headed to Houston, where he began playing piano and singing in local clubs. His career choice was to be a singer or a preacher, and he chose the former.

By the early 1930’s he had gained the nickname “Moon” (the origin of which is still debated), and in 1936 he covered Cab Calloway’s "Georgia Pine". That was the beginning of an amazing career. There seems little point in listing all the tracks he recorded; the list would be very lengthy indeed. Here is the list of recordings that charted.

Discography of charting tracks

Year Single Chart Positions
Country/ General
1936 "Swing Baby Swing" 5
1938 "I'll Keep On Loving You"
1939 "Truck Driver's Blues"
1947 "New Pretty Blonde (Jole Blon)" 2
b/w "Jole Blon's Sister" 4
1948 "Sweeter Than the Flowers"
b/w "I'll Sail My Ship Alone”
3
1

17
1950 "Mona Lisa” 4
b/w "Goodnight Irene” 5
1951 "Cherokee Boogie (E-Oh-Aleena)" 7
1961 "Ragged but Right 15

The album Seven Nights To Rock has 16 tracks on it covering the recording period 1946 to 1956 and include many of his ‘classic’ pieces of Western Swing/R&R – these being:

* Seven Nights To Rock
* Well, Oh Well
* Cherokee Boogie
* Tokyo Boogie
* Rocket To The Moon
* Rheumatism Boogie.

But Moon, despite his rocking music, was never going to be a Rock and Roll star. By the time his music was really being appreciated he fifty years of age, bald and overweight. The fact that he could really pump it out on his favourite instrument, the piano, was overlooked because image was becoming everything, with the likes of Elvis, Jerry Lee and Carl Perkins vying for the audience attention.

As Ric Kienzie wrote on the liner notes to this fabulous album – “Someone else would have undoubtedly have made similar music to Moon’s, but it was his earthy, uninhibited approach that set the standards to be followed by Jerry Lee….. and the rest. He helped to create the foundations of rockabilly and rock ‘n roll, and if you don’t believe it, just listen to the songs within. They’ll convince you.”

So when you put his music on, and I have included three of my favourite tracks by Moon in this review for you to listen to, well, it’s the old story. If your feet ain’t tapping it means they are either nailed to the floor, or you are dead!

Three tracks from the Moon Mullican - Seven Nights to Rock.

Seven Nights to Rock



Recorded January 26, 1956 King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Well, Oh Well


Recorded July 3, 1950 at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio.

Rocket to the Moon


Recorded March 6, 1953 at King Studios, Cincinnati, Ohio



Two video clips, one of Moon Mullican singing Cherokee Boogie and the second, a video clip featuring the Mullican song, Grandpa Stole My Baby.


CHEROKEE BOOGIE


GRANPA STOLE MY BABY


***************************************************************************************************************************************
Previous Cream of the Crate Reviews

#1 – Howling Wolf: Real Folk Blues
tooraktimes.com.au/showthread.php/7605-The-Cream-of-The-Crate

#2 – Otis Redding: Otis Blue/ Otis Redding Sings Soul
tooraktimes.com.au/showthread.php/7634-The-Cream-of-The-Crate-Record-2

#3 – Dr John The Night Tripper: Gris Gris
tooraktimes.com.au/showthread.php/7643-The-Cream-of-The-Crate-Record-3

#4 – Spectrum: ROYGBIV
tooraktimes.com.au/showthread.php/7741-The-Cream-of-The-Crate-Record-4

#5 – Son House: The Real Delta Blues
tooraktimes.com.au/showthread.php/7822-Cream-of-The-Crate-5

#6 – Cruisin ‘61
tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/1943-Cream-of-The-Crate-Record-6

#7 – Live At The Station Hotel
tooraktimes.com.au/content.php/1960-The-Cream-of-The-Crate-Record-7

#8 - Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young: Deja Vu
tooraktimes.com.au/entry.php/236-The-Cream-of-The-Crate-Record-8

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Updated 8th April 2013 at 08:04 PM by Mick Pacholli

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Rob Greaves , The Cream of The Crate

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