Swinging over to Ray’s Corner

We are back at Ray’s Corner, but doing it a little differently tonight.

We usually dig through tunes from my dad’s collection, but tonight’s tune — one of mine — popped up on shuffle play and struck me instantly as one he probably digs.

As our regular readers know, Ray’s Corner is the apartment with the loud music, and the place where the martinis are made of gin with the vermouth bottle held about a foot away.

Tonight’s loud music comes from sax great King Curtis, blasting away on a swinging instrumental of a tune done first in 1951 by Frank Sinatra and the Harry James Orchestra.

“Castle Rock” was written by Ervin Drake, Al Sears and Jimmy Shirl. Drake’s web site insists it’s the first rock ‘n’ roll song, with its lyric “I held her tight and rocked around the clock” coming three years before “Rock Around the Clock.” (Good story if true. Most lyric transcriptions say “I held her tight and danced around the clock.”)

Ain’t no lyrics on this version, though.

“Castle Rock,” King Curtis, 1958, from “Atlantic Honkers,” a 1986 compilation that’s out of print. This two-record set also features Joe Morris, Tiny Grimes, Frank Culley, Willis Jackson, Jesse Stone and Arnett Cobb. Everyone shares an LP side except for the King, who gets one to himself.

The liner notes don’t say who’s bashing those mad drums midway through the song. We know only that the King recorded this one in New York on Dec. 3, 1958.

1 Comment

Filed under September 2008, Sounds

One response to “Swinging over to Ray’s Corner

  1. Great website!

    Regarding ‘Castle Rock’…not all of the musicians were sax players. Tiny Grimes was a guitar player on many of the early Atlantic recordings. He also recorded with Charlie Parker.

    Jesse Stone was a producer and songwriter. He wrote ‘Shake, Rattle, and Roll’ under the pseudonym Charles Calhoun. He also did the answering vocal on Ray Charles’ ‘It Should Have Been Me’. He usually played piano.

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