Sunday, 19 May 2013

Julia's Jukebox

I use music a lot in my writing. Nashville Cinderella is set in the song-writing community of the country music capital, with lyrics at the heart of the plot. In The Fairground Girl & Other Attractions, chart hits mark the changing decades from the 50s to the present. In Closer!, Jess has a romantic moment listening to Robbie Williams while vintage girl Natty Smalls in Polka Dot Dreams only listens to two kinds of music - “rock... and roll.” She’d probably approve of the songs I’ve been swinging and singing along to in the past week.

There Ain’t Nobody Here But Us Chickens by Kai’s Cats
From Jump Jive & Swing, available only from the website of American-born, London-based Queen of Vintage Swing Kai Hoffman,

(A Cat Called) Domino by Roy Orbison
Everyone focuses on the ballads, but he started out at the birthplace of rock’n’roll, Sun Records. This is, in my opinion, one of the greatest rockabilly records ever. Amazingly it went unreleased in the 50s and only appeared in the 70s.

To Make Love Sweeter For You by Jerry Lee Lewis
The first No.1 of his country comeback in the 60s. 4-CD box A Whole Lotta Jerry Lee Lewis hasn’t been off my desk since it came out last spring. This is a current fave pick. Other overlooked gems include the doo-wop Sixteen Candles.

Mexicoma by Tim McGraw
This track from the country star’s latest album, Two Lanes of Freedom, has been jammed in my head since I reviewed it in March.

Look At That Cadillac by the Stray Cats
Hadn’t heard this for years, then I came across their great video on YouTube and haven’t been able to get it out of my head since.

Walking My Baby Back Home by Willie Nelson
From his latest CD of songs from the 30s, 40s and 50s, Let’s Face The Music And Dance.

Rock Around The Clock by Bill Haley & His Comets
Half a century on, it’s as exciting as ever.

But what do you listen to while you write?


  1. I don't listen to anything when I write - I like quiet. I would have liked Natty Small's favourites though as my husband and I are keen jivers (along with other types of dance). Thanks for visiting my blog, Douglas.

    1. I noticed the jive theme on your blog. Your post about Big Jim Sullivan caught my eye and I was shocked to hear he had passed away as I hadn't heard. A few years ago I interviewed Brian Bennett, the drummer from the Shadows. He told me about touring with Big Jim as the backing band to Gene Vincent on the 1960 tour that ended tragically with the car crash that killed Eddie Cochran. The shows were the venue for teddy boy riots on many nights. When the Teds invaded the stage, Brian said he used to grab his snare drum and run. Big Jim used to pick up the Teds and throw them back into the audience...

    2. I love all these stories that have since come out about Jim. To us, he was just the big guy who played the guitar behind his back as we sang along with him and Willie Austen to 'Hotel California' in our local. Thanks for that new snippet, Douglas... I shall tell the tale of Jim and the teds to my friends.