riddim frog pondback copy

Before we get round to the next Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee at Ernest on April 29th, there’s the small matter of Riddim!

Taking its cue from a night of the same name I put on at Brixton Windmill sometime in the last decade, Riddim! is a new night hoping to encompass a broad range of Jamaican music – from rocksteady to roots, dub to dancehall – in a non-elitist way, so that people who don’t consider themselves ‘reggae fans’ can come and dance to storming tunes by everyone from Alton Ellis to Althea & Donna, John Holt to Ini Kamoze, The Eternals to Sean Paul. But the selections will be all killer, no filler so the aficionados will love it too.

The night is at Ernest (of course!) on April 1st, and I’ll be joined by Rob Heron (Tea Pad Presents) and Billy Lyre (Ska’d For Life!). It’ll run from 9pm  – 2am and it’s absolutely FREE!

There’s a Facebook events page here.

So put on your dancing shoes and BOOGALOO!!

April 1st flyer

The Place Was Jumpin’

I’m still reeling from a really wonderful second Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee.


People were dancing from the moment we started till the very end. It was busy and friendly and inclusive and just generally fucking lovely. So thanks.

Guest DJ Giovanni Spatuzzi totally got the Jumpin’ ethos and played three storming sets, very much appreciated.

You know the night is going well when the bar staff are running down for a dance. Thanks to Rosie and the Ernest team.

And thanks to the loyal and gorgeous Swing Tyne crowd, who showed everyone how to do The Madison

The next Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee is on April 29th, when Rob Heron will be the guest (and I’ve got a nice list of other cracking DJs who want to join us in the coming months).

Here’s some of what I played, in no particular order. It won’t be complete because I hit the Patron Cafe by midnight and after that… well.

Harry J All Stars – Liquidator
Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There
Heavy Trash – Jibber Jabber
Joe Bataan – Subway Joe
Mongo Santamaria – Yeh Yeh
Brian Auger Trinity – Kind Of Love In
The Full Experience – Young, Gifted and Broke
Dick Dale – Misirlou
King Khan & The Shrines – Luckiest Man
Nancy Sinatra – Boots
Bo Junior – Coffee Pot pt 2
Clarence Carter – Snatching It Back
Sandie Shaw – Sympathy for the Devil
Dennis Brown – Money In My Pocket
Toots and the Maytals – Do The Boogaloo
Googie Rene Combo – Smokey Joe’s La La
Xavier Cugat – Watermelon Man
Detroit Cobras – Cha Cha Twist

Betty Davis – If I’m In Luck
Inez Foxx – You Hurt Me For The Last Time
The Meters – Hey Pocky A-Way
Nappy Brown – Skidy Woe
Le Tigre – Hot Topic
Ike And Tina Turner – A Fool For You
Spanky Wilson – Little Things Mean A Lot
Hot 8 Brass Band – Sexual Healing
The Box Tops – The Letter
Equals – Police On My Back
Dr John – Rite Away
Eddie K Doe – Mother In Law
Amy Winehouse – You’re Wondering Now
Irma Thomas – Don’t Mess With My Man
Etta James – Tell Mama
The Frightnrs – Nothing More To Say
Corduroy – Motorhead
Jackie Lee – The Shotgun And The Duck
Earl Grant – House of Bamboo

And in the section I like to call “I’m really pissed and I’m going to play those end of the night bangers I always play even though I promise myself I won’t” :

King Curtis – Memphis Soul Stew
Archie Bell – Tighten Up
Robert Parker – Barefootin’
Staples Singers – Slippery People
Shirley Ellis – Soul Time
Melba Moore – Magic Touch
Curtis Mayfield – Move On Up
Ray Bryant Combo – The Madison
Joe South – Walk A Mile In My Shoes
Frankie Valli – The Night
Ray Charles – Don’t Need No Doctor
Elvis – Suspicious Minds
Dobie Gray – Out On The Floor
Bobbie Gentry – Mississippi Delta
Millie Jackson – My Man Is A Sweet Man

So that’s soul, funk, ska, reggae, garage rock, surf, Latin, country, rhythm and blues, Gospel, jazz, rocksteady, New Orleans brass, rockabilly, mod, sorta-punk and a bunch of things that don’t really fit a genre. And that’s without Giovanni’s selections.

And to me, THAT’S what Jumpin’ is about. Not wilful obscurantism, not genre rules, not “two strollers followed by two boppers”. Just great tunes…

See you in April


Staggering Into 2017


Here’s a short mix to give people a flavour of the kind of tunes I’ll be playing on Saturday at the second Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee at Ernest.

Staggering into 2017.jpg

  1. Aretha Franklin – Soulville
  2. What’s Happening – Hot Buttered Buns
  3. Harry J Allstars – The Liquidator
  4. The Staple Singers – I’ll Take You There
  5. The Wanderers – Shadrack, Meshack & Abednego
  6. Nappy Brown – Skiddy Woe
  7. The Googie Rene Combo – Smokey Joe’s La La
  8. Ramsay Lewis Trio – Wade In The Water
  9. Sugar Pie DeSanto – In The Basement Pt 1
  10. U-Roy – Wear You To The Ball
  11. The Frightnrs – I’d Rather Go Blind
  12. Them – I Can Only Give You Everything
  13. Detroit Cobras – Cha Cha Twist
  14. Sonia – Aqui En Mi Nube
  15. The Rolling Stones – Under My Thumb
  16. Hot 8 Brass Band – Sexual Healing
  17. Betty Davis – Born On The Bayou
  18. Honey Cone – One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show
  19. Dusty Springfield – All The King’s Horses
  20. Jackie Wilson – Soul Galore


Jumpin’ #2

A bit late with this – Christmas malaise and all that – but I’m back at Ernest next weekend (Saturday 21st) for the second Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee.


It’ll be the same excellent blend of soul, rhythm & blues, reggae, funk, gospel, ska, psych and such as usual, and this time we’ll be joined by the mighty Giovanni Spatuzzi.

And I’ll definitely be playing this

Some Stagger Lee Activity

It’s been a bit quiet of late but there’s a fairly hefty list of new gigs coming up you should know about.

On December 10th, the Tea Pad are presenting another of their annual Ho Ho Hokum events and I’ll be joining Marc ‘Slap Ya Mama Big Band’ Griffiths on the decks. This is a blast every year, so don’t miss it. Details here


The following Saturday I’ll be back at the Cumberland for the third Soul Finger. Ethan has had to drop out so I’ll be his glamorous but elderly stunt double for the evening (hence not being on the flyer). These are also always a lot of fun. Details here


Then, I’m really pleased to announce I’ll be spending another New Year’s Eve in my home-from-home of the Calder Valley. The Country Club / Trash Manor crew are taking over the mighty Golden Lion in Todmorden again, and I’ve been asked to join the hotter-than-hot DJ bill upstairs – Pete Dillinger, Wa Ka, Red Tin Dave and myself being an almost complete reunion of the 2014 NYE Three Wise Monkeys party line-up. No idea what I’m gonna play yet, but it’s gonna be funky. Details here


Then we’re into the new year. The second Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee will be at Ernest on January 21st (guests tbc) and the third will be on April 29th (with Rob Heron joining me).

Finally – for now – there’s going to be a new reggae night at Ernest called Riddim on April 1st.  It’ll cover the best of JA sounds from rocksteady to roots, dub to dancehall and all points in between. Rob Heron will be joining me for that too, and if it goes well there may well be more.

Sharon Jones is still being mourned round these parts, expect to hear something from her at a fair few of these gigs.


Jumpin’ At Ernest For 2017

So the very first Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee at Ernest was a lot of fun – there was drinking and dancing and a fair amount of daftness.


And the good people of Ernest have asked me to do it again, so I’ll be back on  January 21st and April 22nd for more of the same.  Get those dates in your diary…

Stagger Lee And The Star & Shadow

The fantastic and inimitable Star & Shadow Cinema / arts venue / cultural hub has taken over its new location in Heaton but needs £50k to get everything done.


With that in mind, they’ve launched a crowdfunding campaign with a whole host of really amazing offers. Including, erm, me. You can hire Stagger Lee for 3 hours to play reggae, soul, ska, r&b, country, whatever, for any event you like. A birthday party, a wedding, your living room. And it’s just £125 (I’ll bring the decks, you just need to sort out a PA or something).

So get buying.

Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee #19

So summer is drawing to a close (you can come join Rob Heron and I at the Cumberland Arms on Sunday 4th to bid it farewell) and up here in the north-east I’m already looking at knitwear.

Jumpin 19.jpg

But let’s fight off the darkness together with another Jumpin’ mix. This one features new tracks from ridiculously good new albums from The Handsome Family and Black Angel Drifter (a new incarnation of Morton Valence), as well as a new(ish) Charlie Parr tune. There’s a key track from the flawed but watchable The Get Down TV show, a couple of shonky mixes of my own devising and the usual mix of soul, reggae, R&B, country and more.

You can stream Jumpin’ With Stagger Lee #19 here or download it (for a short time) here.

  1. The Graham Bond Organisation – Wade In The Water
  2. The Contours – Just A Little Misunderstanding
  3. The Revells – Indian Ropeman
  4. Hollywood Persuaders – Drums A Go Go
  5. Handsome Family – Gold
  6. Al Green – Love & Happiness
  7. Lee Scratch Perry – Jungle Lion
  8. The Nextmen – Piece Of The Pie
  9. CJ & Co – The Devil’s Gun
  10. Frankie Valli & The Four Seasons – Sun Country
  11. Laurel Aitken – Skinhead Invasion
  12. Duke Of Iron – Fifty Cents
  13. EC Arinze – Freedom Highlife
  14. Soul Brothers – Mantombazane
  15. Roy C – Shotgun Wedding
  16. Ike & Tina Turner – Can’t Chance A Break-Up
  17. Nolan Porter – If Only I Could Be Sure
  18. Glenn Miller – Where Is The Love?
  19. The Four Epics – How I Wish That I Was Single Again
  20. Lloyd Charmers – Oh Me Oh My
  21. Shy FX ft Liam Bailey – Soon Come
  22. The Melodians – I Will Get Along Without You
  23. Grinderman – Palaces Of Montezuma
  24. Mina – Se Telefonando
  25. Black Angel Drifter – Black Eyed Susan7
  26. Emmylou Harris – Two More Bottles Of Wine
  27. Charlie Parr – On Marrying A Woman With An Uncontrollable Temper
  28. Earl Lee Grace – Kitchen Girl
  29. Lonnie Irving – Pinball Machine
  30. Merle Travis – Dark As A Dungeon
  31. Country Teasers – Spiderman In The Flesh
  32. Blaze Foley – Let Me Ride In Your Big Cadillac
  33. The Handsome Family – Green Willow Valley
  34. Sons Of The Pioneers – Out California Way
  35. Laurel & Hardy – On The Trail Of The Lonesome Pine
  36. Nilsson – I’d Rather Be Dead
  37. Leslie Sarony – Ain’t  It Grand To Be Bloomin’ Well Dead
  38. Velvet Underground – Pale Blue Eyes
  39. Big Star – Nature Boy