We are furiously preparing for The Southern Festival of Books here at Michael Snow Presents which has unfortunately affected the frequency of my posts. Please put the festival on your calendar and make a trip out to see me and pick up your own signed copy of Mersey Me! A Liverpool Lad On The Loose In The Swinging 60s
In honor of our most recently profiled Legendary Female Guitarist here is a playlist to enjoy and a video from YouTube of The Duchess in ACTION!
Continued from: http://wp.me/p2W71Q-i8
As rock ‘n’ roll grew in popularity and visibility, another very visible lady guitarist showed up: Norma Jean Wofford a/k/a The Duchess, who was a staple of Bo Diddley’s band. Although not the first distaff guitar slinger that Bo had used (the first being Peggy Jones, known as “Lady Bo”), The Duchess became his iconic sidekick, with her sprayed-on outfits, sky-high heels, and a wig for every occasion. She usually played an exact double of whichever of his self-designed Gretsch guitars Bo chose for the show: a Jupiter Thunderbird, Cadillac, or the famous Cigar Box.
With Bo’s background as a street performer, there’s no way of figuring whether he used her as a sideshow attraction on stage, where she also sang background, or if she was an integral part of the whirling rhythmic maelstrom that was the Bo Diddley sound. She was, however, credited with appearing on at least five Bo Diddley albums before retiring in 1966 to raise a family, so she must have been doing something right.
If you missed my original post about Rosetta Tharpe please take a moment to check it out here: Legendary Female Guitarists: Sister Rosetta Tharpe
Today I put together a playlist that combines Tharpe’s music with the Musical Children she spawned. If you feel like I missed someone give me your two cents in the comments!
Can’t Break the Habit was released in 1967 with:
Diane Ferraz (lead vocals)
George Ford (bass, backing vocals/occasional lead vocals)
Dave Ford (alto and tenor sax, flute, background vocals)
Keith Field (guitar, backing vocals/occasional lead vocals)
Barry Reeves (drums)
Michael Snow (Keys, Guitar, and lead vocals)
Below are a couple tracks from YouTube that are on the album.
Anyone lucky enough to own this ultra-rare album has grabbed themselves a piece of the finest British psychedelic soul and superb pop-soul in any category. In 1967, while Motown was still coming to grips with the psychedelic boom going on around them, the British-based Ferris Wheel was doing a gently trippy, soaring, and occasionally searing brand of soul music that made them favorites on the club scene in London. “I Can’t Break the Habit” is a case in point, a bright, memorable dance number that manages to recall Martha & the Vandellas at their most alluring and ornamented, with a Revolver-style guitar break and choruses as smooth as anything generated by the 5th Dimension. Diane Ferraz’s voice is the focal point of the sextet’s sound, though two of the guys also turn in solid lead performances — the group’s range is astonishing and their experience shows in the fact that none of the 12 songs on this album sounds like anything around it, and they even make the old Leiber & Stoller chestnut “Three Cool Cats” sound fresh. This was reissued in 2000 by Sequel Records in England with eight bonus tracks (three of them single versions of album tracks) that are as strong as anything on the original album.
If you would like to hear more from the album you can do so on Spotify: