Smokey Johnson – I Can't Help It

Smokey Johnson - I Can't Help It

So I’ve returned from my latest trip – this time around the U.S. and I had a rather excellent time! We met some great people along the way and I was lucky enough to see some soul legends in the shape of Barbara Lynn, Betty Harris, Mable John, Willie Hightower, Brenda Holloway & Irma Thomas at the excellent Ponderosa Stomp Festival in New Orleans.

My dj’ing started off in San Francisco at the rather cool “Make Out Room” in the Mission district at the Slow Jams night alongside DJ Primo. This was a little bit different to the normal nights (and tunes) that I play as it was (as the name suggests) something of a slower tempo, however it did enable me to reach into my collection and showcase records that I very rarely play out and the crowd seemed really receptive to what I played, so a big thanks to Primo for having me along!

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My next show took me on to the fantastic city of New Orleans to Hip Drop – the opening party for the aforementioned Ponderosa Stomp. The dj lineup featured 10 djs from around the U.S., Mexico and Australia (as well as myself). I was on later which meant I got some time to enjoy the guys who played before me and they all played a blinder! As I was due to play at the end of the night the crowd had understandably thinned out a little, however the dancefloor was still pretty busy and those who were there commended me on my set, which was nice to hear.

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My final gig saw me travel to New York where I was able to join my buddy, “Mr Fine Wine” on the decks at his legendary Wednesday night party at the Botanica. Again the selections from Matt and the other guest dj – “Rambo” from San Antonio were excellent and those who were in the bar left highly impressed by my musical selection. One punter even wanted to give me money because he enjoyed my set so much!!

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Today’s musical selection brings me back to New Orleans and the legendary drummer Smokey Johnson who sadly passed away a few days ago. Smokey was responsible for laying down the beats on many New Orleans records and released a few himself – namely “It Ain’t My Fault”, “The Funkie Moon” and today’s selection “I Can’t Help It”. Our thoughts are with his family and the New Orleans music circle at this sad time.

Just before I go I want to remind you about my upcoming radio show on Belfast Underground Music – “Soul Party”. The show begins this Friday at 6pm (UK time) and will last for 2 hours. Expect to hear similar tunes to those which I bring you here on the blog. You can log on to the station at and if you can’t catch the show live, you can listen again in a few days once the show is archived.

Peace and soul, Gaz

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