Maraca Media-John O'Mara

Freelance copywriter and blogger, shakin' and rockin' it

Tag: Jerry Lee Lewis (page 1 of 2)

Three discs from the Maraca collection: Chapter Two

Welcome back to the ongoing journey through my dusty CD collection. For any younger readers, a compact disc is a piece of plastic that contains up to 20 songs and, get this, you need a special player to listen to it.

Truth be told, I haven’t inserted a disc into my Toshiba combination CD/DVD/video cassette machine for months and months. I mostly listen to satellite and commercial radio. Stern is on as I type this.

Today’s collection is rather eclectic. Even though I hosted a show devoted to ’50s and ’60s rock and roll, the band I’ve seen most often in concert is Iron Maiden. My first show, back in ’81, was Motorhead, with Anvil opening.


A Tribute to the King, by various artists (2002)

I purchased this one at Rasputin Records in San Francisco. Four levels of CDs, vinyl and movies and a full-time elevator operator to take you up or down. Very cool store.

Capitol Records released this collection after the success of Elvis: 30 #1 Hits. I have that album as well.

During my radio reign as Johnny Maraca, host of the Rock and Roll Riot, I was always felt that as great song was a great song no matter who performed it. It’s a tribute to songwriters Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller that it’s hard to screw up Jailhouse Rock.

And, on A Tribute to the King, Jailhouse Rock is covered by one of the greatest song stylists ever…he says so and I agree…Jerry Lee Lewis. The Killer can make anything sound great.

Other choices on the disc: Hound Dog by John Lennon, Suspicous Minds by Fine Young Cannibals, and Willie Nelson duetting with Leon Russell on Heartbreak Hotel.

The Better Life by 3 Doors Down (2000)

Mock me if you will. Okay, not that much. Cut it out.

Entertainment Weekly gave the album a B- and said it was “power rock by the numbers.”

Rolling Stone said 3 Doors Down played “slick, heroic Neo-grunge for the Clear Channel era, where all regions melted into one long Nickelback impression.”

Many of us had forgotten about those Mississippi rockers until they played Trump’s inauguration. They were famous again. Or infamous, and held up as proof that the new president couldn’t attract A or even C level talent.


The Better Life sold 6 million copies. I loved the lead single, Kryptonite and kinda liked the follow up, Loser. The rest of album was so-so, and I had paid full price at Music World for it. Subsequent 3 Doors Down releases failed to excite me. Here Without You received plenty of airplay but…pretty bland.

Naked Songs by Rickie Lee Jones (1995)

Remember Johnny the metal maniac from a few paragraphs above? In 1984, I worked as an intern at the Canadian music trade publication, The Record. Editor David Farrell asked for a list of my Top 10 albums of the year, to be included among the submissions of countless industry folks.

My list had LPs by Iron Maiden, the Scorpions, Rainbow and Van Halen and was topped by…

Magazine, by Rickie Lee Jones.  So, nine rock albums and at number one, a disc by an artist who combines pop, jazz, R&B and other genres.

Naked Songs was subtitled, Live and Acoustic. I doubt I’ve played it more than a few times because I’ve never been a fan of unplugged records. I might have enjoyed Eric Clapton’s acoustic take on Layla had it been a brand-new song or a deep cut.

Compared to the Derek & the Domino’s rockin’ version with Duane Allman’s classic riffs?

Uh uh.

Well, that’s it for this chapter. See you next time when I dust off three more CDs from the racks.



Sister Rosetta Tharpe, rock and roll pioneer

Sister Rosetta Tharpe is going into the rock and roll hall of fame in April. Long overdue.

Research material: Shout Sister Shout, by Gayle F. Wald.

Jerry Lee Lewis and the Holy Ghost

My new podcast…Jerry Lee Lewis recording Great Balls of Fire and getting into a heated, alcohol-fueled debate over the religious implications of the song. Singing it would be a sin, says The Killer!

Research material includes the prose of the great musical journalist, Nick Tosches.

Johnny Maraca’s radio salute to Chuck Berry

Hey, if you missed last night’s show on 97.7 the Beach, you can stream all three segments right here. The playlist alternates between Chuck’s originals and cover tunes by the Beatles, Stones and more….plus a few interview clips with the legend we lost a week ago.

Cover scan by Dietmar Rudolph

Segment One

Chuck Berry–Maybellene

Linda Ronstadt–Back in the U.S.A.

Chuck–No Particular Place to Go


Chuck–Rock and Roll Music

Rolling Stones–Carol

Chuck–Roll Over Beethoven

Segment Two

Nina Simone–Brown-eyed Handsome Man

Chuck–Sweet Little Sixteen

Elvis Presley–Too Much Monkey Business

Chuck–Wee Wee Hours

Ronnie Hawkins–Thirty Days

Chuck–Reelin’ and Rockin’

Bob Seger–C’est la Vie

Segment Three


Jerry Lee Lewis–Little Queenie

Chuck–Around and Around

Joan Jett–Tulane

Chuck–Promised Land….

and, capping the show off with my favourite song by my favourite rock and roller…

Chuck Berry and Johnny B Goode



Good versus Evil

“There is laid in the very nature of carnal men, a foundation for the torments of hell. There are those corrupt principles, in reigning power in them, and in full possession of them, that are seeds of hell fire.”

While that probably could have been written about Donald J. Trump, it’s from a 1741 sermon by British Colonial theologian Jonathan Edwards, quoted at the beginning of a terrific Jerry Lee Lewis biography by Nick Tosches.


It’s titled, appropriately enough, “Hellfire.”

The next quote comes from the Killer himself: “I’m draggin’ the audiences to hell with me.”

In 1956, Screamin’ Jay Hawkins and his band got drunk on muscatel and cut what would become an underground classic, “I Put a Spell on You.”   Days later, Hawkins heard the tape of his screams, moans and gutteral sounds. Jay was convinced the producers had dubbed someone else’s vocals in and said it couldn’t possibility be him on the recording.

It was.

Jay had created a musical horror movie. And, from Tosches’s “Unsung Heroes of Rock and Roll,” Jay said….

“I didnt know what I had done…this record comes out and I’ve created a monster…I’d go to do my act at Rockland Palace and there’d be all these goddamn mothers with picket signs: We don’t want our daughters to look at Screamin’ Jay Hawkins. I mean, I’m some kind of bogeyman. I come out of coffins. Skulls, snakes, crawlin’ hands, fire and all that mess.”

The presidential race is good versus evil.

Hillary Clinton is a mother and grandmother and, politics aside, I sense she is very devoted to her family and nothing matters more than the future of Cheslea and her children.

The other guy?

Ummm…five children by three different wives. And quoted in regard to daughter Ivanka…..

“What a beauty, that one. If I wasnt’ happily married and, you know, her father…”

Join with me in saying, “Ewwwwww.”

Trump’s speeches are ripped from WWE scripts…perhaps not plagiarized like wife number three Milania’s “Oh, did Michelle Obama say something simliar?”…but very much like a pro wrestler.

Though he’s no Undertaker. The greatest villain-turned-hero in the history of the WWF/WWE. And hey, former pro wrestler Jesse “The Body”  Ventura did become governor of Minnesota.

In 2007, Trump wrestled  Rosie O’Donnell. Yes, read that again. Trump versus Rosie. Both were portrayed by actors in an encounter even the WWE regards as a huge mistake.

In real life, my money would be on Rosie. Did you see how well she threw a ball in “A League of Their Own?”

She’d pin The Donald in the first round.

And I’m hoping American voters will deliver a tombstone (The Undertaker’s finishing move) to send Trump back to whatever hell he came from, a doom and gloom world of fear…of foreigners, bordering countries and anything that isn’t Caucasian.

Despite Trump’s pledge to “Make American White (umm, Great) again,” if there’s one thing my American friends agree on, they live in the greatest country on earth. It’s already great.

And, to counter Trump’s fear mongering, I will end this with a quote from the man regarded as the third greatest US president, after Lincoln and Washington.

That would be Franklin Delano Roosevelt.

“The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.”





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