Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra

Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra

 San Diego, California, USA

If you want to enjoy a truly dynamic performance of rhythm and blues, swing era jazz, and even the occasional torch ballad played with virtuoso skill and most importantly, real fervor, then nothing will beat Sue Palmer and Her Motel Swing Orchestra.


Best known for her beehive-wearing stint with blues diva Candye Kane in the '90's, Sue Palmer has been making her mark in the last decade with her high energy band, the Motel Swing Orchestra, and her flashy boogie woogie stylings. Wearing a couple of pounds of big cocktail rings on each hand, she wails through a very complete blues keyboard vocabulary like the veteran she is. She has performed with many of the legends of the boogie genre, playing double piano with Marcia Ball, Hadda Brooks, Sonny Leyland, Steve Lucky, Jeannie Cheathem, Ricky Nye, Mr. Boogie Woogie (from the Netherlands), Mike Seeley, Caroline Dahl, Wendy Dewitt, Lisa Otey, and Doña Oxford. Sue, known widely as San Diego's Queen of Boogie Woogie, has been honored by her city for her cultural contributions by having a day named after her (March 25th, 2008), played at the Arches Piano Stage in Cinncinnatti (2008), won the International Blues Challenge in Memphis for Best Self Produced CD 2008 ("Sophisticated Ladies") from the Blues Foundation, won numerous San Diego Music Awards for her albums and bands, including Best Blues Album 2010 for her first solo piano album "After Hours," and in December 2010, won the "Jim Croce Award for Excellence and Dedication to Music, 2010," from his widow, Ingrid Croce. Jan/Feb 2010 brought her a stint as Musical Director for the world premiere of Candye Kane's play, "Toughest Girl Alive," at Moxie Theatre in San Diego. The show played to sold out crowds and rave reviews, and included one of Sue's own compositions (with Kane), Highway of Tears (vocal version of Blue and Tan).
"Her legs bowed intently, the laughter dancing above her fingertips, like a pool shark she is right on the money. Madame Palmer sets free the walking bass and the eight to the bar so inherent in this style of music. This musician possesses all the secrets of Boogie Woogie."

Le Monde, Paris, 1997

For ten years, Sue was the musical partner of singer/recording artist Candye Kane. They toured France and most of Europe, including Scandinavia, Greece, and Turkey. Their travels also took them to Reunion Island, Canada, Australia, and all over the U.S. Under the moniker Sue "Beehive" Palmer with Candye Kane and the Swingin' Armadillos, she appeared on the Penn & Teller Show and the Roseanne Show, where Sue acted as the talk show band leader (1999). Sue is a featured artist on all four of Kane's CDs under the Antones and Sire labels. Sue's instrumental composition "Beehive" was featured on Kane's "Diva La Grande" CD, and Sue and Candye co-wrote the title tune on Kane's CD "Swango." "Swango" is also featured in the documentary "The Girl Next Door," a biography of porn star Stacy Valentine produced by National Public Radio's Christine Fugat in 2000.

Sue has appeared onstage and/or recorded with Lou Ann Barton, Sue Foley, Teddy Morgan, Lavelle White, Kim Wilson, Marcia Ball, Toni Price, The Paladins, Roy Gaines, Rosie Flores, Big Sandy and the FlyRite Boys, Dave Alvin, Cesar Rosas (Los Lobos), Earl Thomas, Del Rey, Lea Delaria, Pussy Tourette, Buddy Blue, Rod Piazza & the Mighty Fliers, Walter Wolfman Washington, and the Subdudes. Sue backed up Floyd Dixon on a compilation album to Tom Waits, "New Coat of Paint." She has been included in the "Queens of Boogie Woogie" Show in Berkeley, CA, at the Freight & Salvage, in 2001-2004. Sue Palmer & Her Motel Swing Orchestra appeared in the San Diego Blues Festival 2002, Sacramento Jazz Jubilee, Mammoth Jazz Jubilee (2005-2010), San Diego Thanksgiving Jazz festival (2008-2010), Ocean Beach Jazz festival (2007) and numerous festivals throughout the years in San Diego. Highlighting her lifetime favorite performances was a Boogie Woogie Extravaganza honoring the original Queen of the Boogie, 85 year old singer songwriter pianist Hadda Brooks... who joined Sue, along with Bay area favorite Wendy Dewitt and Frenchman Philippe Lejeune at San Diego's Dizzy's. That was Hadda's next to last performance. She died November 21s


My Mother's Son-In-Law

Written By: Alberta Nichols, Mann Holiner

"You don't have to have a hanker, to be a broker or a banker. No siree, just got to be, my mother's son in law. You don't even think of tryin', to be a mighty social lion, sippin' tea, just got to be my mother's son in law. Ain't got the least desire, to set the world on fire, just wish you'd make it proper, to call my old man pappa. You don't have to sing like Bledsoe, you can tell the world I said so, yes siree, just got to be, my mother's son in law.

Milton's Boogie

Written By: Sue Palmer

" I may be wrong , but I won't be wrong always, (repeat), gonna love you Sugar Daddy until a rainy day. What's the matter honey, what's the matter now. (repeat), What's the matter, any ol' thing you do. That's all right, that's all right with me, (repeat), Than'ts all right any old thing will do. You got wings like the devil, and you're shaped like a frog, but when you start your loving, oooh hot dog, I love my baby any way I can. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Joe Turner

Written By: Sue Palmer

"You never missed your water, until your well run dry, (repeat), You miss Joe Turner, until he said goodbye. One day I'm gonna leave you, and the time ain't long, (repeat), If you don't believe I'm gonna leave you , count the days I'm gone. Every time you're on the dance floor, hear a steamboat blow, (repeat), You'll be sorry that you lost your Joe.

Pink Champagne

Written By: Joe Liggins

Pink Champagne, as good as wine can be, (repeat), Pink Champagne, where can my lover be. Pink Champagne has left me feeling blue, (repeat), Pink Champagne has broke my heart into. Champagne, CHampagne, mellow mellow wine, (repeat), Makes me want to feel, so doggone fine.

Killer Tiki Boogie

Written By: Sue Palmer

Lava flowing everywhere, winds are blowing hot, killler tikis on the prowl, looking for a spot. Where's our little paradise? What happened to out life? Killler tikies everywhere, looking for a fight. Palm trees blowing hard and fast, oceans running wild; waves re crashing on the beach, climbing up the wallls. Tikis looking high and low, searching for some tunes, Looking for the music lounge, look8ing for the rooms. Outer space is coming here through the tiki race; clouds are blowing in so fast, I cannot see my face. Our world is coming to an end if we don't fdind a way. Music is the only thing to stop the tiki ray.

Deejha's Boogie

Written By: formerly Deejha's Blues by Julia Lee

Baby baby, what's onn your trouobled mind, (repeat), Keep me bothered, worried all the time. Had a man, treated him so fine, (repeat), All he does is worry Deejha's mind. Along the avenue, as far as I could see, (repeat), women had my man the mean old blues had. Oh blues Ohblues, why don't you let me be, (repeat), Give me a break, worry someone else today.


"Boogie-Woogie and Motel Swing" 1999
"Soundtrack to a B Movie" 2001
"Live at Dizzy's" 2002
"In The Green Room" 2005
"Sophisticated Ladies" 2007 - WON THE BLUES FOUNDATION INTERNATIONAL BLUES CHALLENGE AWARD 2008, for Best Self Produced CD!
"On Air" 2009 recorded live for KSDS radio.
"After Hours" solo piano. 2010 recorded live
"One Night In Belgium" 2011 recorded live with Candye Kane
"Party Favorites" 2012

— Dave Radlauer's syndicated show "Jazz Rhythms-Women of Neo-Swing" (see for stations and times across the country
— KSDS, 88.3 FM, San Diego Jazz radio
— "Rockin' Blues Today," Radio RCC, Umbertide, Italy, DJ Simone Bagelli
— "Rootstime" Radio Contact, 107.9 FM, Belgium
— Bay-FM, Byron Bay, Australia
— Kristall radio, Milano, Italy
— Goodtime Blues Radio, FM 91.3, Buenas Aires, Argentina
— "Pickup" Radio Show, Cadiz, Spain
— Radio Economia FM 104.8, "El Autoblues", Basque Country, Spain
— Radio Brawo 92.8 FM, "Z Bluesem na ty" Poland
— Radio Holstebro, Denmark
— 96.1 FM Radio, Sant Boi, "Born to Be Bad" Show, Barcelona, Spain
— 88.9 FM, WSHA, Raleigh, North Carolina
— 89.3 FM, Washington DC, "Don't Forget the Blues," by Elliott Gross
— Radio Comunidade FM 104.9, Brazil

Set List

Our sets are a mix of original songs and unique cover tunes. Music from Duke Ellington, Lil Hardin Armstrong, Big Joe Turner, Camille Howard, Hadda Brooks, Cy Coben, and Peppermint Harris and many more...

Sample Set 1
1. Springroll
2. Jakob's Boogie-Woogie Lullaby - by Sue Palmer
3. Lady Be Good
4. Don't Go No Further
5. Bill Bailey
6. I Don't Hurt Anymore
7. Chattanooga Choo Choo
8. Milton's Boogie
9. Shorty's New Shoes
10. Lovie Dovey
11. Mess Around
12. Something's Got a Hold On Me
13. Every Night
14. Nighttime is the Right Time
15. Just a Fool
16. Soundtrack to a 'B' Movie - by Sue Palmer

Sample Set 2
1."Soundtrack to a B Movie" - by Sue Palmer
2. "Sue's Boogie" - by Sue Palmer
3. Your Mother's Son-in-Law" - by Alberta Nichol & Mann Holiner
4. Room Service Boogie - by Sue Palmer
5. Motel Mambo by Sue Palmer & Yodit
6. Jakob's Boogie Woogie Lullaby - by Sue Palmer
7. How Come You Do Me Like You Do? - by Austin Bergere
8. Anywhere Anyplace Anytime - by H