Options Bitslap with KBC: Playlist from November 3, 2009 Options

Back in 1979, I made the decision to accept Dr Demento as my personal savior. Since then, with the help of his apostles Spike, Al, Stan and Black-Eyed Susan Brown, I have made it my mission to spread the Gospel of the Firesign and the Word of the Waller. Please join me and my fellow seekers as we find the Wisdom we crave and the Rapture we deserve. A new sermon every Tuesday (and NO collection plate!).

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Options November 3, 2009: Reverse Covers

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Artist Track Year Comments
Lonnie Ed Young  CHEVROLET   Options 1959  This is one of the many recordings made in the field by Alan Lomax in Como, Miss. The song became the basis for something called “Hey Gyp,” which is credited to Donovan and recorded by many, including the Animals and the Soul Survivors. 
K.C. Douglas  MERCURY BOOGIE   Options 1949  Also done by Steve Miller, Alan Jackson and (especially) David Lindley & El Rayo-X. Douglas was a veteran bluesman from Sharon MS, but wandered out to California, where he found work in the Vallejo shipyards. He later made his home in the Oakland area, where he worked for the Public Works Dept after the War until 1970, when he hit the “big time” performing at the Berkeley Blues Festival and began making the club circuit around the northern California area. 
Robert Johnson  CROSSROAD BLUES [Take 1]   Options   Johnson made a total of only 41 recordings in 1936-37 (some of which were second takes). There are many holes in the Johnson story, the most popular of which involves his activities at a certain Mississippi crossroads. Allegedly he was told to bring his guitar to a certain crossroad, where he met a large black man who took his guitar, tuned it and then returned it to him, along with the gift of the blues. Whatever deal he made could not have been very good, because he died in 1938 at age 27 of an apparent murder, either poisoning or just plain murder (accounts differ wildly) and there is no cause is listed on his death certificate. 
Robert Johnson  LOVE IN VAIN [Take 1]   Options   I wish I had a quarter for every two-bit rock star (Stones not included) who covered a Robert Johnson tune. I recommend a trip to Wikipedia for lots more info on the man and his influences (don’t forget to check out the links). 
Mississippi Fred McDowell  YOU GOT TO MOVE   Options   Born in 1904 in Rossville, TN (near Memphis), he was the son of poor farmers. Upon their death at age 14, he began to roam the countryside playing guitar at local functions until he found himself in Como, MS (home of Lonnie & Ed Young) where he was discovered and recorded by none other than Alan Lomax. His popularity spread and he came to the attention of Bonnie Raitt and the Rolling Stones, who made this song one of their best. McDowell died of cancer in 1972. 
Memphis Minnie and Kansas Joe McCoy  WHEN THE LEVEE BREAKS   Options   Minnie was born Lizzie Douglas in Algiers, LA in 1897 and has won respect for her guitar and vocal prowess. She recorded the blues for some 40 years and is credited with being one of the first to use an electric guitar. Her first husband was Kansas Joe McCoy and they recorded together for some five years, until their divorce. Joe teamed up with his brother, Papa Charlie McCoy, and formed the Harlem Hamfats. Joe died of a heart attack in 1950 at age 44, while Minnie stayed around until 1973 when she died of a stroke. She’s buried in New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery in Walls, MS, under a headstone paid for by Bonnie Raitt. 
Luke Jordan  COCAINE BLUES   Options 1927  Jordan began his career late, at about age 35, and only recorded a dozen or so songs for the Victor label. Although he was a familiar sight as a street musician in his native Lynchburg, VA, he never really made it on the outside. Basically, his only other well-known song was “Church Bell Blues.” The [First] Great Depression had a bad effect on record sales and dragged Jordan (and many others) down with it. He died in 1952. 
Sonny Boy Williamson  EYESIGHT TO THE BLIND   Options   There were two Sonny Boy Williamsons and this one was the first one, John Lee Curtis Williamson, born in Jackson, TN in 1914, and owner of the nickname “Father of the Modern Blues harp.” Best know for “Good Morning Little Schoolgirl” which has also been covered by the Grateful Dead, Muddy Waters and Ten Years After, among others. He recorded profusely through the 40s, or at least until 1947 when he was killed in a mugging a mere two blocks from his home in Chicago. Before his death, the name Sonny Boy Williamson was hijacked by Rice Miller, who performed under that name well into the 60s. Beware of imitations. 
Elmore James  MUST'VE DONE SOMEBODY WRONG   Options 1959  Quite simply, he was the King of the Slide Guitar. He learned to playas a child by using one string strung on a wall and later played with the likes of Sonny Boy Williamson (both of them) and Robert Johnson. Later he played a modified hollow body guitar and was an early pioneer in the use of amplification. Today his influence can be heard in the Allman Brothers, Stevie Ray Vaughn and, of course, Eric Clapton. James died in 1963 of his third heart attack exacerbated by a lifelong affair with moonshine whisky. 
Elmore James  ONE WAY OUT   Options 1965  For what its worth, you can see a lot of videos with Duane Allman on YouTube. I know this has nothing to do with Elmore James, but I felt I had to write something. Go ahead, it’ll be worth it. We’ll wait….. 
Skip James  I'M SO GLAD   Options   By now a familiar story: Born to sharecropper parents, he played music to survive, only to be discovered and have some success until the Depression came along and crapped all over everything. He gave up performing and became an ordained Baptist and Methodist Minister for the next 30 years. In 1964, John Fahey, Bill Barth and Henry Vestine (of Canned Heat) discovered him languishing in a Tunica, MS hospital and coaxed him out of retirement. This song began as “I’m So Tired” by Art Sizemore and George A. Little and was one of Cream’s biggest hits, both in studio and live form. 
Music behind DJ:
Jeff Beck 
AMAZING GRACE   Options    
Bull Moose Jackson  BIG TEN INCH RECORD   Options   From Cleveland, born in 1919, he formed his first band, the Harlem Hotshots, while in high school. Later, as a saxophonist for Lucky Millinder’s band, he began singing as a stand-in for Wynonie Harris. Later formed his own band, the Buffalo Bearcats and had a few hit singles from crooning ballads to jumping jive. This song and another “Nosey Joe” were considered too risqué for airplay, so it was left to places like WFMU to bring them to you. Of course, nowadays you’ll hear Aerosmith’s version of this song on mainstream radio (how times change!). Recorded an album, “Moosemania,” in 1985 and toured a little in support of it until his health began failing. He died of lung cancer in 1989. 
Paul Williams  HUCKLEBUCK   Options   Here I will quote from the ultimate expert, my good friend Steve Krinsky, Doctor of Huckology: “For most of 1949, this Paul Williams version was #1 on the R&B charts—eventually knocked off by John Lee Hooker’s ‘Boogie Chillun.’ It was very popular in the black community and, in the more than 50 years since, has been covered more than 100 times, in every genre: R&R, pop, country, reggae, calypso, jazz and more. Even Ralph Kramden, that aficionado of African-American culture, had a touch of soul when he did the Hucklebuck. Its jazz roots are controversial: it sounds a lot like a well-known jazz tune by Charlie Parker (“Now’s the Time”) and it has been said the main riff is a direct rip-off. In any case, it’s a great honker party tune, with sexual overtones, that still swings today. Check out http://wfmu.org/LCD/26/huck1.html for more stories about the song.” 
Stick McGhee  DRINKIN WINE SPO-DE-O-DEE   Options   Granville Henry McGhee was born and raised in Knoxville, TN and got his nickname from when he was pushing around his older brother, Brownie (yes, THAT Brownie McGhee) in a wagon with a stick (Brownie had polio). He served in the Army during WWII and that’s when he wrote this song, although the lyrics were considerably more, um, crude. When cleaned up it became a big hit for people like Johnny Burnett, Mike Bloomfield’s Electric Flag and , especially Jerry Lee Lewis. McGhee also enjoyed great success with songs like “Whisky, Women and Loaded Dice” “One Monkey Don’t Stop No Show” and “Get Your Mind Out of the Gutter” 
Arthur "Big Boy" Crudup  THAT'S ALLRIGHT MAMA   Options   That same old story again, a migrant worker who sang gospel and was discovered living in a packing crate, went on to write some of the biggest-selling songs in history for Elvis Presley (who he bitterly referred to as “Elvin Preston”). Then he got royally screwed on the royalties and had to keep working as a farm laborer and bootlegger to make ends meet. He would perform occasionally and his last gig was in England with Bonnie Raitt. He died in relative poverty in 1974 of complications from diabetes and heart disease. 
Hank Ballard and the Midnighters  TWIST   Options   John Henry Kendricks, born in Alabama but raised in Michigan, was heavily influenced by Gene Autry (particularly “Back in the Saddle Again”) because black music, R&B, “race” records weren’t much of a staple on radio. When he found doo-wop, he was discovered by Johnny Otis and joined a group called the Royals. They changed their name to the Midnighters (to avoid trouble with the 5 Royals) and they had some big hits with “Work with Me Annie” (and it’s answer, “Annie had a Baby”) and “Let’s Go, Let’s Go, Let’s Go.” In 1959 “The Twist” was the flipside of “Teardrops on Your Letter” and Chubby Checker’s version hit #1 on the charts twice, in 1960 and again in 1962. Hank made the RnR Hall of Fame in 1990 and died of throat cancer in 2003 at age 75. 
Bob and Earl  HARLEM SHUFFLE   Options   The original Bob & Earl were made up of Bobby Byrd (AKA Bobby Day) and Earl Nelson, who were formerly of the Hollywood Flames. Bobby Relf replaced Day and the two wrote and released this in 1963. It’s based on another hit of the time, called “Slauson Shuffletime” (Slauson being a major local crosstown street) by Round Robin, another LA artist. Since not many people (then) knew about Slauson, they changed it to Harlem. The song was produced by Barry White and was highly praised by George Harrison as one of the greatest songs ever recorded. It found new success when it was re-released in 1969, and the two went on tour, but then split up and that was that. Relf died in December of 2007 and Nelson in July of 2008. 
James Ray  GOT MY MIND SET ON YOU   Options   James Jay Raymond was discovered while destitute living in Washington DC on somebody’s roof (I’ll bet that’s a story…). His claim to fame up till then was “If You Got to Make a Fool of Somebody” which actually reached #22 on the Billboard charts. The Beatles also featured it in their shows and later Freddie and the Dreamers dragged it to #5 on the charts. George Harrison happened on a copy of Ray’s only album and included “Got My Mind” on his album Cloud Nine in 1987 (and it went gold). As for Ray, he is believed to have died of a drug overdose in 1964, at the age of 23. 
Don Covay  SOOKIE SOOKIE   Options   In the early 50s, Covay was in a group called the Rainbows, which included Marvin Gaye and Billy Stewart. He went solo in 1957 as part of the Little Richard revue. He had a few hits on his own, but mostly struck it rich by writing songs for other artists (“Pony Time” for Chubby Checker, “Chain of Fools” for Aretha). He had hits with “Mercy Mercy” (which includes a 21-year-old-and-decidedly-not-psychedelic-yet Jimi Hedndrix) and “See Saw” which he did at Stax with Steve Cropper and Co. Covay is still going, although in 1990 he suffered a major stroke, but that hasn’t stopped the Songwriting Machine. 
Mars Bonfire  BORN TO BE WILD   Options   Mars Bonfire (born Dennis Eugene McCrohan in Oregon) was actually Dennis Edmonton, who was brother to Jerry Edmonton, the drummer for the Sparrows with John Kay. The two brothers went their own ways, with Jerry joining Kay in Steppenwolf and Dennis joining forces with Kim Fowley in his stable of stars. Other songs written by Bonfire for Steppenwolf include “Tenderness,” “Ride With Me” and “Faster than the Speed of Life.” The Internet movie Database lists at least 38 times that “Born to be Wild” has been used in movies or TV soundtracks, so don’t feel bad for Mr Mars, the checks keep on coming. Here’s one version from YouTube with totally weird video accompaniment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k3SVGNAjx-c 
Jake Holmes  DAZED AND CONFUSED   Options   We’ve been over this before: how Page and Plant caught Holmes set at the Village Vanguard (or the like) and liked the song enough to steal it without so much as a thank you. So here’s a cover of the original on YouTube by Nathan Hevenstone: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t8SiuOxxpW0 Or better yet, how about one by the Yardbirds with Keith Relf: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ffBRhtWjEQ 
Jackson Browne  TAKE IT EASY   Options   I hate the Eagles. Anything that makes the Eagles sound smaller is just fine by me. I also hated Jackson Browne for awhile, but then I heard this song. 
Nerves  HANGING ON THE TELEPHONE   Options   These guys were actually power players in the early LA punk scene, along with the Knack. They were just a flash in the pan with only one 4-track EP in 1976 to their resume. But after they broke up, bass player Peter Case and drummer Paul Collins went on to found the Breakaways, the Beat and the Plimsouls. Blondie discovered the song while in Japan and also included a second song by guitarist Jack Lee on their album Parallel Lines (the song was “Will Anything Happen?”) See here a version by Collins and Case at a record store in Austin TX in 2007: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=px-QXkcqVgY 
Lucky Star  I'VE BEEN EVERYWHERE   Options   Song was written by Geoff Mack in 1959 and was a sensation by Lucky Star in 1962. And they were both Australian. It’s been remade hundreds of time by the likes of Hank Snow, Lynn Anderson, Asleep at the Wheel, Johnny Cash, Ted Egan, Rolf Harris, Willie Nelson, the Statler brothers and God-Knows-Who-All-Else. For the record, my own favorite version involved Shari Lewis and Lambchop on late-night TV many tokes ago. She rattled off the names so fast and in two voices (some simultaneously, I think). Do yourself a favor and look up “I’ve Been Everywhere” in Wikipedia for a staggering list of places you’ve never been, then go over to YouTube for more. 
Music behind DJ:
Procol Harum 
Paul Pena  JET AIRLINER   Options   My good friend John Grannis was friends with this guy and they used to play guitar and hang out together in Worcester, MA back in the late 60s before he wrote this song. It’s about being scared of going to a new place and a new situation. Paul was blind from about age 5, but was an accomplished musician and writer who played in a band that opened for the Mothers and the Dead in Philadelphia. When he got to California, he contacted Jerry Garcia, who helped him find work. He clicked there and released several albums. We fast-forward to 1984, where we find Paul playing with a radio and discovering Tuvan throat singing, which he then learned and performed until his death in 2005. Here’s a video of Paul on Conan’s Show in 2001: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4dnGj5YF8F0 Like Tuvan throat singing? Here’s Paul with Kongor Ol-Ondar from the film Genghis Blues: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QMiFKUJ7VzE&feature=PlayList&p=C70A443C45FC6B33&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=19 

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