Written by the late Allen Toussaint and released as a single on the wonderful Minit Records in 1961, Mother-In-Law is not (spoiler alert) a song that is overly complimentary about the woman in question. A few lines to illustrate this:
The worst person I know ….
Satan should be her name …
But if she would leave that would be the solution …
A jolly tune though!
Following a few days mainly listening to ear bleeding drum and bass/hardcore, I decided to take a detour on Christmas Eve to catch up with my three, four CD, collections of Rhino Records’ “The Doo Wop Box” ….
Within a few minutes, I had stumbled upon this track which I had never heard before but which, immediately, warranted elevation into the pantheon of “thebestmusicofalltime”!
Stately, relentless, plaintiff stuff. Killer vocals, a spoken word interlude and the sax keeping everything in line. It gets no better.
Every so often, you stumble upon a song and have a “double-take” as to the year it was recorded.
“Space Guitar” by Johnny Watson, “The Train Kept A Rollin‘” by Johnny Burnette, “Hallogallo” by Neu are just three examples from my experience.
“Wine, Women, Whiskey” by Papa Lightfoot is in the same bracket for me.
Recorded sometime after 1952, and released on the peerless Imperial Records label in 1954, the bass and overdriven guitar seem to invent glam rock even as you listen to it and then the treated vocals and ruthless harmonica create a sound that transcends a period when Elvis was still musing on how he might change the world of popular music and Captain Beefheart was still contemplating his first signs of stubble.
A stunning record: brief, succinct, powerful, impassioned … a fine addition to the bestmusicofalltime!
Question Mark and the Mysterians “96 Tears” reached number one in the USA in October 1966 and is a foundation stone of 1960’s garage and 1970’s punk rock. – right up there with the Kingsmen’s 1963 recording of Richard Berry’s classic “Louie Louie” (which the latter originally recorded in 1955).
The organ kicks off, the bass rumbles into action, the drums make an understated entrance, the organ riff reaches perfection and then ?’s vocals wander in, drawling laconically:
Too many teardrops
For one heart to be crying
Too many teardrops
For one heart to carry on
The song was written by ? himself (aka Rudy Martinez) and some followers may recall The Stranglers taking a version of 96 Tears into the UK singles chart in 1990.
A perfect Saturday night record.
One of music’s first “answer records” …. a song recorded in response to an earlier hit.
Here, Rufus Thomas serves up a stunning response to Big Mama Thornton’s immortal 1952 original reading of “Hound Dog” (previously posted here). “Bear Cat” was Sun Records’ first hit record but was almost a disaster for Sam Phillips’ label as a copyright-infringement suit ensued and nearly bankrupted the operation.
There are so many rock’n’roll records from the 1950s that it is sometimes difficult to sort out the wheat from the chaff. My rule of thumb is simple – judge the record on how raw the guitar is; the rougher the better.
On that basis, this record is as good as it gets; rock’n’roll meets swamp blues … for a more recent example, check Tom Waits’ stunning “Jockey Full of Bourbon” previously posted here.
Just the track!
Imperial Records are one of my all time favourite record labels and this is typical of the genius of their output.
By far and away the best of these records (and still the most popular entry ever on this blog with 690 hits – as of today), is Jimmy Liggins’ stupendous “I Ain’t Drunk” posted here.
The Kidds never quite hit the Liggins’ heights and, frankly, I am struggling to transcribe the lyrics in a manner that might remain within the bounds of 21st century decency. However, I presume it’s just my ears playing tricks on me, so over to you ….
I’ve never been a huge fan of The Yardbirds but this is exceptional; recorded soon after Jimmy Page joined the band in 1966.
I re-stumbled upon this while re-watching Blow Up a few months ago and have been meaning to post it for some time.
The riff is a version of the all-time classic “Train Kept A-Rollin'” which was originally recorded by Tiny Bradshaw in 1951 (although, on this blog, it is Johnny Burnette’s era defining version from 1956 that has previously been posted here).
Apparently the plan had been to use Train Kept A-Rollin’ in Blow Up but it was axed for copyright reasons and this reworking was knocked together at the last minute.
Two versions of Stroll On: the first is the studio original while the second is the classic excerpt from Blow-Up which features the Yardbirds playing live in a club.