Friday, December 31, 2010

Wade In The Water - Mary Alice McCall

With its super funky organ and steady guitar I can definitively state that Mary Alice's version of "Wade In The Water" is the best one I've ever heard. The web runs dry on any further information about McCall or this obscure record label. I'd love to learn more about either, but in the meantime have a listen.

Wade In The Water

 Let there be no mistake, Marlena Shaw's uptempo take on this humble little spiritual is still the best for dancing.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Hold On I'm Coming - Jerry Lee Lewis

"Hold On I'm Coming" is Jerry Lee Lewis's heavily suggestive interpretation (complete with his trademark honky tonk drawl and cat purring) of Sam & Dave's Memphis soul classic. It's taken off his 1973 comeback opus Southern Roots and accompanied by the MGs who recorded the original version for STAX records back in 1966. Truth be told the song title originates, innocently enough, from Dave's response to Issac Hayes after taking too long during a bathroom break.

It should be noted that Southern Roots, as the name implies, is a distinctively southern album. It was the collaborative sum of about 42 musicians, all of them born, bred and educated south of the Mason Dixon Line. Credits include all the MGs, the Memphis Horns, the Memphis Beats, Carl Perkins and my personal favorite Tony Joe White on guitar. Enjoy!

Sam & Dave weren't nicknamed the "Sultans of Sweat" for nothing. 

Monday, December 27, 2010

Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Butt - Tony Joe White

Perhaps best known for writing "Polk Salad Anne" and "Rainy Night In Georgia" Tony Joe White also epitomizes everything that's bad-ass about country funk. His vividly southern songs have become successful hits for Elvis Presley, Tina Turner and Dusty Springfield to name a few. At 67 years old he's outlasted nearly all of his musical contemporaries. In fact, Tony Joe is still tapping on his stompbox, cutting records and touring around the world. Not bad for an ol' swamp fox.

"Don't The The Door Hit You In The Butt" was released in 1974. The single isn't available on any of his other LPs which makes it somewhat of a rarity. Enjoy.

Don't Let The Door Hit You In The Butt

Tony Joe White at his funkiest best.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Rain Rain Go Away - Bob Azzam & His Orchestra

"Rain Rain Go Away" is featured on big band crooner Bob Azzam's 1968 LP New Sounds. It's a groovy little, woeful number with some much sought after drum breaks. I don't know where this Egyptian born, Lebanese singer found the inspirational weather to record such a dope version of a children's rainy day nursery rhyme. However, after hearing his funky makeover any extra precipitation seems slightly more tolerable.

Rain Rain Go Away

"Mustapha", or "Ya Mustapha" was Bob Azzam's most notable commerical hit, especially in France and Egypt.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Calamity Jane - Ohio Knox

Singer/songwriter Peter Gallway, along with some top-notch session musicians, produced an album of jazzy "country" rock in 1971. The album has a noticeable wild west theme with songs such as "Abigail Archer" and "Give Me John Ford". "Calamity Jane" has an edgier sound than the other, more folkier tracks. It's the song that brought me back to rediscovering Ohio Knox. Enjoy.

Calamity Jane

Friday, December 10, 2010

Evil Woman - Larry Weiss

Both the wickedly funky "Evil Woman" and the karaoke crowd pleasing "Rhinestone Cowboy" come from Larry Weiss's Black & Blue Suite LP. He's a relatively unknown country singer with an uncanny knack for writing hit songs. (Spooky Tooth's "Evil Woman", American Breed's "Bend Me Shape Me", The Animals "Help Me Girl"). Everyone from Neil Diamond to Nat King Cole to Marvin Gaye have performed a Larry Weiss penned song sometime in their careers. Speaking of people covering his music, Lou Rawls recorded my absolute favorite version of "Evil Woman". Hands Down.

Larry's original "Rhinestone Cowboy" sounds somewhat similar to Neil Diamonds. It's also a little more stripped down than Glen Campbell's 1975 chart topper seen below.

Friday, December 3, 2010

I Saw The Light - Rusty Dean

Hank William's crossover hit "I Saw The Light" is given the hillbilly funk treatment courtesy of Rusty Dean. Rusty Dean was the collaborative alias between Gary S. Paxton (Monster Mash producer) and Clarence White (The Byrds). They recorded three secular "hits" albums together in addition to 1970's folk-tinged Country Gospel LP. Let the good Lord make you funky and enjoy track that closes out side one.

Johnny Cash performs "I Saw The Light" as a spirited revival song during an episode of the television show Columbo.