Listen: You’re So Hard To Please / Willie Cobb
Often referred to as Willie Cobbs, his Vee Jay singles all dropped the ‘s’, whereby Willie Cobb had his biggest selling, and most influential release from ’61. To be exact, it was Vee Jay VS 411. That record’s B side, ‘You Don’t Love Me’, unexpectedly became a most covered track half a decade later. Amongst others, The Allman Brothers Band and Quicksilver Messenger Service both lined up to incorporate it as a signature part of their respective sets.
Not being a guitarist myself, I would still venture to say, ‘You Don’t Love Me’ had both a universal message and musical simplicity that attracted many white players from the era. In fact, it was the version by John Mayall’s Bluesbreakers that not only drew my attention to the name in the writer’s bracket beneath the song, but also the similarity in guitar tones to that band’s releases around ’65-’66, when Eric Clapton was a member.
The single’s A side, ‘You’re So Hard To Please’, even better exposed the above. Way before exploring details about Willie Cobb was only a few clicks away, my luck meant stumbling on this very single amongst a one-stop salesman’s cast-off pile, often sitting untouched at my uncle’s vending business office on a Saturday morning when my Dad could, I’m sure, take me pestering for a visit no longer. I never did understand what the big deal was. They’d all stand around for a good hour and talk sports and stuff, and I’d clean out the office shelves of those nasty promos no one wanted.
My guess is Vee Jay re-serviced ‘You’re So Hard To Please’ around the time of the B sides’ discovery, thereby hoping to skim off some profits from the British blues frenzy afire amongst US college kids, all blindly insatiable for any electric blues track being hammered by their local underground stations, hence landing the pressing above.
One listen and you’ll agree, if anything was a sonic model for the Eric Clapton era John Mayall’s Bluebreakers, ‘You’re So Hard To Please’ was it.