Archive for the ‘Willie Dixon’ Category

Sam Cooke

Saturday, December 24th, 2011

Listen: Little Red Rooster / Sam Cooke

Even if Sam Cooke hadn’t name checked “Billy” at the onset of the organ solo, he, being Billy Preston, would have been on my shortlist of guesses. Jimmy McGriff, Jimmy Smith, Brian Auger, Hank Jacobs to also name a few too, they played in the same Hammond jazz/funk/soul, or whatever it’s called, pocket during the mid to late 60′s.

I was not initially attracted to this record, nor Sam Cooke for that matter, when current. Given the single came out in ’64, and peaked at #11, I’d never heard it. Not until decades later, when rummaging through a Salvation Army pile of discards did this remake of the Willie Dixon tune, a year later (’65) made popular by The Rolling Stones, seem a worthwhile 25ยข gamble.

For the longest time, the song’s swing shuffle approach sounded too dated, too safe and too like something my parents would listen to. Just recently did I give it a play and only because this UK promo pressing beauty entered my collection, thank you Vicki Wickham.

Boing. How did I not notice the organ playing ever before? Even as part of the song’s MOR slush style, it stands out.

Then that “Billy” namechack had me curious. So my world wide web digging began. Now I’m completely intrigued by the events of December 10, 1964. It was fun Google mapping all of Sam Cooke’s stops that night from his Los Angeles home on Ames Street to dinner and clubs on Sunset to a no tell motel on South Figueroa Street in South Central to the Los Angeles County morgue. Fun stuff.

And I found this too, confirming Billy Preston.

Willie Dixon

Wednesday, June 8th, 2011

Listen: Walking The Blues / Willie Dixon
Walking The Blues / Willie Dixon

Nowadays, especially if this were shorter, it would be known as an interlude. A lot of urban albums thread songs together with simple, stripped down stuff like this. But in ’64, ‘Walking The Blues’ was a single, how lucky for mankind.

The UK hipsters turned musicians of the day were insatiable for almost any US blues player. Stories of major rock band formations based on the love of American blues legends are endless. Willie Dixon was king. After all, he wrote “Little Red Rooster”, “Hoochie Coochie Man”, “Spoonful”, “I Just Want to Make Love to You”, “I Ain’t Superstitious”, “My Babe”, “Wang Dang Doodle”…the list goes on.

This B side makes for a nice, not overplayed, listen, complete with the original shop sticker on the company sleeve indicating point of purchase.