Sunday, July 1, 2012

Slim Harpo

Not all blues is sad. Slim Harpo is blues and he’s not sad. I don’t know if I’d say he’s happy though. Intense, certainly. Lascivious, definitely.

Unlike Muddy Waters, John Lee Hooker, Buddy Guy, and Little Walter, but in common with B. B. King, Jimmy Reed and Little Johnny Taylor, Harpo actually put songs into the top 100 (top 40 even).

This is The Best Of Slim Harpo.

Slim Harpo:

Rock Me – aka Rock Me Baby. Everyone did this, from B B King on down. It is signature blues, but somewhat atypical of Slim.
I Got Love If You Want It – Covered by, inter alia, The Kinks, and The Who, back when they were The High Numbers, though they wrote new lyrics and called it I’m The Face.
Baby Scratch My Back – Ok, how did this get on the radio? This was the winter of 1966, when songs about the big S didn’t get airplay. But then maybe he was, you know, just itchy. The most absurd thing here is the cover version by Dino, Desi & Billy.
I’m A King Bee – The bee theme, (buzzing, etc) got a lot of traction from Slim. This is his signature sound, with that looping bass (what trick of electronics did they use, one wonders). And, not to be a prude or anything, but this is downright dirty. Covered by The Stones on their first album.
Little Queen Bee (Got A Brand New King) – Why leave a good theme alone?
Shake Your Hips – He’s singing about dancing. Really! He is! The Stones covered this on Exile On Main Street, coming full circle…
Te-Ni-Nee-Ni-Nu – Yeah, like Sting invented it…
Buzz Me Babe – I don’t think this is about the phone…
Buzzin’ – In case we didn’t get it the first time…
Rainin’ In My Heart – His other hit. Not the Buddy Holly song. It’s blue, the song, and it’s bluesy, but it’s not exactly blues. From the summer of 1961 and covered by The Pretty Things.
Still Rainin’ In My Heart
Last Last Night – He must have been buzzin…
Tip On In, Part 1 – A song about a cool place to hang out.
Bobby Sox Baby – Hey little girl in the high school sweater, Dee Clark move over…
Don’t Start Cryin’ Now – Tomorrow ok?
I Need Money (Keep Your Alibi) – A little off topic here, finally. I love the pronunciation of “alibi” as “al-o-bi.”
Strange Love – Isn’t it all?
Blues Hang Over – There is always a price to pay, Slim…

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