Words And Music
Podcast 005: Dig To The Roots - July 19, 2005

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Podcast 005: Dig To The Roots - July 19, 2005

I am a fanatic for original recordings.  Here, we indulge my fanaticism and bring you original versions of songs that you thought... "hey, I thought that was the original!"

Opening the show:
 Stevie Ray Vaughn, "
Texas Flood," 1983.  The best-known version of this blues classic, but not the best.  That honor belongs to the man who wrote it...

Larry Davis and His Band, "Texas Flood," 1958.  A classic slow blues showcase, you can hear where SRV lifted some of his solos from.  Stevie always acknowledged Larry Davis as an influence, and Davis actually outlived Stevie Ray.

Peggy Lee, "
Fever," 1958.  The best-known version of this as well, but it somehow has a sheen on it that the original doesn't have... and doesn't need.

Little Willie John, "
Fever," 1956.  He was 19 years old when this record came out, and lived only to age 30, dying in prison in 1968 after a 1964 manslaughter conviction.  He recorded scores of other singles, almost all R'n'B classics.

The Kingsmen, "
Louie, Louie," 1964.  Not sure what can be said about this that hasn't already been said, except that it's certainly not an original.  Even the Kingsmen's version was lifted from another Seattle-area band.

Richard Berry and the Pharaohs, "
Louie, Louie," 1956.  The original intelligible lyrics are pretty innocuous, almost a calypso.  If you click the link for either the Kingsmen or Richard Berry, it takes you to the same amazing compilation of some great versions of the song over the years.

The Beatles, "
Money (That's What I Want)," 1963.  The Beatles spent a lot of time on their early records covering recent American R'n'B hits, including this LP, With The Beatles, from November, 1963.  This was one of those covers, but the vocals lack the punch of the original...

Barrett Strong, "Money (
That's What I Want)," 1959.  This is the version used in Animal House, in the background during one of the scenes when the Delta House boys are tearing around Faber in that black Lincoln Continental.  The only hit Barrett ever recorded, though he co-wrote several other Motown hits over the years, including "Papa Was A Rollin' Stone" for The Temptations.  And that ain't right...

The Flying Lizards, "
Money (That's What I Want)," 1979.  Don't ask, don't tell.  A UK minimalist/new wave band that released few albums and are most likely remembered for this cover.  This version was used in The Wedding Singer and once appeared on a compilation called We Do 'Em Our Way, now long out of print, featuring punk and new-wave bands covering well-known songs, such as The Stranglers' cover of Burt Bacharach's "Walk On By."  One other I remember:  DEVO's cover of The Stones' "Satisfaction."

Led Zeppelin, "
When The Levee Breaks," 1971.  Long and violent and dreamy, best enjoyed with a little weed or whiskey.  The last track on the album commonly known as Led Zeppelin IV but which was untitled.

Kansas Joe and Memphis Minnie, "
When The Levee Breaks," 1929.  Minnie was one of the first women to use an electric guitar on blues recordings.  Kansas Joe's vocal style reminds me a little of Big Bill Broonzy crossed with Robert Johnson.

Click here for the MP3 file (21.5 megabytes, 31:13 duration).

07/26/2005 05:24:32 PM

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