Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Compare and Contrast: Gone to My Baby's Head

From 1961, please enjoy the wonderfully mush-mouthed, laid-back and squeaky stylings of Jimmy Reed and his immortal ode to a downhome girlfriend going uptown for a walk on the wild side, "Bright Lights, Big City."




And then from 1963 and their quite amazing IBC demo sessions (pre-the first album, produced and engineered by the great Glyn Johns), ponder The Rolling Stones apotheosis of the Chicago Blues-style cover version.




And, finally, from 1965, here's The Animals, featuring the tremendous organ phrases of Alan Price, and their sort-of jazzy revamp of the tune.




I love all three of these, but I've mostly had a soft spot for the Stones version, which I heard for the first time on the bootleg pictured above in 1973; I was stunned then, and still am, that a bunch of pimply Brit kids had that Chess Records vibe down so absolutely cold.

That said, on revisiting the Animals take, I'm unexpectedly impressed. It verges on, dare I say it, pop, doesn't it? And those rhythmic shifts are really clever...

13 comments:

Peter said...

What a great entry! I hadn't heard the Stones or Animals tracks and both really got me to change my way of livin'. I always thought of early Stones as a great Chuck Barry band but a bit too callow for the "real" blues. Wrong. And the Animals' radical reworking - did anyone else hear George Benson's "On Broadway" in there? - puts Burdon right up there beside Big Joe. Thanks.

FD13NYC said...

Great choice Steve! Luv all 3 versions. The Stones version is a standout.

Anonymous said...

Did Leiber/Stolller cop their arrangement of the Coaster's "D W Washburn" from Jimmy Reed's version of Bright Lights?

All three versions are just killer.

ROTP(lumber)

Gummo said...

The original is soooo greazy! Never heard it before but I love it.

I dunno, the slow parts of the Animals version sound like Every Other Animals Song. But I do like the plunky electric 12-string guitar lead in the middle.

And whoever supplied you with the rare Stones cut should get a hat tip; sure was nice of'em! [wink, wink]

steve simels said...

Gummo:

Sorry dude, I'm overworked and undercaffeinated this morning.

Hattip indeed...

Skip said...

The v. from Angry Young Them is arguably the best evah and the Downliners Sect is very close to the Stones with a little extra narcotic stupor thrown in... Billy Childish does a pretty credible rendering that sounds like it could be a hidden track from the Anthology of American Folk Music.

steve simels said...

Not a fan of the Downliners, but I didn't know there was a Them version.

Must go search...
:-)

steve simels said...

Oh wait a minnit -- I have that Them version on my harddrive somewhere. Don't remember it at all though....

billy b said...

Wow, I never heard of that Stones bootleg.

Is it available anywhere?

Skip said...

look here

http://zinhof.blog.hr/2009/02/1625942630/mp3320kbps.html

DeepKarma said...

Great stuff. Thanks Steve...and Gummo!

Feral said...

BTW - of all people Neil Young covered that too, on "Everybody's Rockin". Saw Young and the Shocking Pinks at Alpine Valley when that was released. Between that and his "Trans" stuff, he was practically booed off stage.

Stephenc. said...

Am I the only person in the world who loves "Everybody's Rockin"? Neil's version of "Bright Lights, Big City" is the best I've heard, but I have to admit The Stones take is pretty darn good.

Steve