Thursday, March 17, 2011

What's That Song?

Alex Chilton died a year ago today. Among his many attributes (singer, songwriter, band leader, and troublemaker) he was an interpreter and connoisseur of songs - all kinds of songs. I'd like to think that Alex had a big record collection but he probably did not. It would have only weighed him down. He was more likely a kind of musical sponge absorbing everything and spewing it out artfully in his own way. Today, in remembrance, we'll listen to a few of those songs as performed by the original artists, songs that he brought into his repertoire and made his own. Some are well known and some are not. A few of these songs, I'm fairly certain, I may have never heard had he not decided to record them. Thanks Alex.


"Make A Little Love" mp3
by Lowell Fulsom, 1967.
available on The Tramp Years
by Alex Chilton on High Priest

"Thank You John" mp3
by Willie Tee, 1965.
available on Teasin You
by Alex Chilton on Feudalist Tarts

"With A Girl Like You" mp3
by The Troggs, 1967.
available on The Singles A's & B's
by Alex Chilton on 19 Years: A Collection of Alex Chilton

"Girl After Girl" mp3
by Troy Shondell, 1961.
available on This Time: The Best Of Troy Shondell
by Alex Chilton on Like Flies on Sherbert

"Nobody's Fool" mp3
by Dan Penn, 1973.
available on Nobody's Fool
recorded by Alex Chilton on High Priest

"I've Never Found A Girl (To Love Me Like You Do)" mp3
by Eddie Floyd, 1968.
available on Rare Stamps
by Alex Chilton on Loose Shoes and Tight Pussy

top photo: Alex Chilton, Bowery, 1977. by Godlis



Chris Stamey has assembled an all-star ensemble that have now twice performed Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers LP in its entirety in NC. The next performance of Big Star's Third/Sister Lovers will be on Saturday, March 26, at Mason Hall in NYC, Aided and abetted by an all-star cast of performers including Tift Merritt, Matthew Sweet, M. Ward, Norman Blake (Teenage Fan Club), Ira Kaplan (Yo La Tengo) and others to be announced shortly to join the core group complete with the rhythm section of Jody Stephens (Big Star), Mike Mills (R.E.M.), Will Rigby (dB's), Charles Cleaver, and Mitch Easter(Let's Active) and the expanded Lost in the Trees Orchestra with full strings, brass, winds, orchestral percussion and basketball. You will not want to miss this...

Tickets are available by following this link: Tickets Mason Hall, NYC, March 26

More information on this amazing project here:
All proceeds for this show benefit the New Orleans Musicians Clinic, and El System's Corona Youth Project in Queens.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Two-Sider Tuesday: The Stewart Brothers

Today is Sly Stone's 68th birthday. I sincerely hope he's having a good one. Things have been somewhat rocky for Sly for nearly 40 years now, and while he is truly one of the greats, attempts to get himself together and make a comeback have unfortunately been elusive. I was first hipped to this record-- the first single by the Stewart Brothers--by my pal Phast Phreddie. Young Sly is at the helm and begins the a-side with an introduction:

The name of this tune is...uh, "The Rat."
and uh, we are the Stewart Brothers and
Sylvester Stewart, that's myself, I wrote it.

It's a doo-wop record with some fine guitar playing by brother Freddie. I'm not sure who the rest of the personnel are on this session.

Dig it... and Happy Birthday Sly.


"The Rat" mp3
by the Stewart Brothers, 1959.
Ensign 45-4032
out of print

"Ra Ra Roo" mp3
by the Stewart Brothers, 1959.
Ensign 45-4032
out of print

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Two-Sider (Fat) Tuesday

Today, we begin a new and maybe regular feature here at the Boogie Woogie Flu to be known as Two-Sider Tuesday, featuring two sides of a single platter. In honor of Fat Tuesday, and our house band here in Fluville, I present to you a classic New Orleans two-sider, Ace #571 by Huey 'Piano' Smith and the Clowns.



"Tu-Ber-Cu-Lucas and the Sinus Blues" mp3
by Huey Smith, 1959.
available on This Is Huey Piano Smith

"Dearest Darling (You're the One)" mp3
by Huey Smith, 1959.
available on Ace is Wild


painting: King Zulu, 1986. by Jean-Michel Basquiat

Friday, March 4, 2011

Psychic Payne

by Will Rigby

Leon Payne's song "Psycho" is legendary, and rightly so.

Payne was a blind country singer and songwriter who has the distinction of having two of his songs recorded by Hank Williams: "Lost Highway" (listen to Leon's version here) and "They'll Never Take Her Love From Me." Other well-known songs he wrote are "I Love You Because," which Elvis Presley recorded at his first session for Sun Records in 1954, and "Things Have Gone To Pieces," originally a hit for George Jones.

On a day off in Nashville in 1999 I poked around Elder's Book Store on Elliston Place. Elder's must be one of the premier sources of books on the Civil War, but when I asked Mr. Elder where his books on music were, he said he had just gotten some in that he didn't know quite what they were. In retrospect I find this a bit surprising, because he is a prominent used book dealer in Music City, and these books are uniquely Music Row products.

The books are/were songbooks printed (rather inexpensively) by music publishers to give/loan to artists, producers, and studios in Nashville for the purpose of learning the songs in order to record them. They measure 12" wide by 9" high, typically with two pages of sheet music reduced to fit side by side on one page (although there are exceptions). Some of the songs are written out by hand and photocopied.

The purpose of these books has been supplanted by CDs, MP3s, etc., so I presume they are obsolete artifacts that are no longer made. Which makes me wonder why Mr. Elder hadn't seen them before. I suspect that he has seen more of them by now, and wouldn't be surprised if there is a collector's market for them. He also had books of the Louvin Brothers, Don Gibson, and Don Everly (I bought all these), and others.

(click on image to enlarge)

Of course, "Psycho" sheet music is the most unusual find. We present it here as an artifact and a public service. Note the restriction at the bottom of the first page: "The use of the lyrics to this song with any other music is expressly prohibited". There are a couple of lyric differences from the recorded versions: "my hands near his throat" is printed but generally sung "around his throat"; and most significantly, the usual recorded ending "Mama, why don't you wake up?" is NOT in the sheet music.

(click on image to enlarge)

Payne supposedly told his publisher, Fred Rose, not to allow "Psycho" to be recorded until after he died. The first recording, by Eddie Noack, came out in 1968, but Payne did not die until 1969, so perhaps the tale is apocryphal. I recall reading a review of the 45 around 1971 (by Greg Shaw, I think), so perhaps the record came out later than the citations I can find.

There is not a lot of information on this unusual song to be found on the Web. Perhaps, someone will at least make a Wikipedia page for it, and while they're at it, one for Eddie Noack, too.

Eddie Noack


"Psycho" mp3
by Eddie Noack, 1968.
froim K-ARK 45-843
out of print

"Psycho" mp3
by Jack Kittel, 1975.
available on Psycho (Jack Forever)

"Psycho" mp3
by Elvis Costello and the Attractions, 1981.
available on Almost Blue.

"Psycho" mp3
by Teddy Thompson, 1998.
available on Psycho

...and from reader, Tex. I don't know how this one slipped by us,
it is by far the scariest version:

"Psycho" mp3
by Andre Williams and the Sadies, 1999.
available on Red Dirt


Written and Performed by Leon Payne...

"Empty Dreams" mp3
by Leon Payne, 1951.
available on I Love You Because

"Poke Salad Green" mp3
by Leon Payne, 1952.
available on I Love You Because

"Two by Four" mp3
by Leon Payne, 1956.
available on A Living Legend Of Country Music

"Close To You" mp3
by Leon Payne, 1963.
available on A Living Legend Of Country Music


written by Leon Payne...

"Lost Highway" mp3
by Hank Williams, 1949.
available on Hank Williams - 40 Greatest Hits

"They'll Never Take Her Love From Me" mp3
by Doug Sahm, 2000.
available on Return of Wayne Douglas

"I Love You Because (Take 3)" mp3
by Elvis Presley, 1954.
available on The Complete Sun Sessions

"Things Have Gone To Pieces" mp3
by George Jones, 1971.
available on Sings the Great Songs of Leon Payne

"Take Me (Take 1 with string overdub)" mp3
by George Jones, 1965.
available on Walk Through This World With Me - The Complete Musicor Recordings, 1965-1971 (Part 1)

"Blue Side of Lonesome" mp3
by John Prine and Mac Wiseman, 2007.
available on Standard Songs for Average People