Is this not a truly brilliant song? The lines, the rhythm, the beat. I was definitely too young to have noticed when this this was released, but it had to be somewhat revelotionairy. Maybe that’s an over reach, but the way he leads into the opening, that couldn’t have been done in rock before. Correct or heckle me if you want.
I’ve only heard the George Thorogood version (checking, I see the song has been around in one form or another since the 50’s). I remember the first time I heard it, I downloaded it as soon as I got to a computer (Napster, dialup, mid 90’s, still have that same file).
It is a great song, and still speaking only about the Thorogood version, I doubt it’s that revolutionary. It seems like a pretty basic blues song. Typical blues structure (to my untrained ear) and tells a story about a hard life. Again, I looove the song, I love Thorogood’s ‘extended’ version and what he does with it, but when it comes to blues songs, I don’t know that it’s anything too out of the ordinary.
ETA, on second though, if you’re comparing it to Rock, it does go a bit more back to it’s roots than most other stuff. It’s more along the lines of Stevie Ray Vaughn.
I hope you’re not thinking that George Thorogood is the original artist for this song. It’s a blues number dating back to the pre-rock&roll era.
Thorogood’s cover is basically the same as John Lee Hooker’s 60s version of the song, done in Hooker’s blues-boogie style, mashed up with Hooker’s “House Rent Boogie” (the parts where the landlady wanted the rent money).
I hate being ninja’d. :mad:
- commits seppuku.
And out the door I went…
The 50’s song “One Scotch, One Bourbon, One Beer” is loosely related, but Hooker’s version is far different.
Yep, Hookers version is the first version I think of when I think of this song. Thorogood’s medley has some of my favorite guitar playing by him, though. It’s obviously a work of love.
Hooker’s version is the one I think of as well. The Thorogood version is OK but I much prefer Hooker’s.
That don’t confront me.
Gotta admit, Thorogood’s playing on this was my awakening to slide guitar. Had it on a bootleg from the Hollywood Bowl - some radio broadcast - and man, oh man. Slide guitar is just nervousness and awesomeness all wrapped into one package.
I love both Hooker’s and Thorogood’s. George can’t sing worth a damn, but I love his groove and the mashup is fun.
“Everybody ‘funny.’ Now you ‘funny’ too.”
I love that line.
Did you just call me gay?
Scratch my back, baby!
And the clock on the wall sez three o’clock.
I think I’ve heard it before, but thanks for linking it. No one was ever worse off being reminded Amos Milburn existed.
I generally associate the song with John Lee Hooker. I don’t think as much about variations of this song as I do about the song Burnin’ Hell the variations of which tend to say a lot about the singer’s readiness to reject the religion they were raised in. Hooker’s older recordings are fairly atheist, but the famous version with Canned Heat is a great anthem for those who don’t believe but are haunted by irrational fear of divine judgement. Tom Jones sings “maybe there ain’t no heaven”. He doesn’t show off his fear of retribution, but is haunted by doubt that he’s bought into a load of shit. YouTube contains many gradations.
I’m a big blues fan, but George Thorogood nailed it with his mash up. In fact, I credit George and One Bourbon as a big gateway into the blues for a lot of folks.
I’ve seen both the Hook and George live, and it pains me to say that I preferred George’s One Bourbon live over the Hook. Don’t get me wrong. the Hook did a helluva show all 3 times I saw him. In fact, I’d say the Hook blew Van Morrison off the stage with I saw that double bill.
My own gateway blues album was Muddy Waters Hard Again with Johnny Winter…
Oh, shit - you saw that tour?! That was when Van had produced John Lee Hooker’s last real album, Don’t Look Back.
The only guy I ever “took guitar lessons from”* is all over that album. Danny Caron - he was the guitarist and musical director for blues pianist Charles Brown, RRHoF inductee. Driftin’ Blues - essential.
Anyway, the story: Hook needed to deliver an album, but was getting old and wasn’t much inspired. There was a decision to bring in Van - he was also in Northern California and a passionate fan. Good for both of them. Van decides that Hook should not record as he has been - with studio musicians. So he asks Charles and Danny if they would be Hook’s band and they immediately said yes.
They get to the studio, and start setting up in their spaces - either a partitioned space in the main studio, with noise baffles to limit mic bleed; or in the drummer’s case, a separate room. Van Morrison comes in, late, but before Hook, and throws a “typical Van little Irish hissy fit” (not my words) and demands everyone rip down the partitions and set up in the room as a band.
So they do. John Lee shows up, sits down and they start running through songs. I think Red House was one of the first, and it was clear that Van was right. John Lee was feeling it and the songs came easy. That’s Danny on lead on that track.
*I had been playing for 18-20 years but never had a lesson. I was on a local project so not traveling and was curious. I went to this cool guitar shop in SF and they listed different instructors available. One of them was Danny and his resume spoke for itself. We connected over in Oakland and I made it clear I had no clue or interest in technique or scales, but wanted to play better. After he laughed at me, he showed me cool tricks and tips and told me stories. It was cool. And I learned how to play a Stevie Ray Vaughn Texas Shuffle for reals, and on a '65 Strat given to Danny by Jimmie Vaughn. Yay.
WordMan, that is a great story. I know this is heresy but Stevie Ray never did it for me, but I loved Jimmie and the Fabulous Thunderbirds. Awesome you got to play Jimmies 65 strat.
Yep, John Lee and Van played around the bay area. I saw them at UC Davis around 1983 in a hall that held maybe 1500 people.
Even better though, was the night that the Hook played the UC Davis coffee house. It only held around 100 people. He played a double show. I hung out with the Hook and the band inbetween sets. He didn’t want to come down to the radio station in the basement to do and interview but was cool with me just hanging out.
After the show, the Hook was back stage and these 2 20 year old hawt women said “we’re friends of John Lee’s wife, let us in.” So, I went and asked John Lee if he knew Cindy and Wendy, “hell yes, let 'em in.” And each of them sat on a knew and were just having a good old time. He signed my copy of Never Get Out of these Blues alive. I believe he could just barely sign his name and was basically illiterate.
(On another note, George Thorogood played the same coffee house in 1978, the year before I went to UC Davis. I knew folks that were at the sound check. Literally, the coffee house was a coffee house. Students were in there studying and hanging out while the sound check went on. George got kinda peeved at being ignored, and for 15 minutes pulled out all the stops and was jumping on tables and rocking it out.
On yet another note, George played again a couple of years later at the same 1500 person hall (I forget the name). He had done the sound check, and George and the Destroyers walked across the street to the University baseball game going on, caught the last inning, and talked to a bunch of the players. They didn’t know who he was, but it was pretty cool to watch the destroyers chatting away as baseball fans)
I love the song. It is one of the only story songs that I can think of that describes the singer as a terrible person. Seriously, listen to the lyrics and you will quickly learn that is the last person you would want to hang around with. It is a study of dysfunctional alcoholism combined with some sociopathy. It can also teach you new words and phrases although I have never quite figured out what “that don’t befront me” means exactly.
So there I am, in Sri Lanka, formerly Ceylon, at about 3 o’clock in the morning, looking for one thousand brown M&Ms to fill a brandy glass, or Ozzy wouldn’t go on stage that night. So, Jeff Beck pops his head 'round the door, and mentions there’s a little sweets shop on the edge of town. So - we go. And - it’s closed. So there’s me, and Keith Moon, and David Crosby, breaking into that little sweets shop, eh. Well, instead of a guard dog, they’ve got this bloody great big Bengal tiger. I managed to take out the tiger with a can of mace, but the shopowner and his son… that’s a different story altogether. I had to beat them to death with their own shoes. Nasty business, really. But, sure enough, I got the M&Ms, and Ozzy went on stage and did a great show.