Imagine if the two hundred miles separating Nashville and Memphis hadnâ€™t birthed two entirely separate musical cultures. As if the country songwriters of the former had more freely shopped their material among the blues and soul musicians of the latter. Thatâ€™s the premise of the Bo-Keys third album, as they give songs by Harlan Howard, Curly Putnam, Hank Williams and Freddy Fender a spin down Beale Street and on a road trip to Muscle Shoals. Traveling beyond Nashville, the soul transformation roams West for Merle Haggardâ€™s early album track â€œThe Longer You Wait,â€ and East (albeit, via Nashville Skyline) for Bob Dylanâ€™s â€œI Threw It All Away.â€
The Bo-Keys arenâ€™t the first to put a soulful spin on these song; Swamp Doggâ€™s â€œDonâ€™t Take Her (Sheâ€™s All I Got)â€ started as a soul side before turning country, as did Curly Putnamâ€™s â€œSet Me Free,â€ which had been given soulful treatments by Charlie Rich, Joe Tex, Van & Grace and Esther Phillips before Ferlin Husky took it to the Nashville mainstream. Even closer, Little Richard gave â€œIâ€™m So Lonesome I Could Dieâ€ the full Stax treatment on 1971â€™s King of Rock and Roll. None of which takes away from the Bo-Keys creativity, but helps show that great songs can stand apart from the genre in which they were birthed. Floyd Cramerâ€™s â€œLast Date,â€ for example, is equally compelling when shifted here from piano and strings to guitar and horns.
A collection of music from some of the artists who passed away in 2015.
Billy Joe Royal Down in the Boondocks B.B. King Early in the Morning Bonnie Lou Friction Heat Ben E. King (The Drifters) Save the Last Dance for Me Don Covay Come See About Me Errol Brown (Hot Chocolate) Emma Don Joyce Crystalâ€™s Snowdrift Disco Bar & Thrill Jack Ely (The Kingsmen) Louie, Louie Leonard Nimoy Highly Illogical Kim Fowley The Trip Buddy Emmons Witches Brew Cory Wells (Three Dog Night) Mama Told Me Not to Come Jean Richie Dulcimer Pieces Johnny Gimble Lone Star Rag Little Jimmy Dickens Me and My Big Loud Mouth Lynn Anderson Flattery Will Get You Everywhere Curtis Lee Pretty Little Angel Eyes David Somerville (The Diamonds) Little Darlinâ€™ Ronnie Bright (Johnny Cymbal) Mr. Bass Man Frankie Ford Sea Cruise Allen Toussaint Everything I Do Gonna Be Funky Lew Soloff (Blood, Sweat & Tears) Spinning Wheel Ramona Jones Whiskey Before Breakfast Chuck Pyle Rio Rey Cilla Black Conversations Michael Brown (The Left Banke) Pretty Ballerina Rod McKuen Jean Percy Sledge Warm and Tender Love Lesley Gore I Donâ€™t Want To Be a Loser Johnny Keating Theme From Z-Cars Ward Swingle (The Swingle Singers) The Little Fugue Jim Ed Brown Pop-A-Top Owen Castleman Judy Mae Scott Weiland (Stone Temple Pilots) Creep P.F. Sloan Halloween Mary Dave Pike Jet Set
“The Fool” was written by Lee Hazlewood (though credited to his nom de spouse, Naomi Ford, and with a guitar riff borrowed from Howlin’ Wolf’s “Smokestack Lightnin’“), and first waxed by Sanford Clark in 1956. Since then, the song’s been recorded dozens of times across a surprising range of genres. Here, for your irritainment*, are twenty-eight different recordings, clocking it at over ninety-six oddly hypnotic minutes.
Arthur Smith Guitar Boogie The Everly Brothers (Phil Everly) Made to Love Lois Johnson Come on in and Let Me Love You Weldon Myrick Once a Day Johnny Winter Dallas Little Jimmy Scott Everybody Needs Somebody Jimmy Ruffin What Becomes of the Broken Hearted Jay and the Americans (Jay Traynor) She Cried Bob Crewe Music to Watch Girls By The Orlons (Rosetta Hightower) The Wah-Watusi Cream (Jack Bruce) I Feel Free Joe Cocker Feelin’ Alright Jerry Vale You Don’t Know Me Deon Jackson Love Makes the World Go ‘Round Acker Bilk Stranger on the Shore Jeanne Black He’ll Have to Stay George Hamilton IV Abilene Sadina (Priscilla Mitchell) It Comes and Goes Velva Darnell Not Me The Bobbettes (Reather Dixon Turner) Mr. Lee Jimmy C. Newman Artificial Rose Jesse Winchester Do It Bobby Womack What You Gonna Do (When Your Love is Gone)