Monday, April 23, 2007

Got Love If You Want It

So the story goes that after their first audition at Sun Records, Clyde Leopard and The Snearly Ranch Boys were playing at the Cotton Club, when Sam Phillips and Johnny Cash stop by and Johnny offers the band this song he's written. "Rock'n'Roll Ruby". At this stage Johnny Cash has released his second single (Folsom Prison Blues) and must feel on top of the world. Generous anyway. So the band record it and it's issued as by the singer Warren Smith. Piano player Smokey Joe Baugh is on top form, and the record deserves every one of it's rumoured half million sales.

It was issued on April 21st 1956.

You can hear Johnny Cash's quick demo at his RCS Discography. Scroll down to Additional tracks.
Warren Smith has a Sun Records Discography too.

His follow up was the offbeat rocker Ubangi Stomp, but it was the third single that rocked Warren's boat. "So Long I'm Gone" came out immediately after Jerry Lee Lewis' "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin On" and got precious little of Sam Phillips' promotional energy. Warren Smith took to buying up Lewis' single and smashing it in the record shops, while Lewis played it every time he found a Jukebox. Those Sun Records concert tours!! Must have been as mad as "Walk The Line" makes out.

So for his next single (ten months later) Warren (minus The Snearly Ranch Boys) now with ace Sun session guitarist Roland Janes, cuts a stomping version of "Got Love If You Want It" (see below) and must think the money is in the bag. But wait - it's wedged between Jerry Lee's "Great Bals Of Fire" and "Breathless" on the release schedule. And in the same DJ mail out is Johnny Cash's "Big River", Carl Perkins' "Glad All Over", Sonny Burgess' "My Bucket's got A Hole In It" and Roy Orbison's follow up to "Ooby Dooby".

I reckon Sam Phllips and Warren Smith would be having words by this stage. It's the only explanation for a track like "Red Cadillac and a Black Moustache" remaining unreleased, and Warren leaving the label a year later after only one more single release.

Buy a decent Warren Smith album

Slim Harpo was a crossover blues act that didn't crossover. Not in the charts anyway. According to The Blues Harp "By the time his first single became a Southern jukebox favorite, his songs being were adapted and played by White musicians left and right." Label mate Warren Storm covered "I'm A King Bee", on Excello, but that must have been later ... it begs the question "What was the first white cover of a Slim Harpo record? Any suggestions folks? Was it Warren Smith's Sun version?
Buy here and listen to some more tracks at Livin' Blues

Rock'n'Roll Ruby - Warren Smith
Got Love If You Want It - Warren Smith
Got Love If You Want It - Slim Harpo


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Blogger Reverend Frost said...

Black jack David ! The Gypsy Ladie !
Nick Tosches ! Slim Harpo !

(woof, too much excitement,I need an aspirin)

9:02 AM  
Blogger jon said...

Such a shame Slim Harpo died so young. He had that same effortless quality that Jimmy Reed had. Cept he wasn't pissed up half the time.
I heard Warren Smith's version of Got Love before Slim Harpo's and I actually like both equally.
cheers, Jon

9:21 AM  

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