Lyn Collins - Mr. Big Stuff
One of these days I'm going to do a post or a mini-podcast of some sort about Jean Knight's "Mr. Big Stuff" and the rash of covers and answer records the 1971 smash engendered, ranging from male retorts ("I'm Mr. Big Stuff" by Jimmy Hicks and the then-unissued "Sister Hot Pants" by Freddie Robinson) to further female sass ("I'm Too Tough (For Mr. Big Stuff)" by Vicki Anderson). But in advance of that, here's today's selection.
This version of "Mr. Big Stuff" comes from the late Lyn Collins, then the featured femme vocalist in the James Brown Revue. Collins worked with Brown from 1971 to around 1976 and hit big with the sampler favorite "Think (About It)," which provided the foundation for the hip-hop classic "It Takes Two" by Rob Base and D.J. E-Z Rock. Although Collins stated in interviews that she would've preferred to do more singing and less shouting on her People recordings for JB (since most of her songs followed the JB formula), she could give up the funk as well as anyone else on the scene at the time. "Mr. Big Stuff" was one of her later People recordings, from either 1975 or 1976. Over a much lighter and faster groove than the original Collins adroitly handles the classic lyrics, but then, where the original would be heading into the fade, the band shifts gears and puts down a totally different groove, over which Lyn brings her diva fire to great ad-libs ("if you want to keep me, you gotta hustle ... if you want to keep me, you gotta get a job") to take it all home.