Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Wednesday Is Blues Day, So Says John R!

Bobby Hebb - You Gotta Go

Today's post yet again continues the series of posts I've done regarding the SPV/Blue Label Nashville compilations. (See the first and second posts for more information about the project and selections from The Rogana Story and The Ref-O-Ree Records Story.) Today's selection comes from The Rich Records Story: Music City, Motor City & The Big Easy, which features WLAC DJ John Richbourg's early '60s Rich label. Although John R's later involvement with Joe Simon and Monument's Sound Stage Seven concern constitute his best-known off-air contributions to R&B history, quite a few great records came out on Rich, including sides on Lattimore Brown, the first J. J. Barnes records (John R had some connections in Detroit), fine Southern soul by Dee & Lola, a few jive-talking 45s by the WLAC jock himself and the early sides of Bobby Hebb, one of which is featured today.

Bobby Hebb struck pop and R&B paydirt for Philips in 1966 with his bittersweet "Sunny," a song covered so frequently by subsequent peformers of various genres (including a jazz version by James Brown!) that a couple of great compilations of nothing but "Sunny" covers have been issued, but Hebb also had a knack for harder stuff, and his Rich sides cover the raw R&B and blues bases nicely. (Hebb would make appearances also on Hoss Allen's The Beat TV show, and his "down-on-my-knees-soul-man" routine is a highlight of the series, as is an oddball moment where Hebb relives his "Grand Old Opry" origins by playing the spoons!) "You Gotta Go" is a swinging blues with quite ominous lyrics - Hebb encourages his philandering woman to leave while she can, while his desire to commit bodily harm is still checked. Quite a ways from "Sunny," to be sure!

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