Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Funky Percy

Percy Mayfield - I Don't Want To Be President

Percy Mayfield, "The Poet of the Blues," is today best known for his '50s sides for Specialty (especially the hit "Please Send Me Someone to Love") and for writing "Hit the Road, Jack" for Ray Charles. Although his performing career as an artist was derailed by a mid-'50s auto accident, which left him facially disfigured, he recorded through the mid-'70s on several labels, with stints at Ray Charles' Tangerine label and RCA bringing forth some excellent after-hours soul and blues on five albums. In 1974 he hooked up with Johnny "Guitar" Watson for a one-off single for Atlantic from which today's selection comes. Mayfield co-wrote "I Don't Want To Be President" with Watson, and Mayfield's usual wry humor and Watson's West Coast funk are equally featured. (Watson would record the song himself later on.) I recommend the Rhino Handmade CD "His Tangerine and Atlantic Sides" (if you can get your hands on a copy - the CD was a limited release and is out of print) to get a good view of his work from that period.

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