Saturday, September 02, 2006

Soul-Blues Saturday: Jimmy, Peggy and Bill

Peggy Scott-Adams - Bill

The late Jimmy Lewis was known more for his songs (which were recorded by a wide range of artists, most notably Ray Charles) than his recordings during soul's classic era, despite great records on 4-J, Tangerine, Minit, Buddah, Volt, Hotlanta and other labels. Jimmy started the Miss Butch label in the early '90s and released records on himself and others in the soul-blues idiom, hitting big among the blues crowd with several recordings (which will be featured in next week's "Soul-Blues Saturday" post) and really scoring big with today's selection.

Peggy Scott and Jo Jo Benson had several hits for SSS International in the late '60s, but after that act disbanded she faded into obscurity. When she hooked up with Jimmy Lewis to cut the album Help Yourself she was known in her hometown mainly for singing at funerals. The album was a smash, as far as soul-blues records go, making the Billboard blues chart. (Has Billboard discontinued this chart? I looked at a recent issue and didn't see it in there.) The record sold mainly on the strength of "Bill," which also garnered single release. Jimmy's love-triangle-with-a-twist (in that regard not unlike Swmap Dogg's "Did I Come Back Too Soon?") presents the story with the directness Lewis was known for, and Peggy's vocals put over the surprise and shock that one would expect in such a story. I remember seeing the music video on MTV2 when I was in college (the first time I had heard the song, actually) and immediately rushing out to find the cassette single. This is a tune that grabs you right away and is an example of how "real soul" is not absent in soul-blues recordings: although the subject matter may have prevented anyone from recording a song like it in the '60s, it's not too much a stretch to imagine it being done in those days!

1 comment:

Barry said...

Always like this track..but am stil amazed at how people have never heard it...
Perfect marriage though..I mean the one between Peggy and Jimmy!

Jason..check out the new Barbara Carr CD 'Down Low Brother'..I played the title track on my last show..
Same theme and style..I can send you an mp3 is you want