Friday, November 16, 2007

Good Timin' R&B!

Wynonie Harris - Big Old Country Fool

Today's selection digs a little deeper in the historical well than usual, but good timin' '50s R&B rumpshakers like this one can't be slept upon. Wynonie Harris made a splash with the Lucky Millinder Orchestra in 1945 with "Who Threw The Whiskey In The Well," and within a few years, thanks to his 1948 King release of "Good Rockin' Tonight," Harris was at the top of the charts and laying part of the groundwork for the rock revolution of the following decade. His sides for King were strong sellers for quite a few years, but by the latter half of the '50s, the new rock and roll sound had, ironically, wiped out his commercial success. Although Harris recorded and performed regularly until his death in 1969, he never recaptured his glory years, when he, "Mr. Blues," had no peer. The '50s groover "Big Old Country Fool" is my favorite Wynonie Harris record. Here, Harris tells the story of being played for a fool by a gold-digging woman over a great sax-led rhythm while a buoyant group of background singers brings a touch of country and a touch of sass to the proceedings in the choruses.

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