Friday, November 18, 2011

Chic to Dig

Tonight, I have a personal confession to make. You know, the very first LP I bought with my own (sort of) money was Boney M's Nightflight to Venus. It was fresh out of the press, I was about ten years old then and I loved it; still do, somehow. Well, the second LP I got was an anthology of Chicago Blues, actually a 2-LP album. And these discs I played until they were positively worn out. One of the songs on this album was Willie Mabon's »I'm The Fixer«. Not really a song for the ears of a 10-year old. But I didn't get the message then anyway and was just carried away by the beat.

The song starts very abruptly with Willie kick- ing it off with »Ba-by! ...«. This had, for me, much the same effect as Tina Turner's outcry at the beginning of »A Fool In Love« had on the soul of Peter Guralnick*, that is, ushering a new sound into my world with a bang.
(*I remember with a degree of certainty it was Peter Guralnick who wrote somewhere about this experience of his ... can't find the passage right now.)

So on my side there is a lot of autobiography in that song. For the record: »I'm The Fixer« was released as B-Side on USA # 741 in late June 1963, and Billboard listed it as a new release in the July 6 issue. A-side is »Too Hot To Handle«. According to the most detailed Willie Mabon discography on the net, »I'm The Fixer« was recorded in Chicago on May 23, 1963, »Too Hot To Handle« on February 7; information about the musicians at the session you'll find on the discography page indicated before. The A-side, Eddie Noack's »Too Hot To Handle«, was originally a pure country bopper and some country flavor still pervades Willie Mabon's version. (By the way, another nice example of how intertwined the realms of Blues, r&b and c&w really were.)

Willie Mabon: »I'm The Fixer« / »Too Hot To Handle« on USA # 741 (1963):

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I almost forgot: In case you're curious where I took the inspiration for the title of today's post, read this passage about the »soul craze« as it appeared in the Dec- ember 1961 issue of Ebony magazine (page 112).
Wow, I was way ahead of this when I was about ten: I knew Willie Mabon but I had never heard of Lasagne or foie gras ... uh, seems it was a sign of things to come ... well, not quite, I came to know (and love) lasagne in the meantime as well.

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