Monday, November 14, 2011

Drum Rollllllll ... WOW!

For the first time in months I'd like to play a song which I actually haven't got on vinyl myself (and that's a pity!) The song has been around in the net for a while (also on Youtube, see here) and was released on CD. I'm speaking of Little GiGi's »Take The Bitter With The Sweet« on Select # 731B from 1964. (The single is known with a yellow or with a blue/silver label; for a 45 rpm discography of Select, a New York label, click here and here).

Billboard, May 9, 1964
The Billboard critic (who considered »Take The Bitter With The Sweet« the A-side) was right when he attributed an »Etta James sound« to Little Gigi's voice. Who Little Gigi (or rather »GiGi«) was remained a mystery until some months ago. Then substantial information appeared over on Derek's Daily 45s blogspot saying (in the comment section and actually featuring a comment by the singer herself!) that she was managed at the time by Jean Grace and that her real name is Gloria Glenn. As of January 2011 she was fine and, it appears, still active. So, this mystery has been solved.

Another mystery remains: Who was the drummer playing on »Take The Bitter With The Sweet«? Now, folks, listen to the song below, listen to it several times if needs be, and then tell me: Do you know any r&b recording of the classic '60s that features a better, more solid, more diversified drum part? I don't know any and am open for suggestions. I've listened to that song countless times and still discover some new subtleties on the drummer's part. Listen closely, you'll find them as well, they get more obvious the more the song goes on. And taken together with Little GiGi's powerful vocal performance this tune is a song for the ages. It's perfect:

Little GiGi (feat. an unknown but brillant drummer): »Take The Bitter With The Sweet« (1964):

P.S. In case you'd like to hear how this song can be played »regularly«, that is without either a world-class drummer or a first-class powerhouse voice, listen to a recent version of it done by a Spanish r&b outfit called »The Excitements«. Click here (and, in case, buy it here). No, not bad at all! But does it bear comparison with Little GiGi and her fantastic drummer?


  1. Wow that's really great! And not just explosive vocals and drums but the sax as well - true fireworks!

  2. Happy you like it. True fireworks is a very good description of what this song is!