Mustang Sally (was Re: Pocono Blues Festival

Jimmy Jacobs fakeyjake@charter.net
Wed Aug 6 11:11:08 EDT 2008


Well put.  I was out for a while last night and had Taj Mahal in the cd
player.  I was struck by how many covers I have heard him do...and that
there are none I've heard from him that I complained about.  I think bands
go for MS (and Sweet Home Alabama, Brown-eyed Girl, etc) because they are
familiar, catchy beats that seem to cause white people who have absolutely
NO sense of rhythm to leap to their feet and begin to jerk about
spasmodically.  I really don't expect to hear a "festival-quality" blues
band covering them, though.  However, if Taj wants to do Mustang Sally, I
will be there.

-----Original Message-----
From: Blues Music List [mailto:BLUES-L@LISTS.NETSPACE.ORG] On Behalf Of
Steve Hoffman
Sent: Wednesday, August 06, 2008 9:19 AM
To: BLUES-L@LISTS.NETSPACE.ORG
Subject: Re: Mustang Sally (was Re: Pocono Blues Festival

Look, there ain't nothing wrong with doing COVER versions per se!!!


Hell, Otis Redding's masterpiece "Try a Little Tenderness" is a cover 
version of an old song.  Coltrane's "My Favorite Things" was a cover 
version. One of Merle Haggard's greatest albums is the one consisting of 
nothing but covers of old Jimmie Rogers songs (the country Jimmie 
Rogers).   In the blues arena, Elmore James did pretty well when he 
covered Robert Johnson's "Dust My Broom."  And so on and so forth, one 
could come up with literally thousands - thousands! - of examples of 
great cover versions!!


The problem is when TOO MANY BANDS COVER THE SAME DAMN SONG. 


That is what gets so tiring, and is so vapid, and so uninspiring, and 
just plain sucks.


"Mustang Sally" was a big hit for Wilson Pickett.  Do you know how many 
other big hits Wilson Pickett had?  (I'm not talking about obscure 
tracks, B-sides, rarities -- I'm talking about big hits?)  Well, I 
looked it up:  On the Billboard R&B charts, he had no fewer than 18 "top 
ten" hits, of which 5 went all the way to #1.  On the Billboard Pop 
charts, he didn't score as high (believe it or not!), but he did have 16 
songs that at least made it into the "top 40."


So that is what drives me friggin' nuts about phenomena like everybody 
covering "Mustang Sally."  It's like mass stupidity, mass musical 
amnesia, or something.  What happened to all the other great Wilson 
Pickett songs?????   Why can't a band, hearing "Mustang Sally," think to 
itself, hey that's a catchy little tune, let's DIG A BIT and find out 
what OTHER songs that artist sang (or that composer, Mack Rice, 
composed)?  


It's as though all we heard from symphony orchestra's was Beethoven's 
9th Symphony!!  People can and do enjoy the other 8!!


--Steve Hoffman



 



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