Friday, July 29, 2005

Otis Spann - Walkin'

I found this record here in town one day, along with a few other things. It's beat, has a crack in it and yet you hardly notice because it's LOUD! It's the only record I own by blues pianist Otis Spann but hopefully not the last because this is absolutely killer!

"Walkin'" begins with a huge drumbeat, think "Stompin' At The Savoy". Then the guitar and Spann's rollicking piano fall in. Otis then starts singing and he has to shout to be heard above the tremendous musical clatter. He sings, "I've been walkin'/talkin' to myself. I ain't got no woman/I don't have nobody else". He then shouts "Have mercy!" and the big drums take over on the break. Pretty soon the other instruments come back in and Otis gives us "I've been peepin'/I've been hiding out. I've been runnin'/I've been walkin'", simple yet effective. In the end, the song never stops, it just fades into oblivian.

"Walkin'" is the b-side of a single that Spann released with Fleetwood Mac, "Hungry Country Girl". I wonder how many Mac collectors over the years have even bothered to flip the record over? Their loss because not only is "Walkin'" an incredible slab of rockin' rhythm and blues but, although Spann gets sole label credit on this side, it appears the memebrs of Fleetwood Mac were backing him on this January 1969 recording. That, of course, would include Peter Green. Methinks it's one of the best things they ever did.

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