Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Little Richard: Baby Don't You Tear My Clothes/Stingy Jenny (I Got What It Takes But It Breaks My Heart To Give It Away)(Brunswick 55377)

WELL, AWW-REET! Here we have the one and only Mr. Richard Penniman, the original rock 'n' roll wildman, still slammin' it out in the mid-sixties. One thing needs to be kept clear: even though Little Richard's star power wasn't the same as it was in the previous decade, he was still recording lots of great sides of raw soul. Upon his return from a brief spell in the ministry, Little Richard recorded the spectacular "Bama Lama Bama Loo" for his old label Specialty, before going on to record for Vee Jay ("It Ain't Whatcha Got," "I Don't Know What You Got But It's Got Me"), Modern ("Baby Don't You Want A Man Like Me"), Okeh ("Poor Dog"), Brunswick and Reprise.

This, of course, is one of the Brunswick 45s and it's a two-sider in the fullest sense. Both sides are pure all-out boot-stompin', hip-shakers guaranteed to get you out on the floor in no time. Both of them show that while Little Richard's sound may have changed with the times, he was still as wild and crazy as ever, hollerin' up a storm and pounding his piano into dirt.

Interestingly enough, "Stingy Jenny" was written by the man Little Richard claimed was an inspiration to him, Esquerita, credited here as Eskew Reeder. As Richard hammers the keys over a funky beat, he tells the story of a stingy woman who refuses to give her man bail money. Even better is "Baby, Don't You Tear My Clothes," in which Richard pleads with his baby to love him, but please, please, please don't tear his clothes! This one ups the ante quite a bit with the addition of some great lowdown guitar work that's pushed up high in the mix. (FYI, "Baby" is comped on the very fine "Downtown Soulville" comp available from Crypt.)

Of course, this is yet another record going into the "Should Have Been A Monster Hit" file. But that just leaves it up to you, dear listener, to seek this out as well as all the other Little Richard gems you haven't heard yet. But if you haven't heard Little Richard before, well, you're reading the wrong blogsite!

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