Monday, September 05, 2005

Jesse Hill: Ooh Poo Pah Doo Parts 1 and 2 (Minit 607)


Oh yes, oh yes, oh yes! Continuing on our New Orleans tribute trek, I now present to you the original version of a song that's been covered by everyone from Ike and Tina Turner to Paul Revere and the Raiders. Seems like every teenage frat band in the country had their own version of this also. Well, they may be good versions, but nothing tops the original. I give you Jesse Hill's 1960 classic "Ooh Poo Pah Doo."

Typical of the period, the "Parts 1 and 2" are divided into a vocal and instrumental side. It's the vocal side that matters most obviously, but the party doesn't stop there, so don't count out the instrumental side entirely. I'll explain in a moment.

Where to begin.....We open with a call and response. Hill yells out "Yeah" and his band follows suit. He wails "OH YEAHHHH!" His band does likewise. Then, he sings "I wanna tell you all about Ooh Poo Pah Doo!" The band kicks in with an onslaught of pumpin' piano, twistin' sax and a hot beat, while Hill wails and shouts all over the place. Don't even think of trying to stop him, because he'll tell you, "I won't stop tryin', till I create a disturbance in your mind." You believe it, too.

The instrumental side gives us a blazin' sax solo, while Hill vamps it up with the backup band. That's it, but that's all you need. The party atmosphere of side 1 is carried over to side 2, so you can't throw Part 2 away, no sir!

As I said, this is a classic and words alone can't do it justice, at least not when it's been covered over 100 times or more. It was a Top 5 smash on the R&B charts and made the Top 3
on Billboard's Hot 100. Sad to say, Hill was never able to really duplicate this success and he died in near obscurity in July of 1996. But, oh what a great record he left behind. Let's remember that and not the sordid stuff, okay?

Personal note: And now, I'd be more than interested in laying ears to some of Hill's other sides like "Whip It On Me." Discovery...it can be a wonderful thing.

2 comments:

Todd Lucas said...

This one's a recent acquisition of mine.

Jim Colegrove said...

I met Jesse in New Orleans in the early '80s when I was playing with the Juke Jumpers. He came out and sat in with us and we did "Ooh Poo Pah Doo." He was driving a cab at the time, owned by his own company "Poo Cab."