Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Buster Brown - Sugar Babe

Here's perhaps my favorite record of all the one's I dug up last year. In this case, "dug up" is a relative term, as I won this disc on eBay. But it's one that I'd never heard before. Already having a couple of Buster Brown 45's in my collection, I figured that most anything by him must be worthwhile. Well, the price was right, so I took the plunge and picked this up. Boy am I glad that I did. "Sugar Babe" far surpassed expectations and, like I said above, is now a favorite that gets frequent spins around here.

Buster Brown is undoubtedly best known for his 1959 hit, "Fannie Mae", a song that's been remade countless times. He went on to record several more singles for the Fire label, before moving on and making records for various other imprints through the first half of the 1970's. Brown, who was already nearing 50 years of age when "Fannie Mae" became a hit, died in 1976 at the age of 64.

As for today's selection, "Sugar Babe" is an upbeat pounder, beginning with a sledgehammer drumbeat that's unrelenting and some really nice, rockin', blues guitar. Brown's shouted vocal comes in and proceeds to lift the song to a new level,

"Sugar babe, sugar baby, please say you'll be mine
Sugar babe, sugar baby, please say you'll be mine
Everytime I see you, cold chills run down my spine"

"Sugar babe, sugar baby, really knocks off my feet
Sugar babe, sugar baby, really knocks off my feet
I like the way you twist when you're stollin' down the street"

"Well doggone it sugar baby, please show me a sign
Well done sugar baby, c'mon show me a sign
C'mon sugar baby, place your lips to mine"

Or something like that. A couple of the words in that third verse are a bit tough to decipher, not that it matters. Next, we're treated to an instrumental break, with the drums and guitar joined by an absolutely wailing harmonica that, once again takes the tune to new heights. There's one more verse before the instrumentation takes us to the fade. If you're not moved to bop around the room while listening to this one, it's quite possible that you never will be.

The flipside is "I'm Going - But I'll Be Back", more of a pop flavored tune, almost in a Louis Armstrong vein. It's still pretty tough sounding though, with plenty more cool harmonica. It's not "Sugar Babe" but is worth turning the record over for. All of this for only a couple of bucks.

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