Friday, January 27, 2006
Paul Chaplain and his Emeralds - Shortnin' Bread/Nicotine
Ahh, a couple of rockers for the weekend, courtesy Paul Chaplain and his Emeralds. I'm not exactly sure how a traditional song like "Shortnin' Bread" got to be such a staple (har har) in the early, rockin' days but it was recorded numerous times and undoubtedly performed by countless bands. This version, from 1960 was actually a mid-range hit on the national top 100. And it's a revved up, foot to the floor take, at that. It's starts innocently enough though, with a bit of electrified guitar strumming and Chaplain slowly singing,
"Put on the skillet
put on the lid
mammy's little baby wants shortnin' bread"
Then, the tempo picks up and away it goes, with pounding drums and hand claps. The guitar break seems to just bounce off the walls. It moves along at such a clip that the whole thing is finished in under two minutes. But what a ride!
That's only half the story because Paul and the boys didn't forget to put something equally cool over on the b-side. "Nicotine", written by Chaplain, is yet another raver. This time he's ranting about the perils of tobacco addiction, all the while threatening to toss those cigarettes away, as if he's trying to discard a cheating girlfriend. And not to worry because the amped up guitar is all over this side too.
This record doesn't seem to get a lot of chatter but it's a really good one, especially if you appreciate early rock and roll. The good news is that it's a pretty easy find, what with its semi-hit status. A nice, clean copy should be easy to nab for less than a sawbuck.