Monday, June 09, 2008

Jackie Cray - Maybelle/I Want You Baby and farewell Bo Diddley

Here's another recent find and certainly one of my better ones in recent memory, "Maybelle" by Jackie Cray. I found this in an antique mall and, at one dollar, put it on my buy pile, not recognizing what it was. When I got it home and played it, I knew that I'd heard it somewhere, maybe on one of the podcasts.

The record, from 1958, appears to be Jackie Cray's only release. According to the RCS website, it was recorded in Nashville. That site further lists the players on the session as Chet Atkins (rhythm guitar), Floyd Cramer (piano), Hand Garland (lead guitar), Bobby Moore (drums) and Junior Husky (bass). Looks like Cray, who's credited with writing both sides, was in some pretty good company.

"Maybelle" is up-tempo, with a pounding beat. Cray delivers a strong vocal that seems to echo a bit over guitars, drums and piano. The song has a great guitar break. It also has a terrific hook and is a two-minute slab of prime rock and roll.

"I Want You Baby" is taken at a slower tempo. This time there are backing vocals and it sounds like the rhythm guitar between verses. Things are toned down just a bit but there's still plenty of rock and roll in the grooves.

I can't let this post go by without mentioning the passing of the legendary Bo Diddley. As anyone who reads this blog undoubtedly knows, Bo passed away last week at the age of 79. Many of my fellow music bloggers have done a fine job paying tribute, already. I highly recommend that you peruse the links section on this page for several well-done farewells.

Bo Diddley was the very essence of rock and roll. His music just about perfectly sums up what It's Great Shakes is all about. I only hope that we're able to properly do him justice.


WESTEX said...

Nice dig on the Jackie Cray.

No doubt you are aware of the similarities to "Rockin' Maybelle" by a Mr. Johnny Carroll from the Big D. Give it a search on the ol' youtube.

Todd Lucas said...

Thanks Westex, not sure if I'd heard that before but it's more than similar. It's pretty much the same song, with a few minor differences. Great video of Johnny Carroll too. So, was Carroll the writer then?

WESTEX said...

Carroll is credited with the writing according to the Bear Family cd. How Cray heard it I don't know... The "Rock Baby Rock It" movie came out before Cray recorded his single. Not likely that Cray saw it.

I think some of the same character's that worked on Carroll's Decca sides worked on Cray's single as well. That's the only connection I can think of.

Todd Lucas said...

Thanks, sounds like a possibility. I wonder if Cray is still listed as the songwriter on the Mercury issue that came out shortly after the one on Limelight.

Paris38242 said...

Gentlemen: I'm sitting with Jackie Cray and he says the song sounds like his but obviously the words are different. Says it has been a long time. He appreciates your comments.

Thanks for blogging about Jack.