Posts Tagged ‘Eva Cassidy’

‘You Give Me Fever . . .’

Tuesday, November 1st, 2011

Things are a bit rocky here – Mr. Virus never went away last week, it seems – and there are numerous tasks that demand my attention and energy for the next few days. So let’s just listen to Eva Cassidy’s take on the classic tune “Fever.” I won’t say Eva does a better job with the song than did Little Willie John or Peggy Lee, but I think she’d be in contention for third place.

(The track, which showed up on the posthumous compilation Imagine in 2002, is an alternate take from Cassidy’s work on The Other Side, Chuck Brown’s 1992 album of standards; the slinky violin part, according to All-Music Guide, was performed by Eva’s brother Dan Cassidy.)

As to results from Saturday’s baseball action on the tabletop here, Rick won his first title, as his 1954 Cleveland Indians won two one-run decisions to defeat Rob’s 1940 Reds in the finals, two games to one. That leaves your faithful narrator as the only one of the four of us who has yet to win the annual event. Maybe next year.

On another matter, I promised in my post about Mr. Virus last week to dig into more versions of “Love Has No Pride,” and I will do that. But I’m waiting for the U.S. Postal Service to bring an LP I purchased online that includes a cover of the tune that promises to be interesting. When the USPS delivers, so will I. See you Thursday!

‘Write It On A Piece Of Paper . . .’

Thursday, September 8th, 2011

It was sometime during late 1987, and Robbie Robertson’s first solo album was on the stereo in my apartment in Minot, North Dakota. I was letting the record play in the background as I did something else – reading, most likely – and the second track on Side Two began.

The loosely structured “Somewhere Down The Crazy River” is one of those songs with spoken portions and several different sung verses, and it caught my attention. I heard most clearly the second spoken portion:

Take a picture of this
The fields are empty, abandoned ’59 Chevy
Laying in the back seat listening to Little Willie John
Yea, that’s when time stood still
You know, I think I’m gonna go down to Madam X
And let her read my mind
She said “That Voodoo stuff don’t do nothing for me.”

That might have been the first time I’d heard of Little Willie John. Or I might have heard of him in conjunction with “Fever,” his 1956 hit (No. 24 pop, No. 5 R&B) covered and taken to No. 8 by Peggy Lee in 1958. I’m not sure when I first heard about Little Willie John, but I do know that I still know very little about him or his music. Beyond the facts that he had some R&B hits – I have a CD’s worth of them in mp3 form but none on vinyl – and that he died in prison, my data banks have been pretty empty. And I’m going to have to rectify that very soon.

So why spend four paragraphs writing about things I don’t know? (Readers of an acerbic bent might suggest that I frequently spend many paragraphs writing about things I don’t know.) Because this morning, the RealPlayer popped up the Allman Brothers Band doing “Need Your Love So Bad” from 1979’s reasonably good Enlightened Rogues. I knew it was a cover, and – my curiosity piqued – I did some looking.

The song was written in 1956 by one Mertis John Jr., says Wikipedia, and was first recorded by his brother, Little Willie John. Released on the King label, “Need Your Love So Bad” went to No. 5 on the R&B chart, the second single by John to do so. (“All Around The World,” John’s first single in the R&B Top 40, had gone to No. 5 in 1955.)

John went on to place fifteen more records in the Billboard R&B Top 40 and sixteen in the Hot 100, and I may dig around in those someday, but my interest this morning was in covers of “Need Your Love So Bad.” Performers who have covered the song include, according to All Music Guide, the Allman Brothers Band, Fleetwood Mac, Sting, Pee Wee Crayton, Whitesnake, Tracy Nelson (recording with Mother Earth), Brenton Wood, Joe Cocker, Gary Moore, Ruby Johnson, Eva Cassidy, Georgie Fame, B.B. King, Bonnie Tyler and seemingly many more.

Digging around at YouTube, I first found a cover of the song recorded live in 2008 for the BBC by Adele and Paul Weller, and that was pretty good. But then I found the late Eva Cassidy’s version, a duet with Chuck Brown from the 1997 release Eva by Heart, which AMG says was Cassidy’s “only true studio album.”

And I don’t need to go any further than that this morning.