Saturday, February 5, 2011

Blues Hangover - Hangover Blues

Label scan nicked from TheHoundBlog


Now lay aside all worries about chickens and eggs. What we wanna know today is which one do you have, a Blues Hangover or the Hangover Blues? Strung together like so, the titles nearly form a palindrome, or do a figure 8, or make two railroad tracks, one of ‘em goin’ away, the other one comin’ back.

Slim Harpo

“I am the Alpo and the omego,” sez the Alpha Dog. He chases his own tail, but ends up sniffing his own anus. He reads a portent there: Blues was here in the Beginning, Blues will be here in The End. Like most Blues, these two had their antecedents. The Texas Boogie-man Lloyd Glenn, who played piano for T-Bone Walker, among others, woke up with our first hangover, an instrumental version of Blues Hangover released in 1950 on the Swingtime label. Although a fairly low-down number, Glenn still drank pretty smooth hooch. His hangover is a product of an earlier era of big band R&B. Ten years later, Slim Harpo swilled from a much raunchier batch of bathtub gugalug, and he added this lament: I done gave my baby $20 for Christmas, and all I got was a slice of jelly cake. Drink up, Slim, because nowadays, $20 is a pretty fair price for a slice. 

Maddox Brothers and Rose

The hayseed hears the cottonpicker’s same three chords, repeated 100,000 times, all the way from Baton Rouge to Bakersfield. Love and theft, that’s the story of American music, at least during the 20th Century, anyway. Blues in the beginning, blues in the end. Hangover Blues by the Maddox Brothers and Rose borrowed its title from a 1951 b-side by the Johnny Otis Orchestra, a West Coast, Central Ave R&B stalwart. Decca released the Maddox Bros and Rose's newer version in early 1953 amid the vacuum left by a recently deceased Hank Williams. Hank knew about hangovers. While walking in the shadow of death he tipped a few bottles of Wine Headed Baby. Did he ever see his own skull floating near the bottom? While he was busy dyin’, the Maddox Brothers and Rose gave the hangover a few new lines, just like Slim Harpo would later. Walkin’ down the street with my head hangin’ low, my bottle is empty I ain’t got no dough. I gotta go… I gotta go… I gotta go and lose these mean hangover blues.
  

Blues Hangover - Slim Harpo

Hangover Blues - Maddox Brothers and Rose

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hi, very interesting post but the link for Maddox Brothers and Rose isn't working. Thanks.

Bob Pomeroy said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I think I got it working right now.

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