Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Mickey Gilley: Call Me Shorty

Mickey Gilley, native of Ferriday, LA, cousin to the gods, and another one touched by the “Crazy Cajun” Huey Meaux, here from back before he sucked, from back when he still wore his hair slick. As a general rule, I try to stick with country records that show the artists on the jacket wearing either a flat-top or greased-back hairdo. Once they go to the dry-look and Billy Sherrill, it’s all downhill, except maybe in the case of George Jones. The Mick's cut tons of C&W over the years, but this one, Gilley's one and only single for the Dot label, “Call Me Shorty,” from 1958, is straight rock 'n' roll. Not only is it not country, it's not autobiographical either, much as it could be (that head-and-half he stands beneath Jerry Lee in the photo above is not an effect of camera angle). Song-writing credit on "Shorty" goes to Charles Matthews, and with lyrics like “the girls call me Daddy/’Cause I’m the biggest little man they’ve seen!” it's one suggestive little ditty. It's hard to know whether or not Meaux actually produced this record, although this was about the time that he began to work with Gilley. The flip, “Come On Baby,” a Mickey Gilley original, ain’t no slouch either.

Photo of Jerry Lee Lewis and Mickey Gilley taken from Nick Tosches' Country: The Biggest Music in America (Stein & Day, 1977).

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