Saturday, 5 January 2013
Dale Hawkins - "Suzy-Q"
As much as I love Creedence Clearwater Revival, I always had a problem with their track "Suzy-Q". For some reason it never sat right with me. I've always been a fan of long songs, so that wasn't it. Maybe it was their weird psychedelic vocal treatments after the first guitar solo, I don't know. Either way, the single edit I always thought was enough, but even then it didn't really float my boat.
So when I was watching "Billy Connolly's Route 66" during 2012 that I heard Dale Hawkins' original "Suzy-Q", originally released on Checker (a subsidiary of Chicago blues label Chess) in 1957 and featured a young James Burton on guitar (he went on to play for Ricky Nelson and Elvis Presley). I was blown away by it.
Just that slightly swinging drum groove, with some added reverb, steady bass pedal and slightly distorted guitar by Mr Burton make this one of the rawest records ever recorded. That great sound recorded in mono and slightly saturated by volume levels committed to the tape. It sounds edgy and manic even now, some 55 years later.
It blows bloody Creedence off the stage, lets put it that way.
Check it out - here below is the American Bandstand performance (well, it's mimed to the record anyway) of the original version of Suzy Q. Enjoy.