Mr. Mel Brown
“Listen – Son of a Preacher Man MP3″
I sit here tonight, composing this mid-weekly post from storm tossed Maine, in the midst of one of the most unfortunate stretches of vacation weather we’ve ever experienced in the almost ten years that the Mrs. and I have been a couple.
This time out we’re on the road – for the first time – with the whole family, and I’m here to tell you that traveling with an infant and a toddler is a whole ‘nother bag my friends. The things you do, the places you eat and stay…all different. If you’re flexible and you work at it – which we do – it can be a lot of fun. If you sit around pining for the days of traveling as a couple you’re in for a very rude awakening. That said, despite the horrible weather – which we seem always to be at least one step behind – we’re doing OK. Our trip across southern Vermont and New Hampshire was beset by several detours when state roads had literally been washed out – just like in the movies – and we had to change course. In suburban NJ this wouldn’t be such a big deal. In rural New Hampshire, every new turn was a possible stranding.
We finally found our way into northeastern Massachusetts – wherein plates of delicious oysters and clams were waiting patiently for our arrival – and then on to Portsmouth, NH.
We took the long way up the coast – taking a short stop in Kennebunkport to hang a moon by the Bush compound (witnessing a truly awesome and angry Atlantic waves in the process). The Maine coast is littered with fallen trees, and in some instances evidence that the sea had reached beyond the beaches, leaving sand and rocks all over the roads.
The hotels we stayed at in Portsmouth and Portland are both hosting evacuees from the coast and islands and we’ve heard stories about major power outages.
Anyway – unlike the last trip – I’ve managed to hook up with some excellent high speed wi-fi, and as a result am taking some time out (with the kids gone to sleep) to get some sounds up on ye olde bloggespotte…
I’ve featured a couple of cuts by the mighty Mel Brown in this space before, and while rifling through my crates to pull DJ heat in the last few months, I decided that the time was ripe for one more by the master.
Brown recorded a grip of very tasty LPs for Impulse in the late 60’s, and his final session for the label, ‘Blues for We’ was among the tastiest*. The best track on the LP was today’s selection ‘Son of a Preacher Man’.
I suppose that that tune, waxed so memorably by Dusty Springfield, falls into that category of “can’t miss covers”, though without knowing for sure I’m almost certain that there are versions out there by the Montovanis, Percy Faiths and Crappy Von Wimpsteins** of the world, so who knows. That said however, the law of averages, and the heat generated by Mr. Brown and his gee-tar, suggests to me that most of the covers out there are at least worth hearing (his especially so).
I’d even go as far as to say that Brown’s version is the best I’ve heard, vocal or instrumental. The session, arranged by Artie Butler cooks, with a very hot horn chart, funky drums and a double heaping helping of ultra-greeezy fatback axe-work by Mel.
It, like all the MB 45s that I’ve gathered in the field, is most groovy, and worth picking up if you are lucky enough to encounter one yourself.
I’ll be off the interwebs for the latter part of the week, so it’s unlikely there’ll be anything new before Monday, so enjoy, pray for sunshine, and I’ll see you then.
PS The Asbury Park 45 Sessions numero three-o will be back on Friday May 11th. Don’t miss it.
PSS No comments on the Philly mix? Anyone digging it? Anyone?
* Oddly enough the 45 label says that the album is entitled ‘Set Me Free’. ‘Blues for We’ features a track by that name, so I’ll assume that that was the albums working title.
** Not a real guy…