Maurice & Mac – You Left the Water Running


Maurice (Top) and Mac (Bottom)


Listen – You Left the Water Running – MP3″

Greetings all.

I hope all is well on your end. I for one couldn’t be happier that the work week has reached its merciful conclusion, even if it was only three days long (I worship in the church of Any Time Spent At Work Is Too Much Time, can I get an AMEN?).
First off, I ought to let you all know that I have prepared a special mix for presentation by Tony C as part of his regular show at Jazz Syndicate Radio in the UK (on the interwebs actually, but originating over yonder). It will be broadcast as follows (UK time followed by EST):
Tues 8pm GMT / 3PM EST TUES) . It is repeated 12-2am Weds GMT (7PM EST TUES) and 12-2pm Thurs GMT (7AM THURS EST) and 4-6pm Friday GMT(11AM FRI EST) .

Sometime following these broadcasts I will post the mix here in the Funky16Corners Podcast Archive. The mix includes a couple of very interesting recent excavations, so I think it’d be worth your time to check out.
That said, today’s selection is a prime slab of Northern bred/Southern cultivated soul power that ought to provide enough sustenance to carry you through the coming weekend and beyond.
I’ve gone on record in this space previously shouting out to the Radiants ‘Baby You’ve Got It’ as one of my all-time fave soul sides. A few years after that gem was committed to vinyl, two of the group, Maurice McAlister and Green ‘Mac’ McLauren went forward as Maurice and Mac, recording a half dozen 45s between 1967 and 1970 for the Checker label.
The song we present today, ‘You Left the Water Running’ was (as far as I can tell) first recorded in 1966 by none other than Wilson Pickett for his ‘Wicked Pickett’ LP. In the years following, the tune was covered by James & Bobby Purify, and in (then) unreleased versions by Sam & Dave and Otis Redding.
Oddly enough, the song (written by Dan Penn, Rick Hall and Oscar Franck) first dropped over my lobes and into my head in 1985, courtesy of a white R&B band named the Dynatones. The group recorded in the mid-80’s for the Rounder label, and included a raved up version of ‘You Left the Water Running’ for their 1985 ‘Tough To Shake’ LP. Some time later that year I dug up a copy of the ‘Wicked Pickett’ LP and found myself blown away by the somewhat slower – and infinitely deeper (in many ways) – version by Pickett.
I only came upon the Maurice & Mac version this past year during a digging expedition. How I managed to get this deep into the game without encountering a record that I would call – without a moment’s hesitation – a work of genius, is a testament to the huge amount of quality soul records created in the 1960’s, with a tip of the hat to my own denseness/tunnel vision.
The first thing I’d like to know, is how come nobody on the hip hop/turntablist scene has taken the opening bars of the record and flipped them as a sample. If someone with the wherewithal is reading this, I urge you to get off the pot and start chopping brother, because if ever a riff was begging to be sampled, this is it.
Though Maurice & Mac were by and large based out of Chitown, the path they followed from Michigan Avenue to Muscle Shoals was verily a 20th Century ‘Road to Damascus’ because the sounds released from the grooves of this record when the needle hits the wax are certifiably divine. There’s certainly an element of the gospel bloodflow of classic soul music here (the members of the Radiants first sang together in a gospel ensemble), but there’s something more at work. The confluence of brilliant song, performers and production/arrangement is a perfect “greater than the sum of the parts” moment in which the disparate elements join together in service of a new, elevated power.
Slap on your headphones and give this tune half dozen or so serious listens and marvel as layer upon layer is peeled back, revealing something new each time. The opening riff, with the funky backbeat, twisting bass line and harp (?!?) accents woven together is a marvel, which becomes yet more marvelous when joined by the guitar, horns and above all the voices of Maurice & Mac. Both singers have an opportunity to shine, with Mac’s rougher voice soaring in the early verse, and McAlister stepping forward to preach a little later on.
Words like ‘remarkable’ hardly seem adequate. I think it’s best just to settle on


towering in capital letters like a small, but solid typographic monument.

Heavy stuff.
Have a great weekend.

17 Responses to “Maurice & Mac – You Left the Water Running”

  1. Jeff Says:

    Yes. Yes!

  2. Private Beach Says:

    Amen! (You asked for one, you got it.)

  3. Planet Mondo Says:

    What a kicking start to the year – two nuggets straight on the bounce. ‘water’ is a real slow but steady builder isn’t it?

  4. red kelly Says:

    Positively fantastic, man… I never heard this version either, bro. Thanks!

    One version you didn’t mention, though, is Barbara Lynn’s (which I have yet to score a copy of), which was released by Huey Meaux on his Tribe label in October of 1966, and hit #42 R&B. I’m not sure if it pre-dated the Wicked One’s, but Mustang Sally, the first single pulled from the album it was on, didn’t hit the charts until December that year…

    It’s all good!

    Happy New Year.

  5. funky16corners Says:

    This is just a guess, but I’d figure Pickett and Atlantic would have access to the Dann Penn/Rick Hall material before one of Meaux’s acts, but you never know.
    I’m embarassed to admit that I’m not up much on Barbara Lynn (other than ‘I’m a Good Woman’), a situation I hope to resolve in the future.

  6. red kelly Says:

    Don’t be embarrassed…

    I did some research on her & Meaux a while back:

    A trip of a story… Meaux actually supplied some material (like Jimmy Hughes’ “Neighbor, Neighbor”) to Rick Hall around the same time, so maybe it was payback…

    – and hey man, just like with the Les McCann/Roberta Flack thing, this whole ‘blog’ scenario has been an incredible learning experience for all of us.

    you rock.


  7. funky16corners Says:

    Now that’s interesting! I’ll have to do somemore digging now.
    Thanks Red!

  8. JOHN HALL Says:

    A brilliant duo, how can we get their rare Album released on CD?????
    Cheers John

  9. DMc Says:

    One of my all time favoriate versions of this song is a killer rock steady by Ken Boothe. It can be found on the CD Safe Travel with Phil Pratt & Friends 1966-68: The Rare Side of Rock Steady (Pressure Sounds)

  10. themusicologist Says:


    Iv’e got that Ken Boothe on an original UK45 ..and agree wholeheartedly with the ‘killer’ analogy. might ‘throw it down’ for the 16corners crew’s listening pleasure on themusicologist over the coming days?

    anyone like to hear it?

  11. Jeff Says:

    An alltime classic – thanks for adding it. Be sure to post that Otis Redding version for others out there!

  12. themusicologist Says:


    the Radiants..Voice Your Choice, big Mod classic and one that never fails to get me off my arse and onto the floor…also highly rate I’m In Love

  13. themusicologist Says:

    Jeff?? .. meant Larry !!

  14. Fran Says:

    Love this song. I had the NME Chess Checkmate tape and played it to death. Is there anywhere I can download an MP3 of this, free or to pay? I see that your MP3 link is inactive.

  15. funky16corners Says:

    I just restored the link.

  16. sue Barnard Says:

    I remember this one so well from 1969 when l heard it.. but sure it was on a black label ..maybe capital or london..pure gold!

  17. Stewart Says:

    As a regular visitor to your blog, I was surprised to see that you only stumbled upon this version in 2008!!

    I first found it on a chess soul compilation that came out in the UK in around 2003.
    I first heard this song from the Otis Redding demo, which was released on the very best of Otis Redding in 2000. (in the UK – we love our soul music)
    Seeing as this is one of my top soul sides of all time, I have done a lot of research and discovered that the Billy Young version is the first.
    Have a search around and you will find it is pretty good, although nowhere near as good as Maurice and Mac, Otis and Ken Booth.Those 3 versions are so different, but all fantastic.
    In my quest for different versions of this song, I have had the ups and downs of finding that the Sam and Dave version is a unfinished studio jam and the unexpected discovery of the Purify ‘brothers’ version.
    All in all, I still flit between prefering Maurice and Mac and Otis’s version.

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