Syl Johnson – Come On Sock It To Me


Mr. Syl Johnson


Listen – Syl Johnson – Come On Sock It To Me – MP3″

Greetings all.

The work week is upon us once again, and I don’t know about you, but I need a lift.
Though the mighty Syl Johnson has appeared in this space before (and likely will again) today’s selection is one of those records that first made it’s way into my record box in an instrumental version.
You all know that I am a Hammond nut of the first order, so it was via the Deacons ‘Sock It To Me’ on Shama that I first heard a version of this song.
I’m pretty sure that I knew of the Syl Johnson OG at the time, but since my brain was all wrapped around the Hammond sound I figured Syl could wait and I’d get around to him when I was good and ready.
In the ensuing years I started to grab his 45s when I was able, and soon enough realized that no matter how much I dug the Deacons’ version, I was going to have to find the vocal. Once you give this one a spin I think you’ll know why.

Johnson originally hailed from Mississippi got is start playing the blues as a sideman for Magic Sam and Jimmy Reed among others.

One of the truly great Chitown based soul (and funk) singers, Johnson really had two distinct stages to his career, the first half dominated by his Twinight recordings (though he had a number of bluesier sides on Federal in the late 50s/early 60s) and the second devoted to his work on Willie Mitchell’s Hi label. His Twinight sides are pretty much 100 percent dynamite, wholly unfuckwithable and filled from needle drop to run off groove with socking soul power. Among these, my personal faves being ‘Dresses Too Short’ and the epic ‘Is It Because I’m Black’.
‘Come On Sock It To Me’ was his first effort for Twinight in 1967, and it’s about as fine a debut as I’ve ever heard. Johnson is – as always – in fine voice, and the backing (even minus the wailing organ) is killer with a memorable guitar riff.
The breakdowns, with Syl going –

Sock It To Me!
Pop it to me!
Rock It to me!
Sock it to me baby!

 – are amazing.
The tune was cowritten by Johnson, Jo Armstead and a third writer with the last name Anderson that I haven’t been able to nail down. All of Syl Johnson’s best work is available in reissue, and he continues to record today (often with his brother, Jimmy Johnson).
I hope you dig the tune and I’ll see you all on Wednesday.


PSS Don’t forget to head over to Iron Leg for a 45 by the Creation

PSS Paperback Rider has been updated as well.

12 Responses to “Syl Johnson – Come On Sock It To Me”

  1. Davie Gordon Says:

    Hi Larry, the third writer is Jesse Anderson – he did a handful of singles
    himself. The first one “You’d Better Think Twice” in ’62 on Federal
    around the same time Syl ws on Federal. Anderson then turns up on
    Cadet in 1967 for two singles “True Love Express” and “Swing too High” then moved over to Eddie Thomas’ Thomas label in 1970 for two singles one of them being a version of Curtis Mayfield’s “Mighty Mighty” produced
    by Curtis himself. The last I heard of him was a Gene Barge-produced
    single “Women’s Liberation” on a tiny Chicago label called Outta Cyte
    in 1971.


  2. funky16corners Says:

    Thanks again Davie! I know Jesse Anderson’s stuff (esp Mighty Mighty) but had no idea he had written with Syl.

  3. Vincent the Soul Chef Says:

    Yep, I’ve got the cream of the Twinight crop… one of the absolute BEST! Great choice.

  4. alonso ruvalcaba Says:

    a great tune indeed.

    i know this is not the place, but anyone has a hint on the origin of the sock it to me phrase?


  5. funky16corners Says:

    I found this reference on-line:
    >>>The actual phrase was taken from a hit record entitled ‘Respect’ (1967) recorded by Aretha Franklin, which featured a chorus repeating ‘Sock it to me’ quite rapidly in the background. The phrase ‘to sock it to someone’ originally meant ‘to put something bluntly’ (and was used as such by Mark Twain). Black musicians gave it a sexual meaning, as in ‘I’d like to sock it to _her_.’ <<<<

    The phrase is clearly an old one and it’s possible that Syl Johnson predated Aretha Franklin (they both predate the popularization of the phrase on ‘Laugh-In’). I don’t know if there is a musical use before 1967 (though I wouldn’t be surprised if there was).

  6. alonso ruvalcaba Says:

    thank you very much, larry!

  7. frankai Says:

    …just had this 45 in the hands .beside syl johnsons “different srokes” / sidney pinchbacks “soul strokes” .

  8. alejandro Says:

    there’s another 45 on capsoul by Elijah and the Ebonites called “Sock It to’Em Soul Brother”, which is great. Is it related to this one? Don’t know…

  9. funky16corners Says:

    The Elijah and the Ebonites tune was an instrumental dub of Bill Moss’s ‘Sock It To Em Soul Brother’ which can be heard on Funky16Corners Radio v.7 – Funky Shingaling.

  10. jo Says:

    no sound

  11. funky16corners Says:

    Try again Jo. I just tested the link and it worked.

  12. Marco Says:

    I’m serching for the lyrics of this powerfull song “come on sock it to me” from Syl Johnson, somebody may help me?
    Please somebody help me..

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