Listen/Download -Lucky Peterson – Our Future
Friday is here, and surprisingly enough, so am I.
This has been a rough week, with all kinds of appointments, plumbing challenges and a day where I was convinced that I was on the verge of being felled by the flu (it turns out I was only exhausted).
The tune I bring you today is perhaps the coolest cut I have yet to come across by the funkiest five year old ever* (at least he was five when it was recorded), Lucky Peterson.
Back in the day, when I was chasing Hammond records like a greyhound chases rabbits, I encountered something that at the time looked like the holy grail of organ related wax, an album by a five year old kid, named (surprise) Lucky Peterson. It was the kind of record that would have grabbed without having heard a note, but fate stepped in and I was unable (and have still been unable) to find a copy of the full album.
However (and this probably worked out for the best) I was able to bag a couple of his 45s, which to be perfectly honest were not Hammond burners, but were in fact clearly the work of a five year old child (with the help of grown up musicians, natch...). A talented five year old, but a child nonetheless. Some of those songs, in particular ‘Good Old Candy’ (included in a recent edition of Funky16Corners Radio) have a certain kiddie funk vibe that made them rough but charming.
Anyway, I recently came across yet another Lucky Peterson 45, which – due to the fact that it was cheap, and included a song called ‘Funky Alphabet’ – I picked up post haste. ‘Funky Alphabet’ turned out to be (as so many songs labeled ‘funky’ are) not funky at all.
However, the A-side of that 45 featured what has to be the best thing little Lucky ever did, an inspired bit of funk called ‘Our Future’, which includes organ, wah-wah guitar and the singer’s soulful (and occasionally shrill) screams. It aspires to a Motown vibe, with a cool string section, and although a lot of what Lucky sings is indecipherable, it’s clear that his heart is in the right place.
Interestingly enough, Peterson was a discovery of blues giant Willie Dixon’s (Dixon gets songwriting credit on some of his singles) and recorded his LP for the Today label in 1969. His song ‘1-2-3-4’ a reworking of James Brown’s ‘Please Please Please’ was an R&B hit in 1970 and got Peterson a fair amount of national TV exposure.
Unlike so many child prodigies, Peterson stayed with music, eventually taking up guitar and going on to play with Little Milton before starting his own career on the blues scene which continues today.
I hope you dig the tune, and I’ll be back on Monday.
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