Big_Joe_Williams,_American_Folk_Blues_Festival,_Hamburg_1972_(Heinrich_Klaffs_Collection_49)

Most recorded songs: Baby Please Don’t Go

Most recorded songs: Baby Please Don’t Go

Baby Please Don’t Go was originally recorded by Big Joe Williams in 1935 on Bluebird records. Big Joe could never for see the influence the song would have on music history. This song is recorded, performed and sang in so many versions by so many musicians. For that, I put some of my favourite versions in line.

Recording of Baby Please Don´t Go

Baby,_Please_Don't_Go_Williams_single_cover
Baby,_Please_Don’t_Go_Williams_single_cover Wiki

Walter Davis took Big Joe Williams to Chicago in 1935. Joe recorded six songs in Chicago and among them Baby Please Don´t Go. Six years later in 1941 Williams recorded another version of the hit song, and six years after that he recorded another version. The song became eventually Big Joe Williams Trademark and Theme Song.

On the original version of Baby Please Don´t Go Big Joe Williams collaborated with a fiddle player, on the later version he collaborated with Sonny Boy ´John Lee´ Williamson who replaced the Fiddle. Williamson made the song more modern and electric, later on the song would be adopted by the Chicago Blues scene.

Origins of the song

Baby Please Don’t Go is what researcher recall an adaption of Long John, an original folk theme dating back to the time of slavery. It is also related to early blues songs like I’m Alabama Bound and Elder Green Blues. Nevertheless Big Joe Williams made his own piece of it. (p.264, Encyclopedia of the Blues-2nd, by Gérard Herzhaft)

Big_Joe_Williams,_American_Folk_Blues_Festival,_Hamburg_1972_(Heinrich_Klaffs_Collection_49)
Big_Joe_Williams,_American_Folk_Blues_Festival (Wiki commons by: Heinrich_Klaffs_Collection_49)

Lightning Hopkins, Muddy Water, John Lee Hooker

After Joe´s Latest recording in 1947, Lightning Hopkins played the song in a recording session for Aladdin records in Houston. He sold 80,000 copies. John Lee Hooker recorded Baby Please Don´t Go during the Besman session in 1949. Muddy Waters played the famous song in 1960 at Newport Festival in 1960. He made a more electric version of the hit song. A Chicago Blues song, more groovy with a steady blues beat. A Chicago Harmonica solo and above all Muddy´s relax and laidback voice.

Muddy Waters

John Lee Hooker

Lightnin’ Hopkins

After other blues masters performed Baby Please Don´t Go, Billy Lee Riley recorded a Rock ´n Roll version of the song in 1957. Bob Dylan recorded a clean version, guided by his tapping foot of this song. Dylan changed the lyrics and therefore the interpretation of the song into a woman leaving a man.

Bob Dylan

Hardrock Versions Baby Please Don´t Go

Thin_Lizzy 1983 (Wiki Commons by Harry Potts)
Thin_Lizzy 1983 (Wiki Commons by Harry Potts)

Baby Please Don´t was recorded in many more genres. American Rockband MC5 played it during a live performance in 1966. Hardrock bands also knew how to play the song, for example: Thin Lizzy, AC/DC, Ted Nugent and Earosmith all played and recorded Baby Please Don’t Go. Some in a bluesy way, other like Ted Nugent made a speed rock version of the hit song.

UK SUBS
Also Punkbands knew the magic of the song. The UK SUBS from Great Britain turned Baby Please Don’t Go in to a po-go cocktail on their Mad Cow Fever album in 1991.

From Gary Glitter to Mose Allison, from Bill Wyman to the Orioles everybody played this amazing song! It is the roots that makes the fruits, Willie Dixon once said. Roots will never be forgotten and Baby Please Don’t Go is the living example.

SPOTIFY BABY PLEASE DON’T GO

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