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Best Blues songs “Got My Mojo Working”

Best Blues songs “Got My Mojo Working”

“Got My Mojo Working” is a what you call a classic song, everybody around in world of Blues and Rock ‘n Roll music performed it once, twice or maybe three times since it was released by Ann Cole in 1956. It is the Voodoo, the Mojo that got this song working. Maybe the rhythmic groove or the swinging lyrics. One thing is sure. “Got My Mojo Working” is milestone in music History.

Muddy Waters’ version was released in 1957 and is still a hit if it would be released nowadays. I’ll bet it would be the best song in the charts. Willie Dixon plays bass on the recording. You should expect that Dixon wrote the song because it is a very Dixon-like song. And like all his other songs it is a monster blues hit.

Hollywood actor and songwriter Preston S. Foster

By Trailer screenshot (Twice Blessed trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
By Trailer screenshot (Twice Blessed trailer) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
But Dixon didn´t wrote the song. The copyright holder of the original “Got My Mojo Working” Is Preston S. Foster – the actor who played in over forty movies like American Empire (1942), Kansas City Confidential (1952) and The Last Mile (1932). He has a star on the Hollywood Boulevard, and for what we know he didn’t wrote a lot of songs. It is maybe one of the biggest surprises in music history.

Foster’s version was first recorded by Ann Cole a wonderful woman who toured around the south alongside Muddy Waters in the fifties. Ann recorded for several labels like Timely an Baton Records. She had minor hits over the years. A year after she sang “Got My Mojo Working” Muddy Released his version on Chess Records. That song is still one of best songs around and would become a major hit. Waters heard Cole perform on tour and got inspired to make his own version of it.

Kitty Daisy And Lewis Got that Mojo

After Ann Cole and Muddy Waters over a triple dozen artist would play the song like Elvis Presley, Canned Heat, Mannfred Mann, J.J. Cale, Art Blakey, Otis Rush, Eric Clapton, Johnny Winter and recently Kitty, Daisy and Lewis. Some versions of “Got My Mojo Working” are absolutely worth listening.

For example Kitty, Daisy and Lewis from England. A blues group consisting two beautiful woman playing blues like a M*’f*cker. Especially their version on the French television is a must listen. This family band rocks the blues with some fantastic harmonica solos. Watch it here…

Elvis Presley’s Got My Mojo Working

Elvis Presley’s version of ‘Got My Mojo Working’ was part of his “Elvis Sings…” album and a real rhythm and blues kind of songs. Elvis changed the lyrics a little bit in comparison with Waters or Foster’s versions. Presley recorded a lot of blues songs throughout his career one of his greater blues songs is Evil which he performed in the 1958 movie King Creole

BB King recorded the song on his “King Size” and is a real grooving version a true boogie song.

Elvis Presley

BB King

The Zombies
The British band The Zombies covered “Got My Mojo Working in a beat-version a sixties pop song

“Got My Mojo Working” is a true Blues Classic and even now some of the greatest musicians keep covering the great song originally written by Preston Foster, but popularised by Muddy Waters in 1957. If you’re interested in some other great versions listen to the Spotify playlist below.

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Spoonful by Blues Hit Maker Willie Dixon

Men lies about little,
Some of them cries about little,
Some of them dies about littles,
Everything fight about a spoonful,
Dat spoon, dat spoon, dat …

Spoonful by Blues Hit Maker Willie Dixon

Some people understand how music has to be made. How the groove and feel of a song has to fit perfectly with the lyrics. How a song should be performed and how the singer should sing it. Willie Dixon was the hit maker of the blues. A man who was the blues and knew how it should be performed. We can recall a dozen of songs Dixon wrote  like “My Babe”, Hoochie Coochie Man and Little Red Rooster that are absolute blues classics. Today the classic song is “Spoonful”.

Meaning of Spoonful

In his biography I am the Blues, Dixon explained the meaning of the song. It doesn’t take a large amount of anything to be good. If you have a little money when you need it, you’re right there in the right spot. (Willie Dixon, i am the Blues, p 148). Many people thought the song spoonful was a metaphor  for drugs. Especially after Cream covered the song in a psychedelic way on their Fresh Cream album. The song was part of the sixties counter culture .

Willie_Dixon_1979_ Wiki photo by Len Carlson
Willie_Dixon_1979_ Wiki photo by Len Carlson

Willie Dixon wrote the song that was first performed by Howlin’ Wolf in 1960. Dixons´ Spoonful was loosely based on A Spoonful Blues from Charley Patton, recorded in 1929. That song relates to All I Want Is A Spoonful by Papa Charlie Jackson (1925) . Howlin´ Wolf who was known for his howlin’ made a slow and relaxed version of the song, with no howlin’ but accompanied with groovy guitar and rhythmic piano.

After Howlin´Wolf Etta James recorded the song in 1961. For the version of Etta James she added to her golden voice a Bazzy Big Band sound . The song was a duet with Harvey Fuqua recorded like a dialogue between James and Foqua. The interpretation of the song changed a little, the lyrics  relate to men’s sometimes violent search to satisfy their cravings.

Psychedelic version Spoonful: Cream

The most alternative version of Spoonful is without a doubt Creams version. The song was often performed live and lasted easily fifteen minutes. Especially the improvisation of Clapton, Bruce and Baker the song starts with brilliant. On Youtube you can’t find the fifteen or twenty minute version, but these eight minutes are pretty great too!

Willie Dixon greatest Blues hits

Especially in the sixties Spoonful was widely performed by a lot of blues and beat musicians. Other versions of the song I did not mention but are absolutely worth listening are the Q 65 version, a Dutch beat band. Canned Heat’s version of the song or George Thorogood’s.

Spoonful was just one of the great songs of Willie Dixon. He always made his songs work, her recalls it in his biography: “It couldn’t make sense you can’t make peace if you want to make peace”.

Etta James: Spoonful

Cream: Spoonfull

Howlin Wolf – Spoonful (Psychedelic version)

Other Versions of Spoonful on Spotify.

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Son House Father of the Blues

Son House Father of the Blues

Since 1928 there is one artist that had two careers, four lives and more blues than anybody could dream of. A man that had to learn his own songs twice and was there when Robert Johnson sold his soul to the devil on the crossroads. They had to search him down in N.Y. in the sixties because everybody thought he was death. Son House, the father of the Blues is still a big influence today. Continue reading Son House Father of the Blues

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John Lee Hooker a Lifelong Bluesman

John Lee Hooker a Life Long Bluesman

John_Lee_Hooker_Massey Hall, Toronto, Aug. 20, 1978 Photo by Jean-Luc Ourlin
Photo by Jean-Luc Ourlin

John Lee Hooker was born on 22 augustus 1917 in Clarksdale Mississippi. In his early teens John Lee moved to Memphis, to start working several jobs. Before John Lee could make money by playing guitar and sing he had several jobs. In Cincinnati he was a janitor. When he moved to Detroit in 1943 he worked for General Motors Ford and some other factories or plants. At the end of the 40s John Lee Hooker made his mark as a musician.

Hooker and Canned Heat
Hooker is maybe the greatest bluesman of all time, a lifelong bluesman, John Lee played the blues over fifty years producing many records. He recorded with several artist like Van Morisson, Canned Heat with whom he recorded Hooker ‘n Heat and Live at the Fox Venice Theatre. During the seventies and eighties he performed with Robert Cray, The Blues Brothers and Carlos Santana. Continue reading John Lee Hooker a Lifelong Bluesman

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