Tuesday, October 20, 2009

LITTLE WILLIE JOHN - Fever / Letter From My Darling - King-4935 - 1956

This may be a bit premature since I've barely listened to the B-side of this single, but I can't contain my enthusiasm for this record. I must've listened to 'Fever' 12 times in a row when I first put this on my tables. Dead serious. 'Letter From My Darling' may be amazing as well, but I have to wait until I get over this song before I can even try listening to it objectively.

The other day I decided to break up my normal daily, after-work routine of wandering around aimlessly like a lost, mute child by planting myself on the floor of a record store to dig through their 'garbage bin' 45's. (Since I have no money, and bargain bin wears are all I can afford.) Typically digging through these boxes is a tiring and unrewarding experience, however, I think someone made a mistake (or is retarded) and mis-tagged a bunch of really good stuff and stuck it in the crap box. I think I ended up with 25-30 45's & spent less than 10 bucks. All good stuff; this record included.

Two of my all-time favorites (Elvis & The Cramps) do amazing versions of 'Fever,' so I figured it would be near impossible for someone else to come close to either of their takes on the song. Now, you'll have to excuse me for my ignorance, but somehow I missed out on Little Willie John's original. I guess it could have something to do with the fact that I was born 26 years after it was released. (Maybe. I dunno.)

But Goddamn! was I missing out. Where Elvis and The Cramps make 'Fever' work so well with a very minimalistic approach, Little Willie John's rendition is a blast of kinetic energy and it's bursting at the seams with soul. While this is still technically the same song that Elvis and The Cramps have done so perfectly, they move in such different ways that there's really no comparing them. Willie John's 'Fever' took me by surprise though, I have to admit. This song kills me. It makes me so fucking pumped I just wanna spin-kick Mike Neault down the stairs and do a little tap dance at the top.


(note: this is an old entry, re-posted to include the song.)

Little Willie John - Fever