‘Can’t Hold Out Much Longer’ / ‘Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby’

In May of 1952, during the sessions for what would be Little Walter’s first release under his own name on Checker Records, he recorded ‘Can’t Hold Out Much Longer’; this would be chosen as the B-side of his jaunty instrumental debut, ‘Juke’.

Little Walter and His Night Cats

Little Walter: harmonica & vocal /

Muddy Waters, Jimmy Rogers: guitar /

Elgin Evans: drums

Recorded May 12, 1952, Chicago, IL

Released August 1952, B-side Checker single, ‘Juke

 Can’t Hold Out Much Longer (Little Walter) (2:59)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EGq71A1NVVQ

Walter’s friends Muddy Waters and Jimmy Rogers weave their guitar lines around one another providing a solid foundation for Walter’s vocal.  Walter drags out each word, as if extracting splinters from his soul.

These four men had been playing together, in clubs and on record for quite a while by the time they made this recording and it shows in the break, with the guitarists taking turns, handing off the lead as Walter repeatedly doubles back on his phrases as if he is struggling to make himself understood.

Strong as the number was, the shadow of success of the A-side, seemed to have kept it hidden until Ike Turner wrote a new arrangement for it and changed the title* for good measure.

Ike & Tina Turner

Tina Turner: vocal /

(possibly) Ike Turner: guitar /

All other session personnel, recording date(s) unknown

Released on “Outta Season” (Blue Thumb 1969)

Released, A-side Liberty single June 11, 1969 (U.K.)

Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby (Little Walter) (3:25)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yFqteZODDjo

The harmonica accents that occasionally surface in the mix are all that remain to remind people of the song’s paternity (aside from the lyrics).  Ike’s arrangement is built on a Latin rhythm pattern (making it easy to dance to) and Tina’s vocal is all hunger; this is a woman who knows what she wants and knows she is going to get it.

Soon after its release as a single across the pond, someone, most likely Mike Vernon or her manager, picked up on Ike’s version and had Christine Perfect cut it for her debut solo release.

Christine Perfect

Christine Perfect: vocal & Wurlizter electric piano /

Top Topham: guitar / Rick Hayward: guitar /

Martin Dunsford: bass / Chris Harding: drums & percussion

Unknown: tenor & baritone saxophone, trumpet & trombone (not credited)

Recorded either August or November of 1969 at CBS Studio, New Bond Street, London

Released, “Christine Perfect” (Blue Horizon) June 12, 1970

 Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby (Little Walter) (3:03)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Ec1HAI5SNI

A pleasant pop number, Perfect (wisely) makes no attempt at pushing for the passion or hunger displayed by Tina Turner; the electric piano is the featured instrument along with Harding’s drums and percussion.

The break, and the accents provided by the uncredited horn section offer glimpse of the potential in the number, but everyone seems intent on not making too much of a fuss, their politeness siphoning off any energy, creating the aural equivalent of  wallpaper.

One has to wonder  why they didn’t return to Walter’s original arrangement of the song (or something close to it) as it is far better suited to her vocal style and could be seen as a natural follow-up to her “break-out” hit with Chicken Shack, ‘I’d Rather Go Blind’.

 

Perfect, or the band members of Fleetwood Mac saw the potential of the song in this arrangement, reworking it again and making it the opening number for their first American tour without Peter Green in the summer of 1970.

This audience recording, despite the rough sound, captures how the number was crafted into a showcase for the “new” band’s three leads.

Fleetwood Mac

Christine McVie: piano & vocals /

Danny Kirwan: guitar / Jeremy Spencer: guitar /

John McVie: bass / Mick Fleetwood: drums

Recorded live at the Fillmore East, NYC August 28, 1970

Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby (Little Walter) (7:44)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iyTGk0ZRalQ

Perfect sings two verses and a chorus and then Spencer steps forward for an extended break.  The recording favors Kirwan in the mix, making it a little difficult to appreciate Spencer’s contributions.

Kirwan takes a slightly shorter break later on in the number and the two engage in a bit of two guitar dueling towards the end, aligning it more closely with what audiences had come to expect from Green-era Fleetwood Mac.

 

Around the time that Fleetwood Mac began this tour, Elvin Bishop’s second LP, “Feel It!”  would have been in shops.  It too had a cover of the song.  The studio recording emphasizes the Latin undercurrent of Ike Turner’s arrangement, recruiting Chipeto Areas and Michael Carabello from Santana to play the timbales and congas on the track.

Despite the busyness of the arrangement, the number is strangely stagnant, failing to build any tension, undermining any sense of release.  Vocalist Jo Baker is left to carry the weight and she is simply not a strong enough soul singer to pull it off, relying on raspy shouting in an attempt to build a sense of excitement.

There is footage of the band performing the number in September of 1970 at the Fillmore East from the film “Welcome to the Fillmore” with the band reworking the arrangement with far superior results.

The Elvin Bishop Group

Jo Baker: vocal / Elvin Bishop: guitar /

Stephen Miller: organ /

Kip Maercklein: bass / John Chambers: drums /

Recorded September 23, 1970 at the Fillmore East

Available at The Music Vault: http://www.musicvault.com

Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby (Little Walter) (6:59)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z99F_z43BG4

The energy level has been increased dramatically.  Losing the percussionists has the effect of freeing the other musicians; their contributions can now be heard more clearly and Bishop’s guitar is added to the mix to excellent effect.

They almost double the length of the studio recording but where the earlier take felt padded this one flows naturally.  The rhythm section keeps the number at a steady boil and Miller’s organ break and Bishop’s shorter guitar break each smoothly increase the heat.

And while Baker was no match for Tina Turner (especially in a live setting) no one was.  With the instruments now powering the number, she could relax a bit and sing more naturally.

 

Back in England, the band recorded the song at one of their first BBC sessions – the cleaner, balanced, recording allows us to appreciate the new arrangement much more easily than the live versions available

Playing the song on a nightly basis for three months has tightened the band’s sound and they lock into the groove and simply let rip.  A great performance.

Fleetwood Mac

Christine McVie: piano & vocals /

Danny Kirwan: guitar / Jeremy Spencer: guitar /

John McVie: bass / Mick Fleetwood: drums

BBC Session – Radio One Club –

Recorded November 10, 1970

Available on: Madison Blues – Live and Studio Recordings (Secret Records 2003) /

Crazy About the Blues (Secret Records 2010)

Crazy ‘Bout You, Baby (Little Walter) (3:52)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=brq5zzvGllE

With a faster tempo than even the live recordings, Perfect now sounds engaged with the song.  Fleetwood’s furious drumming forces her to keep up and compete with Kirwan’s guitar.  Kirwan’s tone is still more shrill than what he normally employed but his playing here is a highlight of the performance.  Spencer stays in the background but he finds the open spaces in which to drop in little accents to excellent effect.

*The new title belonged to a Sonny Boy Williamson II song from 1951 – aside from a single couplet, the number had nothing in common with Little Walter’s song, yet beginning with the Ike & Tina Turner recording, all of the subsequent recordings were credited to “Willie Williamson” (I have no idea where they got the first name from, unless it was a pseudonym for Turner, allowing him to collect the royalties)

Beginning with “The Blue Horizon Story: 1965 – 1970 Vol. 1” the credit was corrected and most of the subsequent releases containing the BBC and live recordings by Fleetwood Mac credit Little Walter Jacobs.

3 Comments

  • comment-avatar
    Julian Pugsley October 26, 2018 (6:56 am)

    Great post, Richard. Thanks!

  • comment-avatar
    Graham Moore October 28, 2018 (5:25 pm)

    I always liked this line up of Fleetwood Mac it’s a shame it was so short lived it makes you wonder what the follow up the Kiln House record would have been like

  • comment-avatar
    Graham Moore October 28, 2018 (5:35 pm)

    I always liked this Fleetwood Mac line up it’s a shame they were so short lived, they appeared to be getting their new sound when Jeremy Spencer left