Rolling Stones songs: Little Baby
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
You get paid and I’ll hold the money/ Be right there to protect you, honey…
Written by: Dixon
Recorded: Toshiba-EMI Studios, Tokyo, Japan, March 3-4 1995
Guest musicians: Darryl Jones (bass), Chuck Leavell (piano)
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
“Little Baby” was written by Willie Dixon, the most productive composer of Chicago blues after World War II. His name is associated particularly with Chess Records, which is to say, with the greatest names in the history of modern blues. Howlin’ Wolf, who recorded many of his own compositions, chose “Little Baby” for the B-side of “Down in the Bottom”
in 1961.The song appears again alongside “The Red Rooster” and “Spoonful” on the Howlin’ Wolf album (also known as The Rockin’ Chair album on account of the photo on the sleeve) in 1962. A quarter of a century later, the Rolling Stones returned to the bouncy rhythm of “Little Baby,” so typical of the Dixon and Howlin’ Wolf style. The story of the song is simple: The narrator is ready to stand by his girl whatever may befall her, although his interest is somewhat self-serving: You go to work
tell you what I’ll do / You get paid and I’ll hold the money / Be right there to protect you honey.
The Stones had never performed this song popularized by Howlin’ Wolf. And yet, as Keith Richards was to attest, a single take was all that was required for the recording. The Stones know the blues idiom like the back of their hands, and their version of “Little Baby” is particularly effective. The feel is acoustic despite Keith’s and Ronnie’s electric guitars and Darryl’s bass. The sound is warm, intimate, and reminiscent of a blues or jazz club. Keith’s performance on his 1952 Gibson ES-350 with its velvety and vintage tone is assured, blending perfectly with Ronnie’s playing.
It is probably Ronnie who features in the solo passage at 2:04. Charlie keeps the rhythm going using brushes and supported by Darryl’s rich bass sound. Chuck is able to demonstrate his unusually talented piano playing, and his performance in “Little Baby”—showing the marked influence of Ray Charles—would certainly have met with the approval of Ian Stewart, the man who, with Bill Graham, introduced him into the Rolling Stones’ circle. Unusually, Mick’s signing is a little too restrained on this track; it’s lacking in dynamism and fades somewhat into the background.
Categories: Can You Hear the Music?
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