Rolling Stones songs: Little Rain
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
A little rain fallin’, little clock keep away the time/ Well the rain keep a-fallin’, on this little love of mine…
Written by: Ewart G. Abner Jr./Jimmy Reed
Recorded: British Grove Studios, London, England, Dec. 11, 14–15 2015
Guest musicians: Matt Clifford (keyboards)
*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 Rain” was a joint composition by Ewart G. Abner Jr. and Jimmy
Reed. Abner was one of the members of Vee-Jay Records, established in
Chicago 1953 by Vivian Carter and James C. Bracken; Jimmy Reed was a
talented bluesman, one of the few musicians who could rival the Chess
stable with names like Muddy Waters and Howlin’ Wolf. “Little Rain” was
recorded on January 9, 1957, and then came out as a single (with “Honey,
Where You Going?”), climbing to number 7 on the Billboard R&B charts.
Jimmy Reed sings of love: The little flowers bloomin’, little birds keep-a
singin’ tune / I would like to love ya baby, underneath the shinin’ moon. A
love song that Reed probably wrote for his wife, who was always at his side
when his health began to decline.
Jimmy Reed was one of the major influences on the Rolling Stones, who
produced several cover versions of his songs, including “Bright Lights, Big
City,” “Ain’t That Lovin’ You Baby,” “The Sun Is Shining” (at the
Altamont concert in 1969), and “Honest I Do.” “Little Rain” is another
heartfelt tribute from the world’s greatest rock band to the master of blues.
In Keith Richards’s view, “Little Rain” is definitely the most successful
song on the album. It is certainly true that the mood of melancholy of the
marshy Mississippi Delta created by the Stones from the extraordinary
original version by Jimmy Reed is spellbinding. The whole song rests on a
stripped-down accompaniment. The guitars interact with one another,
delivering a sober but solid rhythm, the two motifs played by Keith and
Ronnie being almost identical. The lightly saturated sounds coming through
the amps is warm and totally vintage. Mick’s singing is restrained—a far
cry from his usual vocal style—and given a marked reverb. The entries by
Charlie and Darryl in the second verse carry on in the same way: nothing
overwhelming, everything nuanced. And their contribution is essential,
giving the piece an extraordinary and subtle pulsating feel. We also hear
Darryl on bass—something absent from the Jimmy Reed version—with a
line that is unobtrusive but deep and clear. Once again, Mick has a fine
harmonica solo, reproducing that of the original and, he was to
acknowledge, was probably learned from Brian Jones. “Little Rain” is a
worthy tribute to Jimmy Reed. The Rolling Stones at their best.
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