Rolling Stones songs: You Gotta Move
*Click for MORE ROLLING STONES SONGS 1962-PRESENT
You may be high/ You may be low…
Written by: Fred McDowell
Recorded: Muscle Shoals Studios, AL, USA, Dec. 1-4 1969; Rolling Stones Mobile, Stargroves, Newbury, Dec. 15 1969; Olympic Sound Studios, London, England, March-May 1970
*Data taken from Martin Elliott’s book THE ROLLING STONES COMPLETE RECORDING SESSIONS 1962-2012
This was written and originally performed by Mississippi bluesman Fred McDowell. McDowell was active in the 1920s and ’30s as both a musician and a farmer. He remained fairly obscure until the ’60s, when blues and folk historians raised his profile.
This was the first song The Stones recorded for Sticky Fingers. They did it over three days in 1969 at studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. “Brown Sugar” and “Wild Horses” were also recorded over these three days.
Before recording this, Mick Jagger and Keith Richards had been performing it as a duet.
The Stones played this at their live shows throughout the ’70s.
This was the Stones third straight album with one blues cover. Let It Bleed had “Love In Vain” and Beggars Banquet had “Prodigal Son.”
Aerosmith covered this on their album Honkin’ On Bobo.
Mick Taylor, 2011: “‘You Gotta Move’ was this great Mississippi Fred McDowell song that we used to play all the time in the studio. I used a slide on that – on an old 1954 Fender Telecaster – and that was the beginning of that slide thing I tried to develop with the Stones.”
Bill Wyman played the Wurlitzer on “You Gotta Move.” “That song didn’t need a bass,” he told Mojo magazine, “so I played electric piano.”
From the The Rolling Stones – All the Songs book:
The message of “You Gotta Move” (also known by the title “You’ve Got to
Move”) can be found in the refrain: Oh when the Lord gets ready, you gotta
move. The earliest recordings of this gospel blues were spread over the end
of the forties and the beginning of the fifties: the Two Gospel Keys in 1948,
Sister Rosetta Tharpe in 1950, and then the Original Five Blind Boys of
Alabama in 1953. In 1962, Reverend Gary Davis recorded a version with a
strong gospel feel, then came the turn of Mississippi Fred McDowell in
1965, several years after he had been “discovered” by the
ethnomusicologist Alan Lomax. As his name indicates, Mississippi Fred
McDowell was a Delta bluesman, the chief proponent of what was called
Hill Country Blues (or North Mississippi Blues), a hypnotic form of blues
built on just a few chords. The session took place at Berkeley, California,
on July 5, 1965. The recording was produced by Chris Strachwitz and the
record released on his own label, Arhoolie Records.
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