Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Song of the Week: "Shake It Baby", Sunnyland Slim

Sometimes one runs across a record so darn weird that they just need to stop and say "what the hell were they thinking?" This is one of those. The first time I ran across this 78rpm record I was digging on the very low-fi recording for the first 45 seconds of the song. It has a good little rumba beat and a nasty, fuzzed out vocals from a mic that seems to have been buried under the sheets with Sunnyland Slim who sounds as if he recorded his vocals after a very long night. Then, right around 45 seconds, a woman's voice pops in. But unlike Sunnyland's voice, her voice is recorded with a mic that captures the woman's voice crystal clear. The voice is one Anna Lee। Then, very quickly, one realizes what she, and Sunnyland, are singing. Or should I say, negotiating.

I'm shaking it, daddy. Like this daddy? Is this what you want, daddy? Mama's shaking it. Mama's trying to please you this morning, daddy. Want this diamond ring, daddy. How am I doing? Is this the way you want it?
WTF?! And that is only the beginning. Anna Lee continues her call-girl and response with Sunnyland as they negotiate the required duties for the promised Cadillac. This song feels like a little peek behind the scenes of those late night clubs on Maxwell Street in Chicago in the early 50's. Booze, broads, blues, knives and guns.



  1. yeah it's a good song... but that's Memphis Slim in the picture up there

    also I'm pretty sure it's a dude doing the parts of Anna Lee - in the vein of Frankie Halfpint Jaxon

  2. Thanks. I've changed the picture. I checked the liner notes to a Sunnyland Slim CD. It lists the singer as Anna Lee. I also checked her name online and Anna Lee is credited with doing other work at J.O.B. Records. Of course "Anna Lee" could be a dude. Just doesn't sound like it to my ears. If it is a dude, it makes the song all that much more interesting.

    Thanks for stopping by. We hope to see you again soon.