When Sleepy LaBeef, national treasure, was growing up in Smackover, Arkansas, in the late ’40s and early ’50s, he had a lot of musical influences.
“I grew up listening to Hank Williams, Howlin’ Wolf, Bill Monroe, Tommy Dorsey, Muddy Waters, Bob Wills, Roy Acuff and Big Joe Turner,” he said in the liner notes to today’s album.
Of the latter, Sleepy added: “He had that big, big voice, but he had such an easy delivery. There was no strain to him. That’s what I aim for.”
So let’s spin a Big Joe Turner cover, recorded in January 2000 at Emerald Sound in Nashville. That’s David Hughes pounding the piano and Jim Davis blasting the sax.
“Low Down Dog,” Sleepy LaBeef, from “Tomorrow Never Comes,” 2000.
Anyone for the original?
“Low Down Dog,” Big Joe Turner, from “Jumpin’ With Joe: The Complete Aladdin and Imperial Recordings,” 1993. This was recorded on Nov. 6, 1947, and released in October 1948 as Aladdin single 3013.