Sleepy LaBeef, national treasure and human jukebox, has covered thousands of songs.
Though many are obscure, others are familiar. It’s always interesting to hear Sleepy interpret a song you’ve heard many times by other artists. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. We’ve had both here.
Today, it’s a blues tune done first by Muddy Waters in May 1955. “Mannish Boy” has its roots in the Bo Diddley blues number, “I’m a Man.” It’s a rewrite, a reworking of that tune, which came out in March 1955.
Sleepy isn’t the only one to cover “Mannish Boy,” as you well know. Among the others: Jimi Hendrix, Paul Butterfield, the Band, the Rolling Stones and Hank Williams Jr.
“Mannish Boy,” Sleepy LaBeef, from “Rockabilly Blues,” 2001.
Sleepy recorded this version at Dimension Sound Studios in Jamaica Plain, Massachusetts, in 1981. His backing band is Scott Billington on harmonica, Bobby Keyes on guitar, Harry Duncan on piano, Russell Keyes on bass and Rick Nelson on drums.