Update: It took 12 hours, but the mystery detailed below has been solved. The story behind our mystery starts now …
I’ve been working behind the scenes, getting ready for the second edition of our Three Under The Tree series of Christmas music posts.
In so doing, I’ve come across a tune — it’s not a Christmas song — that I dig, but I have absolutely no idea who it’s by or what it’s named.
One night back in the late ’80s, I taped part of a show from WORT, our local indie radio station in Madison, Wisconsin. It was a soul/R&B/funk show called “Cross Currents.” That night, the host — Willie Wonder — was playing Christmas tunes from those genres. It’s taken me all these years, but I’ve finally identified all but one track on that tape.
Like I said, it isn’t a Christmas song. Willie put a couple of straight-up soul/blues tunes into the mix that night.
It’s the tale of a man who’s seeing two women. It’s a soul/blues number with some nasty bass lines on the bottom, some nice blues guitar over the top and some synth keyboards and percussion in the middle. The latter clearly dates it to the ’80s.
I’ve done all kinds of lyrics searches and have come up blank. The lyrics follow. Can you help solve my little mystery?
Well I see her and I see you/The first time that comes to my mind/What am I going to do?
They say it’s impossible to love two women/And in the name of love, love them both at the same time
I keep tellin’ myself night after night, oh what a shame/But I swear to you I love both of them about the same
Oh I’ve got double trouble she knows I have another/You know what it’s a mother when you got double trouble
It started real early on the phone/My wife was in the kitchen when I thought she was gone
My girlfriend was on the line/How was she to know we were gonna blow this time
Then I said to my conscience, hey conscience, oh what a disgrace/That I’m running with two women in this race
You know what, I’ve got double trouble she knows I have another/You know what it’s a mother when you got double trouble
Oh well I said to myself I’m gonna leave one of you alone/But I’ve been loving both of you soon after that still it’s on its own
Know what, I’ve got double trouble she knows I have another/You know what it’s a mother when you got double trouble
Slippin’ and a slidin’, peepin’ and a hidin’/It’s a mother when you got double trouble
Double trouble she knows I have another/You know what it’s a mother when you got double trouble
Any ideas? Anyone?
Update: I’d just finished watching “Iron Man” on my Mac a few minutes after midnight, and I opened my e-mail. There, sent just a couple of minutes earlier, was a message from Dan Phillips, the proprietor of the Home of the Groove, the fine New Orleans music blog. You’ll see Dan’s note in the comments.
“That’s B.B. King doing disco!!!!! … Don’t hear that every day.”
Indeed not. But I’ve heard it on my Christmas tape for almost 20 years, and now I know what it is.
Dan’s note was confirmation of a note I’d received earlier in the day from the Hose, whom I’ve known forever. He wrote: “The tune ‘Double Trouble’ appears on a B.B. King import release on Universal/MCA titled ‘Six Silver Strings.’ It’s the last cut on the album. … I’m not sure if your song is the same as what appears on this album.”
Here’s the most interesting thing. Dan and the Hose figured it out, but neither had ever heard the song.
“Double Trouble,” B.B. King, from “Six Silver Strings,” 1988.