Yesterday was a day that started so promising — I found three nice records in just a few minutes of digging — but ended in minor disappointment. The place we go for fish tacos has closed.
There was nothing disappointing about the digging at Half-Price Books, a place I occasionally go. It has a bunch of vinyl that even if half-priced still tends to be overpriced. Digging there tends to be all or nothing, Sydney or the bush.
Our corner of Wisconsin rarely yields Clarence Carter records, so it was delightful to come across “Testifyin’,” his second LP, from 1969.
“Back Door Santa,” one of the naughtiest Christmas songs ever laid to vinyl, is on here, albeit with a different drum intro than the one sampled by Run-D.M.C. on “Christmas In Hollis.” “Snatching It Back” and “Making Love (At The Dark End Of The Street” were the singles off this record, and rightly so.
But I’m digging another tune.
“Instant Reaction,” Clarence Carter, from “Testifyin’,” 1969. It’s out of print but is available digitally.
It’s said to be one of five great black bubble gum classics not influenced by the Jackson 5. As always, you be the judge. It’s certainly upbeat. It’s written by Wayne Carson Thompson, who also wrote the Box Tops’ “Soul Deep” … which Carter also covers on this record.
It must have been something to see and hear a young Jerry Lee Lewis in his prime. This LP, recorded live at the Birmingham Municipal Auditorium in Birmingham, Alabama, on July 1, 1964, certainly lives up to its billing.
It’s the first of two live Jerry Lee records released on Smash. A while back, I found the other one, “By Request,” from 1966. The formula is the same: Rev ’em up with rockers, wind ’em down with a country tune and rev ’em back up.
“Who Will The Next Fool Be,” Jerry Lee Lewis, from “The Greatest Live Show On Earth,” 1964. Both live LPs are on this hard-to-find two-fer CD released in 1994.
This is a cover of a Charlie Rich tune, and one appropriate for Jerry Lee.
It did nothing as a single for Rich in the early ’60s, when he was trying to figure out whether he was a rock, country or jazz artist. It barely dented the country charts when he re-released it in 1970. I’ve loved the song ever since hearing the Amazing Rhythm Aces’ cover of it on their “Stacked Deck” LP from 1975.
The third record, for the record, is “Six Silver Strings,” a B.B. King album from 1988.